Sarah McDonald and Ellis Cross ran the fastest parkrun times in the UK this weekend (16th December).

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.

It’s almost like the Gods of fast parkruns read our article last week and decided that this week would be their revenge. The times that were in first spot last week for both men and women wouldn’t have even made the top 10 today. Today was not an easy day to make this list.

So without further ado, who topped the charts and will they be back next week to make it a Christmas number one?

Sarah McDonald went under the 16 minute barrier with a stellar 15:52 at Walsall Arboretum that took a strong course record from Hayley Carruthers’ from back in 2019. McDonald, also a Birchfield Harrier, is a middle distance and cross country runner for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with gold medals at the Euro XC relays in 2017 and 2019.

It’s another recognisable name in first place for the men was Ellis Cross, that famous club runner who upset Sir. Mo Farah in a road race once. The time of 14:22 at Dover Waterfront parkrun hopefully shows that we know all know Cross is more than just that one sprint finish. The 13:45 5000m runner actually has a parkrun PB of one second quicker with 14:21 at the same event mid October this year too.

More big names to come

Keeping the south coast theme from Cross, Isabella Buchanan ran 16:37 at Hastings parkrun (hopefully it gores through Smuggler’s Adventure, Hasting’s premier tourist attraction and childhood memory for me). Buchanan is actually an U13 runner, who has a 2:17 800m PB and won the English National XC Champs earlier this year, so that’s a really strong result!

At Sandy Water parkrun it was Fast Running favourite Dewi Griffiths who was first home in 14:33 (just kidding, we don’t have favourites…). The hard working Swansea Harrier is fresh from an excellent run over 10k in Telford and it’s great to see that followed up with more strong form this weekend.

Libby Hale was another Swansea Harrier, running in Swansea Bay (in the park, not the bay itself) and clocked 16:50 to grab the third spot in the women’s rankings. Another youngster at U15, Hale has ran well from 300m to 4k on the cross country this year and it’s a big parkrun PB today as well. It’s no surprise given Hale won the U17 Welsh champs over 3000m in May too.

Another chap under 15 minutes was Tyler Bilyard of Great Yarmouth & District AC (who was three seconds ahead of another runner under 15 minutes with 14:57 for Jack Kavanagh). At Gorleston Cliffs the Norfolk U23 ran 14:54 and takes his parkrun PB quicker than both his 5k road and 5000m track marks. We bet that changes in 2024!

The fastest course?

It’s not always the course at the top of the list that takes this title and this week that’s the case with placings at 7th, 9th and 10th being enough to secure a well deserved win for Storey’s Field parkrun this weekend.

Women’s Rankings

Men’s Rankings