Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report 13th January 2018 – Event 357

 

 

The One with Lots of Tourists

Report by Tim Allison
Photos by Andy Leigh (to view the photos click on the following link:https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddlesdown/albums/72157692332456435)
 

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Weather and course conditions had improved slightly over the week to encourage 167 Riddlesdownites to make the start line for parkrun number 357. There were rumours of the reappearance of grass in places on the course, although some remain sceptical. The ratio of puddle to mud had certainly improved however, and whilst a move from squishy to merely slippery is heading in the right direction, in truth the course was still on the slow side.
We had 4 parkrun first timers in our midst, perhaps slow on the New Year’s resolution front, and a further 5 runners on either their 2nd or 3rd run, but their first at Riddlesdown.
 
It seems it’s never too early for a bit of tourism. Harry Handcock for instance on his 2nd run was obviously trying us out following the slopes and woods at Reigate Priory. Graham Sampson on his 3rd run was making a change after 2 previous runs at slightly further afield Guildford. Richard Flatters was also on his 3rd run, on his 3rd course to date, having previously run at the slightly odd combination of local Banstead Woods, and the more distant Brighton. The award, if there is one, for oddest tourist however would be shared between James Dunn and Julie Southworth. James was on his 2nd run, having previously completed, back in September at Preston, and Julie, also on her 2nd run, visited us after completing at Worsley Woods. (I had to cheat and look this one up. It’s Salford, Manchester.) We would love to have you both back again, of course, but with course separation at about 250 miles between both of those venues and where we consider “home”, frankly your 3rd runs might be anywhere!
In total there were 17 finishers visiting Riddlesdown for the first time. In addition to the aforementioned I will create a “tourist’s podium”. In 3rd place Nick Stone, having completed 129 parkruns now, with Riddlesdown being his 24th course. One step higher in 2nd would be Jo Gambell who, in addition to numerous volunteer appearances, has completed 233 Parkruns, with Riddlesdown becoming her 47th different course. I am sure on an ordinary week that would be considered the winner, but remarkably, and therefore in 1st place is Geoff O’Grady. Geoff has had 289 runs and we have the privilege of being his 73rd location!
 

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With so many newcomers Andy gave the relatively simple instruction to simply follow Hugo should you not be sure of the layout of the course. Hugo picked out for special mention as he was qualifying for the red 50 shirt this week. Hugo has run 48 times with us, his other 2 being at Killerton (Exeter this time I found out as I cheated and looked it up again!). Hugo is a regular first finisher and has a Riddlesdown PB of under 17 minutes. Hugo is one of our junior runners and on his 48 runs with us he is rarely found outside the top ten, and indeed given his age on most of those occasions he would have been considered a youngster.
Outside of Hugo’s 50 we had no other landmark runs however. We did have 5 PBs though which surely qualify as special. Daniel Youngs, Justine Gyimah, and Frances Hall, were all on the 2nd spin around our course. Daniel took just over a minute off his previous PB in setting 22:10. Justine finished in 37:14 knocking nearly 2 minutes off her previous time. Frances took over 4 minutes off in recording 49:31, and has confessed to targeting a further improvement to become a sub-40 runner (you don’t have to do it next time though). Janice Betts on her 3rd visit also posted a 4 minute improvement in finishing with a time of 42:12. Finally Dan Hill on his 4th trip posted successive PBs in improving last week’s from 22:23 to 21:46.
 

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Onto the fastest finishers this week, and Hugo couldn’t add to the celebrations however. It was once more Dylan Wymer leading the pack home. Dylan’s time this week was 17:42 which was 10 seconds faster than 2nd place finisher Harry Lawson who in turn was just ahead of Hugo who came home in 3rd setting a time of 18:03.
The first lady finisher this week was once again Nicola Archer who had the 10th fastest time of the day with 21:07. In 2nd was Grace Cooper, another regular on the podium with a time this week of 23:43. On the bottom step finishing 3rd was Gabriela Wilkins with 24:22.
 

