Wimbledon Common parkrun number 449, 25 July 2015


If you chase perfection, you catch excellence


Event 449 CS(41)

As we danced across the pale parabola of joy last Saturday morning, ahead of your writer a small group of men picked their way carefully around the newly minted puddles on Parkside and elsewhere, while a runner I now know to be Annette Chase of Thames Hare and Hounds splashed her way oblivious through the rainwater and mud. A lesson there, I think, for all you allegedly macho men: the way to a quicker time is through all the elements.

Yes, the rain was back in spades and perforce a plethora of puddles presented a perfectly precipitate perambulation around the perimeter. But that’s why we love this piece of strangeness we call parkrun: that it throws all sorts of weather at us (that's man-made climate change for you), but still the unhinged hordes tramp its orbit in search of faster times, a bit of exercise, some company, a cure for that hangover, something to talk about over coffee afterwards…

Event 449 CS(9)

The first male over the line this week was Nic Gould (SM30-34, pictured above) of Thames Hare & Hounds in 17:41 – this was Nic’s 14th first place in 32 appearances. Next was Matt Dawson (SM30-34) of Hercules Wimbledon in 17:52. Padraic Buckley (VM35-39) of Belgrave Harriers was closely next in 17:54.

In the men’s annual points competition, Peter Alasdair Fergus Collins (Wimbledon Windmilers) leads the way on 8,052 points, Andrew Lenon (unattached) is second on 7,409 and James Hawker (Wimbledon Windmilers) completes the early podium standings on 7,126.

Event 449 CS(67)

On the other side of the gender divide, Denise Barnett (VW40-44, pictured above) of Thames Hare & Hounds was the first lady to grab a token from Lord Mulholland of the Finishing Funnel (23rd overall) in 20:26 – this was Denise’s seventh first place in 56 appearances. The aforementioned Annette Chase (SW30-34) of Thames Hare & Hounds was second (29th overall) in 20:44. And Samantha Pickford (VW35-39) of Wimbledon Windmilers was third (33rd overall) in 21:07 – Sam, who confusingly is married to Sam, has been first to finish on four previous occasions.

In the women's annual points competition, the currently sadly injured Lucy Woolhouse (unattached) nevertheless remains first on 7,469 points. The absent-this-week Liz Ostrowski (unattached) is second on 6,715. And Danuta K Grabda (unattached), who I do believe was also absent this week, is third on 6,685.

The best age grades were recorded by: Sandy Pfeifer (VM55-59), with 85.37% for the time 18:00 (fifth overall); Roy Reeder (VM45-49), with 79.24% for the time 18:28 (eighth overall); and former international rower Alison Purnell (VW50-54), with 77.87% for the time 22:04 (60th overall).

As ever, there were some notable milestones. James Hellings notched up 150 parkruns, 145 of them at Wimbledon. Matthew Arthur Gibbons completed his 100th , 98 of them at Wimbledon. Rebecca Searle (JW11-14) hit 50 with a new PB (her first since July last year) of 26:08 – 47 of these have been here. And Daniel Sullivan (JM 11-14) qualified for his white 10 t-shirt, all of them having been run at our lovely course.

And some milestones to look out for: Nick McKay is on 298, Andrew Fickling is on 198, Chris Rebbeck is on 148, Elizabeth Willatts is on 49 and Georgia Hanley is on 48.

Some PBs of note: Jessica Searle (JW15-17 and presumably a relative to Rebecca, but I take nothing for granted) recorded 28:41 on her 46th run, her first PB since June last year; Josh Ord-Hume notched a very speedy 20:02 on his 60th run (but only his 12th here) – he’s done sub-20 elsewhere, and this was his first PB at Wimbledon since 2013; and Zachary Purnell (JM11-14) put up a remarkable 18:26 for seventh place on his 29th parkrun (though he has been a stalwart of junior parkrun in the past).

