Saturday, 2 September 2023

KWP Parkrun #440 Race Report

As hot as it was humid 267 of us lined up on the start line for KWP Parkrun number 440.

Everyone's prep for the 9am Saturday 5km is as individual as the run itself. We all, generally, fall into one of a few categories.

The Organised

Has usually washed and ironed their run kit at least 6 days before. Has the kit laid out in prep the night before. Alarm set for 6am to allow a fuel loaded breakfast enough time to settle pre run. Generally parked up and ready about 8am with plenty of time for a warm up and pre run poo.

The Reluctant

Has often been roped in the night before during one too many gins in Hogarths. Has secretly hoped everyone has forgotten by morning only to have those hopes dashed with the 'I am on the way, pick you up in 5 mins' text from the one pal the night before who stuck to orange juice.

The Incorporated

Often training for a marathon or an ultra and see Parkrun as a perfect intermittent run mid long run. Don't worry, they will tell you about it during the run. Strava entry later on will map the return run to Lichfield at a steady 9 mins/mile pace.

The First Timer

A sleepless night through nerves leads to an anxious morning of doubt. A 'should I or shouldn't I go' morning. They may have done this a few times before but this is the day when they take the plunge. Forcing themselves out of the door with their Skechers*, ill-fitting casual shorts and almost certainly chafe inducing t-shirt but with a determination to take the first step on their running journey.

*other non run specific trainers are available

The Unreliable

"I'll meet you at 8am in Fazeley to run down"

Followed by.

"I'm running late but I'll be there by ten past and we will still make it"

Followed by.

"Not gonna make it in time. You crack on and i'll see you at the start"

The Intoxicated

Was out with The Reluctant but struggled to know when to stop. Battles throughout the run to keep it down.

The Last Minute

Wakes up late only to lie in bed messing on their phone knowing they're already late, leaving it to the last minute to get up and put on kit they ran in yesterday, that hasn't been washed, no time to clean teeth, can't find buff, or keys, leaves 8 mins before 9am for a 10 min drive to KWP, jams car in space, wings a parking fine, realises they've forgotten their watch, swears and chases after the tail runners as they disappear through the bushes towards 'muddy wood'.

The Injured Return

Strapped, hobbling and with a story to tell. You'll often hear something along the lines of "yeah I’m just gonna take it steady near the back to test the knee/thigh/calf/ankle/back/toe/spleen (delete as appropriate)." Often you'll see a 22 mins finish time and continue to hate them forever.

The Pro

Springs out of bed as soon as alarm sounds, warms up muscles, eats a healthy power snack, pops on one ounce vest, high thigh shorts and trainers that improve performance by 0.008% and cost the equivalent to a 3 bed semi. Spring around field 20 mins before the off in a warmup dance last seen on BGT '17, before positioning themselves at the front awaiting the off. Unlikely to be seen again by any other runner, finishing first and immortalised in the race report for taking first place in the non-race race.

[Editor’s note – it’s still not a race, Sid)

This week the Pros amongst us were David, Charlie, Benjamin, Holly, Rachel and Harriet. Joseph and Holly leading the way for the youth of today.

9 of us were Unknown, 50 first timers and 23 or 8.164% of us got to lord it for the rest of the day secure in the knowledge that they had run the fastest Parkrun of their life!

At least 11,000 volunteers have got KWP to 440 runs. Without them the run doesn't happen. Some volunteers never have the urge to run but many of them would like the opportunity to run every now and then. The perfect scenario being a revolving door of volunteers to guarantee the event and to let everyone run. With the amount of runners we have we should all be volunteering about 4 times a year to ease the need for paracetamol during the week for the incumbent Race Director.

Today's volunteers that made it happen were Woodo, Beano, Gazza, Saz, Chewy, Magic, Dolph, Frencho, Griff, Hanno, Jubble, JD, BJ, Mr & Mrs J, M&M, Benjo, Oron, Pez, Pez, Renaldo, Deano and Strett!

Kind Regards


Tuesday, 23 May 2023

KWP Parkrun #427 Race Report

"The rain falls hard on this humdrum town" and didn't it just. The heavens opened on Parkrun eve as if to welcome Andy Rourke to audition at the pearly gates for a place in heavenly Indie history. For many of us the timing and rhythm of our angst ridden youth and the earworm that takes us back, with fondness, to our favourite ever pair of Pepe jeans.

Yesterday's rainfall gave way to a glorious sun drenched (is that an oxymoron?) morning. As runners gathered at the start the last few drops of moisture were losing their grip on the grass and save for a few muddier bits charged by the rain the course was pretty spot on.

