Last weekend was a first of sorts for me, although I first ran at parkrun way back in 2006, it was really in mid-2009 that I properly became a parkrunner and since then I have been pretty committed.
That gives me about 400 weeks of parkrun and the fact that I haven’t yet traded by black 100 top in for a 250 shows that other things have stopped me running. Emma and I go away on holidays, we volunteer pretty regularly, occasionally race on a Saturday and heaven forbid visit somewhere where a parkrun is not on the doorstep – however, last week was the first weekend probably since that day in 2009 that I could have reasonably been at a parkrun and wasn't there.
We both have been having tough periods at work – for me this time of year is when my company invite all our bigger customers in to hear our brand plans for 2017 and so I am presenting most days. Add in a couple of other big projects and it has meant that the alarm has been going off before 5am and we have both been working ‘til 9 or 10pm at times. (NB. I should add at this point that I work for a beer company, so there is no need to cry for me!). It was also Emma’s birthday on the Friday and so we went out for dinner with a friend and so whilst not hungover when the alarm went off on Saturday morning I switched it off and we went back to sleep.
It was interesting and I think in some ways quite healthy. Whilst I love Bushy parkrun, pushing hard, running around our beautiful park and enjoying coffee and a catchup with my friends afterwards, having the odd week off actually can be great. parkrun HQ highlighted years ago that whilst volunteering is brilliant, not feeling you have to volunteer is equally good. So following this, surely whilst parkrunning is great for the soul, then not parkrunning once in a while can also be helpful to the mind.
Anyway, that might all be rubbish, but it worked for me and I woke up this week feeling a little more refreshed and genuinely looking forward to my run.
I love the way our park looks on mornings like we had this week. The hoar frost turning every surface silver, mist pooling on the ground and the low hanging sun glinting through the trees - it is properly magical and great fun to be out in provided you are warm enough.
Pacing for PBs
This week was pacing week – I know it is a week later than usual, but it is one of my jobs to organise the pacers each week and ten days ago I didn't really know what day it was (see above) and so we pushed it back a week.
My sincere apologies to anyone who was keyed up ready to go for a PB last weekend, but hopefully this week you got to scratch that itch!
As November is an odd month it was odd pacers and a big thank you to the people who donned the pacing bibs and carried a flag.
Thanks to Stuart, David, Mark, Graham, Tim, Rick and Adrian. (I completed the line-up, but saying ‘thanks to me’ sounds a bit pompous!)
I had the honour of being the 35 minute pacer this week and it reminded me of exactly why parkrun is so great. It was the perfect role as a couple of weeks of abusing my body with no sleep, bad food and the back end of a cold, meant I was never going to be in great shape, so an excuse for a nice steady run was just what the doctor ordered.
People seem to love pacers week and you can judge that by the number of thank yous our pacers receive, the high fives and even the odd sweaty hug from runners who feel they have done better simply because someone ran near them and called out kilometre splits. It is the loveliest volunteering role.
The pacers do seem to work – if you look at the results there are clumps of PBs around the pacers. The vague rule is that a pacer has a 1 minute window around them as their area of influence, so as the 35 minute pacer, then I can claim responsibility for any PBs in the window of 34:30 to 35:30. There will be runners who are planning to slowly fall off the back as there PB isn’t quite at the right level and then those who use the pacer to deliver them to say the last kilometre at a good pace and then kick for home. Certainly young William Fetherston-Dilke put best part of a minute into me after lighting the after-burners with about 500m to go!
If you look at the conversion of runners to PBs there are definite benefits of pacers – overall 16% of the 946 (known) runners this weekend recorded PBs, whilst those in the pace windows deliver at a rate of 20%.
And if you compare the rate of PBs in the pacer windows to those people running between them, you see a really clear picture of the benefit of someone encouraging you!
In almost every circumstance, the conversion rate in the pacers window is above that of the areas where pacers don’t influence!
Anyway, I should end the stats as I would imagine all this section is pretty obvious! Pacing is a well-documented thing, so is just a long winded way to say thank you to all the people who donned the bibs, carried the flags and shouted encouragement – you do an amazing job!
One final thing on pacing!
When compiling the pacers roster each month, I usually get emails saying things like… ‘I am around this week - 25, 27 or 29 minutes’ or ‘Anything down to 23 mins’ or ‘Happy to pace, can run whatever’.
However, this week I got a very specific request from one of our regulars - ‘Can I pace 33 mins as I want to run with my wife who is looking to do a PB?’
