Our Enchanted Woodland
Krun ran the hem of his new velvet tunic through his fingers. This really was a quality garment - the tailor elves had surpassed themselves this time, although the colour was not quite to his taste. ‘Peach?’, he thought to himself, ‘No, it’s brighter than that…’. He allowed his fingers to return to stroking the tip of his long, lustrous beard as he pondered the hue.
The Elves of Upper Wimbledon Common had eked out a rudimentary existence for years, somewhere north of the Windmill. Constantly repelling the legendary Hornets of Temporary Diversion, and living alongside the particularly pesky Pixies of Putney had taken its toll over the years, bringing the tribe to its knees. Salvation had come in an unlikely form - once a week the Big People had begun to gather in their neck of the woods. At first there were just a handful; they came, they ran around in circles for a bit, and left just as suddenly as they had arrived.
Krun knew he owed so much to the Big People, but lately they had become a burden. Their four wheeled chariots were the latest nuisance, and top of the agenda at the Great Forest Council. ‘By Kingsmere’, he thought, ‘I’ve enough on my plate without appeasing that lot’. But things were about to get a whole lot worse, he could see the Rep from the General Union of Barcode Readers approaching… ‘That is a lovely new tunic’, came the loaded compliment, dripping with smarm, ‘Nectarine does suit you’...
Krun was a young, ambitious elf when the influx came. Initially the elves had tried to defend their heartlands from this weekly invasion, but Krun quickly saw the opportunity to safeguard their future on the Common. One momentous night, by the moonlight, a deal was struck to assist the Big People in their weekly endeavour. Logistics? ‘As many elves as you need sir’. Official timing partner? ‘No problems, leave it to us’. And in return, the Big People would leave their payment. That most valuable amongst valuables, treasure amongst treasures - particularly to a rudimentary forest-dwelling, non-agricultural society - Flour! Precious flour was to be left at key locations. On the back of this ground-breaking deal Krun quickly rose to be Father of the tribe.
‘What do you want?’, demanded Krun wearily. There was still a lot of flour to collect from that morning’s Big People Double Circle ritual. ‘Oh PA Krun, you must hear our demands. There is great unrest amongst the workers’, the Rep announced. Krun could only sigh, the increase in numbers of Big People was a great strain on his resources. He now had dedicated teams of scanner elves, barcode elves, timing elves, and somewhere along the line wooden spoon elves - even Krun himself wasn’t quite sure what they did except cause a stir. With well over five hundred Big People now attending the ritual regularly the workload had increased dramatically, and the elves were not happy. Although Krun had been able to increase wages by supplementing the flour ration with technically advanced yarn retrieved from the constant supply of abandoned training tops, a vocal minority was convinced that this was not keeping up with the general rate of Woodland Inflation. ‘Basically sir, the elves are on strike. They have left and taken this morning’s barcodes with them’. The shade of vermilion rising in Krun’s cheeks clashed horribly with his tunic.
‘What are we going to do?’, lamented Krun. It’s not as if us elves have the information infrastructure to electronically message all of the attendants at the Big Double Circle Ritual, and then collate any of the barcodes and times we might be able to recover in some kind of programme and piece together this mess. ‘What we need is an extra large sheet that we can spread out and write down everything that we can remember.’ He called his assistant Junior over - after all he had to do it all again tomorrow. ‘Do you have an XL spread-out sheet we can use?’
Many hours later Pa Krun reflected on a trying day. The spread-out sheet had worked a treat, and some of his elves had greatly distinguished themselves collecting rogue barcodes and times. How it had all come together he did not know, but he was immensely grateful. Contented he idly brushed his tunic and smiled as he finally solved his tonal mystery - Apricot. Befitting of Pa Krun.
As imagined, with apologies to amateur fantasy writers everywhere, and not least to the Core Team past and present whose time, great efforts and all round heroics keep this show on the road week after week. We especially appreciate them when things go wrong, the equipment doesn’t cooperate, and these legends spend their weekends collating the results by hand, and we still get an email and an official result before the weekend is up.
There was a mammoth list of various shout-outs at the briefing, leaving me cursing my appalling memory and lack of attendance at the Guild of parkrun reporters’ shorthand course. The results pages come to the rescue and I can report that Henry Heard and Eli Hipkins reached the Junior 10, whilst Daniel Sullivan, Thomas Creedy, Gary Sheahan, Tim Edwards and Nicole Mollon all joined the 50 club. Stephanie Chong reached her century and can don the black, stock depending. Peter J Collins (Middle initials are important at WCp) reaches the grand milestone of 250. We also celebrated the unofficial milestones of some local stalwarts with 300 for Norman Urquia, 350 for Matthew Salisbury and an impressive 450 for Nick McKay.
Some wet weather hadn’t left too many puddles, which allowed for some strong performances for those who managed to avoid not getting too caught up at the narrow start of the Hornet track. There were notable PBs for James Little and Junior Gabriel Stone knocking time off after 121 and 120 runs respectively.
Amongst a crowd of more than 500 there were bound to be some tourists, and we weren’t left disappointed. A strong contingent from South Africa was supported by some other tourists form Abingdon, and the usual comedians who had made it all the way from those far-flung corners of Fulham or Kingston. Jokes.
This week 506 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 58 were first timers and 87 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 30 different clubs took part.
Peach? Tangelo? Nectarine?
Parkrun is committed to remaining free and relies on the hard work of a group of volunteers to keep going. Thanks to this week’s 26 volunteers: Andrew Rice, Anne Walker, Charlie Snow, Clive Scammell, Colin Harris, Duncan Watkins, Edward Nelson, Fiona Hamilton, Gemma Brennan, Grace Caldwell, Graham White, James Siswick, Jennifer Brookes, Jo Manley, Kylie Corso, Laura Cray, Matthew Salisbury, Mudit Jaju, Nick George, Nick Hudson, Paul Wilkinson, Peter Alasdair Fergus Collins, Ruby Ames, Simon Cheetham, Talita Zavrsnik de Campos and Tamsin Abbey.
Don't stand in our flour!!
Andy Weir of Thames Hare & Hounds was first over the line in 17:11. Joe Phillips of Newport & District RC finished a close second in 17:14 and Adam Harwood of Hercules Wimbledon AC was third in 17:38.
Alex Binley of Hercules Wimbledon AC was first lady in 19:21 (15th overall). Amy Aronson of Thames Hare & Hounds finished second in 19:29 (17th overall) and Jemma Zakariyyau was third in 20:20 (30th overall).
This week’s best Age Grading was attained by our first finisher Andy Weir with 86.52% for his time of 17:11.
Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6th January 2007. Since then 20,624 participants have completed 161,135 parkruns covering a total distance of 805,675 km, including 25,491 new Personal Bests.
The female record is held by Justina Heslop who recorded a time of 16:33 on 17th March 2012 (event number 271).
The male record is held by Chris Parr who recorded a time of 15:04 on 23rd April 2011 (event number 224).
The Age Grade course record is held by Jane Davies who recorded 92.99% (21:24) on 29th January 2011 (event number 212).
This week’s full results and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun Results Page.
Your parkrun reporter - Andy Rice