By Jasmine Sandalli
Photos by Dickon Thompson
The weather this Saturday could only be described, in the immortal words of Caroline Aherne, as “scorchio”.
10 degrees hotter than this time last year it was great for sunseekers, less so for PB seekers! On July 15th 2017 at parkrun number 77, there were 123 PBs among the 516 finishers (or 24%); today we saw 59 PBs registered from 483 finishers, just over 12% of the field.
That said, it didn’t stop two of Herne Hill Harriers’ finest recording their fastest time on the course – Nick Bester had the edge with a 16:36 finish for first man, and Matthew Robertson came in 40 seconds behind. Nick actually ran the event a year ago and today his result improved by three places and almost a whole minute – great work Nick! Special mention also goes to the fourth place finisher Richard McDowell from Hercules Wimbledon who clocked in at 17 minutes and 42 seconds… while pushing a buggy. A Herculean effort indeed, especially the sprint finish. I couldn’t find out if this was officially our fastest buggy run at Tooting but it’s got to be up there!
Meanwhile there was an equally strong show from the ladies, with Hannah Lord finishing first in 19:49, chased home by Shannon Sinclair in 20:04 and Clapham Chasers’ Bridie MacDonald in 21:03, who also bagged herself a PB. A great effort also from Natalie Warren in the 11-14 category who was not only the fastest of the under-15s with her PB time of 22:54, but also 8th lady! Despite the weather we saw a great breadth of results across all age categories, but especially in the juniors where 43% recorded a personal best, compared with 16% of seniors (20-34) and 12% of veterans (35 and above).
Next up – permit me to go a bit stat crazy here, or just jump to the next paragraph! – my favourite roundup: the averages… Ben Parker finishing 242nd was our median position finisher (i.e. halfway through the field) in 27:10. The closest median time on the other hand was 36:47, beating 7% of the field, compared with this time last year where the median time of 32:48 was faster than 12%. Meanwhile the range of times today between first and last finisher was 16% larger than last year. What all this suggests is that the results are more bunched up than they used to be, and slightly more competitive, but we also saw a wider range of times today than we saw a year ago. Of course that could all be down to the heat and the fact the World Cup is on!
While we’re talking about impressive numbers, our most experienced parkrunner today was Gary Slater, completing run number 402. Also representing the 250 club were Norman Urquia, David R Mason and Sarah Vaughan. Mike Hayden picked up his 100 shirt and Kevin Pickering is one run away from joining him – maybe next week? A special mention goes to our very own Cal Jones who marked her 50th parkrun with a fastest time around the Trioundabout, and who will be Run Director for next week’s takeover by the Clapham Chasers. She and 15 other parkrunners finished today having already banked 25 or more volunteering credits –if you’d like to work up to a snazzy purple shirt please contact email@example.com. A massive thank you also goes to the 36 who volunteered today, without whom nobody’s getting any shirts!
To the 65 plucky runners who joined us for the first time – welcome to tropical Tooting! I promise it’s not always this brutal but at least we have the Lido to cool off in afterwards! And to the 71 runners who were too shy to make themselves known – or perhaps forgot their tag – I really do encourage you to bring your barcode and get your result. Even looking back a year from today it’s fascinating to see the leaps and bounds Tooting’s parkrunners have made and I’m so proud to see our little event grow and grow. I can’t run at the moment due to a broken foot (I’m dying of jealousy) but seeing everyone out there today reminded me what a strong community of parkrunners we have. Well done to everyone to made it, to all those fabulous smiles I saw on the way round, and hope you’re having a lovely summer.