Sophie Wallis and George Wilson ran the fastest parkrun times in the UK this weekend (10th February).
Our weekly parkrun top ten is now sponsored by Vertebrate Publishing (my publisher) and here’s a link to buy my book on their website. They actually have a bunch of great books to choose from, especially the mountaineering ones, so don’t feel like you have to buy 1001 Running Tips.
A possible elephant in the virtual room
It’s been a busy week for parkrun, but I wanted to start this week’s article saying that at Fast Running we fully support the decision they have made to ensure that parkrun remains true to it’s core values. A reminder that parkrun is positive, welcoming and inclusive, there is no time limit and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along.
We love that you can race each other at parkrun, if you choose to, but ultimately it isn’t a race. It’s a community coming together to enjoy the outdoors, welcome others and, in my opinion, have a huge impact on the physical and mental health of our nation. It’s brilliant.
For those who feel aggrieved at having the records removed, my thought is this. If you’re setting records at parkrun then you’re well and truly into our sport. You’re likely entering real races elsewhere, might have joined a running club and you’re bloody good at this running lark.
At this point parkrun’s main responsibility isn’t for us. I include myself in there. I love parkrun, will hopefully run a good few more in the future, but it’s not what keeps me running. That’s the difference. For a huge proportion of our parkrun community it is just that. It is why they are getting out.
Be wary of the echo chamber
It might seem on your social media that everyone is outraged, but that’s also likely because we have our own echo chambers. Nearly everyone in my Twitter and Facebook feed is unhappy about it and it would be easy to assume that is the general consensus. But my feeds are full of people who I have mentioned above. Likely racing elsewhere, club runners or those who have been in this sport for a while now.
We have flown the coop, parkrun has served us, and will continue to be there for us, but they have bigger work to do beyond us. If one runner is put off from attending because of all the records and fast times on the parkrun website, then that’s one too many.
So here’s another parkrun top 10 (finally, you can stop scrolling) and hopefully it’s not the last. But if parkrun would like us to stop then we will, willingly. We’ll still love and support them, because what they do is brilliant and I hope it goes on, free for everyone, forever.
The top of the pops this Saturday.
To make sure we had everything covered this week we sent our newly trained team of Fast Flying pigeons who covered set areas each, favouring events we know are normally a bit quick, and they all reported back to Fast Running towers (which is in fact a tent).
The fastest in the land today was once again Sophie Wallis, two weeks on the trot, with another rapid time at Market Rasen Racecourse. 15:42 is another PB, taking another six seconds off, which is the second in two weeks so training is obviously going well and some race PBs must just be round the corner.
At the same event (so reported by the same pigeon) it was George Wilson who was first across the line in 14:46. The Cleethorpes & District AC U17 will probably be delighted to be under 15 minutes for the first time, with a previous PB of 15:04 at the same event in 2022. With a road 5k PB of 15:07 from Podium 5k last year we reckon that PB will soon be started with a 14: for the Lincolnshire XC Champ.
The best of the rest
Next up for the ladies was Calli Thackery, who comes with a 2:22 marathon PB from last year and a 5000m best of 15:02, ran 16:26 at Concord parkrun (appropriate name) in Sheffield. Our pigeon had to leave after the finish, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Thackery was out for additional reps after a bit of a cool down, with eyes on the marathon meaning bigger volume sessions at the moment.
Scott Stirling was flying up in Keswick parkrun, a lovely out and back along an old railway line and clocked 15:08. The Falkirk Victoria Harrier has featured in our rankings a good few times and as Power of 10 isn’t loading we’re going to have to guess if this was a PB or not, and… I think Scott has gone faster in the past.
Page Quinn is another U17 athlete with excellent PBs over 1500 (4:36) and 3000 (9:55) and this weekend brought her parkrun PB down to 16:49, over 30 seconds off her previous best!
Up in Telford it was Jack Pickett in 15:14 that completes our podium. Luckily Pickett was our fastest male last week so I already have some information. It was back across the Welsh border after last week and the 14:43 showing some good consistency with another first finish.
The fastest event?
Three events featured twice, Happy Valley (great name), Market Rasen Racecourse and Five Arches, but it was Market Rasen that had two 1st places, so they take the win this week.
The fastest ladies