#247 – The Tring parkrun detective agency

detective agency
The dark and mysterious case of the missing runners

Introduction

When I finally caught up with Andy, he was drinking strong coffee with a renegade RD named ‘Running Boy’ Collings in a ramshackle joint just off the A41, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring morning.

Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.

In a shadowy corner I caught a glimmer of alarm from the Bladen gang. My gut tightened. I slunk off to the dusty old table piled with Finish Tokens and grasped my double jack-on-the-rocks (or was it a mint tea?) like a lucky talisman.

“I’m gonna hunt them down, every last man-jack of ‘em” snapped Andy, his words engraved indelibly on the tense silence of the Akeman.



“No” pleaded Ann-Marie, her pretty brown eyes misting with emotion. She knew how much work this would be, but she also knew his mind was made up.

 

Earlier

It was a morning like any other, or so it seemed. The volunteer team knew what they were doing - it was, after all, their 247th time. The cows sniffed around at first and then paid no attention. Walkie-talkies crackled into life, bar code scanners and timers hummed in readiness, and an array of plastic triangles and arrows soon ringed Tring Park. 



RD Collings donned his blue and white hi-viz. This was his territory, his patch, and he knew it better than most. (Legend has it that he once ran Tring parkrun’s course 20 times without stopping - and maybe, just maybe that could be true). Marshals away, cow marshals away, briefings done and 213 parkrunners set off oblivious to the drama that would soon touch so many of them.

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The location of the Start sign was almost equally mysterious.

Among these, 12 were tackling their first ever event, and 5 first time visitors also discovered the glories of Tring Park. Tring Scouts turned out in force for a special run but sadly didn’t build a camp-fire and didn’t cook us all sausages.

Vicky Lea (after a few false starts in recent weeks) had the honour of wearing the “my 100th parkrun” tabard, and Sam Meldrum was making sure of his 50th. Apparently it’s not a “thing”, but impressively “arbitrary” - Louise and Steve Bladen were clocking up their 200th parkruns. Amazingly they only started at Tring in 2015 and last year completed more than 50 parkruns alone!

So far - so good.

 

Later

An hour later and still things were going well. PBs abounded, the cows behaved (in part thanks to Matty’s posse), parkrunners from four to seventy-four smiled. RD Collings waved his hand, the kit vanished and no evidence of our wonderful weekly event was left to be seen in the park. Alas no evidence of another sort was to be found either - but more of that later!

We learned that 32 people recorded PB times (and will trust this had nothing to do with the “run round me" sign being generously located this week!) great work by all. Of these Mike Holdroyd made it 7 PBs in a row (and 13 PBs in 14 runs at Tring!). How long can he keep this up? Also a hat-tip to Rob Jones in our most senior age category this week (70-74) who also booked a PB. At the other end of the age scale Eilidh MacKenzie and Paige Walker both got PBs in the under 10 category. Congratulations.

Jess Gray, Anna Fryer and Katie Van de Linde were our first female finishers and Sam Burnell, John Mayock and Craig Fines-Allin were our first males (all booking PB times).
 

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Vicky and Sam - our two milestone runners this week. Well done.

 

The Reckoning

In the Akeman RD Collings and ‘Gumshoe’ Evans command special respect. They have a table. No one else sits at that table - it’s their territory, hallowed ground. From there they have God-like dominion over volunteer rosters, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and - of course - the results.

Everyone wants to see their name on those results. But if your barcode and finish token do not get registered, suddenly you’re no longer a name - you’re an “unknown”. You’ve vanished, you don’t exist. People avoid you, mention you in whispers only….if you’re lucky!

Normally this only happens either because the mantra of #DFYB ("Don't Forget Your Barcode") has been, well, forgotten or a barcode has been miss-scanned (very rare). Not this week though!!!

On their results computer the Stopwatch files loaded OK (as they should), the first and second Scanner files played the game too. But the third……

Only 1 pair of scanned barcodes were found on that scanner. 100 were missing. That meant 100+ “unknowns”.

That’s when Andy said what he said!

