How to jump puddles?
Today was dry and clear, but any hopes this would mean an end to muddy puddles around the course were quickly dashed, with a particularly spectacular water obstacle now strategically-situated just before the little bridge before the winter finish – to make sure everyone gets two goes at crossing it.
My sense is that the puddles are getting fewer but bigger as this very wet winter progresses (perhaps they are a social lot and like to get together during the week while we’re not looking…?) Bigger will also mean they take longer to evaporate, so this could be an survival strategy in the face of our weekly attempt to mass-splash the water off the course – but whatever the cause, it’s clear they’ll be around for a while yet, so I thought I’d take the opportunity of not running today to observe how different park runners choose to tackle them: do they go round, over, under – or straight through the middle in good Bear Hunt fashion (this reference is with apologies to anyone who hasn’t had to read ‘We’re all going on a Bear Hunt’ to a small child in the last 20 years!).
Also, surely there is a correlation between the way park-runners approach puddles and their finish time? From my usual mid-field position I have convinced myself that part of the reason I’m not likely to trouble any record-keepers any time soon is that I prefer to keep my feet dry if at all possible… If this theory is correct, I was looking forward to seeing the first 50 runners plunge right through the middle of the puddle without even noticing it….?
But I was wrong: I can now exclusively reveal that this week’s first placed park runner (Jonathan Goringe, who finished in 17:15) actually ran around the puddle! The implications of this are difficult to process: it may even mean that parkrun times are driven by internal factors more to do with the fitness and commitment of the runner than external factors such as puddles, wind speeds or the angle of the sun as you descend the hill round the back of the golf course. I may have been wasting a lot of mental energy worrying about the wrong things.
So we should move on from puddles I think, although not before awarding a (virtual) prize for the best splash to the (unknown) pair below: top marks for style, nonchalance, synchronisation and moving so quickly that their feet apparently remain dry even as the muddy water leaps skywards.
There was also an exceptional milestone this week, which must be a Leamington first if not a national one: a twin 250th parkrun for the Bennett brothers, Mick and Martin, who have been Leamington regulars since 2014 (again, a virtual award for synchronisation!) Mick and Martin's sister was one of those celebrating a birthday this week.
Other milestones: Juniors Hannah, Amelie, Freya and Siya all ran their 10th parkrun and Caroline White ran her 50th.
It was a busy week for the event and run directors, with a total of 683 people participating this week, and a flooded river Leam again diverting too many cars around to the car park on the north bank and creating chaos. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to thank them for everything they do in making this fantastic event possible and dealing with the massive challenges of dealing with an unpredictable number of people with an unpredictable, diverse range of ages and abilities turning up week-in, week-out in unpredictable weather, and unpredictable behaviour by other park users and authorities; yet delivering a totally predictable, consistently high quality, fun and enjoyable event for absolutely everyone (without fail!!). Sounds impossible, doesn’t it……?
Here’s a picture of Kevin and Ben in action before the start.
We were also supported this week by a team of volunteers from a charity close to Ben’s heart, Band of Brothers, and Ben promised in his talk to provide links to more information: here is a paragraph and the promised links provided by Ben:
And finally, the full statistics for the week for those who enjoy these things!
This week 683 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 41 were first timers to park run and 57 more were visitors running at Leamington for the first time. 36 people recorded new Personal Bests (although it’s not known how many of these ran through the puddles). Representatives of 44 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 44 volunteers:
Emma BAKER, Seb BARFIELD, Peter BARFIELD, James BARRETT, Kevin BASKERVILLE, Gary BEMAN, Matthew BISHOP, Helen BRAITHWAITE, Zac CALE, Charis CAWS, Zoe CAWS, Ross CAWS, Jill COATES, Marti DHESI, Mrs DOYLE, Helen EVANS, Ian FOTHERINGHAME, Malcolm FRY, Jonathan GRANT, Amy HARTILL, Andrew HIGGINS, John MOORE, Portia NABNEY, Eleanor NABNEY, Morgan NABNEY, Coralie NEWMAN, Grace O'MALLEY, Kersti O'MALLEY, Martin OSICKA, Jacob OXTOBY, Clare PHILLIPS, Jasmine PHILLIPS, Ben PHILLIPS, Jeremy POPE, Matthew RHODES, Shaun SHUFFLEBOTHAM, Daniel SHURROCK, Krisztina STRATH, Jon TEMPLE, Stephen TRAYNOR, Garry VASSALLO, Richard WALKER, Margaret WEBSTER, Claire WESTROPE
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Leamington parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Matthew ARMSTRONG who recorded a time of 15:22 on 6th October 2012 (event number 77).
The female record is held by Charlotte TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:09 on 23rd February 2013 (event number 97).
The Age Grade course record is held by Monica WILLIAMSON who recorded 94.26% (19:44) on 29th September 2018 (event number 391).
Leamington parkrun started on 23rd April 2011. Since then 18,093 participants have completed 156,887 parkruns covering a total distance of 784,435 km, including 24,721 new Personal Bests.