Run Report 29th Feb 2020

I’m guessing that a lot of parkrun run reports for this weekend will mention what we all know! 29th February finally landed on a Saturday! This was the first time that we’ve had a parkrun on a leap year since parkrun was created and this won’t happen again until 2048! Fair enough, a lot of us would have gone out to do parkrun anyway but, to have it on a leap year, means that we all get an extra event in 2020! I know I want to do as many as i can!

My local parkrun is Gunnersbury, in West London and every now and then, I will go to a new parkrun to see what is out there and to chase those letters for the parkrun alphabet. Victoria Dock is a special parkrun. Not only because it’s the UK’s fastest course but also because it starts with the letter V and that’s very sought after by parkrunners wanting to complete the alphabet!

How do you do that? Well, you go to a different parkrun that starts with a letter from A to Z, skipping the letter X since there isn’t a parkrun (yet) out there that starts with this letter.

I set off from home earlier than I normally would to go to my local since Victoria Dock is on the other side of town for me. Central Line, then Jubilee Line and I kept looking around for any familiar signs for fellow parkunners. By this I mean, the leggings, the trainers, the recognisable milestone tops. Till Canning Town, I didn’t see any signs of any fellow parkrunners, not even on the not very packed platform to get the DLR although that feeling didn’t last very long. As soon as I sat down, I was surrounded by people wearing the same “uniform” as me and I got recognised as a fellow parkrunner by a family sitting next to me because they could see my 50 parkrun top, which I have been wearing to every event for the last 3 weeks, even since I reached my 50th parkrun. I still had my headphones on when I noticed that they were “talking” about me from across the DLR seats, in gestures, pointing at my top, which was partly covered by my coat. I took my headphones off, giggling and we all just said: we know where you’re going. Turns out it was a family from Birmingham, visiting their son/brother and on their way to VD parkrun, and said son/brother had gone to a different parkrun. We walked together to the hut, passing The Crystal, where other fellow parkrunners where hiding from the rain. What do you do when you chat with other parkrunners? Well, you compare stories, parkruns you’ve been to, which ones you’ve enjoyed the most, which ones you still want to do.

We all huddled up in the hut or just outside of it, trying to stay dry for a few last moments before we all went out to hear RD Helen’s briefing ahead of the run. My favourite quote? As Helen was asking people to keep to the left as there are sections of the course where you go back on yourself and pass fellow parkunners heading in the other direction, Helen mentioned the finish area and something to do the effect of “The faster runners will be finishing as the rest of the runners will be passing here (the middle area, around halfway, near The Crystal” as they think “What am I doing out here in this weather?””. That got a few laughs because we all knew it was true!

Victoria Dock is a friendly parkrun, you have your fast runners, you have your “I’ve got out of bed on a Saturday morning” runners/walkers”. Most importantly for the majority of us today? It was a “got not mud parkrun”! I know I went there for that as well!

There are a few celebratory mentions from Victoria parkrun #92: Kevan Wilkinson who completed his 50th parkrun at Victoria Dock. As Helen mentioned, he’s a regular at Victoria Dock and has run many other parkruns (Kev is part of the 250 club, nearing 440 parkruns)) and he was with them for the 50th time today. Other milestones, Frank Sikora celebrated his 50th parkrun while Harry Papanastasiou and Kay Kapsalis celebrated their 100th. Harry even had a “crew” who, after the run, distributed some lovely pastries to celebrate his milestone achievement! 29 people managed a PB - told you, it’s UK fastest parkrun! In my case? I managed a season best, since my PB still is from Montsouris parkrun in Paris, from last summer!

220 ran, jogged and walked the 92th parkrun at Victoria Dock and 114 people visited for the 1st time, yours truly, included! Of those 114, which 12 were truly 1st timers! First timers, we applaud you! Your life is never going to be the same!

Christian HEWITT was the first to finish with a time of 16:22 and Dee O’BRIEN was the first female home with a time of 19:19.

I always celebrate and thank the hardcore volunteers that help make parkrun possible and without whom, parkrun would be possible! Never a small feat, especially with all the storms lately!

Thank you to Helen FERNANDES, today’s RD, Leon KONG, Mercy SANYU, Rebecca STEPHENSON, Matthew JONES, Dee O’BRIEN, Sam CORNISH, Diarmuid BOWE, Dorothy (Dot) WRIGGLESWORTH, Trixie OON, Denise FOX-KING, Samantha FOX-KING and Hannah TULLOCH.

I will come back to Victoria Dock parkrun! I want to try it with some dry weather when the rain and wind aren’t hitting my face as I run back from the ExCeL! Hahaha

As I always say: Saturday morning are parkrun mornings!


