Hardy Runners Brave the Elements at Ellenbrook Fields parkrun

Adverse weather conditions may have seen off the proposed air display to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the maiden flight of the Comet Aircraft but it failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the 249 runners and 25 volunteers that took part in the 169th running of the Ellenbrook Fields (Hatfield) parkrun.

The Comet transformed global air passenger travel and Hatfield Town Council had organised World Hatfield Week, consisting of a packed arts, cultural and sporting programme to celebrate its connection with the town and on the birthday of Sir Geoffrey de Havilland – the company founder – and Cats Eyes Cunningham – the test pilot for the original Comet aircraft – it was perhaps fitting that all those that finished the local parkrun, were presented with a commemorative silver badge to mark the occasion.

The first two home were both Garden City Runners, Neil Hume – who finished some 14 seconds ahead of Adam Wadley with the first female Philippa Lowe, crossing the line in 18mins 42secs. Extraordinarily, finishing in 101st position was Ellen Brooks of Bishop’s Stortford with a PB.

Of those hardy souls that braved the torrential rain, 55 were running the Ellenbrook course for the very first time with 12 of those making their parkrun debut.

The event which was started by Hatfield Town Mayor, Councillor Linda Mendez also featured several spot prizes kindly donated by Taste It Hatfield’s Polish Restaurant, and local solicitors Cleveland Scott York with joint Run Director for the day, Claire Drage, suitably attired as an airline stewardess, scooping the prize for the best fancy-dress outfit.

Since the inception of the Ellenbrook Fields parkrun in May 2016 some 5,780 unique runners, representing over 430 clubs, have completed the course – covering a total distance of 154,750km.

In reflecting on the recent event, John O’Callaghan Partnership Director at the Herts Sports Partnership who was also the joint Run Director on the day, said:

“The parkrun movement in Hertfordshire is a growing one and there are now 15 parkruns across the county which provide a free, timed 5k run each Saturday morning at 9am.

“The local event at Ellenbrook Fields has developed a reputation for a fast and friendly course given its location on a former airfield and due to both the welcome and expert organisation of its volunteers.

“The recent event was an excellent example of the outstanding work undertaken by those volunteers to ensure that others can get their weekends off to a healthy and active start. Despite the disappointment of the organisers having to cancel the intended air display, the rest of the event once again ran like clockwork, and we were delighted to have the Town Mayor with us, to start the event.

parkruns are open to everyone – irrespective of age, ability, or previous experience and is a great way of meeting new friends and undertaking some exercise at a pace which is suitable. There is always a tail runner, so nobody ever finishes last and indeed, some of the loudest cheers are reserved for those taking the longest time to complete the course.”

A warm welcome awaits anyone interested in giving it a try – whether as a runner of volunteer – and further details can be found at: www.parkrun.org.uk/ellenbrookfields