Where do I start???....Volunteers were brill as usual, numbers were low but fun factor was definitely high. With nearby Cheltenham cancelled because of weather we were more than fortunate that our sterling volunteers had managed to make the course runnable for the 62 hardy runners, so big thanks for even getting the course into shape.
With fourteen 50+ and one 100+ Parkrunners (that’s 25% of the field) being experienced Parkrunners the field knew what they had let themselves in for. A short but informative briefing was given with reference to the snow, rivers and the Olympic swimming pool sized puddle at the bottom of the course.
The usual countdown of three, two, one and the field eagerly set off across the sodden snow covered paddock towards the Sculpture Splishing, sploshing and sliding wide on corners was the order of the day and with myself in 7th position at the Sculpture it was clear everyone was taking it easy, apart from me... or struggling with the conditions, even the "Wright brothers" weren’t able to "take off" as usual.
Passing Eddies Corner and swapping sludge for sticky mud was a slight improvement as the runners formed into a snake like shape. Runners were more tentative and precise with their overtaking and many were seen to struggle even staying on the course at the slipiest of corners.
At the Olympic pool a hasty left and right diversion missed the depths whereas some more hardened runners plumbed for the kamikaze straight line route saving "at least 2 seconds" but tasting the freezing water which could only add to the already soaked and freezing bodies.
Conditions were going to make the PB's that were had more of a minor miracle, given that this week’s Parkrun could almost have been renamed a mud run. 7 PB's for mostly newer Park runners was all the course would allow and in finishing order, Peter Hague 23:22, 5 sec PB, George Harris 24:36, 1minute 1 sec PB,, Chris Tipton 24:43, 1minute 6 sec PB, Georgina Fenton 25:20, 28 sec PB, Steve McNelis 28:30, 25 sec PB, Steve Eldredge 30:31, 18 sec PB, Victoria Gent 32:44, 36 sec PB. were the successful ones.
With 8 juniors braving the elements, I was treated to a backseat of the battle for first lady for most of the race with junior Harriette Drew chasing Anna Louise Brook and almost catching her at one stage but eventually finishing just 6 seconds behind Anna who took her second win in the ladies class. I was also treated to I think it was Chris Tipton crossing the line behind me and sliding past me on his stomach as I collected my token. That’s what I call a victory slide!!!
A different story in the men’s race though where Matthew Fitzgerald was staying in contention with the eventual winner Ben Jones for the majority of the first lap but fell away during the second lap leaving Ben the clear winner by over a minute.
My usual walk back down the field was greeted by some very wet and cold runners but all were smiling and clearly grateful that the end was nigh. One that stood out to me was a lady who pushes herself every week and gets this week’s highest age grading topping a magnificent 70.27% which apart from the first and second place finishers is
a good 10% higher (and more) than the rest of us. Your finish position isn’t the only mark you can make on the race so it always pays to put the effort in all the way round as Ann Gray clearly does. Seeing Ann carefully taking on the snow covered tarmac path with a look of determination that helped her across the slippy snow we sometimes forget what challenges we have actually taken on ourselves, so I would like to say a big well done to all that were able to attend and take part and finish what was one of the trickiest Worcester Parkruns so far.
All that needs to be done is to look at the thing that pulls all this together and that’s the volunteers. They were Anne RALPHS • Carole RUDOLF • David GRAY • Derek HOBBY • Elaine MARSTON • Helen BURTON • James GOLDBY • Madeline PAUL • Margaret WILKES • Michael CONNOR • Sally GUILLAUME • Simon GALLAGHER • Tim JONES • Zach BUTCHER
They are the glue that holds all the parts in place and they certainly helped me and many more to get round on a day where they truly gave, so others could enjoy their morning. I expected frozen statues for marshals but saw enthusiasm that was contagious and a real lift. Seeing that some people have yet to enjoy the other side of the run by volunteering is a reminder that they have actually been missing out on a rewarding experience.
Word from the "cafe office" was it’s the first time ever at Worcester that we didn't have to edit the results to add in a barcode that didn't work, also there were NO unknown runners for the first time since August 2012, all making the "office staff's" job quicker and easier.
Looking forward to next week and some things will be different, Richard and Vonnie will be back bronzed or rusty, dependant on the weather, Eddie will be back in his corner and with a bit of good weather the paddock will be drier, numbers will be up, times will be down and fun will be had by all, see you there sdrawkcab rennur
(Thanks for putting this weeks run report together Trevor what a run to miss, well back to the pool and San Miguel, see you next week - Rich)
Stats from this week.....
Ben Jones (SM20-24) of University of York AC, was first over the line in 19.03 6th
win in 17 appearances
Matthew Fitzgerald (35-39) of Black Pear Joggers, was second over the line in 20.13,
was first to finish once
Thomas Boden (30-34) of Droitwich AC, was third over the line in 20.53
Current standing in the Men's annual points competition:
Chris GARRATT (Unattached) 3314 pts.
Matthew FITZGERALD (Black Pear Joggers) 3167 pts.
Richard BEETLESTONE (UKnetrunner) 3009 pts.
Anna Louise Brook (SW20-24), (Unattached), was first (14th overall) over the line in
24:17 -second win in 5 appearances.
Harriette Drew (JW15-19), (Unattached), was second (16th overall) over the line in
24:23 -Has been first to finish on 3 previous occassions.
Georgina Fenton (SW30-34) (Unattached) was third (24th overall) over the line in 25:20
Current standing in the Women's annual points competition:
Nichola Clair ROBINSON (Black Pear Joggers) 3508 pts.
Michelle THOMPSON (Black Pear Joggers) 3206 pts.
Ann GRAY (Unattached) 2869 pts.
The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Ann Gray (VW65-69) was graded 70.27 % for the time 31:10 (50th overall).
Ben Jones (SM20-24) was graded 68.42 % for the time 19:03 (First overall).
Matthew Fitzgerald (SM35-39) was graded 66.53 % for the time 20:13 (Second overall).
This week there were 62 runners, of whom 5 were first timers and 7 recorded new
Personal Bests. Representatives of 9 different athletics clubs took part.
Worcester parkrun started on 18th June 2011, and since then 1,784 different runners,
including participants from 161 athletics clubs, have completed 9,295 runs covering
a total distance of 46,475 km, and there have been 2,238 new Personal Bests.
The Women's course record is held by Alison LAVENDER who ran in a time of 18:13 on
1st September 2012 (event number 63).
The Men's course record is held by Anthony WHITEMAN who ran in a time of 14:52 on
31st March 2012 (event number 42).
The Age Grade course record is held by Anthony WHITEMAN who recorded a 91.82 % run
(14:52) on 31st March 2012 (event number 42).
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Worcester
parkrun Results Page.