Martin Wilson reports from our Boxing Day races:
Once again, our running activities barely seem to pause for breath. Following on from the Northala Christmas Day parkrun special, it was the turn of the traditional ESM Boxing Day races and handicap to take centre stage. As far as we know this has been an annual event since 1924, and for many years was run from Drayton Green and then for 18 years or so from the Perivale Track around the streets of Greenford and Perivale.
This was our second year in Pitshanger Park, and as last year we received strong support from the resident Pitshanger Park Runners group and also guests from local clubs Ealing Eagles, Serpentine, Metros and also further afield Ipswich Tri and Checkers New York State USA to make up a total field in excess of 50.
Running conditions were ideal – a nice mild wind-free winter’s day. Thanks to a big contribution from our mini squad of experienced and enthusiastic volunteers for ensuring that the event went so smoothly.
The main field of 47 consisted of the usual mixed range of abilities with a pretty good depth of quality – 13 athletes had all recorded first finish positions in their respective gender categories at parkrun.
It was such an inspiring sight to watch the leading bunch of four: under 17 prodigy Mohamed Ali, current Ealing half marathon champion and recent Perivale 5 winner Jonathan Poole (Serpentine), sub 1:48 800 metre star Ben Waterman and the highly promising under 17 Elias Ahmed speeding seemingly effortlessly around the course.
Jonathan led for the early part of the race, opening with a “steady” 5 and a half minute mile, but finding company in the form of Ben, Elias and Mohamed. Mohamed then accelerated in the closing stages, pulling clear with a 4:42 last mile. He will now have his name engraved on the cup to join a list of illustrious former winners.
First woman home was Sarah Gerrie, who also happened to be the women’s handicap winner.
The men’s handicap winner (best performance against predicted time) this year is Gary Stringer, capping his running year with a dramatic flourish.
Well done to the juniors who also supported us: Kevin Prempeh, Finlay Vadon, Zaafir Ahmed, Finn Combe & Mikey Kouwiloyan.
Results can be downloaded here: Boxing Day Handicap 2018