Some say it was pride, some say it was a ‘sense of duty’, some say it was bull-headed stubbornness. Whatever it was, it meant a whole shed-load of detective work, listening to their snitches, piecing together clues, and many hours of toil.

 

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Did the cows have something to do with it? They were suspiciously quiet!

 

The Hunt

“Listen” said Andy (to the other Andy) - “I’m gonna have to put the word on the street! But in the meantime we play it cool. We publish the few results we’ve got, drop a few emails in the right places….then sit back and see what unfolds”.

But that wasn’t all. “Hey, wasn’t Stuart ‘the Lense’ Page there today?”, “Sure, I saw his impressive telephoto sticking out of a bush near the finish”. “Good - I need his SD card, plus a positive ID and time on every runner crossing the line”.

This was results processing on steroids. Needle in a haystack came to mind. (We even had someone email in with details that caused confusion - turned out that person had run at Wendover and not Tring!!! LOL)

But I’m here to tell you that he did it (with help from Ann-Marie) and will be remembered forever more in the Facebook “parkrun results processing group” (yes, one really does exist, and has 1.1k members!).

So there you have it.......another great Saturday morning parkrun and a truly brilliant effort by Andy and co to piece together everyone's results.

See you next week (and please don't forget to take a look at the volunteer roster for the weeks ahead).

Cheers

The Tring parkrun team

 
 

PS

You can find out more about Tring parkrun and see all of our photographs and videos on our Facebook page here.

You can see our current volunteer roster here.

We encourage all parkrunners to volunteer a few times a year. If you can help on any future date, or would like to find out more about our volunteer and helper roles, please email us at tringhelpers@parkrun.com.

There are two excellent parkrun podcasts available each week. "Free Weekly Timed" is the official parkrun podcast with Vassos Alexander and Louise Ayling. We also have "With Me Now" with Danny Norman and Nicola Forwood which is an independent parkrun-based podcast.

 
 
 
 

 

TRING parkrun #246 – They’re Back

This week, 210 of you ran, jogged and walked around our 5km route in Tring Park. But no “Nordic” walkers were in evidence this time. This week the cows were back in the park, running around as they witnessed their first parkrun event!   As usual they were curious and often seem to gather at key parts of the route. But thanks to our hastily assembled team of cow marshals, no disorderly bovine behaviour occurred.

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Ben with some of the residents of Tring ParkIMG_1659
Are they tempted?

 

This week, there were 17 First Timers at Tring, 11 of whom were visitors, and 6 of whom were First Time park runners.   So well done to Lewie GUNTER-JONES, Chloe MESSENGER, Madeline HUGHES, Amy FORDHAM, Ben CAVE and Fiona HARDING. We hoped you enjoyed your first parkrun.

Our first lady this week was Emma Smith, of Tring Running Club, finishing with a Personal Best of 23:27. Well done Emma! Our first man this week was Daniel Wolff with a time of 19:48 representing Epsom and Ewell Harriers, and running at Tring for the seventh time.   Also of note this week, there were an outstanding 38 Personal Bests.

Unfortunately, for the 2nd week in a row, our lead runner turned left from King Charles Drive and accidentally took the short cut to the obelisk, so we will move a couple of arrows to make this clearer

Congratulations to Thomas Lindars, a regular runner at Tring, who achieved his 50th parkrun at this event! Thank you for the cake, of which many people enjoyed after completing their run.

Many thanks to this week’s volunteers who enabled this week’s event to take place:

Claire HALLISSEY • Wes BALL • Louisa HOPPER • James MAPLE • Steve BLADEN • Stuart PAGE • Katie VAN DE LINDE • Chris NICHOLLS • Ella VAN DE LINDE • Marcus BIRCH • Oliver WEST • Alison BILL • Edward CRANE • Ben SHAW • Eloise CLARK • Greg LEFF • Andrew CLARK • Eddy GUINNESS • Stephen BROOKMAN • Shelley DEVERALL-ROBERTS • Carole PAGE • Andrew BOOTH • Frances LEFF • James ELPHINSTONE • Fiona HARDING

Special thanks to the three volunteers who fulfilled our unofficial but essential role of “cow marshals”: Stephen Brookman, Ben Shaw and Carole Page.

