Halloween heat wave as temperatures and tokens soar!
It certainly was a pleasurable Halloween treat today returning to Bushy as it always feels like coming home after a few weeks’ absence. Unfortunately the South of France has yet to discover parkrun and that is my one and only criticism about it, everything else though certainly was tres, tres bien! The warmer temperatures must have followed me home too as we experienced one of the mildest Halloweens on record. The park looked the perfect autumn picture as the yellow, crunchy yet sometimes squelchy leaves rolled out an endless golden carpet beneath everyone’s feet. As the autumnal temperatures rose so did the number of runners as this is the third time this year that Bushy’s attendance has topped a spooktacular 1200 participants, obviously there were plenty of people who felt the need to blow the cobwebs away.
Halloween, (let’s compare it to Marmite –you either love it or hate it) greeted us on this parkrunday for the first time since 2009. If like me, you hadn’t yet discovered this free weekly exercise attraction some six years ago, you wouldn’t have witnessed, or been a part of, the mere 511 runners that crossed the finish line. Spookily enough they were led home by spirited Jimmy Goulis in a swift 16:12 who has since vanished from Bushy and made Albert parkrun, Melbourne his regular 5K. Maybe I shouldn’t mention Australia just yet!
The month of October brings many days, 31 to be precise, which has included 5 parkrundays plus to name just a few, International Coffee Day, World Teachers’ Day, Global Handwashing Day, World Food Day, Mole Day, National Cat Day and it ends as always with Halloween. Typical contemporary festive Halloween activities may involve trick or treating, the carving of pumpkins, costume parties, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, playing pranks and divination games, telling scary stories, watching horror films and visiting haunted attractions. Well Bushy Park is far from frightening but I did hear a few keen rugby supporters trying to predict the outcome on some important match that was taking place later in the local area. Obviously the horror stories and blood-curdling screams could be heard later!
So how did you all do at event number 596?
Hopefully you all looked a treat rather than ghastly as you were greeted by the delightful sight of Timekeeper Ally and Lucy dishing out letters as you flew across the finish line.
No broomsticks allowed!
With any luck you also grabbed a treat as Sweatshop staff were giving out 20% discount cards to all the runners after they emerged from the funnel and to the far from skeletal volunteer team that donned the hi-vis to make this event happen.
There was a slight trick to today’s event, unintentional though, as the field waited patiently and wondered what the devil was going on. One of the core team (Andy) forgot to bring some vital parkrun equipment to the park and whilst he whizzed back to New Malden, wishing he was Harry Potter and had a nifty Nimbus 2000, the start of the event was delayed just slightly.
The scanning team were pleased to be reunited with the missing kit!
The event was in the experienced hands of Ray Coward and he handed over the microphone to his grandson Oliver who set the keen runners off down Lime Avenue and within minutes they had all mysteriously disappeared. Not for long though…
Injured Tail Runner Jack screams 'wait for me!'
First registered males across the finish line:
Mohamed Mohamed sped his way around on his first trip to Bushy in 14.56, the fastest registered finisher on the new course and just 12 seconds adrift from John McDonnell who crossed the line in in 14.44 back in August last year. Jacob Allen was a first timer to parkrun and took second place in 15.13 whereas Rowan Axe chopped his way into the official trio in 15.50 as third place decided not to declare his time. DFYB
First females across the finish line:
Anna Boniface led the field of females in 18.18 on her first trip to Bushy as she usually runs at Woodley and Reading parkrun. Rosy Gross finished in 20.16 with Emma Stringer 12 seconds behind her.
Anna had a lot to smile about!
Junior Males were:
Rowan Fuss deserves a mention with a new PB of 16.33 to bring the boys home. Alas, so did Abdirahman Hamud on his 9th parkrun in 18.03 followed by Nicholas Kolesky just 12 seconds later.
