NEIL AND JO’S WEDDING RUN,

Halifax parkrun, Shroggs Park, Saturday, 23 September, 2017.

It was a parkrun like no other. I mean, where else could you have expected to find an array of priests and vicars, an abundance of elegant (and some not so) dames, chimney sweeps, ridiculous wigs (some even fitted correctly), glasses of Prosecco downed pre-run, and where a pregnant bride was shoved over the finish line in a wheelbarrow by the mother of same said bride? You couldn’t make it up.

The happy couple upon arrival. Despite a 5k run ahead of them, Neil still manages to make Jo giggle, convincing her that “it’s all downhill from here.”

As if you haven’t guessed, the occasion was Halifax parkrun, unofficially labelled ‘Neil and Jo’s Wedding Run’. And their friends from Northowram Pumas were out in force to make it all the more memorable. Yes, Neil Coupe and Joanne Allen, married officially the day before (but willing to go through it all again in front of the watching masses later in the afternoon, where the wedding rings were delivered by Barney the Labrador) had invited all their running friends to make this parkrun one to remember. One to remember? It’s one nobody will ever forget!

A colourful mix, a small selection of what was on offer on Saturday.

‘Twas a colourful scene, what with all these outfits and everything, though one of the funniest sights was that of vicar-clad Chris Ellis arriving late (long after the photo-shoots and first-timers’ briefings had been done) and hurtling up Harrison Hill with a horrified look on his face, one that suggested he was about to turn up for his own sermon only to find all the parishioners had gone home. He made it in time, and on the starting line, those dressed for the occasion were joined by others who looked, for once, kind of out of place – runners in running gear.

Tracey Ann, Simon Wilkinson and Shana Emmerson, with her new best friend, Kevin.

 

Luke Cranfield (in mid-week): “To make it a fair contest, I’ll put on a thick suit, shirt, collar and tie, it’ll be so hard to run in that.”
Tim Brook: “You’re on. I’ll do the same.”
Gabriella Kenny and Paula Snee. These two look as if they could actually be sisters. Oh wait…
Providing the love interest…Claire Ramsbottom and Rachael Hawkins.

Race director Stephanie Hull did an amazing job when addressing the 191 runners and giving the compulsory race briefing, her delivery cleverly based on a wedding theme; “We are gathered here today…Does anyone know of any reason why this parkrun should not go ahead?” Stephanie then led Neil and Jo through the crowd – and back again – in the manner of Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea. Her race briefing duly completed, there was one last task to perform before Harrison Charles got the runners under way, and that was Neil and Jo stepping forward to release a couple of doves (acquired by Gabriella Kenny via Queensbury Running Club) – these are homing doves, apparently, and sure to return from where they’d been brought.

The day provided freedom for at least one happy couple.

Before you knew it, we were off, as we all know, roughly three-a-half-laps of Shroggs Park. Oh what a circus; three fellas humping it around in suits that would help them sweat out almost half their body weight, ladies almost tip-toing around whilst holding the hem of their dresses, and Shana Emmerson carrying a special type of boyfriend, probably the best kind, one that doesn’t answer back (but destined never to get a recorded finish – because he didn’t have his BAR CODE!). Mind, from what I can gather, neither did many others, seemingly too concerned with ‘looking the part’ than hunting out that essential item, one without which, we are told, means, “No time.”

You can almost hear the runner in the orange T-shirt asking himself, “What on earth has just passed me?” Or words to that effect.

Of course, once out in the field, there were those, despite how they were dressed up, wanted to knock off something respectable. Luke Cranfield, who arrived in a tight-fitting white laced dress covered up by his Pumas hoodie, for fear of arrest, took the honour of being #FPH. His dress barely reached the top of his thighs, thus giving him plenty of leg manouvreabilty* (Back in the day, you could just hear an old dear warning her daughter dressed in similar attire, “You’ll catch a chill, you know.”)

Alan Sykes – all-in-all a bit of a mess, really.

Not too far behind was Tim Brook. He finished eighth but was first in a newly created sub-category – #FPHIAS (First Puma Home In A Suit). First female Puma home was Kirsty Edwards, skipping around in her frock in a manner that suggested perhaps that she may have just done this sort of thing before. Jane Cole came in 57th, choosing this occasion to run her first parkrun. She can’t usually make Saturdays due to work commitments. She offered me a small cash inducement to publicise her hairdressing business, but being far too professional and honest I couldn’t accept anything like that. Just as professional and honest as Peers and Cole Hair, 34 Well Green Lane, Hove Edge.

He may be in a (tight-fitting) dress, but Luke Cranfield still has the determination of a winner (fifth, actually).

