Off with a Bang at Buxton! Welcoming Pavilion Gardens parkrun to the fold.

.

I don’t care if it’s a cliché, this was a banger of a parkrun!

There was always a slight worry in my mind that the launch of this event might for me be an anti climax. No reflection on my confidence in the team at Buxton, more a worry that a near lifetime of waiting for this moment would have a hard job living up to my hopes if not expectations. Was the launch of Pavilion Gardens parkrun at Buxton to be like the grand finale for the firework display that fails to ignite? Would I rock(et) up, only to plod round a proverbial damp squib of an event, questioning my life choices, indeed the whole trajectory of my cultural interests from childhood, or would I experience a cracker of an event. Dear reader, I need not have worried, for I can truthfully report that there was no misfiring here, rather, this was more like the firework display that set off everything at once. You know, like the Big Bay Boom 2012 in case you are wondering. It was glorious, although over before you knew it. Except not really, because rumour has it, it’ll be happening all over again next Saturday, and the Saturday after that, forever and ever. Free, weekly timed, parkrun free, for everyone, forever. Barring global meltdown which obvs. is a terrifying reality, but on balance unlikely to prevent Pavilion Gardens parkrun from happening next week. Check before heading off though. If you see nothing but burnt landscapes and smokey orange skies, and hear nothing but radioactive ash softly falling from the sky then probably best to stay local, and if you are stuck on the roof due to flooding, that could be a challenge too, unless you are on the banks of the River Wye which goes through the Pavilion Gardens, so maybe you could take a dinghy down and offer to help with the course set up just in case the regular volunteers might not have been able to make it down. It would be the right thing to do. Anyway, that’s the future, let’s focus on this firecracker of a day. There’s plenty of opportunity to dwell on the end of the world and other fundamental existential crises another time. Let’s think about Buxton instead. The Pavilion Gardens are properly lovely, even without a parkrun, but obvs way way better now that they have that too!

.

.

Properly lovely, but also really hard to capture in a photo. Still, it’s the thought that counts, and anyways, it’s much better if you just go and check it all out for yourself.

I had been waiting for this day for over fifty years. No really I had. I mean, granted, for eons this was at a subconscious level. I probably didn’t quite understand how influential that particular moment in time was as it happened, but it’s funny how sometimes we are able to pinpoint a moment where our lives were set off on a particular trajectory, and all that unfollowed subsequently was a consequence of this. That’s the thing about hindsight though, you can’t always tell until later on, when you suddenly see a pattern as you trace backwards from a particular destination. Just ask Shrek, that’s why giving one day away that he couldn’t even remember turned out to be a terrible idea, the day he was born offered up, he actually ceased to exist. Only, spoiler alert, he didn’t because there was some get out cause or other. Are you following? The point I’m trying to make, is that for me Buxton has always had a particular resonance, it’s just I didn’t know that it’s true power and influence would only become fully apparent as the parkrun planets aligned to deliver a new and shiny Pavilion Gardens parkrun in Buxton this weekend, and now, finally, and perhaps belatedly, my life experiences suddenly seem to make sense. Hurrah!

Childhood experiences can enter your DNA. In my case – and I do concede this might be considered to be somewhat niche – I really, really remember going to see ‘Dougal and the Blue Cat‘ when I was really tiny. About seven or so, when the film came out. My dad took me, taking me to see a film wasn’t something I remember him ever doing before or since, but I do remember this trip, and this film, because it properly blue blew my impressionable mind. So much so, that I even had the vinyl record which I played endlessly on a loop for months afterwards. I have no idea what happened to the original record, perhaps it was too much of a torment for others in the house, because at some point it disappeared. For me though, the story and the drama was amazing. One key character in it, was the villainous Blue Cat, who at the pinnacle of seizing power and exercising tyranny over the magic roundabout populace sung a terrifying number about becoming ‘King Buxton The First!’ If you want to know how people end up joining cults, you should watch this film. The irresistible draw of a strong leader is as horrifying as it is compelling. We should thank the world that ultimately the Blue Cat sees the errors of this ways and eventually appeals to those around him ‘I was a victim of a false doctrine, I am now changed. May I be your friend? Your true friend?’ All’s well that ends well eh?

.

.

