Whilst I am rarely short of a word or two, this week's run report is by tourist Andrew HARRIS. Thanks Andrew! Hope you all enjoyed your run. Next week sees Marcia back in charge.
* * * * *
Ever since meeting Sue MILLWARD on New Years day at Wanstead Flats, I had been planning to run at Westmill. Saturday was the day, and Westmill my 158thparkrun & 75th different venue. I’m hoping to reach 100 different venues by the end of next year.
When Sharon, the Run Director, heard I was coming I had a message asking if I could help by bringing some non running volunteers. A quick look at the volunteer roster, and seeing 5 members of her family on the roster gave a hint to some of the problems small venues like Westmill have covering all the roles required to allow the event to run smoothly. So I agreed to write the run report.
We set off from North Kent at 7.30am, with a slight panic when Dan GREEN didn’t appear. He thought I was picking him up, and vice versa. Once we resolved that we hit the A2, M25, A10, and arrived at Westmill an hour later. It was clear from the complexity of the site, that this was an area shared with several other activities, and we were directed to the specific parkrun parking area. After a chat with Josephine JOEL, who was leading the C25k group this week, we changed into the recommended trail shoes & walked up to the start.
I introduced myself to the day’s Run Director Sharon to be met with “Oh you’re Mr Tourist!” – I’ve never been called that before (Be relieved it wasn't anything worse... - Sharon). Chatted to various other runners, including Cass CASTLETON, who has run parkruns in every country that has parkrun.
We then had an entertaining & unique parkrun briefing given by Jake THRELFALL, with a bit of help from Mum (And Mindy the soft toy! - Sharon). Then we were set on our way. I had seen the route from a runner’s webcam, but nothing really prepares you for a course than running it yourself.
The course is quite undulating & twisty, with one section running on an uneven camber. Having run in quite large congested courses recently, it was nice to be able to run in a small field & get into our strides early on. A couple of times I almost took a wrong turn, but the person running behind me had set up the course & put me right – thank you (That would be Mr THRELFALL... under strict (and freshly written) instructions from his wife! - Sharon). I always like running near lakes & rivers, and Westmill has both of those in the nearly 2 laps of the course, with some fantastic views when you have climbed to the finish area (Shhhhh!!! We say "undulating" - Sharon).
There were 56 finishers, including a large group of C25k runners in their second week. On a personal level, I was delighted to be able to run all the way for the third week in a row, having had a left hip replacement in April. My time was only 3 seconds slower than 3 weeks ago at Victoria Dock, a dead flat parkrun. My finishing position of 26th was my second lowest ever!
As parkrun runners we owe a big vote of thanks to the volunteers every week. This weeks heroes were Cass CASTLETON • Lindsay RUSSELL-SMITH • Carla BELL • Margaret BALFOUR • Jan STOCK • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Garth MORRIS • Richard EARL • Andrew HARRIS • Isla THRELFALL • Josephine JOEL • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Paul THRELFALL • Sonia COUSINS • Jessica SMITH • Kerri-Louise ROOKE • Ali BIRD • Emma ALLENDEN • Harry SMITH • Daniel KIRBY • Karl TUNSTALL
Of the 56 runners, 5 forgot/didn’t have a bar code, 15 were running at Westmill for the first time, of which 5 were running their first ever parkrun. Hopefully you all enjoyed the experience & will look to return one day. 19 people set a PB. Well done all.
parkun doesn’t run itself, so if you aren’t planning to run one week, please consider volunteering. .
I look forward to returning to Westmill at some stage in the future. Andrew HARRIS