Junior Females were:
No stranger to Bushy, Sacha Kennedy completed her 49th parkrun in 20.37 just missing her PB by 4 seconds! Lucy Marquand finished not far behind in 21.14 and Eleanor Keeler completed the trio with a shiny new PB of 21.43!
The Stats Bit
Subtle yet noticeable volunteers Carol and Yue handed out a monster size stash of 1210 finish tokens at the end of the funnel! Bushy Park certainly was far from a ghost town on this parkrunday!
Carol's Halloween cupcakes were gone in a flash!
Who were they?
444 of the identified field were female and 673 were male whereas 93 runners declined to declare their result or forgot their barcode!
• 101 runners were First Timers at Bushy Park – 66 crawled out of the woodwork and were totally new to parkrun
• 14 parkrunners had an age grading above 80% and they were:
Rowan FUSS 16:33 JM11-14 89.83 %
Mohamed MOHAMED 14:56 SM20-24 86.38 %
Jacob ALLEN 15:13 SM20-24 85.10 %
Liz ZASS 25:47 VW65-69 84.94 %
Merran SELL 27:26 VW70-74 82.50 %
Sue LAMBERT 28:57 VW70-74 82.27 %
Bea DOWNEY 20:39 VW50-54 82.16 %
Andrius JAKSEVICIUS 16:03 SM30-34 81.72 %
Rowan AXE 15:50 SM20-24 81.47 %
Polly ADAMS 20:35 VW50-54 81.46 %
Michael Philip WHITE 20:51 VM65-69 81.22 %
Philip PEARSON 18:14 VM50-54 80.90 %
Anna BONIFACE 18:18 SW20-24 80.87 %
Paul SMOOTHY 17:58 VM45-49 80.15 %
• There was an impressive 133 runners who didn’t give up on the ghosts and clocked up New PBs!
• 83 registered runners pushed themselves to cross the finish in less than 20 minutes! Maybe they all thought that they were being chased by zombies! Well there were a few amongst the field today, obviously make-up and masks were optional!
The Special Plaudits Bit
No new members to the 250 club but Wendy Robertson is just 5k away from joining this prestigious green clad clan.
Lorraine Dillamore, Antonia Kirkby and Richard Palmer joined the ever popular 100 club, it’s all about the blacks today! Graham Mortimer, Andrew Mayall and Junior Imogen King need to complete just 15k between them to be members of this fast growing gang. Go all blacks!
Kiwi Emma Wingate gives the All Blacks a huge cheer before her 5k
A whopping, jaw dropping, ten runners completed their half a century parkrun this spooky spectacular parkrunday. They were: Mark Boyle, Sarah Gatehouse, Andrew Morrison, Shems Morrison (New PB 32.21) Charles Smith, Alan Crosthwaite, Jon Underwood, Rik King, Colin McManus (who usually runs at Eastleigh and Southampton) and last but by no means least, Junior runner Jasper Bezzant. What a day to claim your blood red Tribesports top.
Hot on their trainers on 49 runs are Matthew Trimmer, Don Eckford, Michelle O’Gorman, Owain Rowlands and Juniors Thomas Clarke and Sacha Kennedy.
Juniors to complete the perfect 10 are: Adair Ernst, Ben Wells, Eleanor Bartle, Dominic Price and Samuel Jimenez.
Well done to you all!
Half a century at 9!
Obviously each and everyone’s milestone is theirs to claim and whilst some choose to celebrate, on the other hand some elect to go unnoticed. But not youngster Jasper Bezzant, who ran his 50th parkrun with a 50 balloon which was nearly as big as him! 9 year old Jasper began running at Bushy in March last year in 30.48 and has completed all of his 5ks bar one at Bushy. The running bug clearly runs in the family and he was bound to follow in his Grandparents’ footsteps! He is a nifty young man and is now the fastest runner in his clan! His mum Charlotte has to find a running buddy to accompany him around the course as he is under 11, as she struggles to keep up with him. Thankfully there are plenty of speedy and helpful runners at Bushy and Hayden Matthews often steps up to the challenge. In May, with Hayden’s pacing, Jasper grabbed a wicked new PB time of 26.08 which is a far cry from his time when he first stepped onto the Bushy turf. Even with a balloon tied to him, there was no holding him back as he ran in 28.46, a time which many can only wish for. Soon to be reaching double figures, Jasper is counting the runs he can get in before he turns ten whereas in just over a year he can officially run the course by himself. I am sure that he will be whizzing past Mr Matthews in no time!