Claire Ramsbottom, Rachael Hawkins and Andrew Mellor were also Halifax parkrun first timers; fortunately for them, next time out they should record personal bests, and questions will surely be asked if they don’t. Worryingly, however, two Pumas actually managed personal bests, one being Wendy Hewitt, who ran in a pretty blue frock decorated with birds and clocked a time over two minutes faster than her previous Halifax PB. Which begs the question: What was she doing last time out? More importantly, what was she wearing? Clogs? Simone Brook, who ran her first parkrun here two weeks ago, beat her time that day by eleven seconds, so there’s another one who might like to pay attention to detail when choosing her running outfit.

That “Get me to the church on time” feel about it. Chris Ellis with Vicky Owen look to be either getting there, or making a hasty retreat.

 

Paul Bottomley addresses his flock with an appropriate hand gesture. Not the one he wanted to give, I believe.

For some it was a familiar tale of suffering. Matt Newton limped over the line as he has done on several occasions before, suffering with an ankle injury sustained when scaling Tan House Road the previous evening. Though in the past, injured or not, he can never have claimed to look as fetching as he did here, matching lemon dress and tights and all (although in some quarters, he was likened to Big Bird from Sesame Street).

Of course, we all awaited the arrival at the finish line of the newly-wed Mr and Mrs Coupe. They finished in style; Neil humping Jo into a conveniently placed wheelbarrow (one can only assume this prop was planted pre-race, as in the previous forty-one Halifax parkruns I’ve run, I’ve never seen a wheelbarrow placed handily on Harrison Hill). And pushing her with consummate ease (again, does he do this regularly?) over the line under a shower of confetti.

Neil wheels Jo over the line. It surprised no one that she managed not to spill any of her glass of Prosecco.

When all was gathered in, the Pumas entourage made its way back to the Northowram Social Club, for a welcome breakfast of bacon, sausage and/or egg butties, tea and coffee. Where, amongst other things, Matt Newton was declared the Best Dressed Puma, and Bella the dog managed to hoodwink everyone in an impromptu game of Hide and Seek.

What a morning. What a carry on. What on earth just happened? And that was just the start of the day.

Carlsberg don’t do parkruns. But if they did…

* No such word.

For prosperity, Pumas and associates’ positions and times were;

5 Luke Cranfield 19:11

8 Tim Brook 19:58

43 Andy Haslam 24:08

44 Tom O’Reilly 24:12

47 Jude Kenny 24:30

49 Peter Reason 24:52

51 Kirsty Edwards 24:54

57 Jane Cole 25:45

67 Jonathan Meynell 26:41

73 Claire Ramsbottom 27:28

75 Andrew Mellor 27:39

76 Finley Canning 27:44

77 Victoria Owen 27:50

78 Chris Ellis 27:58

80 Simon Wilkinson 28:03

82 Paul Bottomley 28:31

83 Rachael Hawkins 28:34

91 Matt Newton 29:15

94 Mark Brook 29:27

97 Amanda Huddleston 29:52

98 Charlotte Reason 29:54

104 Anna Ralph 30:28

113 Wendy Hewitt 30:59

120 Sarah Haigh 31:47

121 Debbie Fox 31:53

125 Shana Emmerson 32:04

127 Simone Brook 32:12

132 Alan Sykes 32:53

133 Tracey March 32:57

134 Nicola Pennington 32:59

136 Paula Snee 33:00

138 Gabriella Kenny 33:04

142 Neil Coupe 33:33

143 Mrs Coupe 33:33

156 Tiffany Lewis 34:12

160 Eileen O’Brien 34:42

161 Tamara Gibson 34:58

163 Patricia Taylor 35:06

170 Megan Casey 36:17

171 Shaun Casey 36:20

174 Mai-Lyn Brook 36:28

176 Nicki Hartley 36:35

Unknown positions and times for Adam Standeven, Lisa Aspinall, Carolyn Brearley, Ally Canning, Laura Fairbank, Jane Henley, Nichola Mathieson. How does that mantra go again…?

 

 

 

 

 While our very own gossip girl blogger Johnny has a week off, here’s Simon to tell you about our recent parkrun takeover in Brighouse over the Halloween weekend.

What else could be more scary than a group of zombies, witches, vampires, skeletons and pumpkins all arriving at Wellholme Park in Brighouse at 8am on a Saturday morning? 3 months ago it might have been a different kind of event, but on Saturday 29 October 2016, it was time for the first Brighouse parkrun Halloween event – run by the Northowram Pumas.

As always, Team Puma turned out in force to get involved and we’d have been lost without them. As part of our takeover and proving popular when we’ve done it before, we had pacers ranging from 20mins through to 34mins to help people round.