Buxton sounded to me like the most extraordinary of names. What brave new world was this? Any place so named must be equally extraordinary, a place of wonder indeed. From that moment on, I was surely destined to one day find the actual Buxton and experience it for myself. Of course way back in the day I had no idea what lay ahead half a century in the future but I do now know that the lure of the new Pavilion Gardens parkrun for me is /was very much based to no small degree on the Buxton location. A place of wonder and mystery. Not least, because the first time I went to visit it, heading out on a lovely sunny day from Sheffield, I arrived to find it blanketed in deep mist, it was like trying to enter Brigadoon, a place with literally as well as metaphorically hidden wonders, its very own micro-climate and no doubt it’s own cultural peculiarities, all the best places have them. As of this weekend though, The Pavilion Gardens in particular and Buxton in general now have their very own splendid parkrun, its wondrous work is done, it has reached the pinnacle of all that is possible in parkrun terms (well it will, as soon as a junior parkrun is started up as well, but I have patience, I will wait it out).

It wasn’t just me though, waiting for Buxton to deliver its parkrun. This event seems to have been many years in the gestation. I’ve heard whispers of it starting up ever since I relocated to Sheffield, rumours floating by on the breezes as you take part at Bakewell/ Monsal Trail parkrun, stories of a mythical parkrun location waiting in the wings somewhere in the region. If I remember correctly, which granted is highly unlikely, it was first mooted some time before the lockdown. And even got quite far in the planning. A local running club was in the habit of holding a 5k event in the Pavilion Gardens on a monthly basis anyway, so there was already the enthusiasm and support for a weekly event. It was pretty much on the horizon and then BOOM, lock down. No parkruns anywhere. Only notparkruns which are all well and good, but hardly the same thing. Kudos to those that kept them up though. However, all was not lost, it seems that there is a Venn diagram where characteristics of the Pavilion Gardens parkrun start up team and the tammar Wallaby overlap because – you’ve guessed it, both have the ability to diapause! I know, handy. That is, at the risk of stating the obvious, to extend gestation periods by putting everything on pause until it’s safe to launch new life into the world. Clever eh? So post lockdown, in May this year, things started hotting up, an appeal went out, and the rest, as they say, is history.

.

Fast forward to this weekend, and takeover event at Monsal Trail done, trail event done (in torrential rain apparently, but we’ll close over that) and finally inaugural day dawned, and what a cracker of an event it turned out to be.

Can I just say, bit defensively, I hadn’t intended to go to the inaugural, although it’s not a rule as such, it’s considered better etiquette to wait for events to settle in a bit before rocking up to avoid overwhelming them, unless it is actually your local. I’d spotted the takeover at Monsal Trail and assumed they’d start the following week, not taking into account the trial event, so thought I’d be rocking up at week 2. Oh well, seems it was the worst kept secret ever anyway, and as it’s my nendy – or was (nearest event not yet done/ not done yet) and feels local because I did so much of my London Marathon training on the Monsal Trail which is out in that direction from Sheffield. I wondered if I should do a blog post about this first event because of that breach of protocol and then I thought: a) who am I trying to kid, since you dear reader are pretty much my only dedicated follower, with respect, my attendance is hardly going to create a tidal wave of parkrun inaugural chasers who now feel emboldened by my behaviour to go storming round new first events in my wake. If only I had that degree of influence I’d use it to promote world peace and get them to make an apricot coloured thermal parkrun mug. Why isn’t that a thing yet? Makes no sense at all. And b) well I did go, so bit hypocritical to pretend otherwise, and it would seem a shame not to capture impressions of the first event. So sorry, not sorry. Well a bit sorry, but not so sorry that once I’d realised it would be the inaugural I changed all my plans. I’ll try not to do it again.

Where was I, oh yes, fantasising about one day attending a parkrun at Buxton, hopefully in the presence of a multitude of fancy dress blue cats – or better yet REAL ones. As it was, although there were many fun guys out and about, it was inexplicably a bit thin on the cobalt cat front.

I pulled up the info on the website the day before, just to check details. The official blah de blah for Pavilion Gardens parkrun describes the course thus:

Course Description
Three laps on permanent paths round the Pavilion Gardens, starting and finishing on Broad Walk.
Unfortunately dogs are not allowed at this event.

Facilities
Toilets at the car park, swimming pool and by the boating lake. Park amenities include children’s play areas, an outdoor gym, a swimming pool, indoor gym, cafe and many other seasonal attractions.

Location of start
The event starts on Broad Walk. The Pavilion Gardens lie adjacent to the A53 St John’s Road. The nearest postcode to the start is on Burlington Road – SK17 9AL

Parking is free on Burlington Road, Hartington Road and surrounding streets. The Pavilion Gardens has a pay and display car park off Burlington Road (SK17 9AR) and there is further paid parking by the Old Hall Hotel.