Run Report 18th Jan 2020

Victoria Dock Event #86

I visited Victoria Dock for the first time and volunteered to write the run report. The weather this week was perfect. Icy cold but beautifully sunny and dry. A total of 248 people turned up this week to run and walk supported by 12 volunteers who made this event happen: Sam GUNARATNE, Andrew HODGETTS, Matthew JONES, Sophie JONES, Gillian JUSTICE, Leon KONG, Toni MALLIN, Trixie OON, Dirk SCHLUETER, Lizzie WILKINSON, John WILKINSON, and Danny WINGATE.

Just three seconds spilt the first three finishers - led by James MacDonald from Cambridge Harriers in a time of 16:17. Dee O’Brien from Kent AC was the first female home in 19:06. Rebecca Stephenson hit her 50th parkrun milestone this week - a huge congratulations to her.

I have visited 34 different parkruns now and this one is right up there amongst the top. It is flat and the running surfaces are all good. The people are friendly and there are not so many people that you feel anonymous. If you want to go for a PB this place must be perfect. The public transport links are very good and you can top your parkrun experience off with a ride on the Emirates Airline afterwards (! A great place to run and/or volunteer!

John Wilkinson


Run Report 21st December 2019

Event 83

You have to start any parkrun run report by thanking the people who make it happen. So it’s a big parkrun thank you to the amazing Victoria Dock Volunteers who gave their time, commitment and encouragement to all those running, walking and jogging today. Thank you to Run Director Helen and the team including:

Caroline CAREY • David LEVEY • Dorothy WRIGGLESWORTH • Fiona ENGLISH • Gillian JUSTICE • Helen FERNANDES • Phillip STARLING • Sergii CHEBOTAR • Sophie BARKER

A small number of amazing volunteers putting on a big parkrun event in the big city. Thank you all again for making it happen.

Today, 114 parkrunners ran, walked and jogged Victoria Dock parkrun’s amazing out and back, horse-shoe course. It’s flat and that probably partly explains why Seyfu ran a 15:15 parkrun and was our first finisher - although I suspect it’s also about Seyfu's massive talent having seen him speed past me twice in the opposite direction. Hannah was our other first finisher with an amazing 18:33 which again, I think is all about her amazing talent. Seyfu and Dee were our top age-grade runners today with 86.45% and 81.80% respectively. But what’s really cool about Victoria Dock parkrun is no matter how fast you are, not matter where you are in the field, it is just so accessible. We loved the smiling faces through out the field and also want to say a massive well done to everyone especially Babatope and George who were both doing their first parkrun.

Just one milestone today with Ross running his parkrun number 150 although there was a very nice parkrunner, who’s name I missed, running her 50th parkrun this year!

There were 45 parkrunners visiting Victoria Dock for the first time today. Now, I’d like to hazard a guess that they were here today for the warm welcome, the great course, the cable car and, here it is, the “V”. I was there for all of those but mainly the “V” as Victoria Dock parkrun does not meet my “parkrun must be within one hour of home” rule of late.

In fact, my day started with that “bird sound” alarm at 4 am, a train from Manchester at 5:25 am and a very easy journey across London. We knew we were in the right place because there was #superRD Helen setting everything up and making sure everything was safe and going ahead.

And it was all because of that ”V”. About two Christmases ago, I mentioned to my partner that there “were these really daft people who travel the world collecting the parkrun alphabet”. Her response? “Daft? You’ll be doing that soon won’t you?” And guess what? I was as I’d already done a few without knowing it. I’d argue that people doing the alphabet aren’t daft. In fact, it’s opened up a world of new experiences, new places and many adventures. Like the “Z” in Poland - meeting Daniel and Trevor on a train on the way - and “H” in Berlin at Hasenheide parkrun where I got lost on my way to the start and met a guy from Poland who had run at my home parkrun in Stretford, Manchester. Not only did I get the “V” today, I also completed the “A to Z” and Victoria Dock was a good place to do it. Via Scotland, Denmark, Queen’s in Northern Ireland, Jubilee and many others, it was nice to achieve the A to Z this year.

It was also good to share the “V” with my mate Adrian who was running his first parkrun for three months, having been seriously ill. It’s good to not only share moments like this with your best parkrun mate but also with the wider parkrun family too because whilst it only mattered to me, you were all part of my parkrun story. We met some lovely people and want to thank the young man who took the photos for us too.

So if I was to sum-up my morning. It’s been long but totally worth it. I met an amazing bunch of people - especially the volunteers - and had a great cup of coffee across the street from the finish. And if you are thinking of visiting, then please do. Victoria Docks parkrun will give you a warm welcome, a great course and some amazing volunteers - especially Dot and “Bah-Humbug” man who was the nicest bloke you could meet, and the amazing volunteers at the finish who cheered me in when I did my unplanned “flying-V” celebration at the finish.

Thank you again to Leon, Helen and the Volunteering team. You are amazing.


