“All parkrun events in the United Kingdom have been suspended with immediate effect due to the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. At this stage we have cancelled events up to the end of March. Please follow our communications channels for ongoing updates. parkrun’s global position is published and will be updated here.”
On Saturday I was off down to the south coast to run the CTS Sussex Ultra – a 34-mile ultramarathon that involves a lot of running up and down the Seven Sisters and similar hills. It was muddy in places, hard work, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
One of the reasons I was able to enjoy it is because I knew that in Jenny Booth – Run Director and Number Checker – and the rest of the volunteer crew for the week, Lloyd parkrun was in safe hands. So many thanks to Jenny, and to the rest of the week’s volunteers: Paul Alder, Peter Attewell, , Phoebe Broadhead, Martin Donnelly, Martin Drake, Paul Elliott, Nick Fiander, Agnimitra Ghosh, David Graves, Marcelo Kern, Richard Lee-Smith, Carl Linkson, David Colm O'domhnaill, Lynn Seymour, Heather Sinclair, Stephen Tyler.
The 506th Lloyd parkrun attracted a smaller number of parkrunners than usual. Many familiar faces from both Striders of Croydon and Croydon Harriers were down the road at South Norwood for the annual ‘mob match’ between the two clubs. (The South Norwood parkrun report provides some fun statistics of the mob match, for any regulars who are interested).
Meanwhile, Lloyd parkrunners were treated to the start of the Great Spring Mud Drying. Every year, those who have been loyal to our wonderful hilly cross-country course, who have battled through sticky mud and slippery mud, get to enjoy the course gradually drying out and becoming firmer. That’s not to say there wasn’t any mud – there was, particularly at the bottom of the hill. However, it was definitely less muddy than expected after the preceding weeks. As a bonus, the temperature was mild and there was even patchy sunshine to herald that spring is on its way. At the top of the big field, the daffodils are sprouting – at least those that were not sacrificed to the tarmac cycle path.
There were fewer first-timers than usual, but Annie Molotkova completed her first parkrun (congratulations!), while John Stan visited from Grovelands parkrun, Enfield and Tim Chambers had come the furthest distance, as he was visiting from PE Hobie Beach parkrun in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
This week’s front runners were Lee Flanagan (Striders of Croydon) in 19:13, followed by Marcelo Kern in 20:36 and Ben Amey in 20:46. For the women, Zoha Jethra led the way, finishing in 23:41, with Oluremi Johnson next in 28:45 and Caz Heath third in 29:42. The tail walker was also a Strider – Lynn Seymour, so that would have been Striders first and last (despite the mob match), except that Chao Gibbs (and dog) started rather late and never caught up.
Congratulations to the six parkrunners who managed a PB: Daniel Szaniszlo, D Sandsy, Mohammed Khan, Lucinda Elliott, Elizabeth Parsons and Lisa Alder., and to Tom Corfield for reaching the 50 parkruns club and Mark Robert Kelly for reaching the 250 club!
Age graded honours go to Lee Flanagan (74.33%), Zoha Jethra 67.42% and Geoff Pennells (65.57%).
As you may know, parkruns in 15 other countries were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m awaiting an update from parkrun HQ regarding this Saturday and will let you know what’s happening as soon as possible.
Please remember that if parkrun is cancelled you can still run the course by yourself and record it as a freedom run – and even run it with friends so long as you keep a sensible distance from one another.
Part of Park Hill Road is closed - if you're coming that way, follow the diversion and it brings you out a little further down the road.
Results -might- be delayed - depends whether elderly computer can connect through mobile phone. If not then I will do them after getting back from my ultra down near the cost. Be patient, please!
The 8th March is International Women’s Day, and today, 7th March, parkrun celebrated that with an extra push to get women involved in parkrun.
We had 57 women running/jogging/walking at Lloyd parkrun (actually at least 58, as there was definitely one woman and probably more who didn’t have a parkrun ID barcode so didn’t get their run registered) and eight women volunteering (two as the tail walkers). The first woman to finish was Rachael Turner in 25:24, followed by Rita Roselt in 25:42 and Katrina Jones in 26:24, with the first junior being Gulcin Erten in 26:32. The last women to finish were those who had volunteered to be the tail walkers – Christiane and Eliane Martine – many thanks to both of you.
The top age-graded runs this week came from Viv Mitchell, running her 301st parkrun, with 64.12%, Anna Dellaway (59.64%) and Rita Roselt (59.86%).
The youngest female participant was in the JW11-14 age group while the oldest was in the 70-74 age group – and we had representatives of all the other age groups in between except 18-19 (probably saving themselves for this afternoon’s cross country race in the park) and 66-69 (possibly also saving themselves for the cross country).
In addition to the tail walkers, other women volunteered: giving the first-timers’ briefing (Joanna Scanlan), handing out finish tokens (Vanessa Wheeler), taking the photos (Phoebe Broadhead), Marshaling (Miriam de Souza and Wendy Spear), as Run Director/Number Checker (me) and encouraging people to sign up to volunteer in the coming weeks (Joanna Scanlan again – and she did a great job of that).
