Monday, February 2, 2015

Westerfolds Handicap Freedom Run

While we had initially planned to have a handicap parkrun on February 7, it ended up going ahead on a Thursday evening as a Freedom Run. We couldn't mention of "parkrun", the "Westerfolds parkrun" Facebook page couldn't host it, and we could not advertise it on Twitter - but we still had a healthy and manageable turn out of 32 runners, of which two were First Timers to the Westerfolds Park course.

In short, Bree won the handicap race, smashing her PB by over 1 minute in the process - she hadn't been sub-29 previously! She ended up scoring an official PB of 29:22 at parkrun on the weekend, which still improved on her old official best by over 30 seconds! We ended up with six PBs on the day - the first five finishers and one in the middle who started (relatively) behind schedule.

We were making up the handicap event as we went along, so I was happy that the number of attendees was a manageable one. Prior to the event, I published a spreadsheet with everyone's Westerfolds parkrun PB, and a tentative start-time for each person - assuming the earliest starter had a PB of one hour. As I marked-off each attendee I had them write their start-time down on one of their hands, but we found our earliest starter was going to be at 29 minutes. As it was a cool evening with mild winds I opted to bring everyone's start time forward 10 minutes.

We had a few hiccups associated with the start times, but I don't think it stopped anyone from enjoying the run (and it didn't stop me from figuring out the correct net times). The first hiccup occurred with a late-starter. Terry arrived in time for his published start-time, but was effectively behind as I had brought the start-times forward by ten minutes. He actually ended up with the greatest improvement on his PB (from 29:04 to 27:18) and theoretically would have won the event if it all ran smoothly.

It also meant that Westerfolds took over the Most Recent parkrun Freedom Runs list for a little while!

I definitely needed a second pair of hands on the night, and I was lucky that Narelle brought her whole family along. Her husband, Craig, distributed Finish Tokens while I looked after the stopwatch and yelled out the positions. A second pair of hands at the start would also have helped as it meant that one could have sent runners off while the other answered random questions.

I think it's something we'd like to do again - although we may only be able to fit one in in Februrary and then have to wait until the following summer as it will otherwise be too dark! And the next one will run more smoothly!

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