As the first cars park up, KWP transforms and fills with busy runners. The early birds are first to appear. Arriving early enough to get a couple of warm up miles done around the park. The newbies are usually next to rock up often relieved that the £4.95 to park turns into £2 for Parkrun. The toilet runners next leaving just enough time for 'one more wee' before the off despite having had six since waking up an hour ago. Club colours steadily fill the field as runners buzz to the start like bees to a new queen. As the chatter amongst runners builds the 'last minuters' play 'out of order parking ticket machine' pinball as they hurriedly try to arrange their parking fine avoidance and get to the start line on time. 

There are of course the slightly late crew. Bashed on the bonce with the full cost of parking they're seen running from the car park and straight through the start line as they chase down the back of the pack that is already disappearing through the first line of trees. Last but by no means least the long runners will run through whenever they're ready as they include parkrun in their Edinburgh (insert appropriate marathon depending on time of year) prep. He won't be at Parkrun next week as he'll be on the road to Edinburgh to pop his marathon cherry for his belated 50th birthday present but today Neil 'The Stallion' Taylor * incorporated KWP into his last long run and hit a 2023 KWP PB.

* the nickname decision was lengthy and drawn out due to various representations to our lawyers.

Getting to the nitty gritty of the day Ben Witham saw off a Max Kent surge to finish first by just 4 seconds which would seem like an eternity compared to the 1 second that saw Howard Bush push Benjamin Musson off the podium. Bethan Padbury led from the off to finish 43 seconds ahead of Emma Koppe with Trudi Pike just a minute further back. There was a noticeable contingent of young runners clocking some impressive times. Alexander Haywood led the way and was only 14 seconds off the top 10 with an impressive PB run.

Big contingent from team Unknown saw 13 finishers between 45th and 251st.

29 volunteers made it all possible without whom you would all be resigned to a morning on the sofa in your pants eating poppadoms only able to dream of awesome. Instead, on this sunniest of sunny May days, you soaked up your vit D, got out, got moving, topped up your endorphins and turbo charged your body, mind and soul.

For the 427th time, KWP enabled 299 of you to run the lakes of which 47 dabbled for the first time and 40 of you blazed a trail to a new PB. Two Villans came away with milestones. Gav Clinton reached an impressive 250 just 410 shy of Charlie Aitkins appearance record. Tim Holmes clocking his 50th to match Pongo Waring's record for goals in a season. He was in good company with John Padbury, Amy Bywater and John Child. Hazel Thomas perfectly negotiated the tricky single required for her century. Will Rhodes & Nicola Lyndon got in on the action with volunteer milestones of 25 a piece.

A recent trial system of having a roving reporter on the course meant our man, Bill Waring (no relation) grabbed a few nuggets from a few of you happy to chat.

Gaz Jolly on being 2 mins off his PB: "heaven knows I'm miserable now"

Catching her breath Annie Mulvey on her nip and tuck but ultimately unsuccessful bid to catch Sheelagh Evans in 123rd: "Sheelagh take a Sheelagh take a bow"

Last word should really go to one of our winners, sorry leaders, I mean person that reached the finish token zone first but by no means in any kind of race other than within the confines of ones battle within oneself.

Bethany Padbury on being first female into the finish token zone: "William it was really nothing".

On the day we all celebrate Buster Rhymes' 51st birthday I think that's a neat wrap for Kingsbury Water Park Parkrun number 427. Until the next one. Sid.

KWP Parkrun #423 Race Report

Kingsbury #423 couldn't have asked for a better morning had it written to the weather gods at least 7 days in advance and requested perfect running conditions for 9am 22nd April 2023. Ideal for Race Director Steve to pop his RD cherry. His leadership, clarity and confidence relayed a calm assurance to us in the masses and, unlike the now ex whatever he was Dominic Raab (who knew a leading member of the government was a narcissistic bully?) instilled a 'run through walls' work ethic in his volunteer crew. A crew assembled to allow us to bust a gut each Saturday morning when the easy option is to stay in bed.

There's a pride, a joy, an overwhelming sense of wonderment when your offspring achieve. Their first steps, riding a bike without stabilisers, first detention for flicking elastic bands at Sandra Thopscott, first job and, of course, the heady mix of relief, happiness, sadness and crushing emptiness when they flee the nest and you realise, whilst you've done a good job, you're no longer needed. As it is today 10 Marvels, or Michlings, have taken the leap of faith from the safety of the couch to hit the ground a 5km runner. Graduating in the picturesque lake littered grounds of Kingsbury Manor to join the parkrunning throng of Saturday morning worshippers. I had to look it up but the collective noun for a group of parkrunners is a pickle. A pickle of parkrunners. Having joined the KWP pickle today, their trainers, still very much in their infancy, made it through the splosh of the muddy wood, stained forever, never to return to being the comfy ones for pottering in the garden. For no more shall they sidestep the wet and forevermore they will run, run free as nature intended. Until, of course, usually after about 300 miles, the toe pokes through the top and the heels wear and you have to go to a running store having secured the appropriate bank loan to buy a posh pair from a store that analyses you to tell you the expensive ones are best but they never quite sit right and you hark back to the days of cheap as chips pumps that never gave you any gyp.