Post Run Coffee
Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee at Pavilion Gardens Café – please come and join us!

fair enough.

And it looks like this:

.

.

Just look at all those exciting things! A miniature railway is always a win, an actual river running through and an actual opera house with a dome and everything, that’s pretty special. I like to think of myself as somewhat of a sponsor of the arts. I recently loaned a Pyrex bowl to the Sheffield Theatres for use in their production of On the Beach, one of two linked plays that together make up The Contingency Plan. They were very good, but not gonna lie, without my last minute contribution they’d probably have had to pull the whole show. As it was, my Pyrex did great. Pyrex is on a bit of a roll at the moment, getting mentions in reviews all over the place,, well Keswick anyway. Never underestimate the importance of your bakeware, it could yet become more famous than you are. Just saying.

.

.

I’m enjoying having closer links to the Sheffield Theatres now I am a theatrical landlady. I’ve bought a hat and feather boa especially so I can look the part when answering the door to my ever changing cycle of lodgers. On the whole it’s been great hosting people, I’ve only had one bad experience with an arrival who revealed themselves to be an absolutely freak of nature by declaring they don’t drink tea – or indeed any hot drinks! Not even Yorkshire Tea! I know! I was reeling. How I managed to keep my composure whilst inwardly processing the enormity of this disclosure I have no idea, but we did somehow muddle through our time together. It’s so important to be accepting and non judgemental in the capacity of host, and being exposed to different ways of doing and being is probably a good thing. It’s all about inclusion and community at the end of the day, just like parkrun. Inclusion and acceptance makes the world a better place, and anyway, if they won’t drink tea, all the more for me! Everyone’s a winner! Mrs Doyle would have had an actual melt down though. Fact.

Anyway, stop distracting me by asking me about my claims to fame, many and manifest though they may be, where was I? Oh, yes, parkrun weekend. It really was a cracker! An absolute blast. There were a few historical parkrun things coinciding this Guy Fawkes Saturday. There was the registering of the 8 millionth parkrun barcode. Oh my, how amazing it would be to get that number, I do hope it’s someone who actually completes a parkrun:

.

Then there was the massive influx of parkrunners to Gunpowder parkrun because if it was ever on your hit list, what better day to take part in it than on the one time November 5th falls on a Saturday. This won’t happen again until 2033 I think, assuming my google search was correct, so next time that comes around I’ll be nearly 70, I wonder if I’ll still be alive then and if I am if I’ll be doing parkrun and if I am doing that if Gunpowder will still be a thing. I guess if I can wait 50 years to do a parkrun at Buxton I can wait 11 to get to Gunpowder on Guy Fawkes day. Anyway, Gunpowder parkrun had not only triple their usual number of parkrunners, but three lots of run report one, two, three – as a poem, to mark the occasion. Yes, all excellent, but best thing about it was this fancy dress offering! I wonder what bright spark came up with the idea, nailed it though.

.

.

as if this wasn’t enough, there was the Walk with Joe thingy kicking off too. Maidenhead parkrun having a whopping 77 volunteers and 965 parkrunners, wowsers! That’s insane! Check out the stage and sound system though, that’s one way to get yourself heard during the run briefing!

.

.

and it’s lovely that there were all these things happening in the parkrun world. However, maybe they were just trying a bit too hard. The real magic happens at the birth of a new parkrun, and it was Pavilion Gardens parkrun that stole the heart of all of us that were there, no regrets about missing Joe at Maidenhead parkrun, or joining the firework display at Gunpowder parkrun – maybe a slight stab of jealousy at not getting the 8,000,000 number on my barcode, but then if I had, I’ve have missed out on all my previous parkrun adventures to date, and that seems way too high a price to pay. Nope, Buxton Bound, and Garden Pavilion parkrun it would be, huzzah! Whatever that actually means, it sounds suitably theatrical and as an excitement generating exclamation seems most apt for the day.

So here are my PG tips – with thanks to Team Burrelli for making this awesome connection! Genius at work there. 🙂 I am shameless in borrowing from him, it’s not plagiarism when acknowledged, rather it’s a compliment… Bravo Burrelli!

.

Well it might be more stream of consciousness rambling, than concise tips, but hey ho, you get the gist.

