Wimbledon Common parkrun – event number 585, 20th January 2018

Wimbledon Common parkrunner numbers crash…

After a stunning field of 548 last week, just seven days later Wimbledon Common participation had crashed to 360! This 50% decline represents a loss of over one park runner every single hour since the last event, and experts predict in three weeks time there will be no runners at all!

Oh, wait. A modest tail-off in New Year’s enthusiasm, pouring rain, 3.5 degrees centigrade and an skid pan for a course. What I should be writing about are the 50(!) very welcome new people who chose this awful day for their first run, and the tourist from Kingston (how bad was it there?!).

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Wall-to-wall mud

But firstly, and far more importantly…

Official changing of the guard

After several weeks of quietly and competently taking the reins, today was the day that Peter AF Collins was able to thank former event director Charles Lawrie for his four years at the helm of the best parkrun on the network. Joking aside (about Charles overseeing heart attacks, broken bones, hornet attacks and head injuries) it was a brilliant opportunity for the Wimbledon Common community to thank him for all his hard work and a job very well done. It is a long day for the event director, from the set-up to the clearing away, and few people stop to think about the significant responsibility that goes with the role. From maintaining good relationships with the Common Rangers, through implementing everything that comes from parkrun HQ as the movement continues to grow and become ever more complex, to dealing with people whose times had got muddled up, it is a big and time consuming job. We have been hugely lucky with Charles, Ian before him, and now Peter to have such talented and committed people to lead the event and organise the rest of the volunteer community who make parkrun possible. Thank you Charles!

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The baton passes...

That important ceremony aside, run director Steven Cull’s primary ambition was to get us away as fast as possible before we froze in that icy and persistent rain I mentioned earlier. This he did, and we were off in the chilly mud bath that the week of difficult weather had left for us!


Another huge shipment of milestone T-shirts are due to land in February, so hopefully not long to wait for Nigel Gray and Adam Trousdale laying claim to a red top to celebrate their 50th runs.

No T-shirts on offer, but our congratulations nevertheless to Jonathan Barnett and Christine McNeill notching up their 150th runs.

Finally, a big fanfare for Geraldine Hellings reserving her 250th prize in its slightly indescribable colour (sort of teal?).

Congratulations to all.

Results corner

Twenty-four seconds separated the first three men and David Lewin (SM25-29 , Hercules Wimbledon AC) took the honours with a time of 18:22. Nick McKay (VM35-39, Wimbledon Windmilers) claimed silver at 18:34, with Jack Dickenson (SM18-19, Herne Hill Harriers) filling the third step in 18:46.

Eileen Brandley (SW25-29, Hercules Wimbledon AC) led the women home with a time of 20:29 (11th overall). It was Sophia versus Sophie for the remaining podium slots with Sophia Chastell (SW18-19, Garden City Runners) taking it with 22:03 (32nd overall), and Sophie McKay (VW35-39, Wimbledon Windmilers) right behind with a time of 22:10 (35th overall).

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Running for the line

Given the lashing rain and wall-to-wall mud, unsurprisingly most of the 21 runners setting Personal Bests have just a few parkruns under their belts. Congratulations to Michelle Luck though, with a PB on her fifteenth outing. Dealing with the terrain today bodes well for Michelle’s performance in the (hopefully) forthcoming spring!

On a difficult day for age related scores, Michelle’s efforts earned her second place in that competition with 76.3%, just pipped to the post by Dieter Schlegel with his impressive for the conditions 78.2%.

Something a bit different

On a slow news day, I have a few spare inches to provide a link to a brilliant event that Sandy Pfeifer told us about.

Street Child is a great charity who believe that every child deserves the right to safety and to be empowered through education. Working in some of the poorest areas in the world, they strive to ensure that every child has the chance to go to school and learn.

There is nothing unusual about an organisation like that organising a half on Wimbledon Common to raise vital funds. What is slightly unusual is that the reference to the “half” is only tangentially related to the distance (where runner can select the 13.1 miles or opt for 10km). However, the true meaning of “half” in this context is that the organisers will be fuelling runners every two miles with a half pint of craft ale to keep them warm! Better still all fund raising will be matched by the UK government through UK Aid Match.

