By Michele Golden - 20th August
I LOVE parkrun - there, I've said it! It really has transformed my life and that struck me this morning. I hadn't run anywhere for about two weeks (since fracturing a tooth on holiday) and in the week before that had only run very short distances, very slowly. Southern Spain in August is no place for long or fast runs.
For the first time in my life I had been a bit anxious about going on holiday: not for the usual reasons such as 'will the house be burgled?' But because I've got the Great North Run in my diary for three weeks time and I was worried I'd lose my running form. I blame parkrun for getting me started on this.
Anyway, today was our 300th parkrun in Crystal Palace. Tom had decided it might be fun to run the route in reverse or backwards as he tried to explain to my sons, sadly one of them believed him. I won't embarrass him by saying which one. I was so excited I crowbarred my teenage boys out of bed saying it would be a fun way to get the day started. And it was!
Susannah Simpson was Run Director today and so got us started at the finish line, which really was quite confusing. I think I prefer the reverse route, although the uphill is punishing, the downhill feels longer and I like finishing by running downhill, I hate that uphill bit at the usual finish.
As it was our 300th parkrun at Crystal Palace Mike Woodward's wife had made us a fabulous cake (I'm sure Tom will post a photo) and that may have encouraged 231 people to line up at the start line. Jules Anderson and George Williams had already run 9 miles this morning as part of their marathon training so they included parkrun in their route (to get the cake I think!) before setting off for another 10 miles. I think they're both elite athletes, Jules thinks they're maniacs, either way, well done to them both and they definitely deserved the cake!
Twenty - five people didn't have their barcodes so we'll never know if they got PBs, were first timers or just saw the cake and thought they needed to take a finish token in order to qualify for cake. We had 31 people that we know had never run parkrun at Crystal Palace before - 17 had never run parkrun before. Audra Grey-Areben not only finished her first ever parkrun in an aesthetically pleasing 40:04 she did it with a smile on her face! Welcome to you all, we don't always have cake but we do always treat every finisher as if they're Mo Farrah!
For the 14 tourists, welcome to you too. Caleb Hia was our fastest tourist coming in third with a super speedy time of 17:31. Sarah Vaughan ran with us for the first time too - she has run 219 times and usually runs at the founding site of parkrun; having clocked up an amazing 144 at Bushy alone. So welcome to all of the tourists and I hope we see you again.
We did wonder if the reverse course might be faster (not that it's exactly the Brazilian athletics track) and our 33 people who ran PBs would all argue, I'm sure, that the route made no difference to their time. Natalie Sylvester ran her fifth parkrun and achieved an aesthetically pleasing time too - 32:32, well done Natalie! And well done to Sarah Campbell who started off saying she hated the long uphill stretch, so much so she ran the route faster than she ever had before in 30:24.
As ever parkrun wouldn't take place without our volunteers so a huge thanks to them: to Julie Letts who was a tail runner and who didn't lose anyone on the route and who then helped sort the finish tokens; to Sidney McIntosh and Barry Graham who set up the course; to Bob Bell, Chris Bell, John Fenwick and Neil Jeffries who marshalled the route and shouted encouragement to us, to Susannah Simpson who was Run Director and to Ian Shorthouse who was scanning our barcodes (as was Barry) and who came over to me to scan my barcode because I was chatting so much I forgot to go to him!
What a great start to the weekend! See you next week. Now time for the stats…
Ben FAIRHALL (VM35-39) of Redway Runners, was first over the line in 17:05 - 5th time in 5 appearances.
Che COMPTON (VM40-44) of Kent AC, was second over the line in 17:28 - has been first to finish on 20 previous occasions.
Caleb HIA (SM20-24) of Edinburgh University Hare & Hounds, was third over the line in 17:31.
Current standing in the Men's annual points competition:
Che COMPTON (Kent AC) 1182 pts.
Daniel HUMBLE 993 pts.
Tom WILSON (Dulwich Runners AC) 956 pts.
Louise LOCKE (VW35-39) of Croydon Harriers, was first (22nd overall) over the line in 21:15 - 4th time in 10 appearances.
Sarah BROWNE (SW30-34) (Unattached) was second (31st overall) over the line in 21:47.
Lin SKINNER (VW40-44) of Crystal Palace Fun Runners, was third (33rd overall) over the line in 21:55 - has been first to finish on 18 previous occasions.
Current standing in the Women's annual points competition:
Anke BRONIUS (Beckenham RC) 933 pts.
Belinda COTTRILL (Dulwich Runners AC) 883 pts.
Laura TOUGH 794 pts.
The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Che COMPTON (VM40-44) was graded 79.29% for the time 17:28 (second overall).
Ben FAIRHALL (VM35-39) was graded 78.15% for the time 17:05 (first overall).
Caleb HIA (SM20-24) was graded 73.64% for the time 17:31 (third overall).
This week there were 231 runners, of whom 32 were first timers and 34 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 22 different athletics clubs took part.
