Coffee and a sprinkle of confidence.
A conversation at a coffee morning reinforces the benefits of parkrun and the need for each of us to keep true to its spirit.
As the group of women talked, conversation turned from children to exercise. I like yoga, said one, but you have to choose your class carefully. I’ve been to lots where everyone is so beautifully dressed and amazing at yoga and you just end up feeling rubbish. Oh yes, said another, and sometimes the teacher looks down on you because you can’t do things and you feel really uncomfortable. A third nodded her agreement: she had tried many classes but was still searching for one that would not leave her feeling inadequate.
It was startling to hear these women talk in this way about yoga, a practice which eschews competition and advocates kindness and compassion to others. It was perhaps more startling when the conversation moved on to swimming. I’m terrible at swimming, said the first, so I only go when I know the pool will be empty and no-one will see me. The others were impressed that she went at all: for them it would be too humiliating. A suggestion that we are all equally entitled to our space in a public pool and that it is no-one else’s business how good or bad you look as you swim up and down a lane, in no way affecting the experience of other swimmers, was met by small shakes of the head.
This is not a recruitment drive for women who have been scarred by experiences of yoga and swimming. Both are wonderful forms of exercise for body and mind and anyone who wants to give them a go should feel good about doing so. Instead it is a plea to parkrunners to keep making parkrun an inclusive, welcoming community for those who may be inclined to feel rubbish, uncomfortable and inadequate.
So do, please, keep turning up on a Saturday morning looking as if you only woke up ten minutes ago. Do keep wearing the tee-shirt that is now so faded you can’t be sure if it celebrated Charles and Diana’s wedding or Y2K. Do mutter on the start line about how you’ll be glad just to get round and grunt on the hills about how the wind is always blowing in the wrong direction. Do, if you’re one of the early finishers, walk back to cheer the rest of us on and make us feel good that we’re all part of the same event. Each parkrun completed is a sprinkle of confidence, sometimes much needed.
This week 438 people completed Richmond Park parkrun. Those who were there bright and early were rewarded by a sharp shower, while those who dragged themselves out of bed at the last minute were greeted by a warm autumn sunshine start. Fifty five were first timers – inclusive shout outs to Reuben Pivcevic, Gail and David Edwards and to second timers June Goh, who seems to have been bitten by the parkrun bug after making her debut last week, and Julie Mellor, who debuted two weeks ago and was lured back again this week. Thank you to the group from Bracknell Forest Runners who made the journey to Richmond Park parkrun, particularly to Robin Briscoe, running with Taylor Briscoe (JM10), Adrian and Sarah Luscombe, Samantha Coombs and Steph Clare, who all spent long enough out there to really enjoy our single lap route. Congratulations to Juliette Cooper and Ela Slonina, who both ran their 100th parkrun this week, Juliette having completed all 100 at Richmond Park.
Thank you, too, to the volunteers who make everyone feel welcome, from the cheery “just run through the puddles” at the start to the heartfelt “well run” at the end. Confidence sprinklers, all.
The event was made possible by 18 volunteers:
Steve THOMAS • Andy CAIE • Jane YELLOLY • Lloyd Temple CAMP • Kate O'DOHERTY • Pete BUTLER • Chris BULGER • James RUSHBY • Chandra Mouli BHADRARAJU • James HOLE • Matthew BAKER • Raven-Marie COOPER • Seren JONES • Jasmine GILLMORE • Hadi KHATAMIZADEH • Katie LEE • Robert HILLHOUSE • Harriet WATSON
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Richmond parkrun Results Page.
Male placings: Tim PRENDERGAST (VM35-39) (Unattached) was first over the line in 17:17 - first time in 3 appearances. Ted MOCKETT (VM35-39) of Ranelagh Harriers, was second over the line in 18:00. Thomas ZIEGEL (SM18-19) of St Mary's University College AC, was third over the line in 18:19.
Female placings: Isabelle FRANCO (JW15-17) (Unattached) was first (11th overall) over the line in 19:37 - second time in 2 appearances. Ella FRYER (JW11-14) of St Mary's Richmond AC, was second (22nd overall) over the line in 20:42 - has been first to finish on 2 previous occasions. Fenella ROSS (SW20-24) (Unattached) was third (29th overall) over the line in 21:13.
The three highest age grades were recorded by:
Isabelle FRANCO (JW15-17) – 79.01% for the time 19:37 (11th overall). Peter MALONEY (VM55-59) – 78.57% for the time 20:04 (15th overall). Tom ARMSTRONG (JM11-14) – 78.45% for the time 18:29 (5th overall).
The male record is held by Paul MARTELLETTI who recorded a time of 14:58 on 17th September 2011 (event number 203). The female record is held by Lucy HASELL who recorded a time of 17:11 on 17th September 2011 (event number 203). The Age Grade course record is held by Jane DAVIES who recorded 95.43% (21:54) on 27th September 2014 (event number 363).
Richmond parkrun started on 20th October 2007. Since then 17,758 participants have completed 132,385 parkruns covering a total distance of 661,925 km, including 21,397 new Personal Bests.