I am going to start this week's run report by saying a huge Thank You to our Virtual RD, Sarah Mullis. Sarah is the RD from Dungloe parkrun in County Donegal - which is the nearest one to my parents (my mum actually has her very own "tail walker" vest!)
As a course, Dungloe is stunning. It is a three-lapper, which I know will usually turn a lot of people off, but when every corner on every lap is breath-taking scenery, it is well worth it. The whole course is on a light trail footpath (which has the occasional odd spongey bit underfoot!!??) and for the main is a flat course. It is also the place that I have recorded my highest ever finish position - I have finished 7th at Melton Mowbray, Forest Rec and Derry City but last Christmas I got 5th place (anyone else sing that to the tune of Wham!?) at Dungloe (granted, it was in a field of 16, but I was pushing Eleanor in her buggy so I'm still claiming it)! Another draw-in point for all of you potential tourists is that parkruns in Ireland start at 9.30am!!!
Speaking of tourists, the easing of lockdown has resulted in quite a few of you straying around the country and submitting your results from all over the place. As well as regular long distance runners, Peter Shirtcliffe (South Africa) and my parents (see above), we hade Laura Wade in Buckingham, David Grimes and Jim Dziemianko (Rutland Water), Lynda Harris (Sunny Sussex), Richard Palmer (Down by the Sea???), Tony Parkinson (Norfolk and something about "n good"), Julie Walton (Yorkshire), Gwenda Williams (Beadnell - I didn't know either - It's essentially a beach somewhere near Scotland according to Google), Mark Ashmore (running some really rude - and possibly unintentional - Strava art at Rushcliffe), and Darren Barratt and Mike Freeman (Burghley House) - I am sure I have missed some out, but these are the ones who explicitly named their places in their results submissions. This is amazing to see as it simply means that 17 weeks into this distortion, we are still staying together while keeping apart.
Still on the subject of Tourists, resident celebrant (as in the type that celebrates everything, not the type that performs fake marriages - although I am sure he'd put on a pretty good show of it if asked), Daniel Moult was today to celebrate the fact that it is exactly 5 years to the day since I ran Forest Rec parkrun with him on his very first parkrun. He told me, some weeks ago, that his plan was to run Forest Rec at 9am today to mark the occasion. I remained silent on the matter but conceived the idea that I was to surprise him by being there to run his anniversary Virtual parkrun with him. I got up early this morning, got myself ready, got the baby fed and the running buggy into the car, and messaged Sarah just to make sure she was ok with everything for her run brief. As I was about to get into the car to drive the 21 miles, I suddenly thought I should message Dan to ask if he was starting his run straight after the run brief... He responded to say that he was "probably going to go at about 1ish". I decided to abort my plans and wish him well.
Daniel Moult started at 2.02pm and ran 31:31 at LONG EATON!!!!! I could have been waiting a wee while!
We had 151 parkrunners today and 17 of those recorded PBs. One big shout must go to Andrea Crellin who regular readers will recall had a weekly march towards the World Record 5k time of 12:43. Today she overcame a massive hurdle on this journey and managed to run her own fastest ever 5k. Once you can beat yourself you can start beating everyone else (DISCLAIMER: No-one is to lift this sentence from the context in which it is intended). Louise Bridgeman also claimed a huge PB (nearly 2 minutes!!!!) to claim her club's Pewter Standard time! Congrats Andrea and Louise!
