Best wishes and happy new year to all parkrunners. I know 2018 is going to be a bumper year for all of us. I can say this with confidence, because after just one week of the new year we are already in record territory. The extra New Year parkrun is always optional for our wonderful volunteers but this year 31 parkruns opted to hold the extra runs and we had our largest ever total participants of about 9,000 -10,000 runners and volunteers. But it was really the first “proper” parkrunday on the 6th January that gave us a clue about how exciting 2018 promises to be.
Almost 50,000 participants ran, jogged and walked at our 128 different venues. This is a higher total than our largest turnout last year. And this in a week which is traditionally a holiday week with many parkrunners away on holiday and not actively participating. Not only did our runner numbers soar but also our volunteer numbers grew substantially (1,775) as well.
What is both exhilarating and a tiny bit scary is that our giant Saturdays are still to come. If past trends are anything to go by that’s this Saturday and next.
We are also delighted with our New Year gift which is that after a “sabbatical” of nearly 10 months Westbury parkrun is re-joining the parkrun family on Saturday. Construction work forced the temporary closure of Westbury and as always with these things the promised few weeks delay turned into months and the months into almost a year. But now we are set to go and event director Irene Jacobs and her team are waiting to welcome parkrunners to Westbury again on Saturday. We are expecting a large and enthusiastic turn-out!
The recent heatwave we have been experiencing has reminded us of the difficulties of exercising in hot weather. I would like to urge all parkrunners to drink lots of water, bring drinks to their favourite parkrun and wear light clothing. Remember it is not the responsibility of the volunteers to supply drinks at parkruns.
Please also consider leaving your dogs behind. In this heat it is unkind to dogs to expect them to run 5 kilometres. (Please read our piece later in this newsletter about dogs and heat exhaustion.)
parkrunners cannot failed to have noticed that in recent months we have introduced a new volunteer position; “Tail Walker” The role of the Tail Walker is a very important as the Tail Walker accompanies the slowest walker checking that all is well at the back of the field. In addition the Tail Walker ensures that no one can finish last in any parkrun as the Tail Walker always brings up the rear. The event is closed when the Tail Walker finishes the route.
Cheers for now,
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