Sunday, 19 April 2020

Insolation Diaries

I'm having internal battles with myself. I've been having nightmares, replaying every stupid thing I've ever said in my head.(literally as far back as I can remember! Things from primary school!) Looking at pictures of every awful outfit I've worn. (Like the awful singers on xFactor, why did noone ever stop me). Reliving the fear after every night out, where in the moment I'm convinced I'm being charming and eloquent, but upon reflection I was a drunk, messy, loud mouth.
To co inside with the Covid-19 restrictions, the start of this month marked my 30th birthday. I was starting to get excited. My husband and I often joke, that we can't have nice things. The kids normally destroy them, but I was getting excited for this.

I had saved up and ordered myself a set of four stacking rings with the stones made from my breastmilk. One ring for each of my 3 boys and one for the donations I made. (I donated after all 3 boys were born, 13400ml in total). Pumping for the rings was my last act of breastfeeding, as my eldest (2yr 4m) has just finished feeding. (Finally!!! It's been over 6 years, I'm tired!!) But the company has closed temporarily so there will be a 3-6 month delay on it. 

My husband had arranged a surprise party, with dozens of people, some even flying in for the occasion. (We've recently moved back to Ireland, so most of my friends are in UK). I of course didn't know about it and it was rightly cancelled due to the restrictions. Bummer, but nice to know people like me enough to come!

But what's set my back confidence wise more than anything is having my first tattoo cancelled. I've wanted a tattoo for as long as I can remember, but always put it off, untill I was fitter, skinnier, sexier, till after the kids, till I felt worthy. I've been saying this to myself for at least 15years. I remember first dieting at 10, I first made myself sick at 12. But I don't want to think that way anymore. Me, deciding to get a tattoo was my way of accepting my body. Of telling myself you are worthy. I've spent 20 years of my life hating myself because  ofhow I look, I wasn't going to spend my 30s feeling the same.

I know it'll be prosboned, and I'll get it when everything gets back to normal, so long as I can afford it then, with both of us loosing our jobs, normal may look differently for a while.

This while situation has made me take stock of a lot. Think about how I feel about me. When I was a little girl I never dreamed about my wedding day, or how handsome my husband would be or how beautiful I'd look in a dress. I never dreamed anyone would ever want to marry me. I always longed for someone to look at me and find me attractive for me. Find me funny as an equal not as the butt of a joke. Want to be with me for me, not as the consolation prize, or as the forefit of a dare. I never dreamed I'd have kids. Or I'd have friends for that matter. But, looking at 30yo me, 15yo me would never in a million years believe I exist.

But this isolation is making the voices creep back in. I look at myself in the mirror and I like what I see, but then I check myself, and say no, because I'm not what society deems attractive, or sexy. I'm 5"10', 190lbs, I have stretch marks, a double chin, a flabby belly and my thighs rub. But I'm fit, I'm strong, I'm a good person. I deserve to like what I see looking back at me in the mirror, but the voices won't stop. And I don't know how to make them.

I know Shane finds me sexy. Well, I think know he does, he's not very good with words. For a few weeks, I've been trying to take sexy photos and send them to him, but he doesn't respond, or even acknowledge them for days, but he says he gets them and he likes them when pressed. He's struggling too, he's lost his job again, and after moving his family back to Ireland, to now face unemployment is weighing heavily on his shoulders. It still feels like a rejection though, and after spending my entire life seeking validation, it's a bitter rejection to take.

‌I know these are all superficial, first world problems, given the global crisis we're facing, and I haven't even touched on the kids and that level of crazy, but I'm trying to focus on me for a bit. Taking a Body Positive approach to my mental health, and shake this negativity I'm feeling creeping in. If you've gotten this far, congratulations! I know I can waffle on a bit. I don't even know why I'm writing, it's as if it's easier to throw these thoughts out into the ether than directly to someone, there's less pressure for a response, and less expected judgement.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Passport Photos are the actual worst.

There's nothing like having to renew a passport to really show the passing of time. And there's nothing like a passport photo to show just how much you've aged in that time.

I got my last passport so Shane could take me to New York for my 21st.

