Cheltenham Parkrun: 147 reasons to be proud
Parkrun is a running craze that has motivated thousands of people to get involved in timed 5K running every week, writes Phil Norris.
And if the second-ever Cheltenham Parkrun is anything to go by, the town has definitely caught the running bug.
As a keen runner, but only an occasional competitor in races, I headed down to Pittville Park today at 9am to see if last week's successful launch would be matched on a bitterly cold February morning.
Although this was my first Cheltenham Parkrun, I had taken part in the Frimley Green Parkrun in Surrey last weekend and I was keen to equal or beat my 21 minute and 44 second finishing time.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The Frimley Green event was two-laps along muddy canal banks and soggy fields, a great location but no doubt a hindrance to decent times.
So, knowing the three-laps around Pittville Park were mainly on hard surfaces (with just a short part across fields) I was looking forward to getting a good time.
Chatting with people before the start, I knew people had very different motives for running: general fitness, wanting to beat personal bests, aiming to win.
And I was glad that the Cheltenham Parkrun had the same vibe and relaxed atmosphere that I had seen in Surrey, and at the Parkrun in the Forest of Dean which I had witnessed but not taken part in.
One woman I spoke, Gail Smith, 55, to was taking advantage of the run while returning to Gloucestershire from her home in France, and Jerry Porter, 57, and his daughter Kathryn, 24, from Prestbury were doing the run together in an effort to keep fit.
Although I had no pretence of being part of the front runners, I did want to get under 21 minutes as a stepping stone to achieving my medium-term goal of going under 20 minutes.
I hoped the cold would motivate me to go even faster than last week.
Lining up raring to go at 9am with 147 others, I found myself out of position a bit as people fanned out across the start line to get off to a clear run.
I was worried that some of the paths in the park would get congested, so I had to manoeuvre myself to the wrong side of the start line.
As the runners shot off, I found myself in a good position – the runners ahead of me were going faster than I could, so that gave me a bit of a motivation to keep my pace up.
I had also feared that sharing the park with the general public – dog walkers, early morning strollers, cyclists and non-Parkrun joggers – would cause conflict.
As it was, the Parkrunners soon spread out nicely, and while a few dogs got a little overexcited with the amount of joggers they could chase, no ankles appeared to be nipped and no small dogs appeared to be trampled.
The first lap round the lake went well, and there were marshals around to make sure you didn't run into bollards or take the wrong corner.
There was, however, one slightly ambiguous corner that people took wrong, turning right at a bench in the field rather than going on to a tree and then turning right.
I followed a batch of runners who, in effect, cut a corner. But I felt so bad about it that I purposefully ran a bit longer at one point to, I hope, balance out the shortcut.
Although I am competitive, cutting a corner would only cheat me and I wanted the time I achieved to be a real time, otherwise it's meaningless.
The first lap over with, I knew exactly what to expect on the second. No big hills, obviously, a slightly muddy field, and only the cold and my fitness to worry about.
As the third lap neared its end, I thought I would have a late burst to try to knock a few seconds off. But, in my second mistake of the race, I had wrongly assumed that the finish was exactly where the start was.
It wasn't, so as I reached my peak I realised I had a bit more to run. The people in front I had in my sights as targets, sped away, but I knew I had enough of a gap to not lose my position.
I made it across the line, grabbed my 'chip' and registered my time.
My analogue watch isn't great at working out my exact time, but I thought I had just edged last week's time.
However, as I logged on later today, I realised I was just off my target in 21.57, in 25th place out of 147.
And, because Parkrun is so well organised, you get a great breakdown of your stats.
So I know I was also 24th male, and fourth in my age category, veteran male 40-44. They also marked this as my PB, although I had done faster last week.
Speaking to people after the run, it was clear that people had enjoyed it for a whole host of reasons.
For some, it was the time, for others, it was completing it.
And the beauty of the Parkrun is that every one of the 147 runners is to be admired.
Whether it is winner Phil Beastall who finished in a remarkable time of 17.12, those who finished the course in a PB, or those who got out of bed on a cold Saturday morning to run three times round a park for no other reason than to be fit and active, everyone achieved something today.
And it was also clear, that many of those finishing will be returning for many weeks to come.
