Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hillsborough parkrun and Huddersfield parkruns 3rd birthday party

I still haven't stopped smiling or feeling on top of the world 48hrs later, I wonder how long this awesome feeling will last.

This parkrunday had a fantastic feel to it from the moment the little boy woke up and demanded his bottle. Normally I would stagger downstairs and sleepily make his bottle, miscounting the scoops of baby milk. This time however I was wide awake and excited for our parkrun tourism trip to Hillsborough parkrun. Whenever we take part in a bit of tourism we seem to pack less than what we would take round to my mums when we stay at our home parkrun in Huddersfield. Which helps as it means we set off in time and as Hillsborough parkrun is only an extra 10 mins travelling time compared with Huddersfield we didn't even have to get up as early as we usually do. 

We arrived at Hillsborough park in plenty of time to pay for parking setting up the buggy and the buggy board for Clark's first parkrun even if he's not officially running. I was running with all 3 boys and SJ was running solo, so In advance I had emailed them and offered to be tail runner but with no reply. Nevertheless I intended to be the tail runner anyway so we positioned ourselves at the back of the gathering pack at the start. My friend Steve had also made the small trip over and was near the front of the pack, I had warned him he wasn't allowed to lap us more than once, but he wasn't sure of the course so he said he wouldn't be going all guns blazing in case he got lost, but as SJ and I know Steve can't help himself when I comes to parkrun and ends up going faster than he plans to. 

We were all ready to run when the run director for the day called us all over to give the run brief from the top of the children's climbing frame in the playground adjacent to the start. It was a little different to the norm but it worked well and everyone could hear him during the run brief.
He asked if there was any first time parkrunners and surprisingly there was quite a few and from a small group too, and that didn't include the tourists. After describing the course for all of us he set us going and Hillsborough parkrun #61 was under way. The starting strait is fairly wide but the first turning is onto a narrow path that head back down the park to the car park so for the runners at the back it bunches up a little. You could use the grass at the side but there was a feeling of not wanting to cut corners and trying not to get muddy at the same time. As I was aiming to be last I was ok with hanging back a bit, and soon enough we had all spread out again and settled into our rhythms and pace. It wasn't long before we before we had completed a lap and all I could think was OMG I've got another 2 to do, not because it was hard or the course was difficult I was mainly because the first lap just seemed so long. It wasn't long, I had just been looking around a lot and taken in lots of new sights, sounds and smells. Yep I said smells I haven't noticed smells before but at Hillsborough parkrun you can't help it as at the bottom of the park you get the most delicious smells coming from the Caburys factory across the road. At the start of lap 2 one of the two ladies I was staying behind to make sure I was last had to stop as she seemed to be struggling with asthma, but she started walking again. 

I failed in my attempt to stay last as we over took her whilst she walked, but I tried to keep an eye on her so I could keep the team informed where she was at the end. Just after we passed her we were lapped by Steve and as he went passed the boys gave him high fives, which gave the boys a bit of an energy boost ready for the next lap. We got half way round lap 2 and could see SJ in the distance still going strong and doing well plus at the same time I could see the lady with asthma was running again and not far behind us. As we came round the liberary and down the hill to the finish straight we could see Steve had finished and was talking to one of the other runners, so we gave him another high five as we went past. As we headed down towards the car park again on our final lap Steve caught up with us and joined us for a another lap as a cool down (that's for you Nicola Forwood). At the halfway point again we looked for SJ and she was on her way to the finish straight doing really well. So I tried to look for the lady with Asthma but couldn't see her so she was either out of sight or she had dropped out. So when we came round to finish Dexter and Steve sprinted off to finish and I jogged in behind a few seconds later, I then told the parkrun team that there was 1 more lady but I lost sight of her or she dropped out. After thanking the volunteers SJ the boys and I went to play in the playground for a bit before setting off home. 

