Banstead Woods Report for Event 667 – 22nd February 2020
Report by Alison Cattermole Photos by Kelly Marie Mason
Link to this week’s photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157713209594567
Compared with some of the weather we’ve had recently, today was a rather bland day at BWp. The ground under foot was muddy and in some places free water splashed our legs. But otherwise, the temperature was relatively mild for the time of year and there was no precipitation of note, at least not during the event (I did get rained on walking home). It was good to be joined by many participants from Nonsuch, whose course couldn’t be used. It made for a large BWp of 317!
But whilst the weather might not have been particularly memorable, there were two milestones that most definitely are. First, one of our regular octogenarians, Colin Sutherland, reached his 50 runs – a fantastic achievement at any age, but especially when you are over 85! And then George Frogley, celebrated his 85th birthday by running his 466th parkrun and moving into a new age category. He also provided participants and volunteers with some sweets at the finish. Thanks George and congratulations to you both!
But, back to the weather, we are SO lucky at Banstead parkrun. I have written before about how seldom it rains between 9 and 10am on a Saturday morning, a bit of light drizzle; some mega-drips from the branches of overhead trees; a brief shower on the walk over. In over 6 years I have never got completely drenched in all my 151 parkrun and 91 volunteer experiences. But this last month has made me wonder whether we have some guardian angel looking out for us. Two mega storms, Ciara and Denis, over two consecutive weekends, with torrential rain and howling gale force winds creating rivers of water flowing down the various paths we use at BWp and localised flooding. And did it impact parkrun? No, it did not, save for some rather muddy conditions. On each occasion, the rain and winds held off until parkrunners were safely home. We must be doing something right!
Unless you were a girl guide, you probably won’t know that today is Thinking Day or rather World Thinking Day as its been known since 1999. I was a girl guide in the 1960s, I was in the Kingfisher Patrol and loved my time in the 2nd Crownhill Guide Company which was based in Plymouth where I grew up. Thinking Day is a day when girl guides think about their fellow guides in all the countries of the world, the meaning of Guiding, and its global impact. Of course, we didn’t use the word ‘global’ 50 years ago, that seems to be a relatively new word, but we did use the time to think about friendship and what we had in common with those from other lands. We also raised money for the cause. The original idea when the concept of Thinking Day was initiated was that each guide would save a penny (that’s an old penny!). By the time I was a guide, we were still saving pennies but for some reason, we would always shine the pennies by soaking them overnight in vinegar. The pennies would start off dark brown and dull and by morning they would be bright and golden. It seemed like a miracle to me back then; alchemy at work!
And why am I mentioning this in a parkrun report? Well, partly because I can, there are no rules about what I have to write about, but mainly because the concept of Thinking Day is such a good one. These days, the Girl Guides Association provides a topic to focus the thinking and this year, 2020, the theme is: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
And here is the link with parkrun (thanks for staying with me), because parkrun is in its concept one of the most diverse, equal and inclusive sporting events ever established. Everyone can come to parkrun and take part. There is no entrance fee and our founder, Paul Sinton-Hewett, has made it a life time promise that it will always be free.
One aspect of parkrun which contributes to its inclusivity is that everyone arrives in running gear, which is a great leveller. You cannot tell from their attire a person’s social class, how educated they are, what sort of job they have or even if they have a job. All these things are invisible and irrelevant. When it comes to running 5k, it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have or how many 0s there are on your salary. Whether you own a 5-bedroomed home, rent a flat or sofa-surf; drive a Ferrari (I did actually spot a rather smart Aston Martin with DB5 in the number plate this morning), arrive on a bike; or shanks pony as we do. Everyone is welcome.
parkrun’s equality is demonstrated by the fact that it doesn’t even matter whether you are any good at running (thank goodness), aspire to be Mo Farah or the lovely Dina Asher Smith, belong to a running club or just want to walk the route. Everyone runs the same distance at the same time. It’s just that someone crosses the finish line first and someone last. And you don’t even have to take part in the actual running. If you want, as many people do, you can volunteer to ensure that the event takes place.
Turning up each week is a diverse mass of humanity of all shapes and sizes, ages ranging from under 11 to well over 80 years old with around 30% identifying as women at BWp (I believe worldwide it is higher).
If there is an area where we do not score as highly for diversity as we should it is in the area of ethnic diversity. 20% of the UK population comes from black and ethnic minority groups and in London it is an amazing 44%. Just looking around at parkun, you realise we are clearly still not reaching some groups and that is a tragedy for everyone. It is an observation you can see in other areas of life. I sing in a large London choir which is almost entirely white as is my community orchestra. My father-in-law is involved in the University of the 3rd Age and he says that ethnic diversity is a problem for that organisation too. So diversity remains a work in progress for many activities in the UK, not just parkrun.
And to finish, here is a quote from Lord Baden Powell who started the scouting movement of which the Girl Guides are a part.
“The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.”
I think he was right. And I think parkrun does just that – even more reason to be involved.
Have a good week!
This week 317 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 47 were first timers and 45 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 46 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 18 volunteers: Chris PHELAN • Sue ESSLEMONT • Don ESSLEMONT • Waller PAUL • Kelly Marie MASON • Kevin LEWIS • Nicholas FOSTER • Carol Ann HOARE • Lorraine GARROD • Usha STEVENS • Kieran LEWIS • David GOODMAN • Mark OLIVER • Alison CATTERMOLE • Natalie LAING • Charlotte MACLEOD • Rachelle NUNES • Hannah BELSHAW
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 11,578 participants have completed 109,244 parkruns covering a total distance of 546,220 km, including 16,721 new Personal Bests. A total of 500 individuals have volunteered 11,943 times.
Event Reporter - Alison Cattermole