"It's not as flat as Bushy Park"was the comment of one of today's finishers at Lloyd Park. No, it's not. We don't want a boring old flat run. We like the course to be challenging so that the achievement of finishing it seems greater. And to prove how popular our undulating course is we have only to look at the runners who keep coming back. Today five of them reached significant milestones. Joanna Scanlan chalked up her fiftieth parkrun while John O'Neill and Nina Bennet each ran their hundredth. Vanessa Wheeler finished her 200th parkrun at Lloyd Park (243 in all) and Ron West his 250th in the park (284 in total) The ladies all brought cakes so everyone could help them celebrate. Well done, all of you, and keep coming back.
It wasn't the brightest of mornings in which to celebrate, but, although the sky was dark and the park quite murky, it was pleasantly cool for running and the rain held off until we had all finished, and the ground, although still firm, had a bit more "give" in it than last week. First finisher today was, as he often is, Lee Flanagan of Striders of Croydon in 18:35. Next was Matthew Stone of Selsdon Baptist Church Runners in 18:46, a new personal best time, followed by David Ogden of South London Harriers in 18:56. Matthew and David both recorded age grades over 80% and Lee's was just above 75%.
First lady to finish was Adele Boesinger of South London Harriers with a new Personal Best time of 22:17. Second lady, in 22:27, was Lisa Rabanal of Canix, running for the first time at Lloyd parkrun with Abigail Robertshaw third to finish in 23:19, which was also a Personal Best time.
An amazing 55 runners improved their personal best times this morning. Some have been mentioned already. Congratulations to them and also to Darren Woods, Nicholas Marshall, Jake Moir, Darren Jackson, Michael Davis, Jon Bridges, Toby Kendall, Owen Brabon, Phil Richards, Donal Deasy, Mark Penlington, Jim Meadows, John O'Connor, Joseph Cosgrave, Joshua Mock, James Porter, David Sawkins, Paul Jesson, Thomas Barker, Sinan Hawat, Sean Bradnam, Chanka Perera, Antara Singh, Isaac Esho, Karen Speed, Ruth Pearson, Simon Tucker, Suresh Vellore, Marine Passavant, Dean Brabon, Zara O'Neill, Pandie Bronsdon, Noah Ralphs, Robert Campbell, David Kane, Tamsin Bosch, Charlene Berry,Robert Dugdale, Celeste Ralphs, Robert Musgrave, Sharon qSmith, Larnie Kendrick, Bhavesh Busa, Stuart Brown, Lorraine Norris, Carmel Spanswick, Marie Holmes, Tim Stephens, Tracey Walters, Nicholas Ryan, Rosemarie Stephens, Ashleigh Stevens, Caroline Brown, Rowena Bradnam and Yetunde Oshati.
A number of runners also recorded very high age grades. In addition to those already mentioned, age grades over 70% were recorded by Simon Ambrosi, Robert Lines, Steve Corfield, Andy Perks, Darren Jackson, Jon Dean, Chris Light, Phil Richards and Jeff Thompson. Well done, all.
We were joined by 11 parkrun novices today and six tourists from other venues. Clubs, represented, in addition to all the usual local clubs and churches, included such wonderful names as Cambridge University Hare and Hounds, Thames Hare and Hounds, Spencer Swim Team, Canix, New Life Croydon and the Derek Zoolander Centre for Kids Who Can't Run Good.
As always parkrun is delivered by a fantastic team of volunteers, many of them regulars. Set up, which entails getting the equipment out of the storeroom, putting up the tables and going round the course marking the route with arrows, was carried out by Nadine Pryce and her son Haydon McLeod, Nick Fiander (before going off to work!), Pauline James, Jane Sparks and Erik Schrijnemaekers. Erik also had another role as bar code scanner, after his run, where he formed a team with Oliver Little, Danyal Nawaz and Pavalan Mootoosamy. The marshals were Julie Jordan and David Root; and Robert and Hélène McCann (now nick- named "hurricane" by the Ref) acted as tail walkers. Louise Lauder and Stephen Tyler with the stopwatches and Emily Dean with the numbers joined me, as number checker, at the finish funnel, and Debra Bourne took the photographs. Debra processed the results. I was supposed to help but as the computer and the café wi- fi seemed to be not speaking to each other Debra took the recalcitrant computer home and did the results herself [after Jenny had done the first steps – Debra]. Jane Sparks and Aidan Dixon supervised the post-event close down (a posh name for putting everything back in the storeroom). Earlier, when he finished his run, Aidan had kindly taken a bottle of water and cups to the queue of runners waiting to be scanned. In fact he was so engrossed with this that he forgot to get his own number and barcode scanned. He found his number, which we had already recorded as missing, in his pocket when he got home. All was well, we got the number back and he is safely recorded in the results!