Pacer Week: PB Heaven!
Isn’t May a wonderful month? The days are long, and the summer is still to come. And what better way to start the weekend than a 9am Saturday morning fix; oh bliss it’s parkrun time. Pulling back the blinds revealed a slightly gloomy day, but there’s no gloom on parkrunday.
1,136 runners lined up on the line – the 6th consecutive week with over 1,000 runners – it’s becoming the new norm. Goldilocks conditions – not too warm, not too cold, a light breeze, a little bit cloudy. And it was pacer week. Odd fellows (and one father/ daughter team) scattered amongst us.
I thought I would get down a little earlier this week, to see what happens before most of us get there. I was a little waylaid by the start of the Green Belt Relay outside Hampton Court (more of this later). It was clear that even by 8.15am parkrun preparation had already started. An army of high-viz volunteers was already hard at work, spilling out from volunteer HQ by the carpark. There were some setting up the start line, others were scanner practising and of course the early team putting together the legendary finish funnel.
Oscar Blanchard and Sam Bennett making sure of a safe start.
Tom Fleming keeping us out of the trees.
Talking of an army, the military fitness guys appear to have moved on to wrestling giant anacondas (ropes), carrying jerry cans, and humping tyres around the place (do they know something we don’t). All looks rather too energetic to me, and then I bet some of you ran 5k!
“Suspicious military activity seen in Bushy Park”
Speaking of volunteers, many of the ones helping out these days are doing their Duke of Edinburgh award. In idle moments I sometimes wonder if one day we might get a Royal visit to BPR – perhaps not the Duke himself at this stage of his life, but maybe Harry, Kate or even William? I know he likes a spot of football. Of course it wouldn’t be publicised, and you might not even notice him. The tell-tale would be the slightly sinister group runners with bulging pockets. But what a coup! It would make a great story for the run report.
When I got over to the volunteer meeting point, construction of the finish funnel was already well underway. Ray Franks, funnel supremo, was explaining the finer points of funnel management to experienced volunteers Marje Sladden and Eddie Robertson. Meanwhile, George Ford was busy setting up the funnel itself.
Speaking of the funnel, I bumped into a chap this week who runs at Bromley, and they regularly get well over 500 runners and more recently 600+. Unfortunately this has put a huge strain on the normal finish funnel which stretches for hundreds of metres and often leads to backing up over the line. I explained how the double funnel worked, and its simplicity. I hope they might be able to improve matters for the future.
Ray Franks with Marje Sladden and Eddie Robertson
George Ford sets up the legendary funnel
One of the key roles at parkrun is timekeeper, and we had one of the younger exponents at work today in Leonie Kennedy. Hope the thumb has recovered from all that clicking Leonie. This must be one of the most pressured roles, but Leonie was so chilled and looking forward to it. Quite a responsibility for the world’s largest parkrun.
Timer Leonie Kennedy
Post parkrun, one of the fun things to do, as well as drink coffee and eat cake of course, is to be given the chance to sort out some of the tokens. It’s quite therapeutic and like a lot of things about parkrun, the token sorting process needs a) volunteers and b) little or no experience. It’s very cunningly designed with a large safety pin able to take 100 tokens. Each week the odd token goes missing and a replacement has to be made from another No.
This week I was given the privilege of sorting tokens No 1-100. Thus I got to handle token No 001 (probably the only time I will get to do this) – it wasn’t one of the originals so someone at some stage has acquired a souvenir, mmm. This week all the ones from 1-100 were returned safe and sound including by David Grima in the James Bond slot (token No 007) in a time of 18:07. David was running his 7th Bushy parkrun with an age grading of 74%. That’s a lot of sevens.
Talking of James Bond – there are six people with that name registered worldwide (come on No 007). None of them have yet run at the cradle of parkrun, and none yet have managed to finish in 7th place. Does Daniel Craig parkrun? He should do, and in swimming trunks. I suspect we might get a few more than 1,100 runners if he did.
