Sweatshop Monthly Prize – December



We are pleased to announce that this month’s Sweatshop Monthly Prize winner is Keith Simpson.

The December 2013 winner of the Riddlesdown parkrun Monthly Sweatshop Prize is Keith Simpson. This prize is awarded to athletes who have shown consistency, commitment and perseverance at the event.

Keith has been running at Riddlesdown parkrun for just over a year – his first event was on December 15th of 2012, and with a total number of 37 parkruns to his credit, he may not have managed to achieve his goal of a red 50 club tee by the end of 2013, but Keith’s involvement at Riddlesdown has been far more than just turning up and running, as he has volunteered 19 times.

Keith’s first run at RIddlesdown was our 80th event, he finished in 20th place, with a time of 25:09. In his blog, he commented that the biggest problem he saw with parkrun was the start time, as since his retirement, he rarely saw the light of day before 8am, and the prospect of getting up at 7:50 was all a bit much! He obviously got over this, as he ran all the remaining events in that month, through some of the very worst conditions our course has to offer, and topped it off by running the New Year’s Day triple – 2 official runs and 1 freedom run, running from home to Riddlesdown and back.

January saw Keith taking a holiday from Riddlesdown, but not from parkrun, as the bug had well and truly bitten, and even whilst enjoying the sunshine in Zanzibar, at 9am on Saturday morning, he ran a 5km route, shaped exactly like the Riddlesdown course, on the Sultan Palace Beach – true dedication! On returning home, Keith continued to rack up runs on the Downs – the mud eventually subsided, and he ran a string of spring PBs, culminating in a run of 22:58 on the 18th May 2013. This is Keith’s current PB, and represents an overall improvement of 2 minutes and 11 seconds.

As a runner, Keith’s determination cannot be doubted. He has run several half marathons, and completed the Athens marathon during 2013, in spite of considerable injury time along the way. In parkrun terms, this determination can perhaps best be demonstrated by his enthusiastic involvement in the ‘extra-curricular’ – or unofficial events. The NYD triple has already been mentioned, and was repeated earlier this week – how else would he start 2014? Keith was also one of 3 Riddlesdown parkrunners who completed the Longest parkrun – a string of 7 different parkruns completed as freedom runs on the Sunday closest to the longest day of the year. Keith completed the 35kms with a cumulative run time of 3hrs 15 mins and 8 seconds.

parkrun depends on its volunteers, and Keith has always recognised the importance of this, utilising weeks when running was not an option, whether down to injury or tapering. He has also been a part of the set-up crew – which means an even earlier start than the dreaded 7;50am – and he has frequently run an extra lap post-event to collect in signs and check that the course is clear.

Keith is a valued member of the Riddlesdown parkrun community. We would like to congratulate him on his achievements, and look forward to seeing him continue on his parkrun journey.

We’d like to thank Hugh Brasher of the Sweatshop for his generosity and to congratulate Keith Simpson on his achievements. Keith’s prize is a new pair of running shoes fitted at the Sweatshop of his choice.