Run Report 30th Oct 2021

Lovely Weather for Docks

By Tim Gray (Chiltern Church Runners)

 

For those of you who came on Saturday it will come as no surprise it was a trifle wet. In fact if my trifle was that wet I’d say it hadn’t set!

Still, we had lots of fun – and all thanks to the volunteers standing in that rain running the event, rather than running the event – if you see what I mean. So thanks to you all, very much appreciated. It was nice to be invited to join you for coffee after the run at the Good Hotel – a social enterprise based on a converted Dutch Prison boat. If you haven’t volunteered, do think about it – it’s great fun.

Lot’s of visitors – not unusual for Victoria Docks – some Cowell Cowl wearing tourists, who came to get their ‘V’ for a parkrun alphabet, including one milestone of 50 different events, well done. In terms of official milestones, only one (who was to shy to declare) 100 parkruns for Marie Gray – well done indeed to my daughter, who picked Victoria Docks as the one of her 74 different events she wanted to come back to for her 100th adult parkrun.

I won’t list all the First Timers, as that would be over half the field – but a special mention to Edward Salmon, Jason Aiken, Tony Walton and Manar Younis who were not afraid of the rain and did their first ever parkrun today – well done you. Randomly I’ll name two of the others – Phil Dolphin and Hannah Tankard for having names associated with liquids!

Despite, or perhaps because of wanting to get out of, the weather there were 12 Pb’s so well done Jim Scobie, Paul Jackson, Ben Walker, Paul McGee-Renedo (doing his flake run), Charlie Kellond, Paulette Smith, Sunil Yadav, Danny Wingate – and all of my family; Tim,Sue, Marie and Matthew Gray.

Hopefully the parkrun weather fairy will be back at work next week – she complained of her wand being out of charge on twitter this weekend – and the next run will be a dry run!

 

Run Report 16th Oct 2021

As is often the case in recent times, when my wife and I plan a trip away, one of the first things on the agenda is to decide on a parkrun to visit.

This time was no exception and so when planning our upcoming trip to London we had plenty of choice. Following a recommendation from some friends we couldn’t resist the opportunity to bag a ‘V’ for our alphabet challenge, and so Victoria Dock parkrun was to be our destination!

So on the morning of October 16th we made our way across London on the various tube services from our hotel, until we found ourselves stepping off the platform at Royal Victoria DLR, and making our way to the start area, reassuringly surrounded by other runners.

The days friendly team of 9 volunteers were just setting up to greet the excited crowd, a quick course description and safety briefing and before you knew it, we were away!

The bright crisp morning made for perfect running conditions, with the stunning views of the city’s skyline and along the dock providing a scenic distraction.

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Of the 109 parkrunners who all ran, jogged or walked the 5k, 4 people were completely new to parkrun, a massive congratulations and welcome to the parkrun family.

Coming in first position for the days event was Adam Bailey in a super speedy 16 minutes and 40 seconds, only his second visit to this event and his first time as a first finisher.

Including myself there were 33 first timers to the event, with visitors from local parkruns like Burgess, Northala, Bushey, Arrow valley and some from further afield like my wife and I from Chippenham.

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There were at least 19 course PB’s on the day being registered in the results, and I could easily see why with the enthusiastic cheering and supporting from the marshals for every single person, and it was impossible not to give just that little bit extra for the last few meters to the finish.

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After all the runners had finished there was plenty of chatting and congratulating, and I got to speak to quite a few of the other runners, who all made us feel very welcome.

And on a high made from a mix of caffeine and running endorphins, we set off back across London to continue our weekend, all the happier for our first visit to the lovely Victoria Dock parkrun.

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Huge thanks to this week’s volunteers:

Lina DANNFORS, Kathryn DOBSON, Sam GUNARATNE, Matthew JONES, Sophie JONES, Trixie OON, Samantha OSBORNE, Hannah TULLOCH, Dorothy WRIGGLESWORTH

We will definitely be back . . . .

Sam Neale

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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 (https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/emirates-air-line/)! 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.

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