On the 8th day of Christmas, parkrun gave to us, … the 1st and 2nd events of the year
**The New Year Double** (For all those who are well enough, (the joy of winter bugs) not forced to work (the joy of retail and emergencies), and have two accessible events….)
Welcome to the 1st day of not only a new year, a NEW DECADE!! For us the 1st parkrun of the year, in the Gregorian calendar.
365 days, and 54 parkruns remain until the end of the year!
The 1st ‘parkrun’ (UK Time Trails) event began at Bushy park on 2nd October 2004 with 13 lucky participants and volunteers unknown
-- they held their 1st New Year event on 1st January 2005, 20 participants and unknown volunteers
-- they held their 288th event on 23rd January 2010, 554 participants and 13 volunteers
-- and today they held their 823rd (15th New Year event) event with 1285 participants, 42 volunteers.
This picturesque parkrun was approximately 270th in the uk and approximately 426th parkrun in the world
It is hosted in Victoria Park which opened in 1886 and renamed in 1887. It is on ‘flat paths’ with a few little inclines to keep it interesting. Some of the speedier participants really need to be a little more respectful of those with disabilities (not all are obvious or visible). Barging past on the narrow side rather than the wide, makes it quite scary (and disrespectful, remember it is NOT a race!)!
It began on 5th July 2014 with 194 participants and 20 volunteers.
Celebrated its 100th event on 14th May 2016 with 358 participants and 30 volunteers
Celebrated its 200th event on 21st April 2018 with 391 participants and 20 volunteers
Its busiest event has been its 237th, last New Years Day, 1st January 2019 with 556 participants and 27 volunteers
And its cosiest event was its 80th on 26th December 2015, a different bank holiday with 72 participants and 20 probably very committed volunteers on a possible restful day and or a very cold day!
Our New Year wish had been answered as it was a dry, warm for January day. No ice , snow or heavy rain to throw our tourist New Years Double into jeopardy!
We set off at some silly hour on a New Years Day clock before even the sun had risen!
On New Years Day, participants do not need to be mad, however it helps!
The day began cloudy, however before we began there was a shower, of a different kind ….
Parkruns usually begin at 9.00am however this great team, give up some of their merrymaking of the New Year to have this event up and running for 8.30am!!
This is extra special and great as those of us who are not be so speedy due to health and or disabilities, it means we had the chance and challenge of the double with the travel and parking time in between events!!
Our first attempt of a New Year double, years ago ended when we struggled for parking at the 2nd event. By the time we found somewhere and in that case returned to the start, there was not a hi-vis in sight! It sill haunts us and any tourist visit we do. (This year it nearly happened to a friend at their 2nd location).
John BARR took the first timers briefing clearly not the worse for wear, where we were reminded that we needed to be able to count to 3!
There was then a VERY special interruption… one of the other run directors Matthew Crehan proposed to Jade Smith (they had met at parkrun! J) we think that there was acceptance (we were at the back) as there were lots of hugs and tears of joy!
(feel free to insert a great photo, mine from the back was not that good)
The run director of the event Nigel HERBERT, bright and cheerful for the day and time, gave the introduction, announcements and guidance. With Karen HARRISON, Amanda COOGAN and Kate BAGDONAVICIUS our timekeepers, the 6th New Year event of Saint Helens began…
All the volunteers appeared dressed warmly for the occasion, bright and cheerful, one did wonder if it was really just a few hours into a New Year. Had there been rations with the merrymaking over here?
The participants and supporters were a different matter. A few had had a great night out, made it to bed, however missed the dressing part to meet the 8.30 deadline! It was a wonderful sight! In all of the New Year parkruns we have attended never have we seen such an amazing array of nightwear, multicoloured unicorns, a selection of tigers, leopards, the occasional lost snowman, and at least 2 flags, America and Great Britain, who we hope have a ‘special friendship’!
Those starting out on their own milestones were
* Sarah CARVER, set off for their 10th parkrun, juniors receive the acknowledgement and the option of their wonderful coveted white t-shirt!!
* Denise RYLEY, Sheila WELSBY, Tina RANSONNAME set off to complete their 50th parkrun. Alison LANGTON marked the occasion with a new PB
* Diane PECK and Michelle SMITH set off to complete their 100th parkrun
* Paul SCHUMANN and Glynn BRADSHAW set off to complete their unofficial 200th parkrun milestone
Those a step closer to theirs were
* John Paul DALE and Laura HOLMES completed their 49th, so happy planning for your 50th!
* Matthew CREHAN, Christopher LEE, Stephen LANGE and Sharon MASON completed their 99th, so happy planning for your 100th!
* Natalie WOOD and Paula HEATON completed their 149th, so happy planning for any unofficial 150th celebration!
* Andrew GLEN completed their 199th, so happy planning for any unofficial 200th celebration!
* Mark FOSTER completed their 249th, so happy planning for your 250th!
* Paul FREYNE completed their 549th, so happy planning for any unofficial 550th celebration!
**Congratulations** as all completed successfully.
Around the course we had many cheery marshals to guide, encourage and help keep us safe, amongst them were Frank MCALLISTER, James FEATHERSTONE, Nigel MORLEY, David LOCKETT, Jessica BALSHAW-RILEY and Ken BRIODY. Colin BRIODY and David OWEN helped participants achieve goals by pacing to a set time.
At the end of all the participants is the Tail Walker, no one is officially ever last at a parkrun and this week the wonderful volunteer was Jacqueline HAMILTON who helped some visitors NOT take the wrong path on the final lap.
Once we had counted 1, 2, 3 the finish was insight and we were greeted by the timekeepers. Michelle MATHER, kept people in order as we collected our tokens from Karl BOWLES and Mary ABBOTT and our barcodes scanned by Nicola HOWARTH, Ben CROPPER, Jake CROPPER or Hazel FARLEY.
After the event, David LOCKETT gave up time to close down the event and others sorted the tokens into order ready for the next event.
Volunteers took the information from the timekeepers, scanners and processed them for us to prove we really had made it to an 8.30am New Years Day (double) event!!
511 of successful participants included regulars,
17% tourists *Congratulations if you now have an ‘S’ for your ‘A to Z’ or a 288 for your Winston index
4% achieved a personal best, often with the help of a hangover!
5% who kept their identity a secret or forgot their barcode (keep a back-up in the car, sock or other) and
3% very enthusiastic people who joined us for the first time (we hope you enjoyed it and to see you again).
If you would like to see a full list of results please click here https://www.parkrun.org.uk/sthelens/results/weeklyresults/?runSeqNumber=288
(Volunteer names at the bottom of the list)
On behalf of the 511 participants …
**Thank you** to the 30 amazing volunteers, (only 14% of participants have gained their 25th volunteer award. **Congratulations to Andrew HANKINSON, Russell BURNHAM, Julie MCGOWAN, David LOCKETT and Helen WRIGHT who have their volunteering award prior to a milestone!) who either gave up their own run and or their bank holiday, post merry making, lie in, to make so many ‘run, walks, milestones and skips’ possible.
If you would like to be part of the volunteering group, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
It can be very fun and rewarding, full training given, and the FREE use of a hi-vis jacket!!
Thank you to our hosts Saint Helens who made this early New Years (Double) event possible. We hope you all had a lovely start to your New Year (Double) and a (successful and safe journey to any 2nd event and a) safe journey home.
( - : R J M : - )