We were very lucky to be provided with some “This Girl Can” T-shirts and they were very rapidly accepted, with several women wearing them for the run, while others donned theirs afterwards – they all went and I was sorry to have to disappoint some runners who would have liked one (I didn’t get one either!) – as well as a couple of male runners who asked if they could take one for their girlfriends. Hopefully we’ll see some of them being worn in the coming months, whether at parkrun or around Croydon in general.
The photos this week will also contain a gallery of shots of women using the #IWD / #ThisGirlCan selfie frame – both runners and volunteers.
Looking at the Lloyd parkrun stats, we definitely have fewer female than male teenage runners, and it would be great if we could get more women and girls of all ages involved. Exercise is good for people on so many levels and getting out in green space is also beneficial to your health. Lloyd parkrun provides both green space and fantastic exercise, with the chance, depending on season, to see or hear some amazing wildlife, from butterflies to woodpeckers and even deer, on occasion.
We had plenty of men running too.
Jonathan Pontin (Ravens) led the dash home, in 18:46, with Greg Kirby next in a PB of 20:37 and Marcelo Kern, running his 100th parkrun following in 20:47. Marcelo has also volunteered 38 times, commonly helping to set up the course and/or scanning barcodes after he has run, and we very much appreciate all his contributions.
Graham Hansen led the age-graded results with 71.68%, followed by Jonathan Pontin 68.83%) and John Punt (68.30%).
Male volunteers included the set-up crew of Martin Donnelly, John Punt, Nick Fiander, Erik Schrijnemaekers and Paul Elliott; Neel Maniar and Isaac Flanagan as timekeepers; Harry Ogden scanning barcodes, joined by Marcelo, Martin and John after they had run; and Lee Flanagan as a marshal, while Aidan Dixon led the post-event close down as well as washing used water cups and sorting the photos.
Milestones were reached by Joseph Cosgrave and Jason Kinkead, both joining the parkrun 50 runs club, and Marcelo Kern reaching the 100 parkruns club.
Keen readers might have guessed that this week’s run report would be marking the date – 29 February. Mud-daubed proposals? How predictable that would be. Instead we have another dip into the wonderful world of numberology. To recap, this is not to be confused with its more popular cousin, 'numerology' – numberology is all about the patterns. And this week’s numberology vibe is prime numbers – try as you might, arranging them in a neat rectangle will always leave one left over… so who were this week’s intrepid primes? We sprint swiftly past our first runners home, Adan Hudson and Leanne Moore, and on to the top 10 prime positions of 2 (Lee Flanagan), 3 (Matthew Stone), 5 (David Ogden), and 7 (Erik Schrijnemaekers). Hats off (or more probably pulled down low around ears) to the intrepid guys James Bachen, Rhys Connolly, and Hasan Hassan, for whom this was their very first parkrun. And also for Gary Lewis, and Michael O’Neill who must have rigged up a sail or two to secure a personal best.
Who shall we give a shout out to this time? The speediest get their names in lights pretty often, and it’s a timed-run-not-a-race. Instead, let’s celebrate the Prime Runners throughout the field of 104 this week, who’ve completed a prime number of parkruns : Beatrice Ogol (19), Sean Hayes and Kristina Wesson (31), Chris Taruwona (43), Nicola Kidd (53), Matthew McGuinness (67), Pandie Bronsdon (73), Miriam De Souza (79), James Porter (89), Aidan Devaney (97), Jim Meadows (103), David Fowler (107), Marian Alayande (157), Andrew Honeyman (193), and Sandra Harris with a whopping prime numbered 331 parkruns (319 of which were at Lloyd).
Others to shout out are the lovely volunteers without whom we simply wouldn’t be : Jenny Booth directing and coordinating proceedings, Debra Bourne organising volunteers etc. during the week even though absent this Saturday morning, event set up (popping out flags, marker arrows and more) Paul Elliott, Martin Donnelly Vanessa Wheeler and Nick Fiander, timekeepers Trevor Stotten and Stephen Tyler, Neel Maniar who dished out the all-important tokens, and scanners Martin Donnelly, Harry Ogden and Marcelo Kern. Did you smile or grimace as the marshals cheered you on or snapped your pic? James McDonald, Joseph Cosgrove, Jon Dean, Stephen Rhys-Davies and Phoebe Broadhead will know! And to top and tail the event, we have first timers’ briefings and tail walkers Madeleine Little, Beatrice Ogol and Tony MacDowall, and scribe Narmada de Silva. There are all sorts of volunteer roles that you can do as well as or instead of running, all of which help the parkrun well, run, so why not give it a go?
Next week, 7 March, parkrun in Lloyd and further afield will be celebrating International Women’s Day by welcoming as many first-time women runners as we can. With 66 men and 33 women taking part this week, there’s plenty of scope for more women to get involved. Will the rumour of a free T-shirt entice a few more women out? – do encourage any potential new parkrunners to come along and find out.