It’s sad, and rare to see a grown man cry…
But on Saturday I’m sure I glimpsed a tiny tear of distress in the normally sparkling eyes of that day’s run director and marathon legend Chris Finill.
Chris had been part of the team that had originally designed the course, and he is renowned for ensuring that the run is accurate to within 3mm - encouraging the setup team to ensure we go exactly around tree 17, right next to fence 4 etc etc.
So imagine his distress this Saturday when he called 3 – 2 – 1 go! … and looked on as 111 people instantly spread out like a herd of wildebeest who had just scented lion – each and every runner ignoring the exact course and searching desperately right across Knowle Park for the tiny patch that was not a slippy, foot-clinging, squelching morass…
I suspect that the average runner probably did around 5.2 km as optimism overcame experience as we all tried just up there, or perhaps across here, or even swerving there to that bit of land that looked firm…not.
But it’s a parkrun! The conditions underfoot surely added to that sense of triumph when each and every person managed to run, jog or walk round the course. Definitely a case of taking the moral (and dry) high ground for the rest of the weekend.
And to be fair, just the right morning otherwise with no rain, temperature just about right for running (albeit a bit chilly for volunteers) and plenty of cheerful participants.
It was lovely to see 22 youngsters (under 14) join us – that’s nearly a fifth of the field. All managed a tremendous run; Mark Walker who finished as the second runner in just over 20 minutes had a very impressive outing – but arguably the likes of Daniel Elms, Mairi Grant or Maeve Burch deserve as much praise for being out on the course ‘rather’ longer but still battling on.
Great to see 15 who joined us for their first ever parkrun. A very warm welcome to Andrea and
Jackson Stones, Maeve, Amelie and Andrew Burch, Matthew Stones, Greg Hard, Tim Crew, Louisa Knight, Oscar and Charlie Hunt, Khobi Vallis, Rob Woodley, Zac Leslie and Danielle Drinnan. Was some of that a New Year’s resolution? Whatever – please do come back again (and it will get drier and easier!).
After the Christmas flurry slightly fewer ‘tourists’ as people migrated back to their home runs. But nice to see friends from Horsham (their run being cancelled – waterlogged course – tell us about it…).
Also hello to the likes of Karl Corpes and Oscar Wodd from Guildford, Krista and Peter Daniel from Newark, Victoria Arnold from Southampton and others from as far afield as Australia. What is it about parkrun that makes people search out the comfort and company that comes from going round a muddy field even when in distant parts???
At the sharp end William Clark popped down from Northumberland and recorded another first finish, ahead of Mark Walker and the ever-consistent Ben Osborn.
Suzanne Wood managed a grand run and recorded her first first finish amongst the women, followed by newcomer Danielle Drinnan and young Aimee Voogd putting in another fine performance.
Perhaps unsurprisingly only one PB – step forward youngster Elsa Wooltorton who smashed 2 ½ minutes off her run last week (equally muddy – so a fine improvement).
Although not quite a PB regular Sara Burge clipped an impressive 14 minutes off her previous week’s time. If you want to show such an improvement all (!!!) you have to do is plough a buggy through the mud (as she regularly does) and then try it next week without. Hmmm, personally I’ll stick to roughly the same times rather than take on the buggy challenge…
Sara is one of our regulars who is using parkrun as a launching pad for a marathon – she, Graham Finlay, Stephanie Lawson, Chris and Julia Finill are all doing the London, and I’m sure many others are taking on other similar challenges. Good luck everyone with all your training (and for the newcomers to running – it’s only a matter of time…)
Thank you to all our volunteers this week – we have done well with support over the busy Christmas period. All volunteers are much appreciated – some work behind the scenes (such as lightning fast results processor David Andrews, or the volunteer co-ordinator Julia, or event directors David Andrews & Caroline Todman).
But at this time of year we perhaps owe a particular thank you to the set-up team who arrive in the semi-darkness and even colder conditions and go around the course for an extra challenge – many thanks regular Martyn Greaves and helpers such as Chris and Kate Mason, Abi Truelove, Mark Tabor and others that I have now upset by not mentioning!
But many thanks to all; the roll of honour this week being Chris and Julia Finill, David Andrews, Caroline Wendy Todman, Debbie Sampson, Kate and Chris Mason, Martyn Greaves, Corey Lynch, Helen Bryce, Lynne and Andy Harris, Peter Crummett, Jane Hopwood, Stephen Deasley, Annabelle Hepworth, Megan Nicholas and Adam Newman
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Cranleigh parkrun Results Page. Read and rejoice!
And just a reminder - the male record is held by Bradley GOATER who recorded a time of 15:08 on 6th May 2017 (event number 137). The female record is held by Kate DREW who recorded a time of 19:21 on 1st July 2017 (event number 145). The Age Grade course record is held by Susan WIGHTMAN who recorded 91.34% (19:49) on 15th July 2017 (event number 147).
Cranleigh parkrun started on 4th October 2014. Since then 2,421 participants have completed 11,924 parkruns covering a total distance of 59,620 km, including 2,127 new Personal Bests.