By Joan Lennon (a first-time visitor from the UK on a 40 degree parkrun morning)
As a short-term visitor to Perth and a parkrun enthusiast from the UK, of course I had to find a parkrun to do near to where I am staying in Kingsley. I am in Perth visiting a dear friend from my youth and I encouraged her to come and join me today so she could try parkrun for the first time. As a first outing we decided on Whitfords Nodes as it is only 10 minutes down the road. Having checked out the News page I realised that not many run reports exist so I thought I would offer to do a report of today’s run. Here goes.
It has to be the hottest one I have done in 9 years of parkrunning, I gather Perth gets really rapid shifts of temperature and today the wind was from the east blowing HOT air over the city. Temperatures were forecast to get into the high 30s and, even at 8am, it was much hotter than I am used to (12 degrees and drizzle is more my style). Arriving at the start area it was great to see the familiar parkrun hi-viz, flags, t-shirts, banners etc and I love knowing that all over the world you can rock up to a parkrun anywhere and be welcomed as part of the big parkrun family. It’s welcoming, unthreatening, and just so normal.
The big difference about this run for me, apart from the heat and the blue skies, was the location. Whitfords Nodes is run mainly as an out-and-back course along the coast with a view of the ocean and it is a lovely location. parkrun never ceases to surprise me, and one of the reasons I love taking part when I am on a trip away is seeing all the wonderful parks and routes that have been chosen as parkrun venues. My home parkrun is run around a very green city park. It is a three-lap course (1 small lap and two big laps) and with a decent challenging hill thrown in each lap. A flat course like Whitfords is a bonus.
The group gathered under the tree near the cadet’s hut was smaller than I am used to as, at my home parkrun (Brighton and Hove in the UK), we regularly exceed 400 runners and have had as many as 800 on New Year’s Day. So a smallish crowd of runners, young and old, was a welcome change for me. My friend was planning on walking so started near the back and I started further forward, hopeful of managing a reasonable time despite the heat. And it all went well until about 2K in when a niggling ache in my left hip suddenly complained loudly and forced me to stop running and complete the rest of it as a brisk walk. As I get older, injury becomes my constant companion and I am grateful of always being able to walk even if I can’t run. Recently I have been improving my times again after a spell of injury and rehab and have been back consistently under 24 minutes (and occasionally under 23 minutes) for my 5K for most of this year, but today I was once again back to slower times. But that is one of the things I love about parkrun – I can run hard, I can run slow, I can walk briskly, race-walk, or walk at the back with the tail walker (or be the tail walker). I can pace a slow time and enjoy chatting with runners, I can finish fast and then help with token sorting or funnel management, or doing the results in the café afterwards, or just enjoy the companionship of friends and other like-minded people.
Today there were 91 finishers altogether with the first finisher crossing the line in 19:30 and the final finisher coming home in 53:44 – pretty good for such a hot day, with a number of young children taking part. Of those finishers almost 10% (9 parkrunners) were first timers, never having done a parkrun before (including my friend). Four of these were from the DEALE family and I wonder are they local and will they become regular runners here? And there were 16 other regular parkrunners who were first timers to this particular parkrun at Whitfords Nodes (including myself). The highest age grading of the day (77.55%) went to Lorraine SHEPHEARD who has completed a total of 27 runs, most of them being at Burnie parkrun (I’m afraid I have no idea where that is, but I assume it’s somewhere in Australia).
In terms of PBs today, I think the highest applause goes to Kerrie KLUMPER who has completed 15 runs at Whitfords Nodes and managed to get a PB today – impressive in this heat). I looked through the results to see if I could spot many possible visitors and came across Wolfgang ECKLEBEN, a first timer at Whitfords Nodes but with 63 parkruns to his name. He has done most of his runs in Richmond Park (London, England). I come from near Brighton in England and mainly run at Hove Park (Brighton and Hove parkrun), and we have the honour of being the 6th parkrun in the world to have started – we celebrated our 12th anniversary recently.
So that’s it for this week. Thanks to all the marshals and volunteers who make it possible for so many people to enjoy their Saturday morning parkrun. This week’s hi-viz heroes were Evie HENSTOCK, Gwyn BISHOP, Imogen BISHOP, Isaac LANE, Jon BARRY, Julian BISHOP and Michelle LANE. If you haven’t yet volunteered, please consider doing that and remember that parkrun is more than just a run – it is a community activity which is having a huge impact globally on social wellbeing, mental health, fitness and fun. Enjoy it and keep on parkrunning.
Thanks for welcoming me to your parkrun today.
parkrunner no A78028