We visited America, Spain and Thailand and moved to England on that passport.
We had 3 children and bought/ sold two houses.
We spent a year apart, and moved back to Ireland.

Now with an impending 'big birthday', and the kids a little older I'm starting to look at me again. All the girls I went to school with are turning 30 and look amazing in the photos.
The only photos I have of me are selfies stuck under the kids. And this dammed passport photo.

I look like a bloated convict.
There has to be a way to get a nicer passport photo, because I physically can't look at this for the next 10 years.

I've always tried to be body positive, and celebrate my curvy frame. Remembering a time I was a finalist for Simply Be and time presenting and my stints as a plus sized model on TV, but that was over a decade ago, and to look at that girl I don't recognise her in me anymore.

I'm too young to say I've let myself go, but that's exactly how I feel. I eat fairly ok, I exercise regularly, I work, I get involved in the community, but all I can see when I look in the mirror is a tired, over-weight burden.

I've spoken to Shane recently about how he hasn't changed that much since having the kids. And what has changed is hailed as a 'DadBod', in the media.

Women have a much different landscape to deal with. We give up our entire physical appearance. Inside too, when we have kids. Things change, they feel different. You look so different too. And we have the fix it. Constantly bombarded with fad diets, bootcamps, pills.
And it's not just shit you can see. We're reminded it feels different for our partners after we've had babies too so we need to do kegals and keep down there tidy.
Fuck off!
The "get your body back" tag line is everywhere. I'm sorry but that body doesn't exist any more!

For all the time I spend
'swimming', with the kids
I don't know when I last
did an actual stroke! 
I know that logically, but it didn't help when Daithí grabbed my belly when I was getting us dressed after swimming yesterday, shook it with both hands and said 'why is your belly so wiggly Mammy', I wanted the ground to swallow me up, but I managed something about growing him and his brothers bal bla bla.

Buy I'm sorry, the thankless bullshit of motherhood isn't enough to make up for how much it's fucked my body up.

I've joked that my hair colour is a carefully constructed 'motherhood neglect', and that there's no point getting my nails done, they'll only get ruined. But the truth is, I feel guilty spending that much money on something that isn't necessary. I feel guilty having the kids minded for so long for something so frivolous. I feel guilty for prioritising how I look, when the house looks like a bomb hit it
 Every. Single. Day.

The rare few minutes of them being sweet to eachother, or the one off times they're actually really funny doesn't out weigh the constant needing, and whining, and whinging, and wanting, and fighting.

A typical school run

I don't have a profound or insightful message to end this on. I'm struggling to find the silver lining, or the positive spin. It's just a bit of a rant to throw out into the abis, cos I can't actually fit in a councillor session ATM, and I miss my friends so bloody much!! But is it too late to give up on this Motherhood milark, I don't think I'm cut out for it. It's not for me.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

We all have our reasons for running, but to lend to this conversation I'll share mine.

parkrun is saving my life.

Yes, that sounds dramatic, but indulge me if you will.

It was regular runner Anne JOHNS who encouraged me to come to Bedworth for their 4th event back on 17th February 2018. It was snowing quite heavily and I wasn't sure if I could even run 5km, I was cold, I was miserable, but I did, and from there an obsession and friendships grew. 

Fast forward to November 2018 and for the sake of this piece, I'll give you the abridged version. My husband moved back to Ireland for work, leaving me solo parenting 3 kiddies (1,3&5) in the UK, with no other family around. I have always been very open about my struggles with my mental health, but this was the most lonely, isolating and challenging thing I have ever faced.

The realisation hit me on New Years Eve 2018 as I was sharing bottle of Prosecco with Graham Norton and his guests, that I may not talk to another adult for a few days. Then I noticed one of the Bedworth core team say she was going to a parkrun event on FB. I had heard of the NYDD (New Year Day Double, the one day of the year, you can register at two runs in the one day), but hadn't had the time to research it (3 kids leaves you very little time to do anything). So in a little bit of stalker fashion, I decided to do the same two New Years Day Runs that the team were doing.

I'd never ran with a buggy before, the kids were excited, and I was nervous. New place, about 1000 people, and me and my 3 kids.