Buxton is pretty local to me really, though I’ve rarely been. It’s not too far from Sheffield which is a boon as my health is compromising what I can do at the minute, long drives are really painful, and I’m really not great at the minute. parkrun tonic was very much needed. It wasn’t too early a start, and I’m pleased to report, that after the biblical rain of last weekend, this Saturday was damp yes, but not to an apocalyptic extent, so that was good. The drive over was actually lovely, gorgeous autumn colours of bronze and gold, and the light caught the brown bracken and it looked spectacular. The grey and cloudy sky set off some of the rock formation of the edges as I drove through, and it was all generally splendid. a good start.

The Pavilion Gardens parkrun website postcode satnav took me straight to the edge of the park. You drive through a pretty residential area of gorgeous stone buildings, and I saw some parkrunners (presumably) jogging in the direction I was travelling, it was great to behold. All that anticipatory excitement as people started to descend on the venue. The road alongside the gardens was fairly full of parked vehicles of the early arrivals. Parking there is free and there is no reason not to park there, but for me it made more sense to go the pay and display carpark. There was loads of parking, and whilst there is a charge, it’s free for blue badge holders and quite possibly reformed blue cats too, and I don’t begrudge paying for facilities I use at a parkrun location. You are right next to well maintained loos, the main entrance of the park, and straight off get a view of the amazing domed Buxton Opera House or whatever it’s called. Few things I noticed, wow they like their signs! I have never seen so many different signs explaining confusingly how to pay for parking and insisting that you absolutely must. The modern multi-storey car park and associated leisure centre is juxtaposed beside the lovely Victorian garden railings and building. It’s just a bit weird, not bad as such, but striking. There is good signage for the park, but that sign could do with a bit of a wipe. The car park was full with confused looking new arrivals, seeking loos or heading off for a quick warm up lap of the gardens. There were already some directional arrows up, and there was no doubt you are in the right place. Hurrah! Red Ted found a sign that would dictate our speed around the course for today, so that was fine. I do think you are winning at life if you find your colour scheme matches that of the instructional signage at your chosen event.

.

.

So once I’d finished inputting all the signs into my i-spy book of car park accessories, I headed off into the Pavilion Gardens. Dear Reader, they are a delight. Mature planting, little bridges over the river, fountains, a miniature railway, little water falls up and over bits and down under bits. Sort of like a miniaturised Huddersfield parkrun in places in that respect. And ducks, and you must now by now that I do luvva duck!

.

.

Gorgeous mature trees, and there, in the distance, and on the horizon the vision of loveliness which is the sight of a gathering of parkrunners and the associated high vis heores resplendent in their new shiny high viz. The parkrun flag was a flying and all was well in the parkrun world. By the way, my camera has pretty much gone down the quiet quitting route. It goes through the motions, but it’s pictures are basically terrible, so I’ve freely borrowed from the Pavilion Gardens parkrun photo pool on flickr and done a bit of googling for other images too. Thanks to all that have let me use their pics, I tried to ask permission where I could, apologies if I’ve missed anyone. Happy to remove pics on request if required. You can easily spot which are my photos as they are the ones with the dodgy composition and lighting, just remember dear reader, it is the thought that counts. The Pavilion Gardens parkrun Facebook page is just going live as I type, so maybe some more pics will turn up there too. Go check it out, give it a like and see what lands. That’s what I’m going to do 🙂

.

.

It gets me every time. That assembling of a parkrun community, coming together to propagate fun times. There was a good natured buzz. I saw some familiar faces in the throng. The famous ‘We Love park run’ Cassells couple who have amazing paired customised t-shirts that, together with their prolific touristing (372 different events and counting, and more if you count discontinued events which you really should) has made them parkrun legends. There were Barnsley Harriers present, I like them, they are officially lovely – met some at The Trunce years ago, and noticed how they looked out for one another. Familiar face from Glossop parkrun also way back in the olden days before Covid and Zoom were actual things; and did I espy Buxton runners aplenty, with familiar faces from fell races past, all of which I was final finisher in, but with style.

I always have a wave of paranoia before entering a pre-event fold, but it was all good humoured enough. There were some extra awesome bits about this start line though.

The way the Gardens are designed there are actual houses right on the start line. Not near the start, but literally people breakfasting in their front rooms were serenaded by the merry chatter of excited parkrunners gathered together. I hope they like parkrun. To my extreme delight, there is an actual guest house just metres from the start line, I don’t imagine there is a parkrun anywhere in the world where you could stay any closer. The location was nearer the start than the finish line. If you are a tourist check out Roseleigh Guest House, Buxton overlooking the lake and set within the Pavilion Gardens. That would be properly awesome! The view from the dining room looks across where parkrunners set off. So that sight would either ruin the view or make it, depending on your parkrun passions.

