Event #109 – View from a Visitor

I travelled to West Witney Sports & Social Club from Aylesbury with my two children. Witney is my 95th different event in pursuit of my Cowell Club membership (100 different events) and one of the only events within an hour of home I hadn't already done!

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It was very cold on arrival, and I met the volunteer team prior to the start. This was a very well supported and well organised event, particularly the car park marshals who were well drilled and helpful. The RD was sporting shorts which in 3C was a rare sight!

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The conditions underfoot were wet, sometimes boggy and invariably slippery, and this course is a definite trail shoe candidate. All part of the charms of parkrunning this time of year. The course is 3 laps, the first being a smaller loop of the playing field, followed by two longer loops which involve a picturesque and narrow route through a wood. The route is almost naturally marked in the way the trees present the path ahead.

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The children enjoyed the bubble machine and the smiling marshal with the sound system. These are the people who make parkrun so special. The marshals were all so supportive and patient of us taking almost an hour to complete the course.

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The highest age grade percentage went to a young man who led from the front for almost the whole distance. Well done to Elias Easterbrook JM11-14 with an excellent 75.39% clocking 19.14.

Special mention for Paul Molyneux VM70-74 with 70.74% and an outstanding 25.14.

The most decorated athletes were Tracey Melville with 298 parkruns, and Graham Le Good with 287 parkruns. There were no major milestones today, although Regina Johnys ran her "flake" with "99". There were 9 "first timers" - welcome to parkrun and we hope you'll come back soon!

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208 athletes ran, jogged and walked event #109.

Thanks also to the 32 volunteers who were all magnificent in bitterly cold conditions.

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Thank you Witney.

Run Report: Daniel Mullin A19231

Photos: Trish Davies

 

Event #108 – RD Roberts roared!

When I woke up on Saturday morning I expected to see snow and the parkrun to be cancelled. However, there was no sign of any snow and no rain which was surprising. Stepping outside I immediately went in for my warmest coat and tucked some light fingerless gloves in my bag thinking I would be well prepared as the wind was freezing. Got to West Witney sports ground to see the usual suspects dressed in bright pink volunteer bibs and Steve Roberts who was the run director. Not as many people as normal but slowly the numbers picked up and people arrived to run in groups of families, alone, with a dog or a group of friends. I love seeing the parkrun friends I have made and meeting new people and there is always a sense of anticipation and excitement as people warm up, stretch and talk about whether today will be an easy run or a PB run. This week we had an amazing 8 first timers and 7 new PBs. 

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Little did we know what would happen during the hour we were out cheering runners, joggers, walkers along. There were a couple of snowflakes and the wind was so cold but everyone was laughing and patting each other on the back as we were the committed ones and it was pacer week and would not be too bad once running. Ha! Steve Roberts dressed in shorts then started to do some kind of snow heralding dance/bellow as he encouraged all on their parkrun on Saturday. As he bellowed (I even thought I had better start running with camera) while he encouraged folk he then started to whirl around in the cold, hands in the air and dancing; the snow fell. It was miraculous to see...  a local PE teacher summoning the gods of snow and they sure did obey :) 

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Despite the cold, the snow, the rain and the wind it was one of my best parkruns ever. We laughed, we moved, we complained, there was lots of head shaking but we survived and felt like we belonged. One or two got too cold and stopped running, a few tears were shed but Moms were on hand to warm youngsters up and hot chocolates and hot tea helped. 

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So this parkrun for me will go down as one of the best and the day Roberts roared and the snow obeyed!

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We could not have done it without the volunteers and a huge thank you to all as you were the heroes of the day. See you next Saturday and my advice for future cold mornings... lots of layers, waterproof gloves and hats. There were 34 volunteers 

Mark Philip BRAGG • Fraser HOWARD • Ian FOWLER • James HACKNEY • Tamsyn WYMER • John GREEN • James FIELD • Caroline STEVENSON • Martin CRABB • Andrew GREEN • Trish DAVIES • Kate PRINSEP • Liam WALSH • Stephen ROBERTS • Niamh SUTTON • Guy DAVIES • John HONOUR • Karen BISP • Owen EDWARDS • Mark THRELFALL • Ceinwyn DENNETT • Jake THRELFALL • Allan JENKINS • Hazel SMITH • Jason SHAILER • Linda DEASY • Aryn DEASY • Amy Rose O'HANLON • Rachel POLLARD • Callum MCKEOWN • Lewis SMITH • Spencer SMITH • Emma HISCOX • Holly ROBINSON

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Witney parkrun Results Page

Witney parkrun started on 10th March 2018. Since then 5,660 participants have completed 26,217 parkruns covering a total distance of 131,085 km, including 5,360 new Personal Bests. A total of 569 individuals have volunteered 3,495 times.

Run Report & Photos: Trish Davies

 

Event #107 – DofE Done!

