Don’t mention the S word
What a contrast. Sleet and freezing temps last week gave way to relatively mild and dry conditions. 1,163 runners agreed, 285 more than last week. They were joined by 52 lovely volunteers making it all happen. Quite a few were taking a rest from parkrun before the Hampton Court Half Marathon the following day, a race that has become more popular since its inception in 2014.
When my wife and I started doing parkrun some 5 years ago, we never imagined that one day we would be running half marathons and even a marathon. The Hampton Court Half was the first long race we attempted in 2014, so it holds a personal place for us and it’s great to see a local run grow and improve each year.
Joining a running club was another move I didn’t envisage. We are so glad we did as it makes the whole experience so much more sociable and enjoyable. We have made a lot more friends and it’s reassuring to realise that clubs are not exclusive and not just for speedy runners. We chose Stragglers as it was close to where we live, and has a reputation for being open, diverse and friendly. But there are so many friendly local clubs to choose from including Ranelagh Harriers, 26.2, Walton AC, BeaRCat RC, or the Thames Turbo Triathlon. There is also the Sweatshop Running Community which meets on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays in Teddington.
A recent addition to the local running club fold has been SHAEF Shifters, a group that has grown within and around Bushy Park parkrun. They meet on Saturday, of course, and also Thursday nights. They have a website and a Strava and FB presence and are looking to welcome new runners of all abilities. The name is in honour of the people who supported and were part of the Supreme HQ Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) which was based in Bushy Park and oversaw the 1944 D-Day landings and liberation of Europe. It’s hard to imagine there was such a large military presence in the Park all those years ago and of course the efforts of SHAEF have enabled us all to enjoy the freedom of the Park today.
Whilst parkrun grew out of the running community, it is now very much a community based activity, and the evidence bears this out. For example at Bushy this week, of the identified runners, there were only 241 (22%) who had listed a club but a whopping 858 (78%) unattached runners.
We had a full team of 52 volunteers out this week, including Andy Wingate as our RD and Sue Graham-Kahn was our all important timekeeper.
Mohammed Faiz was on Lead Bike, and had to get his skates on with the first finisher completing the run in 15:25. Indeed the runner had a coterie of 3 other “support” bikes following close by shouting encouragement which looked a little risky and is perhaps not recommended for future runs.
Full list of volunteers this week: Adrian ROBERTS • Alex TICKELL • Andrew HOWARTH • Andrew John WINGATE • Andrew MORRISON • Ashleigh FERRIS • Brigid HIBBERD • Dean FURBER • Diane MULLEN • Eddie ROBERTSON • Emilie HOWES • Ethan MULLEN • Eva BOYD • Fiona MCANENA • Graham TITCOMBE • Helen BRETT • Ian CUNNINGHAM • Ian FULLEN • Ioan SMITH • Jacopo ANNONIO-TIBALDI • James GREEN • James SELL • Jamie CHAPMAN • Janice FRANKS • Jeremy PALMER • Jonathan HUGHES • Joy BELL • Julie PAPWORTH • Julie SMITH • Katherine WILDE • Kevin PRICE • Krysia SMITH • Loula BELL • Lucy THATCHER • Matthew WILDE • Merran SELL • Mohammed FAIZ • Nick BLANCHARD • Phil BLUER • Ravi LOBO • Ray FRANKS • Rhys Thomas WILLIAMS • Richard MATTHEWS • Rob S JONES • Rodney Howard MCCULLOCH • Sandra WORTH • Sharon TEE • Sue GRAHAM-KAHN • Susan HOWARTH • Timothy JACOB • Wendy STOKES • Yue MAN If anyone fancies a go at volunteering, just drop an e-mail to Pat McGrath at email@example.com .
