Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Park Runs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Park Runs. Show all posts

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Saturday 28 March 2020 - parkrun substitute number 2

 
Since , the streets have gone very quiet. Shortly after posting the parkrun entry for 21 March, our computer failed. Luckily, I was able to take it to our local shop (who built it) on Monday morning, after which strict 'Social Distancing' rules came into force. Thankfully, my daughter Kate was able to pick the repaired computer on Tuesday after attending her grandma's funeral. Thank you Kate.
 
Thanks also go to Grapevine Computers in Altrincham for sorting out the problem and replacing the 2TB hard disc that had failed. Luckily, all the data could be transferred to the new disc, and our Dropbox back up files weren't needed.
 
I reported seeing 47 other runners during my parkrun substitute. Today I saw just one runner and a few dog walkers, albeit I set off well before 9 o'clock. Moreover, I've decided to avoid the busy canal towpath where two metres distancing from passing cyclists is impossible, in favour of Walton Road's quiet pavements.
 
Derbyshire Road South, pictured above, is normally fairly quiet, but Marsland Road, pictured below, is a busy main road - virtually empty yesterday as I jogged along in the lovely spring sunshine.
 
 
I tuned in to the and again this morning. 9/15 score this week was a big improvement! Perhaps because Sue was absent due to social distancing within our household (weird!?) and also because she was at Sainsburys, having taken over  as household shopper because she gets priority as an NHS employee working near 'the front line'. (Sadly she is not allowed to work from home.) Thanks Sue, you did well this morning. (We have flour and pasta!)

My 5 km times have slowed drastically this week to just inside 30 minutes. Today's 28.00 was my best time since last Saturday. The exercise is valuable though.

Take care and stay (at home) safe.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Saturday 21 March 2020 - parkrun substitute number 1

 
Today, parkrunners all over the world have been trying to resolve what to do at 9.00 am on Saturday morning. The Facebook and youtube channels provide some ideas, and there's a youtube video hosted by Vassos Alexander (). There's also a . We scored 5/15. Room for improvement.
 
I counted 47 runners as I set off at 9 am and went along a 6.7 km route, after which the queue for the coffees was rather more amenable than the supermarket queues I've had to brave recently. Most of the 47 were on the busy towpath, which I joined after 5 km in 26.36. I'm happy with that.
 
 
Here's my route, taken anti-clockwise, starting near Timperley Bridge, where I took the top selfie. You might need to click on the image to see it properly. Sue went for a walk up and down the towpath as she is injured for running at present. Neither of us saw any of our 'parkrun regulars', but we are in touch with some of them through a WhatsApp group.
 
 
Martha (encountered on her bike yesterday) and I were due to do our 250th parkruns together on 18 April, with lots of cake in attendance. That seems a distant memory of a plan now, especially as we don't have enough flour (and the shop shelves are bare) to make any cake. Unhappy days, but at least Sue and I have an income, unlike millions of others..

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Saturday 14 March 2020 - Wythenshawe parkrun number 431

 
Charley was today's Run Director. She is flanked by me and Cary for the simple reason that if we weren't there, she would crash to the ground. Sue has captured her above in a rare moment of stability.
 
The usual characters were in attendance - here Owen and Syd exchange insults...
 

At the start, Kate and Martha are checking that nobody makes a false start (that dodgy chap in green looks a likely culprit).
 
 
The event took place without incident (apart from lots of squidgy mud) and very little mention of the 'C' word, other than a consensus that folk would turn up next week for a 'Freedom' run, even if parkruns are put on hold. It was good to see many of the runners and walkers adjourning to the café.
 
Full results are , generally on the slow side due to the mud, but with notable performances from some of Sale Harriers' youngsters, including a very fast ten year old girl. Well done Isobel.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Saturday 7 March 2020 - Markeaton (Derby) parkrun number 318

 
Google seems to have created a few hurdles in order for me to access my blog, so this is just a short entry to check that I've managed to get it working, and a 'mobile' posting will follow, by way of a test using my phone rather than this desktop computer.
 
Saturday morning saw me in a park in Derby with Richard, pictured above. My pre-run pictures don't quite portray the numbers of participants.
 