For information on how to register and take part, visit http://www.parkrun.org.uk/
Results: 1 Phil BEASTALL 17:12; 2 Alex LEE 18:19; 3 Greg CHANCE 18:21; 4 Gavin MCCAUGHERTY 18:39; 5 Steve MOORE 18:44; 6 Paul LOCKYER 19:0; 7 Steve HALL 19:11; 8 Robin BARNETT 19:15; 9 David HART 19:28; 10 Toby WORT 19:29; 11 Phil JOWETT 20:08; 12 Christopher Robert DRISKELL 20:09; 13 Matthew David SKELDING 20:13; 14 Glenn CAPEWELL 20:20; 15 Simon JARVIS 21:09; 16 Tim WILBRAHAM 21:16; 17 Eleanor Rose HATHAWAY 21:25; 18 Douglas WAYMARK 21:29; 19 David Charles JONES 21:36; 20 Thomas SPARKS 21:45; 21 Gary MCLEAN 21:4; 22 Matt RICHARDS 21:50; 23 Jason BLISS 21:51; 24 Andrew PATERSON 21:56; 25 Phil NORRIS 21:57; 26 Pauline EVANS 22:18; 27 Joel FREELAND 22:23; 28 Holly BURLTON 22:29; 29 Paul MASON 22:31; 30 Robert JORDAN 22:37; 31 Laura WILBRAHAM 22:49; 32 Ben SLUMAN 22:52; 33 Duncan MOUNSOR 22:53; 34 Matthew Peter JONES 22:59; 35 Clark LAWSON 23:05; 36 Rupert WILKINSON 23:08; 37 Richard GOLDSBY 23:0; 38 Andy VASEY 23:13; 39 Malc SMITH 23:14; 40 Shaun ANDREWS 23:14; 41 Carol COWLEY 23:17; 42 Joseph BUNYAN 23:20; 43 Roy GIBBS 23:21; 44 Paul EDMONDS 23:27; 45 Kasy WHITE 23:28; 46 Tim SLUMAN 23:37; 47 Jon O'HANLON 23:39; 48 Richard GILBERT 23:56; 49 Jeanette Elizabeth GULLICK 24:00:00; 50 Steve YARNOLD 24:07:0; 051 Timmy WESTCOTT 24:09:0; 052 John SALT 24:12:00; 53 James LOVERIDGE 24:15:00; 54 Paul HANNAN 24:16:00; 55 Andy EDWARDS 24:19:00; 56 Simon BRADWELL 24:26:00; 57 Giles FORSTER 24:30:00; 58 Andrew FOULKES 24:31:00; 59 Marina OSBURN 24:36:00; 60 Richard OSBURN 24:37:00; 61 John WILLGOSS 24:49:00; 62 Phil SANDERS 24:56:00; 63 Paul JENKINS 24:58:00; 64 Kim WILLIAMS 25:05:00; 65 Tad BILAS 25:05:00; 66 Emma MORRIS 25:12:00; 67 David HAWLEY 25:14:00; 68 David WILLIAMSON 25:17:00; 69 Tony POWNALL 25:24:00; 70 Richard DOYLE 25:54:00; 71 Austin WILLIAMS 26:28:00; 72 Emma HALL 26:40:00; 73 Farook MOTA 27:00:00; 74 Unknown ; 75 Adrian COURTENAY 27:36:00; 76 Andrew AYLESBURY 27:37:00; 77 Jacob MILLER 27:43:00; 78 Cathy BOOTH 27:46:00; 79 Benjamin MISSELBROOK 27:48:00; 80 Amanda STEER 27:52:00; 81 Jo BABIJ 28:02:00; 82 Suzanne MEYER 28:06:00; 83 David MEYER 28:06:00; 84 Tracey COLBERT-SMITH 28:31:00; 85 Lucia MILONE 28:57:00; 86 Jane BIRCH 28:59:00; 87 Philippa WEAVER 29:01:00; 88 Dorothy CHANDLER 29:06:00; 89 Natalie STONE 29:08:00; 90 Julie SALT 29:10:00; 91 Barrington MUDD 29:12:00; 92 Andy WAUGH 29:14:00; 93 Anita WILCOX 29:19:00; 94 Andrew BLAIR 29:20:00; 95 Annah LEGG 29:23:00; 96 Marianne Janet ANDREWS 29:23:00; 97 Julie COURTENAY 29:29:00; 98 Jill HARPER 29:33:00; 99 Nicky RYLAND 29:41:00; 100 Nicky HUGHES 29:41:00; 101 Frances THOMAS 30:04:00; 102 Michael LINE 30:09:00; 103 Pratik PRADHAN 30:15:00; 104 Matthew WHITE 30:16:00; 105 Tracey Jane DENSHAM 30:21:00; 106 Ken WHIPDAY 30:38:00; 107 Amanda Jane PILL 30:39:00; 108 Vivien MORTIMORE 30:43:00; 109 Jenny WINSTANLEY 30:47:00; 110 Rebecca SLUMAN 30:53:00; 111 Karen SLUMAN 30:53:00; 112 Nicole LORD 31:06:00; 113 Rebecca WALTERS 31:07:00; 114 Carolyn GRIFFIN 31:17:00; 115 Andy ROBERTS 31:39:00; 116 Gail SMITH 31:54:00; 117 Michael FINCH 31:59:00; 118 Susan HILL 32:04:00; 119 Richard BATT 32:08:00; 120 Adam TURNBULL 32:54:00; 121 Penelope Ann MARRITT TURNBULL 32:54:00; 122 Ailish HAIG 33:03:00; 123 Haiggy MCHAIG 33:03:00; 124 Lesley Helen ALLAWAY 33:09:00; 125 Dan WAUGH 33:16:00; 126 Kathryn PORTER 33:22:00; 127 Jerry PORTER 33:23:00; 128 Sophie BEST 33:35:00; 129 Julie FINCH 33:37:00; 130 Julie MOXEY 34:02:00; 131 Helen JORDAN 34:11:00; 132 Alan HARDY 34:12:00133 Helen YARNOLD 34:20:00; 134 Jemma WILLIAMSON 34:24:00; 135 Paul MEYER 34:58:00; 136 Emily RICHARDS 35:52:00; 137 Danielle LADE 36:13:00; 138 Emma DOOLEY 36:41:00; 139 Neil Edward DOOLEY 36:41:00; 140 Sarah BEAMISH 38:26:00; 141 Sarah GRAY 40:24:00; 142 Zoe JAYNE 40:25:00; 143 Sarah LYDDON 41:59:00; 144 Iris MAYO 44:02:00; 145 Helen MAYO 45:14:00; 146 Dave MAYO 45:15:00; 147 Mathew BISSETT 45:17:00;