Ben Branagh and Grace Carson ran the fastest parkrun times in the UK this week (8th January).
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Belfast Victoria parkrun was once again the place to be for fast running this weekend. The Northern Irish event impressed experienced a double top ranking. Conditions must have been spot on as both male and female course records also went.
Grace Carson, of Mid-Ulster AC, was the fastest female with a 16:33, four seconds faster than the time Sarahjane Cooke ran just at the end of 2021. The first outing of 2022 for the U23 follows on from 2021, which saw a 5000m PB of 16:13.90 in July and a 5k win at the Mallory Park 5K in 16:34 at the end of October.
At the very same event Ben Branagh also lowered the men’s course record, although only by one second. It took 14:17 to go quicker than Irish marathon international Paul Pollock’s 14:18, but one second is all it takes. Branagh is another athlete who follows on from a solid 2021.
With PBs at every distance he raced over, from 1500m to 10k, the San Jose State alum left possibly the best until last, with 29:39 at the Titanic Festival of Running 10K on 26th December.
We have exciting news from #eastbelfast. In our 488th event we saw the fastest ever female AND male runs. Congrats to Grace Carson and Ben Branagh, just 1 second faster than @ppmarathon @BelfastParkruns @FastRunning @parkrunIE @parkrunUK . photos by volunteer Trevor Murphy. pic.twitter.com/kOhqakUQFZ
— Belfast Vic parkrun (@bfastvictoriapr) January 8, 2022
30 seconds later
Both second places this week were exactly 30 seconds slower than the fastest runners this week. Sophie Harris ran 17:03 at Northampton parkrun, not quite a parkrun PB, but the Herne Hill Harrier did run 16:33 at same event last August. Later in the year, at the Friday Night 5K Under the Lights, Harris ran a storming PB of 16:19.
Thomas Keen, a Cambridge and Coleridge AC athlete, also broke 15 minutes this week with a 14:47 at Storey’s Field parkrun. It’s a new parkrun best for Keen, and only three seconds off his 5k best set in December 2020 at the Essex Remembrance 5K.
2021 saw more focus on middle distance, but also with great success as there were PBs over 800 (1:47.97), 1500m (3:41.34) and a sub four minute mile (3:59.86).
Third step on the podium
Lewis Gamble-Thompson and Sophie Wood were the third quickest this week. Just over 15 minutes, Gamble-Thompson was first finisher at Albert parkrun in Middlesbrough. And you guessed it, the New Markse Harrier had a 2021 full of PBs with wins at Redcar Penguins 5, Podium 5k, Pitstop 10K, Middlesbrough 10K and Fleetwood Half Marathon. Plenty of trophies on the mantelpiece we reckon.
Sale Harrier Sophie Wood is a regular in our parkrun rankings. 2021 was, once again, a whole bunch of PBs for Wood and included improvements from 5k up to half marathon. The half marathon PB was at Zúrich Medio Maratón de Málaga, with a 74:57 outing in December last year.
The fastest event?
It feels a little pointless writing this out the week when both number one spots were at the event, but here goes. Drum roll please… Belfast Victoria was certainly the quickest in all the land this weekend with two cracking performances. Well done to all involved.
Men’s top 10
1) parkrun: Belfast Victoria
Ben Branagh, 14:17, St. Malachy’s
2) parkrun: Storey’s Field
Thomas Keen, 14:47, Cambridge & Coleridge AC
3) parkrun: Albert, Middlesbrough
Lewis Gamble-Thompson, 15:02, New Markse Harriers AC
4) parkrun: Highbury Fields
Seyfu Jamaal, 15:16, London Heathside
5) parkrun: Lydiard
Chris Reade, 15:19, Swindon Harriers
6) parkrun: Dulwich
Nick Bester, 15:27, Herne Hill Harriers
7) parkrun: Leicester Victoria
Simon Birch, 15:35, Hinckley RC
8) parkrun: Dulwich
Ben Harding, 15:39, Kent AC
9) parkrun: Portobello, Edinburgh
Alexander Chepelin, 15:40, Edinburgh Univeristy Hare & Hounds
10) parkrun: Newbury
Rowan Miell-Ingram, 15:42, Radley AC
Women’s top 10
1) parkrun: Belfast Victoria
Grace Carson, 16:33, Mid-Ulster AC
2) parkrun: Northampton
Sophie Harris, 17:03, Herne Hill Harriers
3) parkrun: Hanley
Sophie Wood, 17:18, Sale Harriers Manchester
4) parkrun: Cheltenham
Clara Evans, 17:23, Pontypridd Roadents AC
5) parkrun: Rushmoor
Stephanie Morwood, 17:33
6) parkrun: Pymmes
Katie Brown, 17:37, Trent Park Running Club
7) parkrun: Coventry
Julie Emmerson, 17:47, Coventry Godiva Harriers
8) parkrun: Citypark, Craigavon
Robyn McKee, 17:56
9) parkrun: Worcester Pitchcroft
Julia Bijl, 18:03, London Heathside
10) parkrun: Heslington
Georgina Weston, 18:14, Notts AC
If you would like to run faster at parkrun we highly recommend 1001 Running Tips by Robbie Britton, found here.