On the 8th day of Christmas, parkrun gave to us, … the 1st and 2nd events of the year
**The New Year Double**
Welcome to the 1st day of not only a new year, a NEW DECADE (in the Gregorian calendar) and for us the 2nd parkrun of the year.
This pretty parkrun is approximately 303rd in the UK and approximately 520th parkrun in the world
It is hosted at Victoria Park. The park was opened in 1900 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It was created by the local council with funds collected via a public subscription, an ideal background for a parkrun event! This course is flat with some amazing monuments, an ice cream shop, pond and fountain.
It began on 17th January 2015 with 206 participants and 16 volunteers, celebrated its 100th event on 31st December 2016 with 197 participants and 16 volunteer and its 200th event on 15th December 2018 with 142 participants and 37 volunteers.
Its busiest event was its 227th on 15th June 2019 with 379 participants and 33 volunteers (*spoiler alert* it was its busiest event) and its cosiest event was its 49th on 26th December 2015, a different bank holiday, with 68 participants and 17 probably very committed volunteers!
Our New Year wish had been answered as it was a dry, warm January day with no ice, snow or heavy rain to throw our tourist New Years Double into jeopardy! On New Years Day, participants do not need to be mad, however it helps!
Wonderfully we arrived in time for the start, after our 1st parkrun at 8.30am. This double event day is extra special and great, as those of us who may not be so speedy due to health and or disabilities, it means we had the challenge and chance of the double with the travel and parking time in between events : -) Our first attempt of a New Year double, years ago ended when we struggled for parking at the 2nd event. By the time we found somewhere and returned to the start, there was not a hi-vis in sight! It sill haunts us and any tourist visit we do. (This year it nearly happened to a friend at their 2nd location).
The day had begun cloudy, we saw the sunrise over our first event and now it was sunny!! Actual sunshine on a North West January day!
Andrew HANKINSON took the first timers briefing, clearly not the worse for wear, and we were reminded that we needed to be able to count to 3 and a half!
The run director of the event Andrew HANKINSON again bright and cheerful for the tim of day, gave the introduction, announcements and guidance. With Peter SPEAKMAN and Louise TARSKY, the timekeepers, the 4th New Year event of Widnes was underway.
All the volunteers appeared dressed warmly for the occasion, bright and cheerful, one did wonder if it was really a few hours into a New Year. Had there been rations with the merrymaking over
Some of the participants, and supporters were a different matter. A few had had a great night out, made it to bed but had missed changing out of their bed clothes as we have never seen an amazing array of nightwear including multicoloured unicorns on a NYD parkrun.
Those starting out on their own milestones were:
- Matthew PARKER, Samuel O'GARRA, Tim POWELL and Elizabeth MOORE, set off for their 10th parkrun.
- Rebecca LAM the only junior for a change of logo, and the option of their wonderful coveted white t-shirt!!
- Richard BRAGG ,Stacey CLARK, Liz ROBERTS and Mark GRIMES set off to complete their 50th parkrun, one of whom had an amazing 50th balloon!
- Paul SCHUMANN set off to complete their unofficial 200th parkrun milestone
- Liam ANDERSON set off to complete their 250th parkrun, also had a great balloon collection!
- Paul BASNETT set off to complete their unofficial 300th parkrun milestone
Those a step closer to theirs were:
- John Paul DALE, Joanne SKYNER, Mo BALL and Karen JOHNSON completed their 49th, so happy planning for your 50th!
- Matthew CREHAN and Stephen LANGE completed their 99th, so happy planning for your 100th!
- Andrew GLEN completed their 199th, so happy planning for any unofficial 200th celebration!
**Congratulations** as all completed successfully.
Around the course we had many cheery marshals to guide, encourage and help keep us safe, amongst them were Anne CROSS, Annette ASHTON, Mike GREENFIELD, Pam LLOYD and Martin ALLEN.
Making sure all participants are home safe is the Tail Walker, no one is officially ever last at a parkrun and this week the wonderful volunteer was Hayley HOURIGAN who supported a group including a committed first timer.
Once we had counted to 3 and a ½, the finish was insight and we were greeted by the timekeepers. Lynne BOTHAM kept people in order as we collected our tokens from Laura CARTER and Olivia FURNESS. Pauline ROBERTSON kept our places accurate and we went to be scanned by Patrick SQUIRES, Lesley DAVIES, Steven ASHWORTH, Bill SHAW or Fran HOURIGAN.
After the event volunteers gave up their time to tidy the course and others sorted the tokens into order ready for the next event.
- 510 successful participants
- 23% of the 510 were tourists which were mainly from Warrington.
- Congratulations if you now have a ‘W’ for your ‘A to Z’ or a 252 for your Winston index
- 7% achieved a personal best, often with the help of a hangover
- 5% who kept their identity a secret or forgot their barcode (keep a back-up in the car, sock or other)
- 3% joined us for the first time (we hope you enjoyed it and to see you again).
If you would like to see a full list of results please click here:
On behalf of the 510 participants, a big thank you to the 21 amazing volunteers. They gave up their time to make so many ‘run, walks, milestones and skips’ possible.
If you would like to volunteer (Hi-vis Hero), please email:
Thank you to our Widnes hosts who made this New Years (Double) event possible. We hope you all had a lovely start to your New Year and a safe journey home.
( - : R J M : - )