At the moment there are 13 parkruns in Sussex and I have run them all. How is it then, that as a seriously old geezer, I have this special liking for the one with by far the toughest course. It is the only one that reduces me to a walk, but afterwards I can whizz (?) down that nice long downhill stretch. Twice in fact. But Bevendean is not just about the course. It is also about a special atmosphere created by an enthusiastic core team which continues afterwards in the excellent community run Bevy pub. Saturday was my fourth visit since October with another one planned in two weeks time.
36 runners lined up for Saturdays run. At -1 degree, the course was frozen solid in most places as were the frequent deposits of cow poo around the course. Just six volunteers coped admirably with everything. Three of them ran, as well as tackling before and after jobs. I tend to look at the Bevendean results each week and the names Jonny Chowns, John Milins, Louise Patmore, Michael Pegley, Christopher Sloman and Asha Ungar seem to feature on the volunteer list very regularly. Marshals I feel are a bit of a luxury and the course doesn’t really need them. There were no marshals on Saturday, a few strategically placed posts doing the job quite well. The leading runner was having his first run at Bevendean and doesn’t appear to have had any problems. On my previous three runs, there was a much appreciated friendly face at the top of the hill.
Among the men Sam Bennett and Jamie Goodhead took the first two places in 20.51 and 21.14, with Sam also recording the top age grade of 66.99%. Third was Liam Tinson , improving 25 secs to 22.15 on his 10th run. Among the women, Julie Drake (and Amber) had her 8th first finish in 25.57, followed by Madeline Honey, 26.48 and Caroline Dunnett, 27.25. Out of 10 first timers, 7 had run parkrun elsewhere, but Michael Parker, Rachael Boyd and Jasmine Rutter were having their first taste of parkrun anywhere and I hope felt sufficiently inspired to return. On a day when extra layers seemed to be sensible, five others joined Liam Tinson with a PB. Colin Poole improved from 30.57 to 30.30, Sally Dawes, who had a big PB last week, had another on Saturday going from 31.07 to 30.47, Felicty Alder knocked off over a minute moving from 34.40 to 33.33 and Barry Fairhall’s 12th PB took him from 32.33 to 32.14. Finally Rebekah Golding on her second run had the biggest improvement of all, from 43.03 to 40.01. Well done all. An announcement at the start said that there were runners from Somerset. A check on the results revealed Rachael and David Hall who do their parkrunning at Southwick Country Park, near Trowbridge. In David’s case 161 of them. Hope they enjoyed their visit. One age group record was set when my club mate Peter Weston took nearly 3 minutes from my 75-79 record. Boo!
With 45 runs at Bevendean in 51 weeks, there is no hope of anyone catching Barry Fairhall in the mens points competition before the anniversary run in two weeks time. The womens competition is a different matter with just 4 points separating Tracy Butcher and Amy Barlow. Should be interesting. 441 men and 284 women have appeared at Bevendean parkrun approaching the end of its first year. I am sure that the core team would like the weekly numbers to grow a bit particularly with more participation from runners or would be runners from the local areas of Coldean and Moulsecoomb as well as Bevendean. There must be plenty of runners of all abilities out there pounding the streets in those areas. Perhaps this year they will find out what they are missing.
Many thanks to Roy for writing the report as a tourist from Hove Park. Don't forget our 1st birthday event on Feb 4th!