Event 327 Hitchcock Presents!

This week we welcome sometime runner of Maldon Prom, father of a parkrunner/gamer, tourist and poet, Tim, who has kindly written this week’s run report. Thank you Tim.

On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, 301 athletes assembled in the spirit of parkrun togetherness for this remembrance weekend. At a time when the world appears more divided than ever, it’s heartening that a common goal can bring people closer. We should never forget the price of division.

On a lighter note, it’s lovely when you’re allowed to write a second report for a parkrun. This one is just as tenuous as the last (Lord of the Wings #323) in its link to running. Firstly, I must explain the title. Last week I speed walked King’s Lynn parkrun dressed as everyone’s favourite fictional psychopath, Michael Myers, from the 1978 film Halloween. The movie was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic, Psycho. Interestingly, we had two Hitchcock’s take part in the Halloween run at King’s Lynn! So what does this have to do with Maldon, I don’t hear you ask? Well very little, except that Hitchcock possibly drew inspiration for his suspense films from a visit to Maldon District. The Birds is certainly an apt film for Prom Park and the surrounding mudflats and salt marshes which teem with avian life. The following run report has a series of 3 line Hitchcock haiku (or Hitchku), each reflecting a part of the course, including the title of one of his films in italics!

Dial P for parkrun

As usual I was late for the run briefing, just catching a few words from top run director, Elaine Vaughan. Milestones were achieved by Jacqui Smythe and Paul Nolan (50 Club). On a personal note, my son and me got to a combined total of 100 parkruns (Joseph 30 runs, dad 70).

rear window
I can just hear the briefing
from the toilet

I told my son not to go out too quick. I might as well have been talking to the birds for all the notice he takes. But the arm’s length rule keeps him close around the off-road meadow section.

unexpected sprinter
on mud and grass

Emerging from the trees, we thank one of the 21 volunteers. The commotion from our banter causes a lapwing to take flight from the mudflats near the statue. This is my favourite part of the course, the view of Northey Island, breath-taking (as is the running!).

the birds
around Byrhtnoth
a flock of runners

On the first lap, we approach the lake, the dull ache in my knee indicates that the early pace will not last much longer. But still I wave at the marshals and run director atop the escarpment plinth, prominent like a miniature Minus Tirith.

north by northwest
we wind around the lake
with the breeze

By now, the eventual female first finisher, Heidi Steele (19:35), this week’s Prom Queen, is nearing the funnel. The pace of the front runners comes as no surprise, the male first finisher, Henry Clarke, running superbly (18:14).

a lady vanishes
around the lake
men fade away

The fly in the ointment for me is always at the end of lap one. I often wonder how much a barkrunner can bring to their owner’s time on the precipitous slope next to the grassy escarpment of Minus Tirith!

the 39 steps
a dog drags its owner
up the slope

The second perambulation of the meadow brings its own challenges. Gone is the energy with which I scampered around it on lap one. The run director’s words ringing in my ears, I commit the ultimate Maldon Prom doozy to shave a few seconds off my time!

I confess
I cut a corner
in the meadow

I’m running through metaphorical treacle now, but my son has seen an opportunity to push me even harder to deaden dad’s legs for the sprint in which he will inevitably emerge victorious. He has given me enough Rope on this run…

a gull takes flight
from high railings

The north face is conquered for the last time; the funnel seems like it’s farther away than before. Formalities over, barcode and finish Tolkien scanned, I wonder what happened to my son’s fleece top all those months ago.

to catch a thief
still no sign
of the jumper

And finally, to go with the 50 pbs, 102 people beat the poet this week (time 26:44, a new course pb!). I wonder if any of them committed the cardinal parkrun sin…..

the wrong man
an unknown athlete
takes a token home

And to finish up this tenuously titled run report, Hitchcock’s great grandfather was born in Essex (c.1791); the director strongly linked with the village of Dedham, six ancestors having lived there. There’s also a Hitchcock’s Meadow (it’s got orchids and glow-worms!) in nearby Danbury which I assume has nothing to do with the director!

Tim Gardiner

aka parkrun poet
twitter: @parkrunpoetry

Thank you so much Tim. Happy tori sting, we hope you will be visiting Maldon Prom again soon and you will enter again us with another wonderful run report.

See you next week. Have a great weekend.
Run Director

Maldon Prom parkrun team
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Your Core Team:-
Sue Smith - Bob Gear - Belinda Amner - Elaine Vaughan - Alison Hughes - David Stokes

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Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Maldon Prom parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by Scott COUSINS who recorded a time of 15:48 on 26th March 2016 (event number 137).
The female record is held by Elizabeth DAVIES who recorded a time of 17:49 on 25th June 2016 (event number 150).
The Age Grade course record is held by Ella Marie JONES who recorded 93.87% (21:45) on 13th October 2018 (event number 270).