As the organisers says here That's right, we're taking no half measures (pun intended) - join us on Sunday 4th February at 11am for a half marathon with half pints that makes double the difference.

Making it happen

You were able to run at event 585 thanks to James Wallace, Alastair Brown, Peter AF Collins, Adam Harwood, Jayne Hurrell, John Sabourin, Lucy Woolhouse, Briarna Clifford, Steven Cull, Volker Vogler, Catherine Coleman, Christopher Cull, Sandy Pfeifer, Liz Ostrowski, Graham Trainor, Matthew Vie, Jo Manley, Nick Hudson, Jeremy Rolls, John Sasportas, Alethea Tabor, David Hopwood, and Pam Todd. 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.

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A damp day to volunteer for tail running!


Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6th January 2007. Since then 18,909 participants have completed 145,761 parkruns covering a total distance of 728,805 km, including 23,506 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 Jayne Hurrell


Wimbledon Common Parkrun 584, 13th January 2018

Last week was a good week for parkrun if the stats are anything to go by. Although – as is inevitable given the time of year and the English climate in general – there was a fair amount of mud lining the route for runners to enjoy coating their shoes (and legs, depending on your level of gusto) in, there did seem to be less than normal. As much as I would’ve liked to have the excuse of mud to justify my lower-than-normal time, I did notice less mud. Or maybe my personal benchmark has just been adjusted over time! Either way, it is nice to look forward to the summer months now that we are half way through winter, and appreciate the fact that there is undoubtedly a less muddy route to come.

parkrun 584-95Back onto the aforementioned good stats: this week a total of 548 runners ran the course, which is phenomenal. Maybe it is still partially a result of the newfound enthusiasm for exercise many experience in January having set their New Year’s Resolutions. Nonetheless, it is lovely to think that the parkrun community can bring so many people together, even if it is potentially temporary. This week Matthew Searle, my father, took on the role of run director, following in his daughter’s footsteps in doing so. I might be a little biased, but I thought he did an excellent job. Not only does volunteering at parkrun help out the community, but it can also be rewarding and a lot of fun, so I would like to encourage people to volunteer as well as run this year, regardless of whether or not it was a resolution. parkrun 584-118

I’d also like to mention the representatives who came to parkrun on Saturday on behalf of their club. There were some sweet treats (kindly handed out by Ben) and an opportunity to learn about the variety of running clubs available in the area. This could also be a useful way to run in a sociable environment if parkrun once a week isn’t enough for you.

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Members of the Wimbledon Windmilers, a local club.

This week 548 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 85 were first timers and 60 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 33 different clubs took part. First over the line was Volker Vogler of the Wimbledon Windmilers, with a time of 18:07. He was followed by Nick McKay, also of the Wimbledon Windmilers, who finished in 18:36. Third to finish was Adam Harwood of Hercules Wimbledon AC, finishing in a time of 18:36. With regards to the female placings, Lucy Woolhouse finished first, placing 35th overall, with a time of 21:21. Megan Rowe was the second woman to finish at 21:30, placing 43rd overall. The third female finisher was Emily McGovern of GoodGym, placing 79th overall, with a time of 22:53. parkrun 584-96

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

Congratulations to Alex Sherratt for completing his 10th parkrun, James Grindrod and Clon Ulrick for completing their 50th, Royal Nasse for his 100th, and Stephen Johnson for his 250th.

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And finally, a big thank you to this week’s volunteers: Ella Waddingham, Mike Forder, Philip Tosh, Peter Collins, Briarna Clifford, Soo Yau, Joe Busa, Kylie Corso, Chiara Samele, Christopher Cull, Charles Leonard, Bob Walsh, Sandy Pfeifer, James Chappell, Trevor Ingram, Matthew Searle, Jessica Searle, India Trainor, James Yeoans, Fiona McLaren, Sally Atherton, Lynn Cox, Becca Shute, and Tony O’Brian.

Writer: Jessica Searle

Photographer: Bob Walsh


Wimbledon Common parkrun 583, 6 January 2018

On the 12th Day of Christmas...


