This week 267 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 124 were first timers and 66 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 32 different clubs took part.
This week's report is courtesy of parkrun 'tourist' Dave Slater from Drumpelier parkrun, thanks are due to him for the following report:
It feels like I’ve been getting my ‘tourist’ mojo back, second trip in a row and fourth new event in six weeks. Once again it was an early start, this time walking to my nearest train station. I had actually initially meant to head for former ‘home turf’ in Ayrshire but realised after a short night of sleep and faffing around carrying far more than needed (note to self: learn to travel light when you’re not driving!) - that I wouldn’t get to the station in time for the earlier train. There was one other that should get me there, all things being equal but on the other hand, this was in the hands of Scotrail, so during the frosty walk I quickly plumped for a backup option of Stirling.
Some gorgeous skies as I boarded the train and left, continuing during the journey (changing at Falkirk) and as I approached Bridge of Allan. A brisk walk (that didn’t quite take the 30 minutes Google maps estimated) and I arrived at the campus of Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence (not to mention UK Sports University of the Year for 2020!).
Any concerns I had about finding the start within the campus were short-lived, as first the familiar colours of the parkrun ‘pop-up’ start sign, and then the parkrun feather flag, came into view. Once I explored a bit further, I found a gathering of hi-vis heroes, who this week comprised:
Janice CLEMENT • Colin SINCLAIR • Alison MARVEN • Neil Graham ANDERSON • Paul EVANS • Eileen Lily ANDERSON • Pamela Jane BRIDGE • Kelly MARRIOT • Alan BROWNLIE • Nidia RODRIGUEZ-SANCHEZ • Amy CULLY • Vicki LAWLOR • Kate ELEFTHERIOU • Eve MACKENZIE • Caitlin ORMISTON • Shannon MOSES • Fiona MOFFATT • Tom HARPER • Oisin RICE • Xinyu SHEN - many thanks to you all for volunteering!
I’m sure RDs in future weeks would be glad to hear from others who may not have volunteered for a while, or who are unaware of the joys and benefits of volunteering - email in and give it a try!
I spoke to one of the volunteers and said hello to the RD, and decided to count my walk from the station as my warmup - didn’t really want to take off my big fleece and leave me with only 3 layers on!
Soon it was the First-Timers’ Briefing, delivered excellently, with quite a few brand new to parkrun (24, as it turned out) and a whole lot more who were visiting this event for the first time - 100! We then moved on to the main briefing again delivered well (I particularly enjoyed the RD’s quick response to the dog who barked in acknowledgement when he asked if there were any!).
Shoutouts were also given to a group from Lancashire, a welcome visit from Gemma McAuley from the Blackburn Road Runners, who told me they had driven for over 3 hours to get there! Puts my ‘early’ train journeys to shame. There were also visitors from many different parts of Scotland, and (judging by some of the Running Clubs represented) from Liverpool, the New Forest, Penarth near Cardiff, and from Northern Ireland. Although with a large student population, there’s always the chance that for some this is their ‘new’ term-time local - it was great to hear a mix of different accents, reminding me of my own student days.
Congratulations to Jill Horsburgh on achieving a total of 200 runs (as well as her 60th different event!), following by cakes on the lawn at the end.
While there may not have been anyone joining one of the official parkrun ‘milestone clubs’ I’m sure many will have hit their own personal targets - whether the aforementioned ‘did my first parkrun’, or the 26 doing the important ‘came back for another go’, 25 who did their ‘hat-trick’… you get the idea. At the other end of the scale, there were a dozen with even higher totals than Jill, including 7 members of the ‘250 club’, and it was nice to meet two of them Mhairi and Susan who I recognised from the YouTube series on Scottish parkruns. They were here on a visit along with Rhoda who I know from work (and Strava!) and was glad to see again. For me it was my 40th Saturday this year at a parkrun whether running or volunteering, my best ever total in my 7th year of parkrunning!