Run Report 23rd November 2019

Event 79

A moist, misty, murky morning greeted the 170 walkers and runners at Victoria Dock parkrun this Saturday – however this didn’t dampen the spirits of everyone! Huge thanks heed to go to Run Director Lina Dannfors and her team of volunteers for providing such a successful event, cheering everybody whilst they were running and performing heroics to get the results to the participants! As some of you may know, there was a problem with the data from one of the scanners which has resulted in Lina adding numerous results in manually – thank you! The full team of volunteers on duty were:

David DUGGAN  •  David ELLIOTT  •  Dee O'BRIEN  •  Diarmuid BOWE  •  Dorothy WRIGGLESWORTH  •  Elda BEYENE  •  Elliot BEYENE  •  Gillian JUSTICE  •  Kevan WILKINSON  •  Leon KONG  •  Lina DANNFORS  •  Trixie OON

At the time of writing, there are still a number of unknowns in the results – please email in if you had your barcode scanned but are not appearing in the results. There are still spaces on the volunteer roster over the next few weeks, so why not try viewing parkrun from a different angle? Plenty of volunteering roles are available to be performed – please email if you are interested.

Those collecting low number tokens

Collecting token number 1 was Ewan Cameron in a time of 15:44, which is the 10th fastest finish time around the Dock! Brian O’Keefe was the second person to be issued with a token just over two minutes later and Andrew McArthur was the third runner to complete the course, in 18:09. First lady home was Dee O’Brien in a time of 19:36, with Maria Jovani following her home 48 seconds later! Carol Carter was the third lady to reach the funnel, completing her 39th parkrun with a time of 20:44, her quickest ever parkrun!

What the numbers tell us!

Although the running conditions have been better, 10 people achieved Personal Bests! This is almost 14% of the runners who had previously recorded times, a great achievement, especially as many other got close to their best times! This week nudged the total number of runs at Victoria Docks to just over 11,000…that means a whopping total of 55,000 km has been completed by parkrunners around the Dock! On a personal note, having run 337 parkruns, the parkrun website tells me that my average finish position is 112.99 – and I finished 113th yesterday!

First timers to Victoria Dock

An amazing 66 of the runners were visiting Victoria Dock parkrun for the first time and this included Royston Thorne, James Farr, Neil Kennedy, Lucy Saunders, Mark Benham, Helen Dance and Peter Shellswell who were all christening their barcodes for the first time. Sarah Brough was visiting from west London and was celebrating her 50th parkrun – watch out for the email to be able to order your T shirt Sarah!

David Duggan


Run Report 16th November 2019

Event number 78

Tennis fever gripped Victoria Dock this morning as visitors grabbed their parkrun fix before heading to the O2 to watch the ATP finals. As well as regulars, there were plenty of first timers and tourists, with tourists coming from as far afield as Chester, Dolgellau, Letchworth, Margate, and Wepre.

Congratulations to all of our first timers, we hope you'll be joining us again at parkrun soon whether that's at Victoria Dock or elsewhere!

A crisp and morning provided beautiful views down the dock and perfect running conditions. Victoria Dock is one of those lovely parkruns in which you can see the entire course from the start line.

After listening to the run director battle against planes passing overhead we all huddled together at the start line was a truly wide line allowing for a fast start with runners looking to up their pace as they headed towards the first turn around point. The faster runners were off at a cracking pace with everyone else following behind and making their way towards the superyacht, the EdExcel, and the first turn around point. The beauty of such wide paths is that overtaking is easy and so everyone had a good chance of a PB today.

As we approached the super yacht it appeared to get bigger and bigger in front of our eyes, before we passed it and headed down the side of the EdExcel. After reaching the far end of the conference centre, it was time to turn around towards the start again. As I ran back towards the start line I was encouraged by waves and smiles from fellow parkrunners who were still heading towards the yacht.

We turned the corner shortly after passing the Emirates Cable Car, providing an excellent spectacle for those above. We also had a wonderful view with Canary Wharf and the O2 arena looming large before us! However, turning the corner to reach the start line we were nowhere near the finish line as it was time to run down the other side of the dock towards the bridge, and we still had about 2k left. Like many others at this point, I was feeling the effects of the fast start but I was determined to push on. This determination was fortified as I was inspired by the fastest runner who was way out in front of fellows behind him and was making it look effortless. As they pushed forward, we seemed to find some extra energy to push on.

As I reached the turn around point just after the bridge, a vocal volunteer shouted words of encouragement which fortified me for the last push. Turning back round I could see the finish line and I knew exactly where I was going. A stream of faster runners were nearing it and other runners were running from it but giving just as much effort. With one final push and a final turn, I was there. I was tired but I was exhilarated by a fast paced parkrun with plenty of support and views all around!

There were some truly Grand Slam performances with new PBs all around. The fastest male finisher was James Ross who finished in a very impressive 15:52 whilst the quickest female Penelope Teoh ran the course in a lightening quick 19:36.

Thanks to all the volunteers who stood out in the cold and cheered us all on. The event is not possible, your dedication to ensuring event goes smoothly is matched only by the warmth of your encouragement!


Owain Morris

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