By Simon Gallacher
Photos by Stuart Leeds
There’s an old film called ‘Brigadoon’, where a couple of tourists stumble over a misty magical village in the Scottish highlands that only appears once every 100 years. As I head towards the set-up area each Saturday, I often feel that parkrun is a little like this: from the teeniest four-wheeled trolley, a whole run magically appears (and is tidily packed away again). In 100 minutes it is all done and dusted and the Common returns to the usual day-to-day collection of walkers, dogs, bikes and so on, and the apparition of hundreds of variably ‘glowing’ lycra-clad stars...well, did that all really happen? Where has it all gone to? This Saturday was no different.
From around 08:15, the happy band of volunteers are wrestling with funnel barriers, placing the cones to guide you home, handing out barcodes and briefing marshals to make sure you get a good balance of encouragement (‘you really are doing something fantastic runners’), cajoling (‘keep left, make space for other park users, no, really keep left, that's your left...’) and top tips to help you manage the course safely.
This week, we began in eerie mist and ended in something approximating sunshine. 691 pacey people participated, negotiating all the tricky little corners and muddy pathways with ease and delight. Well, mostly.
83 of the Tooting Common parkrun posse were first timers and - a big hat-tip to you all. Previous times were smashed and 169 (that’s almost 25% of you all!) recorded new Personal Bests whilst representatives of 40 different clubs cruised smoothly round the Tooting Triangle. There were 122 ‘unknowns’ (no barcode) - you know who you are (we don’t): well done! Now, onto the fine and personal details...
The first male to startle the crew at the finishing line was Joe Elliott (Clapham Chasers RC - SM20-24) in 17:07, separated by a blade of grass from Juan David Casasbuenas (SM30-34) in 17:08. Matt Sharma, a first-timer, was chasing hard in third place with a time of 17:40 (SM30-34).
The first female to tear across the finish line was Ghiselle Green (SW25-29) in 19:45 - a new PB! Second up was Sophie Johnson (Guildford & Godalming AC - SW20-24) in 20:53 and Helen Oldfield (Herne Hill Harriers - VW50-54) swept in at 21:44.
A quintet of quick runners reached their ‘50 events’ milestone today - Phil Beckett, Derek Breslin, Brendan Foley, Steve Parker and Liz A Smith, with Derek marking the occasion with a new PB. Well done all!
It was really encouraging to see so many junior runners out there today - 23 all told, with Dylan Sweet (JM15-17) clocking in at under 20 minutes (18:59) - a new PB. Olivia Jerman was the first junior female home, with a super sub-30 effort (28:35).
parkrun would not be possible without our lovely high-viz volunteers. This week 36 people made the event happen: Richard Bogle * Steve Bosley * Adrian Brammer * Gareth Briggs * Howard Coan * Sophie Cole * Helen Gemma Cook * Catherine Da Graca * Kathryn Evans * Simon Gallacher * Holly Hamilton * Oliver Hartley * David Hepworth * George Jackson * Lorna John * Marian Kelly * Catherine Law * Rob Leay * Gay Lee * Stuart Leeds * Nicola Lyttle * Alessandra Mcconville * Ethan Mclaughlin * Louisa Mclellan * Michael John Morfey * Saba Nayab * Liam O'Hare * Nandor Orban * Morgan Phillips * Michael Ryan * Richard Stansfield * Claire Walls * Andrew Warden * David White * Brian Wiggins * Rob Woodward
See you all again next week (and the next…) when for those magical 100 minutes, parkrun comes to life on the Common. I’ll be there at Track Corner yelling like mad and always, always, coming away feeling that it’s a real privilege to support you all.