Ten Guelph parkruns, and counting

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by Derek Hall

Every parkrun brings something new. Last Saturday’s event was the first to take place in fall temperatures, so I noticed that long tights outnumbered shorts at the start-line. The colder weather highlighted one of parkrun’s features: if you’ve done it before and know the drill, you can roll up at 8:57 for the 9 AM start, always right on time.

This should have been my 11th Guelph parkrun, but a head cold made me decide to take things in as a spectator this week. Hanging around at the start line increased my appreciation for another parkrun feature: the double out-and-back course, currently imposed by the trail closure at Lyon Park.

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Ten runs have been enough to make the course’s 1.25k leg feel painfully familiar, and I struggle every week to get back on pace after the last hairpin turn at the far end. But I love seeing all the other runners multiple times and seeing the smiles and waves of the first out-and-back turn into the inward-focused determination (or, sometimes, bigger smiles and waves) of the second. The encouragement at the halfway point back at the start line also gives me a huge boost (below, runner at the turnaround, from previous week).

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The course makes volunteering and spectating more fun too. Today the lead runner was making his halfway turn after just eight and a half minutes, and from then on there was pretty much always someone to cheer for.

I’ve been running with the Guelph Victors since I moved to Guelph in 2007. The Tuesday night Victors workouts are a great mix of tough training and fantastic people, and they’re one of the fixed points in my week.

parkrun has become another one after just a few months, and I’m really enjoying meeting new people and deepening older connections. A highlight this week was seeing two people I know in completely different contexts finish within a second of one another.

All this and I still made it to the Farmer’s Market before the brussels sprouts sold out. That's now my Saturday morning routine in Guelph!

— photos by Tiffany Friel, and others

Run Summary, Event #16

  • we had 90 parkrunners and walkers, making this our third largest event ever, and the largest in Canada for the second week in a row
  • 29 first-timers participated and 29 personal bests were recorded on Saturday (first-timer Jonathan Odumeru above, top)
  • 418 different people have tried our parkrun since we started in June
  • this was our coldest run to date at about 10 degrees (more on the way!)
  • we had a UK visitor this week, Steven Jones of London, here visiting his daughter Rafaela Jones Delgado

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