Double centuries, 150s, half centuries and a plethora of PBs
“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside four and twenty hours.”
So wrote that great depth measurement, Mark Twain. His words will certainly resonate with anyone who’s been out running in recent days; this week I had the strange experience of being bombarded with a cross between hail, snow and rain in the same short squall – it was all and none of those things: snorail, perhaps.
Nevertheless, there’s been sunshine and dry weather too and the time-honoured course at Wimbledon Common has largely dried out to become firmer underfoot and faster – and as a result there were no less than 100 personal bests this week from the 340 finishers, which is almost 30 per cent of you!
The first day of spring saw balloons and cake for Matthew Salisbury and Sue Rothwell, who both completed their 200th parkruns – for Matthew, all but three have come at Wimbledon; Sue has run only one parkrun other than ours. Well done to them, the new holders of the Collins Cup and the Lawrie Trophy respectively. Both are regular volunteers.
Norman Urquia, picctured above, is a bit more of a tourist, having run 118 times at Wimbledon but completed 12 other parkruns at least once. There was only one place he could be on Saturday, though, for his 150th parkrun. Norm’s been running well recently, taking his PB down to 19.44 here and to 19.37 at the far easier (!) Fulham Palace. When you consider his PB in 2011 was in excess of 24 minutes, you can tell he’s put in a lot of work. He’s also a regular volunteer and is one of the event directors at the Sunday morning Wimbledon Park Junior parkrun, which makes him an all-round good egg in anyone’s book; if you've ever helped out at the junior event will know that he adds a calm authority to proceedings. Nice one, Norm!
Another to pass a milestone this week was Mike Beale, who completed his 50th parkrun.
There were some notable PBs. Simon Woodley’s 19:39 was obtained in his 89th parkrun here (though he’s run faster at Dulwich). This 14-second PB was his second in consecutive weeks, made even more remarkable by the fact that he hadn’t run a PB here since June 2013. The husband and wife team of Dom and Liz Ostrowski made it a double PB weekend: Liz’s 24:55 was her first time under 25 minutes and, like Simon, her second PB in consecutive weeks. Dom went one better, running his third consecutive PB – he’s now moved down from a best of 25:52 two weeks ago to 24:48 this time.
The aptly named Millie Good, JW10, smashed her personal best this week by exactly a minute, posting an excellent 26:10 on her 39th Wimbledon parkrun, her 40th overall. I keep mentioning him, but he is rather good and he’s a fantastic advert for junior parkrun too – Christopher Cull (JM10), in his 49th parkrun, posted a Wimbledon Common best of 24:03 for a 74 per cent age grade. And for the second week running, Danuta K Grabda posted a new PB, this time 23:36, her first time under 24 minutes at this event.
And another double, this time in the Busa household: father Paul ran 20:45, a third PB in three weeks and his first sub-21 in 106 parkruns here; daughter Isabella (JW15-17) ran 21:53, a three-second best, achieved in 86 parkruns on the common. And a big ‘ding dong’ to Lesley Phillips, who set a new PB of 29:17, his first here in under 30 minutes – carry on, Lesley!
This week’s men’s event panned out as follows. Over the line first was Matt Gallagher (above, VM35-39) of Wimbledon Windmilers with a time of 17:36 – this was the fifth time Matt has clamed the number one token in 55 appearances. Next was Andy Robinson (VM45-49) of Thames Hare & Hounds in 17:42. Andy has been first to finish seven times. And taking the last podium position was the unattached Doug Morton (SM25-29) in 18:08. ‘Greenock’, as no one calls him, has also been first to finish seven times.
It’s tight at the top in the men’s annual points beano, but just holding on to pole position is, well, me... Peter Alasdair Fergus Collins of Wimbledon Windmilers with 3,309 hard-earned points. Not far behind, sadly for me, is Andrew Lenon (unattached) with 3,293 points. Taking bronze at the moment is Robin Hutchinson of Wimbledon Windmilers with 3,104 points. Incidentally, I was resigned to losing that lead this week and in honour of that totally drug-free and uncorrupt bicycle race that I believe starts in Yorkshire and ends both in France and in tears, I wore a yellow jersey (see pic below, sorry for the self-promotion) to go down with a degree of pride. I shall wear it again this week and hope Andrew will take up the mantle when he inevitably takes top position this coming week.
In the women’s event, first over the line was the excellent Ruth Wallace (above, right, SW30-34, 12th overall) of Thames Hare & Hounds in 19:09. This was her 25th first in 32 appearances. It must have been a great battle, because just behind her, Alexandra Brown (JW11-14, unattached, 13th overall) posted a time just two seconds slower, 19:11. And Alexandra’s remarkable time gave her the second best age grading of the day (see below). The very consistent and unattached Lucy Woolhouse (VW50-54) was next (37th overall) in 20:34 – she has been first to finish on 25 occasions. In the women's annual points competition, Lucy is top on 3,586 points, Sarah Goodwin (Wimbledon Windmilers) next on 3,502 and Danuta K Grabda (unattached) is third on 3,146 pts.
Lucy also tops this week’s age grade scores, with 84.68%. The aforementioned Alexandra Brown got 83.23% and the evenmoreaforementioned Andy Robinson was 82.67%.
Of the 340 runners, 25 were first timers. Representatives of 19 different athletics clubs took part. Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6 January 2007, and since then 11,988 different runners, including participants from 507 athletics clubs, have completed 87,211 runs covering a total distance of 436,055 km, and there have been 15,574 new PBs.
The women's record is held by Justina Heslop, who ran in a time of 16:33 on 17 March 2012, event number 271. The men's record is held by Chris Parr, who ran in a time of 15:04 on 23 April 2011 (event number 224). The age gGrade course record is held by Jane Davies, who recorded 92.99% for the time 21:24 on 29 January 2011 (event number 212). Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun results page.
Peter AF Collins