This week there were 321 runners, of whom 52 were first timers and 42 recorded new personal bests. Representatives of 22 different athletics clubs took part. Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6 January 2007, and since then 12,809 different runners, including participants from 547 athletics clubs, have completed 93,896 runs covering a total distance of 469,480 km. There have been 16,766 new PBs.

The female record is held by Justina Heslop, who recorded 16:33 on 17 March 2012 (event number 271). The male record is held by Chris Parr, who ran in a time of 15:04 on 23 April 2011 (event number 224). The age grade course record is held by Jane Davies (and might be held by her forever more) – she recorded 92.99% for the time of 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.

These words were brought to you by Peter AF Collins after a couple of glasses of red wine and while listening to Emperor Tomato Ketchup by Stereolab, the first Harmonia LP and Ghosts of American Astronauts by The Mekons: available from all good record shops, but not touring any more, partly due to age, partly due to death, partly due to apathy.


Wimbledon Common parkrun weekly report – Event number 448 – 18 July 2015

"The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other… but to be with each other." (Christopher McDougall)

448 GG (481)Francesca Carter leads the way

A couple of people have asked me, “What do you write about in a parkrun report anyway? It’s just people running a couple of laps around the common.” Well, that’s true, but scratch the surface and there are usually plenty of interesting things going on, especially when you have 400 runners of all ages, each with their own story.

This gloriously sunny Saturday was memorable for being the lovely Francesca Carter's 250th parkrun. Ian Higgins, who as you may know was run director for Wimbledon Common’s first seven years, made a special appearance and gave a speech from the bench in honour of the occasion.

448 GG (11)

That's a cool balloon!

Ian said he clearly remembered Francesca’s first parkrun on 9 February 2008, as it was the day after he got married. Since that day, even allowing for time off with a broken shoulder, Francesca has completed 250 parkruns, 236 of those at Wimbledon Common, with a PB of 27:06 and a best age grading of 73.12%. In 2010, she joined Wimbledon Windmilers running club and last year completed her first half marathon despite, if I remember rightly, having said that she would never race such a long way!

This week, Francesca attracted her own personal entourage of about nine runners, including her husband John, and Annie Tosh just back from injury, to accompany her on her landmark run. Afterwards, there was a rather wonderful cake in the Windmilers colours of black, white and red.

 Also this week, Sally Jones ran her 150th parkrun, while Andrew Morris and Anthony Farrell both completed their 50th. Colin Harris still blazes the trail with 393 parkruns. Well done all!
448 GG (520)

Sally Jones on her way to 150 runs 


Male placings

Tom Conlon (VM50-54) of Herne Hill Harriers, was first over the line in 17:07, his first time in 51 appearances with a fantastic 89% age grading. He also wins this week's prize for best running vest!

First male

Go-faster colours obviously work!

Nic Gould (SM30-34) of Thames Hare & Hounds, was second over the line in 17:16 and has been first to finish on 13 previous occasions. Neil Fraser (SM25-29) of Hercules Wimbledon AC, was third over the line in 17:18.

Female placings

Melanie Wilkins (SW25-29) of Belgrave Harriers, was first (6th overall) over the line in 17:32. It was her first appearance.

First Female

A great time for Melanie Wilkins

Claire Grima (VW35-39) of Hercules Wimbledon AC, was second (12th overall) over the line in 18:24 and has been first to finish on 33 previous occasions. Zoe Vail Smith (SW30-34) of Belgrave Harriers, was third (14th overall) over the line in 18:30.

Out of this week's 400 runners, 47 were first timers and 92 recorded new PBs. Representatives of 26 different athletics clubs took part, including 36 from Wimbledon Windmilers and 15 from Hercules Wimbledon.

448 GG (408)

 Only well-behaved dogs were spotted this week...