Finishing his first parkrun, Sutton, NewYear's Day

Running together

Wonky Bear, Da and I at Bushy, Dublin

10km roadrace with Rathangan Runners

NYDD - Kingsbury Waterpark

I did it, Fionn moaned, but his little face when he crossed the finish line was worth it. The other two enjoyed the ride around the beautiful Sutton Park.

Then it was on to Kingsburry. I wasn't going to go, Fionn was tired, I was tired, but then 500m from the end of the run I saw the Bedworth team, and they asked if I was going. That was it, decision made, now how to make it work. I strapped the baby into the carrier and strapped the older two into the buggy and ran. (Ok, I didn't run, I trudged)

 I could hear people questioning my sanity. I was questioning my sanity, but that was when it hit me, I was doing it for my sanity.

I got back to the car, and as it turned out, amidst the hundreds, I was parked beside the Bedworth Team. One of the girls ran over and gave me a hug and said happy new year. That was the only person I hugged until my husband got back for a visit over a week later.

That day I made the decision I was going to run. And if the options were to run with the kids or not at all, I guess Ill be running with the kids. There were weeks where if I didn't go to parkrun I wouldn't actually speak to anyone I knew. So I went, and despite how long it took to get around everyone was always warm, and welcoming and encouraging. There was always a friendly face, and a chat.

The 9 months by myself in England I found solace in Bedworth on a Saturday morning. I more often than not arrived with 3 kids in tow, and no-one ever batted an eyelid. On days when I questioned my sanity leaving the house with 3 boys, 5 and under, the team at Bedworth always made me feel at ease and so welcome.

The week came to move and I booked a Sunday boat to allow me run at Dishly, Loughborough for the With Me Now Pow Wow (an independent podcast all about parkrun). The voices of Danny NORMAN and Nicola FORWOOD became so familiar I knew I couldn't leave the UK without meeting them. 

Since moving back to Ireland, I've kept up the obsession. 
First was the question of where my home run should be. I am in Rathangan, Co. Kildare, so equi-distance from Mountlucas, Naas and Vickerstown. I'm officially registered bat Naas although I've only ran there once, they're all beautiful runs and have their own special things going for them. I've also joined the local running club, something I'd have never had the confidence to do without parkrun. Every time I'm out, I can't help but scope out potential new parkrun routes around the local area. 

The fact we're living together as a family again, means I can explore a bit more, I've ran at 16 different venues in Ireland and I plan to tick every run in the country off over the next few years. My parkrun map of Ireland takes pride of place on the wall at home. Every weekend, no matter what starts with parkrun. I've ran on Hen Weekends, Girly City Breaks, the morning of weddings, I just wouldn't feel right without it. I've also set myself a short term goal of running 50 parkruns this year. And despite having to take a weekend job last month, I'm still on track to do it.

Everyone's parkrun story is different, but I think we can all benefit from a free, weekly, timed run. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

A Quarter Cowell

I was excited to travel to Limerick for a hen party this weekend. The opportunity to catch up with some friends, but also the chance to run at a new parkrun, my 25th different venue. 

I set off from home in the dark, popped The Boat House University of Limerick in the sat Nov, and made the 90minute journey. I arrived early, 9am to find ample free parking and toilets available in the sports hall. 

I was greeted by a friendly bunch of volunteers setting up the course, including Event Director and parkrun Ambassador Shona NÍ FHLOINN. The course was explained as one small lap, followed by three bigger laps. There was also mention of a hill. Not a welcome word on a four lap course!! 

The day was warmer than expected, and I regretted my base layer under my shirt. More experienced runners of Limerick made use of the tarp left by the start area and discarded hoodies and jackets after lap one. 

It may not have been as cold, but the parkrun weather fairies could only hold back the rain for so long. The two cheery marshalls provided a breath of fresh air on an otherwise dreary morning.

The layout of the course meant we passed each marshal a number of times, something I always think is lovely, as you get to make little jokes each time you see them.

