The One That Was Almost Censored
Report by Tim Allison
Photos by Simon Fisher (click on the link to view: https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddlesdown/albums/72157694202868244)
It was a beautiful spring like day for Riddlesdown parkrun 367, with the car’s thermometer registering well into positive territory, and the birds chirping their annoyance at being disturbed from the hedgerows on the walk down to the start. For how long the weather will last we can’t be sure, but with past years having crews getting sunk in the boat race, which is held again this weekend, today’s weather was certainly at the better end of the possible spectrum. Of course even good weather can’t mitigate the drowning the course has had over recent weeks. The downs are a mix of free draining chalk, and moisture retaining London clay, and suffice to say regulars will know which of the sub-particles hold the upper hand at this time of year. So warm and dry improved the course from “boglike” to merely “sticky” and 123 intrepid souls set out on a 5k run, ably assisted by many volunteers.
We had 9 parkrun first timers amongst our midst, tempted out by the spring conditions. The fact of losing an hour in bed later didn’t put off those looking for an early start to their weekend. Whilst 3 of those first timers were regular parkrunners, doing their tourism bit losing their Riddlesdown virginity, 3 were real first timers entering the parkrun family for the very first time. I’m assuming we had a Dad and daughter team with junior Eden Osborn sharing a time, but crucially “beating” Paul Osborn on their first runs. I’m not sure whose idea it was, or who dragged who round the course, but we hope to see you both again now you have PB targets to aim for.
Also amongst the first timers we celebrated with Nick Radford who decided to grace us with his 100th Parkrun, earning the black garment in the process. Nick has done 97 of his runs at Beeston Parkrun (which is Nottingham for those interested) and this was only his 3rd course (the other being Colwick just a few miles from Beeston) so we are honoured and feel there must be a reason for his visit to us on such an important milestone, though whatever it was we thank you for sharing it with us. No doubt Karen Wood, who crucially has 102 runs, is in on the knowledge too, as she shares with him the same three courses with a 99 – 2 – 1 split also becoming a Riddlesdown first timer.
I’m not sure of a quick way to work out the true tourist of the day award, but the third regular parkrunner making the bow amongst us was Karen Walsh, for whom this was her 72nd run. With a string of single figure appearances at many venues Riddlesdown became course number 28 in her portfolio. We may never see her again, but the majority of the courses are relatively local, so as possible venues begin to run out she may reappear on the circuit as second appearances are PB opportunities. Anyway regardless I think I can unofficially award her the tourist of the week award, at the risk of someone knowing better.
Whilst I have my tourist hat on, and although it is perhaps bad form to publicise alternative venues whilst holding the report writing baton for our own fine course, a quick plug for Mole Valley parkrun which is run in the beautiful surroundings of Denbies wine estate in Dorking. It had its first event last weekend, in the snow, and will no doubt appear on the course list of many Riddlesdowners at some point. Give it a go. (Small) disclaimer time - it has been set up by my sister-in-law!
In addition to Nick we had some other special runs this weekend. Both Katie Falconer-Wills and Harrison Hayman hit the bullseye with their 50th finishes, and a red T-shirt qualification. Despite the fact you get no official recognition for 200 runs, Peter Gibson (who has actually completed 215 runs), managed to get his 1,000km on the downs as he crossed the finish line to complete 200 x 1.6 laps of our course. Very well done!
I note we haven’t had a “news” update in a little while, and I have been absent from Riddlesdown for a little while too, so I don’t know whether recognition has been given, or maybe it is a little late in arriving but our Ange has now completed over 300 Parkruns (again no official T-shirt, but impressive never the less).
It was very pleasant for me to complete the course as I continue my rehabilitation and recovery. Of course it has been lovely watching so many good looking bottoms (I’m going to have to censor this in a minute Tim –Ed) disappearing into the distance as I have grimaced my way around but it was with some satisfaction to post my first time below 30 minutes since before Christmas. Numerically I was more than satisfied with a 69th position (Right that’s it! -Ed), as my birthdate is 6/9/69 (And why does that not surprise me? –Ed) so for once I had a smile on my face as I recovered bent over double, as usual, at the finish line. However, it is never a race (unless against yourself) and while midfield brings satisfaction to many, it’s the details at the front that we report on. Today’s podium is comprised of Hugo Hewitt with 17-20. Next over the line, completing the distance in 17-52, was Alastair Falconer. Third place was Dylan Wymer a few seconds behind with 18-21 as his time. With respect to the ladies we had top spot taken by Nichola Jackson (and 7th overall) in a time of 19-09. Second step was filled by one of our podium regulars, Grace Cooper, with 22-19, and the lowest tier occupied by Rowena Francis with her time of 23-19, exactly a minute behind!
Finishing positions aren’t the target for most of us, but potential PB’s can provide that excitement. 9 of you managed to bag one this weekend so congratulations go to all of you. Whilst, of course, they are easier to achieve the fewer runs you have completed, they are all special. Today’s (again unofficial) PB’er of the week award goes to Daniel Young who has run 6 of his 15 Parkruns with us, and has PB’d on 3 occasions here. Dan Hill, James Walton, Bala Chinnasamy, William Clarke, David Brown, Darren Kent, Laura Hickin and Sentha Balamurugan also get a PB name check. The only down side to what you have achieved is you have now raised the bar in terms of performance required to PB once more. Good luck to you all in that challenge!
On to run number 368, when I suspect conditions will be at the other end of the weather spectrum. We should have our water features back!