27th July 2019, 7:00am
The alarm goes off and a voice is heard through the sound of rain pounding on the roof tiles. "Come on sleepy head, time to get up".
"Move yourself, it's parkrun day",
"No way! It sounds too wet out there," is the adamant reply, underlined with "I'm not going out in that rain!".
"But you have to",
"Oh 'I have to' do I? ...and why exactly is that??",
"Because you're the Run Director you muppet!"
The woods in Tring Park were more like a rainforest with low cloud forming before our eyes in amongst the trees on the escarpment. At times the Summer House couldn't even be seen from the Obelisk.
It wasn't that bad actually, and soon my long trousers and sleeves were replaced with shorts and T-shirt. It was surprisingly warm and the rain (fading to the odd very light shower) was welcome after the heatwave of the previous days.
Across the UK parkrun attendance was down between 33 and 50%. Our own numbers were lower by 25%, with 173 in total including 24 tourists/visitors (from as far afield as Turkey) and 3 first time parkrunners (Joshua Williams, Katie Oliver and Lindsay Mayock).
Shelley and Holly meet our visitors and first timers.
I learned recently that those running their 2nd parkruns deserve a special mention (a fair percentage of those who complete their first vanish off the face of parkrun earth!). So kudos to Jerome Parkins, Georgina Ashby, Will Holland, Amira Piddington, Stewart Harrison, and Roger Clarke - with the latter three also recording improved times and their first parkrun Personal Bests.
On the subject of PBs, the ground was slightly less firm than past weeks which may explain why we saw a lower proportion than normal despite the lower temperatures. 15 recorded Personal Bests this week. Several achieved 2PBs in a row; Terry Crampton and Anthony Rutland made it 3 in a row and Victoria Parslew achieved an impressive 5 PBs in a row. Well done to them all.
On Milestones Iain Middleton reached 50 (45 of which have been at Tring) and Jack Newman reached a very worthy 150 (I'm all in favour of 150 being celebrated as I hope to reach that number myself soon!)
The very important junior milestone of 10 was achieved by George Crampton and by Molly Hart (visiting from Black Park). Congratulations to all of our milestoners.
For only the second time this year - the blue tarp was doubled over to protect everyone's belongings from the showers.
You can find full results for the week right here. From those you'll see that first female finisher this week was Emma Smith, the first male back across the line was Matt Wade. Taking parkrun's "age adjusted pace" into consideration Catriona Lawrie topped the table for the females and John Mayock for the men. Good work.
My own son ran for an unprecedented 2nd week in a row and recorded what he thought was a miserable time - but it was still better than anything I've managed in 5 years! Must try harder. His girlfriend forgot her barcode and I was too mean to add her manually into the results! LOL
Volunteers - we had a last minute scramble and even more last minute changes. THANK YOU to everyone who gave up a little of their time to benefit their fellow parkrunners and special kudos to those who put their hand up on the morning itself.
Next week Andy Collings will be at the helm and he still needs a little help. Looking ahead Wes Ball dons the blue and white hi-viz on August 24th and he has NOT A SINGLE PERSON on his roster to help him!
Not volunteered in a while? Drop us a line to help, I promise you'll enjoy it.
Uplifting and heartwarming stuff
We continue to grow a fantastic community of people around Tring parkrun and it's great to see how our Saturday mornings have been a positive influence for individuals and families and how often it inspires ideas and action for a greater good. We don't, as a rule, feature or publicise the many good causes that are supported but there are a few here that feel like worthy exceptions.
Issy's Marathon / World Challenge
Isobel Bladen has been one of our most regular junior parkunners. She's completed 206 events now and was also a long time record holder for "most consecutive Tring parkruns". She and her family are regular volunteers and next summer she is off to do charitable work in Swaziland. To help fund her work she's completing a Marathon challenge this week. Starting with Tring parkrun on July 27th she will run at least a parkrun distance each day and then Tring again on the 3rd August - covering 26.2 miles. To find out more about what she is doing and/or to support her, follow this link: Issy's World Challenge
Matty's M.S. parkrun Challenge
Matty Sinfield was voted "volunteer of the year" last year for his brilliant Cow Marshalling. Starting this week he's planning to visit 17 different parkruns, each starting with a letter to spell out MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. Several Tring parkrunners plan to join him on as many of these as possible in the coming weeks. Find out more on his great blog site. Mole Valley has been done - next is Upton Court on the 3rd August.
Andy and green, green grass of home!
Our very own Event Director - and the reason why we have Tring parkrun - Andy Evans is tackling a 45 mile run/walk event across his ancestral homeland. Lovely, lovely! That's 15 parkruns one after the other. This is also a great recipe for at least 15 million interesting, post-event stats! Take a minute to see what he's up to and why he is supporting The Wendover Arm Trust and three other excellent causes.
Dates for your diary
Wedding Dress Ball - September 28th
Cast your mind back to November 2017 - RDs Ross and Anna were married and we marked the occasion by all running in Wedding Dresses. It was great fun. Now uber-volunteer Elaine Bunn is organising a charity event for the local Hospice of St Francis that might just give you a great excuse to dig the dress out again! After its previous huge success the "Wedding Dress Ball" will happen again this year. Click on the link here to find out more.
The Woodland Trust Festival of Lights - October 26th
We run Tring parkrun on Woodland Trust Managed property. Each year they organise a fantastic "Festival of Lights". What better way to start and end a Saturday than a parkrun in the morning and an awesome light show in the evening! Also on November 30th they will have an open tree-planting day as part of transforming the new part of the park. Find out more about both events here.
Halloween and our FIFTH Birthday Celebration - November 2nd
We will celebrate five amazing years of Tring parkrun on November the 2nd. The date is also the nearest parkrun to Halloween....so you can expect extra fun and games. Start planning your costume and keep the morning free for an EARLY (8:30AM) start.
The Tring Kilted parkrun - November 30th
Release your inner Jock, Morag or Loch Ness Monster. It's been big in previous years and will be even bigger this year! Dig out your tartan and get ready for the UK's biggest parkrun celebration of St Andrews Day, in deepest Englandshire!
So, as if the opportunity to enjoy a simple Saturday morning parkrun wasn't enough you can see there is a lot more to look forward to.
Enjoy the summer holidays, whether we see you at Tring or you take the opportunity to travel and try other parkruns around the UK, or world.
See you soon
This week's RD
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can keep up with parkrun news via the parkrun.org.uk website and also two podcasts "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.