Race 290: Mud, rain and smiles

Bramhall parkrun has been blessed with largely decent weather this winter, but I’m afraid not today. The constant deluge of recent weeks had already turned the woods into a mudfest, and heavy rain overnight and first thing this morning meant today’s run would have been better described as a cross country. Infact I don’t think I’ve ever seen runners finish quite as filthy as they did this morning! Incredibly though, more than 400 of you still made the effort to get out of bed and run which is frankly amazing.

Spare a thought though for the volunteers who turned up first thing to get the course ready as this was when the rain was at its heaviest. Thankfully by 9am it was slightly drier although a chill wind ensured this was no day for hanging around after the race when it duly started raining again. In such conditions it is always worth bringing a spare set of dry clothes and a towel with you if at all possible as it can make a real difference to keeping you a bit warmer. Infact on a day like today my advice would simply be to retreat to the cafe to warm up!

As for today’s run it was certainly no day for fast times, although newcomer James McIlroy of Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow AC put in a great effort to come home first in 17:19. In so doing he inflicted a rare defeat on Rob Downs, although I think Rob might have had one eye on Sunday’s Manchester league cross country. However Rob still managed to record the best age grading of the day at nearly 83%. In third place behind Rob, Gareth Griffiths completed our podium in 18:34.

Among the ladies it was another comfortable victory for Janine Ellis in 21:02, although I think she was regretting not opting for the (slightly) warmer option of the results desk afterwards. Behind Janine both Jill Tavini (21.48) and Claire MacNeill (22.23) both ran well to complete our top three. Meanwhile first junior was Alexander Aldridge in 20.01, while Patrick Walsh (20.48) just edged out Flynn Walsh (20.52) for second and third.

Perhaps the best finish of the day was between the ‘two Pauls’ as regulars Paul Norris and Paul Garnett battled it out down the home straight. Although they both recorded the same time, Paul N just took the honours in a dip finish in his 199th run no less.