with thanks to this week's author Lizzie Wilkinson
One of the aims of this morning’s parkrun was to encourage regular parkrunners to bring a friend or family member to their first event and maybe create a new attendance record.
During the week Vicki Langston had joked on facebook that if the record was not beaten, then all parkrunners would need to run twice so that it would look like there was twice the number. Heather Cripps was also volunteering to run/walk with anyone who wanted to do about 35 minutes pace and would like company. Heather ended up doing 30.46 but looks like she kept Laura Parrott company who was doing her first ever parkrun. Laura: we hope you enjoyed it and will be back again!
Despite Heather’s help and Vicki’s threat the number-of-runners record was not broken with 235 runners finishing, although there was at least one more than that lining up at the start, more of which later! Perhaps many of the regulars wanted to do the run twice – and with near perfect running conditions who could blame them! The speedier ones would be more than capable of running two 5k in the time it takes me to finish one.
The sky started off cloudy but as 9am approached, the sun could be seen breaking through the cloud (parkrun weather fairy working magic again). As we huddled around the briefing bench, we were unaware of the panic that the volunteer team were experiencing – one of the timers was not working properly! Eventually the briefing started and today’s run director (Lucy Ferman-Moore) gathered the runners together and explained the reason for the delay. Whilst most runners primed watches and kept their fingers crossed that there were no problems with the other timer one young lad in front of me seemed quite pleased planning to ‘knock a few seconds off the watch time’. No pressure for the volunteer with that role today then! A big round of applause for today’s volunteers: Alison FOOTS • Ann COLEY • Gillian CAVELL • Hayden JUDD • Heather CRIPPS • Henry OSMOND • Ian FERNANDEZ • Jennifer DEL CARLO • Karen KEENAN • Leila IMAM • Louise ROBATHAN • Lucy FERMAN-MOORE • Oghene AARON • Philip LAWRENCE • Simon MCGINLEY.
Lucy then reminded the runners of the importance of volunteering and with the roster looking a tad bare over the next few weeks, volunteers coming forward would be appreciated. Having volunteered over 60 times I can confirm that all roles are relatively easy, nothing to be scared of and you get full support from the ED and RD. If you haven’t volunteered before please give it a go, it is a very rewarding experience.
There were several runners achieving milestones, congratulations to Bernard Simmons and Errol Robathan who were doing their 100th parkruns and Simon Burnett who was doing his 50th parkrun. First timers and visiting parkrunners were given an enthusiastic welcome.
This was only my 6th parkrun at Dulwich and, as instructed, I had brought a female friend with us for her first run at Dulwich, Lynne Crane. Lynne was coming back from injury and she was wanting a parkun that was flat and not muddy, so that there was no risk of her injuring her knee or ankle again. Well Dulwich certainly is flat. Not just flat but quicker than most and that gives you a great buzz, no matter what pace you run at. Dulwich is the only parkrun that I have been to where I have been lapped during the first lap! There are some very speedy runners here.
My very first visit to Dulwich was back in September 2015, where part way round the first lap, I was surprised to be lapped by a very fast guy making very light work of things, this was Paul Martelletti, a very recognisable character and as I headed to the start today it was pointed out to me by my husband that he was warming up in front of us. I braced myself expecting to get lapped again but hoping that I might be able to complete one lap at least before he flashed past. On a couple of times we have been to Dulwich there have also been wheelchair athletes, again they go whizzing by before we have got to the end of our first lap but none were evident at the start today amongst the throng of runners of all abilities, those with dogs and a few pushing buggies.
What is nice about Dulwich is that it is so flat! It is like a massive running track that loops around – so basically you set off and just keep running around in a loop – 3 times! The path is also very wide so no getting crunched up or falling over other runners feet, or getting bunched in by runners, who are running across the path in a line so blocking it. No worries about getting lost here! In fact this parkrun is quite unique in that no marshals are needed out on the course to direct parkrunners to where they need to go as the course is so clear to follow. Also as a 3 lap course you go past the finish three times – so three lots of times of getting cheered on by the marshals. And to encourage you around each lap sometimes there is a marshal holding a clock on an ipad so that you can see how you are doing and work out whether you need to speed up in order to get that elusive PB. Hmmm I could have done with that today! (Sorry Lizzie - we were using it as a back-up timer)
parkrun is great for getting strangers talking and today was no exception as I met Karen and John Sparrow. They normally run at Nonsuch park, close to where Karen works but today they were on holiday and able to go further afield deciding to check out Dulwich. They had been told it was a mud free, fast course and looked very happy when I confirmed that there wouldn’t be as much mud as they are used to at their local event. I initially bumped into them near the car park and then as we were doing our pre (half) lap warm up they came wandering by in the opposite direction looking for the start. They joined in with us for our warm up and we showed them the bench, which would soon be covered in spare clothes, equipment, bikes, spare kids and was effectively the start. Funny how you get used to people arriving just a few minutes before the start at your local event but when you visit others you always arrive early and wonder where everyone is or are you in the right park. Although on my visit to Nonsuch I was surprised at how many were there early and even more surprised when they burst into a collective warm up session! I last saw them at the finish line with John having his thumbs up saying how much he enjoyed the course.
