Event 715, 20 November 2021


Oops, I did it again


In Keats' ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun’, there was a minor miracle on Wimbledon Common last Saturday and it wasn’t just that the lack of rain in this cold autumn made it passable for lightweight running shoes for once. 

Tom Phillips last ran Wimbledon Common parkrun on 15 December 2018, coming over the line first in a time of 17:30. Fast forward to 20 November 2021 and he again crossed the whitewash first, and again in a time of 17:30. (Was it deliberate? Only Tom knows, but it’s incredibly hard to run the same time on purpose and he probably didn’t even know what his first time was.) Tom also has a 100 per cent record and, because no one gets younger, his age grading has improved from 73.9 per cent to 74.57 per cent. At this rate he’ll sneak over 100 per cent by the time he’s in his 90s.

The first female, Alessandra Martines, was also running just her second Wimbledon Common parkrun, in her case after a break of only two years, but the attempt to exactly match her previous time didn’t go so well - she beat it by more than two minutes to post 21:04!

A break from our fair pastures seems to have done some good for Andy Allan too – having not run here since April 2019, he’s managed two participations since the great restart after the Covid break and has beaten his PB twice, this week taking it down to an impressive 21:16.

This week’s PB by Adrian Croft proves the value of application. The last time he posted a fastest time at Wimbledon was May 2018, but this week he beat that by 16 seconds with his 26:18. Bravo.

Zachary Watling appears to have benefited from a strict training regime during lockdown, having set PBs six times since parkrun reappeared. This week the youngster, in the JM10 age group, achieved 26:35, while his dad Anthony (I’m assuming it’s his dad - apologies if that’s wrong) broke his own PB just behind Zach, posting 26:37. So who was pacing who to a faster time?

In the VM65-69 category, Christopher Greenwood broke his PB for the first time since May 2019, going under 27 minutes for the first time with 26:51.

Wimbledon Common parkrun #715 20 November 2021

Lucy Woolhouse (left) pays respect to ageing husband Hugh (centre), while damaging her average position and age grade figures

On the total parkruns front, massive kudos to Hugh Woolhouse, whose dodgy knees have now carried him round Saturday morning 5ks 400 times, 395 of them at Wimbledon. Pretty good going for someone who recently received his free travel pass for reaching 60. For once his partner Lucy accompanied him around the course (she’s usually a fair bit faster) and still achieved an age grading of 76 per cent, putting her fourth on that scale for this week.

Wimbledon Common parkrun #715 20 November 2021

Robert Fortes looks anxious, his knobbly knees knocking, as his 300th parkrun gets under way

The veritable Robert Fortes, a key part of our report-writing team, had something to write home about this week, completing his 300th parkrun, all but 12 at Wimbledon. Another ‘senior’ runner, Paul Willatts notched up 250 (which gets a t-shirt), with 226 of them here. Wimbledon Windmiler and big Public Service Broadcasting fan (look them up – great band) Lisa Wood now has 150 parkruns under her belt. Only 69 have been at Wimbledon, but Lisa has an impressive array of about 70 other appearances all around the world.

Wimbledon Common parkrun #715 20 November 2021

It's all 'Go' for Lisa and David Wood, serene and alone in autumnal pastures

Carl Speak (a first-timer here), Emma Frew and Jonathan Head have all now qualified for their 50-parkrun t-shirts. Well done to them.

To return to the podium, an unknown runner was second over the line, so we’ll give second (though third) to Joseph Houlton, a first-timer in the SM25-29 age group (18:06) and third (though fourth) to old trooper and stunning runner Sandy Pfeifer (VM60-64, 18:36), who has come through a bad injury to run amazing times once again.

Wimbledon Common parkrun #715 20 November 2021

Sandy Pfeifer (red shirt) sets off apace last Saturday

Behind Alessandra Martines, the second female athlete was Tahlia Mistry (JW11-14), running a sensational 21:56 in her first-ever parkrun for 49th place overall. With 339 parkruns behind her, Katherine Laidler (VW35-39) is a more seasoned performer and came close to her PB with third spot in 22:35, 65th overall.

