What a wild, wet and windy parkrun we had this week! it was our first rainy parkrun - not bad that it took 23 weeks! Poor Winona, who got drenched on her first time directing the show by herself, as did her team of volunteers. Just as she was starting the run brief, the heavens opened and dumped rain on all, which just made us want to start all the sooner! Almost immediately, Winona’s umbrella got blown inside out by the gale force winds, but unfazed, she turned to let it blow back the right way, then continued shouting into the wind, which we couldn’t hear much anyway. But all good, soon we were off and everyone was happy to get going. With no one wanting to brave the elements longer than was necessary, this was one of our fastest parkruns, all done in about 45 minutes. That meant we were earlier to the café, earlier to post results and earlier to get home, warm and dry!
Our parkrun might have finished early today, but our number of finishers (82) was higher than recent weeks, largely due to a busload of tourists from South of the Bombays, AKA The Tron! Welcome to the crew from Hamilton! On the bus north they must have been quaking in their trainers at the thought of running an unknown course in such crazy weather. To their credit, they did not turn back, but took in their stride (pun intended!) and made waves here at Owairaka. According to club affiliation, I counted 11 Hamilton-based runners, but there were possibly a few more. Some of the legacies they left behind include: a new record in the VW65-69 age group by Raewyn Richmond, running a speedy 26:59, one of only 8 age group records across the country this week, and what’s more Raewyn took out the top age grade performance honour as well; and the parkrunner with the most runs under their belt this week was Hamiltonian Tau Holden, on 241 now, how exciting to be approaching the 250 mark. A talented bunch these tourists!
With 82 walkers, lopers, joggers, jigglers, speedsters, trudgers and dashers, we actually suprassed the last two weeks’ attendance numbers, surprising given the foul weather. Nationally, there was lower attendance at all parkruns save 7, including Owairaka, which had the largest percentage increase over last week of almost 40%, due in a large part I’m sure to the Hamilton contingent. I caught up very briefly with the Hamiltonians at the café afterwards, but being wet and cold at this point, did not stay to chat.
Out of the 82 finishers, 3 were experiencing their first ever parkrun, how interesting that it should be such horrendous weather! I do hope that Elijah Delowe, Satoshi Kono and Xinlong Zhang were not unduly put off and return again soon. They do say the second parkrun is the hardest, but after this one it should be a breeze! A further 16 parkrunners were at Owairaka for the first time, mostly from Hamilton I should think. Despite conditions, 10 more recorded new Personal Bests, no mean feat with squishy shoes. Of all the PBs I thought Geraldine Comber's stood out. At just her 6th event, she took a mean 10 minutes off her previous PB and is poised to break 40 minutes in the near future. Bravo! Another one to note is young Isaac Le Grice who brought a young friend with him when he came for his third time. With a time of 24:16 he is just 16 seconds off his all time best. Isaac and his mum Emma are regular runners at Western Springs and have amassed 49 runs as of this one. For a J10 that’s amazing stuff! Good luck for you and your Mum’s 50th, presumably next week at the Springs. Hope you get better weather for it!
This week’s volunteers really went above and beyond, suffering the violent gusts and horizontal rain without complaint! My hat goes off to the following: Trent Vannisselroy, Shan Lee, Rose Bygrave, Winona Lee, Adam Berry, Carrie Austin, Tony Austin, Francis McCormick, Mathew Cooke, Stephanie Tieu, Mandy Donald, Rebecca Donnell, Erin Currie, Sienna Currie, Marina Fox and Daniel Fox. Volunteers make parkrun tick, of course, but it’s far from drudgery, and people wouldn’t come back for more if it wasn’t fun! So take a look at our roster and let us know when you can lend a hand on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s final reflection is that we are a young parkrun. It’s rare that we have a milestone to celebrate. A quarter of parkrunners this week(20) were running their 10th or lower parkrun. The ones with more than 20 or so parkruns would have started their parkrun journey elsewhere and are visiting or trying us out, and in some cases, becoming regulars here. Some are, you could say, serial visitors, which is all good too. As we grow, some will reach 50 with most of their runs/walks at Owairaka. That will be special. As we head towards the end of our first 6 months (on April 24), it’s rewarding to see our little parkrun family grow from strength to strength, and start to see the same names pop up and the same happy faces crossing the finish line. Unfortunately, I often don’t actually put many of the names to the faces. Please feel free to come up to chat anytime, and definitely put your name forward to volunteer when you can. Last, I want to highlight one of our stalwart volunteers and parkrunners, Rose Bygrave. Regularly arriving at around 7am to get the course set up, she must also have one of the highest number of runs at Owairaka, at 18, although she now has 211 in total. (I would love to hear from anyone who has more than 18 on our course.) We are so grateful for your service, Rose, and it has been wonderful getting to know you too. I’m sure the year or so before you reach your 250 will fly by!