by Mark WILLIAMSON
Event Support Ambassador (South West)(Volunteer) parkrun UK
What a fantastic morning and what a fantastic experience. The parkrun fairy magic was in action as the weather was made ideal for running as all rain was cancelled and the temperature was cool. An excellent start. The volunteer team had been out early setting up one of the slightly more complex courses I have come across and were ready to greet the arrivals. This first special event happened on the day Germany celebrated 30 years of re-unification and offered the opportunity for people to squeeze in an extra parkrun. Records would tumble today but not before Rebecca Roes had delivered a fantastic briefing to the first timers and taught us the phrase #LIEBEparkrun. Rebecca was also celebrating her 100th run and there was an abundance of cake as well as balloons and candles and many photographs were taken before during and after the event. Thank you for that welcome.
The largest crowd to descend on Volksgarten also had the biggest number of helpers. Today the run director was Chris and he had journeyed from his own event in Koln to assist and to deliver the briefing. This was well delivered and very well received.
Volksgarten turned into a global village today with visitors from across Europe coming together to celebrate the day and join in the spirit of parkrun by walking, jogging, running or volunteering. It was a fabulous atmosphere and there was time to chat with parkrunners such as Kurt from Faelledparkrun in Denmark, some older juniors, Mathew and Paul from Basingstoke, Ian and Eve from Macclesfield, the Alices: Noyes and Edwards, Deb and Paul from Thornbury, to name but a few. People had come from as far apart as Scotland and Scandinavia, Holland and Australia to be here today and all were made very welcome indeed.
Walk to the start
We had met some fellow parkrunners at breakfast so we set out on our journey together and that got off to a bad start. I did not have the correct value of note for the ticket machine but Stuart McTeer from Dartford stepped in and gave me a small enough note to cover the fares thus saving my parkrun day. At the park I met up with a posse we had partied with the previous evening and some looked as though they might have some fun getting around. There was a general buzz of excitement as we settled into the briefing and recognised the achievements of some more milestone runners: Jon Williams of Avon Valley Runners joined Rebecca in the 100 club and Trevor Birkby of Parkside Panthers can now claim his red 50 t-shirt. Andrew Molloy kept it quiet that he was celebrating 300 runs today but he was spotted.
Of the 128 people who ran, jogged or walked the course, there were at least 104 first timers and at least 5 brand new parkrunners. At the briefing just one person owned up to being new to parkrun but in face there were at least four others. We say welcome to the family to Dominic, Sarah and Jacob Baron, to Natalie Ketterer and to Anne Sophie Eberhardt and hope you will join us again quite soon. On this momentous occasion five people had forgotten their barcode #NBNTNE
Among the returning runners 10 recorded a new PB. Well done to: Alex Dillge, Charlotte Pardey, Damian Baker, Jane McCullim, Julius Itta, Michael Kilimann, Paul Wain, Syesha Kilimann, Vesna Langen, and to Wolfgang Klein. There were representatives of 51 different clubs who took part and some interesting names in there including parkrun World Tourists, Good Gym and the Tight Pants Club. The power of parkrun bringing all sorts of people together.
3, 2, 1, #liebeparkrun!
Now to the course. We were shepherded to the start and set off. This was a record number of runners, nearly three times the previous highest but the course was more than able to cope. A mixture of tarmac and hard trail, generally flat, it offered the opportunity for a brisk run if that is what you wanted. It's a very scenic route, through tree lined paths, meandering, twisting and turning, offering diverse sights such as the River Dussel and some sculptures. The course is not marshalled but there are cones at the many key places where there might be an opportunity to go wrong. I set off at a reasonable pace and for the first lap concentrated on the route rather than looking for my time. I was soon overtaken by a buggy which II never saw again until the end, where father and child were re-united with pregnant mum who came in not too far behind! It takes all sorts. I was really enjoying the run and although there are a few tight turns it did not slow me down too much. Passing through the start line again we were greeted with enthusiastic applause and a camera capturing our finest moments. I look forward to seeing the evidence. The course was mainly dry, despite the recent rains and so conditions underfoot were quite good. I settled in and enjoyed the second lap but all to quickly it came to an end. The volunteer team quickly and efficiently coped with a bigger than usual funnel releasing us onto a table full of cake. I run for cake. These were great cakes, especially the apple strudel. As usual, peole stayed around, cheered in fellow parkrunners and took lots of photographs. New bonds were made and then it was of to the cafe for more cake and catch up. I had the opportunity to repay Stuart's kindness before we set off back to our hotel.
Out on the course there was a new course record set by first finisher SM20-25 Paul Wain as he moved his PB to 17:03. He was followed in by VM40-44 Antony Goodall in 17:49 and third to cross was VM35-39 Richard Francis n 17:54.
SW30-34 Milena Tieves crossed first for the eighth time today in 20;52, just six seconds away from a PB followed in by SW20-25 Rebecca Eberhardt in 21.23 only five seconds away from her PB and then first timer VW40-44 Maja Horny in 21:33.
Everyone who has attended Volksgarten is still in the fastest 500 hall of fame and today there were also 13 new age category records. See where you stand by looking at today's full results and a complete event history on the Volksgarten parkrun Results Page.
Every parkrun depends on the support of volunteers and helping is a fantastic way to make friends, feel good and have fun. This week's event was made possible by 18 volunteers:
Mark WILLIAMSON • Rebecca ROES • Damian BAKER • Andy MOORE • Peter KELLY • Peter RUTHERFORD • Daniel VALENTINE • Christopher HALL • Tjarda (Tj) TROMP • Jasmin BISCHOFF • Thomas DILLGE • Alex DILLGE • Nora WILL • Heike BIEKER • Oliver HARTMANN • Christiane TODT-HOEHNDORF • Thea RUTHERFORD • Michael RUTHERFORD
- 6 of the 18 volunteers
Thank you Germany for having your special day today and thank you Volksgarten parkrun for making so many of us so very welcome. It was a fantastic experience and one which I shall treasure. I wish you every success in the future and many more runners to enjoy the experience of your fabulous team and fantastic course.
- Post-parkrun coffee and eats
The female record is held by Hannah OLDROYD who recorded a time of 17:38 on 15th June 2019 (event number 7). The male record is held by Paul WAIN who recorded a time of 17:03 on 3rd October 2019 (event number 23). The Age Grade course record is held by Hannah OLDROYD who recorded 84.12% (17:38) on 15th June 2019 (event number 7). Volksgarten parkrun started on 4th May 2019. Since then 365 participants have completed 630 parkruns covering a total distance of 3,150 km, including 95 new Personal Bests. A total of 59 individuals have volunteered 201 times.
Photos from Oliver HARTMANN, Pete RUTHERFORD and Alex RIESSE.