Event #79 – One red T-shirt and a Keen sense of loss

Reminder to self: Don’t volunteer for this task again, it really isn’t your forte.


I think I signed up for this role in a flush of enthusiasm when I first realized that I’d be making my 50th Parkrun on a day I had to rush off (not being someone who can get up reliably early enough for briefings). I was finally going to get that coveted red T-shirt, and I greedily want another volunteer point towards the next goal of a 25th volunteering purple T-shirt!


Keen Missyou

Finish finale for the Keen family

Well. Event number 79 on 7th December 2019 was much, much more interesting than my tiny success. Not too cold, not too muddy and not too much rugby. So this week 539 people got out of bed to run, jog or walk the course. It can be hard for those of us who are not natural athletes, previous runners or feel bad about our bodies (for whatever reason) to turn up that first time. Maybe some of the 117 first timers who ran, jogged and walked the course were like me and nervous. Hopefully not. Maybe Parkrun doesn’t suit everyone who’s ‘giving it a go’ and they’ll not come again, or go to a different venue.


My first time I went to the wrong place, at the wrong time, and it turned it into a more familiar dog walk in slightly different clothes. So no time recorded at all, but that very first welcome from the main crew made (and will make) all the difference in the world: the relief of finding “It’s not as I anticipated or feared”; there is a kind person waiting for you if you are last, the Tail Walker; the Marshals bother to take a couple of hours out of their lives to encourage us – smiling, clapping, telling us we are looking good, or pacing ourselves well or lapping everyone who’s in "bed” or whatever.


So, it’s because of the amazing 37 volunteers, that someone might (like me) come a second time and find their morning (or week, or even life) literally transformed as they take up a new activity, or change shape, or lose their type 2 diabetes, or meet a life-partner.


Talking of life transformations, many, many people wanted to say a special thank you to the Keen family (see photos) who are taking the life transforming step of moving to the other side of our single, shared, beautiful planet. We are going to miss them all so much (but, psst, keep this secret – we’ll miss Henry especially).


WhatsApp Image 2019-12-07 at 13.55.40

Hi-five Henry strikes again

So many of us need a little morale boost as we are coming up around the bandstand to the start of the second lap, or maybe coming around the bandstand* for the second time when gearing up for our sprint for the finish line. *otherwise dubbed Keen Korner.  We might see those familiar faces, read a hand-made placard, hear encouraging words, see smiles, or do a “high-five”. It’s been something to look forward to from the Duck pond/ skate boarding corner onwards. I know Clapham’s loss is Australia’s gain, but another lesson for me is to appreciate the moment when you have it – you don’t always get a warning that someone who’s become a little bit special to you might leave! But maybe he’ll come back with his family and visit us in the future…?


… swap Clapham for a tough parkrun at Seacliff Esplanade, Adelaide?


Then, having come to Parkrun once, we might or might not improve. Some of us start at the back of the field (and stay there), others run faster, further, more frequently, or join clubs! A spooky thing happened, today - representatives of 37 different clubs took part, the event was made possible by 37 volunteers, and Ed Newton came in 37th – a first timer! Coincidence?


Maybe. Maybe not. But so long as you come more than once, there is a good chance that you’ll have a shorter time on another occasion, or even surpass all previous achievements. I’ve had several personal bests in the last year and a half. One was so unbelievably good in terms of improvement, I queried it - which is probably why I was later given an 8-minute penalty for whingeing by the very hard working amazing volunteers who take much more responsibility than me like timing, funnel policing, bar coding or uploading results. No way can I face doing those difficult tasks when retired and starting having the senior moments that don’t cope with complexity! So congratulations are in order for the 64 people who recorded new Personal Bests this week. Especially Natalie Lubinsky and Marla Asuncion who did better than their previous best in the 526 and 528 places in the field – you inspire me to catch you up and think about a bit of improvement over the next new decade.


I’m not in a hurry. Did I mention that I’ve completed 50 runs, and that this week’s time was very similar to my first – who cares? It’s a run, jog or walk – not a race, doh! If you do care about your time and how it compares to peers, today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Clapham Common parkrun Results Page.
It’s the season of goodwill, and we enter a new decade soon. There’ll be loads of newbies. I’ll be there volunteering to pay back (or rather pass on) what I’ve been given. If anyone reads this report and hasn’t volunteered, do consider it, or invite a friend along to watch you and have breakfast afterwards – we always need Marshals.