Crystal Palace parkrun started on 29th May 2010, and since then 5,679 different runners, including participants from 339 athletics clubs, have completed 36,078 runs covering a total distance of 180,390 km, and there have been 6,706 new Personal Bests.
The female record is held by Justina HESLOP who ran in a time of 00:17:23 on 14th January 2012 (event number 77).
The male record is held by Nicholas TORRY who ran in a time of 00:15:42 on 28th December 2013 (event number 171).
The Age Grade course record is held by Sian Cwyfan HILTON who recorded a 90.39% run (20:18) on 15th June 2013 (event number 145).
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Crystal Palace parkrun Results Page.
By Michele Golden - 23rd July
Having done a spot of tourism last week (or defection as it was referred to today) I was quite looking forward to returning to Crystal Palace parkrun this morning. Until I realised it was about 65 degrees in the shade (possibly an exaggeration, but my sister, Josie, is a journalist and she always says I shouldn't let the facts get in the way of a good story!). Anyway, it was hot but that didn't deter 196 sturdy souls lining up at the start line. Tragically, 21 didn't have their barcode, including my son Tom, so we will never know how many were tourists, first timers or got PBs. We do know that no one broke the 5000m world record as Jake English finished first in 17:39, a relatively leisurely pace for him.
Of our 27 first timers, 17 were tourists. I was particularly excited to see Sam and Ben Whalley. I hadn't seen Sam for about seven years, ever since she had emigrated to far away Reading so it was great to catch up for a coffee afterwards. Sam assures me that Woodley parkrun is much flatter than Crystal Palace so I definitely intend to visit her, and in less than seven years. Well done to Ben for being third male finisher too!
A huge welcome to the ten people who had never done a parkrun before and chose today to do it. You truly are elite athletes, if I had intended to run my first parkrun today the heat would have put a stop to that. In fact the heat would have put a stop to it today if I hadn't planned to meet Sam! To be honest, today I was sporting a grazed knee and shoulder having taken a tumble on Wednesday evening so I was quite keen to show off my elite athlete injuries as well! Seriously though, welcome to the parkrun family and don't worry if, unlike those people who write to parkrun and say their first parkrun changed their life, you struggled. It took me four years to grudgingly admit it was an OK way to start the weekend.
Despite the heat 17 people achieved a PB, including my sister Josie but she was at Kingston. Well done to all of you. Kieran Paige did spectacularly well, coming in at 18:57 so under 19:00 for the first time. Congratulations! And congratulations to Stuart Mcwaters who took a minute and a half off last week's time to get his PB of 36:06!
Louisa Cook ran her 50th parkrun today. She has done all 50 of her parkruns at Crystal Palace and like me it's taken her a while, she started in November 2010. Louisa - that shows grit and determination, a huge congratulations on joining the 50 club.
So, that's it from me today, I'm on holiday for the next couple of weeks so do feel free to pick up a pen and write the report in my absence, or when I return!
By Michele Golden - 15th July
Normally, after parkrun, a bunch of us go to the cafe for coffee, token sorting, results uploading, chat and laughter. Today, it was a bit different; sorting out people's times was a nightmare. It seems a lot of people declined/refused their finish tokens. Now, as we know parkrun isn't a race against anyone, there is often friendly rivalry and personal attempts to improve times. Regular readers of 'view from the back' will know that a few weeks ago Jake English ran with me and when I commented that his average time would be dragged down replied 'oh, I'm not taking a token'. Importantly, Jake didn't run across the finish line and so was not recorded at all. If you run down the finishing tunnel then you MUST take a token. You don't need to have your time recorded if you don't want, just give the finish token to a marshall and don't get your barcode scanned. If you refuse to take a token it's likely (as happened today) that it will have an impact on a number of people's times...........and (at the risk of sounding like an old fashioned school teacher) that's not the spirit of parkrun.
So, just to make the point: if you go down the finish funnel ALWAYS TAKE A TOKEN. This is why. If you run down the finish tunnel you'll be counted by the two people on either side of the finish line. They 'click' each runner as they cross the line. Those clicks correspond with the number of tokens we give out so if you don't take a token then 'your' token will be given to the next runner who will then get your time, and everyone else in the chain will get the wrong time. Today, quite a few people didn't take a token so our post run coffee was a bit tense trying to work out times.
Onto lighter matters. There were 18 'unknown' runners, I have no idea if they were tourists, first timers, got PBs or found themselves dragged round the park when they had innocently gone out for a walk. If you were a parkrunner though #DFYB.
We had 37 first timers - many of those were tourists and we had a particularly large influx of triathletes with both Crystal Palace Triathletes and Windrush Tirathlon Clubs making appearances in their droves. Sixteen of the first timers had never run parkrun before: welcome, we hope we'll see you again.
And 37 people got PBs, far too many to mention by name, although I was one of them! That sub 30 is becoming tantalisingly close! I'm being a tourist next week so do feel free to take the pen, just tell one of the marshals.