The day dawned grey and drizzly after storms. But the course was much better than might have been expected given the recent downpours; the moisture had dampened the dust and softened the bumps and lumps into which every earth path on the common seems to have dried this year, so the going underfoot was good. The atmosphere, however, was sultry, more Hong Kong than Wimbledon. Clearly a good morning for perspiration.
No incidents or accidents this week, thankfully. But for Wimbledon parkrun a very notable week. It is the first time a woman has finished in first place overall. It was a terrific performance by Louise Wiker who has run here three times before and has the third fastest time for a woman over the course. Her time of 17:58 was very good indeed by any standards, particularly bearing in mind the conditions: many runners said it felt like a sauna on their second lap. Louise, by contrast, looked a picture of composure as she came in to the finish (picture below). So many, many congratulations to her for a great run and a notable first - and I suspect and hope it will not be 7 years until the next female winner
Talking of sultry weather our run director tells me that someone, not we think a parkrunner, was asking whether parkrun has a policy on lightning. I would be tempted to reply about lightning in a similar way to that in which a seriously ailing but remorselessly stiff-upper lipped and still bone dry humour-wise W. Somerset Maugham did on being asked a question about dying: words to the effect that it was not a pleasant experience "and I advise you to have nothing whatever to do with it". Alternatively, and I hope the further flippancy will be forgiven, I might suggest wearing flip-flops (rubber) although according to today’s (25/7) “Times” p. 3, telling a story of a woman whose life was saved by the chance fact she was wearing them when struck by lightning, their effectiveness depends on the thickness of the rubber; or as our run director suggests, more appropriately for our course for most of the year, try wellington boots. But seriously the answer is no, parkrun has no policy on lightning (or mud or snow etc) and offers no advice or guidance. We all take part at our own risk and using our own common sense.
Moving to the results, first lady and first runner home, as celebrated above was Louise Wiker in 17:58. It seems nowadays to be pretty unusual for Lisa Thomas not to win the race, but on Saturday she was second. But the weekend was not a wash out for Lisa, however, because apart from a very good time at parkrun which would have won the ladies' race most weeks and which most of us are envious of, not to mention top age grade, Lisa turned out at the Elmbridge 10 K on Sunday and took the V45 ladies category there. Lucy Woolhouse produced another very good run to finish third lady with a brilliant age grade. Notable that the first three ladies recorded the best three age grade scores – and in reality therefore best runs – overall, the order being Lisa, Lucy and Louise.
In the men's race Eoin O’Connell came in a comfortable first in 18:09, followed by Nick McKay and Peter Collins separated by just three seconds in 18:25 and 18:28. Very good runs by all of them, too.
There were, despite the humidity, quite a few pbs. Very well done to all who got them. Invidious to single anyone out but it is always difficult to get a PB after 50 runs and Steve Cox brought his best time down to 20.48 on his 58th parkrun (56th here), a great achievement given the soupy conditions.
Women's Podium placings:
Louise Wiker (VW35-39) (Unattached) was first (first overall) over the line in 17:58, her third time in 4 appearances.
Lisa Margaret Thomas (VW45-49) of Hercules Wimbledon AC, was second (15th overall) over the line in 19:45 and has been first to finish on 25 previous occasions.
Lucy Woolhouse (VW50-54) (Unattached) was third (31st overall) over the line in 20:36 and has been first to finish on 19 previous occasions.
Current standing in the Women's annual points competition:
Lisa Margaret Thomas (Hercules Wimbledon AC) 8082 pts.
Lucy Woolhouse (Unattached) 7171 pts.
Briarna Clifford (Unattached) 7116 pts.
Men's Podium placings:
Eoin O'CONNELL (VM40-44) of Serpentine RC, was first (second overall) over the line in 18:09, his 13th time in 42 appearances.
Nick McKay (VM35-39) of Wimbledon Windmilers, was second (third overall) over the line in 18:25.
Peter Justin Collins (VM40-44) of Hercules Wimbledon AC, was third (4th overall) over the line in 18:28.
Current standing in the Men's annual points competition:
Nick McKay (Wimbledon Windmilers) 8010 pts.
Charles Hampden-Smith (Hercules Wimbledon AC) 7572 pts.
Joe Busa (Unattached) 7148 pts.
The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Lisa Margaret Thomas (VW45-49) was graded 83.88% for the time 19:45 (15th overall).
Lucy Woolhouse (VW50-54) was graded 83.41% for the time 20:36 (31st overall).
Louise Wiker (VW35-39) was graded 83.21% for the time 17:58 (first overall).
This week there were 263 runners, of whom 24 were first timers and 24 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 18 different athletics clubs took part.
Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6th January 2007, and since then 10,701 different runners, including participants from 456 athletics clubs, have completed 76,142 runs covering a total distance of 380,710 km, and there have been 14,122 new Personal Bests.
The women's record is held by Justina Heslop who ran in a time of 00:16:33 on 2012-03-17 (event number 271).
The men's record is held by Chris Parr who ran in a time of 00:15:04 on 2011-04-23 (event number 224).
The Age Grade course record is held by Jane Davies who recorded a 92.99% run (21:24) on 29th January 2011 (event number 212).
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun Results Page.