As well as the graduates from Michy's Marvels the sharp eyed amongst you will have spotted a regular menace of Marvels in their blue tops, a cete of Badgers in black, a pinch of Peelers in black (with yellow trim), a bouquet of BPM in blue, a clash of Titans purple and green, a trellequent of Tamworth Athletics Club in green, a symphony of Sneyd Striders, a rush of Royal Sutton, a hustle of Hinckley AC and a nudge of Northcott AC. Rivals brought together for a common once a week goal akin to the opening scene of the 1978 classic The Warriors but without the shooting of Syrus. The only thing getting shot today was my thighs and some personal bests.

The winner (its not a race, I know, but when you finish before everyone else in a timed 5km run you've kinda come first and therefore, by default, you're the winner) blasted through in, well, no time at all. Literally. No time. Down as 'Unknown' in the results I can only guess at their finishing time and based on when he passed me on the back straight my best guess would be 17 mins 23 seconds. The two Thomas's, Maidment and Clowes, wrapped up second and third with a PB 18:17 & first time 18:55 respectively. Megan, off of first timer briefist crossed legs fingers on lips, led Ellie D and Bethan to top the female podium all coming in sub 25's.

Pb's were shot down by Maidment, Westhead, Spencer, Phipps, Bradburn, Savin-Baden, Magner, Satchwell, Miller, Shakespeare, Feasby, Rogers, Mandefield,  Miller, Careless, Li, Atkins, Jenkins, Clarke, Wainman, Jepson and the other Wainman. It's a great measure for progress as we are only ever racing ourselves so give it up for the PB gongers.

Lots of love to the core crew that made it possible who's motto, 'Everything I do I do it for you', helps the world go round and the pickle thrive. Brian ADAMS, Richard BENHAM, Wendy BOWYER, William BROWNING, Hannah COOGAN, Paul DANIELS, Steve DARLASTON, Anne DEVENNEY, John DEVENNEY, Alison DOLPHIN, Margaret DOWNES, Gemma FOLLIS, Sarah FRENCH, Megan GRIFFITHS, Susan HANN, Ian JACKSON, Sharon JACKSON, Brian JONES, Ken JORDAN, Margaret JORDAN, Amanda LAWTON, Alison PERRY, Reuben PERRY, Steve PERRY, Robert Ian RAINSLEY

KWP's 423rd parkrun yielded the 17,806th finisher and 132,470th finish, the other Wainman was the 21,078th personal best and if we all pull our socks up we could get the 30:09 average finish time down into the 20's!

See you at the symmetrically comforting 424th KWP Parkrun. Kindest regards with a cup of tea warmth. Sid.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

KWP Parkrun #403 Race Report

5k through the muddy woods
Each week we get together
Always with our fingers crossed
The course will beat the weather 

Young and old, fast and slow
It really doesn't matter
Getting out to get it done
Friends catch up and natter 

It's made possible every week
By lots of volunteers
Without which our weekly jaunt
Would fall upon deaf ears 

On this bright morning Dec 3
Lots of milestones fell
Volunteers and runners alike
Ringing the milestone bell 

Marvels made up 10% 
Of the 142 field
Their leader clocked her 200th run
Parkrun legend sealed 

Mich wasn't alone in the 200 club
Paul Stone celebrated too
Cathy Boden got in on the action
For her the route was new 

Chris Horton led a brace of Badgers 
Winning in 18:47
Glynn second not far back
Matt's first time & podium heaven 

First lady home clocked a shiny pb
21:43 for Elspeth Adamson-Woods
Meg and Laura hot on her heels
Bringing home the goods 

Badgers pipped the pack
Leading from the start
A Fox brought us all in safe
Hayley's run full of heart 

Wildlife represented throughout 
Two Herons were in the mix
Despite an apparent fact
Only one of them exists 

No less competitive in the middle
Emily Ford split the field
Du Sautay chased Brent in
Under pressure she did not yield 

A few hard fought battles
Many chasing a runners hit
Don't worry if you're overtaken 
No one gives a monkeys 

Feel free to volunteer
Give a little back
Without you good people stepping up
Santa can't empty his sack 

