Saturday mornings don’t get much better for running. An ideal temperature, maybe just a little cool for standing about but not too hot for those on the go. Summer definitely in the air with the first swifts to arrive from Africa wheeling overhead, while on the pond the coot parents were proudly showing off their offspring.
425 participants lined up for Dulwich parkrun Number 378. But before the starting whistle was blown, there was a special Runners’ Briefing, delivered on Eurovision Day, in Eurovision theme, by today’s Run Director Hayden Judd, dressed in Euro-flag shirt, who wished everyone ‘Bienvenu a la parc de Dulwich’, before proceeding with gems such as 'There’s no need to Russia, you can go as Slovenia as you like, or run like Greece lightning'; ‘Remember to keep the Sandy Shaw on your left’; 'When you've Finnished, if you're Hungary, you can go the café and have a Bucks Fizz while You're Making Your Mind Up what to eat'; and ‘Czech Republic our Facebook page and TwItaly-er site’. There were more along the same lines: great stuff, Hayden – were we supposed to laugh or groan? (!)
Completing the Euro theme, Gillian Cavell, who gave me a friendly welcome when I arrived, had brought along some Euro-flag bunting which was stretched across the finish area. Loved your jacket, Gillian!
James Bentley got a well-deserved round of applause for doing his 50th parkrun: get that red tee-shirt ordered, James! And there was applause too for the first-timers and visitors, one of whom had come all the way from Australia: cue another Eurovision remark ‘you are allowed to take part, whatever others might think’. And most importantly, there was applause for the wonderful volunteers, 20 of them today, without whom parkrun couldn’t happen: do have a look at the rota and consider helping in the coming weeks.
On to the results. First home today was Edward Chuck 16:18, and first female was Teresa Murphy in 18:36. Well done to them and to everyone who clocked up personal bests, one being second man home, Nick Twin-Buggy – oh, I’d love it if that really is your name, Nick!
Finally, what am I, a visitor from Harrow parkrun, doing writing this report? Well, I was in Zielona Gora, western Poland, last Saturday, completing my parkrun alphabet with the letter "Z". There were at least a dozen like-minded souls from the UK there, among them a minibus load from Dulwich: Hayden, Philip and Jenny (all of whom I saw again today), plus Dan, Becky and Karen. I was told about today’s ‘Eurovision special’ and thought it would be fun to come along. It certainly was! Good wishes to everyone at Dulwich parkrun, and special wishes to Hayden who I understand celebrates his 50th birthday soon.