While most parkrunners tend to stick to their local runs, there is a large and colourful community of parkrun tourists who enjoy visiting as many different parkruns as possible. When I started touring, my goal was to complete all the parkruns in London – something I achieved at Canons Park on New Year’s Day. At that point, I decided that, as well as visiting parkruns outside London, there were quite a few within London that I would like to do again. Gunnersbury was one of those.
I first visited Gunnersbury at the tail end of 2018 and, while I enjoyed the park, the run left something to be desired. I’d made the rookie mistake of getting off the tube at Gunnersbury rather than the nearer Acton Town, promptly got lost and arrived sweating and stressed just as the run director shouted “Go!” Needless to say, I didn’t have the fastest of runs, so I was determined to come back and do the course justice.
Of course, the weather wasn’t going to make that easy, with Storm Dennis following hot on the heels of Ciara and making things a wee bit windy. Fortunately, the worst of the weather held off long enough for everyone to have an enjoyable run, even if the skies looked rather ominous.
Gunnersbury was also visited by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt, and sponsors The Happy Egg Company who provided hungry parkrunners with pancakes and fruit – a wonderful surprise on both counts.
Oh and I got my Gunnersbury PB and, more importantly, I enjoyed the course a lot more this time!
As for the fast folks, with the first two place occupied by unknown runners (DFYB, folks!), it fell to Clapham Chasers’ Martin BELL to be the first official male finisher in a speedy 16:53, followed by Dorset Doddlers’ Duncan Ward and Ealing Eagles’ Alan PHILLIPS who both notched up PBs.
West4Harriers’ Rosamund PONDER took the first lady spot in an impressive 19:01, more than a minute ahead of Ranelagh’s Sarah PALMER and Thames Valley Harriers’ Catherine ALLEN. WARD and PONDER was also top of the age gradings with 86.68% and 83.52% respectively – cracking work. A fantastic day for PONDER who also celebrated her 50th parkrun in style.
Claire HIDGE also ran her 50th parkrun today, while at the other end of the scale, Sophie KNIGHT, Holly BANNISTER, Kim NICHOLLS, Adam WADSWORTH, James BAILEY, Max DAVIES, Gokmen KILICOGLU, Leigh HOLMWOOD, Kerri-Ann ROPER, Tim ENGLISH, Sarah DE JERSEY, Jane KUNNA, James SOUTHGATE, Lisa GRAYSTON, John MASEFIELD, Georgie HERDMAN, Roxy JONES, Tina CROSSLEY and Russell DAVIS completed their first parkrun – hope to see you return next week!
Which leaves me to give thanks to all the marvellous volunteers:
Alex WILSON, Alexander WONG, Ali MULLALEY, Bruce LI, Catherine ROBERTS, David CRANE, Gillian WITCOMB, Henry BROOM, Ian WIMSETT, Jo BENNETT, Joanna DUDIZAK, Kieran KENNY, Kieran SANTRY, Liya DESTA, Lorraine HILL, Nathalie DESTA, Pamela WIGGINS, Paul DODOUNOU, Robert WILLIN, Roy WITCOMB, Sam LARCOMBE, Stuart PUGH, Tom KERRY, Tom SOUTHGATE, Valerie FLANAGAN and Valerie FOUGERES.
And thank you from me, Cal JONES – your report writer.