A couple of birthdays, kilts, volunteers from Korea, a 550th run and, sorry, a bit of a polemic on finish funnels, dogs and wooden spoons
This week’s parkrun had a lot of subplots: a first birthday for Eddie McKay and a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday; 70th birthday wishes for the NHS; a man from Inverness running in a kilt; and the very welcome annual volunteering stint by some friendly Koreans from the Shinhan Bank.
Happy birthday to Eddie McKay and the NHS
'Yes, this IS the traditional parkrun tartan'
We begin this week’s report, though, with a milestone by an absent friend. In Paris to see the tennis finals last week, Colin Harris notched up his 550th parkrun, running ‘with an independent air’ on the Bois de Boulogne with just 28 other like-minded folk. That stat is astonishing: he’s one of just 20 runners to go past 500 parkruns and he’s the seventh most prolific parkrunner in the world so far. A round of applause please.
In the more crowded environs of Wimbledon Common, we played host to a total of 509 finishers. A turnout of more than 500, in fact, is becoming something of a norm: we’ve exceeded that huge number at six of the last ten outings. Coping with that many runners is a bit of a learning experience for us all, whether organisers, volunteers or runners, so I would urge a bit of common sense on various levels. For example, please ensure you move as fast as you can through the finish funnel, and don’t stop on the line to check your time, search for your friend or rival behind you or ask the timer what time you notched up! If you’re tardy, a queue will build up on the finish line, frustrating us all.
Nicola gets the wooden spoon
Equally, please make it easier for the wonderful funnel team on the day by NOT WALKING OFF WITH THE WOODEN SPOONS. At least three had to be repatriated from runners who perhaps thought they were some sort of memento. The idea is that, given the large number of finishers and the sheer length of the funnel, the numbered spoons allow us to work out whether the timer and the finish token people are still in synch. Anything that disrupts that – and it is very easy to get out of synch when groups of 10, 20 or 30 are finishing at once – can lead to mayhem at the finish. Please note that if you think the number you heard from the timer doesn’t correlate with the finish token, please take a token anyway – we can sort things out after the event, even if it means you might get a time a couple of seconds out from your own watch. We do, of course, try to ensure that there are no problems at all, but they do creep in, so please don’t blame the volunteers, who are doing the best they can.
Fido keeps his human well under control
While we’re getting big turnouts, it’s more vital than ever that those people who are running with dogs keep them on SHORT leads. We mean this. I was told after last week’s even that someone was running with a dog on two leads joined together. This is neither allowed, nor is it common sense. People can easily be tripped up by long leads, so please do the decent thing and keep them short.
Well, that turned into a polemic. On a more positive note, 9 June was also the day parkrun said ‘happy 70th birthday’ to that wonderful institution the NHS. The link between the health service and taking exercise is obvious, so I think there’s little more to say than a huge thank you to those who keep the NHS running against the odds.
On a warm and muggy morning on the common, first over the line was Matthew Glitz (SM30-34) in a PB of 17:44. He was followed closely by Hercules Wimbledon’s Adam Harwood (SM30-34) in 17:49, with Wimbledon Windmiler Volker Vogler (VM50-54) next in 18:07. The first woman across the flour was Thames Hare and Hounds’ Denise Barnett (VW45-49) in 20:30. She was followed by the aptly named Paris Williams (SW25-29) in 21:16 and Sophie Mackay (VW35-39) in 21:20.
Top age grade for the day was the aforementioned Volker Vogler, with 82.7%, and he was followed by Lisa Thomas (VW50-54), with 81.51% for her 21:22 and Simon Danciger (VM55-59), with 81.02% for his 18:58.
Among the milestones reached were Finbarr Hutcheson, Senan Doohan and Thomas Cheetham, all notching up 150 parkruns, Graeme Parkin, who got into three figures with 100, and Richard Hackforth-Jones and Chris Rowland, both of whom will now be entitled to wear the red 50 t-shirt.
There were 28 first-timers to parkrun as a whole, and 22 others doing Wimbledon Common parkrun for the first time. You’re all welcome to come back of course.
Our lovely volunteers from the Shinhan Bank limber up before donning the hi-vis
Thanks as ever to our wonderful volunteers, and if you want to volunteer please don't hesitate to do so.
Peter AF Collins