A butterfly in the sunshine
This week, we saw our 7th biggest field ever as 1,109 runners completed a lap of the park. The sun shone and overall it was a great day for running. We were back on the ‘Butterfly course’ and on the ‘wide start’ after our little sojourn back to the old course last week. Having tried out both wide and narrow starting versions of the new course, I can confirm that the wide start is the favoured one and the one we will be using for at least the time being.
It was the first week we have had pacers on the new course and I know there was some nerves among them due to the lack of familiarity of the various landmarks. When you have run the same course a hundred times or whatever you get a feel for where you need to be at various points, but on this course everyone was, to some extent, in the dark!
In the end, it was a cracking performance.
Rodney McCulloch on his first pacing gig topped the stats with a single second separating him from perfection (21:01). He was closely followed by fellow debutant Tim Hurdle (28:58) and old-hand David Stewart (32:58).
Well done guys! I hope you noticed the Tweet about how we should have pacers every week! Unfortunately, we can’t, but it is great to see how much you are all appreciated!
This week we heard that Chris McDougall was aiming to run at Bushy this weekend.
For anyone who doesn’t recognise the name, Chris is the author of the bestselling book Born to Run. In the book he visits a reclusive Indian tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons and marvels at their ability to run huge distances (over 100 miles) without getting the routine injuries of most runners. Chris then asserts that modern cushioned running shoes are a major cause of running injury, pointing to the thin sandals worn by Tarahumara runners. This book caused a huge explosion in the barefoot running movement and is why you will see a few of our contingent running barefoot or in minimalist shoes.
Unfortunately, for unknown reasons (although possibly illness as his Twitter feed suggests he is under the weather) Chris couldn’t make it to Bushy – or could he?...
Who is that masked man?
We did have one slightly strange sight at Bushy this week. Athlete number 1311404 is known on the parkrun system as Flame 999. All we know about Flame is that he runs in the VM45-49 Age Category, so can at least assume male! Flame is fund-raising for a fire brigade charity and I am told routinely gets challenges from various people which he has to achieve. This week he was challenged to run Bushy parkrun in full fire-fighting kit. He duly completed it in a cracking time considering his attire.
The one additional mystery is the fact that Flame has to wear a mirrored visor so no-one can see his face! He told us only one person actually knows his real identity!
However, I am pretty confident I know the secret – Chris McDougall was actually among us this week and instead of running in minimalist shoes decided to see how good fireman’s boots were are avoiding injury! I await the next book in the series – Born to Stomp!
The 572nd Bushy parkrun
This week, we saw that nefarious character Unknown Athlete first back to the big tree. It was the 30th time Unknown has finished first at Bushy.
Not far behind was junior athlete Jamie Millbank (17:08) with Nick Wright (17:33) and Mark Gratton (17:35) not far behind.
Following them in was our first female – Kate Brown who finished in the super-quick time of 17:37 well clear of Julie Reynolds (19:11) and Vicki Brown (19:14).
In the junior event, obviously Jamie was first home with Oliver Coppellotti (18:14) and Joshua Poncia (18:44) completing the podium.
And we saw Sacha Kennedy record the fastest time amongst the girls (due to some brilliant pacing support). Sacha finished a little ahead of Poppy Jensen (20:57) and Libby Brown (21:00)
New Club Membership, PBs and WAVA Age Grades
Junior 10 Club – Well done to Charlotte Skelton who was the only one of our runners to qualify for the 10 Club this week.
50 Club – Will Grieg, Mark Trueman, Rebecca Oshea, William Walker and Stephen Aras all ran their 50th parkrun at Bushy
100 Club – Jonathan Tanton and Roy Stratford will be being fitted for the 100 Club gear soon
250 Club – No-one!
167 new PBs were recorded this week, with an incredible 32 people with 50 runs or more ot their name! Most experienced of the lot was junior runner and super-quick one at that – Benjamin Williamson on 278 runs! But congratulations also goes to…
Mark Christopher ROSE, Tom HAWORTH, Joshua PONCIA, Benjamin WILLIAMSON, Jack FARRAR, David CARTER, James MOORE, Bob HIGSON, David BREWIN, Louise MILLS, Ethan Andrew RUSSELL, Patricia GIBBONS, Dean FURBER, Peter WHITMAN, Dean TYLER, Tom GREIG, Charlotte AXBEY, Andy FAIRBURN, Bethy WELLS, Jaden RUSSELL, Evan RUSSELL, Romit BASU, Martin POWELL, David BARTON, Kelly CHENEY, Sharon CRICHTON, Valerie MILLS, Rovena NDREU, Simon LOVEGROVE, Deborah LINK, Gurleen GHOTRA and Susan HOWARTH! Blimey!
In terms of WAVA Age Grading, we saw five athletes hitting the 80% marker. So well done to Kate Brown, Anthony Gilling, Ruth Hutton, Dorothy Beckett and Merran Sell
Well done to everyone who did something memorable this week!