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Undertaking a different Volunteering role this week I was somewhat relieved that everyone was allocated a time, and I got to know a few more names too. As far as I am aware no disasters with times, positions or barcodes! 24 volunteers are to be thanked this weekend. Many roles can be combined with running too so it isn’t an impediment. Vacant roles can be found for any first timers so please come forward.
 

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Next week a new role for me too, I think. A chance to gently try out my legs after a few week’s absence and be the tailwalker.
 

Report by Tim Allison

 

 

Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report 6th January 2018 – Event 356

 

 

The One Where it was a Bit Worse

Report by Tim Allison
Photos by Michael and Ethan Wray (to view the full set in flickr, click on the following link https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddlesdown/albums/72157690456211751)
 

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So the calendar has spun full circle and we had the first Saturday parkrun of 2018 on the downs. The New Year’s Day special aside, this was the opportunity to put to the test any foolish resolutions.
Compared to many of the previous Saturday the weather was mild enough to be in positive territory and frost runs have been banished to mere memories. Unfortunately the mild weather, as it so often does, had brought with it much precipitation. You don’t need to be an expert to know that rain and Riddlesdown produces testing underfoot conditions.
 

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Despite its elevation the course has a surprisingly close to the surface water table, and whilst downland is often associated with porous chalk, as the views of the metropolis suggest, the venue is close enough to London to have large portions of clay in the soil.
 

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In other words puddles, and large ones. Sure there were large sections of the course that weren’t underwater, but they were the long stretches of mud. Even the pathways had a spread of slippery mud on them.
 

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Nicki gave the brief introductions with the course conditions officially described as “worse”, which is about as far down the scale from perfect to underwater as you can go. (Nah – it’s about half way – and if you don’t believe me, look at the photos from late 2012 or early 2013 – Ed) She also, on behalf of everyone thanked the 28 (!) volunteers, some of whom would be doubling up as runners.
 

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Missing from the 28 was Barrie – to the newbies he is named after the infamous bend – who we wish to see a swift return from of course. (Fairly sure we named the Bend after the Barrie, but still – Ed)
 

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So Riddlesdown parkrun #356 saw 126 hardy souls setting off on a 5k test of stamina. In addition a handful crossed the start line, but were content with relative sprint distance of a single lap. Foremost amongst those worthy of individual mention must be Lee Pillbeam on his 100th parkrun, all of which have been with us at Riddlesdown.
 

 
I am not sure if that was the muddiest within his century, but if not it must have been a particularly special day to top it. To be fair Lee managed to knock an entire second off his time from his 99th run on New Year’s Eve, so the course was clearly ok! Joining Lee were 9 first time parkrunners. I hope we gave a suitably warm welcome to you all and we hope you return.
 

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As the stopwatches were clicked at the off, few were anticipating PB’s but according to the official data we got two. Well done to Dan Hill and Lexi Carpenter who achieved something the other 124 couldn’t claim this week. Dan has run 3 times, and looking at his times would be happily described as consistent with all his runs within a few seconds of each other. Lexi on the other hand has run a total of 19 times, but usually at Lloyd Park. This was only her second visit to run with us, hence her first PB opportunity. Her previous run was on New Year’s Day, so two runs within the week, and absolutely smashing the first time in improving by 5 minutes and 10 seconds! No doubt the cynics amongst us would be naturally putting that down to an alcohol fuelled end of year. Well we can’t, of course, completely rule that out but as Lexi runs in the JW10 category, it seems unlikely! I’m making the assumption that she runs with her Mum though so it’s entirely possible she was being kind to her the week before.
 

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Dylan is no stranger to the course and was once again first across the line posting a time of 18:24 which is just over 2 minutes outside his PB. Not mentioned of course to demean what was a great run (the gap to second was considerably more than a minute after all), rather to show that course conditions added at least 10% to a more normal run. Crossing the line in second was Lee Savage in 20:02, and third was Luke Hill in 20:47. Lee has run with us on 44 of his 124 parkruns, and he has finished in the top ten on nearly all of those occasions. A glance down the list suggests this is the first time he has finished second after a number of third places. just one more rung to climb, maybe when Dylan is having one of his rest weeks. Lee has also run 44 times at Reigate Priory, and whilst his PB with us is faster, he has been the first finisher there so at least has tasted that particular glory before. Luke has run with us on 26 of his 30 runs, and this was his third visit to the podium.
 

