The View from the Back
By Finola Williams
Photos by Alan Wilkinson
Local Nordic Walking Group Tooting Polers recently decided to push the envelope so to speak and have a go at parkrun. We are already based on Tooting Bec Common and have a regular morning walk once a week so it made sense to up our game and join all those keen runners on a Saturday. Naturally we were expecting to come in towards the back of the field as we are essentially walkers not runners and we didn’t disappoint! Five of us initially did the walk on January 11th and this Saturday’s walk was the 6th I have done personally.
As always there was a huge turnout, and what we have come to appreciate is the variety of people taking part – serious runners, casual runners, runners with prams, with dogs, oldies, children and us walkers with sticks. As a group we have been made to feel very welcome, and the encouragement of all the volunteers dotted along the course has been crucial in getting us to the finish.
This week there were 636 taking part of whom 82 were first timers and 35 were doing their first ever parkrun. There were 83 PBs (including 5 from junior participants Meg Batty, Olivia Burman, Henry Doherty, Redmond Gurney and Bailey Turner), an impressive number making their 50th or even 100th run and an outstanding trio making this their 250th parkrun!! The weather was typical for an early spring morning – bright and sunny but with a chill in the air. Although dark clouds threatened towards the end of the run it stayed dry - perfect weather for a bit of outdoor exercise.
Nordic Walking is increasing in popularity in the UK as the benefits are recognised. It is different from trekking or hill walking as the poles are planted in a specific way that increases the use of the upper body. The poles also help to propel the walker along which means a more concerted effort. Physically, Nordic walkers will use 90% of the skeletal muscles, burn up to 46% more calories than ordinary walking and reduce the pressure on knees and joints. The technique needs to be taught by a qualified teacher but once you’ve passed the course it can be a free and easy way to keep fit. Our local group is part of an NHS initiative to help keep those at risk of bone problems fit and on the move. Bone density decreases as we age and our group has its share of replacement knees, hips and those at risk of osteoporosis. We walk every Wednesday morning from 9.30-10.30 meeting at the car park on Dr Johnson Avenue and we always have at least one trained leader to make sure our technique is up to scratch. To make it a more social event we reward ourselves with a post walk coffee on the second Wednesday of the month. So, if you’re local, know how to Nordic walk and want to join us we would be delighted to see you. And if you want to come on the parkrun with us that would be marvellous.
We hope to continue to join in with parkrun and even get some of our other walkers to join us. As always, these events would not be possible without the hard work of a great number of volunteers, so thanks to all who help organise the event and to this week’s volunteers -
Tom BAKER, Richard BALLAM, Emily BARR, Katie BARWELL, Isobel BEINT, Richard BOGLE, Cecilia BOGLE, Steve BOSLEY, Alex BROWNBRIDGE, Christina BURMAN, Sophie COLE, Emily COOPER, Nic DOHERTY, Kathryn EVANS, Simon GALLACHER, Emma HAINSWORTH, Stuart HAMILTON, Holly HAMILTON, Stephanie HELLINGS, Abigail HERMON, Graham LEWIS, Iona MARNEY, Louisa MCLELLAN, Liam O'HARE, Thomas PHILLIPPE, Michael RYAN, Ed TAYLOR, Jude TWEEDIE, David WHITE, Brian WIGGINS, Alan WILKINSON, Finola WILLIAMS, Thomas WILLIAMSON, Marie-Anne WONG, Nicola WORTON