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Cow marshalling

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Another helpful marshal

The finishing tunnel was efficiently manned by our younger volunteers from the D of E award scheme: Edward Crane, Oliver West and Marcus Birch, and managed by Shelley Deverell-Roberts. Thanks for your attention to detail, thus achieving accurate results.

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Tring Park

Due to inclement weather the parkrun Super Computer is unable to provide statistics this week.

Well done to all those who ran this week. For a full list of all this weeks’ results please go to http://www.parkrun.org.uk/tring/results/latestresults/

Thanks to Wes Ball this week for a great set of photos, which have been posted to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tringparkrun .

For other news, photos, videos and updates don’t forget to visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tringparkrun and you can now follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tringparkrun .

If you would like to volunteer please email tringhelpers@parkrun.com with a preferred role or any offer of assistance and we will add you to future rosters.

See you next Saturday.

Stuart Page

Run Director for Sat 4th May.

 

Tring parkrun 245 – Greetings from Hannah

This week, 208 of you ran, jogged, walked and Nordic waked around our 5km route in Tring Park, braving the weather brought in by storm “Hannah”. What a change from last Saturday. As it happened, the weather wasn’t quite as wet predicted although unseasonably chilly. All the same, the park is looking more and more beautiful as spring slowly arrives.

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Heart-Break Hill looks somewhat easier from this angle

This week, there were 22 First Timers at Tring, 13 of whom were visitors, and 9 of whom were First Time park runners. So well done to Christopher VILE, Christopher VILE, Katie HUDSON, Natalie GERVAISE-JONES, Benjamin KING, Elsa RIVERS, Anya ROCHESTER, Louise ROCHESTER and Richard MULLENS. We hoped you enjoyed your first parkrun.

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Some of our first-time parkrunners

visitors
And three of our visitors warming-up

Our first lady this week was Claire Hallissey, representing Dacorum and Tring running club, finishing in 21:39. Claire is also the female record holder at Tring with a time of 19:35.

Our first man this week was Tom Hill with a time of 20:33 which was also his Tring PB. Well done Tom!

Other PBs this week were achieved by Richard SLACK, Simon NICHOLSON, Laurence PATEMAN, Jim SAMUEL, John HINCHIN, Rasmi NANDA, Amber PENALIGGON, Alarik KNOX, Gemma WALKER, Simon KING, Phoebe SCOTT, Phoebe SCOTT, Laura BAILEY, Andrew BOOTH, Lucy MELDRUM, Eilidh MACKENZIE, Christine DENNIS, Niamh MACKENZIE, Irene MACKENZIE, Aimee SHAW, Maria LONG and Poppy CAVE. Well done to all!

And congratulations to Yogi Powell, a some-time regular at Tring, who chose this event for his 50th parkrun!

Many thanks to this week’s volunteers, who enabled our event to take place. The finishing tunnel was managed and operated exclusively by our younger volunteers from the D of E award scheme. The smooth processing of the results depends on an accurate reconciliation between the timers and the token positions, and this week’s processing seemed particularly trouble-free.

This week’s volunteers:
Andy EVANS • Wes BALL • Joanna PENN • Patrick ASHTON • Stuart EKINS • Ken DOUGLAS • James MAPLE • Steve BLADEN • Stuart PAGE • Isobel BLADEN • Sam EVANS • Marcus BIRCH • Oliver WEST • Edward CRANE • Ben SHAW • Neil COBURN • Louis COBURN • Carole PAGE • Andrew BOOTH • Rosa DRATH • Rebecca BOJARSKI • Aimee SHAW

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One of our younger marshals settling-in for the event

