By Jasmine Sandalli
Photos by Simon Ottner
Marathon season is upon us! Those lucky enough to get a place in London, Brighton or Paris (or maybe even Boston) are lacing up for a taper run, while the rest of us mere mortals are enjoying the first break of spring (and more than likely, a bout of hayfever). And so far, touch wood, we haven’t been washed out by a torrential downpour.
Little surprise then that 690 hardy souls took on the Trioundabout this weekend, among them an incredible 43 first timers as well as 6 runners in the 200 club. Well, we think so anyway – 108 runners finished as unknowns today so there may well have been even more… #dfyb
With the participation numbers on the up, we trialled a new double funnel system today with great success, thanks to our 50 (!) amazing volunteers. The first to enter the new funnel was Herne Hill Harrier Nick Bester, adding yet another first place to his impressive haul of 17 before today – talk about consistent! He was chased in by Kent AC’s Peter Lighting on his first run at Tooting, finishing 7 seconds behind Nick in 17:01, with Clapham Chasers’ Joe Elliott just 11 seconds behind Peter for third place. In fact it was a pretty tightly packed field at the front, with 18 runners under 19 minutes; Sam Noakes just missed out on this threshold by clocking in 19:00 dead, but will surely be thrilled with his time nonetheless as it nabbed him a PB!
PBs also went to all of the first three lady finishers, including first lady Isis McLachlan, who took 9 seconds off her previous best time to finish in 20:29. Isis was clear ahead of Herne Hill Harriers’ Helen Oldfield in 21:03, and Taryn Retief from Boksburg AC was 43 seconds behind Helen. In fact, 160 runners registered a PB today, with 26.8% of female runners beating their previous best compared with 20.5% of male runners. And probably the most impressive PB mention of them all goes to Libby Mitchell of Royston Runners who took the highest age-grading score of the day (83.11%) while slicing 20 seconds off her time from three weeks ago!
There was also a great show from the 21 under-18s, 5 of whom ran their first ever parkrun and a further 7 clocking in their best time on this course. Special mentions go to Curtis Hines as first junior male (54th position overall) and Georgina Waight as first junior female (211th position overall), and Curtis also ranked among the top 20 age-grading scores.
We’ll keep a look out for Graham Spiby next week – he ran his 99th parkrun on Saturday and leads the charge for the next milestone, along with second lady Helen Oldfield and Emma Davies who are both on 49. Meanwhile William Frame, Simone Ragavooloo and Roshan Ramlugun all completed run number 50 to become eligible for the much-coveted red shirt – congratulations everyone!
And finally, my treat to myself – the stats… 40 minutes and 17 seconds separated the first and last finishers, so our mean time was 37:03 – Katherine Griffiths in position number 659 came closest to this. Meanwhile, David Patterson came in in median position 345 with a time of 26:42. Emma Graham finished exactly on our weekly average time of 27:15, and with 54% of the field finishing inside this time it looks promising that the average time will continue to drop.
If you’re still here (I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t) I’d like to sign off by thanking our brilliant volunteers, without whom Saturday mornings would look very different, and encourage all our runners to give up a run a year to help out. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved or speak to one of the marshals at the next event, and if you find volunteering really isn’t for you that’s fine – just remember to always thank your marshals!
Love and laces