How do you smash your event’s previous attendance record, host 176 first time Poolsbrook parkrun visitors and still put on a happy event with lots of smiling volunteers ? The answer is preparation, contingency planning and wonderful people who were able to keep smiling whatever was thrown at them.
Today, for the second New Years day running we smashed our attendance record. 617 walkers, runners and joggers increased our record by a massive 144 people. Looking back we have now held three New Year’s day events, in 2017 we had 289, and in 2018 we had 473 – can anyone guess how many we might see in 2020 ?
Last year, we ran out of finish tokens (quite unexpectedly) and were close to our stopwatches running out of storage, but we managed by recording all finishers after our final finish token manually and had plans in place in case we needed to record finishers times manually as well. This year we planned well in advance – we got stopwatches with more capacity (up to 2000 records) with 3 timekeepers, we got more finish tokens (up to the high 600’s) – although at one point we considered that we may have to start using manual recording again ! We got an extra barcode scanner to process finishers quicker. We extended the finish funnel quite significantly – and even this wasn’t enough for a while – so we moved the finish back a few meters to extend the funnel further and then moved it back again once the queues died down. We had funnel managers helping people to move through the finish funnel as quickly as possible. We had extra marshals in place around busy parts of the route, we also had car park marshals who helped people to find somewhere to park knowing that the two main car parks would be full very quickly.
So, I would say that we were well prepared and in general, everything went like clockwork. However, most of all – the event went very well because we had great volunteers who managed to keep smiling from the start of the event to the finish, even when things were getting hectic – I did not hear one complaint from volunteers or participants, all I heard was praise and happy conversations.
Thank you to everyone who took part today and a very special thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers - Andy MORRIS • Cath BADHAM • Cherry HAZLEHURST • Chris PATTISON • Clare MCSHANE • David JENKINSON • David SMITH • Diane GUNN • Gabbie PATTISON • Gemma MORRIS • Gordon HARDING • Heather HILL • Henry KAY • Janet CHAPMAN • Jean BAKER • Jess JOEL • Karen JENKINSON • Keith HUDSON • Louise LOWE • Luke PAYNE • Mark HAZLEHURST • Michael JOEL • Roger KENCH • Roy SMITH • Ruth SMITH • Simon STOKES • Stephen RUNDELL • Teresa PAYNE • Tina HENSEY • William STREET.
So, 617 participants, that’s a lot of people in our beautiful country park, and it was also a magnificent sight. To see so many colourful shirts, so many smiling faces – it was wonderful. Of the 617 it turns out that 130 had completed Graves parkrun beforehand, 121 came from Clumber, 35 from Bakewell, 23 from Sheffield Castle and 1 from Shipley parkrun – wow ! This equates to more than half of those that took part at Poolsbrook today, that’s impressive. This is the only day of the year that you can register 2 runs in a day, and judging by the numbers nationally – we took advantage of this in droves.
Of the 176 people taking part at Poolsbrook parkrun for the first time 16 were doing their first ever parkrun – it’s a great New Year’s resolution to follow. Welcome to first time parkrunners Andrew HORNER, Andy BARLOW, Caleb RIMMER, Cathy RATCLIFFE, Charlie TOPHAM, Claire CRABB, Diane PETERNEL, Dominic TURNER, Elliott DYSON, Isobelle CRABB, John FERGUSON, Juliet FIDORRA, Kate GOUGH, Martin MCSHANE, Matilda CRABB, Ryan BERRY. There were far too many first time visitors to name, so a big welcome to all of you – we hope that you enjoyed our ‘little’ event.
Did you see the photo montage displayed near the café ? If not, well you will still get chance – I’ll bring it along again in the next few weeks – see if you can spot yourself.
Watching the massive crowd making it’s way to the start line was amazing and when we got there it was a sight to see with so many people crowded together on the path and the verges. It’s a good job that we are a friendly lot as it was quite a challenge to get past the fast runners to find a reasonable place to start in the pack. I ran at Graves prior to Poolsbrook this morning and wasn’t sure how I’d get on with a second parkrun (given my current state of fitness) – however, I needn’t have worried as the enthusiasm of my fellow runners ensured that I and everyone else had a lovely run.
Mark was RD today and he addressed the throng greeting new runners and thanking our volunteers. When he got us away with a ‘3-2-1 go’ it was funny to hear the laughs as those of us in the middle and further back had to wait before we could walk a few paces and eventually get into a jog – everyone seemed to take it all in good spirit indeed. During his briefing Mark asked about milestone runs and got a few responses. Not everyone lets us know about their milestones, if you tell us in advance we will always give you a shout-out. Today a number of people achieved their parkrun milestones, these were:
Junior 10 – Maisie ADAMS (Poolsbrook first timer)
50th - Jake CHARTERS and Saleem RAFIQ (both Poolsbrook first timers)
100th - Kirsty FAIRBAIRN-WINT (3 at Poolsbrook), Thomas Daniel SHAW (6 at Poolsbrook), Andrew LONG (4 at Poolsbrook)
250th - Richard JAMES (14 at Poolsbrook)
Gordon Harding ran at Poolsbrook parkrun for the 100th time out of his 104 parkruns.
Chris Payne, our regular visually impaired walker completed his first parkrun double (Graves first) whilst raising money for the Paralympic sport of goalball.
Not surprisingly with such a high number of participants, the field spread out quickly and runners, joggers and walkers could be seen all around the route after a few minutes. Impressively, given the fact that so many were doing the second part of their ‘double’ there were still 57 Personal Bests – well done if that was you.