There was so much going on, even for 9.30am on a Saturday morning. The rowing club were preparing for a competition and The All Ireland Scholarship Awards Ceremony was being held on campus. Had I know Joe Schmidt was in attendance I might have tried to blag my way in. The Limerick Hurling Academy were in full swing, training at the pavilion where we had coffee and toast afterwards. It really is a beautiful facility to be available to runners.

I noticed different features as we looped along the river and through the trees. Old cottages still lived in, were a charming contrast to the imposing modern architecture of the bridge across the river Shannon.  The students' accommodation was also an interesting blend of concrete and wood finished structures. 

There were two narrow sections where kissing gates once stood that were the only tricky bits to navigate. It's for this reason I don't think Limerick is a buggy friendly course. Least not for the double or large wheeled running buggies I'm used to using. 

The course is otherwise very easy to run on, a combination of concrete and easy trail, with some twists and turns and up and down bridges. I only really noticed the aforementioned hill on lap 4 as the legs began to tire. 

I was astonished to be over taken on lap 2 by the font runner. He was flying, and there was a whisper of a new course record as he crossed the line, but he didn't scan his barcode so there was no official time recorded. And unfortunately that's the rule, no barcode, no result, no exception! 

The rest of the front runners over took on lap 3, and it's a great sight to see people run so beautifully. 

And now for my favourite part, being the stats geek that I am. 

119 people congregated at Limerick parkrun for event #198
The runners were mostly male with a M:F split of almost 3:2
10 people were new to the course, of which 6 were new to parkrun including Conor CROWLEY (25:38) who I spoke to at the start (welcome to your new obsession!!) 
An amazing 20 people recorded PBs, including Joanne WHITFIELD (32:47), Sharon LUCEY (26:32), Gerard MC MAHON (31:21) and Mike GRIFFIN (20:50)

The first recorded men home were
Martin PHILLIPS (19:04), followed by two JM runners, Thomas MCCARTHY (19:13) and Filip PIOTROWSKI (20:13)

The ladies were lead by ED Shona NÍ FHLOINN (20:17), followed by Caroline KELLY (21:12) for her first run at Limerick. The top 3 ladies was rounded off by Antoinette COLEMAN (21:56)

I always love seeing how many children take part in parkrun, and this week was no different. The 14 Juniors were great!

There were no milestones, or age category records this week.

The oldest runner on the course was VM75-79 David TOCHER (32:30) and the most experienced runner was Liam KIELY (24:33) with 154 runs to his name.

Unfortunately 13  people registered as unknown, #DFYB

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone I met on Saturday morning. You are a credit to your community and the parkrun family. I'm already looking forward to my next visit.

A very special mention has to go to my parkrunner of the week Adrian PIOTROWSKI (25:18) who bravely retrieved handfuls of tokens from a yucky, mucky drain after a little post run accident saw them spill, not only on the ground but down a shore. 

Thanks to the hi-vis heroes who's efforts made the event possible.

Alison FLYNN  • Ellen O' CONNOR  • Ger BUCKLEY • Irene LANE  • Kevin VAN SCHELT • Mark FELLNER  • Orla MULDOON • Thomas COLLINS

Thank you
Sharon Canavan

Monday, 26 August 2019

Father Collins #206 Run Report

I was very excited to join Father Collins for their #206 running on Saturday morning. Not least because I had Wonky Bear with me on his Irish Travels. I swear I'm not just a mad woman with a bear but I'll come back to that. But also because I'd read a lot about Father Collins park, and the awards it has won for being Ireland's first wholy sustainable park. That was enough to make me want to run there, but the added draw of the skate park and two additional children's playgrounds sold it to the family.

When I arrived I couldn't find the start, camouflaged in the middle of the park behind the tall Bamboo, but a very friendly runner recognised my plush toy companion and asked if I was there for parkrun and pointed me on my way.

My running buddy was none other than Wonky Bear. An unofficial parkrun mascot, fashioned from old Event Director Hi-Vis and synonymous with parkrun tourism. A few people recognised him, a few more had questions about my sanity. If you get a chance, check him out on Facebook and follow his journey.

I received such a warm welcome I felt at home. That's the wonderful thing about parkrun, especially smaller events (87 people this week), there is a genuine interest in eachother and a want to be inclusive and friendly.

