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.


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


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 Highs and Lows of Week One


Week 1 of 16 is over and as you can see from my Endomondo screenshot I managed to cycle 88.74 Kilometres (just over 55 miles) in 4 hours 42 minutes. I did this in four sessions on Tuesday, Friday (not Thursday as planned – see learning point 1 below), Saturday and Sunday. If I had followed my schedule to the letter however I should have done around 100 Km in 5 hours.

The statistic linked to the footprint logo is the website’s estimate of the distance I’ve walked this week (nearly 90,000 steps mostly with the dog). In my opinion this should be ‘taken with a pinch of salt’ as I don’t track the walks with GPS and I think the formula is potentially highly inaccurate. There’s just the one run (a gentle jog on Saturday morning – see learning point 2 below).

“So how did it go?” (You may be asking yourself if you’ve read further than the first two paragraphs!) Overall, although I didn’t cycle for the allotted time or complete the distance I expected to do, I did learn three important lessons this week:

  1. Stick to the scheduled days – For domestic reasons I couldn’t cycle on Thursday so I cycled Thursday’s allocated hour on Friday instead. As a result of this re-scheduling I had to cycle three days in a row and consequently couldn’t complete the two-hour session I was supposed to do on Sunday. I feel I would have been better off skipping Thursday’s ride entirely and thus completing, or even exceeding, Sunday’s;
  2. Don’t run on days I’m due to cycle – As a Parkrun fan, I couldn’t resisted the temptation to run 5k on Saturday morning at Fulham Palace. This was a big mistake! Later in the day I had to do a ‘test cycle’ to see how far I could get in one hour. Despite feeling ‘up for it’ when setting off, by the time I hit the last hill (around the 50 minute mark) my 61 year old legs were beginning to ‘feel their age’. I think volunteering at Parkruns is in order until after 30th July;
  3. Richmond Park is extremely hilly – My plan for Sunday was to cycle the 10k from home to Robin Hood Gate, circumnavigate Richmond Park’s roads twice (two lots of 10k), then finish off (albeit slowly) with a final 10k home. Sadly, for the reasons outlined above, I only manged one lap of the park but I did find out how outrageously hilly it is. According to Endomondo the two hills caused me to climb a total of 73 metres;
  4. Get a ‘Gel Seat Cover’ – When you haven’t cycled for many months and suddenly you find yourself ‘in the saddle’, as it were, for nearly 5 hours in one week…..

Anyway, I’m undaunted by this week’s minor set backs. I’ve resolved to comply strictly with learning points 1 and 2, I’ll stay out of Richmond Park until I get fitter and I’ve already ordered a gel seat cover (£9.99 from Amazon).

The only other event this week was the arrival of this:


Now the thousands of you who plan to line the route and cheer me on will know how to spot me.  Alternatively you might see the socks!


Thanks for reading!

Will Cleats Help Me To Cycle Faster?

My second full week of training for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and this week I’ve managed 7 sessions on my bike totalling over 63km (39.5 miles). Undoubtedly the most strenuous outing was the 28km round-trip to take part in the Fulham Palace Parkrun. That entailed cycling up Wimbledon Hill (a 35m climb according to Endomondo) on the way there and same elevation on the way back albeit a somewhat gentler incline when the hill is approached from Putney!

The other major event of the week was the fitting of cleats to my ageing bike by the excellent CyclIMG_0076e Power of Worcester Park. After a brief lesson from Mark inside the shop, I embarked om my first ever cycle with my feet ‘nailed’ to the pedals. I have to say that I haven’t really ridden enough to come to any conclusions yet on the benefits or otherwise of having cleats fitted. For those that are interested I will report in later blogs on whether I think they are worth the effort (and the cost!)

I have however already had the inevitable situation where I couldn’t get either of my feet off the pedals at a stop on the way to Fulham and found myself unceremoniously dumped onto the road surface causing considerable distress to the driver behind me. No real harm done – just a grazed knee – more wounded pride than anything else.

I have now had a chance to examine in detail the 16-week schedule I plan to follow in 3 weeks time. It doesn’t mention distances – it is purely time-based. In essence it involves cycling every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday rising from 1 hour sessions in the first week to a 5-hour ‘marathon’ on the Sunday of the penultimate week. The Tuesday and Thursday rides are often interval sessions and there are regular 1-hour tests to measure improvement. I hope that is enough to get me round on the day – we shall see!

Finally, the fundraising seems to have stalled somewhat this week. So if you’re reading this and haven’t donated to Prostate Cancer UK via JustGiving please ‘dig deep’ and make a pledge. Please bear in mind that:

  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
  • Over 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that’s 130 men every day.
  • Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer – that’s more than 11,000 men every year.
  • 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • Over 330,000 men are living with and after prostate cancer.

Thank you for reading.


What price for a life?

You may remember that I blogged back in November last year about a jogger who was run over locally and killed by a van driver. Well that the driver appeared in court on Friday (22nd May) and this is the Surrey Police report about it. If I remember correctly, press reports at the time said that the 39-year-old victim had two children and, as I reported at the time, those children did not expect never to see their mother again when she left for her jog that morning.

I have no idea what the sentencing guidelines are for Death by Dangerous Driving: Maybe the judge’s hand were tied by this. I’m sure the driver got a discount for pleading guilty but 4 years for taking an innocent person’s life, turning a husband into a widower and depriving two children of their mother? Really?

Isn’t it about time that sentences for offences of this nature were brought into line with similar offences against the person? Murder (not that I’m suggesting this was murder) carries a mandatory life sentence. I’m fairly certain this man will be out in time for Christmas 2016 or if very soon after that.