York parkrun #372 by Liz Piper

Saturday 7th March 2020

As befits the day before International Women’s Day 581 runners, walkers and joggers gathered on York Knavesmire course, many clad in purple, for the start of the 372nd Knavesmire parkrun.

Last week the Knavesmire was underwater and parkrun cancelled whilst seagulls, porpoises, whales and sharks (NB minor exaggeration) sported in the deep.  This week, under a cloudless, blue sky, the land had emerged once more and was open to running - all bar a section where gulls gathered mutinously around a small and receding puddle at the far end.

parkrun can be likened to a journey - and I’m not just referring to the 5k here!  I began my first parkrun reluctantly and with great trepidation (ie all those new people, and can I possibly run THAT far) five years ago.  As our run director asked the question it was heartening to see that almost everyone had begun with the same fears.

For the past four years I have volunteered as a run / walk pacer.  This role is to encourage new runners and help them to reach their potential.  Whilst running and walking, we chat and it’s great getting to know some most amazing and inspirational people.  Let me share some of their stories.

It’s never too late to start running:

Hats off to a couple of people in their 70s, who have recently started running - they wanted to ‘Get fit’.  And they have!  They thought they might be too old to begin and have truly proved that age is just a number.

‘I’ll never be able to run that far’

You don’t have to.  Take it one step at a time.  Take it easy.  Three cheers for the person who told me that she wouldn’t ever be able to run round the course.  Now, a year later, she is running marathons - and enjoying it!  Others have branched out and taken part in: triathlons, fun runs, muddy obstacle courses and fancy dress races.....  Have faith, we are here to encourage you as you go around the course.

‘I don’t know anyone’

It is amazing how many people find friends along the course.  my congratulations go to the small group of new runners who have banded together in a group and meet up to run together (and share a coffee from the coffee van afterwards).  Parkrunners are a friendly, chatty crowd and there is always someone to cheer you on.

What shall I do with my children

No probs.  They will probably beat you round the course!  One of our runners was dragged down to parkrun by her daughter (I use her words!) about a month ago.  She now comes every week, has improved her speed by 10 minutes and made new friends in the process.

‘I’ve never run in my life’

A runner this week made just that comment.  She has now run once in her life and has gone home resolving to print out her bar code and come regularly.  Quote: ‘That was easier that I expected!’  An inspirational woman!

So, whether you are the speediest thing on two legs with total focus on being the first one in, or content to jog around and chat, or you’re only just starting out, you are all doing something that thousands of others haven’t even tried.  Parkrunners you are amazing!

And now, to keep with tradition, some random stats and comments.  

Firstly many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who included:

David BANNISTER, Ruth BUCKLEY, Aoife BURKE, Rob BYERS, Andrew CLARK, Caitlin CLARK, Ann DOYLE, Linda ETHELL, Danny EVANS, Julia GAVIN, Ruairi GILES, Linda GREWER, Michael GREWER, Barbara GRIFFIN, Ellie GRIFFIN, Mark HARNEY, Sarah HARVEY, Nicholas JONES, Sam KEENAGHAN, Lizzie KERSHAW, Jane LAWSON, Neil LAWSON, Jane Victoria MARSHALL, Tony MARSHALL GRIFFITHS, Ed MEZZETTI, Sally MINSKIP, Yvonne ORTON, Ellie PAGE, Chris POULTON, Judith RUSHBY, Adrian STIPETIC, Louise STRINGER, Liam WARWICK, Ian WHITE, Caroline YOUNG

Well done, without your help there would be no parkrun.  You deserve a round of applause.

If you would like to join our band of happy volunteers - there are plenty of opportunities to help out and we are always pleased to see new recruits.  Just take a look at our park run web page and send us an email at york@parkrun.com.  See you next Saturday!

Celebrations

  • Cheers today were in order for Kevin McCaffery celebrating his 200th run, for Emma Davidson celebrating her 50th run and the 43 people completing their first ever parkrun.  First timers, you know who you are and should be proud of your achievement.  Hope to see you all again next week!
  • Cheers also to the 77 runners who gained a new PB.  Congratulations and well done!

Random stats

  • Today was the 7th, and in 7th place was Jan-Philipp PFLÜGL in a time of 18min 1.
  • March is the 3rd month.  Chris Poulton was 3rd runner back in a time of 16mins 49.
  • And as we are in 2020, in 20th female place was Lily Seach.

Well done all of you.  For full results go to: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/york/results/latestresults/

And finally - please don’t think you have to be another Roger Bannister or Kelly Holmes to join us.  This week we had pacers for all paces and, whatever your speed or ability, you are welcome to join us.  You will never be the last person in - we have a tail walker who takes that position - and there is usually the coffee van at the end for a warming drink.

Whether you walk, run or jog, you deserve a round of applause for taking part and finishing this 5k course.  Because for mast of us Parkrun is not so much about racing and winning, but a warm and welcoming social event with a run or walk thrown in for good measure.  So come along and try us out!  We look forward to seeing you again next Saturday.