The Autumn that began at the start of July continued its pattern of Geography Field Trip weather yesterday, today and most likely tomorrow, with overcast clouds prepared to unload their sodden bulks on to the poor folk below.
It wasn’t peak Geography Field Trip weather as that would involve accompanying blustery winds and freezing temperatures to numb fingers holding clipboards. Small mercies perhaps but talking of holding clipboards, Ricardo expressed his distaste at being made ‘moist’ (always a great one for a quote, Ricardo) by the persistent and insistent drizzle. Some runners might enjoy as cooling them down from their run. Nutters!
At least the grassed section were not so wet as to feature in the Paul Simon song, ‘Slip Sliding Away’. The solitary permitted hour of sunshine always seems to arrive in the afternoon and did so again today.
Perhaps the downbeat wetness deterred people, perhaps parents making the most of the last weekend of the summer holidays for some schools; but numbers were down significantly and visibly, a mere 296. Normally, it’s around the 350 mark. The Run Director did not need to have ‘Quiet Please’ signs held up as he spoke, so small, spaced apart and peaceable were the assembled runners.
We were swelled with tourists from what is the new normal in tourism – Harlow, Bromley, Colchester, Crawley (and, further afield, Sheffield). And we were told that this was Ricardo’s 300th time as a volunteer. The man’s a legend and when he did run, it was barefoot. I know that there are T-shirts for doing volunteering 25 times but just as for the runners, there should be milestone T-shirts for the volunteers, without whom parkrun could not take place. With the reduced number of runners, we were not far short of one volunteer for each ten runners.
Whether one runs with the knees or with the thighs (for the latter think twerking in perpetual motion), as one gets deeper into the course on the second lap, there are those ahead who you know that you’re in a position to overtake. It is unclear though if you are natural speed is faster than theirs or if your deceleration is not as precipitous as their own. Some runners have their second wind and some save their best for the final knockings of a race, but I think with Everest, most people will have had the stuffing knocked out of them after the second ascent. At base camp, it is easy to thank the marshal posted there but the marshal sensibly posted halfway up, is rather harder to verbally express gratitude as one’s lungs snatch at whatever oxygen makes it past the lactic acid. Nevertheless, 296 people scaled Everest not once but twice (and would only need oxygen once past the finish line), all in less than a hour – take that, Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary!
The fastest finisher, Chris Rampling, in my Run Report from 21st August, decided to take it easy this week, coming in over a minute and 20 seconds slower (still finishing in the top five). At the top of the leaderboard this week is Anthony Webb, a first timer putting everyone else in the shade, with 17 minutes, 19 seconds. Usually, a list of the quickest speedsters is dominated by men, but Laura Day from Sheffield stormed the field to take second place with 18.15. Shout-out to Nicola Lilley finishing in 9th place too.
The top ten Flashes were:
1. Anthony Webb
2. Laura Day
3. Neill Wright
4. Sean Barwick
5. Chris Rampling
6. Adam Featherstone
7. Barry Royden
8. Gareth Williams
9. Nicola Lilley
10. Sean Rodwell
We are very grateful to the volunteers who made this event happen:
Alison Baker, Paul Barry, Sharon Boyle, Carrie Broom, Neville Broom, Bruce Byers, Penny Cadman, Teresa Cambell, Polly Clayton, Barefootricardo D’Ash, Carol Davis, Foluke Gabriel, Jon Goodall, Dan Gower-Smith, Robert Greenwood, Karl Grimble, Paul Heywood, Paul Johnston, Isabel King, Alan Le Grys, John Lean, Roger Ernest Lodge, Andrew Lunnon, Elena Mutter-Child, Alex Plumb, Cathy Rahmanzadeh, Rosie Regan, Wendy Regan, June Rodwell, Chris Rowlands, Ross Sandy, David Sharpley, Mick Smith, Vanessa Vander, Philip Wallace, Marcus Ward, Andy Willing and Karen Willing.
Run Report Writer