May Day Magic!
British May Day bank holiday weekends have, over the past few years, been distinctly "British". And with the day starting with drizzle, we thought we might me in for similar conditions this year. However, the weather started to brighten and then wind started to drop, and we ended up with perfect running conditions - ahead of a beautiful weekend!
It seems that the running population of Newbury wasn't deterred by the menacing cumulonimbi clouds. And those that did turn up were rewarded with fast running conditions: we saw a total of 87 new personal bests today - a massive 31% of you! We also saw an incredibly fast run by a female runner today (more later).
Before we delve into the report, we'd like to say a big "welcome" to our 39 first timers at Newbury today, particularly to those who were new to the whole parkrun concept. We realise that things got a little chaotic after the finish today as both barcode scanners were malfunctioning and you had to queue a little longer than normal - we hope you weren't put off and really hope to see you back soon! Amongst the newcomers, however, we did have some rather prolific "parkrun tourists". Simon Dimmer, a regular of western parkruns (with Forest of Dean his regular haunt) chose Newbury to run his 101st parkrun where he enjoyed 14th place with 19:49. Jean McWilliam, normally found at Basingstoke parkrun, ran her 40th parkrun at Newbury today. Stephen and Daisy Badcock were both visiting from Abingdon parkrun where Stephen managed to (painfully) equal his Abingdon PB - come back soon, Stephen, and I'm sure you'll better that time! We also welcomed Braunstone and Inverness regular, Peter Hague. Peter ran an impressive time of 22:15 in his 25th parkrun. Anna Wise was visiting from Bushy parkrun and managed to ran her fastest parkrun time this year at Newbury, whilst Basingstoke regular, Tony Heeley, achieved the same feat by running his fastest parkrun since November 2012 (well done to both of you!). We'd also like to make a particular mention to the James family. Visiting from Gunpowder parkrun in Essex, Adam ran with son Ryan (who achieved an all time parkrun personal best) whilst daughter Elle did a wonderful job volunteering and sorting out the finish tokens.
In today's run, we're actually going to talk about the ladies' race first. Susie Bush (SW30-34) was today's ladies winner in a very fast 17:49 - enough for third place overall. Susie is an extremely talented athlete with a 5k best of 16:17, a 10k best of 33:53 and half marathon on 74:03 and regularly graces the elite ranks with her presence. Susie has 19 parkruns to her name, and normally runs either Bushy Park or Richmond Park parkruns. Second place was earned by Chloe Coxhead (SW20-24) of Newbury AC in 21 minutes dead and Karen Grinsted (VW35-39) of Tadley Runners was third in 21:33.
Amongst the men, Colin Lough (SM30-34) crossed the line first in 16:51 with James Craggs (SM30-34) of Newbury AC finishing second in 17:01 (and narrowly missing out on joining the exclusive sub-17 club on his first outing on the course - well done James!). Third placed male was Oliver Overend (JM14) in 17:51.
Despite Susie's blistering run today, it still wasn't enough to earn the highest age graded score of the day. This once again went to Geoff Anderson (VM60-64) whose time of 19:26 earned an age graded score of 84.73%.
Podiums and percentages aside, however, we did notice some other equally impressive runs today. After not managing a personal best since October last year (debatedly down to his volunteering duties), Andy Woodman ran a new nine second personal best with a time of 22:19. John Murrell, meanwhile, hadn't PB'd since March 2012 and today finally managed to knock six seconds off! Abi Scarlett reduced her time even further (over two minutes since January!) to 22:16, whilst Phil Cowhig celebrated his 40th parkrun with his first ever 21:xx run (21:46). Ollie Ludewig celebrated his arrival into the "10 club" with a new best of 28:14, whilst brother Freddie also netted a new best of 29:44. It was also a day for celebration in the Patrikios household - Sophie, Nestor and Lauren all ran new personal bests in today's run! Big congratulations to Rebekah Tucker, Maureen Sweeney, Kayleigh Fordham and Sarah Bosley all broke 30 minutes for the first time! Well done to all of you.
We'd also like to remind you that we are now back in nesting season on Greenham Common, and it is extremely important that you respect the flora and fauna of the area. This means keeping your dogs on leads at all times, and particularly avoiding the area known as the "Fire Plane" which is to the west of the start area (and clearly marked with signs). To find out more information about the wildlife on the common, please refer to the downloadable leaflet "Welcome to Crookham and Greenham Common" which provides an excellent summary.
See you next week!
Rachael Elliott (Event Director)