Trying on some new shoes
Well, that was a wet old week, wasn’t it? Thank goodness the rain abated for a bit on Saturday and allowed us an actually quite toasty parkrun. Much drier and warmer than last week, when I considered building an ark to get me to Rushcliffe to run my 50th.
With this weekend came not just fresh weather but also a fresh perspective. I decided to have go at donning the monochrome tabard and assuming the role of run director.
I was a bit nervous, to be honest. Writing run reports is one thing, and draws on what I do for a living. But getting lots of ducks in a row (not Rushcliffe’s real ducks, obviously) so that 498 runners could have a safe, enjoyable saunter round the park felt another level entirely.
But I needn’t have worried. For one thing, I was fortunate to have both Rushcliffe parkrun gurus Geoff and Lisa on the team. Plus, there’s an army of hi-vis heroes so well versed in the various roles that they don’t even need a song sheet to sing from in sync.
So, really, my job was just to read through a list, tick off volunteers as they arrived, brief anyone who hadn’t performed a particular role before, then stand on a picnic table with a megaphone and try to sound important.
Here’s the crew who made it all run so smoothly, gathered at the Education Centre before heading out to set up the start and finish funnels, as they do so speedily every week.
Speaking of the Education Centre, that’s the base of operations for Park Manager Keith Laing, who many of our regular parkrunners know well.
It’s Keith and his colleagues we have to thank for keeping Rushcliffe Country Park looking so fantastic and such an enjoyable place to run.
Saturday was a chance for Keith to celebrate as he clocked up his 100th parkrun. A terrific milestone and here he is with his adoring fans. Well done Keith!
Meanwhile, we welcomed over 50 first timers (full list below), including Jane Blois who joined us on her 50th birthday to graduate from her Couch to 5K training.
This week’s tourists came from nearby Bestwood and Leicester, and further afield in Leeds, Humber Bridge and Dorset. Also joining us were Colwick parkrun regulars, Terry, Caitlin and Tim. Terry is visually impaired but, with Tim running alongside, still clocked up an impressive time of 32:47. Moments like this are just one of the many things I love about parkrun.
I’ve touched on finish times, so who finished first? Well, that honour went to Mario Rocchelli (pictured) – a first timer himself – who crossed the line with a time of 18:45. Just 8 seconds behind, James Moroney brought it home in second, while third placed runner John Odell’s time of 19:02 was a new PB. Well done, gents!
Clearly the break in the incessant rain put a spring in many runners’ steps, as lots of others had new PBs to celebrate too. You’ll find a full list of them towards the end of this report. Were you among them?
John Oldfield certainly helped a few people along, pacing at 29 minutes and coming in just under at 28:44, giving those sticking close to him chance to cross the line in their target time.
And that brings me back to the volunteers, who are crucial to our runs at Rushcliffe and every parkrun everywhere.
Without people giving up their spare time, for free, to organise and host these events each week they simply wouldn’t happen. There are lots of roles to fill, from marshals to funnel managers, timekeepers to tail walkers, number checkers to barcode scanners, sign language support to run report writers.
We’ve focused in previous reports on the many stars on the Rushcliffe roster, but this week I wanted to draw particular attention to Geoff (pictured above with Andy and Kirsty) and Lisa (pictured below with Jo), who run the event as a whole and regularly step into many roles, not least that of run director.
It takes up a lot of their time and they’re great at it. And they’ve been backed by others who take terrific turns in the role, including Ian, Chris, Richard and Jane. But a big part of the reason I gave the role a go this week was to help share the load and increase their options.
I don’t regret the decision. I loved it and hope to do it again. But I’d also love for others to give it a go and keep growing the Rushcliffe hi-vis hero team.
Are you reasonably organised? Are you happy to stand up and talk to a crowd of 400-600 people (they’re a friendly lot, anyway)? Do you fancy getting to grips with the mystic art of parkrun results processing? These are the perks that await the eager new parkrun run director.
