Banstead Woods Report for Event 539 – 16th September 2017
Report by Alison Cattermole Photos by Gill Stalley
Link to this week’s photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157686732961954
What a joy to be in Banstead Woods today. We are so fortunate to have such a beautiful backdrop to our exertions of a Saturday morning. In the league of most pleasant parkrun environments, Banstead Woods must surely appear near the top. This morning it was particularly true. The transition between summer and autumn never seems to be gradual.
One day, you are wearing T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops and then suddenly you wake up and realise the mornings are darker and the evenings beginning to close in. You start to wonder how long you can delay turning on the central heating and rooting around in the cupboard for the winter coat. Today was one of those days.
As I prepared for parkrun I changed my mind on what to wear and opted for a long sleeve shirt and a second layer. My husband even took gloves and wore them. The temperature as we stepped out of the door was 8oC and we could just about make out the condensation trail as we breathed out and the almost ‘minty’ freshness as we breathed in. What is it about the seasons that mean in the middle of January 8oC seems raw and gloomy and makes you want to curl up in a ball and hibernate, but in September there is a glorious crispness that is simply invigorating?
In 1911, W H Davies wrote a poem called Leisure and included it in his book From Songs of Joy and Others. It starts, “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare…” I run slowly enough that to many it may seem as if I am actually standing still and certainly my pace means that I have, as the poem continues “…time to stand beneath the boughs…time to see, when woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.…” It’s a lovely poem reminding us of the glories of nature that can pass us by if we don’t take time to look. parkrun gives us all a brief moment in our busy lives to appreciate what a beautiful area we live and run in. You don’t actually need to stand, just lift your eyes every now and then and take in the wonders around us.
I last did parkrun two weeks ago and then the ground underfoot was clearly visible, the leaves on the trees still green, although the verdant lushness of midsummer was fading. The remnants of blackberries that had survived the birds were still holding on for last minute foragers looking forward to a late summer crumble. And the path still hard and unyielding from the comparative lack of rain was stony under foot.
What a difference this week. The recent rain, courtesy of Storm Aileen that fortunately only really skimmed the south of England, had turned some of the route to a muddy bog. It was still possible to find circuitous paths around these areas, but it was a reminder of what was to come. When each parkrun means legs splattered in mud, feet squelching in our shoes, the weekly tasks of washing off trainers and soaking socks before putting them in the machine (the socks that is, not the trainers). Elsewhere the ground was carpeted with other early signs of autumn. Hundreds of green acorns, free of their dimpled cups, were scattered over the path making it feel a bit like running over marbles.
At another part of the route, the ground became spongy from the soft furry chestnut burrs which had already shed their conker treasures beloved of young (and not so young) children throughout the county. Up in the trees it was clear that the leaves were beginning their transition from green, through various shades of yellows and ambers to brown, and there were many strewn across the path with the promise of crunchiness to come.
One of my favourite memories from this morning was of turning the first right angle left hand bend, and seeing the sun streaming through the trees, shafts of hazy spotlights directed onto the floor of the woods as if lighting the main stage at a fairy festival. Perhaps it was.
The autumn was not the only newcomer to the woods this week. Many of you, like me, will have enjoyed seeing the wonderful carvings of Lucy and the lamppost and Aslan coming to life during the summer months. And then, later, the addition of the wardrobe near the finish line. It was perhaps, quite fortuitous that the scout carpark was shut this week and those who usually park there were diverted to Park Road. This meant they had the opportunity to see these sculptures as they walked to the start.
Many of us who’ve seen these artistic additions to our woods were wondering where the Witch, so central to C S Lewis’s book ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was. Surely she hadn’t been forgotten? Of course not! Today, in the lower wood, on the home straight just below the finish line, was the tall, imposing and simply stunning new carving depicting the Witch. What a fantastic surprise!
C S Lewis is best known for his children’s books but he was a well-respected and eminent academic who wrote many books, among them an early autobiographical book called ‘Surprised by Joy’ (nothing to do with his wife, Joy, whom he met later). In it he talks about a state of mind, where you feel somehow removed from the stresses and strains of normal life, relieved momentarily from the difficulties that we all endure, and are elevated to a spiritual place of contentment. He called it ‘joy’.
Sometimes, just sometimes, and perhaps only for brief moments (because, as you know, I don’t really like running), as I crawl around Banstead Woods on a Saturday morning, and especially on a day like today, I occasionally feel what Lewis described as ‘joy’. I hope you do too.
And finally….I will be hitting a birthday milestone in a couple of weeks and this quote from C S Lewis is giving me inspiration:
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
SPECIAL THANKS: To Steve ‘the saw’ Hill without whom we might not have had a Banstead Woods parkrun today. Steve removed two trees which had fallen across the route making it safe and clear. You are a star, Steve - we are very grateful.
SPECIAL ANNOUCEMENT: The runner who came in at number 11 didn't return his finish position token. You may have been a late starter and missed the announcements but we really need the token back. If you are reading this, please bring it back next week. Many thanks!
HERE ARE THE STATS FROM THIS WEEK’S EVENT:
This week 138 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 11 were first timers and 16 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 17 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 18 volunteers: Chris PHELAN • James CARTWRIGHT • Anne RODEN • Mark THOMPSON • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • David MORRIS • Mike MASON • Steve O'SULLIVAN • Linda O'SULLIVAN • Judith WHEELER • Elliott BURTON • Piers HARTE-JONES • Lindsay PRITCHARD • David GOODMAN • Alison CATTERMOLE • Moray LAING • Adam TURNER
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Banstead Woods parkrun Results Page.
Male placings: Bruce HARROLD (VM40-44) of Dorking & Mole Valley AC, was first over the line in 18:32 - 8th time in 13 appearances. Adam SEABURY (SM18-19) of Epsom & Ewell Harriers, was second over the line in 18:42 - was first to finish once before. Mike MASON (VM40-44) of Collingwood AC, was third over the line in 18:44.
Female placings: Hasmita VICKARS (VW45-49) (Unattached) was first (47th overall) over the line in 24:53 - first time in 52 appearances. Samantha TREVETT (SW20-24) (Unattached) was second (52nd overall) over the line in 25:01. Karen LLOYD (VW40-44) of Reigate Priory AC, was third (68th overall) over the line in 26:40.
The three highest age grades were recorded by: Glenn QUARTON (VM60-64) – 83.87% for the time 19:07 (4th overall). Bill ARNOLD (VM55-59) – 76.64% for the time 20:03 (6th overall). Peter BROWN (VM60-64) – 74.81% for the time 21:26 (15th overall).
The male record is held by Kevin QUINN who recorded a time of 15:25 on 7th June 2008 (event number 54).
The female record is held by Natalie HARVEY who recorded a time of 17:01 on 30th July 2011 (event number 216).
The Age Grade course record is held by Clare ELMS who recorded 89.66% (18:42) on 26th April 2014 (event number 361).
Banstead Woods parkrun started on 16th June 2007. Since then 8,664 participants have completed 82,989 parkruns covering a total distance of 414,945 km, including 13,888 new Personal Bests.
Event Report Alison Cattermole