The aforementioned Sandy set the best age-grade this week, with just over 87 per cent. Next was Andrew Lenon, with 79.63 per cent for his 20:52, and Caroline Dunleavy, with 76.75 per cent for her 23:35.

There were 382 finishers, of whom 14 braved the cold to do their very first parkrun and another 26 were running for the first time on Wimbledon Acres though they’d already run at other parkruns.

We always need volunteers, so please consider it - there are lots of spaces to fill and it makes you happy, as the picture below proves.

Wimbledon Common parkrun #715 20 November 2021If you would like to volunteer, please email parkrun towers or present yourself to Jo or Kylie or Sophie at the bench on Saturday morning. You really will be helping others, which is the main point really. Thanks to all this week's volunteers, who are honoured on the home page.

Writer: Peter Collins. Images: Louise Robinson (who co-owns Chester, the dog pictured below)

Wimbledon Common parkrun #715 20 November 2021
You talkin’ to me? Well I'm the only one here


Wimbledon Common parkrun Event number 714 13th November 2021

Friends, Pals, Mates, Muckers... you get the gist


Your buddy, your amigo, your chum... we've all got them... gawd love 'em, long may they roll. Making friends through parkrun is as simple as lacing up your trainers on Saturday morning (Colin always tells you to double-bow to be sure, just saying.)  So here's a tribute to some of those beautiful friendships.

If it's your birthday,  you don't have to push your buggy,  your friend will. Is this a thing? It should be. The birthday buggy buddy, don't read that too fast!

Here are the DIYers... It's not their birthdays

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Oh but what do we have here? It's none other than BBB Amelia with Birthday Girl Julia. True friendship.

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Some friendships pack a punch, be warned. By lap 2 on the first left hand bend of the course I spotted shenanigans a-foot, possibly an elbow too. Our delightful visiting friend from the north Mark Proctor was pedal to the metal in an effort to keep Wimbledon regular Phil Tosh at bay as they vied for position. Mark eventually took the honours showing a clean pair of heels over the last few metres, a sight I personally witnessed with great glee and I am relieved to say that when they dusted themselves down, hands were shaken while friendship was not.

Mark below left alongside an image of the almost "Rumble in the Jungle"

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This week our photographer Bob Walsh was joined by his very able assistant Ben McKay. Ben took the picture of Mark above and Bob below plus many others with interesting angles, please check out more of his work on our Flickr page.

To friends who just clicked, Ben and Bob

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You always get those friends who just egg each other on to break all the rules, not a short lead in sight!  No identifying bark-code either!!

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Finally there are the kind of friends who have just welcomed their first baby. Huge congratulations to Michael and Rachel Darcy on the birth of their very beautiful little daughter Ava Amelia Rose Darcy.

This week 428 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 63 were first timers and 54 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 38 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 32 volunteers:

Ella WADDINGHAM • Nick MCKAY • Sophie MCKAY • Bernadette MAHER ALLAN • Annie TOSH • Manuel LOVELL • Tessa LOVELL • Charlie SNOW • Joe BUSA • Kylie CORSO • David CROWTHER • Graham WHITE • Bob WALSH • Andy ALLAN • Nicola GOSCOMB • Luigi ATHERTON • Anna AGNARSSON • Jo MANLEY • Amelie MOREL • Jane SCOON • Andy TUCK • Sally WINDLE • Nigel GRAY • Sally SCOON • Carly SCOTT • Benjamin MCKAY • Claire BOYNTON • Phoebe LANDER • Tamsin ABBEY • Bea LOTERYMAN • Nis AREND • Emma DAWE

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Wimbledon Common parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by Chris PARR who recorded a time of 15:04 on 23rd April 2011 (event number 224).
The female record is held by Justina HESLOP who recorded a time of 16:33 on 17th March 2012 (event number 271).
The Age Grade course record is held by Jane DAVIES who recorded 92.99% (21:24) on 29th January 2011 (event number 212).

Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6th January 2007. Since then 26,268 participants have completed 205,602 parkruns covering a total distance of 1,028,010 km, including 30,773 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,253 individuals have volunteered 11,680 times.