Quite a lot of people arrived early and where so happy chatting away and laughing  that the run brief almost came as a surprise. Oh yes, we were there to run after all. After a few formalities and a description of the course (a big loop and little loop of the park, twice) we were off.

The course is entirely flat and on concrete, with some twists and turns. The paths are lined with Bamboo that not only shade and protect from wind but provide protection from noise pollution from the nearby roads. For such an urban space, there was a surprising sense of stillness and tranquility. There was swans and ducks, as well as birds and dragon flies. The rows of hedges also meant that around each turn was a surprise. There were sports pitches, duck ponds, a skate park, two playgrounds and excercise equipment all under the gaze of 5 windturbines. The sound of which can be a bit jarring as you run right under them and see the shadow of their blades cross the path.

It was a perfect morning for running, as shown by the 11 people who achieved PBs. There were men and women of all ages and abilities, an almost 50:50 split. 45 men and 42 women, something I love to see, as there is a common misconception that this is a man's game.  There were dogs and babies in buggies, as well as some speedy junior runners.

Amongst the 13 first timers,  were tourists from the UK, including Anne JOHNS (32:49) who brought her sister Nora FOX (37:15) along to, what is sure to be, her first of many parkruns.
Ultra Irish parkrun tourist Bairbre HICKEY (29:56) who has ran at every parkrun in Ireland accompanied her husband Bertie HICKEY (30:05) on his final 3 event count down to reach the same accomplishment.

I dragged my husband out of bed to run, he was none to impressed, as he along with 10 others forgot their barcode!! And thems the rules, #DFYB as no barcode no result!!

The top three finishers came in within 8 seconds of eachother! I don't know if they were chasing or pacing eachother, but an impressive run eitherway.
First home was Mel RODDY with a PB time (19:27), breathing down his neck was Sean LOOBY (19:29) and hot on his heals was Daniel KEEGAN (19:35), a serious time for a JM runner.

The other 3 Juniors who scanned also did well, Niall BRUNICARDI ran his own PB (26:30), Christina COULTER REILLY (28:10) and first timer Sam HENDRICK (43:51)

The first lady home was Carmel WARD (22:03), followed by Aileen HOOPER (23:07) and Carla MORAN (23:43) rounded off the top 3 ladies.

There were no course records set, or milestones this week, however Michael P CLANCY (30:04) ran his 99th parkrun, perhaps there'll be cake next week as he celebrates 100

The most experienced participant was Lukasz HARENCZYK (24:23) with 190 runs to his name.

Thank you for a wonderful run,

Sharon Canavan

A huge thank you to the wonderful volunteers, without whom the event just couldn't happen.
Adrian SKEHILL  •  Alan FOLEY  •  Anton SWEENEY  •  Derek CLARKE  •  Finn SKEHILL  •  Guus LEEUW  •  James MORAN  •  Maurice O'CONNELL  •  Nadia LOCHOWSKA  •  P WORTHINGTON  •  Raul PORTALES  •  Sharon CANAVAN  •  Sonja COULTER  •  Witek LOCHOWSKI

Monday, 15 July 2019

A Fond Farewell

Running and writing are the two things I find most cathartic, so what better way to shake off the stress of moving country, than combining the two for one last time, running at my home parkrun of Bedworth event #72 and writing a farewell run report.

This week I got to deliver the first timers briefing, as a last timer, to 20 people new to the course, of which 8 were new to parkrun. And  got rightly embarrassed by RD Ann-Marie CURRIER in-front of everyone as I was called up in her run briefing. It did make me realise though, that people might actually miss me, not just the other way round. 

185 people congregated at The  Miners Welfare Park park for event #72, the runners were almost evenly split with 99 men and 86 women taking part

It was regular runner Anne JOHNS (33:31) who encouraged me to come to Bedworth for their 4th event back on 17th February 2018. It was snowing quite heavily and I wasn't sure if I could even run 5km, but I did, and from there an obsession and friendship grew. 