I have to admit that I don’t know Adrian’s wife and you obviously never know from checking the results for appropriate surnames. However, my best stalking means I am guessing that Adrian failed to be a good pacer. Looking through the results, a lady called Leigh raced round the course in 31:35 – a full 90 seconds quicker than her(possible) husband to smash her PB by 3 minutes! Adrian was wearing the wrong bib! Great job Leigh and if my stalking is correct then Adrian, I hope you were very happy to be dropped!
The 654th Bushy parkrun
This week we saw 1,014 runners brave the chilly conditions to run around the park supported by an amazing team of volunteers!
Don’t forget your barcode
This week we have an Unknown Runner at the top of the results. This has happened 38 times at Bushy and Unknown Athlete is only second to Anthony Jackson on the all-time first finishers count. However, it is a slightly more unfortunate story than usual.
The runner in question did bring their barcode, but sadly when they reached the scanning team were told that our scanners don’t recognise Waitrose Club Cards!
Who was quick?
Due to the aforementioned Waitrose Club Card debacle, David Grima becomes the official fastest finisher (17:31), while Ted Mockett (17:35) and David Lawley (17:37) completed the top three.
Amongst the juniors, it was Sam Reynolds (17:46) who was quickest back to the big tree, with Jack Butler (19:11) and Dominic Rhodes (19:12) following him home.
In the ladies field, Kate Brown (18:05) showed the field a clean pair of heels with Jo Billings (19:22) and junior Sacha Kennedy (19:48) joining her on the podium.
Amongst the juniors, Sacha was obviously first to finish with Imogen King (20:41) and Leonie Kennedy (20:46) in 2nd and 3rd.
We saw 156 runners recording a new PB, including 24 runners with more than 50 parkruns on their résumé. Well done to (deep breath) David GRIMA, David LAWLEY, Chris RAWCLIFFE, Andrew DUNDERDALE, Ravi LOBO, Rowena BRIMACOMBE, Imogen KING, Leonie KENNEDY, Joseph HOWARTH, Stephen WILCOCK, , Jason NOURSE, David KIMBALL, Leah PATEL, Amelia GOODWIN, Christopher FRENCH, Colin BROWN, Breda MCGREE, Karen BAITUP, Colin WOODS, Catelin LE FRANC, Martin NICHOLDS, Laura BAKER, Rosie SOUTER and Pam JARMAN
The super twins…
This year, junior Sacha Kennedy has taken a big step up in performance, moving her PB forward by the best part of a minute. She was consistently quick enough to be the first junior at Bushy to win the senior points prizes when she picked up the Sonia O’Sullivan Salver last month and is regularly among the first few ladies crossing the line.
However, in doing that she put a bit of distance between her and her equally talented twin sister, Leonie.
Sacha and Leonie were pretty even for much of the start of their parkrun careers, however a serious cycling accident for Leonie in 2015 initially asked questions as to whether she would lose her leg. Fortunately, that was not the case, but she was left with a long period of rehabilitation (and an awesome scar!). She spent four months on the sidelines at Bushy as a brilliant volunteer, and many of those weeks watching from her regular spot as timer as her sister got quicker and quicker.
However, this week actually marked the 12 month anniversary of Leonie’s re-introduction as a runner. Obviously, it took a while for her to regain her fitness, but this week she recorded the incredible time of 20:46 – beating her old pre-injury PB by 12 seconds!
It is great to see her running so fast, and I have no doubt the 20 minute barrier will go in the New Year, she'll then close the 58 seconds Leonie was behind her sister and Sacha will have a new running nemesis.
Special Performances and Milestone Runs
Seven runners hit the magic 80% WAVA Age Grading, so congratulations goes to Kate BROWN, Laurence DUFFY, Bernie MULVANY, Kevin BEST, Polly ADAMS, Ian SPENCER and Merran SELL
10 Club – Juniors Lauren Newsome and Sian Lawrence both did their 10th parkruns to qualify for their white t-shirt
50 Club – Gemma Lloyd, Colin Woods, Jane Staff and Matthew Ronaldson will now be sporting red 50 tops
100 Club – Jake Vaughan, Kirsty Rumble and Stephen Aras will be switching red for black
250 Club – Sarah Filmer switches black for green 250 Club shirts
Putting yourself in the frame
You might have noticed a few bits of extra kit this week. I think it is a test, but regardless we have been given a rather large picture frame to make post run selfies a bit more fun! Anyway, it seemed to go down well this week!
Welcome to the Riverside Rebels
Most of whom do not seem to be regular parkrunners, so we hope you enjoyed yourselves.
Thanks for coming along and see you again soon!
Anyway, that’ll do for another week
Take care and see you next weekend