A cheerful 135 runners kick-started Christmas Day with a festive dash around Hanley Park. Mild, overcast conditions greeted the runners, many of whom were in fancy dress that included Santas, elves, penguin, turkey and other variations on this theme.
The runners followed a three-lap, multi-terrain route around the Victorian park in Stoke on Trent. They started in front of the pavilion and bandstand from where they proceeded along a small loop around the top of the park before running clockwise around the lake (two big loops). Twice they climbed up to the pavilion before a downhill stretch to the finish.
Several runners received a Christmas present in the form of a PB, for others it was their first, 50th or even 100th parkrun.
Tom Halloway of Staffordshire Moorlands AC was first to finish in 18:47. Arif Merali of Kent AC finished 10 seconds behind him in 18:57 with Elton Hood third in 19:36. Billie-Jo Wilson was the first female finisher in 25:00 and achieved a new PB. Caroline Waterhouse of Beeston AC was second in 25:28 with Sally Kenny of Cheadle RC coming third in 26:07. Emma Phillips of Cheadle RC was the midpoint runner in 24:50 and the field closed on 49:20.
One runner in particular performed an altruistic act entirely consistent with the inclusive ethos of parkrun. Emma Phillips of Stoke FIT acted as a guide runner for visually impaired Lee Greatbatch of Pershore Plum Plodders, helping him to a new PB. Emma was also the midpoint runner (24:50) and the field closed on 49:20.