York parkrun Christmas Day 2019 – by Dave Piper

Santa Claus Is Running To Town
(Christmas Day, 2019 - York parkrun #361)

The Christmas holidays are ticking away, towards the drear of “back to school” and
January-itis. In a few short days, it’ll be 2020 - New Year - All The Best - Back To
Work. But, as the days gradually lengthen into spring and we face that cold, sharp
bite of February-March, we’ve got our memories. Memories of smiles, laughter,
bemused dogs in antlers, joggers dressed as Christmas presents, others dressed as
Santa, many with bells or tinsel or new, clean road shoes.
Memories of a misspent Christmas parkrun.

803 of York’s maddest (Bravest, shurely? Ed.) turned out of bed in the pitch black of
Christmas morning, shivering and sleepy-eyed, ready to brave it all for the glory of
the parkrun. Everyone was there - from the hardy group of heroes checking out the
course (“Look, no ice, hoorah!”), to the pace-setters and tail-walkers half an hour (and
a patch of freezing fog) later (“Woooooah, it’s all icy!”), to the
parkrunners/joggers/walkers themselves (“He’s wearing a present on his head!
Aaaaah! Ice!”). We got off to a fine start, Santa chasing an Elf, chasing a Christmas
Tree, chasing Santa, chasing a Christmas Present, being photographed by another
Santa, being watched by a dog in the festive finery. The cream of York (and
surrounding towns, counties & countries) was off. Not giving a figgie pudding for
lie-ins, relaxed starts to the day - or even opening presents! Dedicated instead, heart
and soul, to enjoying the blue sky and sunshine (the mist had cleared), chatting
nineteen to the dozen and avoiding the mudageddon next to the tarmac.
The atmosphere and sense of accomplishment, being out parkrunning on Christmas,
can probably be best summed up with a simple fact. Schools, town light switch-ons
and shopping centres are visited by Santa. We had at least 8, if not more! Do the
maths!

As always at Christmas, there were plenty of folk worrying about getting their brand
new running shoes wet. Someone should offer a pre-muddying service. Up &
Running, if you’re reading this, you can have the suggestion as a late Christmas
present! The rest of the talk round the track seemed to be a mix of surprise at the
weather (“No hailstones! No gale-force wind! No rain!”), plans for just what everyone
was going to do to that roast turkey later and cheers and cries as the 3 Christmas
Presents came in almost neck and neck on the last-but-one straight.
Some talk of their family parties, or holidays off in the sun. But give us a Christmas
parkrun - it’s a million times all the fun.

The Volunteers
(Without the Elves, Santa would be put out of business by Amazon Prime.
Without volunteers, this parkrun wouldn’t happen.)
A more-than-usually warm thank you to all our volunteers - who crawled out of bed
Christmas morning, earlier than most of us, to make sure we had a course to run and
people to time and cheer us all on! You guys are heroes - if you’ve never volunteered
at parkrun before, give it a go. Just chat to a hi-vis volunteer next time you’re down,
to find out more. The following parkrun people get themselves onto this week’s
honour roll:

Lisa BALLANTINE, David CHRYSSIDES, Paul EASTWOOD, Paul FOSTER,
Michael GREWER, Linda GREWER, Laurence GRIFFIN, Nick GRIFFIN, Ellie
GRIFFIN, Mark HARNEY, Simon HARRISON, Kirsty HENDERSON, Amy
IREDALE-MITCHELL, Catherine JONES, Neil LAWSON, Jane LAWSON, Oliver
LEADBETTER, Bethany LEADBETTER, Michael LEADBETTER, Hannah
LEADBETTER, Jane MORBY, Chris POULTON, Ruth ROBSON, Ste ROBSON,
Joseph ROBSON, Rob SEFTON, Brian SHARP, Anna SHARP, Nick SHIPLEY,
Myles SMITH, Steve SMOWTON, Graham TODD, Janet TODD, Robert WARD,
Ian WHITE, Clive WOOLLEY

The Results
(You know, Scrooge was keen on numbers? Just saying...).
A cheery Christmas Welcome to the 24 brand-new parkrunners - hope you had a
thoroughly festive time, and see you again soon. Of course, everyone who crossed
that finish line has recorded their fastest time this year, for a Christmas Day parkrun,
so well done! And a huge congratulations to the many parkrunners who notched up a
new all-time PB.

The following blokes were, overall, the most keen to get back to their presents:
Tim Stratton, from City of York AC who nipped round in a time of 16:08,
Tom Charlton, down from Tyne Bridge Harriers, who popped over the line at 16:11,
Alex Dickinson, with a new PB, who was hot on his heels in a time of 16:12.

The following ladies were fully focussed on notching up new PBs (or maybe on
opening that intriguing present under the tree!):
Charlotte Mason, from City of York AC (sounds familiar!) in a new fastest-time of
17:29,
Becky Hair, of Cambridge and Coleridge AC fame, jetting through in 17:59 (again, a
new PB!),
Ellie Fothergill with (guess what?!) a new PB of 19:59!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and see you down the Knavesmire again!