This was my first visit to Telford Parkrun and I picked this particular Saturday for a very nerdy reason – it was Telford’s run number 377, which is a Fibonacci number. For those of you with the 5K App, you’ll know that this is one of the many challenges – to complete a parkrun whose run number is one of the 14 Fibonacci numbers, up to 610. They’re like hen’s teeth, so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to drive down from Stoke-on-Trent for it. (In just over two years Bushy Park Parkrun, the first ever event, will reach the next Fibonacci number, 987).
I had wanted to do Telford anyway, so it worked out well. I had heard it was a good one and quite fast. The Parkrun starts and finishes in Telford Town Park, the 2015 winner of UK’s Best Park, which is a stunning well-maintained park, well equipped with visitor centre, lake and fountain and climbing wall amongst other amenities. Parking is easy enough on Brown Elm Car Park, with a brisk walk past the Telford International Centre and retail area.
I was impressed with the volunteers. Some Parkruns you go to, you start wondering if it’s still going ahead at 8.40, with no high-vis jackets or signs in sight; until they amble into view with last minute suave. Not so here. When I arrived at 8.20 there was already a huddle of pink-jacketed volunteers, ready for service. The organisation was first class and very efficient with marshals marking estimated finish times, at the start line, to help put the runners in time order, which is always good to see. The RD gave a clear and entertaining address and we were all set to go at 8.59. The RD counted down the seconds to 9.00 and we were off, bang on time.
The course begins with a satisfying downhill stretch that wends its way down to Randlay Pool. Runners circle the pool once, before completing a second, bigger lap that circuits the bottom end of Town Park, as well as the pool. Unfortunately, what goes down also has to come up. What was a great downhill opening becomes a punishing ending as you climb back up the hill to the start. I felt like I’d almost come to a stop at one point. Despite this hill and few other undulations, it is a quick course and solid underfoot. It is very pleasant and tree-lined throughout – I really enjoyed it.
As for the race statistics, 339 finished what is always a well-attended parkrun, with a male to female ratio of 193 to 134, with 12 unknowns.
Congratulations to Nick Bradley, today’s first person back with a PB time of 17.15 - he was one of 36 runners getting a personal best today. It was a tight finish as the other podium placers were only five and seven seconds behind respectively. These were Adrian Puchala and Lee Firmstone.
The fastest lady today was Sabrina Thomas, finishing in 21.08.
The best runner in terms of age grading was Richard L Jones, who ran a lighting 19.19 in the 55-59 category, achieving an age grading of 82.31%. In second was Alan Brookes running 21.00 dead, in the 65-69 age group – very impressive. The female with the best age grading was Naomi Wrighton, who in the 75-79 age group, came through the finish line in 31.26!
Chloë Belcher and Jenny Jackson will be delighted to have ticked off the palindrome challenge, which is where you record a time that reads the same backwards. They came in with times of 40.04 and 32.23 respectively – must say I’m a bit jealous.
21 of the field were doing their first ever parkrun today – well done for making that first step and hopefully you will be back for more, as you couldn’t have picked a better day for it. There were 16 doing the Telford Parkrun for the first time, myself included.
One of those first timers to Telford, had the most Parkrunsunder his belt. That was Vincent Alcock, with a whopping 456. And there were 12 more who’d run over 250.
Special mention to Charlie Costello, local youngster (15-17) who finished fourth in a speedy 17.34 and finished third in terms of age grading. Also, kudos to Seki Adachi, who aged somewhere between 11-14, ran a sub 20 PB of 19.19; superb running.
Well done Claudia Monica Neves Pereira, the person with the longest name today – with a new PB, to boot. Sue Holl and Sam Hall tie for runner with the shortest name. Just seven letters – efficient.
Other mentions to Graham Bell who rang in a time 31.43 in the 70-74 age group and last but not least Louise and Wayne Hissey, fittingly, recorded his and hers identical times of 32.49.
Thank you to all the volunteers who put on a seamless parkrun; as ever these events wouldn’t run without them