First of all, volunteer extraordinaire Isla THRELFALL is fine. Absolutely fine; there was no need for amputation.
We were on a sort of household triathlon this morning; I had cycled over for set up, and Paul THRELFALL was taking a break from marshalling for his first run at Westmill while Isla and Jake THRELFALL were going swimming after completing their volunteer duties. Unfortunately, Isla managed to shut her own finger in the car door, and subsequently fainted. It's a good job I've practised my catching as runners de-robe on their way to the second lap, which means I was on hand to catch my own daughter!
First aid support was quickly provided by, amongst others, first timer Emma DEAKIN. Emma was attempting to take a break from mum duties, having given birth only ten weeks ago (kudos - I think I was still wandering round in my dressing gown), and also from catching Jonny Brownlee. Yes... the triathlon World Champion. Hopefully the experience will not put you off a return visit, as long as Isla doesn't "do a Jonny" again. So either Isla is very up to speed on the GB team, or she thought one of our other first timers, Sonia COUSINS (aka Brown Owl) needed a bit of a sprint warm up.
Anyway, while the morning started somewhat colder than PyeongChang, our 66 parkrunners were soon warmed by the support of marshals who all matched the level of enthusiasm of the North Korean cheerleading squad, if a little less co-ordinated. Special mention must got to our tree stumps dwellers, the NEELY family, who answered the anxious call for volunteers on late Friday afternoon.
I know we always mention it, but we can not put on the event without our volunteers to keep to you all safe. There can always be minor changes to the course, and we have to be mindful that we are not the only users of the Westmill Lakes grounds. Today we had some fly fishermen down at the lakes, and we didn't want a repeat of this... with a javelin swopped for a fly hook.
Today, our German Madrazo was Anne GARNISH, ensuring that you didn't finish last. It's a common fear amongst those new to parkrun, but if the worst you can be is Pita Taufatofua that's not so bad after all. And just for the record, this week's Pita was Roy STRINGER, but then Val STRINGER has always known that. You don't even need to be a local or regular to help out; Anne joined us from her home run of Ashton Court, so is more than happy with our undulations. The first half of the Ashton Court course is like the north face of the Eiger, and the second something like a downhill ski course.
Most runners found it was more Seoul than PyeongChang by the second lap, and all too soon the Farahs and Bekeles of our merry band were across the finish line. Three of our first five finishers were First Timers! I'm glad I used up all the flags and markers to send you round, so no-one went off course. It can happen! Well done to Andy STUART who made the most of the crisper ground to come home in 21:54.
Clearly others were also inspired by Olympic events, with couple of Coe/Ovett tussles; Asta NEELY edging out Karan SAXENA, and Claire TOMLIN narrowly avoided a 'Molly Huddle' moment to Alli WYNN's incarnation of Emily Infeld. Meanwhile, in the battle of the RD husbands, Richard MILLWARD and Paul THRELFALL decided to recreate the finish of the very first London Marathon, crossing the line together like Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen. Albeit, at a little slower pace and thankfully in slightly longer shorts.
Sir Terry NICHOLS continued in his Bubka-esque efforts of lowering his PB and the VM75-79 age category record by as small margins as possible! Mark my words, Terry, those Jacobellis type finishes will get the better of you one day!! Always run through the line, as my old sports master taught me...
I think I'm done for Olympic and sports references, so I will leave you with words of thanks for all our volunteers, and a link to the results. Next week sees RD Sue back at the helm.
This week 66 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 23 were first timers and 13 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 9 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 22 volunteers:
Susan MILLWARD • Colin GRACE • Mike STOCK • Beverley MCLEES • Sharon THRELFALL • Lynsay EVANS • Anne GARNISH • Marcia FISHER • Richard EARL • Adan FREEMAN • Isla THRELFALL • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Dixon NEELY • Xander NEELY • Esmé NEELY • Stephen JOHNSON • Darren NEELY • Cerys EVANS • Ellie BURT • Fabien LONG • Amy LEIGHTON
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Westmill parkrun Results Page.