Thirteen ESM members ran at the Northala Fields inaugural parkrun on Saturday morning. (Three members ran at other parkruns. What were they thinking?!) Another twelve members volunteered, so that was a pretty good turnout, given there was also an SAL match at Wormwood Scrubs in the afternoon.
There was plenty else going on in and around Northolt this weekend, including the Hanwell Carnival, the Pitshanger Party in the Park and the first ever Osterley Park 10k. (And by the way, congratulations to new member Memuna Mataria for being first woman across the line at the Osterley 10k, in an unofficial time of 39:26). But luckily for us, 167 runners decided Northala Fields was the place to be at 9am on Saturday.
On a perfect midsummer morning , recently-retired GB sprinter Laura Turner blew the whistle at the start – thanks to Col B for the photo. Laura didn’t run the 5k but she used up plenty of puff as cheer-leader and undertook a marathon photo session. (Does the talent rub off when you have your photo taken next to a top athlete? It’s worth a try, I suppose!)
Plenty of parkrun tourists travelled from all round the country to get the new event off to a flying start. We were even joined by a couple of New Zealanders (though we don’t flatter ourselves that they made the trip specially on our account).
Local Councillor Bassam Mahfouz also dropped in to wish us well. Bassam helped us access the local ward funding which we needed to get the event started.
Steve Elson had a good battle for first place, losing out to Martin Rutter of Clapham Chasers by just 8 seconds. His time of 17 minutes dead was only 13 seconds shy of his parkrun PB, suggesting he’s well on his way back to fitness after his Achilles injury layoff. He’s also the first “age-grade record holder” for this parkrun, with 79.71%. Beverley Packwood was second female in her first ever parkrun, clocking a 5k PB of 24:52.
Janice Newman also made her first foray into the world of parkrun. Many parkrun courses are challenging for the blind and partially-sighted, because of the uneven terrain. With help from Phil York, however, Janice negotiated her way round Northala Fields without mishap. The other first-timer was Ian Capon, fresh from an early-morning swim at the lakes in Wraysbury. He did forget his trainers, which wasn’t a good start, but luckily Eamon Bradley came to the rescue.
For some people, a brisk 5k in warm conditions just wasn’t enough. A few energetic individuals couldn’t resist the temptation to warm down (warm down?!) by running up the four Northala Fields mounds. Dubbed the “Four Peaks Challenge”, maybe this will become a regular feature!
All the ESM results from this weekend’s parkruns can be found here