Kudos to the volunteers – Run report event #102

One of the things I enjoy about the Clapham Common parkrun is the café afterwards - it generally involves a bit less exertion and muscle ache than the running bit beforehand. Today however was different. Our run director turned up at the café wrapped in a large raincoat with the expression of a woman who was about to unfurl a tarpaulin on a ship sailing across the Atlantic in the midst of a storm. It was wet. 

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You got a mild indication of that in the morning from the overcast nature of the sky - though my weather forecast said that there was a 3% chance of rain! 509 of us either believed the weather forecast or had the fortitude to brave whatever the heavens would send (and recognise that it's October and it's just going to be like this for months on end from now). 

Having said that, running was really lovely. It wasn’t too warm and the conditions were just right - there was some mud on the course but nothing too bad. As the parkrun drew on and more people finished, they were rewarded with a slight drizzle and the several canine companions of these weird humans running in a double circle round a park looked faintly confused as to why exactly their human had decided to take them out on this purposeless chase.

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For the humans however, there was the warmth of the support of volunteers, shouting from the margins - “you can do it”, “you are almost there”, “it's just one more kilometre” or “good running”. The encouragement really matters, especially as you finish the second lap and go past the bandstand, promising yourself it's only a couple of hundred metres till you reach the finish line. 

There were several achievements this week as well. Jamie Smyth on his first run at Clapham, finished first with a great time of 16 minutes, 48 seconds. The parkrun age graded rating though put him second behind Helen Cooper who achieved a rating of 78.6%. Sometimes slightly cooler and damper conditions work. 108 people set personal bests which meant 20% of the field (roughly) ran the course faster than they had ever run it before. 2 parkrunners, James Brooker and Roger Kennedy finished their 50th parkrun. Edward Brunskill ran his 433rd parkrun today - a phenomenal number of runs. 57 runners completed their first run though and I only hope that they all become as addicted as Edward and James and Roger clearly are!

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But the real achievement this morning goes to the volunteers. 36 people volunteered to make sure that the run could be run today. There are practical considerations behind that of course. It is also really great to have a smiling marshal shouting encouragement from the side. parkrun really isn’t just for the people who can get round it in 16 minutes or can get a PB (this week due to bad sleep I was nowhere near that and knew it myself). It's for the fact that we all got out of bed and came down at 9 am to start our weekend with some exercise. Run, walk or do both or either whilst talking, you know you’ve succeeded at parkrun if you’ve got round the course - and it’s the volunteers who make that atmosphere a reality!


Decisions, decisions… – Run Report – Event #101

“How long do we want the funnel today? Is this long enough?”

“Oh yeah that’s fine, we won’t be busy this morning with all this fog.”

It turns out the Run Directors are fairly rubbish at predicting runner numbers as today was our biggest event since the return of parkrun!

Well done to the 531 of you who ran, jogged or walked today. Hopefully you’ll all come back again as we get closer to our pre-pandemic attendance figures.

It was certainly a foggy one today, and Run Director Frank made the decision to swap to our Winter Route* through “Blind Corner” to avoid the mud, so a particular well done to everyone who a managed to set a PB in those conditions.

* It sounds exciting but really we just make everyone do a tiny diversion onto a less muddy (nevertheless still muddy) path for circa 5 metres. Do watch out for the low hanging branch on the Winter Route too (not a problem for those of us who can barely claim to be 5’2 even in super cushioned trainers though).

I was stationed by said route change as a marshal and got to see everyone’s cheery faces before they spotted the mud - win for me! A special shout-out to everyone who says “thank you marshal” - I always do it on my first lap (opting for an out-of-breath wave on the second) and it really does bring that parkrun spirit alive for everyone so I really enjoyed it.

Congratulations to William Bourne who finished first male today in 17:11 and Chloe Baker who finished first female in 19:25. Brilliant stuff!

Well done to Kevin Harkins on your 50th parkrun milestone. I do hope you were the person running with the balloon - harder than it looks, isn’t it?

We had 59 people complete their first ever parkrun with us today which is just a fantastic number and I hope you all come back next week now you know how wonderful parkrun is.

With that, I’ll finish this week’s report here. Looking forward to seeing you all next week where I shall be tail walking. Please do join me for a natter!


Clapham Common’s Centenary event – Event #100!


