Event #89 – a Special Day ❤️

We have a special Run Report this week, written by Witney regular Liam Walsh. Thanks to Liam for taking the time to write these lovely words. All our love and thoughts are with the Walsh family ❤️

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Thankfully our weather fairy sprinkled some magic and allowed us to go ahead this weekend, for Witney parkrun #89 was a special and a sunny one for me.

Last week our Witney parkrun team posted a request for volunteers to help at a Celebration Service for my son Patrick on Friday.

We know that parkrun prides itself on community, inclusiveness and wellbeing, and the way that you have embodied those values to support at such a tough time is humbling and heartwarming.

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parkrun is so much more than the effort of a 5k or the volunteering itself: it’s about the friendships and spirit and connections that develop from it. And I’m so so grateful for that. That so many people have said that the service was beautiful is such a credit to our parkrun helper heroes, working alongside other community friends from Witney Music Festival and Libfest.

It simply couldn’t have happened without you.

So special thanks in no particular order to the following Witney parkrunners (and to everyone else with a hug or message or smile), who kindly gave their time on Friday:

John Honour
Peter Rose
Gill Sherwood
Punam Owens
Tamsyn Wymer
Dan Wymer
Kate Prinsep
Fraser Howard
Sally Howard
Ruth Trout
Matt Keeble
Eric Marshall
Marli Buckridge
James Field
Rupert Macfarlane

Roll on to Saturday and after our stop-start winter it was lovely to see so many familiar hivis heroes catching up and preparing for action - 30 heroes this week. Soon Run Director Bertie was in full flow with his familiar ‘not on my watch’ refrain sending us cheerily and safely on our way.

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After the usual first lap dance through the mud and puddles, we had our much awaited woodland surprise to look forward to. And, as if the sight of snowdrops and the promise of daffodils wasn’t enough to raise spirits and hint of spring, there before us was a glorious woodchip carpet. Thank you so much indeed to the tremendous Witney Woodland Volunteers - there’s our fabulous community in action again - not only does it look fantastic, it made struggling through the woods that much more bearable! I almost looked forward to the final lap and visiting again!

For me it was also special to see friends, some old, many new in a familiar comforting place amongst the 214 finishing faces, with Ruth ensuring no-one finishes last at parkrun. There were 47 first timers, and somehow, pretty miraculously 13 personal bests. If getting our parkrun up and running 2 years ago was a 1,000 piece jigsaw, it was special to be able to introduce one of those pieces - all the way from Brisbane. Special to welcome visitors from Bury St Edmunds and Sheffield and special to share our story with others from Leeds and Woking and Newport and Ashbourne.

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Fingers crossed that the weather fairy is back on duty this week, and that between us all, we’ll find new reasons to feel special at parkrun next week.

#loveparkrun

Run Report: Liam Walsh

Photos: Derek Hall, Trish Davies

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