An anonymous weather system
Whereas parkrun had previously done a good job of dodging both the rash of named storms, and the tail-end effects of pleasant sounding named ex-storms, we found ourselves in something resembling an anonymous tempest on Saturday morning. As the weather had been deceptively fair at 8 o’clock, 384 people had been conned into turning up for a double spin around the common, fifty-one of them picking a very wet day for their first runs.
Matthew Salisbury, race director for the day, broke all records for snappy briefings, speaking to the shivering huddle under the tree from a rain-lashed bench. He didn’t pause to establish the origin of the most remote tourists (let’s assume someone was there from Australia, there usually is!), but did congratulate an array of milestone baggers before imparting the most essential rules, cheering the bedraggled volunteers, and suggesting we all got on with it. A motion that was very enthusiastically received!
One group of runners not put off by the conditions was the barristers and solicitors running at the Wimbledon Common parkrun as part of their Billable Hour movement. Originally created in 2015 to raise money to support Save the Children’s amazing work helping child refugees by given up the proceeds of an hour’s billable time, the campaign has extended into many other events, including raising money running. After spending nearly a year failing to find a wedding free weekend for an Inn-to-Inn event, Wimbledon Common parkrun was delighted to host the team whose wigs, briefcases, fabulous cause and infectious spirit brightened up the rainy day.
Full details of this brilliant campaign, and a link to support the team, are available of the Billable Hour website.
Catherine Lambert, Connie Baxter, and Janice Rockwell all laid claim to their fifty run T-shirts, and Oliver Haines-Francis ran his one-hundredth parkrun, but first at Wimbledon Common, with us. In a league of his own this week, at an amazing three-hundred runs was Mark Robson. Congratulations to all, and come back soon Oliver!
Despite boldly asserting en route to the start that there was no way a PB was on (true), and complaining on the the line itself that he was all fogged up and couldn’t see, Benjamin Toomer (SM25-29, Hercules Wimbledon AC) was first over the line again at 17:33, an incredible 34th win from 37 appearances. Neil Henderson (VM40-44, Epsom & Ewell Harriers) kept Ben honest for most of the course, ultimately finishing a little back in second at 17:57, hotly pursued by Nick McKay (VM35-39, Wimbledon Windmilers) at 18:00, himself a winner on nine previous occasions.
For the women, Katie Lysons (SW25-29, Clapham Chasers RC), was first (21st overall) over the line in 19:41. This was the first time she broke the tape on our Common after nine appearances, and also represented a new Personal Best on her 98th parkrun. Congratulations! Lucy Woolhouse (VW55-59) was next (53rd overall) at 21:51, a previous winner at Wimbledon on 36 previous occasions, and Jessica Rice (SW25-29, Clapham Chasers RC), was third (63rd overall) at 22:27.
Lucy Woolhouse’s second place was the best age graded time at an impressive 82.84%. Volker Vogler (VM50-54) came second in the age contest with 78.59% for his 10th place time of 18:55, and Geraldine Hellings (VW55-59) was third at 76.64%.
Full congratulations to the thirty-six utterly focussed souls who managed to record Personal Bests in the trickiest of conditions, and double congratulations once again to female winner Katie Lysons, on her 98th run. Goodness knows what would have been possible if we had been running the non-hornet route on a balmy autumnal morning!
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun Results Page.
Making it happen
You were able to run at event 570 thanks to Pete Mulholland, Alastair Brown, David Ford, Matthew Salisbury, Sarah Goodwin, Briarna Clifford, Manuel Lovell, Emily Foy, Joe Busa, Katie Driver, Sandy Pfeifer, Louise Robinson, Robbie Wynne, Judith Prentis, Liz Ostrowski, India Trainor, Katherine Jones, Pam Todd, Lucy De Villiers, Otto Levi, and Gustavo Cray. Wimbledon Common parkrun depends upon our volunteers, and there are a number of gaps in the future roster. Please consider helping by visiting the volunteer pages and finding out how you can help make the next event happen.
Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6th January 2007. Since then 18,225 participants have completed 139,885 parkruns covering a total distance of 699,425 km, including 22,963 new Personal Bests. The male record is held by Chris Parr who recorded a time of 15:04 on 23rd April 2011 (event number 224), and 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).
Words Alastair Brown, pictures Louise Robinson