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.



Carry On Camping (Part 1)

Or “Five men trying to prove to their wives that they can organise a piss-up in a brewery”

CampingSo it was back in January when a family friend sent me a text message inviting me and my two children to a “Dads, Lads and Lasses Camping Trip (no mums)” in the New Forest planned for early June. At the time ‘Flaming June’ was a long way off and the idea of a sun-drenched relaxing long weekend in the New Forest was quite appealing. Perhaps it would be like the film City Slickers I thought – a group of urban dwellers, herding kids not cattle, bonding and getting back to nature (but without Curly dying mid-trip).

The Planning Committee (the Dads) have had two meetings. The first started in the pub, moved swiftly to a curry house and ended up at the organiser’s house (after we’d purchased several six-packs from the local supermarket). Sadly nobody took minutes so any plans that were made got largely lost in an alcoholic haze. Thankfully at least one member of the committee remembered that he had been asked to book an adventure park near the camp-site so archery, ropes and canoeing are all arranged.

The second meeting was held in a pub but was far more productive (i.e. it was conducted at the beginning of the evening not the end!) and notes were taken. We agreed a departure time, a loose plan for the purchase of food whilst away and that some of us would take part in the local parkrun on the Saturday we are there.  The next day I typed up and circulated the notes I’d made and after an Herculean effort a Whatsapp group was created for us to communicate with each other.

Well now it’s the day before we go. There have been several heavy downpours in the last 48 hours and the wind has been too strong to practise putting up our specially purchased tent. There’s no electricity anywhere near our ‘plot’ and we couldn’t find a shop today that had a foot-pump for sale so we could well be blowing up our air-beds using lung power.

On the plus side, the car is packed, the camera is on charge and battery packs for iPhones and iPads are also plugged-in and charging. I have somewhat optimistically bought the OS map for the New Forest and downloaded the digital copy of it to my iPad. I have also dug-out our waterproof map case for when my iPad battery inevitably runs out on the day I really need it!

Subject to the reliability of the aforementioned iPad battery and a Vodafone signal in the New Forest, I plan to blog about the trip at the end of every day. This is mostly for the benefit of the Mums who will, no doubt, be worrying about their children and possibly re-evaluating their decision to leave their precious charges in the care of five men who can’t even organise a Whatsapp group without help from their kids.

To be continued……..

The 86th Fulham Palace Parkrun – 23rd May 2015

2015-05-23 08.00.23

The sun shone on the 260 of us who turned out for the 86th Fulham Park Parkrun this week. As usual at the briefing, we applauded those who were participating in our 5k event of for the first time: I didn’t have time to count the hands that went up but I know now that there were 37 of them. We also heard that we had a ‘Parkrun Tourist’ who had come all the way from New South Wales.

2015-05-23 08.05.40

Some ran, some jogged and some walked from the briefing to the to the start. I faced my usual conundrum whilst waiting for the off: Do I start at the back and spend the first kilometre overtaking those slower than me or weave my way closer to the front and get demoralised being overtaken myself by those faster than me? In any event that question didn’t matter because whilst making my way passed a man with a barking dog the run started.

I really only have one aim in Fulham Palace Parkruns and that’s not to be lapped by the front runners as I complete my second lap. Thankfully I managed that this week as Richard Taylor (from Serpentine RC and running at Fulham for the 17th time) didn’t quite catch me although he finished in 16:46. Congratulations Richard.

2015-05-23 08.22.52

First female runner (17th overall) was Stephanie Tollemache (Fulham RC on her 19th appearance) finishing in 18:49. Congratulations Stephanie.

The rest of us finished over the next 17 minutes or so recording 54 personal bests. Full results can be found here.

2015-05-23 08.21.26

Alex Davidson earns a special mention as he broke the Age Grade course record scoring 88.49% by finishing 5th in 17:05. Well done Alex. Those of us who usually score in the 50%-70% have no idea how you do that!

For those interested in more statistics, the Fulham Palace Parkrun was first run on 19th October 2013. Since then it has recorded 3,590 different runners from 286 athletics clubs. The course record is held by Chris Olley who ran it in 15:27 on 25th October 2014.

Thank you to the volunteers who make Fulham Palace Parkrun such a friendly run and thank you to my son for the photographs.

2015-05-23 09.16.12

Coffee afterwards in the Palace