Mallards PikeEvent number 1528th December 2019By Andy Norman, Tearaways of TewkesburyWhat better place to visit and enjoy the great outdoors after Christmas than aparkrun in a beauty spot in the Forest of Dean? I lead a running club called theTearAways from the North Gloucestershire/South Worcestershire area, well abetter description may be a social group that run a bit. As you will see from ourtimes, we do not take it too seriously! Most of our members have completedmy Couch – 5km programmes and the TearAways keeps them all running atparkruns. We have such fun at home (Worcester) and being parkrun touristsincluding full weekend tours. We had visited Mallards Pike once before with 22completing the run which they all thought was beautiful and had greatlyenjoyed. I volunteered on that occasion so was looking forward to my first runhere, being my NENDY (nearest event not done yet) number 3.It was a bit grey and misty as we drove through the Forest, arriving at MallardsPike where there is great parking and toilet facilities close at hand. Aftergathering the TearAways clan, we walked to the start where the fab RunDirector, Cherry Fowler, “womanfully” battled with the megaphone andenthusiastic dogs to lead us all through the run briefing. All volunteers weregiven a warm round of applause as were milestone runners Martin Blakebrough(250), Robin Drewett and Ali Ford (100). In total, 181 runners took up theMallards Pike challenge. Can I also mention that from the TearAways, GeorgiaNorman was completing her bronze and Richard Ashworth his gold obsessivewith Judith King and Mark Davey breaking a club record of 53 parkruns in acalendar year.We were off! The course is all on wide forestry tracks and there is a gradualuphill for the first half of the run. Thankfully my negative thoughts of eatingtoo much turkey for the first 1k vanished but then were only replaced bythoughts of too many mince pies and Christmas cake for the next 2 k! Full ofcold, I was finding this run quite tough. If only I knew that the first runners hadcome across a ‘sounder’ of 10 Wild Boar (impressed? I googled it!), I may havemade more effort to get to the front! What a fantastic sight for those who sawthe animals which have been re-introduced to the Forest over the past few years.The beautiful route continued through the trees and thankfully after about 3kthere was some downhill allowing me to stretch my legs as I eventually wentpast a few fellow runners. This brought to mind a famous commentating classic
from the well-known athletics commentator, David Coleman, about running:‘Coe now opens his legs and you can see the class shining through!’So after an uphill before the final finish I was over the finishing line in a slightlydisappointing 29 minutes. This was put somewhat in perspective when hearingthe winner Ben Robinson of the Bristol & West Club had chosen his quickestdog to accompany him to post a time of 12:34, dog assisted but which is 3seconds quicker than the 5km world record! Great effort!Twenty five new Personal Bests today with 101 athletes running at the Pike forthe first time. The first female home was Hannah McVittie in 20:33 and firstmale not dog assisted was Peter Woodward in 17:45. Best % age grading,excluding Ben, was Shirley Robinson with 80% in the VW60-64 bracket. Manyclubs were well represented including the TearAways with 14 runners, who arenow the third biggest club at Mallards but the largest club remain Forest ofDean AC who had 16 runners.Coffee and bacon butties from the café and an impromptu picnic next to thegorgeous lake rounded off a great morning in the Forest. Thanks to everyone atMallards for an excellent experience. My 94thlocation was a memorable oneand up in the top 20% of parkruns visited but I was left with one question,which one was the Pike?The TearAways, like the Terminator, ‘Will Be back!’ Maybe in the Summer totake on Go Ape or the Segways?
This week 181 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 101 were first timers and 25 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 30 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 11 volunteers:
Denise EVANS • Ali FORD • Cherry FOWLER • Isabelle CHAPMAN • Tony HIGHFIELD • Andrew KAYE • Simon ROBERTS • Andy NORMAN • Claire CHAPMAN • Robert CUMMINGS • John LINDEN
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Mallards Pike parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Matthew REES who recorded a time of 16:56 on 21st September 2019 (event number 4).
The female record is held by Victoria BAKER who recorded a time of 18:52 on 21st December 2019 (event number 14).
The Age Grade course record is held by Rachael WHEELER who recorded 85.67% (22:20) on 12th October 2019 (event number 7).
Mallards Pike parkrun started on 31st August 2019. Since then 1,062 participants have completed 1,579 parkruns covering a total distance of 7,895 km, including 201 new Personal Bests. A total of 105 individuals have volunteered 250 times.