Spooky pacers ready to go
Spooky pacers ready to go

When reading so often about people wanting to beat a personal best (PB) but struggling to break the ‘glass ceiling’ on their own,I’ve always been a fan of running with others to get better. Well done to everyone that ran and thanks to our pacers. It was great to see so many Junior Pumas running but more importantly smashing their PBs!

We also had some amazing support around the course and on the finish line as well as creepy things hanging from trees, pumpkins marking the way on the bridge, spiders that dropped on your head (just for Matt Newton!) and an amazing array of cakes, buns, biscuits and sweets.

Here’s a run down of the runners and riders

Tim Brook was first Puma home with a new PB (19:50)

Tim - #FPH and a new PB
Tim – #FPH and a new PB

followed by Luke Cranfield (pacing 20mins) who as well as being complete with meat cleaver, was a little bit ahead of time and so was spotted hanging around for a while before crossing the finishing line at exactly 20:00.

Luke - meat clever and devil mask and still managed to pace 20mins (sort of)
Luke – meat cleaver and devil mask and still managed to pace 20mins (sort of)

Next in was Andrew Tudor (linking Luke’s pacing to his new PB of 20:52). Junior Pumas George Eastwood was first Junior Puma home at 21:36 followed by Adam Standeven (pacing 22mins) and Richard Baker (22:47). The next two were Juniors Ryan Moore (23:24 – first timer) and Jude Kenny (23:37) beating last week’s PB. Matt Newton pacing at 24mins breezed in next along with his new running friend who was delighted she’d got under 24minutes.

Adam and Jude
Adam and Jude

Paula Snee (24:04) and Rachael Helliwell (24:06) came in effortlessly next, closely followed by another PB – this time from Junior Noah Lumb (24:43). Shaun Casey (25:28) arrived next with Junior Reuben Bartkiw one second later (25:29) making his debut parkrun appearance with Dad Antony (25:48) who might have hinted he got the running bug again! Another first timer Junior Puma was Sam Bell with an impressive debut time (23:43). Neil Coupe with his orange pumpkin trousers, brown wig and mask (he says it was a mask) paced in just under his 26min time followed by Juniors Freddie Baker (26:44), Finley Canning (26:58), Jessica Cameron (27:13) and Amelie Baker (27:22) closely followed by Joe Baker (26:45) and Elizabeth Cameron (27:31).

Rick, strong contender for best Puma costume of the day
Rick, strong contender for best Puma costume of the day

Well done to Freddie, Fin (who must have got his 30min pacing calculations wrong!) and Jessica who all smashed their PBs. Next in was our very own blogger Johnny Meynell who beat the 28min pacer (himself) by 15seconds. Just pipping the 30m time was Amelia Jackson and Ian Marshall followed by Ally Canning arriving bang on time (pacing at 30m) followed by Mike Hartley and Lady (the dog complete with her very own bat wings) and another parkrun debut appearance, this time from Jeremy Bartkiw (32:27) accompanied by Mum Charlotte (32:38).

Jeremy and Charlotte crossing the finish line
Jeremy and Charlotte crossing the finish line

Cathy Heptinstall arrived at (34:59) doing some great pacing in her scary cheerleader outfit. Next Puma in was Eileen O’Brien at 36:50, followed by some more first timers in Junior Pumas Miles and Elise Williams (38:14), Lana Brook (38:25), Elise Brook (38:50) with Mum Simone (38:54). Wendy Hewitt had the most important job and made sure everyone got home safe and sound – thanks Wendy!

For full results please see: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/brighouse/results/latestresults/

Pacing to success

We also had lots of great comments after the event about our pacers: “Helen asked to thank Ally and Ian for pacing her to her first ever sub 30 parkrun” and “Having the pacers meant I slashed my PB by 25secs – thanks Pumas” – great comments to receive!

Remembered to bring your barcode?

We also couldn’t have done it without the fantastic Pumas who took the opportunity to leave their running shoes at home for one Saturday morning and help with the finish line tasks so that everyone got their results – Carine ‘skeleton’ Baker and Sarah ‘witchy’ Haigh doing the very important job of keeping everyone in line to get their finishing position token and Paul ‘vampire’ Bottomley and Jo Allen for the most important job of scanning. Our Puma support out on the course was fantastic – Gabby and Orlagh Kenny with their cow bell which could be heard in Northowram, Julie, Rob and Hollie Bowman, Melissa ‘jilted bride’ Hall and team, Alison ‘witchy’ Pearce and family as well as Nicola ‘sporty’ Pennington.

Scary Pumas cheering the runners round
Scary Pumas cheering the runners round

Cakes, cakes and more glorious cakes!

