I popped down to the Land of Burns on Saturday morning to help them out at the Eglinton parkrun and to join in with the celebrations of Sylvia Mulholland and Alison Reid, who were both chalking up their 100th parkruns. Of course, as usual, it was also a great opportunity to catch up with so many Ayrshire based friends and running buddies and a couple of Glasgow and Inverness ones too. With Stewarton pair Sandra Hunter and Kenny Philips both taking photos, I could concentrate on my volunteering role. Whilst the Sugar Fairy wasn’t there on Saturday to keep me in check, Wilma Kyle and her band of happy volunteers coped admirably in her absence. An appearance by recently crowned ’Sporting Volunteer of the Year’ Janice Millar was an unexpected bonus.
Another unexpected bonus, was the opportunity to witness Cardiff AAC/Run Fast athlete, Jonny Hopkins, set a new course record. The 23 year old, who already has 13 Welsh Titles and one British Title to his name, had done his homework the night before and knew the course and also what his target would be: Edinburgh AC’s Neil Renault’s course record of 15:53, set in August 2015.
With the Eglinton course going past the start/finish area twice, I had the pleasure of supporting Jonny on his way as he steadily increased his gap on the other runners. As the timer approached 15:48, the Manchester United supporter, crossed the finish line, with five seconds to spare!
Although the weather on the day, was perfect for running in. The heavy rain, during the previous week, had made for testing underfoot conditions. In his pursuit of a fast time, Jonny had chose to wear his racing shoes and he, like so many others, lost his footing a few times in the more muddy parts of the trail.
Runner-up, David Blane (North Ayrshire AC) at least had the consolation of a PB, with his time of 18:50. Irvine’s Alan Douglas placed third, in 19:03.
In the women’s event, Jonny’s better half, Stephanie Hewitt earned Gold for the first time. The Kilmarnock Harrier finishing just two seconds outside her PB, in 23:30. Kilbarchan AAC’s, Sandra Houldsworth ran a PB of 24:08, to place second, with Sylvia, marked her 100th outing, by placing third, the Ron’s Runner, finishing in 24:51.
After my duties were finished, I joined with the others in the Tournament Café as we celebrated Sylvia and Alison’s centenaries of parkruns, with chocolate cakes, some healthier than others, mince pies and hot drinks. I had a great time, those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end……..
Click on the album above for a wee treat 🙂
Pics by Sandra Hunter and Kenny Phillips