But all of the volunteers bring these gifts one way or another. We now reached a total of 716 individuals who have volunteered 2,579 times. Wow. A big shout out for them all but especially today's.


Hi-vis set-up crew

Ultra relaible set-up crew of KK and CP - now conspicuously absent


Ken WILLIS • Kate MCKEAND • Jackie NIXON • Frank ELSTON • Maxwell ASH • Laurent KSSIS • Kenneth BOSTON • Hannah BEHRENDT • Jennifer WOOLGAR • Rebecca RICHARDS • Dan SIMPSON • Imogen JOHNSON • Jasper JOHNSON • Angus JOHNSON • Charlotte BEAVITT • Bethany KNOWLES • Evelyne BULL • Cat PROWSE • E ADEJOBI • Kathryn KEEN • Susan BEWLEY (that’s me!) • Dana ELFRING • Seb HENEY • Karen STEYN • Adam STREET • Suzy TEBBITTS • Patrick SHARP • John CASTLE • Dominic O'RIORDAN • David KEEN • Alex GIANNOPOULOS • Andreas GIANNOPOULOS • Harriet COLLIER • Henry KEEN • Linnea NILSSON • Louis RAMSDALE • Amy GEALL


My special thanks again, especially to the two Jens/ Jennifers who (a) kept me going that first Parkrun and (b) got me volunteering. Did I tell you that this was my 50th run?


Words by Susan Bewley - just in case you did not gather is now the proud owner of a Red 50 tee shirt - well done Susan. Wear it with pride next time we see you.



Event #77 – November 23rd 2019

Illustrated with photographs from a year before
I was in Clapham watching my friend perform at her theatre school production on Friday, so I thought I would take full advantage and visit Clapham parkrun the next morning.

A year ago Event #30 - set-up crew

It was a pleasant stroll from my Airbnb to the start line, where I introduced myself to the run director. The weather to start with was grey but not too cold. The rain started mid run, but was actually quite refreshing.

A year ago - Edith takes control - Event#30

There was a bag storage area under some tarpaulin sheets.
The gent that did the new runners briefing was welcoming and funny.
The marshalls were encouraging and one lady was offering a high five if you needed that extra encouragement.

A year ago Mud and mob match at event #30

A flat two lapper, with a well managed finish funnel for over 500 participants.
I would recommend this parkrun if you are in the area anytime.

Four legged assistant tackled event #30

125 were first timers and 56 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 54 different clubs took part. The event was made possible by 36 volunteers:
Eleanor ANDREWS • Sarah DODDS • Frank ELSTON • Chris JONES • Laura CALLARD • Charles CRAVEN • Andrea ROSS • Laurent KSSIS • Kate DUFFIN • Andrew ARCHER • Jennifer WOOLGAR • Andrew WALLACE • Bronwyn GARRETT • Edward TASKER • Jonahan SMALL • Imogen JOHNSON • Jasper JOHNSON • Angus JOHNSON • Alice SMALL • Cat PROWSE • E ADEJOBI • Olivia BAKER • Lucie RYCOTT • Kathryn KEEN • Susan BEWLEY • Dana ELFRING • Seb HENEY • Karen STEYN • Adam STREET • Patrick SHARP • John CASTLE • David KEEN • Henry KEEN • Linnea NILSSON • Louis RAMSDALE • Amy GEALL

Once more round at the band stand - Event #30

Clapham Common parkrun started on 24th March 2018. Since then 12,228 participants have completed 43,398 parkruns covering a total distance of 216,990 km, including 7,903 new Personal Bests. A total of 702 individuals have volunteered 2,508 times.
With thanks to Kate Duffin and editor's apologies for the delay ....  in my mind I published this long ago


Event #075 Before the deluge

On Saturday 9th November, 677 people had the joy of running, jogging or walking Clapham Common Parkrun number 75. I don't use the word joy lightly - given the rain later in the day we were fortunate to have a brisk, cool morning with clear skies and a bit of sunshine to enjoy our parkrunning. 


