By Graydon Widdicombe
With Storm Ciara set to bring severe gales to the UK over the weekend, it was great to wake up and see that the weather for Saturday morning’s Torbay Velopark parkrun was pretty much perfect for running; cool, sunny and with no wind!
Over recent months, I’ve been doing a bit of “parkrun tourism”, which means visiting other venues for parkruns. Of course I love my home parkrun, but I also enjoy visiting new places, and last weekend I made the “Bushy pilgrimage” to the venue where parkrun first started over 13 years ago; Bushy parkrun in Teddington, London.
Bushy recently claimed the biggest parkrun attendance ever, for any parkrun in the world, when over 2500 (yes, two-and-a-half THOUSAND) turned up on Christmas Day. Their legendary “three finish funnel” system was even brought into action for that one. The numbers involved and scale of the event is impressive, but yet it still manages to retain that friendly and very welcoming environment that we all know and love about parkrun. As I was stood there at the first timers briefing, where incidentally there were probably a couple of hundred people stood listening, I couldn't help feel a sense of pride that I was involved with something like parkrun. Experienced runners, nervous first timers, families, people with dogs; I love the inclusivity of parkrun. For me, it’s what makes it special. And Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun, was there too!
For those of you who may not have been to Bushy or seen the pictures, the start really is something to behold. When I did it, there were 1474 participants and 51 volunteers, and to be part of that lot careering down the very wide start area was a fantastic experience. It brought to mind those images that you see with 100s of runners sprinting off at the start of the National Cross Country Championships, but without the elbows! Although there are a lot of people, everyone was there to have a good time, whether they ran, waked or jogged the course. After the start I got into my stride and had an enjoyable run around the very picturesque park.
Turning back to today, which was Torbay's 163rd event, it was great to be back “home” and see some of the regulars out on the course. I had an enjoyable run out again, before running home and battening down the hatches in preparation for when Storm Ciara comes to town.
And, if you’re very lucky (or unlucky, depending on your point of view), you may even see yours truly on the parkrun UK page from time-to-time, as a few of us were asked to do a shoot for the new parkrun clothing range, over at Parke in Newton Abbot. Don’t worry - I won’t let the fame go to my head.
This week 340 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 43 were first timers and 61 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 22 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 23 volunteers:
Graydon WIDDICOMBE • Ian HAYWARD • David CUBBERLEY • Tania GODDARD • Dani DODWELL • Stuart CRESSWELL • Tom WRIGHT • Maddy DODWELL • Ned CARSWELL • Amanda GLOVER • Hannah DAVIES • Brian MARJORAM • Danny DEAN • Olivia BOOTE • Wendy PEDRICK • Sharon NELSON • Gary ADDERLEY • Jumanah AWAD • Louise BENSON • Harley GILL • Nathan MEI • Rio GILL • Connor FRANCE
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Torbay Velopark parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Charlotte PENFOLD who recorded a time of 17:32 on 28th July 2018 (event number 82).
The male record is held by Ross BRADEN who recorded a time of 15:31 on 30th November 2019 (event number 153).
The Age Grade course record is held by Peter MONAGHAN who recorded 90.97% (16:37) on 19th May 2018 (event number 72).
Torbay Velopark parkrun started on 31st December 2016. Since then 8,297 participants have completed 41,060 parkruns covering a total distance of 205,300 km, including 8,474 new Personal Bests. A total of 578 individuals have volunteered 3,988 times.