Report writer: Annie Tosh  Photographers Ben McKay and Bob Walsh


Wimbledon Common parkrun, Event number 713 – 6th November 2021

Inching towards Winter

Although the temperature was much higher than Friday morning, there was a notable autumnal chill in the air the morning after Bonfire Night. That didn’t stop no fewer than four hundred and seventy-three runners, joggers and walkers tackle our two laps of Wimbledon Common heaven. So many in fact the run director Katherine Laidler had to delay the briefing to give stragglers time to find a parking spot - more on that subject later!

Event 713 - CS(3)
strange kind of autumn...?!

Milestones and more…

Katherine’s search for tourists failed to yield anything other than a visitor from Harrogate, who was very welcome nevertheless! A light day for tourists was however more than compensated for with an impressive haul of milestones…

Firstly, top of the bill and clocking up and amazing 350 parkrun (336 of them on the Common) was Tessa Kelly. Massive congratulations.

Keith Robbins took a lonely but important position between Tessa and no fewer than seven other milestone runners with his impressive 150 outings.

Both of the runners celebrating their 100th parkrun outing did so by setting a new Personal Best. Congratulations to Paul McGee-Renedo and Rhea Hudson.

Event 713 - CS(152)
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marking the moment with a banner and a PB each!

Finally, five runners got their fiftieth notch, Joe Richards (also with a PB), Gemma Sharpe (on her first visit to the world’s best parkrun), Laura Stritch, Charlotte Bransgrove and Marianne Wilson.

In other news, forty-four more people joined Gemma making their first visit to Wimbledon Common parkrun, and a total of fifty-seven hardy souls found a Personal Best despite the conditions underfoot.

Congratulations to all!

Event 713 - CS(5)
Ready for the off...

About that car park…

So the great news is that we are learning to live with COVID and people are feeling more confident about spending Saturday morning sharing our passion. The consequences of that though is that the Windmill car park simply cannot cope. The last free space went this week at 9:44am, after that is was one-in-one-out.

There is lots of parking around the Common within ten minutes of the briefing bench which conveniently provides the keen athlete with the optimal 5k warm-up distance. Failing that there is a range of sturdy metal frames ideally suited to the cyclist looking for a solid object to chain their steed to. The number 93 bus connects Wimbledon and Putney stations and is an exquisite example of the genre. The Queensmere Road bus stop is a short walk (backwards down the parkrun route) to the bench. Finally, if you do have to drive to the windmill, please, please, please ram your car full of runners!

Results round-up…

The fastest person across the line was Unknown with no recorded time so I am ignoring them and awarding Gold to Richard Cohen (VM35-39, Wimbledon Windmilers) with his 18:12. That gives Silver to Alexander Vanstone (SM25-29, Fulham RC) with 18:31 and Bronze to Sam Dalgleish (SM30-34, Ranelagh Harriers) at 18:40.

Chloe Baker (SW25-29, Thames Valley Harriers, 13th overall) led the ladies home in 19:32 with Albane Fery (JW15-17, Hercules Wimbledon AC, 22nd overall) chasing her down at 20:11. The final podium step was occupied by Robyn Falck (VW40-44, 34th overall) setting a new PB with 20:51.

Lisa Thomas (VW55-59, Hercules Wimbledon AC) was in a league of her own in the Age Grade battle with an awesome 86.60% - the only runner to get into the eighties.

Congratulations to all.

Event 713 - CS(51)

Thanks due to…

Event 713 happened thanks to Alastair Brown, Nick McKay, Gavin Berry, Katherine Laidler, James May, Manuel Lovell, Clive Scammell, Fiona Bunker, Kylie Corso, Bob Walsh, Sandy Pfeifer, James Spinks, Nick Hudson, Nick George, Luigi Atherton, Dominic Ostrowski, Liz Ostrowski, Saskia Robbins, Bronte Trainor, Anna Agnarsson, Jo Manley, Amelie Morel, Mary-Ann Turnbull, Sally Bovill, Chris Smith, Jackie Mclaughlan, Carly Scott, Phoebe Lander, Tamsin Abbey, Jan McQuaker, Bea Loteryman and Emma Dawe. We could probably live without a report and the photos, but over thirty roles are mandatory and have to be filled each week or we cannot run. Report writers get some fun facts from parkrun HQ to help with the report writing, and when I filed my last report (706) 1,235 unique people had volunteered at least once in the history on Wimbledon Common parkrun. Today (713) 1,235 unique people have volunteered, an increase of zero! We need more people to step up and help!