Due to the timer issues, the run eventually started at about 9.10am. We congregated at the start line and off we went. Now the question in my head was how far would we get before Paul came flying past. The path seemed more crowded at the start but we soon all stretched out.
Alison Bell, a friend from Bexley, was also with us. She had set her all time 5k PB on her previous visit to Dulwich (23.35), relishing the change from our Bexley mud and the drag that has to be covered twice, but with a late night the night before she was going to be “taking it easy” today but still managed a very commendable 25:49.
That first lap, I was feeling great – another friend, Adele, who we know from a local Sunday morning free run at Cyclopark Gravesend, came past, said hi and eased away – she would end up with a new PB. I was heading towards the end of the first lap – I have a target to get below 9 mins for that first lap (not yet achieved) – a quick look at the watch: 9.06 – drat – 7 seconds to shave off! But, yay, I hadn’t been lapped by Paul! So we were quicker than our first time at Dulwich. Paul soon came whizzing past – I love watching the fast runners as they glide by making it look so easy. Oh if only it was.
Several Kent Athletics runners were running today, with their coach, another familiar face from a few years ago as the club normally train at Ladywell track, close to where we used to live so we nodded in that I know you sort of way. He was half way round on the second lap with stop watch in his hand looking out for his runners – they were obviously taking it very seriously! As we approached the end of the second lap, the coach was there again. One of his runners came in, closely followed by another: he called out the time as we went past “18.45” – very handy to know. Drat as always I had slowed down on that second lap. My PB time at Dulwich is 28.24 – hmmm it was going to be tight. And so it proved – despite sprinting for the finish line, I crossed it in 28.28 – so agonizingly close. Oh well – next time maybe and at least it is an “aesthetically” pleasing number.
There were an amazing 13 complete first timers at today’s parkrun: perhaps some of you were brought along by a friend to try parkrun for the first time? Well done to Florence Herrington, Harry Friend, Laura Parrott, Bethany Wright, Alan Mole, Sarah Falconer, Stacey O’Keefe, Ellie Balfe, Samuel Pritchard, Marie Redmond, Lauren Harpham, Chris Adshead and Matt Eglen. We hope you enjoyed it and that you will be back for more. Believe me after running 257 myself – parkrun can be very addictive.
We also had 18 tourists from other parkruns including two “Stragglers” who were doing their 272 and 274 parkruns. They are certainly no stragglers – having done over 70 different parkruns including a series of runs in Italy, South Africa and Poland. Even more impressive is George Frogley who has done an amazing 312 runs (11 at Dulwich). Well done George!
Finally for the PBs: we had a staggering 49 of you getting new PBs – including Paul Martelletti with a new COURSE RECORD. Our PB winners today were Paul Martelleti, Thomas Hall, James Burrows, Tom Calvert, Joe Hartley, Alex Martin, Teresa Murphy, Matthew Aylott, Victoria Buck, Edward Craig, Stephen Elsworth, Andrew Harrison, Tom Cope, Tom Swanbury, Oliver Pope, Satish Jayawardene, Oliver Wyncoll, Nick Harris, Paul Lacey, Edward Farrer, Jonathan Guntrip, Dan Watts, Matt Nichols, Santos Diana, Jonny Rowse, Mark Read, Lydia Gardiner, Matthew Norris, Michelle Campbell, Deborah Watt, Eimear Keller, Karl McGovern, Jamie Livermore, Natalie Graham, Amy Obradovic, Barry Holden, Hannah Gray, John Cobb, Adele Tudor, Holly Earl, Rachael Annear, Fiona Atwood, Andrew Pelczarski, Abby Clyndes, Julia McDougall, Sam Morrissey, Daniel Tough, Annabel Dow, Chloe Jorgensen.
Well done and we hope you enjoyed that PB buzz. Some parkruns have PB bells where if you get a PB you can ring the bell. Just imagine the cacophony of noise that would have made today!
So how did our friend Lynne do on her first run back at parkrun ?and what about that runner who doesn’t appear in the final finishers? One of the very few rules that parkrun has, is “Don’t Forget Your Barcode”. This barcode has to be in a scannable form (sorry, barcodes on phones don’t scan so can’t be used). No barcode = no time.
Well, Lynne ran, did a fantastic 31.30 which is faster than she manages at Bexley and was really pleased. Such a shame she forgot her barcode though and to avoid messing the timing up or appearing as an unknown, she didn’t go through the finish funnel!!!!!
This parkrun report cannot be complete without a special mention for the Dulwich café, for whom I have a soft spot for as they do gluten free egg rolls. Yay! A fab treat after parkrun for a coeliac.