 
 
 
I never got to hear the pre run briefing as I was crammed in amongst the 663 participants. This was a popular event! By some dint of fortune, I was within the first couple of hundred starters, so I can't complain too much about the minor hold up at the start. Richard soon went past, and as I didn't want to keep him waiting at the finish for too long I managed to adopt one of my quicker jogging paces, albeit there was an annoying hill that slowed the older participants on both the laps around this pleasant park.
 
Richard came home in a creditable position 28, whilst at 84th, I was happy to be in the first hundred to cross the finishing line. 23.35 was my time, and the age related percentage of 75.69% put me in 5th place overall on that basis. All in all, a satisfactory pre-walk jog, after which we zoomed back to our weekend base to resume activities there.
 
The picture below shows people finishing, as Richard and I departed the scene. I wish I'd spotted what appears to be a table of cakes in the bottom right.
 
 
The full results are . Well done, and thank you, to all the marshals who facilitated the smooth running of this event.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Saturday 29 February 2020 - Alexandra parkrun number 14

 
This week it soon became clear that Wythenshawe's parkrun would be cancelled for environmental reasons, and on Thursday the word went out that it was indeed cancelled. The run director gave some spurious reason in her email, but we all know that the real reason was that she didn't want to frighten the mallards in their new home.
 
So a large gang of Wythenshawe regulars descended once more on Alexandra parkrun, which wasn't without its own obstacles. Kate Holloway followed Cary, who was in expansive mood through a water splash. (Thanks to Kate for the photo.)
 
Michael, seen here with his friend Michelle, jogged slowly round, thus allowing me the honour of being the fastest 'over 70', despite me having been caught out chatting to Martha when the run started, leaving us at the back of the 384 strong field, and having to weave through the field to catch those who had started further forward. Our first kilometre was very slow.
 

As last week, we'd driven to the run in a downpour. Sue and I had even gone back inside to don full waterproofs. But, as last week, the rain stopped just as we were assembling at the start. Magic!

The full results are .

This week's 'café plan' worked a treat. Jenny (not running) got ahead of the masses and ordered coffees to arrive soon after we finished running. We'd had a long wait for them last week. It also seemed that the hard working staff were managing a bit better this week. It's a very good café.
 
 
Happy days...

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Saturday 22 February 2020 - Swanning Around at Alexandra park(run)

 
What a contrast to our last three parkruns at Kanata! Alexandra Park was at least 20C warmer, and there were 404 participants, compared with 11 last week at Kanata.
 
I used to live around the corner on Manley Road, back in the 1970s, but I didn't visit the park very much. I think the whole place has been renovated since then, with the Pavilion, described and pictured below, now housing a vibrant café etc.
 
 
Click on the pictures to get a better version.
 
 
There were over a dozen of us, plus the Cordingley family, who normally go to Wythenshawe Park, but that parkrun was cancelled today because of the waterlogged ground.
 
Alexandra parkrun may cancel when it's frosty, but the tarmac surfaces mean that a drop of rain  just gives rise to a few puddles, as pictured below.
 
 
Owen's needs are such that he loves parkrun, but requires a buddy to accompany him. I did this today, and we finished in a satisfactory 35 minutes or so. Rather slower than my usual pace, but just about the pace I need to maintain for over 26 miles in a few weeks' time. So good practice at running slowly!
 
Whilst Sue was setting her fastest time this year, and coming home first in her age category for the sixth consecutive week, Owen was loving running through the long avenue of sunlit trees.
 
 
We had to wait for a while to get our post-run coffees, whilst a dance group performed on the other side of a partition, but it was good to see that the café has changed its Saturday opening time (it was 10.00 when we were last here) to accommodate a 9.30 influx of thirsty runners; and a jolly time was had by all.
 
 
Full results are .

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Saturday 15 February 2020 - Kanata parkrun number 120, and a romp around Mooney's Bay

On arrival at Kanata on another 'three layer morning', I spotted Steve Gamble, so I knew I wouldn't be first finisher. Any pressure to come home first for three weeks running was off.

That made for a very pleasant 5 km jog on the cold day, but we were sufficiently wrapped up for only the lungs to complain about the temperature (minus 12°C plus considerable wind chill). There may be more pictures in due course, but the one I've chosen for now is of Sue at the finish, where the 'funnel' consisted of a phalanx of volunteers. 