Plus, it goes without saying that we’d welcome anyone keen to try their hand at the other roles in the roster. You’ll find the empty slots for the next few weeks here – and even if it looks full we can always find use for extra hands.
parkrun is a terrific community whether you’re running it or helping run it. There’s always something new to do and discover about it too. I’m glad I took that next step.
This week’s first timers were:
Steven ABLEWHITE, Jonny ADAMSON, Kerry ANDREWS, Elizabeth ATKIN, Viktor BABIC, Alena BABICOVA, Ivana BABICOVA, Daniel BEADSMOORE, Aaron BLAKEMAN, Jane BLOIS, Neil BOULTON, Sam BOWMAN, Ali CARTER, Emily CARTWRIGHT, Kate CLIFT, Sean CROWE, Sarah DOBBING, Frances ELLIOTT, Stef ELLIOTT, Nigel FINNEY, Patricia FORD, Rebecca FRENCH, David GRIFFITHS, Jeremy Paul GRIFFITHS, Sean HAMILTON, Elizabeth HARRIS, Edward HARVEY, David HELSBY, Warren HENDON, Dennis HOLMES, Susanna HOLT, James KARCH, Steven KAUBI, Andrea KAY, Martha KNOTT, Harriet KRARUP, Rosie LOACH, Hannah LUND, Richard MARSHALL, Reuben MATHER-FINNEY, Damian NADIN, James NADIN, Emma NEWTON, Kayleigh OLDHAM, Lily PEGG, Andy PORTSMOUTH, Gemma PROUDFOOT, Mario ROCCHELLI, Matt SHEPHERD, Jerry SHIELD, Michele SHIELD, John SPENCE, James TREWBY, Lisa WALTON
There were personal bests for:
Paul ABBOTT, Jodie ANGOLD, Samuel ASHTON, Natasha AUSTEN, Emma BAILEY, Fiona BENNING, Peter BENOKE, Dan BODEN, Kyle BLACK, Joel BRANDON-BRAVO, Jane BROWN, Matt BROWN, Ellie CLARK, Simon COOPER, Donna DAVENPORT, Becky DOWSON, Stuart DYKES, Imogen ELLIOTT, Emily GARDNER, Paul GARFOOT, Paul GRIFFITHS, Janella HADLOW, Sarah HADLOW, Jennifer HARVEY, Jacqueline HOLMES, Vicky HUBBARD, Gemma JOHNSON, Elizabeth KAY, Sam KNOTT, Elaine LANGRIDGE, Krista LIVSEY, Oliver MACILDOWIE, Rachel MATRAVERS, James MCDONAGH, Duncan MCGREGOR, Gary MEAKIN, Katie MILNER, Lauren MURPHY, John ODELL, Vanessa OLDHAM, Edward PARTRIDGE, Adam PICKARD-BRACE, Wahid RAZAK, Clive SAMPSON, Christine SHEPHERD, Bob SIMPSON, Melissa SOBO, Elizabeth SONGHURST, Mila STANEK, Rachel THIRD, James TURTON, David WALKER, James WOOD, Jordan WILKEY, Mark WESTON, Lex WILSON
[PICS OF VOLUNTEERS]
And these were your hi-vis heroes:
Jennifer AITCHISON, Lindy CLARKE, Grace CRYER, Lisa DICKINSON, Ashleigh FOWLDS, Geoff HARDY, Karen HARRISON, Nigel HARRISON, Grace HIRD, Alan HOWE, Emma JACKSON, Daniel JACKSON, Wayne JACKSON, Mike MACDONALD, Katie MARSH, Rosa MEREDITH, Sarah NAYLOR, David NOBLET, John OLDFIELD, Kirsty PARNABY, Diane PECK, Alison POVER, James PRICE, John ROBERTSON, Elaine SELLER, Roshan SINGH, Tim SORRELL, Paul THOMAS, Brooke THOMAS, Jo THOMAS, Andy WALKER, Darren WILLIAMS, Tilly WOOD, Emma WOOD