There has been a lot of excitement about the first Great Denham parkrun over the last 6 months and it has been eagerly anticipated by people in Great Denham and indeed Bedford. In the local community a lot of people have been training and talking about this event for ages. Great Denham is a new village to the West of Bedford and is fortunate in having a very large country park built with the new housing development on one side and the meadows of the River Great Ouse on the other, making it a unique outlook for the parkrunner.
On this first day 17th February 2018, the weather was typically British with grey clouds at the start but finished with the sun blazing out despite the 3 degree temperature and hard frosty areas covering the park.
The local area which probably is quite sleepy on a Saturday morning woke up to many runners streaming to the start line. People gathered around the play park before Toby Chinn, the race director began his briefing. He talked about making history in small ways, and that all the runners present would be able to share their times and positions with future grandchildren etc etc! He described the course as a circular double lap route. Emma Murphy and Sylvia Jones (a prominent member of the running community) were busy taking lots of official photos. Many other well-known local runners were present from the local clubs.
The race started with 240 runners just after 9am and surprisingly for a change it didn’t feel like a cattle grid at the start as runners showed a lot of consideration and gave each other space. The runners started to thin out at the first sharp-left corner. The first half of the course was on compacted sand which was hard and frosty. The second half of the course was on pavement tarmac. It was a good combination for the runner.
At the finish line, there was a lot of support and cheering from the marshals and the local community which is quite refreshing. The first runner, Ian Halpin came in at 17:01 which is a fantastic time and excellent benchmark for this first event. The volunteers were friendly and did a fantastic job in organising the event. As the runners were leaving they were busily chatting, pleased and excited by the event and course and were making plans for future events.
With all inaugural parkrun events, it is always difficult to envisage how the morning would unfold and whether there would be any teething problems but with this event I have no hesitation in stating that it was a complete success and a credit to the core team of volunteers.
The event will now take place every Saturday morning at 9am. All welcome to come but please register at Parkrun Registration and print a copy of your unique bar code so that it can be scanned at the event to show your run times.
Please find below some pictures of the event:-