.

.

Of course, if you are a proper parkrun passionista, you can do better than an over night stay. There was/is a flat for sale that’s even closer to the start line if that’s possible to believe, in the adjacent property. What’s more – and this is parkrun gold – the estate agency marketing the property is Wright Marshall. I know, what could possibly be more apt! Hang on, let me go look at right move details. So, it’s a snip at £400,000 and from there you can see the whole parkrun route pretty much, it’s a shame parkrun marshals can’t collect any financial contributions, or they could have a whip round for the event director to live there with selected members of the core team, tied accommodation like the residents of Number Ten only with more integrity. Wouldn’t that be splendid? Rhetorical question, yes it would! It’s already 4 bedrooms, and the rooms look huge so you could always cosy up. Squidging up would be perfect, room for all at a parkrun, inclusion is everything remember.

.

.

nice, isn’t it. And here are the properties significantly improved by the addition of perky parkrnners:

.

.

and frankly, who wouldn’t want to cosy up with these latest members of the parkrun family. Don’t they look lovely and cuddlesome (get permission first) and welcoming, all get set and ready to go on the morning of their inaugural, the calm before the storm. I’m not sure what was in the Waitrose bag. If it was me doing the RD stint on an occasion such as this I’d probably bring a paper bag to breathe into, but a plastic bag with some emergency snacks is still a good shout. Check out the attaché case with parkrun essentials, and gaze in delight at the new powder blue high vis for the park walkers, now a staple part of all parkruns. Hurrah!

.

.

Lovely pic! Oh, and wait, incoming photos alert, turns out Frank Golden Sports Photos was covering the event, there could be a LOT of photos to capture the occasion, that’s great obvs, but how to choose? Have a gander here, and ooh and aah and marvel at the spectacle unfolding before you. Relive it if you were there, and feel like you were there if you weren’t. Everyone’s a winner, all eventualities well and truly catered for!

.

Right, where was I? Oh, are you still here? Thanks for sticking with me, I appreciate I’m not really concise dear reader, but then again, reading is not compulsory. You can always just scroll down to look at the pictures, that’s probably what I’d do to be fair. Yet, I like the idea of recording here my experiences of the day, it sort of helps to cement the memories, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll look back on it all once again and wish I’d done a crowdfunder for that lovely flat. Still, life is too short for regrets, let’s not dwell on that, let’s crack on instead. We are all fired up at arriving at the start and seeing those houses right on the start line.

There was quite a buzz from the assembled gathering. As I approached, I saw some of the marshals leave their huddle and go marching off to their spots. I wonder how they were feeling. Personally I sometimes get confused between terror and excitement. There shouldn’t be anything to worry about at a parkrun, but there must have been that collective willing it all to go well. Loads of us were snapping photos to try to capture it all. Some with more success than others it has to be said. Yep, I’m not proud of my offerings, but they are the best I’ve got. Lucky I used my resource gathering skills to find some better ones. Have a browse, see if you can spot anyone you know.

.

.

After deployment of the marshals, there was a shout out for the first timers’ welcome. Strictly speaking this was everyone, though some possibly had done the trial event and/or previous 5k runs in the gardens. A semi circle gathered around the inaugural welcome. It was thorough, going over the course as well as parkrun protocols. Pleasingly, there were 19 brand new parkrunners. Yep, that’s right, people doing their first ever, ever, ever parkrun. What a one to choose. I hope it will be but the first of many. The gathering for this was respectful and quiet. The natural bank created a bit of an amphitheatre, and strategic use of the loudhailer helped get people’s attention, so that was good.

.

.

Then there was a bit more faffing and chatting and warming up, and catching up and a growing sense of anticipation. The RD then started to address the gathering. Depressingly, there was not a respectful silence for this. At first, I think some people genuinely didn’t realise they had started their welcome, but even after a bit of shushing from others a few just continued noisily chatting away with complete disregard for the host team, other parkrunners and the significance of it being an inaugural event. I found that hugely disappointing. I tried to tell myself maybe that discourteous few had other issues going on and it wasn’t necessarily just that they were all total bell ends. That’s possible I suppose. Also, and this is important, you can’t always change a situation, but you can choose how to react to it. This is why I nearly spat out my tea (and we’ve already established how sacred a mug of tea can be) when this email popped into my inbox the other week…

.

