The Big D!
The notes for the event report read like a fairly typical Wimbledon Common Parkrun. “10 degrees and grey overhead, but dry. Good running conditions. Uncle Bulgaria in attendance – a reminder always to pick up litter - although he’s unable to rouse Parkrun to a rendition of Wombling Free. He's from the Jesuit Missions charity, running his 21st London Marathon.” (‘Marathon XXI’ sounds much more portentous. The Romans were onto something…)
He wasn’t the only distance runner looking nervously to Sunday, and big cheers went up for the other London Marathon runners warming up with a brisk 5k. Applause, too, for Colin Price running his 300th Parkrun (‘Parkrun CCC’ looks pretty nice – you do have to love those Roman numerals…). Sarah Goodwin was hitting 150 (sorry, CL) and there were the usual cheers for the first-timers, tourists, volunteers (more on them in a moment) and Claire and Daniel Hall, celebrating their wedding anniversary.
The run itself was quick (see below). The dry, cool conditions that gave the course some zip but also threw up a rather large dust cloud to give the opening straight that "wacky races" feel to it. But for dry feet? Who's complaining.
It was only after the event ended that we realised this was no typical event; we’d hit another, perhaps more important, milestone: THE BIG D.
Yes, event 544 (sorry, ‘DXLIV’) notched up a record field at Wimbledon Common: 505 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 66 were first timers and 91 (XCI) recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 35 different clubs took part.
(OK, so technically this was "the big DV", but either way it’s a huge milestone for the event – so well done everyone who came along.)
The event was made possible by 23 volunteers – a reminder that we only need about 4.5% of the field to help out each Saturday to ensure all those people get their weekend workout.
PLEASE VOLUNTEER IF YOU CAN! There are gaps available in forthcoming weeks, and it’s so important to offer your time, even if it’s only once every 10 or 20 runs. So, onto the…
First timers were advised in the pre-event briefing – you won’t get lost, just follow Benjamin Toomer. And sure enough he was the day’s fastest in a brilliant 15:54 (age graded to 81.13% - and only 13 seconds off his PB). Joe Phillips positive trailed home in 17:24; and James Adams recorded 17:41, matching his PB for the event.
Maria Halley of Clapham Chasers RC was first woman over the line in 19:46. Claire Anna Hall was 29th overall and second female over the line in 20:08. Tara Ryan was third in 20:14. Congrats, though to Lucy Woolhouse, fourth of the VWs, whose 87.08% age-graded 20:31 was a stunning time – her fastest since June 2015 – and puts her PB of 19:52 in sight.
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun Results Page
It's always worth mentioning the terrible traffic coming into the Windmill car-park on a Saturday morning. Parkrunners are always advised to park the other side of Parkside; there are parking bays on The Causeway; and even with the new double-yellows, there's some parking in Westside Common. A kilometre or two warm-up is ideal for your 5k, remember, and the cool-down after Parkrun will do your recovery a world of good...
But this weekend we had a very visual reminder that car is not always the star - and goodness knows how this person managed to wrap their Mini around the gate into the Common! Perhaps there was a little too much merriment at the Windmill's Bicentennial Celebrations the weekend before! Fortunately no-one was hurt...