The James Bond Token No 007
Token sorting in progress with essential coffee
We had a full team of five scanners. Many thanks to Will Ford, Wendy Robertson, Joanne Green, Tracy Fraser and Alex Tickell.
Alex Tickell busy scanning.
Occasionally the scanning machines struggle with a barcode, and busy with the clipboard this week was Michelle Rowley.
Michelle Rowley politely explains that barcodes on phones are not accepted.
Once all the runners are safely home, it’s time for the volunteers to pack up all the stuff ready for next week. Loula Bell was our storage guru this week. Also I couldn’t go without mentioning the towering presence that is Nick Blanchard at the head of the funnel. Nick is always on hand with bit of friendly encouragement week in week out, and has helped manage the funnel 19 times this year already. Fantastic.
Packing up time with David Stewart, Nick Blanchard and Rei Ndreu.
Here is a full list of the volunteers:
Sam BARRETT, Loula BELL, Sam BENNETT, Nick BLANCHARD, Oscar BLANCHARD, Joe BOWMAN, Eva BOYD, Chris BRIMACOMBE, Debbie BUTLER, Ray COWARD, Ann COWARD, Benjamin DAVIDSON, Carol Margaret DICKINSON, Jonathan EVANS, Tamsyn EVESON, Tom FLEMING, Will FORD, George FORD, Janice FRANKS, Ray FRANKS, Sarah FRASER, Tracy FRASER, Chloe GELONA, Joanne GREEN, Dave James GRIFFITHS, Maggie HOAD, Andrew HOWARTH, Melanie HOWES, Emilie HOWES, Pam JARMAN, Freya JUBB, Ali KENNEDY, Leonie KENNEDY, Daisy Eleanor KNOX, Megan LUPO, Yue MAN, Freya MORRISON, Diane MULLEN, Ethan MULLEN, Rei NDREU, Ethan NIGEL, Glennis PYE, Rosie RENDALL, Jacqueline RICH, Wendy ROBERTSON, Eddie ROBERTSON, Michelle ROWLEY, Duncan SCOBLE, Marje SLADDEN, George SOLOMON, Carol SWAFFER, Lucy THATCHER, Alex TICKELL, Rachael VAUGHAN, Jake VAUGHAN, Matilda VAUGHAN, Tasmin WAITE, Bev WILLIAMS, Poppy WRIGHT
If anyone fancies a go at volunteering, just drop an e-mail to Pat McGrath at firstname.lastname@example.org . It’s great fun and we can only enjoy our weekly fix if there are enough volunteers.
Being the third week of the month we had lovely pacers to spur us on. All the way from 35 minutes to 21 minutes. The team this week comprised:
35 - Graham Titcombe
33 - Tim & Emma Hurdle
31 - Adrian Roberts
29 - David Stewart
27 - Jack Kennedy
25 - Andrew Howarth
23 - Tim Bowden
21 - Stuart Amory
This month's pacers
Great work by the whole team. Special mention to Tim Bowden and Stuart Amory who were one second off target time.
Looking at the PB list this week, it looks like the magic of the pacers did the trick. We had 186 people setting a new fastest time – that’s 16% of the whole field. I don’t remember such a large number getting a PB. We had a host of seasoned parkrunners gaining a PB this week. Many congrats to Duncan Grant who managed to set a new PB by one second (25:32) on his 326th parkrun, 315 at Bushy. Other experienced PBers included: Guilaine Sheward (25:16) 234 runs, Jenny Melbourne (22:47) 231 runs (no double buggy this time), Robert Mowbray (23:02) 216 runs, Kirsty Kothakota (23:02) 159 runs, David Brewin (21:11) 158 runs, Heather Horler (25:15) 121 runs, and Joanna Burge (36:01) 108 runs. Well done to all of you. In addition I also know of at least two women who gained a PBPB – that’s a Post-Baby Personal Best as they thanked me personally (for the PB not the baby).
There were no runners reaching 250 parkruns this week, but two runners made their 350th runs: Carol Dickinson and Bernie Mulvany. Only 150 to go for the Nebuchadnezzar of Prosecco (that’s 20 bottles Carol).