SJ and I both agreed that Hillsborough parkrun was really quite nice and with all the other activities going on in the park at the same time it had a very friendly and fun atmosphere. Plus with less hills than the other parkruns we run it was easier, if you can say that about 5k at anytime. 

Later and back home it was time to get ready for the Huddersfield parkruns 3rd birthday party at the Conservatory in the park, I had to go on my own as we had no one to babysit for the boys. This wasn't too bad as at least I knew a few people that were going too. When I arrived there was a couple trying to find the right entrance to use and I joined them, we ended up almost doing a mini parkrun just trying to get in to the party. When we finally got in there was Simon and Mark greeting everyone and making sure they had tickets, there was a really nice cake someone had made and the conservatory was nicely decorated with 3rd birthday banners and balloons. They also had photos from the past years parkruns on a screen as a slide show it was interesting to see how people have changed in only a year. 

After a few conversations and a lot of wondering around as I didn't know a lot of people that were there, Simon and Mark started to announce the annual awards.
Starting with fastest male and female then the top 3 point winners male and female, followed by top age grading % and a special award given to 3 parkrunners who saved a fellow parkrunners life after they had a heart attack last May. Then there was a break for cake and lots of photos, then a quick trip to the bar before they carried on with the awards.

This time the awards were for Male volunteer of the year and Female volunteer of the year, best fancy dress, best photo bombing of the year, which was only ever going to go to Martin.

Next was the parkrunner of the year as voted by Simon and Mark. The final award was the parkrunners parkrunner of the year and there had been some voting on Facebook, Twitter and via email. During the week I had a seen a few votes on Facebook for me which was really great and very unexpected. I wasn't expecting anything as there are a lot of parkrunners at Huddersfield and many other great people who were being voted for. Then Mark read out an email from Nana (my stepmother Janice) that she had sent in along with her vote and it was then that I realised that I had won, I HAD WON , WOW HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!!!! I went up to collect my award and had to give a speech, but I was a bit dumbstruck and all I could say was thank you to everyone who runs or volunteers and I just enjoy running.
Since then I've been able to think a bit more and would like to thank everyone who voted for me, thank you to everyone at Huddersfield parkrun, the volunteers, runners, organisers and people who just come to watch. They all add to the great atmosphere and feel to Huddersfield parkrun that has helped me to attract more and more people to join in with me and more importantly keep coming back. Even after only 9 months of parkrunning I feel very much part of a enormous family and with the up coming Junior parkrun that is starting which SJ and I are going to be a big part of as run directors that family will only get bigger and better. 

After I had collected my award I sat down for a bit and was told by Marks girlfriend that there was so many votes for me, which just made me feel so humble and proud, but at the same time I was still slightly in shock. I went to the bar and to get a drink as I was shaking a little and didn't know what to do with myself, I couldn't get a proper drink though as I was driving so I had a celebratory coke instead. Eventually I calmed down enough for me to drive home and go show off my award to SJ, she was asleep when I got home but I woke her up of course.

still haven't stopped smiling or feeling on top of the world 48hrs later, I wonder how long this awesome feeling will last.

Keep running everyone

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Shepley First School did Huddersfield parkrun in style.

The kids did their school proud this past Saturday morning and even got a few of their teachers to agree to do one in the future.

Huddersfield parkrun was full of excitement and curiosity, more than normal too, as there were a huge number of first timers 96 in total! 30 of these first timers were part of the Shepley first school fun run that was combining it's fun run with parkrun to raise money for the school. I arranged last years Fun Run which was very successful but this year I thought we should try and do something slightly different so that the children could join in this time. I had organised it with parkrun for many reasons, it's a fun and friendly eviroment, it's open to all ages, it was only 5k compared with last years 10k which would have been far too much for children. Plus because I've been a parkrun regular for the past 9 months I knew that whoever took part they would all enjoy it no matter what. The team at Huddersfield parkrun were brilliant in being open and helpful about it and were really excited about it too. As there wasn't as many organisational jobs as last time it gave me a chance to do other things. So we came up with the idea that we could open a competition to the children at Shepley first school to design the t-shirt that we would all wear at parkrun. So after recieving all the children's designs I chose a winner from each year and then a final overall winner which would be the t-shirt for the fun run. When discussing this idea we joked that I couldn't choose my son Dexter's design, which in reply I said there is no way I will chose Dexters mainly because his design will have nothing to do with parkrun or fun runs. It was more likely to be a rocket, so when all the design came to me for judging I found Dexters and asked him to tell me about if. He said its a boy in a swimming pool.......Love my boy and love the fact I knew it would happen, better luck next time Dexter.