.

Hilarious! Laugh? I thought my knickers would never dry! I was sort of hoping this was someone quiet quitting their job, but it seems algorithms suggest alternatives, even so, a packer could override a technical glitch if it pleased them. Anyway, properly funny. I don’t even have a cat, and since I’m vegetarian wouldn’t even turn to the cat food in an emergency either. Expensive though isn’t it, cat food? Makes me feel better about the amount I spend on bird and squirrel stuff. Oooh, shall we have some gratuitous squirrel pics? It’s been a while. Hang on:

.

.

Despite the best efforts of those who noisily talked over the entire run briefing, the RD did a great job thanking those involved in getting the parkrun set up, clapping volunteers and going through the basics too. No dogs for example at this parkrun. It’s a three lapper, tarmac, but with autumn leaves making it slippery in places. It was a great way to start things off.

Then the event ambassador gave a wave and stepped up to add her thanks to today’s RD especially who seems to have been a tour de force in making it so. There was lots of appreciative clapping and all was good in the world. Hurrah!

.

.

and then, finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for. Go!

.

.

Be thankful dear reader for a proper photographer being on hand to capture these moments in time. Great shots aren’t they? Rhetorical question, yes they are! I’m always in awe of the courage of photographers who get these centre front photos, they must be pretty nippy on their feet too, to avoid being trampled into the tarmac. Has to be quite an adrenalin rush being in the path of such a force of parkrun power.

I hope you enjoyed these start photos, because my shots en route are erm, well, how can I put it? Sub optimum? They say it’s the thought that counts though, and as a parkwalker these days, I did try to take some mid parkrun shots, though my camera just isn’t coping, I might have to abandon attempting this in future. For now though, albeit mu camera seems to be in its death throes, I will reveal a few of the least terrible taken today, a last gasp of usefulness before inevitable retirement perhaps.

Off everyone went. Some with a bit more of a bounce than others! I tucked in pretty near the back. I felt quite perky to begin with, aiming to stay ahead of the tail, maybe buddy up with the parkwalkers. Didn’t happen. As is always the way, early optimism gave way to pretty high pain levels. It feels unfair. I can potter around pretty well at the moment, and it makes me wonder if I’m imagining my disability, or if it’s more to do with general unfitness and loss of condition from being so very ill last year. However, once again a few hundred metres into parkrun and my leg has turned to lead, except lead that experiences pain and pins and needles and just like it’s not my own. With one leg doing that and my other foot refusing to weight bare it’s a grim experience. I could feel myself getting slower and slower. It was hard not to feel miserable about it. I guess it is what it is, and just as it’s best to just laugh if you get cat food instead of bin liners in your grocery shop I tried to see the silver lining of my slow pace and needing to keep stopping as an opportunity to interact with the volunteers a bit more and take some pictures.

Volunteers are properly lovely though aren’t they? This is a three lap course so you get to enjoy them three times, AND you get to pass the finish twice too. That means as a slower participant there is lots of support and lots of interest. Faster runners come and lap you, but then you get the sense of still being amongst a field of participants instead of just crawling in on your own for the whole of the event. I love that you pass the finish so see faster runners sprinting in. The three laps give you a chance to appreciate the gardens too. It was looking gorgeous. Apparently last week was torrential rain, but astonishingly it stayed dry today. The leaves were slippery but covered the paths with autumn bronze and gold. You get to see the Victorian buildings inside and outside the park. Other users were sat on benches taking it all in, or walking dogs, it all seemed pretty good natured. I’m coming round to multi lap courses as they are highly social, and as a walker I think less lonely than my previously favoured single lap routes. I am the slowest participant by a country mile though, and that’s hard. I wonder if this is it for me now, I hope not. I can cope with never being fast – I never was before, but I’d love to just blend in at a parkrun, not carry the worry of being a burden to an event, and sometimes just to do it in my own way and own time. It’s hard not to feel pressure to speed up at the back, not at this event from the tail, but I’ve had a string of poor experiences that has weakened my resolve. Still, this week was fine and dandy, thank you for asking. I offer up my en route photographic efforts by way of evidence of parkrun camaraderie and cheer. The fact they are terrible should simply encourage you to go check it all out for yourself, it’s the only way to fully appreciate it!

.

.

fortunately, I wasn’t the only one taking photos!

.

.