Sue and I went back to join the tail walker, Yanic, who was with his friend Justine. She had just arrived from Singapore, where it is a little warmer. Quite a shock to her system!

Earlier results from Wythenshawe parkrun indicated over 300 participants despite desperate weather conditions. Impressive!

The majority of our runners and volunteers adjourned to the Morning Owl café, where some of us enjoyed the smashed avocado with two fried eggs on a rosti base, topped with balsamic rocket. Delicious. We were sad to say goodbye to this group of parkrun friends, who we won't see for another year unless they visit us in Manchester.

No lunch was needed.

The afternoon found Sue and me on our skis at Mooney's Bay, a five minute drive from home, enjoying a windswept three laps of the 3.2 km cross country skiing course. Meanwhile, Ken was skiing the Gatineau Loppet (Classic skis) for the eleventh time. Congratulations to him for completing the 50 km course in 4 hours 15 minutes, a personal best. He goes out on the same course tomorrow with his skate skis for his second 50 km race in two days. Good luck with that, Ken!

So it's a high carb dinner again....

The bottom picture shows the stadium at Mooney's Bay, where lots of tuition was taking place. I would liken this facility to Stretford Athletics Stadium in Longford Park, which is similar in size and nature to the Mooney's Bay area, albeit Longford Park is further from the river, and the Mersey doesn't (to the best of my knowledge) have a beach. 

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Saturday 8 February 2020 - Kanata parkrun number 119

Paul Barber, famous for his 'slowest ever' first finisher statistic at Wythenshawe parkrun, will be impressed with this. How about a time of 32.42 for a first finisher's time? That was my achievement today, with Sue coming in third in 34.10.

We've had some snow, which in places was tamped down to an icy veneer. Crampons, which we were wearing, handled this well. However, most of the 5 km route hadn't been tamped down and was really only fit for snow shoes, being about 30 cm deep in soft dry snow. We didn't have snow shoes. Nor did any of the other 'runners' so far as I could see.

Times weren't really helped by the Arctic wind that swept across the lake that we run around, turning the ambient temperature of minus 20°C into a wind chill adjusted, chilling experience, of somewhere between minus 30 and minus 40°C. Even then, Sue, who had decided that it wasn't really t-shirt weather, claimed to be sweaty under her five layers. My 'three layer' system worked perfectly apart from its failure to deal with the frozen snot that migrated to my mittens.

We are pictured (thanks Helen) in our kit after the 'run'.

I fear that in similar conditions our 'home' parkrun at Wythenshawe would have been cancelled, as was today's intended venue at Orleans, which is even more susceptible to windchill than Kanata.

It's actually the marshalls who suffer more than the runners, so a big thank you to all the volunteers who braved the conditions and enabled today's run to take place.

Meanwhile, Ken was out skiing. Brrr!

If we do anything else of note today, I'll report on it tomorrow. It's a brilliantly clear, sunny day in Ottawa, so we may be tempted by a walk by the river to the beach, but I for one am not going out without my down jacket!

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Kanata parkrun number 118

We arrived here in Ottawa late last night, but we did manage to drag ourselves out for a 9 am burst of exercise.

Whilst Helen volunteered, Sue and I donned our crampons and set off along the narrow icy paths.

Had we thought about it, we may have aimed to mimic Gayle and Mick's parkrun podium achievement last week, but sadly Sue fell back into fourth place, despite just being dressed in a t-shirt and leggings, and it being minus 9°C.

I was delighted to be able to match Gayle's success, if not her time - my first ever 001 finish token!

I suspect that we both needed to go overseas for such successes - my time would certainly put me well down the field in any UK parkrun. 

What fun!

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Sherwood Pines parkrun

 
 
 
This parkrun takes place only a couple of miles from Center Parcs, so I popped along whilst the others got a few minutes exercise on hydrobikes.

Curiously, there were 390 participants on the single lap course along forest paths - the same as Wythenshawe last week. Also, curiously,  I took exactly the same time as last week - 23.54, but my position was slightly different - thanks possibly to all the fast 11 year olds at Sherwood Pines.

Full results are .

It was a lovely clear morning - ideal for this 5 km jog.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Saturday 11 January 2020 - Wythenshawe parkrun number 424

 
On a routine Saturday morning on the 5 km 'Reverse Flag and Sandcastle' course, Jan rests under the supervision of Oliver after speeding off ahead of me, despite my efforts to slow him down with inconsequential chat at around the 3 km mark.
 