Statistics round-up for this week:
Esther Birch earned her junior white “10” shirt (100% earned at Tring)
Yogi Powell earned his red “50” shirt (28% earned at Tring, 30% Aldenham)
3 PBs in 3 weeks for Christine Dennis, 2 in 2 for both Niamh and Elidh Mackenzie
In addition, 3 PBs in last 3 appearances for Alarik Knox, Poppy Cave and Laura Bailey
400th appearance of the surname Page
200th appearance of the name Christopher
Richard and Lucy were the most seen male & female names
We welcomed our 1st Elsa
John Hopper ran the 800th Tring parkrun by a member of the Dacorum & Tring club
Of those who have run 5 times at Tring, only 8 recorded PB improvements - Gemma Walker (1:07), Philip Rance (0:33), Christine Dennis (0:28), Simon Nicholson (0:23), Jim Samuel (0:14), Tom Hill (0:08), Andrew Booth (0:06)
A special mention to Andrew Booth who recorded his 5th PB in minute 31 – nobody else has seen more PBs in this minute. Indeed, he also holds the record for minute 32 with 5 PBs in that minute.
However, the experts at this stat are Philippa Storr with 8 PBs in the 26th minute and Dominic Veal with 9 PBs in minute 22!
As we say goodbye to April – we look ahead to May. Did you know we have 16 runners who have run in every single month but never in May – so if you’re one of the following list (or if you recognise one of these names remind them of this stat), hopefully we will see you in the next 4 weeks Rosie HIGHTON, Amelie BUNN, William BROOKMAN, Andrew WOOD, Timothy FRYER, Scarlett WAGER-LEIGH, Caroline LEGG, Chris SIMMONDS, Martin ARNOLD, Lucy BRITTAIN, Moira DOUGLAS, Jon HULL, Martin O'NEILL, Katrina BECKWITH, Roger SEED and Jacob O'NEILL.

Well done to all those that ran this week; for a full list of all this weeks’ results please go to http://www.parkrun.org.uk/tring/results/latestresults/
For news, photos, videos and updates don’t forget to visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tringparkrun and you can now follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tringparkrun .
If you would like to volunteer please email tringhelpers@parkrun.com with a preferred role or any offer of assistance and we will add you to future rosters.

See you on Saturday.
Stuart Page
Run Director

 

#244: Geography lessons, amazing coincidences, improvised cake cutting, sun, PBs and more.

 

Later this year we'll celebrate our 5th Tring parkrun anniversary and we're fast approaching our 250th event. It never ceases to amaze me how "normal" and ordinary it is to turn up to Tring Park, whatever the weather or season, to join with so many others - many who have become good friends - and enjoy our weekly 5k run/jog/walk around the beautiful park and woodland. And yet each week is far from ordinary, there are always many heartwarming moments and amazing achievements, not to mention a few laughs over coffee and breakfast back at the Akeman for those that make it there.

This week was no exception.

For a start the weather was glorious, warm and uplifting - you could almost see and hear Tring Park bursting into Springtime life. 273 parkrunners also burst into life (our highest number since mid January). Of these we welcomed Anna Bucknall, Ian Bateman, Irene Mackenzie, Lilian Gunter-Jones, Matthew Thompson and Oscar Conway who were taking on their very first parkrun ever, a great day for it.

We also were delighted to see 35 first time visitors from as far afield as Edinburgh - not to mention Durham and Ipswich (which of course are no where near equidistant from Tring, unless you run in circles for 120 miles before entering the latter!). On the topic of running in circles.....errrr we'll come back to that below!!

It also made us smile to see so many easter bunny ears on display.
 

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Great to see so many taking the time to chat and enjoy sunny Tring Park after they'd finished and encouraging those yet to cross the line.

 
A few weeks ago, when we had a couple of windy, wet, cold days only a "hard core" hung around the finish line at the end. So it was really great to see that the sun encouraged so many to stick around and chat with old and new friends at base camp yesterday.

The day held special significance for four people reaching important milestones. First of all Noah Rogers earned his coveted and very special "25th time volunteering" T-shirt. Well done and thank you.

Running their 50th parkruns were Thomas Hanson (earned 94% at Tring) and Sally Goodman (earned 58% at Rushmere and 18% at Gadebridge) and James Whittaker completed his 100th parkrun (94 of which have been at Tring). Congratulations.

