We've reached our 100th event! What a milestone, and what a way to celebrate!
Summer at the beach
More than a few of you dug under the bed to find your summer togs: as requested, flowery shirts, grass skirts and beach wear all featured - usually over a solid layer of thermals and a parkrun milestone t-shirt.
Katrina Everett (be-sashed below) was one of 5 people to hit the 50 milestone; John Stevens timed his 100th run perfectly to coincide with ours. For the juniors, George Hawkins notched up his 10th run.
A few photos (courtesy of the ever-wonderful Philip Hay) to capture a flavour of the day:
A new attendance record! Pacers! Gorgeous volunteers!
You may have noticed that it was a little bit busier than usual. We know its January, we know it was our 100th, but we still didn't expect our near-exponential growth to keep going. On the plus side - over 600 people had a free weekly timed run, supported by 35 volunteers - numbers swelled by the presence of our pacers:
Andy Nice, Sylvia Moss, Stefan Moore, Joe Moore, Andrew Moore, Matt Howarth, Lesley Keddy and Iain Scarlett.
Pacing can be tough job at the best of times - and to get even close to target while dealing with such huge numbers takes a vast amount of concentration, planning and focus. Well done and thank to you all.
And of course a massive thanks to the entire volunteer crew - the people that really make the parkrun magic happen.
Diane ANSTISS, Guy ANSTISS, Deborah BAYLISS, Marjory BLUER, Rachel CAIRN, Rosie CHATER, Sophie CHATER, Preena DIVECHA, Cameron FRASER, Philip GIBBS, Jennie GOULD, Peter GUDGE, Jackie HARRIS, Lily HARRISON, Philip HAY, Jessica HOWARTH, Tracy HOWARTH, H Matthew HOWARTH, Lesley KEDDY, Sarah LEVERIDGE, Richard LOWES, Zita MANSI, James MARTIN, Matt MCKARELL, Joseph MOORE, Stefan MOORE, Andrew MOORE, Sylvia MOSS, Andy NICE, Paul ORANGE, Iain SCARLETT, Adam SHACKLADY, Mary WITHALL, Rob WITHALL
A new attendance record! Wow! AARGH! Hmmm...
The graph (idea stolen gratuitously from our friends at Cassiobury parkrun) shows just how significant the growth has been over the course of January, and helps explain just why you may have had to queue to get to the finish line. It will *probably* start to tail off a bit, before hitting the next bumps in May & September.
But with great numbers come great event management challenges - how can we get better at dealing with >500 runners on a regular basis? Here are a few things we're looking at:
1. Start zones
I know you want a PB, and you don't want to waste precious seconds getting to the start line. BUT - if everyone starts pretty much or order of their expected finish time, it will actually help EVERYONE get started faster. Just BELIEVE and GIVE IT A GO! (I'll stop shouting now). Start zones are used at quite a few other parkruns, and do seem to be remarkably effective in reducing aggro, injury and corner-cutting, while actually improving everyone's overall times.
2. Finish Funnel
It's gonna get longer. I thought I'd made it quite long - but obviously not long enough. It will get longer. And you can help us too - when you hit the finish line, please KEEP MOVING. I know you're exhausted, I know you need to find the right button on your watch, but there's a whole load of other runners piling in after you. Keep moving, and hold your hand out so that the finish token volunteers can place a token in your hand - this is the fastest and safest way to hand over tokens on a cold day. And then move briskly out of the funnel, and go find the scanners.
3. Tourism suggestions!
Don't get me wrong - I'm thrilled that you found parkrun, and I know we have the prettiest course, the best cafe and the loveliest volunteers of all the parkruns in Rickmansworth. But now that you're on your parkrun journey, why not try some parkrun tourism? Our near neighbours South Oxhey can offer a very different experience - a less crowded start, some really good hill training, and only 3 miles away, so a chance to cycle there and back. You could even thow in a dip in the canal and do the full triathlon! (Don't throw in a dip in the canal. Please don't).
The nearest parkruns to Ricky are: South Oxhey (3.3m), Cassiobury (3.4m), Harrow (6.7m), Aldenham (6.9m), Black Park (7.1m), Northala Fields (7.6m), Canons Park (7.8m), Gadebridge (8.7m), St Albans (9.7m), Upton Court (10.4m).
Before I go, a few links to things that might be of interest:
Track your parkrun challenge progress and get virtual badges with the parkrun Chrome extension: https://running-challenges.co.uk/
Get all the news and views and gossip with the parkrun podcasts:
- The Official parkrun podcast: http://www.freeweeklytimed.com/
- The Not Official parkrun podcast: https://withmenow.libsyn.com/
- The DownUnder parkrun podcast: https://parkrunadventurers.libsyn.com/
That's pretty much it - a fantastic 100th event to set the scene for the next 100. Remember to check your diary and work out when you want to set a date to volunteer - contact us at email@example.com to book your slot or ask any questions. And we'll see you all again on Saturday for event 101!