The one with the PB bell. Roughly two years ago I started my parkrun journey. In that time I have run 91 times spread over 46 different parkruns and volunteered in some capacity 55 times. You could say that parkrun has become a big part of my life. This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Maidenhead parkrun with a couple of friends, two of us from Havant, one from Reading.
Maidenhead parkrun is a lovely two lap course around the nature reserve set in Braywick Park. The start and finish area are on the playing fields by a little wooden shelter but you soon head out into the rather picturesque nature reserve. There is a large amount of free parking both near the start and also at the handily located Toby Carvery. The events team have also worked out a handy little discount at the Toby, if you show your barcode whilst buying breakfast you get free tea/coffee. Result! Ideal for that apres parkrun socialising.
There is a first timers brief held a stones throw from the little wooden shelter so no need to worry about not knowing the course or how parkrun works, it is all explained and made clear. Today there were 38 first timers in attendance with an even split of 19 brand new parkrunners and 19 visitors from all over the country.
Today’s run director, StJohn, addressed the 274 runners shortly after the first timers brief and ran through the announcements and milestones. Gordon Sherratt earned his aubergine shirt today (that’s purple to clarify to any menfolk reading this) for volunteering 25 times, well done Gordon, wear your shirt with pride. For those that don’t know, if you volunteer on 25 occasions you earn a free volunteers milestone shirt. Volunteering is easy and I can’t recommend it enough, it opens up a whole different side to parkrun. Get involved, anyone can do it, even visiting tourists! Check out the volunteer roster to see where help is needed and drop the team an email offering your services, it’s as simple as that. There were some other milestones reached today too, with Annie Pearce and Laura Halton joining the junior 10 club and Gillian Scolari, Matthew Cullum and Matthew Shaw all joining the 50 club. Congratulations to everyone of them.
With the run brief compete it’s time to get down to business and run. The start is a massive sprawled line up which filters down onto the path and into the reserve, there’s a slight pinch point but nothing major. The course itself is a varied little course through a stunning backdrop, it’s predominantly flat but has a couple of lumpy bits. The surface underfoot is a mix of surfaces but you’d get away with road shoes most of the year round. It’s a well marshalled course and there is a lot of support out there too, it’s a very friendly vibe throughout with some fantastically supportive volunteers.
The two laps of the reserve seemed to disappear really quickly and before you know it you are back out onto the playing fields for a last hard push to the finish funnel. Today’s lead runner polished off the course in a speedy 18:16, well done Sarah Chapman, a new PB too. Maidenhead has a PB bell which was taken advantage of and rung many times, in fact there were 55 PB’s attained today, brilliant.
The Maidenhead volunteer team were fantastic, such a warm and welcome parkrun to visit, we were made to feel right at home from start to finish. It was well worth setting the time aside and making the trip and leaving a bit extra to go socialise in the “Toby Carbery” afterwards to replenish and refuel.
We really enjoyed our visit to Maidenhead parkrun, thank you to everyone involved.