Banstead Woods Report for Event 560 – 10th February 2018
Report by Alison Cattermole Photos by Chris Guest
Link to this weeks Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157690321835562
“It’s the worst 40 minutes of my week” I said to my older brother who was on holiday from his home in Australia. “So, why do you do it?” he asked rather incredulously. I was talking about parkrun. I glanced briefly at my other brother, a committed parkrunner of many years (Daventry), and in tandem we began to reel off a list of the many reasons why. The feeling of achievement; the smugness I feel every Saturday knowing I have run 5k before many people have got out of bed; the camaraderie and community spirit that pervades all parkruns; the support and encouragement from other runners to name but a few. And then there’s the fact that being in running gear is a great leveller. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your belief systems are, what job you do, how much money you earn, your religious and political affiliations…..parkrun is one big melting pot, a demonstration of diversity and equality. Don’t you just love it?
And another thing I love about parkrun: volunteering. Of course volunteering does have its downsides. I always feel so responsible! Tail walker is one of my favourite roles – at least once you’ve remembered your mobile and glasses, you just have to make your way around the course (praying no one falls or is taken ill), ensuring you sweep up stragglers. But time keeping, token giver outer, and bar-code scanning (these are the only roles I have so far been entrusted with) all come with risks…..will I click the watch at the right time? Will I drop all the tokens on the floor, get them muddled up or give the wrong token to the wrong runner? Will I accidentally scan the finish token before the athlete barcode? What if I press the reset button on the scanner by accident? And my no. 1 worry – did I hear the bleep of the scanner or was it the wind in the trees? Even volunteering is fraught with potential hazards!
Of course volunteering (or the roles I do) means I don’t have to run, which is quite a benefit in my book! Another is that it’s while waiting around to do my given task that I get to talk to other volunteers, have some fun and appreciate the woods we use. There are other unexpected blessings. When I run, I am always buoyed by the cheers, clapping and words of encouragement from the volunteers and supporters alike. But when I volunteer, I am always surprised and very touched by the expressions of thanks from the runners themselves. As you know we don’t have regular marshals at Banstead, but one snowy day last winter I was asked to stand at the bend before the home strait and warn runners that conditions were icy and to slow down and take care. I was amazed that no matter how exhausted the runners, nearly all, spoke or grasped their gratitude “Thanks Marshal” or raised a hand to indicate recognition. Don’t you just love it?
So, if you haven’t volunteered yet, give it a go. It is really genuinely rewarding.
If any of you reading this listen to Radio 4 you might have heard More or Less, a programme that looks at the validity and facts behind the statistics we hear/read in the news or which listeners write in about. Sounds a bit turgid explained like that, but its fascinating and worth a listen. Over the last 2 weeks they have been investigating parkrun and which are the hardest and easiest runs. You might think that a look at the average parkrun time for any course would indicate the fast/easy and slow/hard runs, but this doesn’t give the whole story. You have to look a bit deeper at the age related percentages. A course may appear easy because the average time to complete is low, but a look at the age related figures could indicate that there are a high number of young, fast runners. And then there is the topology of the course which can impact. Some parkruns are hard because they are so muddy, others because they are hilly. Seems to me that Banstead has both these! But a new parkrun near Derwentwater in the Lake District has an elevation of over 200m, which really takes the biscuit! Of course, what goes up has to come down; even so, I feel out of breath just thinking about it.
I can’t leave this week without a mention of two things. First, you cannot have failed to know that it is 100 years since (some) women got the vote. A huge achievement and testament to the dedication and commitment of the many women who campaigned so vigorously over many years and worked so hard during the First World War proving they were just as capable as men. It is somewhat sobering that in the field of sport, it took a great deal longer for women to achieve anywhere near the same equality. For the vast majority of the 20th century it was thought that women could not run more than 800m, pole vault or throw the hammer. I was 10 years old when Katherine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon against great opposition.
And that thought bring me to the second mention. The Winter Olympics! Albeit that women were only first allowed to ski-jump at the last Olympics, here is a sporting event that has definitely now overcome any consideration that women are not capable of doing everything men can do. Over the next couple of weeks we will see women bobsleigh, luge and skeleton (I think they are mad but admire their courage), downhill ski, half pipe and slope style snowboard, ski jump and many other exciting and jaw-dropping events. How wonderful! We have come a long way.
I always deeply moved, encouraged and motivated by all Olympic athletes, the commitment and time they put to their sport and the sacrifices they make. We will, naturally, be reminded endlessly over the next few weeks of how, as a nation with few mountains and little snow, we have still produced some outstanding Olympians. Torvill and Dean, John Curry, the 2002 women’s curling team, Jenny Jones, Lizzie Yarnold, to name but a few. And I will cheer, cry and marvel at each and every one of the 59 Brits who have gone to Pyeong Chang (of whom nearly half are women) as they compete in their chosen sport.
But for all these phenomenal athletes it is the memory of Eddie the Eagle who inspires me the most. It is his determination and dedication that I channel into my parkruns. I will never be a fast runner, I am not even very competitive; I will always bring up the rear – just like Eddie. But I am there each week hating the 40 minutes of actual running but loving everything else that is parkrun and spurred on by thoughts of Eddie the Eagle. He had no funding, no coaching (to speak of) and no training facilities but still managed to compete in a sport that would terrify the average person. Good for you Eddie and thanks for the inspiration (and the memory).
Herewith the stats from today’s event:
This week 141 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 13 were first timers and 15 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 24 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 18 volunteers:
Chris PHELAN • Judith MCNICKLE • Mike BRYANT • Jo QUANTRILL • Therese PANETTA • Susan ESSLEMONT • Don ESSLEMONT • Heather FENTON • Phil FENTON • Mike MASON • Nicholas FOSTER • Steve O'SULLIVAN • Linda O'SULLIVAN • Chris GUEST • Elliott BURTON • Lorraine GARROD • Derek GARROD • Alison CATTERMOLE
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Banstead Woods parkrun Results Page.
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 8,989 participants have completed 86,657 parkruns covering a total distance of 433,285 km, including 14,186 new Personal Bests.
Event Reporter Alison Cattermole