Having been working away from home for the last 20 odd Saturdays I was excited to be returning to Lloyd Park parkrun. Sadly, due to ongoing ankle injury (does 'unstable ankle syndrome' count as injury, folks?) I was unable to run myself but was delighted to volunteer, to be given the task of "Finishing Tokens" and even more delighted to find that, at last, Spring has truly sprung. What a lovely day! Sunny, breezy and bright. Many of the runners finished saying they had found it 'hot out there' - a seasonal readjustment to come for all, I expect. We will need to acclimatise pretty speedily: it's less than a month ago that we had snow on the course and next week promises to be 'Mediterranean' in temperature. The paths are drying up but there is still mud around the bends into the big hill and out of it. The banks of daffodils on the far border of the playing fields are enjoying the sun like the rest of us and giving a stunning April display.
Today we had a healthy field of 217 runners, plus several well-behaved dogs. Considerably up on last week's 169, with a similar hike on the number of volunteers from 14 to 19. Cheers all round. The first four finishers bunched together for the run and came in pretty much as a strong competitive pack. David Ogden finished first in 19:07 with a whopping 82.48% age grade, followed by Jack Burton in 19:14 - both of South London Harriers - Adam Dustin in 19:21 and Striders of Croydon’s Thomas Lawson with his new PB of 19:28. First female was Amber Bloomfield, Croydon Harrier and a junior to boot in 25:07, well done Amber - Amy-Rose Poole followed her in 25.27 and Leanne Moore (another Croydon Harrier) in 26:58 completed the medal positions today.
Many congratulations are in order for 14 runners who achieved personal best times in the glorious weather: Jeremy Monksfield, Tina Anderson, Jeremy Hopes, Zeljko Popov, Chelsey Wilcher, Laurence Manuel Wesson, Sophie Cook, Beverley Malin-Smith, Nikki Riley, Cherise Veeraswamy, Megan Bradfield and Elizabeth Bradfield. Alongside these there were a number of runners age graded above 70%, including the aforementioned David Ogden over 80%,plus Jack Burton, Matthew Stone, Dave Shaw, Steve Corfield, Robert Lines, Jon Dean and Graham Hansen.
Lesley Bassett ran her 150th parkrun today and Sharon Rhys-Davies ran her 200th. Huge congratulations to both. There were some very pretty (and tasty) cakes to celebrate, for which many thanks.
A warm Croydon welcome to the 20 first-timer Lloyd Park runners today. 12 of these runners were new to parkrun completely, so we do hope they enjoyed the encouragement they received from fellow runners and the satisfaction of their own 5km. They certainly had the weather for it and we hope they will be back soon. Visitors included several runners from Ealing Eagles Running Club.
Many thanks to this week's crack volunteering team: out in the field Danyal Nawaz for pacing 25 minutes, then back at base Jenny Booth Run Director, Debra coordinating volunteers in the week before the run (hope your Ultra went well today, Debra) The pre-event set-up gang Nadine Pryce, Nick Fiander, Andrew Crossley, David Robinson and Danyal Nawaz. Thanks too to Steve Tyler for timekeeping with Angelina Damonsing in back up position, I very much enjoyed handing out Finish Tokens myself and luckily didn't drop them; Jenny Booth was number checking, Louise Lauder, Jamie Goodwin and Jon Dean, did sterling barcode scanning, Jennifer Page took photos (though she had some trouble with the batteries in the camera and resorted to using her phone for which we are hugely grateful [apologies for the batteries – Debra!]), and finally the race results were processed by Jenny Booth and Claire Mitchell. Thanks too to Madeline Little who stepped in to go the extra (fraction of a) mile to collect some more finish tokens when we unexpectedly went over the 200 runners mark.
Well done everyone. Let's see today as the unofficial start to what promises to be a great summer season for parkrunners of all abilities and age grades.