After the first lap or so, one of the tail walkers came to keep me company which was appreciated. We chatted running stories and compared injuries, and I got a bit more background to the event. Oh, and I found out that one of the other tail walkers knows my next door neighbour so that was exciting. Small world and all that. As we finished the second lap, there were a lot of people milling around the finish, and I really appreciated someone shouting out to people to keep the course clear for those of us still limping round. It’s a little thing, but it makes a huge difference, and people were happy to shifty, thanks to those that did. Great finish funnel location. If you’d rather live at the finish line than the start, check out Derby House Buxton. As elegant and contemporary as Garden Pavilion parkrun itself!

.

.

Derby House used to be a residential care home. There is still another care home along the Broad Walk, you pass it three times so the residents can in theory see you from the windows as you pass. I wonder/hope in time that residents might be encouraged to come along and enjoy watching the runners, maybe even get involved as volunteers. That’s how my mum got adopted by Bushy parkrun after all.

.

.

I still feel quite emotional and choked up about that how that all unfolded. It made such a difference to my mum and me for her to be properly part of the parkrun family, even more so at such an iconic destination. Sigh. I’d love for others to experience that too. If only for the enrichment of seeing it unfold outside. There is a parkrun somewhere where the person who is behind the Walking at parkrun Facebook page proactively built a relationship with the care home on the course route for his home parkrun. The residents apparently get involved every week as marshals and supporters alongside carers. I’d love to visit that parkrun one day. Note to self, I need to find out where it is.

Meanwhile, I was walking round with the tailwalker, walking and talking which is how it should be.

.

.

Well, it’s how it should be if you are walking it. If you are fleeter of foot, you may be flying round, and if you are really lucky, there will be a volunteer photographer on hand to capture your running prowess in perpetuity. Immortalised with flying feet. There were an astonishing amount of airborne participants today, superb photos, here are just some. Gaze on in wonder. These days I’d only get flying feet if dangling my legs whilst perched on a slightly too high bench, but it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the light footedness of others! Mind you, I can’t help thinking so many were suspended in the air, one strong gust of wind and they’d have all ended up in the lake but mercifully that did not come to pass. Just as well, not sure it would have been covered in the standard risk assessments for a new parkrun. Or maybe it was? They seemed to have got most of the details spot on.

.

.

With the walking and talking, the final lap went quickly, even though I wondered if we had it pretty much to ourselves. I was grateful to find as I neared the finish funnel that it was still up and attended in all it’s glory, so I mustered a sort of sprint finish. I say sprint finish, but wait, no, I mean a shuffle finish! But finish I did. A tantalising 2 seconds off my final parkrun bingo number. Oh well. I’m beginning to think that challenge will forever elude me. Token scanned, and bucketed, and that was that.

The volunteer team busied themselves with course close down, and uploading of results.

.

.

There didn’t seem to be any actual participants still around, I presume they’d scattered to the nearest café. I had planned on joining the post parkrun faffing but I wasn’t sure where the café was and felt suddenly awkward if I’m honest, and I was in quite a lot of pain too to be honest so decided maybe best to get off, but took a bit of meander through the gardens as I departed. There is much to see and appreciate. Well worth allowing a bit of extra time for.

As I left, I paused at the commemorative pebbles sunk into cement as a tribute to the NHS and other key workers during the pandemic. It was a curious sort of memorial, and quite touching in a way. I don’t know why Dr Who Tom Baker era featured, but why not. Then I checked out the amazing wooden tree carving and tried to find the goose with a wonky wing. Like I said, plenty to do even without a post parkrun breakfast stop.

.

.

and that was pretty much that. Oh, but in case you are interested in the details, and why wouldn’t you be? The auto generated summary run report from the parkrun wiki journo report tells us that at Pavilion Gardens parkrun, Event number 1 on 5th November 2022:

278 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 275 were first timers and 0 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 56 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 31 extraordinarily photogenic volunteers:

Karen WEIR • Beverley ALI • Robert WHITE • Paul MARKALL • Jane POULTER • Frank GOLDEN • Peter BAILEY • Sheila BRADLEY • Rachel DOWLE • Chris HALLWORTH • Mark WHELAN • Elizabeth NOCTON • Jocelyn GRANGER • Stefan LEDIN • Kate LEDIN • Katie ROLFE • Joanne CUDAHY • Tim ROLFE • Jessica MURRAY • Justin HOLMES • Rebecca DAY • Gill THOMPSON • Diane BARKER • Nichola SARGEANT • Rob MCNEIL • Zoe HEMMINGWAY • Colin BALDWIN • Kristian WHITE • Beth WHITE • Jenny BIRCHETT • Ian DALTON

Today’s full results and a complete event history can be found on the Pavilion Gardens parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Sophie WOOD who recorded a time of 17:56 on 5th November 2022 (event number 1).
The male record is held by Caleb WINFIELD who recorded a time of 16:36 on 5th November 2022 (event number 1).
The Age Grade course record is held by Pat GOODALL who recorded 83.97% (25:16) on 5th November 2022 (event number 1).