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Next to be given an official time was Nicola Archer with 21:04 making her not just 4th overall, but also first lady finisher. Nicola has run with us on 47 occasions, out of her 59 parkruns, and whilst on one of those she was second overall, she is a regular on top of the podium for the ladies. Jo Vickers with 22:07 claimed the runners up spot with Stephanie Upton in third completing in a time of 24:10. This was only Jo’s second visit to us and since her debut was way back in August 2015 we hope you won’t leave it so long before the next time. Stephanie on the other hand is a Riddlesdown regular with 34 of her 55 runs notched up amongst us. She has been in the top ten in the Ladies results on every one of those runs which is a remarkable feat in itself, and has topped the podium here also.
 

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Whilst podiums and PB’s are all measures of success they are by no means what is most important about parkrun and it was particularly pleasing to see so many completing, in whatever fashion, their exercise with us this week. Marshalling from the final bend gives a fantastic grandstand to so much of what parkrun is all about. Normally running in mid-field it is all too easy to have a blinkered perspective on the event. I would recommend those that haven’t taken the volunteer baton before to give it a go.
 

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Whilst I can’t guarantee the same number of slips, slides, falls in the mud as the final bend was negotiated as occurred this week there is much to be said for supporting everyone in performing a marshalling role. It’s fair to say I usually finish running with sore legs but it wasn’t a stretch to say it was a similar outcome this weekend. The only run was in a direct line from the start to the final marshal post (considerably shorter than usual and managed to beat Dylan too – another PB achievement!), but I finished with sore hands from perhaps the longest clapping I have ever done, and a sore throat and almost lost voice from cheering. Thank you for all who rewarded by enthusiasm with smiles in return amongst the grimaces. Modesty allows me to at least think you were laughing alongside me and not at me, but you can never be sure.
 

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So onto next week where we hope to see you all return, and with friends too perhaps. Those New Year’s resolutions are meant to be kept (well at least into February), and PB’s are to be targeted for those first timers. Additionally some of those who were content with a single lap for their first experience can take on the additional distance of a second spin of the course. And finally, for those for whom it’s important, the forecast is for no more rain until the other side of the weekend. So course conditions will be dry and fast given how quickly we know the course drains (ok, maybe not). Maybe less mud, and falls, but it will be less stamina sapping anyway.
 

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Until next weekend...

Report by Tim Allison

 

 

Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report 23rd December 2017 – Event 352

 

 

The One That was the Hat-trick – 3 Reports in 3 weeks, all by Tim!

Report by Tim Allison
 
‘Twas the last run before Christmas and all over the downs were 153 runners (and 26 volunteers – many thanks to them all) looking to enjoy the last bit of exercise before the big day itself.
 
After two weeks of sub-zero conditions it was a pleasure to be experiencing the relatively mild 7 degrees the car’s thermometer promised. Of course this meant dealing with “Turkish mud bath” conditions, at least according to the course set up team. Never having been to Turkey (I assumed this was a geographical reference rather than a new way of delivering the seasonal lunchtime sustenance) I can’t comment, but we have definitely seen the course worse, although it was both slippery and sticky underfoot in places. We were cautioned that conditions were at their worst at the bottom of the course, although the term Barrie’s Bend was in temporary suspension as Barry joined the runners on what I am sure is too rare an occasion - Barrie, of course, might disagree.
 
Riddlesdown parkrun number 352 started with the minimum of introduction. We had a 50th run, and red shirt qualifier, in Tom Walker, who clearly doesn’t live up to his name in getting around in 25 minutes exactly. No centurions this week either, but we did have 2 runners with 98, and a further couple with 99, so it is likely we will be milestone celebrating on either Christmas day, or at least before the year is out. Look out, and prepare a cheer, for Lee Pilbeam, Linda Harris, Andrew Thornley and Sarah Blackburn. All are regular Riddlesdownites, so a good chance we will be sharing their achievement when it comes. In particular we should applaud both Lee and Linda as all 98 of their runs have been with us at our friendly venue.
 