We had 150 first timers for whom I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful new way to spend your Saturdays. Despite the clear skies it was definitely glove weather, with a decent lashing of mud, so I can assure you that there's definite parkrunning condition upside from here. Special mention to one first timer who was with the Clapham Chasers Team 10k programme and expressed some pre-run nervousness, but was rewarded with a lovely run and the ever elusive negative splits.
We also had 69 PBs on the day. Although every PB is equally impressive I'll give a little shout out to one Joe Spraggins who managed to get in a sneaky PB on the last day of his twenties.
Dean Smith was the fastest runner, coming in at 17:42, and Jess Parnwell was the fastest female with a time of 20:54.
Representatives of 39 different clubs took part, with clubs both from around London and further afield from Manchester, York and Scotland.New members of parkrun clubs included Catherine Rees earning the purple volunteer club shirt - thank you Cathryn we couldn't do it without you - and Andrew Macklin hitting the 50 club milestone and earning a place in the red T brigade with an impressively loyal 47 of his parkruns at Clapham (absent only when there was none on Clapham Common.)
Of the 11,948 participants in Clapham Common parkrun we have had 696 individuals volunteer 2,439 times. A parkrun as big as Clapham is quite the logistical effort. If you haven't volunteered to date I would strongly encourage you to give it a shot. There are a range of roles you can take on and a number of these still allow you to run on the day. Regardless of which role you take on there's always the opportunity for post volunteering coffee at the bandstand cafe. With thanks to the 41 volunteers from this week:
Henry WILSON • Alasdair FRASER • Sarah DODDS • Cathryn REES • Frank ELSTON • Chris JONES • Edward REES • Rose HARVEY • Andrew ARCHER • Catherine PRICE • Matt PRICE • Bronwyn GARRETT • James COUSINS • Scott BEMMENT • Imogen JOHNSON • Jasper JOHNSON • Angus JOHNSON • David AISA MILLER • Alex PYE • Laurel LEFKOW • Kathryn KEEN • Seb HENEY • Karen STEYN • Stephen KELLY • Helen O'BRIEN • Phoebe TAYLOR • Patrick SHARP • Richard TAYLOR • Zoe POWELL • Simon RIVERS • Dominic O'RIORDAN • Thomas WILLIAMSON • David KEEN • Kiran SAHOTA • Nicola REVELL • Jamie STEVENSON • Tony THOMAS • Henry KEEN • Linnea NILSSON • Louis RAMSDALE • Amy GEALL


Event #74 -We’d rather be parkrunning than watching rugby :)

Saturday started out with clear blue skies, and the temperatures could have even been described as mild compared to the past week.  Yes, the forecasters had indicated that the rain would be heavy and unrelenting all morning, but maybe the parkrun weather fairies were at work behind the scenes and shorts would be appropriate attire for one more week.


Event 0

(Unsurprisingly no photos this week - to illustrate we have a few library photos from our 18 month journey - conditions can and do vary)

What actually happened was very close to the forecast.  As the runners listened in to the run briefing, the wind started to lift and people looked up to the sky with that “really now?” look in their eyes as the first tentative rain drops fell.  Then as the metaphorical gun went off to signal the start of the event on it’s alternative mud free start, the rain came.  Just wow.  The 273 people who ran, jogged and walked the course can also be said to have braved the conditions.


The average number of parkrunners each week in September was 724 and in October it was 445, but today was the second lowest attendance of the year, only beaten by August Bank Holiday when the whole of London traditionally goes away for the final long weekend of the year.  This week wasn’t due to the weather of course, but because people were queuing outside of pubs to get in and watch England vs South Africa in the Rugby World Cup Final.


Amongst the 273 soggy souls taking part today, 48 were first timers to Clapham Common, and eight were entirely new to parkrun.  Welcome all of you to the CC parkrun family.  We had representatives from 30 different clubs taking part and shout outs to tourists from Lancashire and Dorset.


There were two milestones today with cheers given to both Bronwyn GARRETT and Eleanor HUISH who joined the parkrun 50 club; Eleanor also achieved a new PB to add icing to the celebration cake. Amazingly, 37 other people joined Eleanor in attaining a new PB, perhaps in a bid to get somewhere warm and dry and/or to watch the second half of the rugby.


Joining the parkrun team today was the Co-op who came with a bonfire night based selection of healthy swaps including extra virgin olive oil, rice and spices.  The robust boxes made it home despite the attempt by the rain to turn them in to mush, and we rustled up a delicious chilli later in the day feeling even more pleased than usual that we started our day with parkrun.