IMG_9182Monsieur, with these Rocher you are really spoiling us


Ancient feast day

January 6 – or the 12th day – also known as the Epiphany marks the official end to the festive season, so I hope you all remembered to take those decorations down. But no need for gloom, as there always seems to be something to celebrate at Wimbledon parkrun and this week it was our 11th birthday. The event started back on 6 January 2007 with a field of 51 runners and just two volunteers. Compare that with this week, when we welcomed a field of 495 and 28 people volunteered. And as if that wasn't enough to be cheery about, it was also race director Jessica Searle's 18th birthday.  




Eighteen – no more fake ID! 


Good eggs

It was also time for the annual awards – SW19's answer to the Golden Globes – which were presented by our new event director Peter Alasdair Fergus Collins. This year's winners were:

Male parkrunner: Mark Robson (45 runs)

Female parkrunner: Sue Rothwell (44 runs, plus 13 times volunteering)

Junior male: Christopher Cull (33 runs and a pb of 20:33)

Junior female: Jessica Searle (28 runs and lots of volunteering. I was only joking about the fake ID by the way)

Volunteer of the year: Jo Manley

Hall of fame: Colin Harris and Kylie Corso

Good egg: Matthew Salisbury.

Congratulations to you all!



Peter branches out


Storming along

After all that, it was time to actually do some running. Conditions were cold but dry, making it quite a nice morning to stretch the legs. But storm Eleanor had dumped plenty of water on the course during the week so there was no shortage of mud to wade through.




Remember to wrap up warm – or maybe not


Herculean efforts

The first man over the line was Adam Harwood of Hercules Wimbledon in 18:19, followed by Nick McKay in 18:34 and Volker Vogler in 19:02, both from Wimbledon Windmilers.

First woman was Alex Binley, also of Hercules Wimbledon, in 21:13, followed by Lucy Woolhouse in 21:31 who also got the highest age grading of the week – an impressive 84.12%. Julia Donovan of Wimbledon Windmilers was the third woman to finish in 21:52.

There was only one milestone this week but it was a good one – Charlie Egan did his 250th run.

The event was made possible by the following volunteers: James Wallace • John Philip Carter • Sophie Russell • Andrew Fickling • Philip Tosh • Peter Alasdair Fergus Collins • Annette Barrett • Sue Rothwell • Anne Walker •  Briarna Clifford • Robert Fortes • Caroline Lloyd • Kylie Corso • Graham White • Louise Robinson • Rebecca Collins • Matthew Searle • Jessica Searle • India Trainor • Matthew Ash Vie • Jo Manley • Jane Scoon • Niamh Thompson • Alethea Tabor • Sally Scoon • Lucy De Villiers • Benjamin McKay.



Taking the lead



Many of the above mentioned volunteers were also at the volunteers' party in the evening, kindly hosted by John Krause at his house. As well as plentiful food and drink, there were even more awards! We recognised Jo Manley again as Volunteer of the Year. Lynn Cox and myself (eek!) were jointly awarded Report Writer of the Year. Steven Cull got the Most Thankless Job award for event set-up. Helen Beeby received an award for being quick off the mark as first person to pay for her party tickets and  Amelia Ashton Jones won the wooden spoon for being the last to pay. It was a great night to round off a busy day. Cheers everyone.

Caroline Helder




Wimbledon Common parkrun report: events 581 December 30 2017 & 582 January 1 2018



We twa hae run about the braes/and pou'd the gowans fine/But we've wander'd mony a weary fit/sin' auld lang syne


I’m sure Rabbie wasn’t thinking of parkrun when he wrote that, but it does seem to fit the bill. Not sure about “should auld acquaintance be forgot” though. Come February, I’ll have been parkrunning for 10 years, and it’s no exaggeration to say it has changed my life and introduced me to some jolly fine acquaintances that I certainly won’t forget. But I think the hornets can be forgot. (And the odd dog.)

Looking back over the year, our unique 5k has welcomed us with everything from a dust bowl to a swamp, sweltering heat to freezing cold, and every seasonal variety from the fresh shoots of spring to the glory of autumn. In those 10 years I’ve run 35 different parkruns and can say that Wimbledon Common is hard to beat. We have a fabulous natural setting, a great atmosphere, and certainly one of the best cafes, where we can tak’ a cup o' kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

Ring out the old

After Saturday’s run it was more a case of wring out, but 283 intrepid parkrunners lined up for the last event of 2017 with conditions well and truly on the soft side. After the recent cold snap it was almost balmy with the temperature an unseasonal 11 degrees but, to encourage warming up, there was a keen 18mph west south westerly wind. Despite the boggy conditions, those with wings on their feet still whizzed round in 18 something. Only four PBs throughout the entire field tells its own story.