Of running shoes, shirts and leggings 
Everything you could need
For being a great parkrunner
And keep you in the lead 

That's 403 at Kingsbury done
Cheering you all is ace
See you next time on the course
For your Saturday run fix race 

Big Thumbs

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

KWP Parkrun #400 Race Report

As quick as a Government U-turn or a Braveman gaff the weekly phenomenon that is Parkrun returns with KWP celebrating a doozie of a milestone. The 400th running of KWP Parkrun marks a huge amount of blood, sweat, tears, twists, the odd trip, many splashes, stings and some vomits. Along the way 17,067 of us have run 5k around the lakes 127,619 times achieving 20,639 personal bests. There's been some super fast runs peaking at 15:01, some steadier walks and everything in between. We've had dog powered runs and fancy dress jeffing. Various routage - summer, winter, wet, dry, mozzies, single lap and the current double lapper. Always loads of support, laughs and friendly racing. 

There's been the odd negative incident but after 395,618.90 miles run the negatives could probably be counted on one hand. 'Swan man' and his inflexibility and 'Railway car rammer' with his huge sense of entitlement, the only couple that spring to mind. Of course, the mass of positives hugely outweigh the odd negative.

The magic of KWP Parkrun didn't happen by accident. Legend has it that much like Robert Catesby some 417 years earlier, Richard Hill devised a plot with a group of secretive accomplices to bring about a huge change in society. Unlike Catesby's doomed plot, Hill envisaged a positive change to our health, both mental and physical, and one that would see a weekly social gathering of people looking to improve themselves. Catesby's plot relied much more heavily on death, destruction, religious justification and separation and was fortunately foiled when Mr Fawkes himself was caught sleeping on the job by Sir Thomas Knyvett and Edmund Doubleday. Fawkes carried the can and has been atop our bonfires ever since. Hill, on the other hand, has quite rightly been celebrated in KWP folklore.

Topping today's run list was Chris Horton the Badger in a wonderfully Bottle Rocket like 18:24. Lauren Arnold running for Yeovil Town led the female charge with a Bombette of a 22:35. Catherine Wheelesque pace saw Alex Hall sprint his finish in as youngest finisher in 23:19 (Monsters Inc anybody?) whilst, with the ferocity of a Roman Candle, Nick Crees brought a regality to proceedings on behalf of Royal Sutton Coldfield Athletics Club with 3rd place and first junior in a rapid 19 mins on the snoz. This week's Rising Tails were Robert Rainsley in 57:09, whilst boshing his 150th Parkrun, and Sheila Ann Dunn in 57:14.

In total 233 of you (21 freshest of fresh faces) brought along varying degrees of sparkles and brightness, a kaleidoscopic menagerie of running colour on show, wonderfully reflective of the weekends night sky. There was only the odd exception with Helen somehow confusing sparkly and colourful with mid 80's Milk Tray man. Easy mistake to make. Forrest Gump even rocked up with a beard of such tremendous bush that he was perhaps already 18 months or so into his run.

On this milestone of a day we celebrated:

Will Rhodes' 10th

Alex Hall and Simon Gore's 25th volunteering stint (making it all possible)

Andrew brown & Patrick Boyle's 50th

Elley Hamer's 50th (she was badged but would like me to point out it was her 50th parkrun and, whilst appreciative of the birthday wishes, it was not, nor anywhere close to, her 50th Birthday).

Neil 'The Stallion' Taylor's Century

Chris Rhodes' whopper of a 250th

19 runners also got to write their time in the sky with their PB sparklers

It's safe to say that without the volunteers that step up each week the KWP Parkrun plot would have gone the same way as Catesby's plot of 1605. Without, of course, the violent deaths (Fawkes was hung drawn and quartered and Catesby was shot dead during his last stand in Staffordshire only to then be exhumed, beheaded, and his head displayed outside the gates of Parliament). The few make it possible for the many. Don't be shy in stepping up and volunteering a few times a year. Enjoy the fireworks safely. Plot on.

Big Thumbs until the next time.


Monday, 7 November 2022

Chester Marathon 4th October 2022

I signed up for this with 13 days to go whilst suffering Equinox24 post event blues. 13 days is not long enough to recover from Equinox24 and prep for a marathon. With this in mind I decided to run in fancy dress, start from the back and see if I could overtake anybody. I also had in mind the fact I still wanted to raise £500 for The UTS Foundation and with UTS being just up the road it seemed right.

This is what it looks like starting a marathon in last place.

And this is the message you give to your pal who roped you in to the run!

Big thank you to Duane Roberts who got me there and back and was patient enough to wait for me to finish after pacing the 4hr runners to within a few seconds of 4 hours.

