By James White, photos by Peter Cook
Last Saturday saw Reading break its all time attendance record with 475 runners taking part. This Saturday that record was smashed with the 500 barrier being broken for the first time and 521 runners crossing the line. Looks like I picked an excellent day to visit!
I love visiting new parkruns. Every parkrun is different and yet comfortingly the same. The differences come from the park, course, weather conditions and ground type. The similarities come from the event teams, briefings, volunteers and the amazing communities that run each and every one of the parkruns I have visited. Reading is no exception.
Saturday morning started at 7:30 with me packing my one year old, Elsie, and the running buggy into the car and heading up the A34 and across the M4 to Reading. It was a perfect morning, weather wise, for running; nice and cool, dry, no wind and a hint of the sun breaking through the early morning clouds.
We parked up, built the buggy and headed to the start area where we met Run Director for the day Jon Kew. We said a brief hello and let him get on with his organising of the days volunteers.
I got chatting to another visitor to the course, Louise. Louise was part of the team marshaling the Thames Path 100 that was heading through later in the day. She was marking out the course from Henley to Whitchurch and has stopped in Reading to do the parkrun, before heading onwards to Whitchurch! It was lovely to run the majority of the way around the 5km with Louise and to hear about some of the races she is involved in and her own parkrun tourism. Inspiring stuff!
Before long we got the call to head over for the pre-run briefing, expertly delivered by Jon. It was here that we celebrated the milestone runs for the day, of which there were many.
Nathan Blades joined the 10 club, Rian Kelly, Chris Poynter and Tony Dolton joined the 50 club, Rebecca Simons and Charlie Macklin joned the 100 club and, drum roll please, Judy Hicks-Davies and Linda Booth both joined the 250 club. Congratulations to everyone on your achievements, it takes real dedication to join the milestone clubs and we hope you enjoy wearing your new t-shirts with pride.
This week also saw the first paced event at Reading, with 13 pacers ranging from 18 minutes down to 34. This seemed very successful judging by the HUGE 172 runners getting a shiny new PB! Congratulations you fleet footed legends and a massive thank you to the wonderful pacers!
As I was running with a buggy I lined up at the back of the pack so as to avoid any tripping or collisions as I am still very much a "learner driver" when it comes to buggy running. We therefore started off with the 34 minute pacer, Steve Harlowe. Steve was a little nervous about pacing but did an admirable job in leading his group around in just under the 34 minute mark. Great job Steve!
The course itself was beautiful and I really enjoyed my run. I chatted to lots of people on the way round and Elsie really enjoyed the smooth ride around the excellent paths that the course has. After the first lap we were able to get into a good pace as the field spread out a bit and the chances of me tripping people were minimised. We caught up with Louise and had another good chat with her. As we came into the finishing straight we caught up with Linda Booth and escorted her over the line to complete her 250th run.
After the run we indulged ourselves with some scrummy homemade millionaires shortbread (handed out by super Mario and a smurf) and also had a cup of bucks fizz from Linda. What a way to finish a run!
Elsie and I headed back to the car to pick up a few bits before heading over to the Jolly Angler pub for breakfast. There Elsie and I were joined by Linda and 380 time parkrunner, Lorriane Bailey. It was lovely chatting to some of the regulars (at parkrun, not the pub) about their experiences.
All in all it was a wonderful morning and as Elsie and I walked back to the car I reflected on how lucky we are to be able to do this every week, and how great it is that you can turn up as a lone tourist on a Saturday morning and leave 3 hours later with a host of great memories and experiences.
Thank you Reading parkrun for making Elsie and I so welcome.
A few key nuggets of information:
There were 40 first timers to parkrun this week at Reading. Welcome to the parkrun family! Look forward to seeing you next week.
There were also 26 parkrunners making their first visit to Reading. We hope to see you again some time!
There were also 22 "unknown" runners this week. DFYB everyone!
A huge thank you to this week's hi-viz heroes:
Dean ALLAWAY, Angela BURLEY, Teresa CASWELL, Peter COOK, Gary COOPER, Dawn COOPER, Chris COOPER, Jonathan COYLE, Tony DOLTON, Fergal DONNELLY, Elizabeth GANPATSINGH, Steve HARLOWE, David HODGKINSON, Mahmud HUSEIN, Sue JONES, Jon KEW, Sev KONIECZNY, Ray MCGROARTY, Liam James PROWSE, Mark A. SAUNDERS, Jane SILVEY, Justin SIMONS, Chris SMITH, Jamie SMITH, Tom STAGLES, Kim STEVENS, Bill WATSON, James WHITE and Iona YARWOOD
Here are this week's stats:
This week 521 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 66 were first timers and 172 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 35 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 29 volunteers.
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Reading parkrun Results Page.
David LEWIS (SM20-24) of Reading AC, was first over the line in 15:52 - second time in 2 appearances.
Eddie STEVENI (JM15-17) of Reading AC, was second over the line in 16:34 - has been first to finish on 5 previous occasions.
Ben PAVIOUR (VM40-44) of Herne Hill Harriers, was third over the line in 16:41 - has been first to finish on 12 previous occasions.
Ida BURROWS (JW15-17) of Thames Valley Triathletes, was first (9th overall) over the line in 18:28 - 7th time in 13 appearances.
Lynne NIKE (VW40-44) of Reading AC, was second (26th overall) over the line in 19:43 - has been first to finish on 11 previous occasions.
Stephanie TOLLEMACHE (SW30-34) of Fulham RC, was third (41st overall) over the line in 20:22.
The three highest age grades were recorded by:
Aleid BUSSER (VW65-69) – 85.77% for the time 25:32 (218th overall).
Ben PAVIOUR (VM40-44) – 84.32% for the time 16:41 (third overall).
Eddie STEVENI (JM15-17) – 84.00% for the time 16:34 (second overall).
The female record is held by Naomi TASCHIMOWITZ who recorded a time of 00:17:22 on 23rd May 2015 (event number 280).
The male record is held by Jonathan Stuart DAVIES who recorded a time of 00:14:45 on 6th June 2015 (event number 282).
The Age Grade course record is held by Paula FUDGE who recorded 91.95% (20:43) on 30th April 2011 (event number 82).
Reading parkrun started on 12th September 2009. Since then 11,208 participants have completed 85,745 parkruns covering a total distance of 428,725 km, including 15,137 new Personal Bests.