Many thanks go to the 34 strong volunteer team who chose to spend their time bringing joy and cheer to the soggy runners and make all of this possible.  The high-fives from Henry at the bandstand were particularly well received. Amazingly a total of 690 individuals have volunteered 2,398 times at Clapham Common parkrun. Do consider signing up to one of the many rewarding volunteer roles available.


Olympian support from the HI-Vis Heroes

High-vis heroes

Henry WILSON • Sarah DODDS • Catherine Louise SPURIN • Cathryn REES • Frank ELSTON • Bevis MAN • William SCOTT • Helen JAQUES • Richard MUSCAT • Hannah BEHRENDT • Jennifer WOOLGAR • Jennifer MONTGOMERY • Imogen JOHNSON • Jasper JOHNSON • Angus JOHNSON • Karrie HILL-HUGHES • Cat PROWSE • Lucie RYCOTT • Sarah MAXWELL • Kathryn KEEN • Alison MCADAMS • Susan BEWLEY • Kate LOSOWSKY • Karen STEYN • Erica DEVINE • Patrick SHARP • John CASTLE • Thomas WILLIAMSON • David KEEN • Henry KEEN • Linnea NILSSON • Louis RAMSDALE • Faye MESSERVY • Mitch VAN OOSTEN



Event#072 – Golden sunshine and baton

On a surprisingly sunny autumnal morning, as the English rugby team were taking on
Australia, 491 people chose to give up the comforts of their TV and sofa or bed and
instead run, jog or walk the course.


They're off - the revised mud free start

Of the 491, 126 were first timers and 72 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 31 different clubs took part. Whilst Andreas VASSILIOU and Jonathan ROSS (with a new PB too!) joined the 50 parkrun club, Debbie STOREY also celebrated her (unofficial) milestone of 150 parkruns.

We were visited by staff, students and parents from local Bolingbroke
Academy – many of whom were first timers at Clapham Common – welcome and
we do hope that you will come again.


Bolingbroke Academy - pupils, staff and parents

Steve Loder travelled all the way from home parkrun at Betty's Bay, Cape Town SA, where he is Co Event Director for his first timer parkrun outside SA.  We also had tourists from West Sussex, Andover in Hampshire*, Cornwall, Preston and Co. Antrim.

* Jan and Paul North - two dedicated Andover tourists - came counting our Event 72 as their target in 'Wilson index' runs - having run events numbered 1 to 71 in order elsewhere. Where will 73 take you?

The students were out in force too, with representatives from Leeds
University, Imperial College and Kings College Cross Country clubs, the
University of Nottingham and Newcastle University Triathlon clubs and Durham
University Boat Club. In the battle of the North-East, Calum LYNCH from Newcastle pipped Ed HAWKINS from Durham to the post by just two seconds.


Golden Baton handover - Berlin bound in the next leg

One of the Leeds Building Society Golden Batons made its way to us, and now going on some international parktourism with co-Event Director and regular volunteer Jen WOOLGAR planning to take it to Hasenheide parkrun in Berlin next.


Marshals briefing/prayer meeting

A huge thanks to the 37 volunteers below without whom the event would not have been possible – we hope that, if you haven’t volunteered before – you might consider it one day soon. As always we need volunteers but most importantly this very weekend - when a perfect storm of clashes threatens our capacity to host a safe event. Come and join us for a great morning followed by (of course) some well-deserved coffee and cake in the café afterward.


The high vis heroes

Henry WILSON • Sarah DODDS • Helen MCGURRIN • Chris LEE • Jennifer
WOOLGAR • Catherine PRICE • Ross MCLEOD • David ATKINSON • Alain
FOWLER • Frederick HERZOG • Imogen JOHNSON • Jasper JOHNSON •
Susan BEWLEY • Dana ELFRING • Janie CAESAR • Simon HARPER • Karen
STEYN • Helen O'BRIEN • Adam STREET • Suzy TEBBITTS • Patrick SHARP •
Richard TAYLOR • Peter LAMBERT • David KEEN • Jeremy SIMMONS • Kath
LUDLOW • Henry KEEN • Imogen CUNLIFFE • Natalie LUBINSKY • Sam
MARTIN • Corinna JONES • Marco GREGOTTI • Isabelle HAYMAN

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