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