We must have made the Elf happy
From her perch high on the shelf the Elf watched.....and liked what she saw. Tring parkrunners hadn't been naughty. Indeed, throughout the year, they brought cheerfulness and fun to Tring Park each Saturday morning, they'd helped and supported each other to reach personal goals, they ate enormous quantities of milestone cake, celebrated special days, stepped up to help the event happen and even donned fancy dress on occasion.
And so, the rain was stopped, the clouds cleared, the sun shone and the cows were ushered quietly to one side. The scene was set for our highest Christmas day turnout yet: 401 parkrunners (beating last year's 310), our second highest attendance ever (beaten only by event 250 back in early June).
It wasn't white but blue and sunny is the next best weather for Christmas.
An annual event
It wasn't just in Tring, across the country Christmas parkrun has become "a thing". For example, an incredible 2545 took part at Bushy Park, the home of parkrun. For us, this was our sixth Christmas event and our numbers have grown steadily from an initial 99.
Congratulations to the 10 who have taken part in every Tring Christmas parkrun: Emily Leathers-Smith; Alex Douglas; Noah, Phil and Louis Roger; Peter Leigh; Scarlett Wager-Leigh; and Luca, Nick and Kit-Yi Greene.
George Humphreys earns a special mention too, he's only ran 5 parkruns in total and each of those has been at Tring on Christmas Day!
Great to see so many festive costumes
It seems especially appropriate that on Christmas Day we were visited by 3 Shepherds (well technically Shepherd, Shepherd-Smith and Sheppard), 1 King, 1 Holly, 1 Carole and (this is the best bit) 150 of our barcoded runners had "No 'L'" in their name.
It's a time of the year to visit friends and family and that was reflected in our numbers. We had 52 first time visitors and 19 first timer parkrunners that we know of (we also had 52 people with no barcode, our highest number of "unknowns" ever).
Of the runners who had run before at Tring, 56 hadn’t run with us for a year or more. Indeed Catherine Cassidy and Erica Carter set 1st and 3rd longest ever gaps between 2 Tring parkruns with gaps of 272 and 251 parkruns respectively - welcome back!
As usual we had many family and friend groups running, walking, volunteering and spectating together
The morning saw Leon Bosch, Kirsty Macbeth and Julie Lindars celebrate their 100th parkruns, with Holly Bunn and Alison Bill completing their 150th events.
25 achieved Personal Best times (impressive in the slippy conditions) with Will Sheppard making it 2 in 2 weeks and Benjamin Smith bagging his 3rd in 3 weeks. Eight of these PBs were by people who have run at least 5 times at Tring: Rob Mcvey (4:09), El Bill (1:00), Clum Latham (0:27), Maria Evans (0:24), Tim Shepherd-Smith (0:18), Holly Bunn (0:12), Will Sheppard (0:09) and Simon Leek (0:08).
Click to see a breakdown of first times by age category - available normally using the "extended info" plugin for the Chrome browser.
We were especially pleased to see several absolutely brilliant first time parkrunning appearances with several shows of real determination to complete the 5k distance for the first time. Congratulations to all of those who took the plunge - with a special shout-out to Nicole Jacobs and Nadine Beattie - we hope to see everyone again in the weeks ahead.
For those with very rapid feet (all the more impressive on the slippy ground), our first lady finishers were Beth Hanson, Jenny Maginley and Laura Turnbull. Beth's time of 21:25 was the fastest in SW20-24 category on the day and the 2nd fastest ever at Tring. For the men Alex McVey was first, followed by Tim Shapherd-Smith and Jonty Wager-Leigh.
Adjusting for age gave a very different outcome for the ladies with Lynda Hembury leading the way, then Carolina Magnall and Sheila Turner. Alex McVey held onto the top spot for the men but was followed closely by Alan Scott and Martin Hopcroft. Well done to them all - as always a great inspiration.
Great to see our canine friends both dressed for the occasion and volunteering.
Labrador Geoffrey (left) was making a final appearance, after years of marshalling, before a well earned retirement.
It's not about speed, of course, it's about taking part. Our sixth year of parkrunning at Tring started after our birthday in early November. Up to this week 12 people had maintained a 100% record of joining us on Saturday mornings. Christmas took a heavy toll on the remaining 3 adult males, so after 9 weeks we have just 9 members left in the club. Noah Roger is the only surviving male and he is joined by 4 adult females and 4 junior females.
With Andy Booth running in Cheltenham, Isobel Roberts takes over the record of current longest streak at Tring with 18 in a row. Go Isobel!
Showing dedication of a different sort, we had a fantastic volunteer team with several giving it a go for the first time and enjoying it so much they have committed to help out again soon. Thank you: Andy Evans; Charlie Jackson; Chris Nichols; Damien and Kim Fortune; Liz Daniel; Ella Van de Linde; Frances Leff; George Fletcher; Graham Hollands; Isobel, Louise and Steve Bladen; Jose Hetherington; Moira Douglas; Nicola Haley; Paul Hembury; Robin Attfield; Sam Evans; Sue Simmonds; Tom Page; Tom North and Trevor Lark.
Please think about helping us out on our New Years Day event. Several of our regular volunteers would love to run that day and helping fill the roster will make that possible, as well as tick off an important New Year Resolution. If you might be able to help or would like to find out more about what's involved please get in touch via email@example.com.
A very special mention to black Labrador Geoffrey. Along with mum Frances he's been a volunteer marshal for years but it's all a bit of a challenge now and so he's taking well deserved retirement. Thank you Geoffrey (and Frances) so much for putting a smile on our faces for so long.
Just a few of the brilliant volunteers who supported our Christmas Day parkrun.
The stat-o-matic section...
As usual our stat-o-matic computer has been dimming the lights in Tring and Dacorum to bring you mind boggling facts and figures. Are you ready??
- Keith Henderson became the 86th person to run 86 times at Tring
- We saw the surname Roberts for the 300th time and Goss and Garner for the 50th
- 11 Chris’s equals the record seen by one name at a parkrun since 11 Pauls ran at #250
- 1st time we have seen 2 Kirstens and 2 Laurences
- 1st time we have seen the names Ewa, Cassandra, Janusz, Carina, Nadine and Romane
- Minute 32 broke it’s attendance record with 26 barcoded runners but it was minute 28 with 28 runners that was the busiest for barcoded runners
- 54 runners from Tring RC is the most we have seen from one club at a run and 15 from On The Run Aylesbury equaled their record
- We were visited by running clubs that we’d not previously seen including - Morley Running Club, Stock Exchange AC, Marist College Ashgrove, Street Striders, Jesmond Joggers, Leicestershire Orienteering club and Clowne RRC
On the way to a record breaking Christmas Day start
We hope parkrun got your Christmas off to a fantastic start and wish you all the very best for the holiday period.
Remember that we are running again on Saturday the 28th and also have another special run on New Year's Day too. See our Facebook Events page and/or our News page on this site for more information.
The Tring parkrun core team
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.
If you need a mid-week parkrun fix there are two excellent podcasts available each week. First we have an excellent, an independent parkrun-based podcast "With Me Now" with parkrun Veterans and uber-tourists Danny Norman and Nicola Forwood. We also have "Free Weekly Timed",the official parkrun podcast with Vassos Alexander and Helen Williams.