Completing a somewhat arbitrary 150 parkruns was Blazej Ziembaczewski. When Blaz ran his 100th he managed to cross the line in position 100. In what cannot in any way whatsoever be called a stunning coincidence he crossed the line this time in position 150! We love it!
 

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Blaz in a stunning act of non-coincidence crosses the line 150th on his 150th parkrun. Brilliant!

 

Every single one of the 273 who took part in Tring parkrun completed it faster than those still in bed or sitting on the couch. So well done to everyone.

At the front of the field our first female finishers were: Scarlett Wager-Leigh, Zoe Chappell (who also set a PB) and Nicole Austin (visiting Tring for the first time). For the gentlemen it was Lawrence Burton (with a PB too), Dom Evans and Paul Myatt.

I always look at the age-adjusted placings, since my PB days are long past!. This week our fastest finishers were: Edward Margetts, Paul Myatt and Paul Crudge.

Congratulations to our youngsters too. Darcey Hudghton and Dylan Samuel were our most rapid under 11s; Rachel Murray and Woody Day for the J11-14 age group and Jasmine Margetts and Eddie Sartin in the J15-17 group. Great work by all.

And for our "youngsters-at-heart" it was great to see Adrienne Garner again - she was fastest finisher in our most senior age category this week. Impressive stuff.
 

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Ella was fastest finisher in her age category

 

Quite impressively we had 48 Personal Best times recorded this week. A few "shout-outs" are called for: Mike Holdroyd ran his 3rd PB in 3 weeks (and his 11th in 12 runs!!!). Luke Cobby, Angela Peck, Dominic Veal, Dylan Samuel, Malcolm Robins, Owen Samuel and Christine Dennis (and her 8th in 11 appearances at Tring) all made it 2 PBs in 2 straight weeks. In addition Noah Wild claimed his 4th PB in 4 appearances, and both Calum West and Anna Hanson made it 3 in 3 appearances.

Of those who have run 5 times or more at Tring, a number knocked off more than a minute off their PBs - Josiah Meldrum (4:24), Alison Nash (3:05), Darcey Hudghton (1:48), Woody Dale,(1:42), Lindsay Collard (1:14), Noah Wild (1:13) and Alistair Nash (1:02).

Well done to all of our PB-runners.

No Tring parkrun write-up would be complete without a few random stats. Here are 2:

1) After 244 events we still see new names. This week we welcomed the names Kris, Lilian and Séverine for the first time.
2) There were also representatives from two clubs we have not seen before: Waldegrave School Club and BeaRCat Running Club.

 

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We have a cake, but we have no knife! And so yet another use was found for a parkrun finish token!!!

 

I'd like to extend my own warm "thank you" to the great team that came together to make the morning happen: Patrick Ashton, Wes Ball, Rebecca Bojasrski, Andrew Booth, Roberto Cecere, Dominic Cecere, David Chryssides, Edward Crane, Rosa Drath, Tom Foley, Sarah Foskett, James Foskett, Frances Leff (And Geoffrey), Christina Lowe, Patrick McLoughlin, Richard Murphy, Chris Nichols, Phil Roger, Noah Roger, Ben Shaw and Oliver West.

From set up to pack up it all ran like clockwork, and allowed me to double hat as Photographer too. All of the help was much appreciated. (See below).

 

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Happiness is being a volunteer and marshal at Tring parkrun. Rosa celebrated with very impressive Easter bunny hops up at "Gate 1", overlooking the park. She always makes us smile.

 

That's it for another week.
See you next week.

Ken Douglas
(A1252507)

 
 

PS
You can find out more about Tring parkrun and see all of our photographs and videos on our Facebook page here.

You can see our current volunteer roster here.

We encourage all parkrunners to volunteer a few times a year. If you can help on any future date, or would like to find out more about our volunteer and helper roles, please email us at tringhelpers@parkrun.com.

We now have two excellent parkrun podcasts available each week. "Free Weekly Timed" is the official parkrun podcast with Vassos Alexander and Louise Ayling. We also have "With Me Now" with Danny Norman and Nicola Forwood which is an independent parkrun-based podcast.

 
 
 
 

 
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