By Jasmine Sandalli
Photos by John Linington
What a year it’s been!
2018 has seen 51 parkrun events at Tooting Common, with 27,007 finishers racking up over 135,000 km. That many spins around the Trioundabout would take you three times around the world! Oo er, I’m a bit dizzy just thinking about that…
Unsurprisingly, the highest turnouts came in January when 817 people upheld their New Year’s resolutions at event number 100, beating the previous record (set only a week before) by 5 people! Let’s see if we can do better in 2019
Nick Bester from Herne Hill Harriers took the highest number of first finishers for the men – an impressive 9 altogether – while Clapham Chaser Lucie Custance edged it for the ladies with a total of 6 in 2018, including the fastest ladies’ run of the year in 17:40 at event 115. The fastest men’s time of the year however goes to Jack Hallas of Wakefield and District, when his only appearance at Tooting three weeks ago finished in a blistering 15:50!
2018 also saw a number of age category records tumble: notable among those are Mavis Orban taking the fastest time for the VW75-79 category in 33:43 (AG 71.92%) and Joseph Aspinall the fastest VM80-84 in 28:50 (AG 72.89%). The juniors have also put on an amazing show this year, as Johanna Nicholson ran the fastest time for the JW11-14 category in – wait for it – 19:54 (!) bagging an 83.58% age grading score in the process. And speaking of age-grading – if my maths is on the ball – Austin Soane achieved the highest score of 2018 with 86.25%.
So once we’d reflected on all those amazing achievements, we had just one more thing to do – the final parkrun of the year! And looking at some of the stats, it seems as though perseverance was the key to many of our successes - a very appropriate sentiment for the New Year!
Event number 148 saw 319 finishers, of whom 17 were tackling Tooting for the first time and a further 6 brave souls were completing their first ever parkrun. Watford Joggers’ Nana Agyei, who has never finished outside the top ten, turned his consistently fast performances into a first place finish today, finishing 1 second ahead of Aaron Wilson in 18:20. It would be a full minute before Liverpool University’s Ryan Willmott took the third place finish, 7 seconds clear of the rest of the pack. Nana’s efforts also earned him the top AG score for the day with 75.07% - what a brilliant effort for the end of the year.
Meanwhile Kathryn Evans was the first lady home for what looks like her first time at Tooting, in a time of 22:30 – after 66 runs here what a fantastic payoff for the Roadhogg from Leicester! Linda Wain came in second in 23:04 and Gateshead Harriers’ Caroline Hudson took third place just 17 seconds later on her first time at Tooting. And representing the JM11-14 category another visitor, Alfie Reynolds, took the fastest time for the under-20s with an incredible time of 19:53 and eighth place overall – a result that also nabbed him the second highest age graded score of the day.
The juniors led the charge for personal bests today, with Ruby Abbasian, Marla Babiker and Matilda Cockburn from the JW10 category and Jacob Dilley from JM11-14 all recording their fastest times at Tooting. Also among Team PB was Trioundabout regular and visually impaired runner Velma Williams, who took a whole minute off her previous best time – go Velma! And finally, a special shout out goes to April Marretta Lord, who coolly clocked a PB of 27:39 and still had time to turn in a volunteering stint. Not all heroes wear capes, people.
First lady and multitasker supreme Kathryn Evans also took the accolade of most parkruns today on her 227th outing overall – getting pretty close to that 250 shirt – while picking up a volunteering credit as well! David Brown meanwhile celebrated his 50th parkrun today, while Abigail Hermon is just one away from a 100 – a target she’ll hit on New Year’s Day. For those of you that are struggling to run that elusive fastest time, it’s worth remembering that it’s not all about speed – the important thing is getting out there week after week, rain or shine.
And finally, my favourite bit – the geeky stats…
There were runners from 25 different clubs, with the highest representation coming from Clapham Chasers. Even with a relatively small field (30% fewer runners than the weekly average) the first and last finishers were still separated by 30 minutes and 12 seconds, which goes to show the range of parkrunners that come to Tooting every week! 181 parkrunners (or 56.7% of the total) snuck inside the average finish time of 27:09, while Anna Hunscott came in exactly halfway through the field, clocking 26:30 in the median position (160th). The average time for the day however was 33:25, which would have landed you in 285th place.
Of course, you know the most important stat of all – the volunteers. 31 people gave their time up today – as you can see some of them were able to run as well! – and as parkrun simply doesn’t happen without them I’d like to give a MASSIVE shoutout to our parkrun angels. We wouldn’t be 148 events in if not for the support we get every week, so if you’d like to get involved please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to one of the marshals at the next event.
Happy parkrunning everyone and Happy New Year!
Love and cake