Political Proportionality

I confess that I don’t know what the rules for broadcasters are during a General Election but shouldn’t the coverage should be apportioned approximately according to the relevance of the political party concerned?

The Conservative and Labour parties both polled over 30% of the vote in the last election so I would expect them to get the most airtime and for it to be roughly equal. UKIP got nearly 13% of the vote and the Lib-Dems nearly 9% so no more than half that allocated to the two main parties for Mr Nutall and about a third to Mr Fallon. So how can the BBC justify a full half-hour interview by their political ‘big gun’ Andrew Neil for both those leaders?

Worse still, in my opinion, the SNP got just 4.7% of the vote in 2015 but Ms Sturgeon also got an half-hour grilling by Mr Neil and she seems to be on the television every time I turn it on!

Yet Another ‘No S**t Sherlock’ Report

Today the BBC are running a story on Breakfast News and their news website about how many drivers were caught using mobile phones whilst driving after the penalty for doing so had been doubled to 6 points: Apparently it was almost 6,000 in four weeks. The only surprise in this statistic, to anyone who drives on, cycles on or just crosses our roads, is that it’s only 6,000!

You don’t have to be a criminologist or psychologist to work out that increasing the penalty for doing something illegal is only part (possibly even a small part) of the deterrent factor. You have to also increase the perpetrator’s perception that he or she will be caught. Drive on any of our roads here in the UK nowadays and we all know that when we do see a police car it is invariably hurrying somewhere on its blue lights and two-tone horns. Seeing a police officer ‘walking the beat’ or posted somewhere on foot to stop offending motorists is a very rare event and as for traffic cops – I really can’t remember the last time I saw one.

So, according to the BBC anyway, in would appear that the Press Association decided to serve Freedom of Information Act (FOI) notices on all 43 police forces in the UK to find out something that we could probably have worked out for ourselves.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t the media be a little more discerning and cutback on the number of FOI notices they serve on the police? In that way, given the reduced resources that constabularies are having to work with, some of the staff that are currently allocated to deal with FOI requests could be reassigned to do some police work.

The 190th Fulham Palace Parkrun held on 6th May 2017

Once again it was Parkrun Day (formerly known as ‘Saturday’) and at 8.30 a.m. the 32 volunteers, without whom the whole event wouldn’t be possible, began to turn up and report to Richard the day’s Race Director. I mention this because I’m fairly sure that only a few of the 468 who ran this week realise quite how many volunteers it takes to hold our Parkrun and how hard our Volunteer Coordinator Dawn has to work some weeks to fill those 32 slots.

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As Richard was ticking off the arriving helpers on his list, it was quite clear that we were going to have another healthy turnout of first timers at Fulham Palace. I counted at least three separate briefings over by the table tennis table all of which seemed well attended. In fact, we had 69 first timers this week and I hope they all felt welcome and, perhaps more importantly, I hope they come to Fulham Palace again!

P1010997Standing out from the crowd of first timers was Станислав ЗАДОЩЕНКО (Stanislav ZADOSHCHENKO) of the Stride Running Club seen here being welcomed by Richard. He had travelled to the UK from Moscow primarily, I believe, to run in a Race for Life in Cambridge on the Sunday. Apparently a friend of his back in Russia had told him that the Fulham Palace Parkrun would be “a good experience for him”:  I hope that was the case as he came a creditable 73rd in the run with a time of 21:27.

P1020001The other notable runner on Saturday was Alice Riddell-Webster (pictured here before the race). It was her 100th Parkrun and her 94th at Fulham Palace. Alice is a member of Fulham Running Club who regularly run, volunteer, pace and occasionally take over completely our Parkrun. Alice was the first female runner to cross the finish line (38th overall) with a time of 19:45. Not a PB for her but she did achieve the highest age grade of the day – 84.89%. Congratulations Alice on all counts!

The other female placings went to Stephanie Tollemache also of Fulham RC (51st overall – 20:30) and Helena Green (53rd overall – 20:41).

The male placings were led by Riel Carol of Clapham Chasers in 17:01. He was placed first for the 4th time in 11 appearances. In second place was Stuart Farmer of Fulham Running Club (17:05) and third place went to John Wray also of Fulham RC (17:08).

P1020022Finally, I feel two of our younger runners deserve a mention. This young man (11-14 category), William SCHNEIDER, came 40th in an astonishing time of 20:00 – a PB for him on his 6th Parkrun. Well done William.

The other young man (sadly I don’t have a photographer of him) is 9-year-old Ollie Winter who came 70th with an equally astonishing time of 21:18. More importantly for him, he beat his Mum, for the first time I believe, by a magnificent 11 seconds. I did manage to speak to his mother in the café after the run and she claimed to be disadvantaged having run in the London Marathon last month but Ollie and I weren’t accepting that! Well done Ollie!!

Well done all 468 who ran, jogged or walked the course. 70 of you attained new Personal Bests. See you all next week.

 

 

RideLondon-Surrey Training Week 2

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For those of you who didn’t read last week’s entry I related how I’d made two basic errors during the week:

  1. I moved a training day thus forcing me to cycle three days in a row;
  2. I ran 5 km as well as cycling on the second of those three days leaving me far too tired to complete the final weekly session on the third day.

So this week I was determined to stick to scheduled days and not to run on any of them!