And whats the most important thing a runner wants after a run (after uploading Strava and checking their time!) – yes, cake! And our spooktacular cakes certainly didn’t disappoint – from scary brownies to pumpkin krispies, these were definitely the best bloodtinglying treats around.

Devilishly good cakes
Devilishly good cakes

Thank you to Ally Canning, Ally’s sister, Victoria Owen, Nicola Hartley, Louise Lumb, Katie Lumb, Ian (and Mrs Marshall!), Charlotte Bartkiw and family, Carine Baker and family, Julie and Hollie, Elizabeth Cameron plus anyone who else who brought sweet treats and carved some amazing pumpkins for the bridge. Although there was no competition, the Northowram Pumas logo on pumpkin from the Bartkiw residence and the Junior pum(a)pkin from family Baker were definitely high contenders for the top spot!

A huge thank you…

As always these events don’t just happen and so there are a few special thank you’s we need to make – to Jude and the team at Brighouse parkrun for letting us ‘takeover’, Nick Windsor for taking some amazing photos for us, Neil Coupe for helping out with transport and a massive thanks and well done to Ally Canning and Victoria Owen for organising the takeover, buying props and coordinating cakes!

So what are you waiting for?

If you haven’t yet been to a parkrun, why not join in the fun? Just get yourself registered for free, print your barcode off and decide which of our local free, weekly, timed events you’ll go to next – you’re bound to spot a Puma there and it wont be the last time you go!

Team Spooktacular team
Team Spooktacular team

If you don’t fancy running, or want a change of scenery one Saturday morning, your local parkrun relies on volunteers to be able to do what they do. As part of our takeover at Brighouse and the amazing number of volunteers we brought along, some of the core team were able to run the course for the first time since the event has started – so thank you from them for ensuring that parkrun continues week in, week out!

On Saturday 21 May the Northowram Pumas took over Halifax Parkrun. This free, weekly timed 5k run takes part at Shroggs Park in Halifax every Saturday morning and there is almost definitely a few Pumas there each week! As our local Parkrun it was a great opportunity for us to let our Parkrun friends know who we were and what are about as well as share some delicious sweet treats and promote the forthcoming Northowram Burner.
Club members volunteered to marshal around the course, cheering on the runners as well as some making their own fantastic banners.
Some awesome homemade banners to keep the runners going
Some awesome homemade banners to keep the runners going
Others ran set times to pace anyone who had a specific time goal in mind or wanted some help beating the clock.
A couple of the 'pacers' before the start. We even had a Junior Puma pacer
A couple of the ‘pacers’ before the start. We even had a Junior Puma pacer
Members also baked amazing cakes, biscuits and flapjacks for those running.
Enjoying the baking. Well earned after a mornings run
Enjoying the baking. Well earned after a mornings run
Some of the treats baked by the Pumas
Some of the treats baked by the Pumas
A massive thank you to everyone who volunteered, paced, baked or took part in the run – it was a fantastic turnout from the club and despite the threat of rain, 151 runners took part. Feedback from people has also been great – a few comments from the Halifax Parkrun Facebook:
“Thanks Pumas! You did a great job, it was my first time, thanks to all the encouragers, especially the children – it really helped!”
“Awesome Parkrun today. Massive shout out to the Northowram Pumas – amazing cakes!”
Thanks also to Nick Windsor who captured the morning through photography. The photos are available to view via this link: https://www.flickr.com/gp/143565035@N07/2037bZ
We’re looking forward to the next one!

Obviously missing his Puma runs while he’s off sunning himself, Alan has taken to the parks of Perth, Australia to get his running fix!

Alan, calf injury and all, joined in with the 190 Aussie’s in a sweltering 32 degrees to complete his 5k park run in 25:58.

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The Parkrun was Woodbridge Riverside and as the name would suggest the route was along a riverside. And it was apparently just a touch nicer than Oakwell Hall!

Alan knocked out an amazing time as well coming 46th with a time of 25:58.

Well done Alan, our first international athlete!

Our very own Eileen won the October award at Halifax parkrun.

The prize was awarded to Eileen for a couple of reasons:

Firstly she managed a brilliant 9 (yes 9!!!!) consecutive parkrun personal bests.

Secondly Eileen has been a great volunteer for the Halifax parkrun, turning out on a Saturday morning to cheer on runners.

Eileen at parkrun

Awesome work Eileen, Keep it up!

Most weeks you’ll find a Puma or two at a local parkrun (Normally Halifax or Huddersfield) so if you’d like to give one a go register on the parkrun website and then post in the Pumas Facebook group to find out who’s running where.