This week wasn't without it's obstacles, quite literally, as it was brought to our attention on Friday that a tree was covering the trail section of the run. Thanks to the quick acting Lea CULSHAW and Richard HAMBLETT the council cleared the path, and pre-event set up extraordinaire Richard ARNOLD and Pete MARSHALL didn't have to get the saw out. I'm not sure if they were disappointed or relieved. Despite this It was the perfect morning for running, light cloud cover and a slight breeze on a mild morning, this was reflected in an impressive 45 people achieving a PB

First timer Tom PAYNE (17:19) was first home setting an age category record for SM20-24, fellow first timer Alex Bruce (17:20) was second, pipped to the post by a single second. Breathing down their necks was Mark SHEPHERD (17:29) who came in third. Mark was the most experienced runner on the course today, with an impressive 394 runs to his name. 

Another age category record was set in VW45-49 by first lady home Emma GARNETT (20:52) PB. Penny MASSER (23:23) was second lady across the line, and first-timer Donna DAWSON (23:52) rounded off the top three ladies.

The last 9 months I have found solace in Bedworth on a Saturday morning. I more often than not arrived with 3 kids in tow, and no-one ever batted an eyelid. On days when I questioned my sanity leaving the house with 3 boys, 5 and under, the team at Bedworth always made me feel at ease and so welcome. I always love seeing how many children take part in parkrun, and this week was no different. The 23 Juniors who took part absolutely smashed it!

The top 3 JW were Niamh BURTON (27:48), Harriet GARNETT (28:13) and Emily CANTRILL (28:15)

A new JM10 course record was set by James Douglas GARNETT (19:27) PB followed by Daniel Burke (19:38) PB, who set a new JM11-14 record. Zachary CLARKE (22:35) was third JM home

I've ran at Bedworth 28 times, and each time without fail, Ted FRANKLIN was on his corner offering support and encouragement. This week was no different, so for the 84th and last time I passed him, I had to stop and give him a hug to say thank you. 

A big congratulations needs to go to Susannah URSELL (30:04) on completing her 50th run. 

Tail walkers this week really were tail walkers as Laura CAMSELL (58:09) and Zoe COPE (58:08) were joined by their pooches. I'll forgive one particular four legged friend for his parting gift to me on the First Timers placard!! 

It was lovely to be joined at the finish line by friends I have made over the last year, Elliott LINE (22:09), Tim HUGHES (27:21),  Caroline PARKINSON (28:07), Shannon STANNETT (27:04) and Pete MARSHALL (32:18) amongst others, even if I did have to bribe them with rocky-road and Prosecco to stay and chat!!

I like to take this opportunity to thank everyone I have met at Bedworth for the last 68 weeks of friendship, laughs and running. I'm sorry I couldn't name everyone, but weather you know it or not, you have helped me though a tough year and I'll always hold you in a special place in my heart. 

Volunteers this week were
Amarjit Singh RANDHAWA  •  Ann-Marie CURRIER  •  David BEVAN  •  David JACKSON  •  Derek GORDON  •  Jim MACDONALD  •  John GABRIEL  •  Laura CAMSELL  •  Lisa MACBETH  •  Maggi SAVIN-BADEN  •  Mark GRIFFIN  •  Pete MARSHALL  •  Rebekah MARRINGTON  •  Richard ARNOLD  •  Ruth MANSFIELD  •  Sara PHIPPS  •  Sarah THI  •  Sharon CANAVAN  •  Simon CURRIER  •  Ted FRANKLIN  •  Toby CLARKE  •  Tori BOYLE  •  Verity CRICHTON  •  Yvonne BOYLE  •  Zoe COPE

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

A hot and hungover parkrun at East Brighton

I was excited to travel to Brighton for a hen party this weekend. The opportunity to catch up with some friends, but also the chance to run at a new parkrun. There were originally 6 to choose from, but with two cancellations, and the need for trail shoes on another, I did my research and decided on East Brighton parkrun for their 30th running.

After a late night on Friday, I eagerly loaded up the car with the bride to be and 5 other reluctant hens and set the SatNav to Dotty's Cafe.

I had warned the run director prior via Facebook and she was delighted to welcome us as the first hen group they have had. The atmosphere in the park was lovely and friendly, even at 8.40am as we piled out of the car. We probably stood out like sore thumbs with our bright pink sashes and hungover heads, but it was a great conversation starter, and people cheered our mention in the run brief. We set off very promptly on the button of 9am. Something I'm not very used to in the midlands!

