The sixth event of 2021 was a glorious one for the 525 of us who walked, ran or jogged 5km this morning, and the 44 volunteers who made it all possible. The parkrun weather fairies came up trumps with a refreshing 15 (ish) degrees and hints of sunshine just in time for the post event parkfaff involving a coffee at The Pear Tree by the band stand.
One bonus for those at Clapham this morning was Brooks who had come en masse with their run happy crew (thanks for the on-course music and cheers) and four types of trainers for parkrunners to test out. Personally, I’d opted for the Hyperion Tempo and they were a fabulous choice for the conditions underfoot. Lightweight, responsive and perhaps most importantly, they had gloriously bright laces. The dust tried it’s best to damp the fluorescent yellow, but after 5km I felt I was handing back a pair that would live to fight another day, and I now know what trainers I am going to get next.
Then there was some running, walking and jogging. Cat Prowse our Run Director set everyone off after we finally realised what a funnel should be and organised ourselves accordingly so we could get through the narrow start unscathed. The new course design provides a great opportunity to practice your best gazelle impression as you leap through the grass before you settle into the course as we know it. Today Brooks provided an added bit of energy to the heady mix of parkrun excitement with a number of bananas running, and two boom boxes. After the boxers training on the redgra had given us a boost with a few ELO tracks whilst we limbered up (aka found our friends and compared trial trainers) it felt like a mass participation event (which I know it is, but you know what I mean) and I strongly suspect it boosted some performances today. Two laps later including the comedy conversation of “This is a bit quick”, “I’m just trying to keep up with you”, “how can that be when I’m trying to keep up with you” and we were treated to the chicane (had to check that spelling) lead up to the finish. Mastering that without slowing down is going to prove great practice for cross country later this year.
Somewhat ahead of me were our first finishers, Cameron Hutton of London Front Runners with a time of 16:41 and Jemima Grant with a time of 19:16. They both achieved a new Clapham Common PB today along with 104 other parkrunners including myself. Go us! An extra cheer does go to Jemima however as she has finished every Clapham Common parkrun quicker than the one she did before – quite extraordinary. The event was rounded off with Jennifer Grist our tail walker who came in at 53:06 and we had parkrunners in age categories ranging from J10 to the V75-79.
We also welcomed 155 people to Clapham this morning for the first time, and for 57 of those it was their first ever parkrun. Welcome to the best way to start your weekend!
I am so excited for what lies ahead for you newbies, including hitting your first milestone. Today we had two milestones and the cheer for that goes to Bradley Bosman who completed his 50th parkrun and can now access the glorious red t-shirt and James Giannopoulos (junior) who completed his 10th parkrun and can wear white. Congratulations Bradley and James.
The running clubs were out today and we had representation from a staggering 46 different clubs, with Clapham Chasers RC turning out 27 people. The award to the best club name however goes to Pevensey Pirates. I had to look up where Pevensey is (poor geography I know), and for those who are not sure, it’s just north of Eastbourne and has a castle and a bay where the Norman forces landed in 1066 if you too would like to become a pirate.
If you fancy wearing bright pink next week there are 52 different opportunities to volunteer and get to know the locals a little better. There won’t always be free coffee and bananas (thank you again Brooks), but there will always be the opportunity to help put the event on, learn something new and have a golly good time. Until next week. #runhappy? Yes, I think so.