Full results are . Another good turn out of 390 people. Laura was first woman again, in another new PB, so well done to her - she's now flying ahead of her dad.
 
I was over a minute slower on today's (Sunday) faster 'Great Run Local' course, but as it was somewhat rainy, and I was wearing full waterproofs, I'll live with that.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Happy New Year

 
For the second year running, we've started with a parkrun rather than a walk.
 
But first we celebrated the entrance of a new decade with our good friends, Chris, Louise, Lyn, Gerry and Robert. A lovely evening with a fine meal and some rather silly games whilst we awaited the witching hour. Worrying days are ahead though, now that we have a 'leader' who you wouldn't trust to post a letter, and who can't be impeached however far his right wing tendencies may reach.
Ho hum, I hope I'm wrong.
 
 
From Lyn's house in Adlington it was just a half hour's drive to Ormskirk, where we were joined by about a dozen reprobates from Wythenshawe (no parkrun there today) whilst we sheltered from the cool breeze  and awaited the sun to rise over another decade.
 
 
Over 450 people turned up, and it was a slow start for many of us around the perimeter of a running track. This was the 298th parkrun here, and the highest attendance other than NYD 2019. The course record was beaten today, with the first person coming home in 15.28. It's a two lap course, like many parkruns, and the first time I've been lapped except when volunteering as Tail Walker. And I set the third fastest VM70 time on this course - it would have been second fastest had someone else today smashed that record as well.
 
Considering she claimed to be injured, Sue finished only just behind me in a flurry of bird's nest hair.
 
 
The sun was in the wrong place for taking pictures of finishers, excepting their rear view.
 
 
 
Well, that was fun, and a great way to start the year. How about another one?
 
We weren't the only ones to think that, as a lonely convoy of cars made its way along otherwise empty roads to the centre of Skelmersdale. Not an obvious venue for a parkrun, but the Tawd Valley Park, adjacent to the town centre, offers a single lap over mixed ground, with a few hills, for those locals who want a bit of Saturday morning exercise.
 
Many of those running at Ormskirk migrated to Southport for their second bout of exercise, but we chose Tawd Valley's 10.30 run as it was on the way home. Sue and I were pleased to find Keith, from Crosby, in attendance today, and running quite impressively. I'd tried to contact him last night but my 'phone rejected his number. He must be psychic!
 
Only on special days, like New Years Day, do English parkruns take place other than on a Saturday morning at 9 am. I doubt there are many Run Directors who oversee more than one event in a day, but Ormskirk's trusty host had scooted over to Skem to repeat his 'speech', claiming it was his twin brother in action!
 
 
Jenn is usually a fair way behind me over 5 km, but after another slow start on a narrow path, I was surprised to catch her up after about 2 km. She explained that she was after 'a strong performance'. Perhaps I should have stayed around to help her, but despite slowing towards the end, she did manage a good sprint, only a little way adrift of me.
 
 
She was well ahead of Dan and Amanda, who are to be congratulated on their recent engagement.
 
 
Not far behind them, Charley found a fine sprint finish, with both feet at least 6 inches off the ground, to impressively whizz past a man dressed in pink pyjamas
 
 
The header picture, and the one below, are courtesy of a stranger with Jenn's 'phone. Thanks Jenn, what a happy looking crowd of tourists, and well done to Andy for two very strong sub 20 minute performances, coming 12th and first respectively in the age graded results.
 
 
Ormskirk's full results are , and Tawd Valley's are .

A great way to start the year.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Saturday 28 December 2019 - Wythenshawe parkrun Number 422

 
Back to 'normal' today - no outfits to slow us down, and a clear route to the first chicane-less corner, so no excuse for slow times. Unless you were a Barber - Paul "hangover", Laura "stitch", and Jeanette "my collar bone is broken"; ok, we'll let you off, Jeanette!
 
Oliver was back to his job of interviewing the ever constant flow of first timers with his usual alacrity, then Run Director Alan spent a good few minutes explaining the course (Flag and Sandcastle backwards again), before the usual announcements, with a landmark performer having forgotten to bring cake, so we would have to do with last week's leftovers!
 
