Monday, 19 May 2014
Huddersfield juniors parkrun event #1
After 2 years of behind the scenes hard work the first Huddersfield juniors parkrun was here and what an impressive turnout we had.
With excitement in the air all our team arrived early to make sure that everything was set up nicely and early so we could concentrate on assigning marshals to their positions, timekeepers their stop watches, scanners to the correct people and explaining to the funnel managers the plan of action.
We were lucky to have Tom Williams from parkrun visiting to oversee the event and check that our event ran smoothly, and share some constructive criticism if necessary. It was great to finally meet him after running at a few events at the same time but never managing to talk to him. With the number of people at parkrun events sometimes it is difficult to talk to and catch up with everyone you want to in time you are there. So after I had been introduced to him and a quick chat I went back to the community room to help with the last few volunteers and to make sure Simon didn't want me to do anything else before things got under way. It was nearly time for the warm up with Louise and as I left the community room I was amazed at the number of juniors and parents that had gathered at the start and like the senior parkrun they were still streaming in at the gates with 5 mins to go.
The excitement of the juniors was evident as they were encroaching on the start line and beyond as 9am got closer and closer, we had to move them back about 10ft by the time Simon came down to give the run brief.
This was it, it was time to get the inaugural Huddersfield juniors under way, but we had to give everyone a quick brief on how the barcodes and tokens work, because as we found in our test last week there were a few that weren't sure. Once that was done we had to clear out of the way so that when we set the juniors off we didn't get trampled in the stampede. Then after avery anticipated countdown they were off and with a few screams of excitement all the juniors were safely off and running. There was a couple of falls at the start but all juniors got under way without any injuries or tears, a huge relief to all the team.
We moved down to the finish and set out the funnel where they would all be sent to collect their tokens and then be shown where to get them scanned to register their run and time. It wasn't long before we had our lead junior Sam Robinson finishing lap 1 and in a fantastic time too, there was a huge amount of marshals and other volunteers at the finish area. So the cheering and clapping for each of the juniors as they ran past must have been amazing from their perspective because there was not one unhappy face as they passed through to start lap 2. The steady stream of juniors was still In full flow as Sam came round to finish his run and he had to do a bit of zig zagging round some of the smaller juniors on his way to the finish line, and crossing the line in a superb time of 7m31s.
He was closely followed by Matthew Burke (7m48s) who was fastest at last weeks test event. Having Sam in front of him might of helped as it gave him someone to chase as he crossed the line this time 8 seconds faster than last week.
This also gave him the highest age grade percentage of all our juniors, an impressive 76.74%. Our fastest female was Lucy Margetson in an excellent time of 8m34s with an age grade of 70.33%, but all our juniors deserve a massive well done. It's not all about who's fastest or has the highest percentage, it's all about keeping fit and healthy and having fun in the process.
We had to be alert on timers as more and more juniors were crossing the line some sprinting and some strolling across with enormous smiles across their faces. Plus I could barely take my eye off the finish line and straight to see how the funnel system was doing, but when I did get a chance everyone seemed to be getting their tokens and making their way to the scanners.
It almost seemed endless as more and more juniors kept crossing the finish line but after 23 mins Sanchia Edwards, our tail runner, crossed the line and brought to an end the first Huddersfield junior parkrun. It really took us all by surprise how many had turned up and had fun and run with smiles on their faces. 192 juniors completed the 2k making a warm and sunny day even more fantastic than we could have wished for. I had guessed at 100 during the week and the lead up to the day but to get nearly double that was purely outstanding.
The response we got from the juniors and the parents was amazing and we were surprised at how many children were already thinking towards next weeks event. With the weather being as good as it was there was already a large amount of non runners at the park with family members who were asking how they get involved for next week. Once all the runners had crossed the line we all congratulated each other on a great inaugural event that went off without a hitch. We managed to attract 192 juniors to our first event which was beyond all our expectations, we knew we would get about a hundred just from talk at the senior event. We didn't expect so many juniors that have had no contact with any parkrun event, not even their parents had been to an event before, a complete parkrun debut. Our attendance was the second biggest in the country and the largest weekly junior event and from our first event aswell! What will the next couple of weeks have in store for us and will we continue to grow or will our attendances dip? We are all excited to find out and the next few weeks will be awesome. I can already see that we will have a lot of wristbands to hand out soon to all our happy juniors, and we are looking forward to handing them out to them.
We hung about for a while talking parkrun with Tom, Helen and even Rosie before we started to tidy away all the cones, tape and signs ready for next week. Simon was doing the results from home so all we had to do was put things away in the community room and go home still on a parkrun high, which will easily last until next week when it starts again. #lovejnrparkrun
Below is a list of all the junior events in the UK with their record attendances and the attendance figures from their first event. Just like its not about who wins it's also not about who can attract the most juniors and have the biggest attendances. As most parkrunners know just because you have the big attendances does not mean you have the best parkrun, its all about the community spirit and the feel of a parkrun that stands out more. I have added this list as more of an example of how parkrun juniors is growing and how it began.
Bushy - Highest 432 - First event 9
Huddersfield - Highest 192 - First event 192 (new this week)
Woodley - Highest 145 - First event 44
Savill gardens - Highest 134 - First event 43
Roundhay - Highest 131 - First event 66
Newport - Highest 126 - First event 110
Rushcliffe - Highest 124 - First event 118
Helix - Highest 123 - First event 87
Marple - Highest 118 - First event 118
Southampton - Highest 112 - First event 68
Chelmsford - Highest 88 - First event 88
Brockwell - Highest 88 - First event 88 (new this week)
Winbledon park - Highest 85 - First event 68
Forest of Dean - Highest 77 - First event 34
Harrow lodge - Highest 34 - First event 22
Mile end - Highest 21 - First event 21 (new this week)
Barking and dagenham - Highest 19 - First event 7
Keep running everyone