In which we branch off with a cautionary tale…
First this week, a word of warning: BEWARE OF THE TREE! Yes, the tree by the bench (pictured above); the one you all hang your bags and odd bits of clothing on; the one on which we thread the washing line and the 10/50/100/250-run t-shirts; the one you can’t miss. Well one runner wishes he had missed it – having survived the run and, indeed, recorded a PB (that narrows it down a little), he managed while retrieving his kit to bang his head hard on one of the branches. His head came off worse.
Being serious for a moment, the poor runner suffered a nasty cut, which bled quite profusely (as head wounds often do) and required attention – event director Charles Lawrie managed to staunch the flow of the red stuff and Hercules Wimbledon’s Hannah Fernando put her first-aid training to good use by expertly applying a bandage. And, not for the first time this year, Andrew Fickling hot-legged it to the rangers’ office. At time of writing, we don’t know what happened after they took him to their abode, though we’re sure it’s nothing worse than a slight headache or we’d have heard otherwise. But please please please please please, mind your heads!
And before we get to what we all turn up for, 50 club t-shirts have turned up for the following runners: Graham White, Steve Tallis, Christian Campain, Gavin Berry and Steve Cull. If you want them presented to you at a parkrun, let the run director on the day know and he or she will do the honours. Otherwise, they should be on display on the aforementioned washing line and you can serve yourself. Anyone else who is waiting for a t-shirt and would like to know where they stand should email firstname.lastname@example.org: please include information about the number of runs it represents, your size and which gender you spring from.
The run itself took place on a changeable morning, with some overnight rain creating a few puddles, though the course remained largely firm. Since then we’ve suffered un-August-like downpours “and the poppies with their black and secret centres lie shattered on the lawn” – which means we might already have seen the best of the conditions for this year on our beloved rectangle of common land.
First in the men’s run was David Chambers (SM20-24, pictured) of Croydon Harriers, posting 17:19 in his debut here (but his 97th parkrun overall). Stephen Hurley (SM30-34) of Wimbledon Windmilers was second in 17:22 – this was Stephen’s first parkrun ever. Welcome, Stephen. And James Neave (VM35-39) of Clapham Chasers came in third in 17:26 – James has been first to finish on two previous occasions and this week’s time was a personal best.
In the men's annual points competition Nick McKay of Wimbledon Windmilers sits in pole position on 9,490 points; Charles Hampden-Smith of Hercules Wimbledon remains second on 8,986; and the unattached Joe Busa retains his third position on 8,417.
In the women’s run, the unattached Lucy Woolhouse (VW50-54, pictured) was first (38th overall) in 20:23 – this was Lucy’s 20th first place in 170 appearances. Genia Marek (SW25-29) of Belgrave Harriers was not far behind (44th overall) in 20:34, just two seconds outside her Wimbledon Common PB. Scarlett Walker (JW11-14) of Surbiton High School was third (54th overall) in 21:00, a PB by seven seconds – sub-21 beckons for young Scarlett, so well done to her: excellent running.
In the women's annual points competition Lisa Margaret Thomas of Hercules Wimbledon is top on 9,273 points; Lucy Woolhouse is second on 8,664; and Natasha Hampden-Smith of Merton mini-marathon trial is third on 7,864.
The best age-grade scores of the day were: Tom Conlon (VM50-54) at 84.69% for the time 17:51 (eighth overall); Lucy Woolhouse at 84.30% for the time 20:23 (38th overall); and Vic Maughn (VM50-54) at 84.10% for the time 17:49 (seventh overall).
This week there were 328 runners, of whom 43 were first timers and 72 recorded new personal bests. Representatives of 18 different athletics clubs took part.
Just to mention a few PBs: Norman Urquia, a stalwart run director of Wimbledon Park junior parkrun on Sunday mornings, ran 19:44 in his 97th appearance here (out of 119 parkruns in total); in his 110th Wimbledon Common appearance (118 in total), and more than a year since his last, Chris Tinning took eight seconds off his best with 18:16; and in his 24th parkrun here, his 55th overall, Christian Campain posted 20:33, a 17-second improvement.
Milestones are approaching for some of Saturday’s runners. The redoubtable Colin Harris is seven runs away from 350. Nicola El-Kadiri is just 12 away from 300. Phil Tosh is a tantalising 10 runs away from the magical 250 (the last for which a t-shirt is awarded. At the moment). Jayne Pooley needs to run seven more times to rack up 200. The next parkruns for Francesca Thomas and Martin Gf Stacey will be their 100th. And Louise Beal actually passed a milestone by hitting 50 runs in what was her first appearance at Wimbledon, having run most of the time at Bushy Park – nice one, Lou!
Two youngsters qualified for their 10-run t-shirts: Thomas Dulson of Hercules and Finlay Russell, who posted a PB of 21:55.
Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6 January 2007. Since then 10,892 different runners, including participants from 463 athletics clubs, have completed 77,646 runs covering a total distance of 388,230km, and there have been 14,394 new PBs.
The women's record is held by Justina Heslop, who recorded 16:33 on 17 May 2012 (event number 271). The men's record is held by Chris Parr, who sped round in 15:04 on 23 April 2011 (event number 224). The age grade course record is held by Jane Davies, who scored an astonishing 92.99% (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.
One last bit of advertising: the Royal London Society for Blind People would like to invite Wimbledon parkrunners to the UK's brand new exciting blindfold run, otherwise known as the charity challenge of the year.
You. A friend. One blindfold. 10k. Interested?
WHERE: Queen Elizabeth Park, London.
WHEN: 10:00am, 2nd November 2014.
DISTANCE: Both a 5k and 10k route are offered.
One thing's for sure – you've never run like this before.
PUSH YOUR LIMITS SO BLIND CHILDREN CAN BREAK THROUGH THEIRS.