A first timer – sort of!
This week was the first time I have run Bushy parkrun since the course change. Prior to this I have done a variety of volunteering roles over the last half dozen weeks and so it was with a little excitement that Emma and I drove into Bushy Park at about 8:15 on Saturday.
I had run the course once to film it, but that was with only one other runner around me and so I was interested to see how it felt with 1,000 or so people striving for the same objective. It was fascinating and I agree with a lot of the comments which people have had over the last few weeks.
- The Pinch
To be honest, the start was fine for me. I got off to a flyer and so was probably in the first 100 or so people to get to ‘the pinch’ and so actually that was pretty okay. However, I can see how it might be awkward a few seconds behind when the people who don’t shoot off like a lunatic get there. This is a shame and hopefully something that the community can work out through better seeding on the startline and just being prepared for what is to come. I noticed a few people cutting to the right of the tree at this point – it means they get a much clearer and flatter running surface and this is balanced against the additional 5m or so in distance run! That might well be worth it!
- Need to be aware of other park users
Running along the first kilometre we encountered a cyclist coming the other way and it was helpful to have a few runners shouting a warning to those coming behind. Anyone who walks or cycles along there are going to find 1,000 runners coming towards them a nuisance – hopefully they will see what is coming and get out of the way, but obviously they have just as much right as we do and so can everyone be careful and considerate of people coming the other way. Run with your head up and make sure you know what is going on!
- You are in the park more
The other thing I agreed with was that the new course is a little more fun – it is split up into smaller sections and you are in the park more (as opposed to around the perimeter)
- I can’t judge distances very well
My final realisation is how far it is from the little bridge between Heron and Leg of Mutton ponds to the finish line! I had thought this would be the place to start you sprint! I don’t think that is the case anymore!
Hearts and Communities
Finally - this week I had two emails about people collapsing while running – with very different emotions. On the good side, we heard some great news from a friend of Karen Whapshott-Downer – the lady who collapsed at Bushy a few weeks ago. She is out of hospital and continues to improve. She is still some way off running, but is now up and about and continuing her rehabilitation – this is awesome news, but shows how serious the situation was and the brilliant work her fellow parkrunners did in keeping her alive until the ambulance team could arrive.
On the flipside of the coin, I was passed on a very sad email which had been sent to our EDs, Ray and Hayden.
I was out on a run yesterday at lunch time when I came across a man who had collapsed on the towpath between Teddington lock and Richmond. Myself and another bypasser attempted to revive him with CPR, and an ambulance was called, but it was too late. After about 1hr of combined effort in trying to revive him, the paramedics took him to Kingston hospital - but the main paramedic said that he didn't hold any hope. I've since spoken to the hospital and he was pronounced dead after arriving there.
I am not going to divulge any real details as it feels like it is not my place. Save to say the guy was in his late 40s and seemingly fit and healthy. I don’t know if he leaves family behind, but I am sure someone received the worst kind of phonecall this week.
I will say though that he carried no identification on him save for a parkrun barcode which gave the ambulance crew his name. I am told he was not a regular at our event (not that it matters), but he was one of our family and it is a terrible thing for someone to be cut down at such a young age.
This brings me onto two things…
I cannot ask people more strongly – please carry emergency contact details on you whenever you run! My wife has taken to slipping on her parkrun barcode wristband whenever she pulls on her trainers and for this I am grateful. Obviously I hope to God that nothing ever happens, but at least I know that I will be called quickly if something terrible does.
And secondly, we had a Core Team meeting this week as the new defibrillator has now been delivered. We went round to Ray and Ann’s to discuss how this should be used and also to get a little demonstration of its usage. I have to say it was a real confidence boost for me – I was very nervous about adding this to our kit, simply because I am not in any way First Aid trained and was scared that if the worst happened then I would mess something up and make a situation worse. However, from seeing the device and watching the accompanying DVD then I know that it couldn’t be easier – anyone could operate it! Basically you turn it on and an electronic voice then tells you everything you need to do – step by step! The machine won’t shock anyone who doesn’t need shocking and gives you advice on when to administer CPR etc.
Obviously, I hope the machine sits idly in the Run Directors kit-box every week until the end of eternity, but if the worst does happen then I am confident anyone could use it – even me!
It is testament to the caring and selfless nature of our running community that we could raise the £1,000 needed for such a purchase within about a fortnight – so thank you to everyone who contributed!
There is a small overhang of money, which we have said will be used to try to organise some First Aid courses for anyone of our runners who are interested. Ray and Ann are talking to the London Ambulance Service and as soon as we have more details we will let you know, but our aim is to get as many of our runners trained as we can. First Aid is a life skill and so goes beyond parkrun, so if we can help in some tiny way to build those skills then parkrun is doing another service to the community.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. Hope you all have a good week