This week, we had no other than Daniel Connolly touristing with us to present to you with this special report:
Rother Valley #279 – All aboard!
There can be very few parkrun tourists as disorganised as me. Much to the utter despair of my daughter! My son on the other hand is far more relaxed - as long as there is a cafe afterwards that will do him a cooked breakfast or a sausage and egg sandwich he will get into the car half asleep and promptly return to thw snoring stage that he was woken from a few minutes beforehand!
However I took my lack of planning to a new level this morning, only deciding a parkrun location as I sat in the car ready to go at 6:30am. After having done over 150 different events I should really have some sort of selection system in place but having completed two regions (East and West Midlands), the UK Alphabet, a number of Running Challenges from the Chrome/Firefox Extensions and not really being interested in the Wilson Index my touring has been haphazard to say the least.
However members of the UK parkrun Tourist Facebook page (identifiable by the Cow motifed material band you might see at parkruns on heads, necks or wrists) have been a useful collective of well parkrun travelled minds; a few weeks ago I asked for a few recommendations for hidden gems of parkrun and Rother Valley was recommended. So as I waited for my long suffering wife to lock the house I google mapped the directions and we were soon off.
As we got onto the M1 I realised it was perhaps advisable to check that the event was on and any parking arrangements - a quick check of Facebook and the event page reassured me all was well. I always travel with trail and road shoes and loose change for parking as many times I have no idea what to expect.
We arrived just after 8 and with a flash of our parkrun barcode and £1 paid we had soon parked up. It could be my age or a long drive and a coffee but I certainly needed the facilities as we arrived! With no mention on the course page - apart from the cafe opening at 9:30 I got a little nervous and wished I had used a little of the built in wiggle room on time on a service station stop. The signs from the carpark directed you to some toilets but the sign states open at 8:30am - I am delighted to say that 8:30 meant 8:30 as they opened perfectly on time.
With the slight shower starting to pass, I gathered up the rest of my family and started the short walk to the parkrun trailer? As well as depositing our post run bags safely away I managed to also grab the report writer roster spot, which is why you have a slightly daft southern tourist writing the run report this week!
One thing that continues to surprise me on all the parkruns I visit is the first timers' briefing. What surprises me, is not the fact that Megan CROFTS had a busy job. As I know that in the summer many people go on holiday and rather than miss a parkrun find a new event close to where they are staying. This week 43 runners came to Rother Valley for the first time.
What continues to amaze me is that each week there are new runners to the parkrun family from the local area even to a parkrun on it’s 279th run not just one or two new runners but 15! So a huge welcome to:- Edward TOWNEND, Steven CURRY, Jack PIERCE, Claire NIELD, Callum WALKER, Amanda DUFFY, Luke STEWART, Daniel SMITH, Paul BURNS, Alys HOBBS, Zoe CARTWRIGHT, Charlotte MOORE, Jenny CLEGG, Michelle REYNOLDS & Joanne ROTHWELL. I hope you enjoyed your run today and come back to parkrun here or at any other event soon.
The parkrun weather fairies seemed to be smiling down on Rother Valley as the clouds passed, taking the drizzle away to replace it with a beautiful blue azure sky, just in time for the main briefing.
From my travels I can safely say that similar things are said at parkruns across the land – maybe in a different order- sometimes due to an issue more is said about one part of the parkrun code and occasionally even changes or extra safety measures are mentioned so it is important that everyone is there and listening! One of my bugbears is people talking during the run briefing; as well as a lack of respect for the RD who is giving up their time, it is disrespectful to newer runners who may have never heard it before. I am sure that experienced runners have heard it loads but it is important. But I loved the ‘Quiet Please’ signs or now to be known ever more to me as the ‘Shhhh signs’ to remind runners that for just a few minutes they need to be quiet.
The briefing is the time we also get to celebrate those milestones and today we had a few that will result in a t-shirt e-mail at some point (I am still waiting on my 250 shirt - but I guess a few weeks of still running in my 100 top means that it has less wear on it’s way to 500!) Pauline WILLIAMS & Tina BELL both ran their 50th parkrun today so on the results will now have a lovely red t-shirt icon after their name. There were a number of runners who completed their 10th milestone - for most it was just an arbitrary milestone - but for Evelyn MULDOON & Hayden MULDOON they both will get a 10 t-shirt icon on their results as they are juniors.
One other milestone was Phillip PARKIN who got his v25 milestone - for carrying out 25 days volunteering. It is possible to do more than one role on a day - Event Set-Up, Marshal, Report Writer &Token Sorting but this is only one day but 4 roles! So rather impressively this is before Philip has got to even 50 parkruns!
There was a shout out for Brian CAMERON who was doing his 200th parkrun, although not an official milestone is a lot of committed parkrunning. After listening to a lot of the With Me Now Podcast all about parkruns, I had to resist the desire to shout “Arbitrary” as many wouldn’t get the reference and think I was being rude. The podcasts are well worth a listen and will explain many things about parkrun and where calling out Arbitrary comes in.
As I am writing this report I should also mention Mary CONNOLLY (my wife) as she also ran her 200th parkrun today - "Arbitrary" You might also have noticed Carl HILL wearing his modified 100 t-shirt showing 400 but even that wasn’t quite enough to be this week's most experienced parkrunner as Rory WADDELL ran his 502nd! Great commitment.
