Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event number 201
12th May 2018
Run report written by Francis Eames with photographs courtesy of Louise Fitzgerald
It was a perfect morning for a parkrun and Dunorlan Park looked magnificent in all its May glory as 266 runners, the highest total since last September lined up for the weekly Dunorlan parkrun challenge. And great anticipation too, as Joe Watts, Run Director for the day, announced in the briefing that we would be running a course diversion this week (and for the forseeable future) in order to avoid Quagmire Corner and the Shoewash. The town of Tunbridge Wells is here because of its many springs, but the two springs that have exploded into life this winter to flood the path by the lake and to deepen the quagmire by the wooden bridge are not nearly as welcome as the now beautifully restored brick basin to the right of the final hill up to the finish.
The new course avoids the "quagmire" and "shoe-wash":
Our good friends at TW Borough Council are going to work to improve the drainage of the boggy bits over the summer to try to cure the problems we have encountered this winter and spring, and so Joe has been pacing out a diverted route to take us round the problem while the work is taking place, and as an alternative route we can use in future winters if we encounter the same conditions as this year and think the ground there needs time to recover. Most people seemed to think it was a good diversion; a little bit more UPHILL of course, but that also means a bit more DOWNHILL to make up for it as well. And dry feet at the finish, a rarity in the past 6 months.
Run Director Joe addresses our largest crowd (so far) of 2018:
Joe also welcomed MONTY CUNLIFFE to the Junior 10 Club and STEVE BOLTON to the Volunteer 25 Club. Well done and congratulations to them both.
parkrun is a wonderfully simple concept and its success can be seen in the weekly statistics published by parkrun Towers. Last week a record number of 156,054 runners in the UK ran a 5km parkrun or a 2km Junior parkrun, the first time ever that more than 150,000 have run on a single weekend. And they did so at 529 different events, also a record, and 78 more events than there were a year earlier. New parkruns are starting up in the UK at a rate of three every two weeks, all initiated by and run by volunteers. Parkrun could not function without its volunteers and last week 15,096 volunteers across the UK supported and encouraged those 156,054 runners. At Dunorlan Park this week 25 volunteers turned out to set up the run and make sure it all went smoothly.
A big thank you to Fiona SUTTON • Joseph WATTS • Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • Stella BEARD • Steve BARNFIELD • Judy GUEST • Paul HOLLIS • Steve BOLTON • Nick FITZGERALD • Lloyd COLLIER • Francis EAMES • Eve DUBREUIL • Noeline SIMS • Huw JONES • Robin BARWICK • Wendy ANDERSON • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Bethan CHANDLER • Tom CHANDLER • Yolanda WITT • Maisie VERNON • Mark DENNISON • Jack NORWOOD for their efforts. They always appreciate the thank yous they receive from the runners. If you would like to volunteer at a future event, just talk to one of the volunteers or email us at email@example.com
The finish funnel team patiently await the next finisher:
parkrun has a very simple code which we ask everyone to follow. Put very simply, it says have fun, be nice to each other, and give way to other park users. At this time of year there are always lots of people out strolling and walking their dogs on a Saturday morning so do keep your eyes peeled and take care to give them space as you run past them. A special mention this week must go to the parkrunner with the Dalmatian which was suddenly and enthusiastically set upon by a loose and overexcited springer spaniel on the downhill at the start of lap 2. He clearly wanted to join the run with us. Well done for avoiding a tangle and maintaining your footing, your equilibrium and your good humour.
As Joe called the timekeepers to order and started the run, at least 30 runners set off for their first parkrun in Dunorlan Park and at least 16 were running their very first parkrun anywhere. It may have been more, because we also had 17 unknowns who didn’t have a barcode and so didn’t receive a time. Do bring your barcode each time you come to make sure you get your run officially recognised.
We also had parkrun tourists from around the country. Notably the QUIXLEY family from High Wycombe, visiting friends here, they have completed 415 runs between them, led by dad GREGG who has run parkrun 277 times.
And SUZANNE TURVEY and TOM PHILLIPS, a couple who breezed in from Cowley in Oxford and both of them were our First Finishers for the day. Wow! And Suzanne just missed out doing a sub 20 minute time, but is still our 12th fastest woman ever at Dunorlan Park at her first attempt. Well done to them and to all of our parkrun tourists and we hope to see you here again soon. And to celebrate the new diverted course, 33 returning runners recorded a new personal best time. Well done to all of them.
You can catch up with all today’s results on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun website along with a full history of the results since we started four years ago and you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
In 4 weeks time on 9th June parkruns all over the UK are helping to celebrate 70 years of the NHS. We hope to be joined by runners from our local hospitals and GP surgeries on the day, and if you are in touch with any of them, do suggest they come along to join us. More and more doctors and nurses are becoming aware of parkrun and the long-term health benefits it can bring, and are “prescribing” parkrun to their patients to help them get fitter and lose weight. More details closer to the day.
Have a good week and we hope to see you next Saturday morning for the next exciting instalment of parkrun RTW.