On Monday I had a complete rest day. I hate rest days but after the abortive session on the preceding day I decided that I’d give my ageing legs a bit of a rest. My exercise was limited to walks with the dog. Still nearly 10 km of walking according to my Fitbit but no running or cycling.

On Tuesday I was due to do a one-hour session so I decided to cycle to Richmond Park and back. A 20 mph wind was against me for most of the way there but that made for a much easier and speedier return journey. I managed 20.58 km in just over the hour and was fairly please with that. At an average speed of 19.7 kph I worked out I would complete my 100 mile race in just over 8 hours. That’s assuming I can keep up 19.7 kph for over 8 hours of course!

Wednesday was a cycling rest day so I went for a slow 5 km run.

Thursday my schedule demanded a 90 minute session so this time I cycled to the gates of Richmond Park and added the 10 km or so of the park’s internal roads to my route. In total I managed 30.04 km in 1 hour 32 minutes this time averaging a slightly slower 19.6 kph.

Friday was another scheduled cycling rest day so like Monday I stuck to walking the dog. I still managed 8.5 km according to my Fitbit but on looking back over past records that’s the lowest total distance I’ve walked and/or jogged for many moons.

Saturday is Parkrun Day. I decided I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as last week so I volunteered to help out at the Fulham Palace event. The only role left (many runners were resting before the London Marathon and had volunteered before me) was run report writer so I cycled to Bishop’s Park up and over Wimbledon Hill and watched (my run report is the blog entry before this one). The cycle there and back more than satisfied the day’s scheduled session although ideally it should have been done all at once and not as two separate journeys.

Today (Sunday) was the acid test. After duly resting for two days of the preceding week and not running on the Saturday, could I complete a two-hour cycle? Well I managed 37.9 km in just under two hours at an average speed of 19.3 kph. There were multiple hills on the route and I am happy now, if I keep up the training schedule and remain injury free, that I will be able to get round the 100 miles in the prescribed  8.5 hours.

Thanks for reading. You can sponsor me at my Just Giving page.

 

 

The 188th Fulham Palace Parkrun

2015-06-06 08.32.58You can always tell when there’s a ‘big race’ on a Sunday – the volunteering schedules at Parkruns are full or nearly full. For the uninitiated, the reason is this: Regular Parkrunners who have entered the aforementioned ‘big race’ often do not wish to risk getting injured and such is there dedication to Parkrunning that they volunteer to marshal, funnel manage or time at an event instead. So this week, when I decided to volunteer at Fulham Palace Parkrun, I completely forgot that the London Marathon was the next day and found that Run Report Writer was the only role left for me to fill. The London Marathon isn’t my excuse for wanting to volunteer and not run by the way – some months ago, in a moment of weakness, I decided to enter the 2017 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 mile cycle this July so at the moment a 5k run doesn’t sit comfortably with my mandatory Saturday cycling session.

Having settled then for Run Report Writer, I nearly forfeited the job when I saw a tweet by the BBC’s Sophie Raworth saying she wanted to volunteer at one of her local runs (Fulham Palace being one of them) and she had found that all roles had been filled. As, unlike me, she is a bona fide journalist I though it only right to offer her the task of writing this but she politely declined. I doubt it was because she felt eclipsed by any of my well-articulated and witty previous efforts. Firstly, I suspect that she hasn’t read any of my earlier reports (Has anyone?) and secondly, she probably just decided to have a lie-in on the Saturday before running 26.2 miles the next day.

Those of you who regularly run at Fulham Palace will know that it is notoriously difficult to judge attendance numbers. The arena in which we gather is very large making a head count difficult and to make matters worse not everyone intending to run attends the briefing (Tut! Tut!). However I got the feeling, when the Race Director ask first timers for a show of hands, that we had a bumper turnout. Well I was right! This week the 188th Fulham Palace Parkrun was run, jogged or walked by a record number of 485 people of whom 106 were first timers.

In fact, the first runner over the finish line (there are no ‘winners’ in Parkrun) was a ‘Fulham Palace First Timer’ himself. It was Aidan Johnson of Rotherham Harriers (in London for the Marathon?) running his ninth Parkrun who managed 16 minutes 12 seconds (that’s 3 minute 14 second kilometres or 18.5 kph if you were running on a gym treadmill!) Ben Morrison came a creditable second, over a minute behind Aidan, running his second Parkrun in 17 minutes 19 seconds a new PB. Third was Stuart MacDougall of Fulham Running Club (our ‘home’ club) running his 250th Parkrun in 17 minutes 21 seconds. Well done to all three and massive congratulations to Stuart on completing 250 Parkruns.

The first female runner to cross the line was Sarah Johnson of Trentham Running Club crossing the finish line in 17 minutes 52 seconds. Alice Riddell-Webster of Fulham Running Club finished second in 19 minutes 24 seconds and achieved the highest age grade score of 86.43% (for a detailed explanation of Age Grade scores, ask someone who understands them – not me!) Third female runner was India Weir of Thames Valley Harriers who finished in 19 minutes 41 seconds. Congratulations to those three too.

The runner with the most Parkruns under their belt was Andrew Byram who was running in his 253rd event.

Large amounts of coffee and cake were consumed after the run in Fulham Palace’s Drawing Room Café. At one point the queue nearly stretched to the door!

Thank you, as always, to the 29 volunteers who made Saturday’s run possible.