First timers and tourists
We had a sprinkling of parkrun first timers with 39 people choosing 18th Feb 2017 to do their first parkrun and there were 54 tourists making their first visit to Bushy. One of our long distance travellers was Bertus Byker (27:08) from South Africa on his 117th parkrun. Bertus usually runs at Belville parkrun in Cape Town which incidentally had 1,335 runners today, in only its 109th parkrun (1,513 on 21st Jan), putting even big old Bushy into the shade. Indeed a number of the South African parkruns are getting well over 1,000 runners – I spotted Durbanville 1,110; Gilloolys 1,120; Century City 1,230 (after only 41 parkruns) and North Beach, Durban getting 1,611 today, with a massive 1,933 runners two weeks ago – that was the highest I could find on a quick scan and could be a world record. South Africa has well and truly bought into parkrun. Oh and remember if you are heading that way, many of them start at 8am so you get an even shorter lie in. If that puts you off, here is a short and sweet Course Description from North Beach:
The North Beach Parkrun is a flat scenic loop along the beach front from Sun Coast Casino towards uShaka Marine World. Runners can enjoy the wide path, viby atmosphere and coast line views along Durban's Golden Mile.
Mrs H, pack your bags…
We had a very happy group of tourists from Rugby and the North Warwickshire area including Alison Clark (146 runs), Elaine Robinson (136) and Lisa Jay (98 runs) with sons Aidan (93 runs), Leo (57 runs) and friend Dylan (67 runs). Lisa is one of the RDs at Rugby who put on a great event when 100+ parkrun tourists bowled up to their parkrun 2 weeks ago. Anne Mathews (72 runs) joined Lisa from Badgers Running Club, only the second time a Badger has run at Bushy. Meanwhile David Parton (145 runs) and Kim Stevens (103 runs) were making their first visit to the home of parkrun from nearby Reading.
Third week of February meant we had a crack team of even pacers, all deadly accurate. Here is the team: 20 mins: Jeremy Palmer; 22 mins: Kevin Price; 24 mins: Ian Cunningham; 26 mins: Tim Jacob; 28 mins: Krysia Smith; 30 mins: Richard Matthews; 32 mins: Graham Titcombe; 34 mins: Adrian Roberts.
Jeremy, Ian and Richard all stood in at short notice so many thanks are due to them. However, this month’s parkrun Pacer gold watch goes to Ian Cunningham who surely must have been that unknown runner on 24:00. Ian is either being modest, forgetful or possibly keeping his average up. Either way, great pacing.
There were 180 personal bests this week – up on normal but not unusual given it was pacer week. The three most experienced PBers were all in Ian’s sector: Rebecca Lunn (239 runs) managed to knock 13 seconds off her PB in 23:29. Lesley Chamberlin (155 runs) managed her 3rd PB in a row and at 23:31 is a shade under 80%. Finally Richard Wilson (125 runs) – a regular Richmond Park runner managed to knock 2 minutes off his Bushy PB in 23:42.
Meanwhile in Jeremy’s cluster, Victoria Haslam (124 runs) a member of 26.2 managed a PB of 19:29, whilst junior parkrunner Isabel Livesey (109 runs) managed her second PB this year knocking 10 seconds of her time to record 20:42 – the training is working Isabel.
Congratulations to Christopher Box (109 runs) on his first PB of 22:32 for almost 3 years. This is all the more amazing given Christopher had landed at Heathrow Airport at 5am that morning from a trip to Japan, went home for a shower and then straight to parkrun, as you do. Possibly our longest distance “tourist”.
Anna Tuckman managed the double feat of running her 100th parkrun and gaining a PB in 25:10 – that’s just greedy. More of Anna later. Other notable PBs included junior parkrunners Freya King (25:42), Joseph Middleton (18:44) and Luke Lawrence (19:36). Finally congratulations to Niamh Findlay (66 runs) whoran a PB of 23:49, her first time under 24 mins, and again I suspect Ian can take some of the credit.
There were no runners reaching 500 parkruns this week, although if you wait a few weeks – let’s say Easter - we will get two in quick succession with Ramona Thevenet on 492 and John Woods on 491.
We had just one person reach the magic 250 this week. Step forward and claim your sought-after green shirt, Gavin Prince. Gavin did his first parkrun on 31 January 2009 at event #235 and whilst his PB was back in 2010, Gavin has regularly increased his age grading score since that time. Next up for the milestone is Carole Vine on 249.