Four runners reached the magic 100 – Mark Coop, Tania Sullivan, Matt Sowton and Paul McLaren. Well done to all of you and look forward to seeing shiny black shirts soon. Three runners are on 99: Ioan Smith, Nicola Ronaldson and Ian Robertson.
There were also four people running their 50th parkrun today. Take a bow Louise Shaw, Gill Payne, Joanna Aherne and James Rideout. The Tribesports spinners better order some new material as there are a further four runners on 49 (Sally Rowe, Sue Evans, Richie O’Dowd and Richard Davies).
Three of our juniors reached the magic 10 runs and can order their white t-shirts. Well done to: Isabel Bibby, Harvey Cooper (who also got a PB) and Ellen Slack.
Finally Mike Silk is a familiar figure at Bushy parkrun, but I think his beautiful dog Molly may be more famous. I caught Mike and Molly at the end of their run. It was Mike’s 150th parkrun and Molly (a Leonberger) looked very pleased to help him along.
Mike and Molly
The results bit
First home to the Bushy Park tree this week was Matt Atkins in 16:47 (81.93%) in his 16th parkrun and his first first finish. Second was Craig Jarman (17:10) and third was Mark Gratton cementing his place at the head of the Bushy points table.
First female home was Michelle Dillon in 17:49 in her 24th parkrun (21 at Bushy). Second female finisher was junior Nancy Scott in 19:12. Third to the tree was Sacha Kennedy in 19:55 in her 76th parkrun.
For junior girls, Nancy was first home and second was Sacha. Third was Phoebe Saville in 21:14.
For the junior boys, first finisher was Ollie Hurdle in 17:59, second was George Chaplin in 18:45 (PB) and third was Luke Mace in 18:53. Great running all.
Talking of juniors, I spotted Matthew and James Ronaldson coming into view on their 25th and 24th runs. They are an inspiration and it’s great to see them gaining in confidence each week. Mum Nicola is on 99 runs, so hopefully there will be lots of 100 balloons next week.
Matthew and James Ronaldson
We had seven runners taking advantage of the good conditions to exceed the 80% age grading mark, so congratulations to Michelle Dillon, Matt Atkins, Polly Adams, Bernie Mulvany, Liz Zass, Laurence Duffy and Bea Downey. More info on what age grading percentages mean and how they are calculated, is at the parkrun support FAQ.
Newcomers and parkrun tourists
38 people were doing their first ever parkrun – welcome to the club! In addition we had 39 parkrun tourists doing Bushy for the first time, the most experienced of whom was Ben Print with 145 runs to his name. Ben is a regular runner and volunteer at Poole parkrun which is a very pleasant parkrun (aren’t they all?).
Stats of the day Bushy parkrun #627
There were 1136 parkrunners – 1047 identified, 89 unknown (Don’t forget your Barcode!) (7.8% of field).
- Of the 1047 identified parkrunners, there were:
- 140 Juniors aged under 18 (%) and 153 Seniors aged 18-34 (%)
- 754 Vets (66%) of which 124 are 35-39, 301 are 40-49, 247 are 50-59, 82 are 60+
- 625 males (60%) and 422 females (40%)
- Of the 1047 identified finishers, there were:
- 55 runners sub 20 mins (5%),
- 382 between 20:00-24:59 (36%)
- 373 25:00-29:59 (36%)
- 237over 30 mins (23%)
- Midpoint time: 26:26
As a final send off, can I pass on my congratulations to the teams that took part in the Green Belt Relay. This is a 220 mile road race around London’s green belt, run in 22 stages of around 10 miles each, over two days last weekend. There were 40 teams taking part and the two Stragglers mixed teams included many Bushy parkrun regulars and were placed 7th and 28th overall – great work.
GBR start line with Bushy t-shirt modelled by Rodney McCulloch
Anyway, happy running and I look forward to seeing you all next week. Next pacer week: 18 June (even Nos).
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