In addition to the above we welcomed 17 first timers to the Downs this week, of which 3 were genuine parkrun first timers too. With the 3 newbies having times of between 22 minutes to 35 minutes it shows a first run covers a wide range of abilities! 17 is perhaps too big a number to name everyone individually but Andy James is certainly worth a mention. Andy visited us for the first time having waited until his 102nd parkrun. Looking at his profile I might guess he is from Bournemouth assuming his most regular run is his closest. However, given he has only run there on 6 occasions that assumption might not hold. In fact he has now run at 95 different locations, and only revisited and run at the same venue 3 times. Technically that means fewer PB’s than most other runners of course should any of that running left anyone feeling in any way inadequate! That’s some serious parkrun tourism, and it won’t be long before somewhere else becomes his 100th venue. As far as I know there are no specific rewards, or t-shirts, for such an achievement though. (Oh, how innocent you are, Tim – speak to Barb, Fiona or Kaye about the Cowell, the half Cowell, and a strange yellow thing with cows on…. – Ed) It would be interesting to know how many people have attained the 100 venue mark since parkrun’s inception. No doubt we have some regular tourists ourselves amongst our ranks, and it might be worthwhile investigating who has run at the most venues whilst having Riddlesdown as their highest featuring course. It won’t be me, and I expect many will beat my 124 “home” with 6 other courses statistical record.
 
With conditions towards the sticky side of firm, PB’s were few and far between this week, and whilst no less deserving, were limited to 4 people having either their second or third run with us this week. Nevertheless step forward and take a bow, Tom Meadowcroft 21:49, Daniel Lapworth 27:19, Dael Gornall 27:50 and Joanna Dobson 30:35. New targets having been set we hope to honour your next record achieving runs soon.
 
Moving onto the other results, given the conditions we had a remarkable winning run that unfortunately few would have seen (I didn’t although in nearly being lapped I probably didn’t realise it might have been possible if I looked over my shoulder!). Alix Ramsier completed the course in just 15:44 which according to the stats that is the 4th fastest time ever for our course (in 352 events remember!). You can tell conditions weren’t ideal for this achievement because Alix didn’t even PB in doing this (although his dog might have done, records don’t exist!). Alix ran the second fastest time on the course back on 2nd December in 15:29. For those interested Kevin Quinn holds the course record with 15:11 set in July of this year. Both Kevin and Alix are regular runners here, but also spread their runs over a number of courses, so we might have to wait a while before we get them both running with us on a course in ideal conditions to see what the outcome will be, between them, and also against the clock.
Completing the men’s podium are Harry Lawson with 17:31 in second place, and in third place, and no stranger to the top 3, is Dylan Wymer in 18:27. Topping the ladies’ chart was Anne-Marie Smith again with 22:00, in second, again no stranger to the Riddlesdown podium, Grace Cooper in 23:01, with Becky Laurence in third spot with a time of 23:23.
 
Finally, a personal thank you to everyone that went past me on the second lap, particularly to those that asked if I was ok. I think my body (as well as my family) is finally convincing me I need to stop and let a proper phase of healing and recovery to take place. Of course it’s the genuine fun of running with a good group of friends (which is what I would like to think we all think of each other) each week that is preventing that.
 
Next it’s run 353 on Christmas Day. I am sure we will witness many a costume on what is always one of the best occasions of the parkrun calendar. It is a good day for the runner, volunteer, and spectator alike and we look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. For those unable to attend all that is left to do is to wish each and everyone associated with Riddlesdown parkrun a very “Merry Christmas”.
 