The course is beautiful, not nearly as hilly as we were expecting driving in.  Three laps in a kind of looping figure 8 shape, all on grass. That's not to say there were no hills, but as we ran each of the tiers of the park the thought 'for every up hill there is an equal and opposite down hill' sprung to mind.

The trees along parts of the course provided some much welcome shade from the sun, which was surprisingly hot, and the cheery volunteers provided a breath of fresh air on an otherwise heavy and muggy morning.

The layout of the course meant we passed each marshal a number of times, something I always think it lovely, as you get to make little jokes each time you see them.
There were so many park users, even for 9am on a Saturday morning. Dogs playing fetch up and down the tiers, with owners carefully timing their ball throws between groups of runners. People were walking and children were playing enjoying the sunshine.

We lost one hen, probably the most experienced runner of us all about 1km in, as she rolled her ankle on a divot in the grass, we had been warned though, so she hobbled off embarrassed with a bigger bruise on her pride.

At about the 2km mark, the bride who I had promised to keep pace with cried out that if anyone needed the air ambulance it would be a good time. She didn't want anyone to be seriously injured, but was willing the run be abandoned to allow it to land. A quirky possibility to note if you plan on vising East Brighton.

The nature of the tiers and looping back on yourself meant you see the runners in front and behind you running in different directions, as we reached 3km we could see first finisher and first timer Jamie CRAWFORD swiftly make his way towards the finish line.

By 4km the heat and hangover combination got too much so we decided to walk a little, the wonderful pompom bearing marshal was so encouraging the walking didn't last long, and we were back on track for a respectable 34:something.

The last 5km was the most enjoyable, it was flat, it was nearly over, and the encouragement from volunteers and fellow runners was heart warming. We had come prepared, so there was persecco to be had as we crossed the line. What a better way to start a day of activities!!

And now this is my favourite part, being the stats-geek that I am!

74 people congregated at East Brighton park for event 30
The runners were mostly male with a M:F split of almost 2:1
24 people were new to the course, of which 2 were new to parkrun (welcome to your new obsession!!)
Despite an incredibly warm and humid morning, an impressive 11 people achieved new PBs

Tourist Jamie CRAWFORD (18:10) was first home, hot on his heals was David BENTON (18:38), and breathing down his neck was Tim JUKES (18:46) as third home on his first visit to East Brighton.

Maria BARROW (24:07) was first lady home, on her first run of the course. Chris NAYLOR (24:35) was second lady across the line, and Daisy STODDART (25:46) rounded off the top three ladies.

I always love seeing how many children take part in parkrun, and this week was no different. The Juniors were great! Some Barefoot Running and some sibling rivalry.

The top 3 juniors were George HUNT (24:24), Raphael VAN DEN BERG (27:11) and Leon VAN DEN BERG (27:42).

First timer to East Brighton, Jonathan BURRELL (19:49) set a new course record in the VM55-59 category, can he smash it again next week for this 50th run?

The oldest runner on the course was John MASON (38:51) and the most experienced runner was Julia MASON (38:51) with an impressive 406 runs to her name.

Arena 80 AC and Brighton Phoenix were both represented by 4 runners, Brighton Hash House Harriers and Lewes AC had 2 runners each, Brighton & Hove City AC and UK Mudd Queens were also both represented by 1 runner each.

Unfortunately 8 people registered as unknown, #DFYB, as no barcode, no result!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone I met on Saturday morning. You are a credit to your community and the parkrun family. I'm already looking forward to my next visit.

A special thanks to the 12 hi-vis heros who's efforts made the event possible.

Christopher NORTON  •  Dan STENT  •  Darren SNOW MBE  •  Emma WROE  •  Hayley BLUNDY  •  Lucy MITCHELL  •  Michelle PEARSON  •  Paul PEARSON  •  Peter RANSON  •  Peter WHITWORTH  •  Steven TENNANT  •  Terry James AVEY

Thank you
Sharon Canavan