Among the other PBs there were a couple of key strategies being employed which all of us will do well to include in our speed work and training plans. Matt King and Karen Slade both achieved theirs by avoiding hills (although the latter claimed that her lungs struggle to keep up with her body on flat running - for those blessed/cursed with a vivid imagination, this is a most distressing image!), while Zoe Flintoft discloses that she actually had rocket fuel this morning. I'm not a qualified nutritionist, or indeed economist, but I can imagine there are certain drawbacks to this approach - but, "if it looks like it works and it feels like it works then it works" (Snow Patrol, 2003)
Just for the purposes of clarity, and so you all understand exactly what is happening in the results when you click on them below, Karen Slade's PB is recorded as 24:36 - this is actually a typo. It is the time that she claimed but we have had a Steward's Enquiry surrounding this. Everyone's favourite/least favourite attention seeker, Mark Weston has lodged a formal complaint against Mrs Mark's submission. It is currently under review, but there is a chance that her result could be overturned and completely removed from the results if our independent panel of Westons find her guilty of "being a better runner" than Mark. This is wholly unfair and will not be tolerated #kickitoutofsport
We were privileged to be joined by newly-defected-to-Virtual-America parkrunner, Tom Hansen today who ran his own PB of 18:16 to claim our top-spot and he held onto this all day. Even when course record holder, Jason Barton submitted his run, Tom will have been overjoyed to see that JB ran a half marathon today (let's not even discuss his "first attempt in two years" time). Then just before the results were complete, Toby Heaver put forward his own PB of 18:04 to usurp his fellow TH. Unlucky Tom!
We've all been doing things a little different over lockdown, whether it is learning to play a new instrument, read more, learn a new skill, managing to keep your family alive without the help of outside agencies, eating more/less crisps. Paul Horrocks has managed to discover the secrets of Time Travel. He proudly submitted his run entitled "park-lessrun Week 18" - This is our 17th event, and his 15th time of joining in with us. I am sure that we will somehow look back on this and it will all be true somehow, but until the photo of this week's results starts to fade while a high-school band play "Johnny B. Goode" I will hold my tongue on the matter.
Mixed news from our barkrunners this week. Ella, the Saluki (I had to Google what they were - worth it!), was far more on form this week after last week's hesitation, but Flynn and Bertie have been somewhat crestfallen by very different circumstances. Flynn's below par human gave him hope of a good run by having a pain-free post-injury run in the week, but then decided to walk today to safeguard the injury ahead of an event tomorrow. Bertie, on the other hand, had a good enough run but was not prepared to feature in any photos due to a dodgy lockdown haircut that has traumatically left him with unmatching ears! There is a lesson here for the rest of us. Three months without salons may have taken it's toll, but we should still heed the wise words of Ray Stevens before accepting any old appointment:
"Well, when you get a haircut, you'd better go back home
When you get a haircut, get a barber you have known
Since you were a little bitty boy sittin' in a booster chair
'Cause you might look like Larry, Moe or Curly if a stranger cuts your hair"
The final usual point to give you is the results of our #tailwalkerchallenge. Possibly the most embarassing claim on the tail-walker position comes from core team member, Rachel Holland. She submitted her, and husband Chris' times to be considered for the tail walker role, yet finished ahead of a stonking 25 people!!! Trevor Wade and Teresa Fowkes also staked their claim on the much coveted title, but unfortunately, Trevor is Flynn's human and Flynn still wanted to push the pace a little bit so kept them well under the hour. Melton junior parkrun royalty, the Nicholls family (Kristy, Andy and Zoe - son Luke considers himself too cool to feature in the results - shame he doesn't have a say over the run report!!!) also put forward their family walk and for the most-part, they were in our tailwalker position. Unfortunately for them, my wife got back from a dog walk with her friends just before the results were completed and stole the title from under them!
EDIT: There has been an update on the tail walker challenge that I would like to start with a product review:
This review can be updated somewhat from the point of view of a Virtual running event's organiser:
It transpires that if you ever wanted to emulate Mo and do a half marathon in 59 minutes, then this is the watch for you! People looking at your watch won't even notice the entire hour that precedes your 59 minutes! On your Virtual Half, you should definitely send in a photo of your watch, and not your crystal clear Strava!!!
It appears that Rachel and Chris Holland did indeed complete the tail walker challenge in a time of 1 hr 41m 31s. Well done to them!! I, for one (like Roman numerals) am happy for them! Happy birthday Chris!
I think, in-all, this week's Virtual parkrun is nicely summed up by Matt White (the guy who invented the paint...)
"Don't eat a sausage cob shortly before you run"
Wise words, Matt. Wise words indeed.
Until next week,
Humans are superior to animals when it comes to running.
Humans can outrun almost all of the animals in the world over long distances. A few exceptions include cats, rabbits, and kangaroos. Other exceptions mainly involve non-parkrunners!