May the fourth be with you
Is athletics the new Wimbledon tennis, when we sit on the edge of our seats cheering for the plucky Brits? The latest World Championship extravaganza was at Henman-levels of heartache. Time and again we finished fourth, usually missing bronze by an agonising blink of an eye. So, congratulations to this week's on-trend parkrun heroes, fourth across the line: Matt Gallagher and Francesca Lucas. Week in week out, our parkrun sees impressive effort up and down the field, and some very quick times at the front. Back in the Olympic Stadium, the 5k times seemed other-worldly. Laura Muir ran her final in 14:52, while Mo, in the Murray role as the Brit sprinkled with stardust, flew round in an astonishing 13:33.
Trendy parkrunners Matt and Francesca
Back on the Common, congratulations go to this week's gold medallist Robert Tuer who celebrated his 50th run in style: first over the line and with a PB time of 17:30. First lady this week was Alex Binley 19:58, and in silver and bronze spots: Gina Galbraith 20:42 and Ina Schauermann 20:49. Silver and bronze gents were Blair Laird 17:36 and Nick McKay 17:47. Last, but by no means least, this week's highest percentage podium achievers - perhaps the best measure of performance - were three VM55-59 likely lads: Knut Hegvold 80.66%, Richard Evans 78.40% and Charles Hampden-Smith 75.92%.
Well done this week's milestone runners. Samuel Johnson (JM11-14) joined the 10 Club, Knut Hegvold and Craig Peters hit 50, as well as the aforementioned Robert Tuer. Denise Barnett reached 100, and Sally Jones a nicely symmetrical 222. As we're surrounded by ponds, maybe we should introduce a Three Little Ducks award.
Special Offer 1 - Entry for Royal Parks Half Marathon - but be quick
A great offer for a great cause. Laura Roberts from Starfish Greathearts Foundation, a small charity working with community organisations in South Africa to care for vulnerable and orphaned children affected by HIV and poverty, is offering places in the Royal Parks Half. On October 8, this is one of the best running events in London with a route through Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St James's Park. The offer is a fundraising target of only £250 and your sponsorship will help Starfish to provide vital healthcare, education and shelter to vulnerable children in South Africa. All members of the Starfish team will receive a free Starfish running vest, fundraising pack, cheering support and refreshments in the charity marquee after the run. There is normally a £20 registration fee, but Laura is offering free registration for Wimbledon Common parkrunners. Registration closes this Friday August 18. Contact Kaeli.email@example.com or call 0207 597 3797 by Friday to secure your place.
Special offer 2 - Breakfast run and picnic on Clapham Common
Starfish Breakfast Run and Picnic is on Clapham Common on Sunday September 24. The event is suitable for all ages and abilities. Fun and friendly, the run offers a choice of distances - 2k (under 12s), 5k, 10k or 15k. Everyone gets a t-shirt and medal, as well as a picnic basket to enjoy on the Common afterwards. There's also a tombola, face-painting, 100m dash for kids and other stalls for all members of the family. Laura is offering early-bird entry: 2k £8, 5k £14, 10k £17, 15k £20. To find out more, and book your place, go to https://starfishbreakfastrun2017.eventbrite.co.uk
Going to please
Some like it hot
Some like it wet
And another thing
Back at the café, conversation switched from such pressing issues as whether the World Championship mascot was a hedgehog or a dinosaur, to the wisdom of buying a house overlooking the river without flood insurance. Meanwhile, in the background, a group of nine dogs, that wouldn't look out of place as draught excluders, was making such a racket that I wondered if Gareth Malone had run out of ideas and was auditioning for a dog choir. Cafe regular and Junior parkrunner, Barney Higgins (JM0-5), my go-to joke-master, asked: "Why did the egg go to the train station? Because it wanted to ride on the Eggspess".
Report by John Carter, photography by Louise Robinson
Facts and figures
Robert TUER (SM30-34) of Hercules Wimbledon AC, was first over the line in 17:30 - first time in 3 appearances.
Blair LAIRD (SM25-29) of Moray Road Runners, was second over the line in 17:36 - has been first to finish on 2 previous occasions.
Nick MCKAY (VM35-39) of Wimbledon Windmilers, was third over the line in 17:47 - has been first to finish on 8 previous occasions.
Alex BINLEY (SW25-29) of Hercules Wimbledon AC, was first (19th overall) over the line in 19:58 - 10th time in 11 appearances.
Gina GALBRAITH (VW40-44) of Hercules Wimbledon AC, was second (30th overall) over the line in 20:42 - has been first to finish on 17 previous occasions.
Ina SCHAUERMANN (SW30-34) (Unattached) was third (33rd overall) over the line in 20:49.
The three highest age grades were recorded by:
Knut HEGVOLD (VM55-59) 80.66% for the time 19:03 (7th overall).
Richard EVANS (VM55-59) 78.40% for the time 19:36 (14th overall).
Charles HAMPDEN-SMITH (VM55-59) 75.92% for the time 20:25 (27th overall).
The event was made possible by 24 volunteers:
Pete MULHOLLAND, Charles LAWRIE, Charles HAMPDEN-SMITH, John Philip CARTER, Francesca CARTER, Andrew FICKLING, Philip TOSH, James MAY, Peter Alasdair Fergus COLLINS, Matthew SALISBURY, Briarna CLIFFORD, Paul WILLATTS, Norman URQUIA, Jaspal DHALLEY, Robert FORTES, Sandy PFEIFER, Julia DONOVAN, Louise ROBINSON, Jeremy ROLLS, Oliver THORNTON-FLOWERS, Claudio SCOTTO, Warwick WAGNER, Darren FRANCIS and Nathan CUTTING
The male record is held by Chris PARR who recorded a time of 15:04 on 23rd April 2011 (event number 224).
The female record is held by Justina HESLOP who recorded a time of 16:33 on 17th March 2012 (event number 271).
The Age Grade course record is held by Jane DAVIES who recorded 92.99% (21:24) on 29th January 2011 (event number 212).
Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6th January 2007. Since then 17,620 participants have completed 135,304 parkruns covering a total distance of 676,520 km, including 22,404 new Personal Bests.
This week 442 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 55 were first timers and 63 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 32 different clubs took part.
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun Results Page