Banstead Woods Report for Event 624 – May 4th 2019
Report by Alison Cattermole Photos by Jennifer Child
Link to this weeks Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157691274058493
I am always struck by the people I meet at parkrun and especially by their individual stories. I suppose I am a bit of a nosey parker, but everyone has their own history and it is a privilege to hear about them either while tail walking, hanging around at the start/finish or engaging people in conversation as bar-code scanner or another volunteer position. And sometimes even while running!
This week I was actually running (rather than volunteering) and, despite the unexpected cold, I was accompanied part of the way by a phalanx of very young children. How lovely to see them out in the fresh air enjoying spending time in the woods with their parents and getting exercise. I also ran past a runner with a buggy containing a tiny baby. As I passed, I asked if it was the baby’s first parkrun. No, came the reply, her 10th. How brilliant – for both baby and runner! I spent the second lap chatting to a BWp first timer, a tourist from Riddlesdown who was running with her sons and came to see the bluebells. We chatted about holidays and work and running in our 60s and how good it made us feel even though we weren’t natural runners. I guess if we hadn’t been talking I might have achieved a faster time, but the companionship made it a most pleasurable parkrun.
Last week was no exception in terms of hearing people’s stories. I was tail walking and (having waited at the start for a few minutes for any late comers) I had to run to catch up with three ladies who were at the back of the pack. Having confirmed that they actually were doing parkrun we started to chat as we walked and I learned that one of their number would be dropping out after the first circuit. She had recently finished a course of radiotherapy for cancer and this was her first major outing. One circuit would be plenty. I was impressed that she was there at all but also rather thrilled to be able to tell her about Alan Collis’s bench, recently installed with much celebration near the finish funnel, where she would be able to sit and wait for her friends to join her after they had completed their second lap.
Turning to speak with one of the other ladies, a veteran of over 190 parkruns, but only an occasional visitor to BWp, she said that she was running the London Marathon for the second time the next day and this was a warm up. Wow, I thought, a real marathon runner. Respect! She also told me that she had been on holiday to Japan recently and, as luck would have it, a parkrun had just started in Tokyo and she was able to take part in the 2ndevent with her teenage son. She noticed that they had no tail walker and, as she would still be in Tokyo the next week, she gallantly volunteered for the position. That’s taking parkrun tourism to a completely new level. Good on you!
I have been reading Debra Bourne’s 2014 book, Much More Than Just a Run in the Park, about the early days of parkrun. If you haven’t read it, you should, its full of interesting facts and information and not a little about the start of our own BWp (the 3rd one ever) with words of wisdom from our beloved leader Chris Phelan and a number of our other regular and stalwart volunteers. In it, Debra recounts how tricky it was starting up parkrun events in other countries because of the difficulties of translating parkrun rules and regulations, operating manuals and general best practice into another language. She mentioned particular problems in Poland and Russia, although it seems not to have hindered the success of either of these in the end. However, Japan must have been a step even further, with its Chinese characters and cultural nuances. My tail walking companion told me how words were translated from English into Japanese but that if you then translated them back to English you got some very interesting results. For instance, tail walker translated back into Last Confirmation Officer. So that was my volunteer position this week – Last Confirmation Officer, hence the title of this report!
The London Marathon is always wonderful spectacle and this year was no exception. I watch on TV and am always inspired by the elite athletes, the committed club runners looking for PBs, people raising money for various good causes and those running just because (like Everest) it’s there. Then there are the people who run in fancy dress – as a postman, as Big Ben or a smurf. It’s hard enough running 26 miles in shorts and a singlet, but to do it encased in cardboard or foam and in a time of less than 4 hours is just mind-bogglingly amazing. And somewhere in the 40,000 odd competitors this year was someone who raised the £1000,0000,0000 at the London marathon. I heard about one charity called Whizz Kidz that started at the London Marathon, with the founder running to raise money to buy a specialist wheel chair for one particular child. They raised so much money that they were able to buy several wheelchairs for different children and the next year they did it again. To date Whizz Kidz has raised millions of pounds and helped hundreds of children get mobile. And it all started with the London Marathon. How amazing is that?