With the formalities over the run soon started. Normally no matter how often I tell myself I will run a sensible steady parkrun, as soon as the mass of runners press the start on their Garmin’s I am off like a man-eating tiger is after me. However as my physio is allowing me one run a week if I take it steady and walk any hills! I had to let my wife race ahead - there are very few of her 200 runs where she has beaten me at parkrun.
One of the joys of running at a comfortable pace is that I could properly thank every marshal out on the course. Normally after 100m I can barely manage a gasp or a thumbs up. This is why volunteering to write the week’s report is so good as I can thank all the marshals properly on behalf of the 365 that took part. So a huge thank you to :- Robin ACHESON, Julie AITCHESON, Chris AMERY, Freddie BESTWICK, Ann BREWSTER, Nicola CHAPLEN, Megan CROFTS, Carol EGGINGTON, Jacky FAIRFAX, Tricia FLYNN, Heather FLYNN, Pete FLYNN, Gill FREER, Sharon HAYLETT, Richard HIND, Kathryn HOPE, Michael LEES, Fiona MORGAN, Phillip PARKIN, Ji PATTISON-SMITH, Michelle PEARCE, Martin PEARCE, Mark PLANT, Andrew Peter ROSCAMP, Jonas RUGINIS, Gary SCHOFIELD, Lynn THURSBY, Marie VAGUE, Mandy VERNON, Karen WEBSTER, Tony WEIGHTMAN, Dawn WOODS, Helen WORSFOLD who all who wore the superhero HiViz today and made the run possible. As with parkruns around the world if you fancy giving scanning a go, fancy being the time keeper, marshalling and encouraging others or are happy to help out in any role please send an e-mail - email@example.com Don’t worry if you are unsure of what to do most roles are very simple and the RD or Volunteer Coordinator will give you the training you need. You will get to be part of a great team of volunteers that make parkrun happen. And like Phillip you too could get that 25 icon on your results and be the proud owner of the Aubergine (It is really purple) t-shirt.
Another benefit of a slower than normal pace is that I really got to enjoy the route, rather than running eyeballs out and gasping for breath, I could appreciate the lovely one lap course. The tarmac and limestone / gravel paths made for a great running surface with minimal inclines - no Yorkshire flat here… proper flat! With the sun beating down the water looked lovely and inviting, however the blue green algae means that a post run swim isn’t possible. On the plus side the event that was to cause a cancelled parkrun has gone so you can enjoy another week running around this lovely lake, I can see why the carparks were so busy - as this was really a secret gem of parkrun just like I was advised.
The only disadvantage of a flat course circumnavigating the lakes is that from the other side I could see Steel City Striders RC’s, Kristoff BOYNTON (SM25-29) cruise home in 17:20 to be first finisher and then Frances ROBERTS (SW25-29) finish in 9th overall in 19:38 to be first lady home. Great running well done.
A massive 48 runners will have had a celebration later in the morning as they will have received those great words New PB on their parkrun results text! So a huge well done to:- Liam JACKSON, Jenny GALLACHER, Sian DICKINSON, Daniel PENROSE, Louise MELLOR, Diane DRABBLE, Clive BUCK, Clare HOLLINGWORTH, Brian MIRANDA, Richard JONES, Harvey THORPE, Andrea THORPE, Leanne FOGARTY, Clare MCSHANE, Holly BAILEY-JONES, Danielle BRYCE, Bernadette HALL, Lynn BLUNDELL, Robert THORPE, Colin HONEYMAN, Colin SEWELL, Adam CROWLE, Steph POWELL, Julie CROWLE, Luke GAYTON, Armagan BULUT,Steve CARTER, Lindsey WRIGHT, Gareth WIDDOWSON, Jamie WRIGHT, Andrew BRYCE, Bryan COSTELLO, Rebecca COUSIN, Cath LARKIN, Melanie O'CONNOR, Ellis RALTON, Stefan SMITH, Heather HAWKINS, Amanda SHAW, Henry ROBINSON, Sarah WILLIAMS, Brandon FLETCHER, Chloe CORNTHWAITE, Lauren WRIGHTBecky BROOKS, Liam SOMERS, & Jacob OKEEFE. What a shame that the Rother Valley PB bell came to an unfortunate end a few weeks ago!
After passing the llama and goat farm - I totally missed it as I ran but had a good look later! - it was just a short distance to the finish which this week was rather moist due to all the rain!
After getting my tokens scanned and collecting the rest of the family it was then on to one of my favorite part of parkrun… The cafe!
Not only do I get to indulge (may be rather too much and combined with a lack of running means my 100 top is getting a little snug!) in a lovely post run breakfast, coffee and cake but I do it in the company of other parkrunners and get to have a good chat and watch the team sort tokens ready for next week.
Whilst local parkrunners may have finished their coffee and chat and gone home, we enjoyed a few more hours in the lovely Rother Valley park - well after running past the miniature railway we had to have a ride!
The tourist that recommended Rother Valley was spot on, it is a real gem of a parkrun. Thank you for a lovely parkrun today.