When did we start wearing turkeys on our heads?
Although parkrun is predominantly a local event, we are all part of a global community of parkrunners in more than twenty countries, all walking, running and volunteering in our local parks on Saturday mornings. Every year, parkruns can take place on two extra days: New Year’s Day and a day chosen by each country.
Several years ago, after a brief flirtation with Christmas Day (looking at you, Clermont Waterfront parkrun), the USA chose Thanksgiving Day for our extra day of parkrunning. This was a wise move, as Thanksgiving Day never falls on a Saturday, and so we never “lose” our extra event. Pity the nine countries who chose Christmas Day for their extra event, as Christmas Day falls on a Saturday this year. (Our neighbors to the north chose Canada Day. Is it too soon to start planning a road trip for Friday July 1, 2022? That would be a great way to start the long 4th of July weekend.)
Back in 2019, Lillie parkrun set an attendance record with 107 finishers on Thanksgiving Day. We had high hopes for another record this year but, alas, the weather did not cooperate. “Cold and rainy” is a polite description. Some people find that this weather is better than a warm summer day for the actual running/walking part of parkrunning, but this is not the best weather for getting yourself out of bed, driving to Lillie Park and standing around before the start. 66 hardy souls came to walk or run, and 18 hardier souls came to volunteer (with some people in both categories). Lillie parkrun is entirely run by volunteers. I am sure we all have different things to be thankful for at Thanksgiving, but a feeling of gratitude for our volunteers is something we surely all share. It is great to hear that sixty-six different people have volunteered at Lillie parkrun since we restarted six months ago.
Some of our First-Timers
Despite the inclement weather, eleven people completed their first Lillie parkrun. Welcome to Alex B, Brian W, Celina S, Christopher C¸ Elizabeth B, Elizabeth P, Emma W, Jeanne R¸ Marisa C (the 1,000th different finisher at Lillie parkrun!), Otis V and Tom O. If you live locally, we hope to see you again soon. And if you were visiting from out of town, we hope that out of town has a parkrun. We also had a first-time volunteer. Thank you, Jeremy W, for arriving early to set up the course.
First-timers are great, but second-timers are the future of parkrun. Anyone can stumble across, or be dragged to, a parkrun. But when they return for a second event, they are validating parkrun’s existence. Welcome back Madeline B, Mara R, Robert O and Roger H. We hope we see you again soon.
At the other end of the attendance spectrum, we celebrated three milestones. Rich E, Terese B and Vanessa C all completed their 50th parkruns.
Rich was part of the team that founded Lillie parkrun in 2018. He and Steph have since moved back to England, but it was great to see them back at Lillie parkrun, on Rich’s birthday no less.
Terese and her family are frequent parkrunners. Younger son David will celebrate his 50th milestone when he next finishes, husband Corey is close behind (46 finishes to his name), and elder son Sam, a frequent runner before the COVID pause, is now a regular volunteer, full of encouragement at the roundabout.
Vanessa is one of our most frequent volunteers, often getting up at the crack of dawn to set up the course. She also writes a great run report (but not this one!) and, as we discovered yesterday, bakes a mean turkey cake.
Congratulations, Rich, Terese and Vanessa. We look forward to seeing you in your red 50 shirts soon.
Biggby, our usual post-parkrun coffee hang-out was closed for Thanksgiving, and so our parkrunners brought assorted cakes, snacks and hot drinks. Much appreciated.
I could go on, but it’s the day after Thanksgiving and I need to get ready for another parkrun tomorrow morning. TWO PARKRUNS IN THREE DAYS. I love it! 9am. Lillie Park South. Every Saturday. See you there.