If you chase perfection, you catch excellence
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…
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.
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.