Stepping up is dead easy. All the instructions are on the Wimbledon Common parkrun website under the volunteer tab. The future roster page shows the gaps over the next few weeks, and if you know what you want to do, just email the super friendly volunteer team with your choice and date. If you don’t know what roles suit, the human faces of that super friendly team (Jo Manley, Charles Hampden-Smith and Kylie Corso) are around the bench every Saturday. Say hello and step up!

Event 713 - CS(149)
they stepped up...

We have a special offer at the moment for membership of the elite car parking volunteer sub-team. For those that have to drive (see above!) it’s vital we respect our impact on other Common users by directing the car park activity and making sure the log jam is managed. Simon Cheetham manages this elite team, and most weeks you can still nip to the start line and run. I think one person each week sees the task through to completion (kudos today to Nick George, 09:45!) but Simon has the low down and can induct you into the order!

A lesson in history…

Wimbledon Common parkrun started on 6th January 2007. Since then 26,205 participants have completed 205,174 parkruns covering a total distance of 1,025,870 km, including 30,719 new Personal Bests. The male record is held by Chris Parr who recorded a time of 15:04 on 23rd April 2011 (event number 224), and the female record is held by Justina Heslop who recorded a time of 16:33 on 17th March 2012 (event number 271). The Age Grade course record is held by Jane Davies who recorded 92.99% (21:24) on 29th January 2011 (event number 212). These figures were made possible by 1,235 individuals who have volunteered a total of 11,648 times.

Words Alastair Brown, pictures Clive Scammell


Wimbledon Common parkrun report #712 October 30 2021


“Heavy rain changing to sunny intervals by lunchtime”

So said the Met Office on Saturday morning at 07:00. In other words, parkrunners get a good soaking, and then it clears up - nice! While it was certainly tipping it down, by the time we were at the start and given the off by the timekeeper, the rain had stopped.
Had any boats in yet, Simon?

Weather or not?

Some parkunners just love the mud, others not so much but, whether you’re a puddle lover or a puddle dodger, a good downpour unsurprisingly affects turnout. Since we got back to business-as-usual on July 24, the numbers started in the 300s then increased to the 400s, with a maximum so far of 479. Noticeable variations have been August 7 with 181, and this week 252, both very wet and rainy days. I remember August 7 well as I was running a marathon along the Thames Path, and the rain was coming down by the bucketload!
Never mind the weather, as long as we're together

Ghoulies out for a run

Halloween was looming, and some runners entered into the spirit, but there were (for me) some unidentifiable characters lurking in the woods. 20211030-WC-Parkrun-SJW-3985
Squidman, and I'll never find my barcode in this man, follow the Grim Reaper

This week’s treats, in tricky conditions

First three (very muddy) finishers were Benjamin Carr SM25-29 in a PB time of 17:58, Ranelagh Harriers’ Jordan Mungovan VM35-39 in 18:02 running his first parkrun at Wimbledon Common, and fast and first lady Hercules Wimbledon AC’s Ellen Weir JW15-17 in 18:17. However, the age grade percentages tell a different story, with Ellen ahead of the men with an impressive 82.68%, with Jordan 73.11% and Benjamin 71.80%. Lisa Thomas came out on top with 85.85%. There were 41 parkrunning on the Common for the first time, and congratulations to the 12 runners who splashed round to achieve a Personal Best. Just one milestone this week: some old bloke called John Carter notched up his 350th! For the record, my first (then called Wimbledon Common Time Trial) was on February 9 2008. It’s fair to say running has changed my life (for the better!) and I’ve met some wonderful people.
Fast lady Ellen Weir, third runner across the line

