It is rare nowadays that a Parkrun is the headline event of a St Helens Tri report but if ever there was an occasion for such a decision to be made it was Saturday 24th November at Stadt Moers Park. Off the back of Peter Rawlinson’s sub-47 minute time at the Movember 10k, Mike Goulbourne had led the club at the Preston 10 mile road race the previous week with an outstanding run to 58:34 and third in his age group while Lynette Houghton and Brian Davies finished just over three minutes apart and Diane Taktak recorded 100 minutes on the nose.
From one fast and iconic 2-lap course one week it was onwards to another for the Stadt Moers Special, as several club members who had not been to this underappreciated Parkrun made the trip to Tarbock Island for “the course that Aaron built” on Saturday 24th, as the Parkrun community remembered one of its greatest and most respected personalities on what also happened to be the 100th running of the 9am 5k at SMP. Conditions were near-perfect if a little on the chilly side as the runners stood to applaud Aaron Reading for a minute before they were set on their way as though the release of a week’s worth of cathartic energy had been fired from a cannon. It was a close race behind the runaway winner with mere seconds separating most of the top 10 positions. Mike Gregory lead St Helens Tri home in 6th overall in a time of 22:06; he also won his age group by just two seconds in the closest division race of the day. Helen Broderick has been a regular at the Saturday swim sessions since the club’s inception in 2015, yet here she brought her strength to a course that demands plenty of skill and toughness, and it paid off with a fine run to 26:05 which put her in the top 5 ladies for the day. It was also a day to remember for Wendy Webb, who ran the course together with husband Stephen plus Nick Hall; the trio completed the two laps of SMP in a little over 30 minutes and on a flat course must figure to go under the half hour mark soon. Also racing for the club were a number of other members whose names and times do not show up in the official results (as a reminder to anyone planning on entering a Parkrun, they are not chip timed but you need to register for a barcode), however one of the club’s most recent new members, Cheryl Pace, did remember to bring her slip of paper and while running for Penny Lane Striders, she banked a very satisfying warm-up ahead of next week’s Manchester Cross Country League fixture with the Saints as she finished in 24:14 and was second lady home.
Aaron Reading’s funeral will be held at Our Lady Help of Christian’s Portico, L34 2QT on Thursday 29 November at 10am, followed by the crematorium an hour later in St Helens, postcode WA10 6DF. 24th November 2018 will be remembered as the day when for one final Saturday morning, the moment belonged to a man who gave so much to the local running and triathlon community and would surely have had much more to offer had he been afforded the chance to do so. Therefore, on Thursday morning plans are afoot to honour him for the last time with a group ride to the funeral, with plans and timings to be announced shortly; this report will be updated in due course.