by Kerstin Pepper: Run Director
The One With All the Warm and Fuzzies
Excuse me while I get mushy for a moment. This Saturday's parkrun was one of my favourites for a long time (though obviously every Saturday is my favourite day of the week!).
Sometimes, all the stars align, the magic kicks in, and you end up with the perfect parkrun, despite dire predictions.
On Friday afternoon, we went to Perrigo Park to check out the course, after a week of record rainfall had flooded rivers, toppled trees and caused mudslides around the state. We were not surprised, and not particularly happy, to find our fears were well founded:
Our beloved Evans Creek Trail resembled more of a river, and the park had put up Trail Closed signs at either end. Dismayed, we tried to come up with an alternative route, ideally avoiding just running 8 laps of the soccer fields. Great for PRs, but not so great for motivation.
Core member Dean got his chalk out, consulted his trusty Garmin, and did some quick mental math. We marked trees, shrugged our shoulders and hoped that nobody would mind if we ended up 0.04 miles short of 5k. Assuming that anyone even showed up, with Friday evening's forecast promising strong winds, heavy rain and yet more flooding.
Saturday morning rolled around, the alarm went off, and I grudgingly hit the snooze button, listening to the rain pouring down outside. And then...checked my weather app:
Could it be? Could parkrun magic happen yet again? A perfect break in the rain for just the two hours we will be at Perrigo?
Things got even better as I arrived at the park early to run the route with Dean Faber and Allison Prather, our regular Hi-Viz Heroes. Not only had the Trail Closure signs been taken down, there was not so much as a puddle on the trail. We set up our snacks and coffee station, brewed the coffee that has very generously been donated by a parkrunner whose husband happens to work for Starbucks, and started to set up for what we thought would be a very small crowd of hardcore regulars.
And then something unexpected happened. People we'd never met before started arriving, and introducing themselves, showing us their barcodes and asking what to do with them. Cars pulled into the car park, and more and more folk appeared under our shelter, helping to set up, chatting and mingling and creating this great buzz of a community getting to know each other. Charlie Brown the chocolate lab puppy (maybe our new Perrigo mascot?) made lots of friends, and.....AND.... THE SUN CAME OUT!!!!
As the conversation flowed, and the crowd grew, we got ready to run!
In the end, we had 64 amazing parkrunners. We welcomed an incredible EIGHTEEN first timers (we love seeing parkrun growing and growing), celebrated 12 awesome PBs and saw our course record smashed, yet again! What we'd predicted to be a messy, re-routed and small parkrun ended up being one of our most successful yet. I wish I knew what the magic formula was, because we'd bottle it for sure!
We had a very speedy field this week, with the first 15 runners coming in at under 24 minutes, and the first 7 under 20 minutes!
Top Three Men
Ian Fay led the pack, taking an amazing 58 seconds off his previous best, and smashing (his own) course record in the process. 15:52 is now the time to beat. I suspect that record may stand for a while - Ian was the fastest parkrunner in the entire US this week. Congratulations, speed demon Ian!
In hot pursuit was Dan Metteer, coming in second place at his 20th parkrun with an amazing PB of 18:43, shaving 20 seconds off his previous PB. Well done Dan, you make it look far too easy!
First timer, Jason Hect from Eastside Runners came in third place, just 2 seconds behind Dan, at 18:45. Many congrats Jason - we hope you'll be back!
Top Three Women
Daria Troshanova crushed it yet again, coming in at 24:07 and taking almost a full minute off her previous PB. Amazing, Daria!!
Shannon Chappon was not far behind, coming in at 25:28 for another PB at her third parkrun. Well done, Shannon!
First timer Ai Nakatani was third woman in, at 27:21. We hope you'll be back, Ai !!
Personal Bests (PBs)
We had an amazing 12 PBs on Saturday morning. Other than those mentioned above, they were:
Jonathan Szollar - 19:10, with an age grading of 70.70%!!
Joel Walters - 22:03, taking an incredible 5 minutes and 22 seconds off his previous time.
John Hoegger - 22:57, coming in 14 seconds faster than his last PB.
Aditya Shrivastava - 25:42, shaving 18 seconds of his previous fastest.
Mike King - 26:57, coming in 51 seconds faster at his 4th parkrun.
Sofia Osmanbhoy- 27:50 at only her second parkrun as a junior parkrunner (11-14).
Niamh Carrig - 28:20, taking a huge 1 minute 10 seconds off her previous PB, at her 20th parkrun.
Kelley Osmanbhoy - 33:35, a PB at only her 2nd parkrun!
Congratulations to Simon Jenness, who recently completed his 10th parkrun. Simon is the 3rd junior parkunner at Perrigo to earn his 10 shirt - we can't wait to see more white tees out on the course!!
Well done Simon - your dedication is admirable!
Thank you so much to our High-Viz heroes this week, our wonderful volunteers who help keep the parkrun world go round:
Kerstin Pepper - Run Director
Kelly Lyon-King - Timekeeper
Dean Faber - Timekeeper
Allison Prather - Barcode Scanner
Melani McGrath - Tail Walker
Zandra Otubamowo - Marshal / Photographer
Abegail Seber - Photographer
Kevin Sorensen - Token Distributor
It's not just me that had the "perfect parkrun" warm and fuzzy feeling this week. We received no less than four positive reviews / emails / FB posts commenting on what a great day it had been. And post-parkrun coffee was an absolute treat - great coffee, and fantastic company.
Don't forget we have some noteable parkruns coming up:
15th February - Valentines parkrun (wear red / pink, and bring your love!)
22nd February - Tutu parkrun - self explanatory!
29th February - Leap Day parkrun (first ever!). Theme TBD, please offer any suggestions.
8th March - International Women's Day - wear purple!
That's it folks!
Thank you so very much for keeping the parkrun love alive. We can't tell you how much it means to us to see this wonderful community growing closer and growing bigger. #loveparkrun
Thank you for indulging me for this schmaltzy run report.
Let's do it all again next weekend!
Your sentimental old RD,