Report by Tim Allison

 

 

Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report 16th December 2017 – Event 351

 

 

The One with an Alarming Amount of Christmas Spirit…(possibly in the author)

Report by Tim Allison
Photos by Andy Leigh and his trusty phone! (They are in Flickr on the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddlesdown/sets/72157661753904227)
 
Another pre-Christmas parkrun and looking at the results I can see we have a Matthew, a Mark, a Luke and a John. We have all the gospels covered to put together our Riddlesdown Nativity story. As yet, of course, we have no Jesus though have had Scan(e)s, but we have both a Josh and a Jo (and a Carpenter), and a Marie (and a Marriage) so we are well on the way to having the main family sorted. There might not be any (F)room(e) at the (Jenn)in(gs) but we Hope for a space to be found in the Hut(ton). We don’t as yet have a shepherd, but we have Groves, Hills, a (Charl)wood, and a Cops and Glenn, as well as a (Cross)field, a lovely Patch of grass, so all the conditions are in place. No angel to descend to spread the word, although we have Annes and a Gill to Fly(nn), so pretty close. We are still awaiting the 3 kings or lords, but we usually have 1 King, and did have 2 Lorkes, although they have several days yet before they are expected to be a Guest and Crouch before the baby. No doubt they are searching for a star to follow, as was I, but the closest I could find was a Stur(gess) and 2 star (Pil)beams and a Walker. You could of course argue the winner has the Gold, and at least one of us might have come from Mer(stham), so that’s potentially two of the gifts covered too, and should we get a Frank (hopefully not incensed) before twelfth night all bases are covered. (I’m concerned – two reports and the madness is setting in… - Ed)
 

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It was another set of cold conditions for the 105 participants this week for Riddlesdown parkrun number 351. Last week was a round 350, with no special or significant runners - well we are all special and significant in our own ways but I’m sure you know what I mean. – (I think you mean there was no one running a milestone event!- Ed) Reverting to the not very special 351 however we find plenty to celebrate. Firstly Leigh Jones gets her white junior 10. Rob Clarke was achieving a red shirt with his 50th run. We had 2 black shirts with Grace Cooper and Katy Hubbard both undertaking their 100th outing. Whilst Katy has done 93 of hers with us, Grace has the distinction of doing all 100 of hers in our company. As if two 100’s wasn’t enough, we also had the (shirtless – again you know what I mean!) 200 completed by 2 of our runners this week. James Moore and Helen Peters take a bow. Helen has many single venue “tourist” runs amongst her 200 but 188 of them have been completed on the downs amongst us. (It was also Helen’s 100th volunteering occasion! Thank you Helen – Ed) Finally a quick heads up for one to come. Paul Groves, who might be considered one of the Riddlesdown originals completed his 299th parkrun on Saturday, and will no doubt appreciate as much support as possible for his 300th which I think will be on Saturday 30th, but of course could be sooner!
 

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We welcomed 15 first timers to the downs this week, of which 7 were genuine parkrun first-timers too. (Surprised you didn’t have these in your first paragraph – virgin parkrunners?! - Ed) Hopefully our generous and welcoming nature was enough to offset the freezing conditions and we will see them return.
With numbers down, and slightly muddier conditions than last week’s firm pathways, we only witnessed 7 PB’s this week. Alastair Flynn, in 20:14, has run all 13 of his parkruns with us and has now PB’d on the last 3 occasions. No doubt 19:59 is the target for next week. Josh Guest, 20:33, was only just behind him and has run with us 3 times, improving on each occasion. Noah Laird, with 22:56 managed to take what might be a record amount off a previous PB, improving by a staggering 4 minutes and 51 seconds! Jake Lewin has also improved his time on each of his Riddlesdown outings with a time of 25:56 on his 5th attempt. Emma Gawn completed the course with the visually pleasing time of 30:30. Not only has she run all 22 of her outings with us but has set 8 PBs in the process, achieving such on the last 3 runs, with the latest improvement being a mere 6 seconds. Christina Tidy, 30:47 and Leigh Jones (a double celebration!) 31:45 complete our list. Well done to all of you.
 

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Onto the other results, and it must have been fantastic to see the outcome of the finish (although that would have been out of the eyesight of all other finishers and only seen by a few of our volunteers). Whilst Harry Lawson was credited with first place, Tatsuya Okamoto came second this week and remarkably over 5,000 metres both finished in 17:15. Even more bizarrely that was the very same time Tatsuya set last week when also coming second. What could possibly happen next week, surely that can’t happen 3 times in a row! Owen Waite completed the men’s podium with a third place time of 19:07. For the ladies we welcomed back Anne-Marie Smith for the 5th time and she extended her record of always being in the top 3, winning this time in 22:13. Grace Cooper was second in 22:58 with Selena Wong coming third in 23:34.
 