Many thanks to this week's volunteers: Andrias Guerin, Carol Searle,  Chiara Samele, Christopher Cull, Graham White,  Guy Gibbons, Hugh Woolhouse, Ian Higgins,  Izabela Tymula, James Hellings, Jo Manley, Katherine Jones, Kylie Corso, Lucy Woolhouse, Manuel Lovell, Mike Brewer, Patrick Bryant, Pete Mulholland, Sarah Goodwin,  Simon C Birch, Steven Cull.

Full results, the points table and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun Results Page.

Caroline Helder


Wimbledon Common parkrun weekly report – Event number 447 – 11th July 2015

Don’t I know you from somewhere?

Do you remember when you were at school and it was really strange if you saw a teacher in the supermarket or walking down the street...surely they only existed at school and should live in a cupboard after all the children had gone home?   Parkrun used to be a bit like that for me – I’d see my fellow parkrunners for an hour or so on Saturday morning and then forget about their existence for the other 167 hours of the week and didn’t really know anything about their lives.

Over the years though I’ve gone from someone who arrived at the Windmill at 8.59, faffed about a bit, ran and then went straight home, to someone who arrives at 8.45, faffs about but sometimes manages to catch some of Charles’ intro, runs and then stays for a chat afterwards.  Through this I’ve discovered one of the really lovely things about parkrun; that I have a lot more than running in common with so many fellow parkrunners.  Peter J Collins, for example, now I’ve worked out that he doesn’t just look a bit like someone who does parkrun but actually is the same person, is better known to me as the one dad in a room full of mums and babies in Southfields library on a Friday afternoon, singing his heart out to Old MacDonald Had a Farm while trying to restrain his rather energetic little boy.  Anthony Wroe, a fairly recent convert to Parkrun, I’m more familiar seeing dressed in women’s clothes, vying for the attention of the local young men.  Don’t worry chaps, this was in our Southfields Theatre Group panto days.  (I thought I’d better check that Anthony didn’t mind me broadcasting this.  The conversation went something like:  Me: “do you mind me telling people you dressed up in a frock and make-up as the Cinderella dame”; Anthony: “no, I’m not embarrassed by my past”; Anthony’s teenage son, Morgan: “no, but I am”.)  Steven Cull works for the same organisation as me so now on the rare occasions I see him around at work, he’s more than just another colleague but I know something about him and also his super-speedy son.  Bryn Coles (who’s been doing parkrun for a while but rarely bothers with his barcode – craziness!) is my old housemate from our alcohol-fuelled early twenties but I’m not going to go near those stories for fear that he might one day do a report and return the favour.

I think my point is that whether it’s bumping into an old friend at the finish line  or spotting a familiar (although slightly less red and sweaty than normal) face in Wimbledon, Parkrun really does help create an amazing sense of community in what can be a big, impersonal city.  And you’ve got to love that.

On to the important stuff...

Firstly, Starfish Greathearts Foundation, who support orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa, have been in touch on the look-out for runners who would like to do the Royal Parks half marathon on 11th October in aid of their charity.  If you’re interested in taking part in this spectacular half which takes in the capital’s world-famous landmarks and four of London’s eight Royal Parks (their words), please contact ukinfo@starfishcharity.org.

Now back to Saturday, the course was a little dusty but nice and dry, helping a massive 74 runners achieve new PBs. Congratulations particularly go to Norman Urquia, who managed a PB on his 165th parkrun.  The t-shirt people will be busy this week (what is happening with t-shirts??), with Joseph Willis and Matthew Tyson getting their 10 t-shirts, Thomas Willis, Robert Swingler, Alice Collier and Nada Reinprecht all hitting their 50th parkrun and Tim Love getting to his 100th.  The one to watch this coming Saturday is Francesca Carter who is now teetering on 249 runs...

The results:

447 PB (268)

Neil Riley (Unattached) (who I really hope is the chap in the photo above (slight user issues with flickr)) was first over the line in 16:58 (his 5th time in 8 appearances), an unknown runner was second and Neil Fraser of Hercules Wimbledon AC, was the third man home, in 17:17.

