"Remember last week when we had a second generation Olympian? Well, this week here's that twit* I went to school with. Enjoy!
... I'll try not to swear!" - Tom Hansen
*(I may have changed a singular letter for broadcasting purposes)
One of this week's Run Director's was Tom Hansen. As he said to me in the above quote from this week's messenger chat, we know each other from school. In fact we studied A-Level Law together. It was in Law that I was "famed" for knowing the lyrics to the Um Bongo advert from the mid 1980s!
We both did quite well with our A-Levels and Tom persued Law and now manages a firm of Conveyencers and can run sub-18 minute parkruns while I still know the words to the Um Bongo advert from the mid 1980s! Be honest, which are you more impressed by...?! I mean, c'mon! He doesn't even know the words to Mmmmbop! What sort of Hanson is he?!
Tom (A3576291) had completed a frustrating 99 parkruns (putting him on par with Zoe Heath) at the point where the cancellation came in last March. A year on and he is still waiting to finally earn that black shirt. Despite living central to two parkruns in Lincoln, he has completed 9 of his 99 runs at Melton Mowbray, and has said that he will hopefully complete his 100 in the company of his folks with two runs up our hill.
His fastest parkrun to-date has been 19:00 which was set on his last attempt at Lincoln in March 2020. Over the last 51 Virtual events, Tom has completed 43 of our runs and dropped his 5k PB down to 17:46! Over his 99 live parkruns he has ran at 6 different events and has managed to complete Groundhog Day (running 19:29 at Lincoln on consecutive weeks in September 2019).
Luckily, the other RD this morning was Neville! What. A. Star! (video here) Speaking of stars, I wonder who is going to be taking the headline slot next week. I'll be dropping clues on the Facebook page throughout the week so you can read all about it there...
Today 160 of us got out and about for our 5k plus and at least 11 were reporting their runs as part of Leigh Pick's Scavenger Hunt - organised through the Stilton Striders Running Club. Of the 160 we had a fantastic 9 PBs which have taken us over the 1000 Virtual PB mark! Helping us through this milestone was Oliver Hyde, Michael Cooke, Mark Tyler (now with his own watch!!!!), James Southerington, Chloe Madden, Nikola Dolphin-Rowland, Katie Roberts, Gemma Barton and Nicky Durrance.
Matt King ran his fastest time of this year, but also notes that he is 50 seconds from the time he was hitting 12 months ago, and asks if anyone can advise as to how he can start to reclaim that time. I am certain that loads of you can provide some positive advice, and please do so in the comments on Facebook, but as those of you who follow me on Strava will know, I know a Scottish Army Captain who would have you doing weighted hill sprints with 17Kg bergens and truck tyres being dragged on a waist strap. Luckily (genuinely - thank whichever deity you believe in!), I have bust my calf muscle at the minute, so he has a running-buddy vacancy if you're interested, Matt...
We were also welcoming two first timers to the virtual results in the guise of Simon Berg and Eileen Merrison (I believe Eileen has accompanied Paul on previous outings, but for whatever reason wasn't included in the results - this is now rectified).
Perhaps the most commented point today is that is was a tad on the warm-side compared to how it has been. Only a week ago we were plodding through the snow, while today is was 'positively tropical' as it reached the dizzy heights of TWELVE DEGREES! As much as I may be taking the preverbial here, our conditions were positively tropical compared to College Park in Washington where Colin was running with Yaktrax (snow chains for shoes) as America seems to be freezing over! David Harknett said of todays run that he is "nervous already about summer temperatures" - Me too, David, me too! Perhaps for slightly different reasons. As it stands, I am barely getting this results post out until the early hours of Sunday morning, and if you recall the hot days of last summer, I was extending the 8pm deadline to 9pm to allow for some evening runs so people weren't feeling to pressure to run through the daytime heat. Yes, we all hope, and expect that we will be back live before the thermostat reads in the 30s of the Celsius side, as opposed to the fahrenheits of last week, but we all expected to be back on by last summer too! Keep your fingers crossed everyone.
As usual, our barkrunners were out in force today. Fairweather runner, Bertie was well up for today's outing alongside his bessie Ella (The Saluki), while Flynn felt so good that when he finished his 5k, he tagged on to Sue Power starting her run and doubled his distance! Also enjoying their barkruns were Jet and Ruby.
Ruby also features in the running for this week's #tailwalkerchallenge as 12 runners went over the 60 minute mark for the much coveted title. Gareth Bradwick and Sarah Hancock got back just under 1:01 just 30 seconds ahead of Charlotte Coltman. Laura Wade got round in 1:03 while there was a minute between each of Jane Collingham (1:07), Zoe Heath (1:08), and Laura Seth and Viv Mayfield (both in 1:09). The other 4 contenders this week all finished within 48 seconds of each other. Ann Craddock made a decent attempt at the #twc in 1:15:02 but was beaten by Ruby and owner Jane MacNaughton in 1:15:49. You will probably notice that there are 47 seconds between those two times, which means that Jane and Ruby were usurped by one whole second by Paul and Eileen Merrison who take this week's #tailwalkerchallenge crown.
I feel as though I am making the same point each week so forgive me if this is sounding repetitive now, but the whole purpose of these Virtual parkruns is to keep the conversation going and keeping our community together. The positive by-product of that is that we are encourafging people to get out and remain active in a time where it is so difficult to maintain that focus, and today we have had a whole bunch of comments with words to that effect. I shan't name names in this part but one runner has stated quite clearly that they would have just given up a long time ago if it were not for this Virtual series of events. Another runner messaged me privately to see if I would still accept their submission after a monumental GPS failure that left them much shorter than the required 5k - even though they had clearly covered more distance - and they were worried about messing up their 100% record (of course I accepted it - I actually had a GPS fail myself and wasn't messing up my own record after walking 5k on a busted calf...). Finally another runner simply submitted their result with the words "Thanks for the motivation - much needed at the moment". Again, we are getting through this together, and staying together while staying apart.
A clear lack of Fun Fact
I have to admit that I am wimping out a little bit with the fun fact this week. It is already fairly late on Saturday evening and I am being interviewed on Radio Leicester's breakfast show tomorrow (Sunday - technically later today). So I am not going to the usual extremes. Instead I thought you'd all appreciate if I transcribed this..."Way down deep in the middle of the Congo, a hippo took an apricot, a guava and a mango, he stuck it with the others and he danced a dainty tango... The rhino said, "I know, we'll call it Um Bongo Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they drink it in the Congo The python picked the passionfruit, the marmoset the mandarin. The parrot painted packets that the whole caboodle landed in. So when it comes to sun and fun, and goodness in the jungle, they all prefer the sunny, funny one they call Um Bongo."
Actually - while I was typing that out, I noticed that if you get the number of Virtual parkrun PBs we have now had and add it to the number of events that it has taken for us to get there, the number of runners so far in our Virtual events, the number of live events that we have had,and the number of runners in todays results, you get the following:
1003 + 51 + 497 + 277 + 160 = 1988
1988 was the year that Um Bongo was first released in Portugal and the above song was haunting the playgrounds of the UK - 15 years before it haunted my Law Class!
Today's RD, Tom has finished first in Melton Mowbray's Virtual parkrun 20 times - the exact number of year's Um Bongo was on sale for (1983 - 2003) before they changed their formula, dropped the sugar content, cut the carton size, and disappeared from most shelves in our shops.
There you go... Turns out I couldn't help myself...