Achievements and Pretzels at Dulwich parkrun #206


Many thanks to Sarah Watson and Kevan Wilkinson for giving us their perspectives of Dulwich parkrun

'Achievements' from Sarah:

252 runners got their weekends off to an excellent start, completing 756 laps of Dulwich park between them, and all before 10am.

Other than G Thornicroft who ran his 50th parkrun there were unusually few milestones among us this week - a quick scan of the latest results shows that Alex Graves, Ian Johnson, Mark Pascoe, and Simon Allocca are fast approaching their 50th runs, with Peter Sanders and Simon McGinley well on the way to 100.  Keep up the good work.

Huge congratulations to the incredible 59 runners who ran PBs - no mean feat on a Saturday morning when most of the world is still asleep!

Special mention goes to Tony Tuohy who achieved the highest age graded score of the week, as well as to Ellie Osmond who was first junior home. Olivia del Carlo who was second junior, smashed her previous PB.  Well done to all of you.

Unfortunately, the first two runners were barcode-less. Having completed the run on more than one occasion to find that my paper barcode has degraded into an unscannable scrap, I’d recommend the plastic (and thus infinitely more durable) barcodes available from ‘ERS’ - (
Parkrun barcodes for 5K TimeTrial Running printed with ICE number and medical information, barcoded PVC cards, tags and Wristbands ensuring your performance is always ...

As ever, a big thank you to the runners who make it all possible by donning the fluorescent vests and volunteering.

Having run at Dulwich for several years now parkrun remains one of my favourite ways to begin a weekend, not least because of the friends I have made over time. I'm sure we can all agree it is a brilliant way to bring people together.

Well done to all, and we hope you will be back with us again soon. "

and 'Pretzels' from Kevan

On my previous visits to Dulwich I have been intrigued about what appear to be three enormous pretzels flanking the main path and wondered what they were meant to be and signify.
I can be certain that it wouldn’t have anything to do with a previous pretzel and running incident when, during a very hot LA Marathon as temperatures hit 30 degrees bystanders had set up impromptu water stations whilst others were offering hamburgers, Chinese takeaways and beer. Someone had a big bowl of pretzels. I went for the pretzels and spent the many miles left trying to soak up the sandy mixture in my mouth.
These Dulwich pretzels are made of cast iron, standing out starkly against the green grass of the park providing a visible landmark and reference point on the run, occasionally being used by the British Military Training groups as a climbing frame.
Entitled ‘The Perpetual Chord’, they were created by sculpture and artist Conrad Shawcross.
Now I can see Conrad’s vision in placing these three objects in a harmonic arrangement and can appreciate the everlasting significance, previous sculptures in the park have been stolen, these pretzels are not going to be moved or turn to sand in a hurry but, I doubt that the sculptor would have imagined that I, and no doubt a few others, would now be using his artwork as a reference point to gauge how their run was going.
So, we have a set of three sculptures, passed three times which, to me, have now come to represent three stages of the Dulwich parkrun route.
First lap, less than 1 km done and I hope that the early, enthusiastic, rush haseased itself gently into a nice pace rather than my legs screaming at me to stop.
Second lap, by now we are nearing the 3 km point, past halfway and I am hoping that the nice steady pace continues and takes me over the slight rise and past them once again.
Third lap, 600 metres to go and I will soon see the finish, how am I feeling, do I still have the energy to give it one last push before turning the final corner, will I breeze up that slight incline up to the finish or will it be more of a mountain?
Most of us have a target landmark, the place that they hope to have reached in a certain time or without having to stop for a walk, just like the young boy running alongside me today who, towards the end of the first lap proudly announced to his dad that this would be the first time he had run a full lap without stopping. Spurred on by the cheering volunteer team …
… he managed another few hundred meters before slowing. Let's hope he continues building up the distance week by week until he is running the whole 5k.
No doubt some of the 12 first time parkrunners welcomed to the event by RD (Rebecca Dennis) today, were just starting on that journey and we wish you luck and don't forget, most of those around you have been in a similar place, we are all here to support and encourage.

A few niggling pains and bit of arthritis has curbed any speed that I once had but thankfully I am still running and now get immense satisfaction from seeing others achieve targets, more so if I have been able to help them in some way so, today was especially pleasing, as my wife, Lizzie finished with a new PB: 20 seconds quicker and now just 5 seconds away from her personal 2016 target (sub 28 minutes).
Among our many touring visitors today was Ian Taylor. Ian has visited 59 other events and plans to visit Hilly Fields or Crystal Palace next week, neither of which will be quite as flat as Dulwich but they both have sculptures though the Hilly Fields stone circle and Crystal Palace dinosaurs are both off route. I am sure that, as at all events, he will receive a warm welcome.

A run reporter’s life may become easier in the future if we all buy the new apricot parkrun shirt that can be customised with the name of your home run as elegantly modelled by today’s Run Director. I have to admit that she looked much better and a lot younger than I did in mine :)

On the subject of Club shirts, just one milestone this week,G. Thornicroft hitting 50 runs ( all at Dulwich ) but there were others with even more runs to their barcodes. We spotted one who had just recently completed quite a major landmark - Jo Quantrill who now has 253 runs under her feet. So along with Lizzie that put two ladies on top of the attendance list. Did you spot those rare dark green Club 250 shirts in the line-up? Looks like the men have some catching up to do.
You might find this sad but my next 18 weekends are already scheduled including a run near Heathrow just a few hours before a long haul flight and organised to the extent that I know where and when my 250th run will be (barring unforeseen circumstances). Then again if you are a parkrunner you probably won't be that surprised at all.
I just hope that the post run snack will be a bit more exciting than a pretzel!

If you would like to put pen to paper to write a report please get in touch.  It is great to hear your views.