After a slow start with the sign ups my badgering started to pay off and we had 39 signed up and ready to go, with a few more just coming along to join and run anyway. We even had a few teachers coming along to show their support for the children. There was 15 children running aged between 4 and 10 years old, with most of them not having run anything close to the 5k distance.

So this past Saturday at 8.30am I turned up at Greenhead park with a box of t-shirts and a medal for each of the children that took part. As people turned up I gave them their t-shirts and told them wait around until Simon came out to give his first timers speech as he would answer any question they still had before the run starts. Then we all made our way to the start line where we got in our various positions in the pack depending on our running pace. Simon then gave a full run brief to all of us and introduced all of us from Shepley first school and encouraged others to encourage us and especially the children as we go round the park. As we set off we all got a cheer from our supporters on the side of the main straight and soon I settled into my normal parkrun mode and just concentrated on my pace and a target time of 22mins which I had set myself on I was running with Steve who was volunteering as the 22min pacer so all I had to do was stay with him and I would hit my target. Also running at this pace was co-event director Mark who was trying to get somewhere close to his 21.25 PB and one of my friends Ben who was running in only his 2nd parkrun. We all finished with 8 seconds of each other with Ben at 21.42, Steve at 21.43, myself at 21.46 and Mark at 21.50, well done to all of us on a good run.
Matty and Jessie ( 1st male and female finishers)

After we had finished I stayed at the finish where Rachael was doing a great job of cheering people on and taking photos of all the school fun run people. We cheered everyone across the line from my sister Jessie to Jennifer and Arthur. Nigel and his daughter Isla crossed the line together with Isla coming first in her age category for all junior girls 10 and under! 
Arthur and Isla (1st boy and girl finishers)

Then Karen Munro and her son Lachlan and Finlay Tootill with the 2 boys racing her to the line. Dean finished with Mark while his other son James finished with Dexter and SJ, but he almost didn't as he was having such a good time he was off on lap 3 before realising he had to cross the finish line and stop! Zak Harris who had done a practice run 2 weeks ago and stopped at 3k then, finished the whole 5k this time with a huge smile on his face too. There were a few sole parents running on their own trying to get the best time they possibly could and doing an awesome job too. All the way through to the last couple Philip and his 4 year old daughter Beatrice, who had completed the whole thing and still had a smile on her face.


Everyone had a great time however hard it was for them, as soon as they had caught their breath they were smiling again and talking about the run with each other describing the own experiences which is one of the great things of parkrun. It doesn't matter how many times you have taken part each run is different and your experiences are slightly different each time too. After I had handed out all the medals we all went our separate ways happy that we had all had a good time.

Once we got home and had our results through we all posted on Facebook, or twitter our times and feeling about the morning. So SJ put together a table using the official parkrun results table a Shelepy first school fun run table, plus a child only table too.

Now the focus is on collecting our sponsors and seeing how much we have raised for the school this year. Once all the sponsors are in I can then start planning next years fun run but from the reaction from everyone this year I think it will be again at parkrun, it really worked well and is great fun for the children too. I also heard that Mr Price (one of the teachers that came along to show support for the children) has promised Isla Taaffe that he will take part in parkrun next time. Plus it is now in writing Mr Price so there is no going back now......

So well done everyone who was part of the fun run this year and I hope to see you again next year.  Lots more pictures to follow!

Keep running everyone....

Here are some more photos from the day.....