Blowing in the wind

A big thank you to all the volunteers this week who were working in less-than-ideal conditions, but kept everything running smoothly. Phil Tosh had a particularly tricky job marking the course with flour but, despite the wind and rain, Phil did manage to mark the course in the places it mattered most - well-done one and all. Have you volunteered lately? As you know, parkrun doesn’t run itself and volunteers are always needed. There’s a role to suit everyone. Go to 'volunteer' on the website then send an email to wimbledon@parkrun.com

Lofty ambition

Any parkrun graduates who fancy something more challenging may like to try the Empire State Building run-up. Held in New York’s famous art-deco skyscraper, and billed as the world’s first and most famous tower race, runners climb 86 flights, 1,576 stairs from the lobby to the observation deck. This year’s event, held last Tuesday October 26, attracted 200 runners from 24 countries and was the 43rd running of this annual event (cancelled in 2020) and was won by Malaysian Soh Wai Ching who shot up those stairs in 10mins 47 secs - perhaps inspired by the $100,000 prize, which was donated to the charity of his choice. The men’s record is 9:33.

January 1 2022

New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday, so there will be a parkrun - the perfect way to shed those had-too-many blues.

And finally

If any readers are wondering why there was no report for last week, it’s because there was a minor hiccup in the writers’ department. Apologies, normal service has now been resumed.

Clockwise Halloween round-up from top left: less welcome than a bunch of hornets, skeleton man from Guildford, unknown warrior, thumbs up and enjoying himself, stylish mud-free lady and dog, 350 runs man with Francesca (418 and counting)

Words by John Carter + Photography by Stephen Willerton


Wimbledon Common parkrun – #710 – 16th October 2021

Parkrun added purpose to the start to a somewhat dreary day that offered a fine mist of rain to envelope the 430 runners who shrugged off a decidedly autumnal feel to the beginning of the weekend.

Wimbledon Common parkrun 710-10

The day almost looked like the start of a seasonal head cold and as we go into winter we should all remember that Covid is still very much with us and by exercising personal responsibility in addition to adhering to the remaining guidance we can all contribute making sure the things we enjoy stay available to us.

The field managed to produce 55 PB's. Interestingly of the 55, 35 were achieved by runners on 20 runs or less. Inspirational performance from one of our “VM's”, Dominic Ostrowski, who produced a PB on run 227 after a PB drought of 182 runs. For any doubters out there, time to banish the thought that your fastest runs may be behind you and that is before we even consider the dark art of age grading.


We all know the Candy Man can and the Muffin Man of course is a legend in Drury Lane. Well at Wimbledon we celebrated the 450th run for John Sabourin who provides the post Parkrun coffee and the Flapjack Snack so clearly in addition to Sammy Davis Jr, John can as well. Other milestones from Oscar Sims (Junior) who achieved 10 and Hugh Lenon on 300.

Wimbledon Common parkrun 710-1

First Finishers

First in this week was Laurence Hill on his maiden Wimbledon outing 17:49. He was followed by one of our regular juniors Will Taylor 17:59. Third over the line was Alexander Vanstone 18:02.

The Wimbledon ladies Lisa Thomas 20:54 and Lucy Woolhouse 20:56 came in first and second. Third was Louise Rowley 22:23 who joined us at Wimbledon Common the first time.

Thanks to the volunteers
Parkrun is committed to remaining free and relies on the hard work of a group of volunteers to keep going. As we have more barcode scanners each week in order to reduce crowding our need for volunteers has increased so it is even more important to join in.

Thanks to this week's volunteers: Tamsin ABBEY, Annette BARRETT, Matthew BEANEY, Robert BEEBY, Sally BOVILL, Claire BOYNTON, Jennifer BROOKES, Kylie CORSO, David CROWTHER, Charlie DAWE, Emma DAWE, Jaspal DHALLEY, Adam FENTON, Emma FREW, Nick GEORGE, Matthew HAUGHTON, Nick HUDSON, John HUDSPITH, Tessa KELLY, Sophie MCKAY, Amelie MOREL, Dominic OSTROWSKI, Matthew SALISBURY, Carly SCOTT, Matthew SEARLE, Laura SOLOMON, Mary-Ann TURNBULL, Bob WALSH, Gilmar WENDT, Graham WHITE

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