Peter RUTHERFORD, 11 January 2020
At 9am on the second Saturday of 2020, 20 parkrunners set off on the 38th instalment of Volksgarten parkrun.
The event saw 6 first timers (Patrick LEE, Katie LEE, Tom BECK, Ben JOHNSON and two unnamed others), visitors from Berlin and the UK and 4 new personal bests (Sławomir CABAN, Vu DINH, Lars SCHMIDT and Brigitta MÄCHTLE). Well done to all! Representatives from 4 different clubs (San Francisco Road Runners Club, LT Rennhamster Düsseldorf, Southport Waterloo AC and Porthcawl Runners) took part.
The 20 finishers were ably supported by 10 selfless volunteers. A big thank you to Jasmin BISCHOFF (run director and photographer), Alex DILLGE (close-down) Birgit KRAFT (tokens and token sorting), Brigitta MÄCHTLE (tail walker), Christiane TODT-HOEHNDORF (timekeeper and volunteer coordinator), Heike BIEKER (setup), Lars SCHMIDT (photographer), Rebecca ROES (setup, close-down and results processing), Tobias WESSELMANN (close-down) and Peter RUTHERFORD (scanner, close-down and run reporter). Without these helpers, parkrun wouldn’t be possible. You can find out about volunteering on the Volksgarten and international parkrun websites.
A moment that stood out for me this week was Ben JOHNSON’s incredible effort (15:55) to better Paul WAIN’s men’s course record, set at our special event on 3 October, by 68 seconds. Not only was this a course record, but it is the fastest Ben has run at any parkrun. It was great fun to watch him hare away from the start line and then disappear over the infamous hill, not to be seen again until the finish. Well done on a cracking effort, Ben!
The full results and a complete event history can be found on the Volksgarten parkrun results page.
More than just a run in the park - everyone is welcome
While I enjoyed Ben’s heroics, his achievement provides a good opportunity to remind ourselves that parkrun is not only for the fleet-footed, but everyone. We come to Volksgarten every Saturday morning to celebrate the efforts of all our volunteers, runners and spectators. Paul SINTON-HEWITT, the founder of parkrun, writes about the inclusive and holistic nature of parkrun and its role in building happier and healthier communities in his recent end-of-year blogpost, pointing out that it is people’s personal stories and triumphs that fill him with the most pride. The post is recommended reading for anyone enthusiastic about the movement.
“parkrun is all about inclusiveness and wellbeing. We want as many people as possible to feel part of a real local community brought together by our events, as well as our global parkrun family.” (Source: https://www.parkrun.com/about/)
On a related note, Volksgarten parkrun is likely to pass another milestone next week, that of 600 unique finishers. (As of this week, 592 individuals have completed at least one parkrun in Volksgarten.) Also, if we’re lucky, our average finish time might tick over from 26:59 to 27:00 - slower average times indicate that we’re reaching a wider cross-section of the local community and is something for which many parkruns actively strive.
The Volksgarten team is proud of its small contribution to the global parkrun movement; one that saw an unbelievable 16.1 million instances of walking, jogging, running and volunteering around the world in 2019. When we look back at what has been achieved over the past decade, I believe that parkrun must be one of the most significant and successful public health initiatives of our time. Long may it continue.
So, if you’ve never joined us in Volksgarten, you’ll find us on the Ballonwiese every Saturday morning, rain or shine, from 8:30am on. To the rest of you, I very much look forward to seeing you again soon. Until then, happy trails!
Photos supplied by Jasmin BISCHOFF