In the Men's annual points competition, Peter A F Collins (Wimbledon Windmilers) is leading the table on 7520 pts, Andrew Lenon (Unattached) is second on 6855 pts and James Hawker (Wimbledon Windmilers) is in third place on 6612 pts.  One of these men still hasn’t picked up any of these points from volunteering...

447 PB (296a)

Ruth Wallace of Thames Hare & Hounds, was the first lady home for the amazing 27th time in 35 appearances, in 19:29.  Annette Chase of Thames Hare & Hounds, was second over the line in 20:46 and Sophie Mckay of Wimbledon Windmilers (presumably not pushing little Benjamin this week) came in third with a time of 20:58.

In the Women's annual points competition, Lucy Woolhouse (Unattached) is still leading the pack on 7469 pts.  In second place is Danuta K Grabda (Unattached) on 6685 pts and snapping at her heels is Liz Ostrowski  (Unattached) on 6442 pts.

The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Ros Tabor (VW65-69) was graded 89.36% for the time 23:02 (120th overall).
Tom Conlon (VM50-54) was graded 87.05% for the time 17:30 (6th overall).
Will Cockerell (VM40-44) was graded 79.10% for the time 17:23 (5th overall).

This week there were 414 runners, of whom 41 were first timers and 74 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 30 different athletics clubs took part.

Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6th January 2007, and since then 12,710 different runners, including participants from 546 athletics clubs, have completed 93,175 runs covering a total distance of 465,875 km, and there have been 16,632 new Personal Bests.

The female record is held by Justina Heslop who ran in a time of 00:16:33 on 2012-03-17 (event number 271).
The male 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.

Thank you to the volunteers: Adam Fenton, Charles Hampden-Smith, Colin Harris, Despoina Xenikaki, Elizabeth Willatts, Graham Trainor, Jaspal Dhalley, Jo Manley, Joe Busa, Kylie Corso, Louise Watts, Manuel Lovell, Patrick Bryant, Pete Mulholland, Peter Brunnen, Peter Metcalf, Philip Tosh, Sarah Goodwin, Sarah Rughoonundon and Soo Yau.

Sarah Goodwin


Wimbledon Common parkrun Event number 446 4th July 2015


Colin Harris - The Constant Gardener


Ok, so what’s going on with Australia or to be more precise with Australian sports fans?  In England we always have the welcome mat ironed, starched and laid out in eager anticipation of a visit from our antipodean pals when they pop up to this hallowed hemisphere.

Yet I have been shocked and stunned to hear that all is not as it should be down the road from our parkrun.  At that grand old lady of SW19, on those manicured lawns (not quite to Colin Harris’s gardening levels but more of that later if you are lucky) the Pimms has been shaken not stirred by a hard core group of Aussies calling themselves the “Fanatics”.  The Sydney Daily Telegraph has condemned their antics as “grating, discordant, caterwauling”.  Such has been the volume of their enthusiasm that other spectators have been heard to call politely for quiet so that a “Serena” (pardon the pun, couldn’t resist) atmosphere can ensue!

All of this leads me to wonder what makes an ace sporting spectator, after all, it is the crowd who generate excitement and wonderment at any spectacle.  Admittedly there are horses for courses, no point in screaming like a banshee at a snooker match and equally it’s not very useful to employ a deathly whisper during a football match.

So what is the best support one can offer at your parkrun?  Avoid at all costs the dreaded “You’re Nearly There” and steer clear of any “Go Faster” type platitudes.  Stick to positive words of encouragement and any hand movements should be restricted to clapping (fist pumping is sort of OK if you think you can carry it off).