Jasper celebrated his half a century with traditional fizz (obviously the non-alcoholic version chosen by him) and plenty of cake lovingly made by his Grandparents Ray and Ann.
Feedback from the field
Whilst we were waiting at the stalled start, I spotted an official looking guy armed with his clipboard and stopwatch, wearing a green Cougars team jacket. This is what Head Coach Matt Buck from ACS Cobham had to say about this event which we all love.
‘I have been bringing the school XC team to Bushy for the last 11 years, we try to fit in 2 visits each season before our European Schools Championships in November and it has been amazing watching the Bushy Park grow over this time. We used to bring a team of 50 and almost double the field, now you can't even find them at the start line!
We always race over a 5km distance and our squad is made up of 4 teams, Varsity (aged 15-18) and Junior Varsity (aged 12-14) boys and girls and we compete against other International Schools all over Western Europe from August to November. In 2 weeks we travel to Zurich International School for our Championships.
It really is an excellent experience for my student athletes to come to Bushy Park and it's a vital part of our preparation during our season. We have loved seeing the popularity increase and long may it continue to grow, thank you so much for running such a special event.’
Thanks to Matt for sharing such positive feedback and on behalf of everyone at Bushy, I would like to wish him and all of his students the very best of luck in Switzerland.
Special spooky observations
Jim Lurkins didn’t bat an eyelid as he snatched a new PB of 17.45. Matt Webb was as smooth as silk in 21.12 and Vicky Webb scurried her way around the 5k in 30.02. There wasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of stopping Caoimhe De Ste Croix from claiming a wicked PB of 24.03. There were no skeletons in the cupboard for Alan Bone as he ran a time of 32.09 and visitor Monica Webber from Harrogate parkrun didn’t freak out as she ran Bushy for the first time in 28.44. The final shout out has to be to finisher 666, Phil Davies who wasn’t too terrified to take this token on Halloween.
What’s on next week?
Don’t forget to bring your purses and wallets with cash please as Carol will be selling tickets for the Bushy parkrun Christmas party. First come first served basis and tickets are selling fast!
A few of us are absent next week as some of us mad fools from Bushy are taking part in the Ballbuster at Boxhill, please wish us luck! Here are just two of the teams taking part:
it’s run 8 miles, cycle 24 miles, then run 8 miles. Sounds pretty straight forward apart from the bit that involves the last 2 miles all uphill to the top. We are obviously doing it for the fizz and cake afterwards and the hoodies, which will no doubt be modelled by us all next week. Go Team Bushy!
Good luck to regular reporter Rob Phillips too! He is in charge next week and taking on the role as Event Director. Hopefully no spooky nightmares and the event will run as smoothly as ever. You may have spotted Rob in the park today being dragged amongst the leaves by Winnie the dog! This role is not listed on the rota but guide dog Winnie needs to be looked after whilst her owner runs the 5k with his guide. So Rob was left holding the lead today even though Winnie was certainly the one leading the way! Next week though, the only thing Rob will be holding is the microphone at the start. Your fate will be in his hands.
To finish, a little treat from me! A few photos which I took after the 5k at the Pheasantry and in the park after coffee. There is so much to enjoy on a parkrunday, it's not all about the running!
Toddler Twins Harry and Lexie wait for daddy to do his run
A stag takes a dip whilst the heron searches for treats
Have a great week, hey it’s now November! Stay safe, happy and healthy!
Ghosts, like ladies, never speak till spoke to. ~Richard Harris Barham (Guess that rules me out then!)
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