It’s interesting to learn what brings people to PPR, especially to unadventurous creatures of habit like me who never venture to other parkruns. One of this week’s parkrun debutants was Rachel McArdle who in completing the “couch to 5k” programme chose Pymmes since her son, Edward, was running here. Edward, along with several other youngsters, was making his annual appearance so as to register a decent parkrun time in Enfield borough in order to qualify for some event or other. Since Edward ended up as fastest finisher by doing the Waterloo (18:15), I think he may just have scraped into qualifying.
Meanwhile the fastest female, Aimee Jenner, was also here on account of someone else – namely Mark Topham, who fancied a flat circuit for his comeback to parkrunning after a 5 year absence and, despite having a nightmare on the nasty slope third time round when he almost ground to a halt and started rolling backwards, still managed the Munich (19:38).
Equally interesting is what people do after parkrun. On the one hand there is the bizarre behaviour of the likes of Edmund, who runs home, and Jennifer who, in training for the London marathon, kept on running round the park until 10:00 a.m. at which point we were able to observe the rare spectacle of her being unable to speak. But only for about 10 seconds.
I am very much in opposite camp, cashing in on the virtuous feeling by self-indulging. So is Will Hoyle who was enthusing about going home to a barbeque (in February!!) featuring a 3kg steak, about which he was gushing so much, it wasn’t entirely clear whether or not he was sharing it with anyone else other than his mother whose birthday it is. Another person off to enjoy himself was Terence Buxton from Croydon who had ventured north of the river to have lunch with a couple of former work colleagues, who didn’t fancy a 5k run beforehand.
Three years ago 29 people completed the last PPR in February – in 2019 the same number got personal bests (PBs). They included a host of youngsters (Dominic and Edward Paine, Roni, Louis Rosengarten, Sam Wray and his Mum Sarah); Rebecca Hall (this week’s recipient of the PB charm that is the bit of cardboard standing in for the missing #53 finish token); PB regulars Sandra Cyrus and Parul di Meo; two of last week’s debutants (Fatma Mustafa and Victoria Caamano) and, in a pleasing mathematical sequence, some people keeping their record of getting quicker every time, namely Helen Duff (in her 3rd appearance), Rosslyn Medford (her 4th) Michael McDaid (5th) and Keisha Empson (6th).
There were, however, no personal milestones, leading Run Director Kat, having exhausted all the usual excuses for a round of applause (landmark runs, birthdays and marriages) to ask for any recent divorcees to identify themselves - GDPR and fears about the sharing of personal data have yet to permeate PPR. We owe it all to the volunteers whose tasks, as Kat pointed out, are straightforward, although Event Director Sharon did appear to be creating unnecessary chores by sprinkling the finish tokens all over the ground at the start.
In a new service being provided by the volunteers, marshal Luigi was offering “high 5s” to passing runners, joggers and walkers. Or, to be more descriptive, he was holding his hand aloft whilst enquiring “can we do one of these?” before thwacking any hand you managed to raise so hard that it added a couple of seconds to your time.
This all came as February 2019 became the first month in which all PPR attendances exceeded 100, thereby setting a new record attendance for a calendar month which is likely to fall at the first opportunity since March 2019 has the advantage of including 5 Saturdays. Unless of course we have a repeat of last year when the first scheduled March PPR became the only one cancelled in our history. Surely lightning – or more precisely the “beast from the east” – won’t strike twice, so come along and let’s make it 5 centuries in a row.
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