Cool running day in the Royal City

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by Chris teNyenhuis

I woke up Saturday morning to a beautifully crisp, sunny day with the odd snowflake carried by a gentle breeze. It was –10° C, not as cold as I had feared.

I settled on four layers on top and two pairs of tights. Then I headed out to parkrun with my husband Ed and daughter Ellie, who trains 5–6 days per week at the Y for her high school rowing club, but decided to come out and run today instead of going to the gym. Yay! I was excited to be participating after an absence of several months from parkrkun.

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I arrived at the starting area about 10 minutes before the event to find just a handful of runners who had braved the cold, but by the time the signal was given to start, a couple of dozen more had ventured out of their warm cars and homes.

Among those assembled were a dog, a child in a jogging stroller, a couple of visitors from Ottawa, and someone who had come all the way from Wales (running in celebration of her birthday on Sunday, photo below).

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As the race began, I was happy to find that the trail conditions were excellent – well-groomed and sanded for good traction underfoot. Settling into my pace, I was glad that I had decided to run today.

I was reminded again how fortunate we are to have this opportunity in Guelph: to do a free timed run, every week, on a beautiful trail alongside a picturesque river with smiling participants, supported by enthusiastic volunteers.

Run, Guelph, run!

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— photos by Natalie Intven


Run summary, event #31

  • the weather gods smiled on us for a second straight week
  • it was a small event by our standards, with 41 participants (our average is 69), but it was made up for by the enthusiasm of this week’s runners and walkers
  • the teNyenhuis family (above) is speedy — Ed was third overall in 22:51, Chris was second female in 24:50, and daughter Ellie finished in 27:52
  • Aaron Haddad was male first finisher in 19:51 and Emily Sayers was the fastest female (24:24)
  • the top age-graded finisher was sexagenarian Art Kilgour at 70%
  • we had visitors from the UK (Robert Hale, who’s working in Toronto for a year, photo below), and also Jemma Llewellyn and Stephen Donnelly of Wales

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Back on track at Eramosa River Trail parkrun

 

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  • we were very glad to be back with our event after several cancellations over the past month, due to icy conditions
  • we had cold but great winter running conditions with packed snow on the trail and very good footing

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  • there were 53 finishers, of whom 9 were first-timers and 5 recorded PBs
  • we had visitors from Toronto/Etobicoke and Meadowvale in Oakville

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  • first-finishers were Andrew MacLean (also a first-timer!) in 19:07, and Deb Powell in 23:20
  • top age-graded finish was Art Kilgour, age 61, with 69%

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  • 11 members from Team Vegan Trails met at parkrun for a group event: after finishing parkrun, TVT members attempted 39 pushups and 39 situps for the 39th day of 2020 as part of a fitness challenge
  • TVT member Ryan Flint pushed a stroller with his 2 kids through the snow for a fast 21:23 finish time

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  • Natalie celebrated her recent birthday with parkrun on Saturday. “Parkrun is an awesome way to celebrate — time with friends, outdoor adventure, gratitude for this life, and appreciation for our amazing parkrun community in Guelph”

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  • Up and Running and Guelph Victors also had great turnouts from their clubs
  • big thanks to the 16 bundled-up volunteers who made this week’s event happen

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  • thank you to Andrew and The Running Works for hosting our post-parkrun coffee + social
  • see ya next week!

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Bring your barcode, reap the rewards

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by Aidan Kelly

Saturday is not the same without parkrun! I've been a regular since the event launched in Kitchener 19 months ago. If I'm not running at a parkrun, I'm volunteering, running a road race, or parkrun has been cancelled!

Arriving at the covered bridge, I'm always pleased to see the assembled crowd — sometimes with a sense of relief if I'm running late! I'm just in time today and lots of familiar faces are waiting at the start.

Early on, I find myself up in eighth place. Before long, a pack of runners move ahead and I'm about seventeenth. The trail is covered with fresh snow but slippery in places where there is ice underneath. I find rough patches near the edge where traction is good.

I admire everyone at parkrun, both the volunteers giving their time and the participants challenging themselves in their own ways. Aside from the well-known physical and mental benefits of exercise, study after study shows the benefits of being in natural settings, working together, helping others, enjoying friendships, having social contacts, and belonging to a community.

parkrun provides it all and I'm delighted to be part of it.

Someone I don’t know has been right behind me throughout the run and he passes me as we start the last leg. I think of pushing the pace but remind myself I'm nursing two injuries, so I hold steady. My glasses have fogged and it's hard to see. There is one pothole on the trail and my left foot finds it! As I reach the finish, I hear the cheering and my name being called. A chorus of ducks add to the cheering.

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Laurie Bibby (above) is back with us this week (for the 22nd time) after a bad shoulder injury she suffered while out walking a few weeks ago. Known for her enthusiastic “wooh-hoos” while waving both hands, Laurie can only manage the cheers this week but is pleased to finish. I hear someone has slipped and broken something. Luckily, It's just their glasses and not a limb — repair, not surgery!

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I help with folding up the tent but my fingers have frozen. A post-run coffee is part of parkrun culture but I don't even think about it today. "Snow, heavy at times" was forecast and it's now one of those times! I want to get home and watch the snow pile up while I'm inside.

I will spend awhile checking the results and my age grade ranking. I will wait for the excellent photos of smiling faces and see how parkruns unfolded across the country. And I'll look forward to doing it all again next week. Bring your barcode, reap the rewards.

