Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of mist
Strode the eighty-four
“Forward, the parkrunners!
Charge for the end!” the RD said:
Onto the hill of Death
Strode the eighty-four.
Mud to right of them,
Mud to left of them,
Mud in front of them
Squelched and sucked;
Cheered on with hoots and hollas,
Boldly they strode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Strode the eighty-four.
(with (many) apologies to Lord Tennyson)
Well, it wasn’t quite the charge of the Light Brigade into the Valley of Death, but it was another battle of wills over an energy sapping course this weekend at Cranleigh’s parkrun.
Hopes of a dry hard run plummeted faster than Arsenal’s chances of winning the league as the assembled crowd of fearless runners and joggers realised that a week of grey skies hadn’t changed the course much. There was a lively discussion with the run director as to whether we actually needed a lifeguard more than the defibrillator.
However, as they say (who ‘they’??) the sun does shine on the righteous. As the valiant parkrunners neared the end of their outing the sun (ask granny, she can probably remember what that was) – gently pulled aside the last of the autumn mist (in April???) and revealed our course in all its rural glory.
It was nice to see so many people gathered around the finish after the run, revelling in the lovely weather and the great company. Of course, that gathering was helped by Harry Charlton providing a cake to celebrate his hundredth run. Impressively, it turned out that Harry had made the cake (not, as Caroline stated – his wife!). Delicious it was too, and it was only a shame that transporting it in on a motorbike had turned the 100 decoration into something like 1@g++. Harry, during his 60 runs here at Cranleigh, has managed to clip 5 minutes off his initial time, and I reckon he has shed 5 lbs for every 20 runs (and I hope that doesn’t get me into trouble for slimshaming).…
Congratulations also to Steven Insua-Cao who reached his 50 today. Steven has managed an impressive top ten finish in all bar eight of his Cranleigh runs and has done well in promoting the excellent Guildford Escape rooms with his fetching T-shirts.
Out on the course Steven managed to keep the front runners in sight to come in third. Well out in front was a comfortable looking Jon Heasman managing his second first place in 25 runs at Cranleigh. Robert Bryan popped over from Eastleigh for his first appearance at Cranleigh, and a well-judged second place to celebrate his amazing 291st parkrun.
The women/girls were well represented in the top of the field. Young Juliette Small made one of her occasional appearances and cantered home in first place. The ever-young Abi Truelove ignored advice to take it easy on the first lap and – partly dragged round by Jamie Rushworth – clocked up a good second place, with Lucy Tucker forsaking Horsham to come in a strong third and tenth overall.
Despite the mud it was pleasing to see there were three PBs. Sarah Burge continued her remarkable sequence with yet another post-buggy best – not exactly marathon tapering! Well done to recent recruits Abigail Bateman and Victoria Arnold who also recorded PBs.
We were delighted to welcome tourist from Guildford, Woking (a pair of Pyrford Puffers!) and York. And hello and well done to Karl Rivers on his first ever parkrun – it gets easier Karl…
Nice to see Penny Green putting in an appearance after the third longest spell of flu in the western hemisphere. Alison Mckenzie continues to mix her sun runs (when away with BA) with a more challenging Cranleigh run – this time bringing daughter Hannah along who fought off stitch as well as mud to put in a solid run.
Also good to see young Daniel Elms making a return to the course after a bit of a gap – and completing a second lap when he only anticipated doing a half. Other young runners put in some sterling performances – showing that lack of power in the mud can be overcome by determination – and being light enough to float across the swamp! Take a bow Isaac, Jessica and Oliver Jones, Aimee Voogd (an impressive fourth in the females), Abigail Vincent, Elsa Wooltorton and Poppy Fisher.
We saw lots of other sterling performances – with every one of the eighty-four finishers putting in an amazing effort to plough their way round - personal best or not. On the formal effort grades we saw Lynne Harris top the board, with the slightly younger Juliette Small and the visiting Robert Bryan chasing her in.
We are now getting into the race season – it would be tricky to salute all of our parkrunners who are doing longer runs – but just a mention for Emma de Vos and fellow sunflowers and fitstuff off to Brighton.
And of course best of luck to our London contingent, Graham Finlay, Sara Burge, Julia Finill, Helen Bryce and of course the legendary ever-present Chris Finill. Also have fun Jane Hopwood and Abi Truelove volunteering at the London finish.
Talking of salutes – well done to Jake Wightman for his bronze in the 1500m at the commonwealths. That burst on the last lap obviously reflected the benefit of his visits to Cranleigh and his efforts to keep ahead of the thundering horde of Cranleigh parkrunners (and out of the mud).
The final salute goes to our volunteers of course, The run happens every week, apparently just like that, but actually because of the efforts of those volunteers – which this week included Julia Finill, David Andrews (speedy results – must have gone round the golf course in a quick 71), Caroline Todman, Carlyn Angus, Deborah Riseley, Martyn (set-up) Greaves, Louise and Tom Bryant, Geraldine Williams, Andy Harris, John Green, Peter Crummett, Jane Hopwood, Annabelle Hepworth and Adam Newman.
A special mention to volunteers Emma De Vos and young Rupert De Vos – Rupert was awarded the gold medal for the best marshal on the course – beating off others who tried hard with music and flashing fog lights but apparently did not match his enthusiasm.
On a final note – if you were wondering what was happening to the T shirts – have you seen the news release at http://www.parkrun.com/news/.
And on a final final note – a week of glorious sun is promised – so next week possibly a run report, not a met office analysis of the depth of the m*d!
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Cranleigh parkrun Results Page.
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 2,545 participants have completed 12,980 parkruns covering a total distance of 64,900 km, including 2,217 new Personal Bests.