By Colin Harris
Photos by Louise Robinson
This time last year, there were 817 finishers at Tooting Common parkrun, which was the highest ever until last week when 953 people ran. This week wasn’t quite so many at a mere 939 but it’s good to see that the New Year Resolutions are still going strong. This was why a few of us came over from Wimbledon Windmilers to encourage those who want to do more running than just parkrun to consider joining a local running club, in particular Wimbledon Windmilers. It’s a lot cheaper than a gym and more sociable (like parkrun).
If anyone is interested in finding out more about Wimbledon Windmilers, look at our website https://www.windmilers.org.uk/ , or drop an email to email@example.com. Mention that you heard about us at Tooting Common parkrun.
From the Windmilers, I was pacing 30 minutes and was joined by Norman (24 mins) and Chiara (26 mins). Louise took the photographs while Lindsay was Mrs Motivator on the first corner and James kept us moving down the funnel. It was his first experience of a double funnel – needed with such vast numbers. The crush at the start made it difficult to gauge how well we were setting the required pace and it was only at the end of the first lap that I could tell that I needed to go a fraction quicker, so apologies to anyone that started with me then couldn’t raise their pace to stay with me. I found myself moving through the field, but enjoyed encouraging those I passed to “Run Relaxed” and chatting with a dad and his two young lads, plus someone wearing his 100 shirt who will be competing in the Masters Championships in Glasgow, but wanted to run a parkrun there too (they start at 9.30 in Scotland). Towards the end, I caught up with a couple of my club members, including a junior who has recently started volunteering at Wimbledon Park juniors as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. She took great pleasure in sprinting past me in the closing straight with Mum struggling to keep up.
Some people wondered why it took me such a long time to make the short journey from Wimbledon to Tooting. Jas and Mark had often been working on me when I see them at Wimbledon Park juniors where we regularly volunteer on Sunday mornings, but as I have run over 90% of my parkruns at Wimbledon and it’s only a mile walk from home it needs something special to drag me away, and today was one of those occasions. It was my brother who pointed out that I officially became a UK parkrun tourist today, running my 20th different event in the UK – I have also run in Australia, France, Poland and South Africa. What they say about a particular credit card, I say about my barcode: Don’t leave home without it!
parkrun is more than the results of the people at the front, so many congratulations to those achieving landmarks: 10 runs by juniors Curtis Hines and Hugo Scott, and 50 runs by Ashley Gray, Sandrine Molina, Susan Venner and Sarah Hymas (today’s tail walker). A little birdie told me that congratulations are also due to two regular token sorters, Mattie Alleston and Victoria Smith, who recently got engaged.
This week 939 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 175 were first timers and 151 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 40 different clubs took part.
The event could not take place without the fantastic work of the 45 volunteers, so step forward Rosy ALEXANDER, Mattie ALLESTON, Isobel BEINT, Inga BELLAHN, Cecilia BOGLE, Richard BOGLE, Gareth BRIGGS, Christina BURMAN, Malcolm CAMMACK, Andrew CHEUNG, Frances COLLIER-WRIGHT, Emily COOPER, Gillian DEANE, Jaspal DHALLEY, Lindsay DOY, Dana ELFRING, Ninette FERNANDES, Simon GALLACHER, Rizwan HAFIZ, Holly HAMILTON, Stuart HAMILTON, Janice HARDMAN, Colin HARRIS, Mike HAYDEN, Sarah HILTON, Sarah HYMAS, George JACKSON, Sai-Yee LAM, April MARRETTA LORD, Orla MCLARNON, Anna METCALFE, Michael John MORFEY, Louise ROBINSON, Francis ROSENBERG, Chiara SAMELE, Mark SHOTTON, Jay SIMMONDS, Michael SLATER, Victoria SMITH, James SPINKS, Andy STRINGER, Andrew THEEDOM, Norman URQUIA, Oliver WELLS and Dale WOODS to take a bow.
Thank you Tooting Common for today’s run, and I promise I won’t leave it so long to return.