I arrived slightly late at today’s event, feeling flustered. I had offered to help with event set-up, there were one or two blocked roads on route... (something about queues for petrol) but my lateness anxiety was dispersed instantly by the wonderfully warm welcome I received from the core team when I reached Clapham Common this morning.

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Off I went to help erect the finish funnel, (a 4-person task with the length of funnel required) straight away I got chatting with a guy who was volunteering for the first time ever today, after running his 1st ever parkrun last week! (Me thinks the parkrun cult has successfully enlisted another member).

Waiting for the start, I was drawn to a lady with an Eastleigh 10k top. Eastleigh is my home run, so it was lovely to chat with someone who runs there when she visits her parents.

Off to the newcomer’s brief where we welcomed 125 “first time ever at Clapham” runners today.
35 were taking part in their very 1st parkrun, along with a whopping 90 parkrun tourists who had travelled from Stevenage, Middlesbrough, Poole, Bournemouth and even Ireland (#thereisnofuelshortage).


We soon found out the course is two laps, that’s once all the way round, followed by a 2nd time all the way round, so twice, a double lap, a duplicate, that’s a loop repeated (we got the idea), then off we went for the main brief where we gave todays 48 volunteer heroes (aka high viz power rangers) the round of applause they deserve.

For the centenary event today, there was a fantastic collection for Clapham Foodbank. Wonderful!

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The run was lovely, two (yes two) laps around the Common with plenty of encouragement from the marshals on route.


Sarah Connolly, Joe Beaven, Ryan Dewar, Devin Ross, Georgina Carr, Simon Brown, Emily Wistow, Harry Bell and Philip Cranmer all completed their 10th parkrun today while Jay Russel, Tc Twort and Matt Rogers all joined the 50th club! Congratulations to you all.

Congratulations also to the 96 runners who PB’d this week too!

I had a lovely morning celebrating Clapham Commons 100th event. Thank you to everyone involved.

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Event #97 – Bananas about parkrun

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.



The lure of a compulsive Saturday morning fitness fix. Run Report Event #96


More grey than wet at today’s event. As part of the pre-event setup routine, the organisers had managed to cast a spell over the clouds to fend off the rain and keep us all dry. One participant appeared to have been run off the track early on and may have retired hurt. We haven’t seen anything like that since the last F1 grand prix. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery go to the participant concerned.

The first runners choosing to collect a completion token were Shane Donlon in an impressive time of 17 minutes 37 seconds and Ellie Cookson in an equally impressive time of 18 minutes 07 seconds.

The lure of a compulsive Saturday morning fitness fix encouraged 492 runners and some buggies and doggies to take to the course. There were an unusually high 129 first timers to Clapham Common of whom 48 were running their inaugural parkrun; a staggering 107 personal bests were set (21.7% of all runners) and 39 running clubs were represented. The inspiring list of running clubs included participants from well-known and highly respected clubs such as 26.2 RRC, SHAEF Shifters and Shropshire Shufflers.


Official milestones recorded this week included Karen Steyn who notched up 50 runs and Chiara Du Plessis who clocked up 100 runs. Well done to the milestone runners!

A note to touring runners, do please consider volunteering at a touring event. There are plenty of roles that a tourist could easily do in addition to their own run. This is a useful way to advance one’s personal volunteer ratio and helps to sustain the support structure for all events. It is also quite rewarding to be part of the team.


Run Director E Adejobi reminded all participants that there will not be an event next week due to another event taking place on the common. Similarly, there will be no run 2 Oct. One idea to fill the void on those two Saturday mornings, suggested by the RD, is to use the time to plan for future dates to participate as a volunteer! Home runners and tourists alike can sign up by emailing: claphamcommon@parkrun.comor just ask any of the other volunteers on a Saturday morning. It’s a well-known fact that volunteering doubles the quality of your smile on run days!

Lastly, well done to all those who took part; runners, amblers, volunteers, cheerleaders, future parkrunners in prams and especially the organisers.


A special mention goes to tail limper Lucie Rycott who gracefully ‘bullied’ yours truly into scratching round in a semi-respectable time. In fact, all the volunteers enthusiastically cheered on the final two participants, it was great to be involved!


Thanks to the volunteers

We are very grateful to the 41 volunteers who made this event happen:


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