Ben Branagh and Lauren Hayes ran the fastest parkrun times in the UK this weekend (31st December).
Our weekly parkrun top ten is sponsored by 1001 Running Tips by our editor Robbie Britton. Want to run faster at parkrun in 2023 or your next marathon then order your copy today.(PBs not guaranteed, but very likely).
A quick reminder to start this week. Each parkrun event is run by volunteers and it’s important we all do our part, so if you value your local parkrun as a great workout, a social start to the weekend or just want to run against others to push yourself remember you can volunteer some weeks too.
The front two male runners this week were so close it isn’t until the third letter of their surname that you can separate them. In parkrun time it was 12 seconds, but alphabetically it was a photo finish between Ben Brown and Ben Branagh.
Brown, only just second alphabetically, was the faster on the day with 14:38 at Southampton parkrun on the south coast of England. After a stellar year of PBs, it was an equal best parkrun of the last 12 months, but equal to a run on Christmas Day so very consistent… and it was at this moment the realisation that there is a chance their times haven’t been updated for our lists… Hmm…. Maybe we’ll wait until tomorrow and see if this changes.
Starting again…(because the alphabetical bit was too enjoyable)
So it was Ben Branagh and Lauren Heyes who ran the quickest times this week, with no Ben Browns in sight. Branagh was enjoying a week at Belfast Victoria when his recent “arch-nemesis” Nick Griggs was elsewhere and came across the line faster than everyone else, and the rest of the UK, in 14:50.
Heyes, who will have home bragging rights after husband Andrew could “only” manage third best time in the UK, ran 16:53 at Stratford parkrun. Known to be a fan of a course record, the Leigh Harrier was 20 seconds back from Sophie Wood’s mark for this course, but used the last weekend of 2022 to good measure to run under 17 minutes for the second parkrun this year (as well as a 16:13 for 5000m on the track).
Beating Andrew Heyes to second was someone making their second appearance in two weeks, possibly with the aim to conquer the world of UK parkrun, to add to his actual world-conquering at 1500m in 2022. Jake Wightman is no stranger to a sprint finish and the Olympian apparently hit the first lap in 4:40 at Dulwich park, but was two seconds slower than Branagh at the finish line in 14:52.
Another sub 17 and a tie for third
Amelia Samuels was the best of the bunch at East Park and was first across the line in a new course record of 16:59. The U23 also broke 16 minutes for the first time in 2022, with a new 5k PB of 15:59 at Mid Cheshire 5k in April, so it was a double whammy for the year.
Just twenty seconds back were Daisy Glover and Hannah Taunton at Kesgrave and Cardiff parkrun respectively. The Framlingham Flyer Glover broke her own parkrun best by a decent chunk in the last run of the year and 2023 will probably be off to a flying start. Taunton, a parkrun top 10 regular, finished the year with her joint sixth fastest parkrun. In the last 12 months a 16:50 parkrun PB came alongside PBs at distances from 800m up to 10k.
Andrew Heyes, who ran for Great Britain at the European Championships Marathon this summer, was our third fastest male in 15:14. Heyes, who is Chairman of the UKA Athletes Commission, is a 2:13 marathoner who we think will go from strength to strength over the 26.2 mile distance in future.
The fastest event?
It looks like the honours this week go to Ferry Meadows parkrun, near Peterborough. Isaac Ellard and Harry Hewitt were seventh and eight fastest, in 15:29 each so maybe they crossed the line together, or battled tooth and nail down the funnel? Either way, they took the glory for the park.