By Jasmine Sandalli
Photos by Sandhya Drew
Guys, what’s that bright light? Is it… can it be… sunshine?
Britain’s longest winter since the Ice Age – or at the very least Ice Age 2 – was finally punctuated by the first rays of spring a good two months INTO spring, making marathon prep that much more challenging than it usually is. Good luck to all of you racing in April and May who will have to risk running either in long johns because that’s all you could train in, or in an optimistic pair of short shorts still in their wrapping.
The inclement weather hasn’t deterred the hardy parkrunners of South West London however, and joining the roundabout regulars today were 51 fearless first timers! Making up nearly a tenth of the field, it was fantastic to see so many newcomers testing themselves against one of the most easily underestimated courses inside the M25. Another 16 runners were visiting Tooting for the first time, including junior parkrunner Herbie Clark, and we hope to see them all again soon.
Of the 566 finishers 107 recorded a new personal best, including second lady Hannah Lord with a time of 19:03. Clapham Chasers’ Lucie Custance was an agonising 2 seconds away from her own PB of 17:44, but she will no doubt take comfort from the fact that as well as first lady she was also second overall – what an absolutely stunning performance from a consistently brilliant runner! She came in 27 seconds behind Team Dillon’s Timothy Wood who led the field in 17 minutes and 19 seconds after the gun, and 10 seconds ahead of fellow Chaser Rob Sherwood.
Izzie and Thea Warren and Sid Steedman from the under 10s categories all recorded PBs today as well – fantastic work everyone! – and Izzie actually recorded her third PB in a row, which is incredible progress for someone on only her eighth parkrun. Testament to the inclusiveness of the event, the field included 20 parkrunners under eighteen, and 11 more over sixty. Among the victorious PB chasers were Victoria Spooner who snuck under 24 minutes for the first time, and Victoria Whittaker who whittled a whopping 44 seconds off her previous best from three weeks ago!
Emma Rogers recorded the only official milestone today, earning a red-shirt for her 50th parkrun! We’ll keep an eye out in future weeks for Christian Fielder, currently on 49 runs, and Joanna Ward who is two away from 100. Meanwhile Tunde Adeyemo of Sutton Runners takes the gong for most parkruns (today was number 322) as well as being one of only 7 runners who also have volunteered 25 times or more!
If you’d like to get your hands on one of those natty purple t-shirts please contact email@example.com to find out how you can join the ranks of the priceless parkrun volunteers, and help us all keep this brilliant event going week after week. And for the 94 runners without a barcode today – you’ll kick yourself when you’re a run away from a milestone...
Love and sunshine,