Saturday’s Honours List

First three gentlemen into the funnel were Nic Gould 18:19 (VW35-39 Thames Hare & Hounds), Henry Silverstein 18:24 (JM15-17) and Adam Harwood 18:34 (SM30-34) both representing Hercules Wimbledon AC. First three ladies across the chalk were Lucy Woolhouse 22:14 (VW55-59 VAC), Denise Barnett 22:51 (VW45-49 TH&H) and Eleanor Arnfield 22:55 (SW18-19 Kingston AC and Polytechnic Harriers).

Top of the percentage ratings (round up the usual suspects) were Lucy Woolhouse 81:41, Volker Vogler 77:50 and Henry Silverstein 74:46. Hats off to Mick Cull, Robert and Henrietta Arnfield and Hugo Dulson who splashed their way round to new PBs.

Ring in the new

On Monday, it was a new experience for six runners who were doing their very first parkrun but, for most of us, it was a familiar and restorative way to kick off the new year. However, some just can’t get enough and, after a swift two laps on the Common, headed north for the 10.30 start at Fulham Palace parkrun. This accounted for 16 runners from Clapham Chasers and the same number from Fulham Running Club (nice kit!) who were among the starters on the Common and doing the now traditional New Year’s Day double. And if two runs were one too many, and the grogginess still lingering, it was but a short walk to the café…

Monday’s Honours List

First man home was Stuart Farmer (VM40-44 Fulham Running Club) who just dipped into the 17s with an impressive 17:59. Following him were Nick Marriage (SM30-34 Wooters Runners) in 18:34 and, hot on his heels two seconds later, Patrick McDougall (VM50-54 Belgrave Harriers). The quickest ladies were Caitlin Lloyd 20:54 (SW25-29 Lewes AC), Julia Donovan 21:15 (VW35-39 Wimbledon Windmilers) and Alice Riddell-Webster 21:39 (VW50-54 Fulham Running Club).

Top percentage scorers were Lucy Woolhouse 81.29%, Patrick McDougall 79.30% and Lisa Thomas 79%. Of the 266 runners, 13 achieved PBs and 42 were first timers at Wimbledon.

Double top percentage winner, Lucy Woolhouse

No pain, no gain, Nic Gould IMG_0403
Two of a kind, Yumi and Hannah Chilton

They came, they saw, they got wet

It has become customary to welcome parkrun tourists, and over the two events we were joined from Australia by David and Phoebe Lonsdale, Natarsha and Happy Tremayne, and David Januszkiewicz. From South Africa, Madeleine Kelly, together with an unnamed runner were somewhat taken aback to find themselves struggling with mud and puddles. Closer to home, Ian Roberts and Jayne Hamilton had made the journey from St. Helens in Merseyside. Ian and Jayne made the most of their trip south, running Black Park and Upton Court parkruns in Slough on Monday; another of the New Year’s Day doubles. UK parkrun tourists are an unofficial group of enthusiasts who keep in touch by social media. How to spot one? The giveaway is the Cow Cowl, a distinctive black, white and yellow bandana/buff/scarf. You may know Wimbledon Windmiler Louise Ayling, who is the nearest we have to a home tourist. Louise, sporting the Cow Cowl, has run 28 times on the Common and 328 parkruns in total, of which 207 were at different locations including eight abroad.

"Darling, what's for dinner?"

Stats and volunteering

On the results page of this website you'll find the full results plus all manner of stats and records. Under photos there are all the shots from the December 30 event (we didn't have a photographer at the January 1 event) and on the volunteer page you can see where the vacancies are by clicking 'future roster' and to volunteer click 'get involved'. Without volunteers there's no parkrun, so do please volunteer now and again.

Well dear reader, that’s about it. A very Happy New Year to you.

