We inaugurated Wimpole Estate parkrun this morning. An astonishing 292 runners completed the challenging 5k course and we’ve had rave reviews so far. I couldn’t be more pleased for the team who have worked so hard for the past few months to make sure that we get off the ground. I’m the event director but I’m a bit like the Roman centurion in the Bible story who says “Do this” and someone does it. It’s been a team effort. All I’ve done is wonder for example whether someone might want to pull a volunteer roster together and lo! Paul pulled a volunteer roster together.
There were some remarkable parkrun personalities there. I talked briefly to Andrew Lane, a parkrun pioneer, one of the thirteen people at the very first Bushy Park time trial. He said that two weeks later there were only eleven runners at Bushy. This morning there were 1,027 runners at Bushy parkrun and thousands of others at 200 different locations around the world, from New Zealand to the USA. Colin and Elaine Brassington have completed 144 and 131 parkruns respectively. I met them first at the St Neots Half Marathon in 2011. They’re enthusiastic Fetchies as well as parkrunners. Alice Holmes has 52 parkruns under her belt, two more than me and she is much, much younger than me. Our youngest finisher this morning is five years old and she is inspiring.
I find everyone who comes to parkrun inspirational in one way or another and that is one reason why I wanted to have a second parkrun near Cambridge. I wanted to have somewhere else for people to be one another’s inspiration. I’ve written before about finding my friends more heroic than my heroes, if that makes sense. I love seeing my friends succeed and when I struggle with my running, I need only chat to Chris or Paul or Carla or Al or Clare or Caz and things seem better. My friends are amazing and I want them to have somewhere else for them to be amazing in.
We will have more stories to tell one another in the weeks and months ahead. We’ll become fitter and quicker. We can’t possibly get our feet much wetter or colder. We’ll make friends and eat cake and race together and stand with one another because parkrun is a family. I quite like being the eccentric, forgetful uncle.