My usual Saturday routine is being at Tooting parkrun. As part of the core team there, it is rare that I get a chance to head off elsewhere. Having heard about the lovely course over at Dulwich, and being free from my duties at Tooting, I managed to convince another friend to come along with me as it was time to finally get up earlier than usual and go off touring to lovely Dulwich.
Upon arriving we were greeted by the Run Director and introduced to some of the other volunteers, all very welcoming and with warm smiling faces.
The first Saturday of November was brisk day, cold when standing around with grey skies but perfect conditions for running I thought, with clouds above but as the saying goes “it never rains during parkrun”.
As 9am approached, the Run Director gathered everyone together to give the run briefing and overall description of the course, everyone applauded the volunteers recognising how important they are to the running of a parkrun event.
Out of the 286 runners, there was something new to me: three wheelchair runners. I glanced over and saw them, thinking wow!
Everyone including myself soon lined up to begin the run. Off we went.
I really enjoyed the course noticing how wide it is. After going over a small hill, the course was rather flat but with a touch of what felt like a down gradient the course seemed quick to me. With three laps to tackle, after completing the first lap I noticed a really nice touch, a volunteer with an ipad displaying the lap time on it encouraging the runners on.
With the course being so clear and simple to follow there was no need for any marshals, the lovely wide paths means that there is no danger of bottlenecks of runners around tight bends.
I completed the course in 20:26, not a PB but still a great running experience and feeling very satisfied.
And that’s the thing with parkrun. No matter how fast or slow you are, the feeling is the same. It’s more about taking part than counting the seconds.
I then offered my assistance to the run director and began volunteering by recording down runners manually who could not be scanned.
Neil Cole, one of our regular runners, completed his 100th run, an exceptional performance after coming back from a cardiac arrest on New Years Day 2015 at Hilly Fields parkrun finishing today’s run in 23:31, just 8 seconds away from beating his pb!!
Another 100th runner in the name of Gavin Wagg, who is one of the regular volunteers and big supporter of Dulwich parkrun, completing his run in 29:11 also deserves a mention.
First runner through the finish funnel was Andrew INGLIS of Cambridge Harriers, with a time of 16:41! He was closely followed by Philip SANDERS of Kent AC, with a time of 16:44! Third runner was Kirit PATEL who crossed over the line in 16:50.
First lady to finish the course was Amy CLEMENTS of Kent AC, in a fantastic time of 17:01, a new female record for Dulwich parkrun! Katie FORBES was next in 20:20 followed by Anna HAY in 20:43.
Finally in the statistics I like to mention the juniors as they are a great inspiration…
Fastest junior today was Emily of Dartford Harriers AC with a great time of 22:26. Followed by Lily of Helm Hill Runners at 23:17 both being first timers too! Maisie of Comet Triathlon Club was third fastest junior at 23:53.
A big congratulations to all our remarkable juniors and of course all runners on completing the course. J
44 were first time runners (myself being one of them) who we hope to see at more parkruns in the future
Finally a quick word about the importance of volunteering.
Without our beloved volunteers (giving up not only their Saturday mornings, but time during the week to prepare for the following week, or time like myself to write up a run report for all to enjoy), there would be no parkrun.
My advice to anyone considering volunteering is not to be nervous and come and give it a go.
Each volunteering role really brings a different and unique perspective of the parkrun movement, they all present a new way to interact and get involved. I therefore strongly encourage anyone to put their name down to try a volunteer role, and like me if you enjoy running, there are various roles that can still allow you to run. A lovely purple running t-shirt once you have reached a volunteering milestone of 25 is something to aim for and wear with pride…!! J
With that in mind, I would like to say thank you Dulwich for a warm, welcoming and wonderful experience at your parkrun, no doubt you will see me again soon, both volunteering and running!