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Next it’s run 352 on the last run before Christmas. Don't forget that early on the morning of 25th there is of course the extra parkrun to enjoy. I suspect the PB count for this one will be on the low side, but might expect the fun element to be higher than usual with no doubt plenty of costumes, and mince pies to consume. If that’s not pleasing enough for you 353 is a prime number so we should all feel good. In fact it’s the 71st prime number, and 71 itself is also a prime number. Whoever gets to occupy that spot and collect that barcode on Christmas day should feel particularly special!
 

Report by Tim Allison

 

 

Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report 9th December 2017 – Event 350

 

 

The Advent-urous parkrun!!

Report by Tim Allison
Photos by Michael Wray (for the full set of photos in Flickr, click on the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddlesdown/albums/72157688368394542 )
 

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With Christmas fast approaching this could be considered one of the “advent” parkruns. I didn’t see any calendars or chocolates before the start, (but as usual some treats made their way to the barcode table!) but the conditions were certainly of the season. On the way to the huddle at the start, if it wasn’t already obvious by the temperature and the frost that had settled overnight, the course conditions were certainly icy.
 

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By the time we were promptly welcomed to parkrun number 350 the huddled shivering masses were ready to be dispatched with little time wasted. With the weather outside presumably keeping some snuggled under warm duvets (or perhaps some strange souls preferring Christmas shopping to healthy exercise), the number of runners was a little lower than usual this week. Of course for those that enjoy to race (and we must always use that word cautiously here as we only race ourselves, or the clock, or the challenge of a finishing position – not against each other clearly) conditions were favourable for those seeking a higher than usual finishing number. I managed to bag a rare top 50 for instance, but enough about me. (And enough about that four letter word beginning with r, as well, Mr Allison….!! Ed)
 

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We welcomed 7 first timers to the downs this week, the majority fitting the “tourist” description, some adding to a string of single runs across multiple venues, but we also had a genuine parkrun first timer too in Emily Howard, who we would like to think we could welcome back to notch up many more runs on the Downs with us in weeks to come.
From the off cold limbs got the opportunity to warm up, and by the bench, and first smiling marshal, those that enjoy the bracing feeling of cold inhaled icy air burning their throat before being warmly exhaled as “dragon’s breath” were in their element.
 

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Conditions as described were icy, cold, and with the paths solid (although soft and slippery could be found too for those testing out the frozen puddles by way of a challenge). With sticky mud being the prevailing course descriptions over previous weeks today’s awful weather actually presented the opportunity for fast times on firm ground for those seeking such. Although I could tell some weren’t out for speed as the main motive this week as I managed to stay ahead of both Ange and Dylan for nearly as far as Barry’s Bend which must be a first for me, setting my own different PB perhaps! Dylan was of course celebrating hitting his milestone 150th parkrun, and with Ange on 297 and looking forward no doubt to hitting 300 perhaps they can be excused in having other motives today.
 

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However we celebrated 21 real PB’s this week. Whilst of course some of these were from runners with only single digit appearances (it’s still good to post a fastest time), others were achieved by runners with turn outs in the 15 plus occasions for instance.
 