It should be noted that the finest and most honourable support that you can offer your parkrun is to volunteer of course.  It is as noble a pursuit to indulge in once in a while as running at the event and it really couldn’t be easier.  The Summer volunteer roster is looking a bit skeletal so please rush forward and either email Charles Hampden-Smith or Kylie Corso on wimbledonhelpers@parkrun.com or grab them on Saturday to put your name forward, they will always make time to pencil you in and try to accommodate you in a role that you feel comfortable in.

Pictured below are just some of the people who volunteered last week so you could run:  Charles Lawrie, Hugh Woolhouse, Denise Barnett and Chris Rebbeck.

446 GD (5)446 GD (433)446 GD (458)446 GD (436)

So it looks as though the Fanatics are here to stay, for a few months at least and fair play to them, with the allure of Wimbledon, The Ashes and the rugby world cup imminent who could blame them. Which reminds me, check out Sandy Pfeifer in the results, this delightful Aussie recorded the highest age grading last week and rumour has it that he is a useful bloke to have on the cricket pitch too, nice one Sandy!

One more “Course Sweeping” statement/question from me before I sign off – hypothetical obvs. If your parkrun tailender runs wielding a sharpish gardening implement, on a scale of one to ten, how incentivising is this for those at the back of the pack? Just wondering??

And so to running…

Congratulations to regular volunteers Sarah Goodwin and Peter Metcalf on running their 100th parkruns.

Joining the 50 club this week were Millie Good, Matthew Searle and Andrew McMillan.

Male placings: Benjamin Toomer of Hercules Wimbledon AC, was first over the line in 17:00, unknown athletes came second and third!

Current standing in the Men's annual points competition: PAFITY leads the way with 7263 points, in second place is Andrew Lenon on 6591 points and in third place is James Hawker with 6380 points.

Female placings: Jennifer Fernando was first (17th overall) over the line in 19:04 she was making her debut at Wimbledon parkrun, in second place was Lisa Thomas in 20:23, she was not making her debut and in third position was Samantha Toop in a time of 20:49.

Current standing in the Women's annual points competition: Lucy Woolhouse is in the lead with 7469 points, in second place is Danuta Grabda on 6685 points and in third place is Liz Ostrowski with 6167 points.

The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores: Sandy Pfeifer was graded 84.98% for the time 18:05 (5th overall), Lisa Thomas was graded 82.26% for the time 20:23 (35th overall) and Richard Evans was graded 79.63% for the time 18:59 (14th overall).

This week there were 353 runners, of whom 47 were first timers and 35 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 24 different athletics clubs took part.

Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6th January 2007, and since then 12,669 different runners, including participants from 544 athletics clubs, have completed 92,761 runs covering a total distance of 463,805 km, and there have been 16,559 new Personal Bests.

The female record is held by Justina Heslop who ran in a time of 00:16:33 on 2012-03-17 (event number 271). The male 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.

Annie Tosh


Wimbledon Common parkrun: Event number 445

445 LR (5) This event report is late. For that, apologies. But in a week when July temperatures in London hit new record highs and the Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club began, your correspondent isn’t going to beat himself up. There’s rosé to drink, school summer fairs to prepare and thunder in the air.

The delay, however, is a shame. Warm, dry, blue skies – no wonder we had a record turnout, with 492 Parkrunners crossing the line in the 445th Wimbledon Common event. With 70 first-timers and 73 personal best times, this was a run for the record books. (If only it had been a timely report…)

There were other reasons to celebrate. Wimbledon Parkrun was hosting charity Muscular Dystrophy UK, out in force with distinctive orange tops and raising money for our hero on the day, Matthew. (You can find out more and donate here.) 445 LR (576) And our numbers were swelled by the Medway-based Great Lines Parkrun’s “Rebel Runners”. Sarah and Neil were refugees from the Kent event, which is in hiatus, and were among Medway folk spread across 30 Parkruns around the South East. (Neil finished 80th in solid 22:17, his third-fastest Parkrun this year.) 445 LR (645)

Event director Charles Lawrie had a special plea, too. After raising the funds for a defibrillator, we need volunteers to learn how to use it. There’s a training session on the 9th July at 6.30 at Wimbledon Rugby Club, Barham Road. We have room for 1 or 2 extra people. So if you’d like to be in a position to save lives, get in touch via the usual channels.