Words by John Carter and Robert Burns, images by Guy Gibbons


Festive parkruns, numbers 579 and 580, on 23 and 25 December


At the double



Once more it was time for the Christmas double but, unlike the previous two years, there was at least one day of recovery between the ‘normal’ Saturday version and the Christmas morning pre-gorging guilt run. Perhaps it was for this reason that Wimbledon Common attracted a record field for the festive day of days: 304, compared with 222 last year, 144 in 2015, 114 in 2014 and a princely 45 in 2012, a day that will go down in infamy as the rainiest and coldest in our short existence. And it compares well with the 393 finishers of last Saturday. Well done all of you, whether you ran one or both.

New Year's Day event

Remember there is a normal event on Saturday and a New Year’s Day run on Monday, the only day of the year on which you can double up and be credited with two runs. You can check out which events are operating and at what time here. The nearest ones to Wimbledon are Fulham Palace (10.30), Nonsuch (10.00 – a bit tight, depending on your running speed) and Tooting Common (10.30). Please be careful travelling between venues if you decide to double up.

Windmilers first and second in the Hurley burly

On Saturday, it was a Wimbledon Windmilers one-two for the men, with Stephen Hurley crossing the line first in 17:24 and Matt Gallagher not far behind on 17:41. An unknown runner was third to finish. Stephen has finished first on four occasions now in only seven outings at Wimbledon.

Not Grim(a) for Hercules' Claire

On the female side, Claire Grima of Hercules Wimbledon was first, 11th overall, in 18:52; Laura Blazey of Ranelagh Harriers was second across the flour in 19:18; and Eileen Brandley of Hercules was next in 20:28.

Best age grade for the day was Claire’s 81.10%; fellow Herculean Richard Evans posted 77.31% for the time 20:03; and Laura Blazey scored 77.03%. There were 16 personal bests in total and 28 first-timers, including 12 people doing their first-ever parkruns.

Zach attacks and Hannah is top banana

On Christmas Day, Zachary Purnell (Hercules, JM15-17) was the first male over the line in 18:02. This was Zach’s first top finish in 30 appearances at the event. Next was an unknown runner and third was Felix Allen, also Hercules, in 18:32.


Zach storms towards the line

On the female side, Hannah Plaschkes of the Milton Keynes Distance Project crossed the cornflour first in a time of 20:04. In her only other parkrun, she finished second at Oxford on 23 May 2015 – not a bad record. And third was a more regular runner in the shape of Lucy Woolhouse, in a time of 21:31.


Hannah finishes strongly

Lucy also had the top age grade that day, 84.12%. Andy Watts of Wilmslow RC scored 78.73% for the time 21:42. And the aforementioned Felix Allen scored 76.53%.

For Christmas Day there were an incredible 44 first-timers, including 19 doing their first parkruns anywhere, and 16 people recorded personal bests.

Katrina Osborne and Fiona McLaren both ran their 150th parkruns on Christmas Day, while the trio of James Ferguson, Rupert Ferguson and Claire Adams completed their centuries. Rupert is in the JM11-14 age group and has also finished 52 junior parkruns at Wimbledon Park, so a good effort indeed.

Lower down, Lisa Wood ran her 50th. Only 20 have been at Wimbledon. The other 30 have been at 29 other venues, including Pegasus in New Zealand, Crissy Field in the US, East Coast parkrun in Singapore and Thousand Hills parkrun in South Africa, which lives up to its name, apparently.

Youngsters Siân Fielder and Eloise Davies both ran their 10th parkruns, making it an exceptional festive day for them.

Turning the clock back two days, Christopher Cull ran his 150th parkrun on the Saturday, a great achievement for a boy in the JM10 age group. That same day, fellow youngsters Luke Bannister and Levi Oliver ran their 10th events. Congratulations.

Full results and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun results page.

The male record is held by Chris Parr, who recorded 15:04 on 23 April 2011 (event number 224). The female record is held by Justina Heslop, who recorded 16:33 on 17 March 2012 (event number 271). The age grade course record is held by Jane Davies, who recorded 92.99% (21:24) on 29 January 2011 (event number 212). Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6 January 2007. Since then 18,645 participants have completed 143,809 parkruns covering a total distance of 719,045km, including 23,390 new personal bests.

Peter AF Collins

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