My last parkrun report was about the Boston Marathon of which the inaugural event in 1897was the first annual marathon. Incredibly, the first London Marathon wasn’t held until 1981. Yes, it does feel as if its been going for ever, but next year will be the 40th anniversary.
The history of the marathon is an interesting one. Contrary to popular belief, it was never an event in Ancient Greece but Michel Brael, the Frenchman who invented the modern marathon, was inspired by Greek mythology. 17 runners lined up for the first Olympic marathon in 1896 running from Marathon to the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, a distance of 40 kms. That first race provided much drama and its success cemented the marathon as a blue riband event in the Olympics. For much of its history the marathon has been very much an elite sport and it was only in the 1980s that it became the mass participation sport it is today. The first New York marathon in 1970 (which sparked the trend for marathons in major cities around the globe)had 127 entrants, by 1979 this had grown to 11,500 and by 2015 there were 50,000. British athlete Chris Brasher, famous for being one of Roger Bannister’s pacemakers (the other was Chris Chattaway), when he ran the first sub 4-minute mile, took part in the 1979 NY marathon and was inspired to start the London marathon with John Disley.7,055 runners took part the first year; this year’s event fielded over 40,000 participants, the highest ever. The rest, as they say, is history!
Everyone says London is the best marathon in the world, but I suppose we would say that because we are British. I know there were a number of runners from BWp this year, as in any year, and we provided several volunteers too. It’s all over now, so well done to all of you – you are a credit to parkrun and an inspiration to everyone whether we run or not. A special mention for Rachel Saunders who not only ran the marathon last week but also ran her 200th parkrun today. And in case you are wondering, my tail walking companion finished in very creditable time which I think she would have been pleased with. A tad longer than Sir Mo, but she did finish, and for that she has my deepest admiration.
And here is my inspirational quote of the week, from the American motivational speaker and writer, Zig Ziglar (awesome name!):
“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”
My tail walking companion may not be in the elite category or even in the ‘dressed as a post-box’ category, but she DID the marathon, she strove to be the best she could be on the day. And that is as great a success for her as the incredible time of 2hours 2 minutes and 37 seconds of Eliud Kipchoge, who won for the 4th time in succession.
All I could manage last week was 5km in just over an hour, coming in at number 303 – though, come to think of it, that is a BWp parkrun record. So, good for me, that’s the only record I am ever to break!
Enjoy the bank holiday and the rest of the week, but wrap up warm – it’s going to be a chilly one!
Herewith the stats from today’s event:
This week 282 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 33 were first timers and 49 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 33 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 20 volunteers:
Patricia CUE • Therese PANETTA • Sue ESSLEMONT • Don ESSLEMONT • Anne RODEN • Anita HEDGES • Mark THOMPSON • Waller PAUL • David MORRIS • Nicholas FOSTER • Jennifer CHILD • Mick CHILD • Trevor MEADOWCROFT • Kerena IVENS • Elliott BURTON • Thomas JARRETT • Nick BILLING • Alison CATTERMOLE • Mike CUE • Moray LAING
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Banstead Woods parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Kevin QUINN who recorded a time of 15:25 on 7th June 2008 (event number 54).
The female record is held by Natalie HARVEY who recorded a time of 17:01 on 30th July 2011 (event number 216).
The Age Grade course record is held by Clare ELMS who recorded 89.66% (18:42) on 26th April 2014 (event number 361).
Banstead Woods parkrun started on 16th June 2007. Since then 10,451 participants have completed 99,887 parkruns covering a total distance of 499,435 km, including 15,822 new Personal Bests. A total of 467 individuals have volunteered 11,073 times.
Event Reporter Alison Cattermole