— photos by Anne-Marie McArthur


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Run summary, event #30

  • we had 48 finishers and 13 volunteers this week, and we were the second largest parkrun in Canada as well
  • our runners and walkers have now covered 10,500 kilometres of trail since the event began last June! (photo above)
  • Kurt Hundeck was our first male finisher in 21:37, five seconds faster than last week when he led our rain-soaked race; triathlete Allison Gibb was the first female finisher in 24:19, also for the second time
  • thanks to our first-time volunteer photographer Anne-Marie McArthur (below front, in the white hat) for the great shots

 

It was like a big party in the rain

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by Robert Winckler

Even though there was heavy rain on Saturday, we had 21 parkrunners show up plus 12 volunteers. We also had a modified route that was revamped to avoid ice and puddles, for the safety of our runners, walkers and visitors.

Despite the difficult weather, we all had a great time running and volunteering at the 29th Eramosa River Trail parkrun. I think it was the best parkrun I’ve helped at so far!

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There was so much energy from the volunteers setting up parkrun in the pouring rain, including me. It was like a party — so much laughter on a day that we had mother nature not working in our favour.

There was loads of cheering from the volunteers at different spots along the route, and we soon forgot about the weather conditions we were working in.

And all the high-fives and cheering at the finish line and taking photos and handing out finish tokens — it was amazing.

As soon as it was over, we packed up the equipment (flags, tent, pylons, etc.) and got it into the trunk of Brad’s car, in less than 10 minutes.

Holding the event on Saturday was truly an amazing group of volunteers and runners. We are very lucky to have a great atmosphere at parkrun on Saturday mornings for our community, and for visitors to come and enjoy as well.

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In closing I want to thank all those who came to parkrun this week, including that duck who watched us from the big puddle in the ball diamond!

— photos by Presence Speakman


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Run summary, event #29

  • we certainly didn’t want to cancel for a third Saturday in a row, so we modified the course and decided to ignore the rain and wind
  • it was our smallest event ever, in terms of numbers, but a huge event in terms of heart
  • we even had a very far-away visitor — Gerard Corkeron (photo above), who is a parkrun Director in Australia!
  • we also had three courageous first-timers
  • our male first-finisher was Kurt Hundeck (21:42), who seems to have recovered from a badly sprained ankle over two months ago — and our female first-finisher was Natalie Intven (28:17), our social media guru (and Kurt’s partner in life!) — that's them in the photo below

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The best possible start to the New Year

by Martin Lacelle

When I announced last night that I would pass on a New Year’s Eve drink because I intended to get up early and run, my friends turned on me.

“Who saves themselves for a New Year’s run?” they asked incredulously.

“I do,” I responded, then added, “and so do my running friends!”

So, heading out the door this morning, I wondered if I was right. The streets seemed empty and still. Surely, most of the city was still sleeping from the revelries of the previous night.

Approaching the covered bridge, however, I began to see bright pops of colour, running shoes, and smiles. Their smiles met my smile as I realized we all had the same destination.

At the start line it became clear just how many people had shown up — well over 100, I estimated. I’d only been to one Eramosa River Trail parkrun before, and this easily eclipsed it.

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I was even surprised to see one of my non-running friends arriving. She expressed some doubt about being able to rise to the task of a 5K run, but her partner reminded her that she had already lapped everyone who had stayed at home. Smiles met with more smiles.

As we gathered, people exchanged high-fives, handshakes, and heartfelt New Year’s greetings. There were children in party hats, adults with noise makers, runners with dogs, and walkers with strollers.

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And then there was the announcer, Brad Morley, as classy as ever in his blazer, cap, bow tie, and scarf. He greeted us all and then sent us off.

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Finding my pace, I couldn’t help but reflect on that touch of class. parkrun is a classy event — all of the volunteers who brought it to Guelph and help make this happen week after week make that clear.

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Returning from injury, I was happy not to go out too hard. All along the run I was met with familiar faces — old friends from long-ago long runs, and newer friends too.

With every step, I coasted along lifted by the clear positivity of everyone I passed. In each direction, and regardless of running ability or effort, everyone supported everyone.

For me, starting the year with a parkrun is the best possible start to the year. Sure, it’s about hoping for an injury-free year, about committing to challenges, and for feeling strong, healthy and content.

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Mostly, though, it’s about connecting to the support we all give each other in getting outside and enjoying a run.

When I turned down that drink last night, what my friends couldn’t understand was that I wasn’t holding back — I was saving myself for an even bigger celebration.

— photos by Art Kilgour


Run summary, event #28

  • what a great start to the new decade! — our biggest parkrun yet, with 130 finishers, including 49 first-timers, many of them from out-of-town, and 14 volunteers
  • that was the second-largest parkun in Canada on Jan. 1, 2020 — Wascana parkrun in Regina had 134!
  • we had a visitor from 18 time zones away — Chris Peddie-Burch of New Zealand (photo above)
  • our first female finisher was a first-timer — Sarah Wismer in 21:35; first male was second-timer Tennessee Tremain in 18:44
  • we had many, many kids running, plus several barkrunners, and a healthy crew of walkers (first-timers Nairn and Clara Wilker, photo below)
  • a huge thanks to Andrew Catton of the Running Works, who hosted our post-run social get-together; we may make this a monthly thing over the winter!

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