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!