We also had just one person reach 100 runs. Anna Tuckman completed this feat and was in such a good mood, ran a PB to boot. Anna started her parkrun journey on 18 Jan 2014 and has completed 92 runs at Bushy. Indeed the Tuckman family were out in force with son Harry (JM10) flying round in 21:03 (his PB is 20:00) and husband Jeremy pacing Anna to 25:10.
Bubbling under on 99 runs are Jamie Parkes, David Wellard and Zoe Lawrence.
Three runners reached 50 this week. Step forward Christopher Slavin, Nicola Lloyd and Sarah Colclough. Both Christopher and Nicola ran PBs and Christopher, who is over 70, ran a time of 21:38 for an age grading of over 83% on his second visit to Bushy from Croxteth Hall parkrun, Liverpool.
Just one junior, Poppy Hughes, reached 10 runs to claim her white t-shirt. Poppy ran exactly 25:00 dead and her PB is 22:00, so clearly likes finishing on the dot.
With a combined total of 500 parkruns between them, Jack Kennedy (300 runs) and Tessa Lovell (200 runs) were in celebratory mood. Tessa had prepared some rather excellent brownies and there was a little bubbly to help wash them down. To cap it all, it was also Jack’s birthday, so what a great way to celebrate.
Jack in celebratory mood
First home to the Bushy Park tree was James Steven Hall in 15:25. Second home was Neil Wellard in 16:14. Third known finisher was Mike Sawrey in 16:28.
First female was Katy Hedgethorne in 17:41(PB) followed by Charlotte Chalwin in 18:17 (PB) and Victoria Haslam in 19:29.
For the junior ladies, first finisher was Jessica Mayer in 20:19 followed by Isabel Livesey in a PB time of 20:42 and Imogen Deakin in 20:45.
For the junior boys, first finisher was Harry Grace in a time of 17:18 (PB) followed by Aaron Bruce in 17:39 (PB) and Sol Harris-Woodfin in 18:14.
A total of twelve runners exceeded the 80% age grading mark, including Jane Davies who came in with 96% for her run time of 22:25. Awesome running. The others in order were: James Steven Hall, Jacky Balfour, Katy Hedgethorne, Chrisopher Slavin, Justn Reid, Polly Adams, Neil Wellard, Stephen Whitehead, Charlotte Chalwin, Ramona Thevenet and Sue Lambert. Well done too to Thomas Shearman (JM11-14) who ran a PB time of 19:08 for 79.97% grading – oh for 1 second.
Stats of the day Bushy parkrun #668
There were 1163 parkrunners – 1099 identified, 64 unknown (DFYB!) (5.5% of the field).
- Of the 1099 identified parkrunners, there were:
- 151 Juniors aged under 18 (14%) and 157 Seniors aged 18-34 (14%)
- 791 Vets (72%) of which 96 are 35-39, 312 are 40-49, 281 are 50-59, 82 are 60-69, 20 are 70+
- 651 males (59%) and 448 females (41%)
- Umbrella quotient: 0 out of 5
- Temperature: 8˚C, cloudy
- Of the 1099 identified finishers, there were:
- 65 runners sub 20 mins (6%),
- 323 between 20:00-24:59 (30%)
- 385 25:00-29:59 (34%)
- 324over 30 mins (30%)
- Midpoint time: 26:50
Have you ever had a letter in the funnel? – some people seem to get them quite regularly, and others just dream of this privilege. I didn’t realise that it’s become almost a sport, so get well in with the funnel managers (definitely no stopping on the line) and see what happens….
For example, here’s a happy couple.
Some of you may have noticed this group of superheroes completing their run on Saturday. Stuart Amory tells me they were running for the charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers (http://scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk/) which is dedicated to supporting bereaved British Forces children and young people. High fives all round!
Happy parkrunning. Let’s hope these spring-like conditions persist (oh drat, I mentioned it).