820 people took part in Poole parkrun #462, with a fantastic 51 people helping. Well done to all the runners, and many thanks to all those who gave up part of a dull but dry Saturday morning to help out. Although there was a brisk breeze, conditions were fair overall allowing a massive 113 personal bests; Matthieu Marshall of Southampton AC led the field home in 16:32 and, on International Women’s Day, Nancy Taylor from Poole AC showed us what the ladies could do by finishing in 19:40, despite also being one of the youngest competitors. Nancy was pipped to the post by just four people taking into account age and gender, with Duncan Campbell taking the honours.
There were 62 first timers this week. Milestone runners were restricted to just four: two doing their 50th and two their 100th, including myself. But equally importantly 19 people ran their second ever parkrun, which is always the hardest to do – you’ve done it once before but can you really repeat it? Once you have done 99 parkruns (and 5 more people reached that total in Poole this week), it’s not that hard to do the next one – my previous one was only last week at my home parkrun in Milton Keynes, although in celebration of the leap year they ran it backwards (well, anti-clockwise) for a change so it felt like a first time run. But the leap from one to two was a lot harder – so here are some thoughts on how to go from one to two, then three, five, 10, 50 and 100!
You can’t expect to get a personal best every week – it’s not uncommon for your second parkrun to be a PB, but you cannot keep doing it, otherwise you’d be finishing before you start. And for those tricky first few parkruns, celebrate getting round the course, rather than worrying about the time it took. Once you feel you have seen enough of the boating lake, so there’s less enthusiasm to get up on a Saturday morning, try another parkrun for size – there are several quite close (dare I mention Bournemouth?). Or if you are visiting a relative, try their local parkrun: I have done 21 at Poole because my mum lives here, and not just because they are such a great crew organising it (but they are, too)! And you may find a parkrun on holiday: fitting one in round rigid bed & breakfast hours can be tricky, but worthwhile, and if you can find an international parkrun (I have done Hasenheide twice) there’s added kudos.
Don’t be worried if your parkrun elsewhere is slower: Poole is really fast (9 of my 10 fastest runs ever have been here), and some parkruns have hills! Milton Keynes has zig-zags up a hill by a Buddhist Pagoda – not great for fast times, but unique on the parkrun circuit. And if you’re feeling lonely among the 819 other runners, just say Hi! – parkrunners are friendly group and don’t bite (not even the accompanying dogs). And if the parkrunners around you don’t look friendly enough, bring a friend of your own: he or she may also get the bug (running bug, I hasten to add) and can race you to your hundredth parkrun.
And finally, don’t forget to say “thank you” to the marshals and all the other helpers, without them you couldn’t do any parkruns, whether your first, second, 100th or 447th.
PS Well done to Robert, the other 100th today – but he’s done 99 at Poole!