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Amongst the highlights here we could mention Ellie May on her 15th run with us finishing in 25:36, her fastest time beating a mark set in April 2016! Peter Edwards on his 17th run on the Downs set his 3rd PB in a row at 20:35. Emma Gawn has run all 21 of her parkruns at Riddlesdown and set a new PB of 30:36, beating the PB set just the week before by 58 seconds. Although I am not sure if knocking nearly a minute off is better than doing it by a single second which is what she achieved last time! Having done it twice in a row the challenge is to do it yet again, and her PB of PB’s - if there is such a thing – (perhaps her record streak of PBs would trip of the keyboard more easily? – Ed) - is 4, having set consecutive PB’s that many times back in the summer. Robert Poolman has completed all 24 of his parkruns with us and put behind the disappointment of missing a PB by just 5 seconds last week, by knocking 3 seconds off this time around in posting 20:41.
Special mention must go to Helen Walden who whilst it was only her second run with us, hence the first chance to PB, who runs regularly at Horsham but has become quite a tourist visiting a number of locations on just a single occasion (we were one of 14 until her return this weekend). Having secured the 100 t-shirt, and racking up 131 runs, it must be pleasing to still post a PB as a way to reward your efforts. She finished in 34:37 and with her having run at 18 different venues in total I note that her time beats 9 of her fastest course records, which suggests Riddlesdown might be considered an average kind of place!
There are three more stunning performances to mention. Firstly Alastair Falconer who ran with us for the 19th time, from 41 overall runs, who not only set a new PB, by 2 seconds, but came 3rd as well. In fact he has only finished outside our top 10 once on those 19 runs and has been first finisher here 4 times. Secondly our overall first finisher this week, Hugo Hewitt, set a PB of 16:53, the first time he has run below 17 minutes, setting his 12th PB on the course having made 44 appearances. He is one of our junior runners and he is rarely not “on the podium”. Thirdly full plaudits to Jennifer Duffy who not only was the first female finisher, brilliant in itself, but was also 8th overall (her first time in the top ten), and set a new PB of 19:58 too. It must feel unbelievable to drop below that magic 20 minute mark! Jennifer’s progress has been such that on the 19 chances to improve her time she has done it 9 times and knocked 7 minutes 25 seconds off her first Riddlesdown time!
Other PB’s were set by Gabrielle Watkins 22:32, Helen Rowley 23:51, Paul Peachey 24:05, Mark Stanford 24:15 (setting his 9th PB, just 1 more to go for!), Jeremy Barritt 26:18 (only once failing to get a PB on his 8 runs with us), Jake Lewin 26:34 (who has run 4 times and improved each time!), Christina Hutchings 26:47 (setting her 6th PB in 9 attempts), Emily Archibald 27:33, Nicky Hodgetts 28:08 (2 PB’s in 2 attempts), Elizabeth Cooke 30:14, Stefan Hendrickx 31:46, Paula Boswell 33:03 and Lee Whitman 33:32, well done to you all.
 

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Others no doubt had their own reasons for running and celebrating but with conditions as icy cold as witnessed we should all be thankful to those that didn’t run, but rather marshalled, so that we all could. Whilst of course they were all wrapped warmly, having less exposed flesh than most runners, without their splendid work we would all be seeking our early Saturday morning adrenalin rush elsewhere. Plenty of opportunities exist to match their efforts in the coming weeks, particularly so with the 2 fun “extra” runs at this time of year for those that don’t see jogging as a hangover cure for the excesses of the celebratory nights before!
Onto the other results, and whilst we have already mentioned Hugo and Alastair above in setting times 16:53 and 17:18 in coming first and third respectively, sandwiched between them was Tatsuya Okamoto finishing in 17:15. That’s 8 runs at Riddlesdown for Tatsuya and never out of the top 3! For the fairer gender we have already noted Jennifer’s PB setting the winning time of 19:58 (I wonder if she thanked John Mansell 19:59 and Andrew Bull 20:01 in pushing her all the way below that 20 minute mark?), but in second was Stephanie Upton with 21:48 with Ange Norris on a relatively easy jog still able to come third posting 22:17.
 

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Times and positions of course are not everything and plenty of smiles and social interactions took place throughout the finishing field of 121 participants who all finished warmer for their exertions before scattering to whatever else the weekend was to bring. For once with both children’s sports matches cancelled due to the frozen pitches it was in theory a less hectic schedule for me (it wasn’t but that’s another story).
 

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So it’s onto Riddlesdown parkrun 351 on the build up to Christmas, and whilst we have had snow in the meantime, the forecast is for an above freezing (just!) run in the sunshine to look forward to before it becomes warmer, but wetter, for our Christmas weekend’s exertions. (Rain on Christmas Day – Gosh, I wonder what that would be like…. – Ed)
 

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(and just because I laughed until I cried when I saw this, above is a picture of Rob 'TinTin' Moulder planting his face... he was fine, by the way...We love you Rob! - Ed)

 

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Report by Tim Allison

 

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