At the finish line it looked hectic and we were pleased to have taken all of the precautions that we took as they worked a treat and we were ready to deal with lots of people crossing the finish line in quick succession. After consideration, we have agreed that the only thing we might have changed would to be make the finish funnel even longer ! It was already the longest funnel that we have ever had, but perhaps we will modify it next year.
The timekeepers did a sterling job staying relatively well synchronised as did the token volunteers who were giving them out at an unprecedented rate. The barcode scanners were kept busy and did a wonderful job with very few scanning issues and they were supported by the number checker who filled a sheet with non-scanning barcodes.
We had four of our precious finish tokens go missing today – I know that we always go on about handing them in when your barcode is scanned but it’s for a reason, we only have one set and we have to pay for replacements in blocks of 500 ! To mitigate this cost we have some blank tokens onto which we stick barcodes but these aren’t as robust as the originals – so can we please have them back this week. Today the four that went missing were for positions 373, 374, 495 and 545 – if this was you or someone that you know please e-mail us at email@example.com so we can arrange to get them back.
Voices from the field
So, you’ve heard plenty from me so far, how about some other voices, well here are three:
Lucy Marris has produced an excellent blog all about her experience at Poolsbrook parkrun today – you can find it by clicking this link
Neil Hollinshead completed his 75th parkrun and here are his thoughts:
WHAT A NICE WAY TO START THE YEAR
What an amazing sight it was at poolsbrook this morning, so many runners,walkers,joggers and volunteers.
This was my 70th parkrun and I finished 561st, so this must have been a record attendance for poolsbrook.
I have to admit that 3 years ago I had never heard of parkrun and then I saw a piece on the national news about a local council wanting to introduce a charge for parkrunners who were using a local park. I had just started a C25K programme as I wanted to become more active in order to improve both my mental health and to slow down the impact that Rheumatoid Arthritis was having on my physical health.A quick google search later I was registering for parkrun.
I plucked up the courage to attend my 1st parkrun at Poolsbrook and I was hooked. I didn’t have any aspirations at that time to ever run further than 5K in one go but as my times improved I started to enjoy running, it’s probably more of a quick jog in all honesty !!, and I’ve now completed a number of 10K runs.
I have now decided to take the plunge and move onto the next stage by attempting a half marathon. In March I will be running the Bath Half Marathon and will be combining this with an effort to raise funds for Versus Arthritis. Thanks to research and improvements in medication over the 20 years that I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis I have gone from a position of being barely able to walk due to the pain to feeling confident about completing a Half Marathon.
I’d like to give a big thanks to the poolsbrook parkrun community for their weekly encouragement and here’s to many more record attendances
Roger Kench – our regular marshal with the loud voice had this to say:
Man across the pond
So here it is 2019 and what a start, records tumbling everywhere; for which our Poolsbrook Park Run Organisers deserve great credit, well done indeed you band of heros one and all .
So at the end of the festivities let me once more spilt an infinite and mix a metaphor with you this New Year. To say spectacular would be an understatement , from across the pond as you set off there was a cornucopia of colours ( Santa obviously supports Park Run) as a tide of runners swept down the path. Best costume goes to scooby doo, best shirt to the gentleman with the fabulous pink shirt, he looked good in it too and everyone seemed to wear a smile ( where had the hangovers gone). From my vantage point the numbers were impressive but everyone looked out for each other and fast, slow or promenading you all processed beautifully and good manners and courtesy as usual were to the fore. Can I say once again how much I enjoy helping out, as park run is a beacon of hope in these uncertain times, ability, gender, ethnicity whatever matter naught as you all come together in enjoying yourselves; well done to all happy new year , keep smiling and I will continue to watch the kilos fall off the times plummet and the fun continue .
Thank you very much to all 3 contributors – we really do like to hear your stories, whether they are about a single event or your parkrun journey – please share them with us by e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteering and why it’s so important
Every time I write a run report I praise the volunteers and ask for more in the coming weeks. Why ? Why repeat myself ? Well the simple answer is that this really is OUR parkrun – by that I mean that we are Poolsbrook parkrun – the walkers, joggers, runners and the volunteers – we are the ones that make it happen, we are the ones that ensure that it runs smoothly, we are the ones that make it happy and enjoyable every week, and ultimately – we are the ones that get to take part in whatever way we wish and to reap the benefits. Volunteering is all about us managing our own event in the way that we want it to run – we choose to make ours well organised and happy and everyone of you plays a part in that. Thank you.
If you would like to volunteer there are loads of different roles to do – take a look here to see the future roster. If you are worried about volunteering for the first time, please don’t – everyone is shown what to do as well as given a lanyard with simple instructions and the phone number of the Run Director should they need any help or if they spot any issues during the event. If you don’t want to miss a run – then how about doing one of the roles that allows you to volunteer and take part in the event – these are Tail Walker, VI Guide, Pacer, Pre-event setup, Token sorting, Run Report Writer – you will get both a run credit and a volunteer credit !
To volunteer all you have to do is to leave us a message on the Poolsbrook parkrun Facebook page or alternatively you can e-mail us at email@example.com . Leave us a message with your name, barcode number (you’re A number) and your preferred role (if you have one) and we’ll do the rest. Go on, give it a go – you won’t regret it
Dates for your diary
It’s going to be a bit quiet for a while now that the festive season is over, but please bear these dates in mind and don’t forget to check the run report weekly for updates:
February 2nd – our 150th event (more details to follow)
The weather and cancellations
You may have noticed that it’s winter – it’s getting colder and that could mean ice. Please check our Facebook page frequently and also our website for any cancellations or warnings about possible cancellations. We will always endeavour to give you as much notice as possible of any cancellations and will only cancel if we feel that your health and safety could be compromised.