Today was my final volunteer credit to complete my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award, and what a perfect autumnal morning for it! I was kicking through the blanket of leaves on my way round the course tail walking with my mum, and received lots of shouts of appreciation from runners passing by after Sally gave me a special (slightly embarrassing!) mention in her briefing. It was also a special morning for Crabby who completed his 50th parkrun today – congratulations Crabby! and thank you for sharing your chocolates this morning as we collected our hi-viz bibs.

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Now that I’ve completed my stint of 13 weeks volunteering I’m really proud to have played a part in the team of 564 individuals who have collectively volunteered 3,461 times at Witney parkrun, and I’m thrilled to have earned my V25 T-shirt now too. I’ve tried my hand at almost every volunteer role during that time, and timekeeping has definitely been my favourite job. At first I was worried it was too much pressure and responsibility but it really isn’t, it’s easy and fun and I’ve loved cheering people in at the finish line.

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This week 228 people ran, jogged and walked the course. Special mention to the 27 that were first timers to parkrun, I hope you enjoyed our course at Witney, and to the amazing 50 of you that recorded new Personal Bests. It’s been a pleasure to help out on my Saturday mornings at parkrun, meeting new people, catching up with regular faces and generally just having a laugh. Thank you for having me and I will be sure to volunteer regularly whenever I can.

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Run Report: Bethany Jones

Photos: Fraser Howard, Ally Jones

 

Event #106 – View from The Wire!

A Saturday morning, just after 9 o’clock and the first runner is heading towards me at the ”wire", bell in hand and then shout the warning “mind the wire”…… and on they come. At first the leading runners come through in ones and twos followed by a few groups of several runners and the groups getting bigger until the participants arrive en masse until it all starts thinning out again.

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Being a marshal out on the course we miss the briefing to the 17 first timers and the RD’s directives including a wonderful mention for Fraser from RD Sally, his wife, as he has now completed 100 stints as a volunteer, absolutely brilliant!

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Other noteworthy milestones this week included William on his 10th junior parkrun, James, Suzanne, Jackie and Deborah for their 25th parkruns and Lannette and Becky on their 50ths! Worthy achievements all.

I always enjoy having a chat and catch up with the other volunteers as we all check in with Tamsyn and then as we saunter off to our positions, for me first with Owen who was on “turn around” and then this week’s ditch dancers Allie and Di.

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When I’m marshalling it is always uplifting to see the resilience and determination of the runners and walkers as they navigate past me through the trees and down to the ditch. The participants took the slippery conditions literally in their stride but still have time to acknowledge me and, I’m sure, the other marshals too, mostly with a smile.

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I love trying to put names to faces but as there are so many of you I’m sure I make mistakes, in fact this week there were 235 of you, also brilliant that, despite the conditions there were 33 new PBs!

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This week’s tail walkers were Deborah and Heather who carried out their duties with a smile and we happily had a selfie at the wire, one for the album!

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Everyone comes through for the second time and then as quickly as it started it is all over for another week!

So it is a wander back to the container, collecting a few markers and cones etc on the way and meeting up for a bit more chat as we dispense with bibs and lanyards. Guessing how many people attended and whether there were fallers or was anyone stung! None of the latter this week, I'm pleased to say!

This week there were 34 volunteers, which is great and I can’t recommend it enough as it is always great fun. So please don’t hesitate if you fancy a turn as a volunteer you will always be very welcome.

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See you next week. Mind the wire!                                                                           @woxwhite

 

Run Report: John Honour

Photos: Cereta Drewett, John Honour

 

Event #105 – Pirates In Our Midst!

Wet wet wet, but hey, what more could us Pirates want? Despite the dampness and the muddy terrain, parkrunners still appeared in their hundreds - the buzz and excitement to start the run was clear.

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If you came to today’s parkrun I’m sure you were aware that Pirate Fitness gym were in attendance. It was hard to miss the Pirate tops in the crowd of runners, the flags we brought along and not forgetting our mascot dog (Bert) in his Pirate’s T-shirt too. Out of 276 runners, 23 of them were Pirate members. Bert finished 57th, making him the first dog to cross the finishing line, not bad going with a couple of toilet breaks along the way!
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The event itself gave a great sense of the Witney community. Any newcomers were welcomed warmly and made to feel at ease. The Marshals being super friendly, supportive and giving up their free time to make this event possible. For this parkrun, there were 36 newcomers and 42 new PB’s - what an achievement.

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Sam Upton came first out of all the Witney parkrunners with an impressive time of 18 minutes and 27 seconds. Marina Dunkley was the first Pirate over the line with 25 minutes and 22 seconds and a personal PB - well done!

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Part of the reason for Pirates’ presence was to spread the word that free Sundays at the gym are returning. Free Sundays means you can come for a free gym workout every Sunday with no strings attached. A bit like Witney parkrun, it is there to be enjoyed by the local Witney people regardless of abilities in the aim of bringing people together.

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Team Pirates thoroughly enjoyed their time at Witney parkrun and I’m sure you’ll see a lot more Pirate tops in the park in the future. On the flip side, it would be great to see those park runners at Pirates - you are all welcome!

Run Report: Phoebe Wood

Photos: Fraser Howard

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