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.