Left for dust

While the weather was ideal for bringing in the punters, and suited the lead runners, the conditions were trickier further down the field. As one top-20 finisher put it, “they were great for us on the first lap, but you could tell it was kicking up some dust.” Still, that decent haul of PBs was testament to the suitable conditions overall.

Notable milestones were reached by under-15s Robbie Searle, who boasted a PB of 22:19 for a JM11-14 age grade of 66.6% in his 50th run, and Annabel Jones ­– whose 24:37 in JW11-14 was her third PB on the trot in her 60th Parkrun.

Robert Johnson reached the 50 runs mark (which reminds me… any news on the t-shirts?) and Graham White achieved black (t-shirt) magic with a solid 22:50 in his 100th – matching his time in event 444 to the second.

Then a big congrats to Chris Sinfield. He might be something of a Parkrun gigolo, flirting with 15 different events for his 126 runs over the years. But his heart clearly belongs to Wimbledon Common, where six of his seven runs have been PBs. His 2015 best is already three minutes quicker than his PB last year. Keep going, Chris, and stick with us…

In VM45-49, Norman Urquia posted a cracking 75.56% age grade (19:22) for a PB in his 131st run. And Peter Collins racked up his 270th Wimbledon Common Parkrun (out of 280 total) crossing the line 36th.

Look out this week for a rash of 50th runners (Hannah, Alice, Millie, Robert, Martine, Matthew, Lowri); and Peter Metcalf is on the verge of 100 runs.

The results

Last week there were 492 runners, of whom 70 were first timers and 73 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 22 different athletics clubs took part.

Megan De Silva (SW30-34) of Ranelagh Harriers, was first woman over the line (13th overall) in 19:17. This was only her tenth Parkrun, and her first at the Windmill, so welcome... and come again! Ruth Wallace (SW30-34) of Thames Hare & Hounds, second over the line in 19:31, is a rather more seasoned face on the Common, having been first to finish on 26 previous occasions. Marie Synnott-Wells (VW50-54) of Ranelagh Harriers was the next woman to cross, in 19:53. 445 LR (237)

The top three women in the annual points competition didn’t run – leaving Lucy Woolhouse in the lead with 7469 points, over 1,000 clear of Danuta Grabda.

Alan Chetwynd (SM30-34) was first over the line for the men in 17:00 – a PB at in only his second appearance at Wimbledon. (He did Hamstead Heath Parkrun in 16:59, but we don’t really count events north of river – they’re wind assisted or something.) 445 LR (215)

An unknown runner was second. It’s lovely to welcome anonymous athletes – and thank you for collecting your token, mystery runner, therevy limiting the stress levels of the funnel manager even if you weren't going to record a time. But don’t be a stranger. Richard Dando (VM35-39) of Bridgend AC, was third over the line in 17:48.

His 36th place takes Peter Collins (Wimbledon Windmilers) over another milestone with 7009 points for the year. Andrew Lenon has 6322 points and James Hawker (Wimbledon Windmilers) 6127 pts.

Thanks to the volunteers
We are very grateful to the volunteers who made this event happen: Matt BRAY, Joe BUSA, Kylie CORSO, Anthony EASTAWAY, Nicola EL KADIRI, Charles HAMPDEN-SMITH, Nicola HAY, Charles LAWRIE, Sophie MCKAY, Pete MULHOLLAND, Ann NUZZACI, Robert NUZZACI, Louise ROBINSON, Mark Philip William ROBSON, Sue ROTHWELL, Carol SEARLE, Lisa Margaret THOMAS, Sophie TOOMEY and Richard YOUNG (even if he filed this copy late...)

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun Results Page

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