#NHS70 and the Clarendon Takeover
It was my privilege to be the Run Director at parkrun yesterday, as we joined in with the national celebrations for the 70th birthday of the NHS. It was our chance to show our appreciation for the work the NHS do and strengthen the links between parkrun and the NHS. I'm sure all of us have used the service at some point in our lives, and I know there are many Winchester parkrunners who either work for them or use parkrun as a means of staying healthy, whether through the Couch to 5k programme or otherwise. There are lots of stories on the parkrun website and social media pages if you'd like to read more. In particular it was fantastic to welcome a group from the Acute Stroke Unit at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital.
It was a great day all round as the sun shone and we topped 400 parkrunners again; young and old, from near and far, some with 4 legs or 4 wheels, running or walking, but all with smiling faces! There were a couple of milestones; 100th parkrun for core team member Laura Cowen, and a 10th birthday parkrun for Ruben Price. As ever, we couldn't do it without our fantastic volunteers, which this week were supplemented by a group from Winchester Rotary to promote the Clarendon Marathon. The man behind the local race, JJ Heath-Caldwell, organised a volunteer takeover providing marshals and barcode scanners. A mention too for Megan Grant, one of our DofE students, who gave an excellent first-timers briefing before the start. Here is this week's roll call, thank you everyone.
Peter ALDRIDGE • Richard SPALDING • David HOWELLS • Paul COVERDALE • Ann STANHOPE • Ben BURFOOT • J J HEATH-CALDWELL • Robbie DOWNER • Catherine SAUNDERS • Naomi RIAL • Mark LANGMAN • Fiona WHITEHOUSE • Andy TEALE • Nikki FLANNIGAN • Nick DUNCOMBE • Robin SPEED • Mike BILLINGTON • Megan GRANT • Yolanda PARKES • Adrian OWEN • Su BROWNING • Simon DRAPER • Thomas SIDDALL
Once we got underway, the good conditions and firm ground proved ideal for some good times. When I started running at parkrun around 5 years ago I had a slightly silly personal aim each week of "not being beaten by any children" as I trotted round. I quickly realised what a futile hope that was as week after week, I'd hear a swoosh as a pair of smaller legs would zoom past me, usually approaching the finish. Yesterday, I wouldn't have been alone as one of our younger parkrunners zoomed passed everyone to be our first finisher in an amazing time of 17:42, an age grade of over 86%. Take a bow James Lewis! James is 11 years old... Congratulations too to Martin Wilson, who being in his eighth decade has a few years on James(!), running a very impressive 20:48, an age grade of 84%. If you're wondering what age grades are all about, you can read the explanation here.
James's great run was one of a huge total of 75 PBs, meaning that slightly better than 1 in 6 of you ran faster at parkrun than ever before! A mention too for Sarah Shedden, who sneaked under the 20 min mark for the first time by one second. It's not all about going quickly of course and it was great to see no fewer than 65 people at River Park for the first time. Tourists from many parts of the country came to pay us a visit and it was lovely to meet Sharon and Dawn from Rother Valley in Yorkshire and Brockenhurst parkruns, who are now somewhere on the South Downs Way. They are walking to Eastbourne - some 100 miles - in time to run at Eastbourne parkrun next Saturday. Good luck ladies!
Finally, a reminder that due to Winchestival there will be no parkrun next week. Why not visit one of our many near neighbours instead? We'll see you all in 2 weeks time!