Pavilion Gardens parkrun started on 5th November 2022. Since then 276 participants have completed 278 parkruns covering a total distance of 1,390 km, including 0 new Personal Bests. A total of 31 individuals have volunteered 31 times. Good to know.

They could have added, that the runniest runners were: Robert Andrew Jones (499); Lynn Newman (489); John Cassells (443); Joanna Cassells (440); Kate Adkins (418) and Paul Amro Robison (391). You’ve got to admit, that is a great deal of parkrunning around!

and the average age was 45 for both men and women, which is cool, though makes me feel old as well as slow.

I love how for this very first event you get a total distance of 1,390 km, that’s a loooooooooooooooooooong way. Almost 864 miles in old money. When you consider the first ever parkrun was the Bushy Park Time Trial and that had just the thirteen parkrun pioneers and now we have hundreds here at Buxton. It’s astonishing.

There was one Cath(erine) Saunders wheeling round, three actual dragons providing the fire and great guys marshalling and time keeping and doing all the things to ensure a sparkling event was enjoyed by all.

The guys did grand!

Before I go though, can we have a special shout out to those who made the extra effort to have some November 5th themed active wear. Your efforts were noted and appreciated. Yay you! You all know who you are.

And of course I particularly love those people who see the photographer and become joy manifest. This is type one fun, fun in the moment, none of this ‘I’ll only enjoy it when it’s over’ nonsense, oh no sorreee, parkrun fun at it’s best. #loveparkrun So many happy smiley people! This lot were certainly giving Pavilion Gardens parkrun the literal as well as figurative thumbs up. Smiles all round, and one or two caught with slightly panicked mid-scream expressions, but we get the idea, and it’s fabulous!

.

.

Oh, and for those of you who like to triangulate your event information, there is a run report for this first event on the newly launched facebook page right here. Spoiler alert, they had a grand time too! 🙂 I think we can all agree, the event did good. Happy parkrunner, a grand day out. So grand in fact, let’s do it all again next week!

So there we go. Brilliance at Buxton. Go experience it for yourself. It won’t disappoint. ‘Til next time, bye bye Buxton. You did grand. Here’s to positive parkrun communities that generate their own magic. I’m sure King Buxton would have come good a lot earlier if he’d had access to a parkrun to make him feel included… Thank you all at brilliant Buxton, for creating a magical experience. You are bright sparks and superstars indeed. Yay you. 🙂

Sorry I snuck into your inaugural event. Oops.

.

.

There we have it. Remember, remember this fifth of November, when parkrunners assembled a lot. I see no reason why this firework season should ever be forgot. For on this day, down Buxton way, Pavilion Gardens parkrun sparkled into life. It was their intent, to create an event, of marshals and runners and joy. And you know what, they did just that! Isn’t it grand. #loveparkrun Congratulations to the whole team! You only bloomin’ did it! Huzzah indeed!

Incidentally, you can extend your parkrun contemplations for longer by reading all my parkrun related posts here.  Or not.  It’s up to you.  You’ll need to scroll down for older entries though.  Also, you might just like to lean back in a comfy chair, close your eyes, and dreamily recall your happiest parkrun moments.  Bet there are loads. 

Thanks for staying the distance. Same time next week? Hoping so. 🙂

Categories: 5km, parkrun, running, walking at parkrun | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Post navigation

3 thoughts on “Off with a Bang at Buxton! Welcoming Pavilion Gardens parkrun to the fold.

  1. Peter

    Thanks for this.
    My parents are planning their Golden Wedding anniversary in Buxton next year, so I’ll plan to do this parkrun.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh what a wonderful option for a Golden Wedding anniversary celebration, Buxton looks really great for that kind of thing, and everything very reachable by the look of things, a great choice. So much fun awaits you all! Lx

    Like

  3. Pingback: Amoozing times at Trentham Gardens parkrun! | Running Scared

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: