Run report by Ali Sheppard
This week it was all about the women as parkruns around the world hosted a special celebration of female participation, with parkrun taking place the day before International Women’s Day (IWD). In England, the #IWDparkrun celebration was supported by the This Girl Can campaign created by our partner Sport England.
So what has International Women’s Day got to do with sport and parkrun, I hear you say? Well, research carried out by parkrun shows that, across the world, women are less likely than men to take part in a 5k parkrun event. Despite the fact that females make 54% of registrations, they are less likely than men to make it the start line or to continue participating. International Women's Day parkrun is a fantastic opportunity to encourage more women and girls to participate in parkrun events all over the world, and we at Walthamstow parkrun were happy to join in as we have some amazing, inspirational women taking part on a regular basis.
To celebrate the day, everyone was encouraged to wear purple, which is the colour of International Women’s Day, and we also encouraged the colours of the Suffragette movement – purple, green and white. We had a special selfie frame which we all enjoyed using:
We’ve had some atrocious weather recently, with waterlogged ground at the Peter May Centre making it more of a parkslip-and-slide than parkrun. The day before parkrunday the sun came out however, and dried out the ground a little bit, although it was still super-muddy. But it takes more than a bit of mud to put off the intrepid 82 parkrunners who took on the course and amazingly 7 people even managed to get new PBs – congratulations!
We had tourists from Coventry and Cumbria, and 17 first timers to Walthamstow. One of the aims of IWDparkrun was to encourage women to come and participate, and beforehand parkrun asked people to bring along a female friend, family member, neighbour or colleague. Whether this was the inspiration for the six people who were doing their very first parkrun at Walthamstow, I don’t know, but 5 out of the 6 were women! A special welcome to Emma West, Kathryn Cyr, Ken McKenna, Lorette Fredericks, Debbie Cotterill, Lily Garaghty who all ran their first parkrun this week. I do know it was the inspiration for Debbie Cotterill, pictured below, whose partner comes along to Walthamstow but who hasn’t made it along before now. It was lovely to meet you, Debbie, and we hope to see you again.
Before the start, Andrew Jacobs gave the first timer’s briefing, and then handed out some out some inspirational stickers that he had brought along to celebrate International Women’s Day – thank you, Andrew, they were great fun!
Then we all gathered for the run briefing given by Run Director, Steve Peacock. After going through the announcements and safety briefing, Steve then pulled a stroke of genius and invited all the women to come to the front to start in front of the men. I have to admit, as I always start at the back of the field, it made a change to start at the front and gave a whole new perspective on parkrun! As well as being RD, Steve doubled up as photographer and has taken some wonderful photos of the event. I think he’s managed to capture absolutely everyone who was there, so take a look at our facebook page where he has uploaded them all into an album.
A mere 21 minutes and 21 seconds after Steve said “GO”, first finisher Rupert Rowling crossed the finish line. And not long behind him was our first lady, Anna Roman, finishing in 25:15. And speaking of inspirational women, Anna has run 98 parkruns, 62 of them at Walthamstow where she was first lady on 11 occasions. She’s also been first lady at Barking parkrun and parkrun Skorzec in Poland.
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Walthamstow parkrun Results Page.
We had two milestone parkrunners at the event. Firstly congratulations to Alfie Fresco who was celebrating his 50th run. We look forward to seeing you in your red 50 t-shirt soon. If anyone has a milestone coming up do please let us know so that we can celebrate it with you.
And I was celebrating my 100th run. I’d like to say that I coordinated it to land on International Women’s Day, but I’m afraid that it was a coincidence! But it was certainly due to some Walthamstow’s inspirational women that I’ve made it to 100 runs, even though it took me 6 years! When I first came to Walthamstow parkrun, in 2013, I came as a volunteer and thought that there was no way that I could actually run 5k. Each week our Event Director, Sharron Rooney, would ask me when I was going to run, and encouraged by Sharron and also Penny Wiles who said that she would run with me the first week, I eventually made it onto the starting line and the rest, as they say, is history! To thank everyone for their encouragement over the years I was delighted to bring some cupcakes with black and purple t-shirts on them, to mark both my 100th and IWD.
I’ve saved the best until last with this run report: a huge thanks must go to our 14 volunteers who made this event happen: Angela LAMBERT • Steve PEACOCK • Anna MORGAN • Ali SHEPPARD • Jon GAMBLE • Liz WORRALL • Hameera DARR • Andrew JACOBS • Susan JACKMAN HILLS • Gail SEAL • Lucy RATHBONE • Danny MAGILL • Lily GARAGHTY • Frederick DOODY. Without volunteers, our parkrun just wouldn’t happen, so your help is really appreciated. Lucy Rathbone was volunteering with her daughter Lily for the first time, and afterwards she posted on our facebook page: “Thanks for having me today – I really loved marshalling”
If you would like to have fun marshalling, timekeeping, barcode scanning, handing out tokens, writing the run report or doing any of the volunteer roles, take a look at our future roster here: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/walthamstow/futureroster/ and email us with the week and role that you would like to do.
Finally, did you leave a pink jacket behind after the event? It was left under the tree, and has been handed into the reception at the Peter May Centre where you can collect it.
Have a good week everyone.