First things fast

Runners came from far and wide to enjoy the inaugural Walthamstow parkrun

Recent weather conditions meant the 'inaugural parkrun tourists' - runners who love to visit new parkruns - certainly had to work for their right to boast 'I was there' at the first Walthamstow parkrun.
The heavy snow covering the grass course had only melted hours before the run started but the wet conditions (not to mention an appearance from the sun) added to the fun atmosphere of the morning. Despite some mud-splattered legs there were plenty of smiles from the 63 runners, many of whom had travelled specially to notch up a first.

'We've made lots of friends visiting new parkruns,' said Rosemary Egbe who had travelled from Croydon with friends Nicola Tarrant and Alison Symonds-Tayler. 'We often see a lot of familiar faces as people like to try different runs,' agreed the runners from the Collingwood club. Nicola was proudly wearing her Australian parkrun T-shirt (to celebrate Australia Day) which she had picked up after finishing three different Aussie park runs when visiting the Gold Coast and Newcastle, New South Wales. 'Over there they don't go for a coffee after the race, they go for a swim,' she explained.

Meanwhile, second-placed runner Peter Woodward had forgone his usual parkrun in the Forest of Dean, near Gloucester, to visit E17. He has completed 82 park runs in total and Walthamstow was the 31st different course he had run.
Ian Giggs from Reading enjoyed his 14th inaugural race and 52nd different parkrun. 'It's a nice course, nice and flat,' he concluded.

Walthamstow also welcomed visitors from parkrun HQ. Founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt tested out the new course, and wife Joanne was on hand to assist the volunteers. parkrun communications manager Danny Norman, who led the field home in a time of 17.48 said: 'It's a very intriguing course. It's certainly very leg-sapping today because of the recent conditions. The course is great, with three laps of one mile, so it's broken down easily and is fun. It's a good course for beginners because it's not like a giant 5k course where some people can feel left out. There are plenty of places where the leaders are able to gee up other runners and encourage them.'

But this was a day where runners were enjoying a break from their usual parkrun. Roderick Hoffman, whose local run is at Bedfont Lakes near Ashford in Middlesex calls himself a 'professional run tourist' - this was his 45th parkrun. 'I don't normally do cross country but I'll make an exception for an inaugural parkrun. It was tough for me, my legs which don't normally do soft ground. In the better weather in the summer this will be a really fast course.'

But it was Christopher Schofield who had the best reason to run fast. ' I've done 18 different parkruns. I try to do one every week and a different one every week. This is the furthest I've been. I was up at seven this morning to get here but as it's my wife's birthday I'd better get back.' Christopher's local parkrun is Tilgate in Crawley, West Sussex.
All in all, it was a great family running day, with babies (in racing wheelchairs with fast dad pushing), dogs (on leads) and youngsters, all joining in the inaugural race for the Waltham Forest area.

* Many thanks to all the volunteers who gave up their time to make this first race a success and to Sponsor Sweatshop for the discount vouchers they gave to every runner.

You can keep updated with the antics of Walthamstow parkrun at:
Facebook: Walthamstow parkrun
Twitter: @walthamstowrun
Podcast: parkrun show with Danny Norman

Thank you once again for everybody's valued contribution today.

Report courtesy of Daniel Ford - Reporter Extraordinaire.

Hope to see you all again soon.

Sharron - ED