The very eagle eyed amongst you will note that I have a Pirate bandana wrapped around my arm. A Pirate pal of mine took his life recently and we had run a marathon together before as well as raced Outlaw together. Together in the loosest sense bearing in mind he finished about 5 hours ahead of me! Anyway, it seemed right to run with Hutch in my thoughts.

It was warm and up to 10 miles was all good. A few chatty runners keeping it interesting and a game of trading places with Dotty's Trotters.  After 10 miles things started to slow down as the lack of fitness began to take it's toll. When the 5 mile pacers went past the wheels came off. I struggled massively around 18/19 miles as the mental strength just wasn't enough. With 20 miles done and 6 to go I caught up with a puking runner. She was having a torrid time trying to even keep water down. We established a fairly consistent run/walk strategy which got us through the next 4 miles. Once back on the outskirts of the town centre and with Rebecca over the worst of her sickness, I trotted on a little and got the last bit done with company from a fellow Outlaw, Paul Davey of Wakefield Tri. Without the pair of them the last 6 miles would have been miserable as sin. Both finished in relatively good spirits just behind me.   

This sprint finish lacked any real sprint. The tale of the tape showed 2404 runners starting. I started last. 2360 finished and I was 2264th in 5:35:07. That's a 4.97% overtake success rate. The rapidity with which things disintegrated is shown in the splits:
6.2 miles 1:07 10:52 pace
12.4 miles 1:12 11:41 pace
18.6 miles 1:24 13:36 pace
24.8 miles 1:33 14:59 pace
1.4 miles 17:13 12:36 pace

Colin Robertson, the inspiration behind the good work of The UTS Foundation was at the finish to cheers me in. Everything was made worthwhile from a selfish point of view because of the ace hoody he gifted me but, more importantly, my fundraising passed target and completed a total of my original £1000 goal of 3 years ago. 

No medal or t-shirt for this one as I picked the 'green' option when entering apparently. Target hit so I was happy. I would say a lesson was learned in that a marathon will always find you out however, I knew that already!

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

KWP Parkrun #399 Race Report

As everyone lined up this morning on the 399th KWP Parkrun start line it couldn't be ignored that on this eve of the eve of All Hallows Eve the week's news has been focused on the latest blood sucking vampire to ingratiate himself at No10.

Sunak's American influence cannot be ignored and it's perhaps prophetic as this island nation embraces the American tradition of dressing up as the Devil with a view of wandering the streets taking food and money from people.

It was quite a scary sight to see Devils, fallen angels, pumpkins, dog pumpkins, ghosts, ghouls, zombies, monsters and other assorted scary folk on the course. Some had even dressed up.

Almost as frightening was the pace with which Ryan Preece smashed the win, Alexander Haywood fastest youth and Meg Griffiths fastest woman. Scarier still the determination with which Michael Ball and Sharon Whitehead got the job done.

A ditty popped into my head as I did my best to encourage 215 of you around the course. I might speak to a record producer as I think it could be a hit.

"Nine in the morning

Something evil's lurking in the park

Out of the lake mist

You see a sight that almost stops your heart

You try to scream

On realising that you have to run two laps

You start to freeze

As Benham looks you right between the eyes

You're paralyzed

'Cause this is Kingsbur-ry Parkrun

And no one's gonna save you

From the mud throughout the run

You know it's Kingsbur-ry Parkrun

You're overtaking runners left right and centre, faster, ow

You're gonna run through the wood

Puddles formed along the route

The Big Thumbs sign is close at hand

Your thighs scream for you to stop

Get it done even if you hop (you're gonna feel it tonight)

And whosoever shall be found

Lacking the strength to get around

Must stand and face the tail walkers

Inspiring and expert talkers

They'll get you to the finish

The foulest stench is in the air

The funk of 430 pairs

As reps of twenty four different clubs

Are closing in on new PB's (oh, yeah)

As you fight towards the line

Your body starts to shiver

For no mere mortal can resist

The finishing sprint thriller

'Cause this is Kinsbur-ry Parkrun

You're gonna get muddy and there's no point in dodging puddles

Kingsbur-ry Parkrun

You're fighting to the line and it's a killer, thriller"

In all 215 of you completed the course today, 34 of you were newbies, 27 volunteers made it possible, 11 personal bests displayed in finisher texts and 24 clubs represented. I'm not one for conspiracies but if you add the number of clubs to the number of PB's and multiply the total by number of volunteers and then deduct the number of runners and the number of newbies and the cost of a round of coffees in the cafe afterwards and then add the number of unknowns finishing today it totals 666! Happy eve of eve of All Hallows Eve. Sleep well.