On the course, life was pretty uneventful, with several people passing me as I slowed down in the last 2 km, and Andrew outsprinting his dad to the finish.
 
 
Cary slowed dramatically towards the finish, blaming 'Stopwatch Bingo' for his noticeable lack of effort!
 
 
Apparently 'Stopwatch Bingo' is a nerdy sort of 'collectors' thing - it's explained :
 
"The idea is simple, every time you finish a parkrun, you discard the “minutes” bit of your finishing time and use the “seconds” to complete a virtual bingo card, that contains sixty numbers from 00 to 59."
 
Apparently Cary needs just 3 more times to complete his card, so he was deliberately slowing down in an effort to get one of them.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Wednesday 25 December 2019 - Christmas Day parkrun at Wilmslow

 
Parkrun on Christmas morning has become a 'habit', if not a tradition. We went to , and to .
 
This time Wilmslow got the vote again. It proved to be a popular venue. 520 runners and walkers turned up, which broke their attendance record by over 150 participants.
 
A chicane near the start made for a considerable delay, so the first kilometre took those of us in the middle of the pack an extra minute to get through, but today at least I wasn't handicapped by the soggy legs of a tree costume, even though more time was lost on the course's four hills, and the overall congestion didn't help. Anyway, it's not a race, and everyone was in a very jolly mood.
 
Before we started, I took the picture shown above, of our very good friends and running addicts, the Barbers.
 
Afterwards I handed the camera to a random bystander who took a couple of pictures, first missing Jeanette and Greg, then missing most of our feet.
 
 
 
Wilmslow's hospitality was impeccable, with lots of cake, and yes, that is a champagne glass I'm holding. Full results are , with Laura in her now customary position just ahead of her dad but well behind Greg. There were numerous other 'Wythenshawe tourists', but with 500 people milling around at the finish we only managed to recruit Diana, Richard and Joe to join us and the Barbers for the Wythenshawe team photo.
 
Then Sue and I zoomed to Altrincham where Sue was ringing church bells, then home to cook dinner for Richard and Diana, Mike and Sarah, and Bob and Wendy. A good time was had by all, but no cameras were turned on. I'll remember the meal for having started at 2 pm, and finally getting up from the table at 8.15, on the grounds that Mike and Sarah had to go home to feed their cat!
 
Thanks everyone for your excellent company both at the parkrun and in Timperley.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Saturday 21 December 2019 - Wythenshawe parkrun number 421

 
It's the time of year when many people dress up for their 5 km parkrun pre Christmas ritual.
 
Cary's was a particularly good disguise!
 
Alan's team was also preparing for action.
 
 
We ran the Flag and Sandcastle course 'backwards'. I think Dan (Run Director for the day) meant 'in reverse'. Here we are at the start.
 
 
Sue posed with two reprobates - Running Ron, and Andy 'No Show', who by dint of some unexpected miracle had actually turned up.
 
 
The numbers swelled as it got closer to nine o' clock.
 
 

 
 
Oliver looked on as the Cordingly Dynasty assembled en masse.
 
 
Then we were off, soon into the muddy grass of the 'flag' area, then back up the start/finish straight.
 
The legs of my costume were by now sodden and dragging around the ankles. Hard work! And more mud to come...
 
 
My camera had been given to Rowena, who took this series of photos, hence the regular appearance of her heavily disguised father... Thanks Rowena, you did well.
 
 
After the first lap, even 'slow Alastair' came steaming past me!
 
 
I think Cary blamed the hot beard for his slow time.
 
 
I struggled to the finish in 25.36, feeling as if my ankles had weights attached to them. Position 82. (.)
 
 
Cheeky Andrew flew past Sue in the finishing straight. 
 
 
A quick post run photo, then it was off to the café for coffee and scones.
 
 
 
Well, that was such a jolly occasion that we repeated it on Sunday at the Great Run Local event in Wythenshawe Park. Here's a team of worthies - Winston Runners I presume.
 

There was no Rowena to take photos today...

The legs were as much of a drag as ever, but I did manage to shave two seconds of the previous day's time, with Sue just behind, though Richard Bacon (78) finished well ahead of us today.
 
 
.
 
Two lovely events. Very enjoyable, as was the subsequent soak in the bath - for both bodies and my costume.

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