We moved to the start point where I deposited my heavy fleece with over-filled pockets before heading further towards the back. With a healthy 267 runners, on sometimes narrow paths, the initial sections could be a bit congested, with the incline past the finish area almost slowing us to a stop on the first pass. However it was possible to overtake with care, keeping a careful eye on the few dogs and buggy runners of course, along with a few in training for playing Quidditch for the Dumyat Dragons. Kudos to each, as I find running challenging enough without a lead, buggy or broomstick to contend with!
As we made our way round the perimeter of Airthrey Loch, largely on trail paths, numbers ‘thinned out’ a bit. However not everyone (including myself) always adhered to the ‘keep left’ which meant a few dodgy ‘overtake on grass on the left’ manoeuvres that I’m not proud of… perhaps I then found others of a similar pace (must have started too far back!) and indeed at one of the ‘close to the loch’s edge’ sections a runner just in front of me almost slipped before regaining footing, so it certainly pays to be careful.
I think I managed to make up some time and felt I was not far off the pace for my predicted time of around 31 minutes; it remained to be seen if I could maintain it - while thanking or hi-fiving the marshals on my second loop (Chris Smithard had just zoomed past me on his way to a 16:55 first finish!).
Passing the boat house and start area I tried to put on a bit of a ‘surge’, and realised the challenge of passing folk, on an uphill, with those already finished and other parkrun users coming the other way. I managed to press on to the finish funnel, coming in 183rd and foolishly paused to catch my breath - fortunately the funnel manager was aware of those coming in behind and kept us in sequence! I went to get my barcode scanned, and my phone had abruptly cut out in the cold but my watch was telling me I had probably dipped under 31 minutes. So much for my usual plan to take it easy on a first visit so I can get a straightforward PB next time! However 66 runners did achieve that, ranged through the field from sub-20 runners to 250th position and each of them hard-earned no doubt.
Cameron Kerr (Junior) and Ewan Jack were 2nd and 3rd male finishers, with each of the first 3 gents being new to UoS parkrun, while Carrie Banks (Junior) was first female home (also on her first time here) followed by Carys Gibb (Junior) and Femke Lutte, both with new PBs.
There were some excellent Age Grade percentages in the mid and high 70s (including some of the aforementioned first finishers) but all pipped by Alan Findlay, 4th overall with 80.74% and at 19:02 just 1 second outside his PB here.
Even though ‘it’s a run not a race’ we can often focus too much on those at the faster end of things - if only because it’s sometimes harder to pull out ‘stories’ of those further back. However I do enjoy spotting number patterns and coincidences like:
As well as finishing second female, Carys Gibb was overall 20th on her 20th parkrun, and with a 20:xx PB too! Derek McNeil had a nice pattern of 16th male, 17th overall on his 18th run.
Noting it’s the 6th running of the event, there were 6 males and 6 females each on 6 parkruns, with five female runner having run all their 6 parkruns here: Joanna Crotch, Deborah Keys, Fiona Barratt, Amanda McIntyre and Sarah Corr.
Which stats would you spot or highlight?
After chats with tourists, collecting my fleece and photos at the pop up banner, it was time to head home - sadly I couldn’t stay for the cafe - and then fouled up my calculations so despite a weird sort of jog-trot through Bridge of Allan to get to the station, I missed a train and had to wait for the next one! Really enjoyed my visit though and hope to return sometime.
Drumpellier Country parkrun
The male record is held by Matthew SUTHERLAND who recorded a time of 16:21 on 12th October 2019 (event number 1).
The female record is held by Jennifer WETTON who recorded a time of 18:02 on 26th October 2019 (event number 3).
The Age Grade course record is held by Shane SNOW who recorded 84.57% (17:43) on 26th October 2019 (event number 3).
University of Stirling parkrun started on 12th October 2019. Since then 1,018 participants have completed 1,635 parkruns covering a total distance of 8,175 km, including 331 new Personal Bests. A total of 51 individuals have volunteered 102 times.