As Sunday 8th March 2020 is International Women’s Day, we were treated to a pre-race briefing from the inspirational Susie Chan. Susie has taken part in some of the world's toughest ultra and endurance events. She has completed the 6 marathon majors, taken part in an ironman triathlon and finished the Marathon Des Stables 4 times. This punishing 156 mile ultra event in the Sahara Desert takes place over 6 days in temperatures of 50+ Celsius. Susie also holds the world record for furthest distance run on a treadmill in 12 continuous hours completing 68.5 miles. This girl really can!
1st man home today was Max Powell representing Vegan Runners. Max finished in a speedy time of 18.03. All the more impressive is that he runs in the 15-17 age category.
1st female home was Louise Griffin, also representing Vegan Runners with a time of 22.27.
There were 3 official milestones to celebrate today:
Zachary Smalley in the JM10 age cat joined the 10 club and can now claim his white t-shirt. Zachary finished in 164th place with a time of 34.02.
Jonathan Bradbury finished in 110th position with a time of 28.44. He now joins the 50 club and can claim his red t-shirt.
Tom Bray represented Romsey Road Runners today for his 100th run. He finished in an impressive 2nd place with a time of 18.45 and will soon be seen in his new black t-shirt. 100 parkruns is like walking from Hogmoor to Gretna Green. That would take you 4 days and 9 hours!
Today you may have noticed a sea of green and black as over 50 Vegan Runners turned out in force to celebrate Mike Harper's 400th run. 46 VRs scanned in while other club members attended to volunteer. Although not an official milestone, vegan runners need no excuse to break out the cake and there was lots on offer today. Mike has run at 118 different locations and tells me he hasn't missed a single parkrun since April 2017. The break in his streak was only because he was running Brighton marathon the next day and even then he was still at parkrun volunteering. That's dedication! As the crow flies, 400 parkruns is the distance of Hogmoor to The Westfjords - a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland. 'Til hamingju!'
Other female parkrun world records holders are Elaine Sherwin who holds the run assisted record. She ran with a canicross dog on 11th February 2017 at Kingsbury Water parkrun setting a time of 15:12 and Lizzie Williams who holds the wheelchair record set at Dulwich parkrun with a time of 15:27
How do these records compare to Hogmoor? The current female record holder is Rebecca Margaret Lord setting a time of 19:03 on 2nd March 2019
In 2017, 83-year-old Margaret Smith from Brueton parkrun became the oldest woman in parkrun history to complete 250 parkruns – hopefully we will all still be running in our 80s too!
Other inspiring female runners:
Kathrine Switzer - Kathrine bravely paved the way for women runners by entering the 1967 Boston marathon using just her initials, five years before women were allowed to compete. During her run, a race official attempted to stop Switzer and grab her official bib however, he was shoved to the ground by Switzer's boyfriend who was running with her and she completed the race. It was not until 1972 that women were allowed to run the Boston Marathon officially. Afterward, Boston Athletic Association director Will Cloney was asked his opinion of Switzer competing in the race. Cloney said, "Women can't run in the Marathon because the rules forbid it. If that girl were my daughter, I would spank her." Kathrine remarked on her accomplishment: ‘’I knew if I quit, nobody would ever believe that women had the capability to run 26-plus miles. If I quit, it would set women's sports back, way back, instead of forward.’’ Switzer went on to run 35 marathons and win the 1974 New York City marathon.
Joyce Smith - You may be old enough to remember the first ever London marathon 1981 when Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen crossed the finish line holding hands in 2:11:48 but who was the first female? Joyce Smith was a 43 year old mother and full-time wages clerk from Watford. She was the first British woman to break the 2.30 barrier and still the oldest winner of the race. She then won again in 1982 at 44 years old and in 1984, she became the oldest female Olympic athlete by running in the first women's Olympic marathon finishing 11th at the age of 46.
Mary Keitany - Kenyan Mary set a new world marathon record in 2017, beating Paula Radcliffe’s previous record with a time of 2:17:01. That's like running parkrun in a time of 16.15 - 8.5 times in a row!
Fiona Oakes - Fiona holds 4 world records for marathon running. In 2013, she won both the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the North Pole Marathon and became the fastest female in aggregate time to complete a marathon on each continent (23h:27m:40s), the fastest female in aggregate time to complete a marathon on each continent and the North Pole (28h:20m:50s) and the fastest female in elapsed time to complete a marathon on each continent and the North Pole (225 days and 18 hours). She has a marathon PB of 2.38. She has achieved all of this despite losing a kneecap when she was 17 and having multiple knee operations. She has no coach, no physio and has never even had a sports massage! Fiona fits her training in around working full time by getting up at 3.30am every day to care for the 450 animals at her sanctuary - Tower Hill Stables. She is also an ambassador for The Vegan Society and is a founding member of Vegan Runners UK.