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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If 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)