This year we have had three parkruns in Crystal Palace. Each week has broken our attendance record. Yesterday saw a phenomenal turnout of 642 with our numbers considerably boosted by the children, parents and staff from Dulwich College Prep school. They had attempted to join us this time last year but we cancelled at last minute as the course was really icy. Yesterday the course was a bit icy so I warned everyone at the beginning thereby ensuring no one could sue us if they fell! At the risk of sounding like I'm channelling my inner Chris Dyke or Sam Oliver I did a little bit of statistical analysis this morning. Well, I did a bit of quite simple maths and discovered that if we hadn't had 160 people running their first time at CP we would still have had 482 runners making it our third highest attendance (and if you discount this years bumper attendances it would have been an attendance record). Clearly doing Dry January is making hitherto sleeping mathematical synapses wake up after years of gentle slumber.
To be fair we knew we would have a big turnout yesterday. I had already told George (who was RD yesterday) I wasn't planning on running as we were having two new Duke of Edinburgh volunteers: welcome Flo and Darcey. We're up to our maximum of six now as we said goodbye to Unity yesterday after six months; thank you Unity for sticking with it through the damp autumn and early winter months. I'd said to George I was happy to do funnel management: anyone who knows me will know I am more than capable of bossing people around and generally barking orders with or without a megaphone and I figured with a likely big turnout I would be an ideal funnel manager. Then at about 10 pm Friday evening I had a bit of a panic about how we would manage the funnel and decided we should try and emulate what they do at Bushy parkrun. Anyone who has been to Bushy will know they have a really slick finish funnel system which has clearly taken years of practice. What could possibly go wrong if we tried it out for the first time yesterday?
I thought I might need backup so managed to persuade my son Alex to come along and volunteer. He had been intending having a lie-in so I am particularly grateful to him for agreeing. When I did the runners briefing at the beginning I warned everyone we were going to try a new system of funnel management and warned them it might or might not work.
Well, the reason it worked was because you were all brilliant. Somehow we had three lines of people obediently lining up where we had told them to. Particular thanks to Bob Bell, Pete Offord, Laura Tough and Piers Bromley who did their parkrun and then stepped in to help manage the funnel and generally make sure things ran smoothly. Thank you to any others who helped without me knowing. And apologies to the woman who tried walking the wrong way down the finish funnel with a couple of children who I snapped at. And MASSIVE thanks to Pete who stepped in and gently guided her to safety.
So, a couple of reflections. parkrun only works if we have people prepared to step in and help and if runners accept they just had to do what they're told! parkrun is definitely growing in popularity and I think our new type finish funnel is probably here to stay so I shall try to make it a little more sophisticated than scrappy pieces of paper with letters scrawled on them. Yesterday we had a great turn out of volunteers which helped immensely so do think about volunteering. You can email our office address, send us an IM on Facebook, post on our Facebook page or do what Richard Porter did yesterday and some up and find me or anyone in Hi-Viz and tell us when you're available to help out. Thanks Richard. You can, of course, turn up at about 8:40 on Saturday and volunteer your services. Oh and thanks to Ellie Davis who stood alongside mum Anna and gave out finish tokens very professionally!
I have rambled on a lot so I will finish with a few notes about people who actually ran/walked/cartwheeled round the course. Of course Jake finished first but without his barcode. Of the 160 people who ran our parkrun for the first time ever 63 were brand new out of the wrapper parkrunners; welcome to the cult! Despite having to struggle through the masses 78 people ran their fastest ever parkrun yesterday (well at CP). I'm going to mention two. Susan Hill ran her 59th parkrun yesterday. She last ran at CP in June 2019 and yesterday ran 4 minutes and two seconds faster. Susan runs in the 70-74 age category. Dan Wainwright ran his 21st parkrun. His last PB at CP was in December 2019 and yesterday he took 45 seconds off that. Dan runs in the 60-64 age category. They both give me hope I can get faster too. Well done to both of you.
Final point. Yesterday we had 69 runners who did not have a barcode. parkrun rules are very clear: no barcode, no result, no exception. We were told other (local) parkruns allow you to scan your barcode from your phone. We don't. Please don't try and get our volunteers to try and break the rules. Do come and have a chat with me if you want to discuss this further. #DFYB
OK, it's a beautiful sunny day so I may go and do some gardening, well try and repair some of the squirrel damage.
Until next week.
Crystal Palace parkrun
Event number 470
18th January 2020
This week 642 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 160 were first timers and 78 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 42 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 36 volunteers:
Karen SHONE • Bob BELL • Anna DAVIS • Carol HAYES • Andy TOUGH • George WILLIAMS • Barry GRAHAM • Michele GOLDEN • Alex SINGHGOLDEN • Sidney Ansell MCINTOSH • Chris BALMER • Kathryn CHESHIRE • Stuart FRANKLIN • Sharon MARTIN • Unity KINGSTON • Julia ANDERSON • Piers BROMLEY • Julie LETTS • Daniel TOUGH • Clare DAVIS • Sue CORCORAN • Emily BAKER • Seán HILL • Fiona MOORE • Florence JACKSON • Fred HAYES • Pete OFFORD • Cameron TOUGH • Pat GRIFFIN • Caroline DUTTON • Efa PARRY • N SAVORY • Jada MENSAH • Darcey GUNNY • Thomas BRIGGS • Luka JONES
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Crystal Palace parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Justina HESLOP who recorded a time of 17:23 on 14th January 2012 (event number 77).
The male record is held by Nicholas TORRY who recorded a time of 15:26 on 1st July 2017 (event number 344).
The Age Grade course record is held by Lucas SOPER who recorded 98.02% (20:10) on 5th October 2019 (event number 455).
Crystal Palace parkrun started on 29th May 2010. Since then 12,150 participants have completed 86,681 parkruns covering a total distance of 433,405 km, including 14,010 new Personal Bests. A total of 650 individuals have volunteered 5,792 times.