Olympians and TV cameras on hand but GCRs enjoy their own celebrations at Panshanger Park

PUBLISHED: 12:37 19 December 2018

Garden City Runners' Kath Evans, Jen Denman, Jen Hill, Alex Yates, Charlotte Jones, Jane Molloy, Jac McCallum, Peter Lapthorne Shena Lancaster, Fraser McCallum and Sandra Wise at the start of Jane’s 100th parkrun.

Garden City Runners' Kath Evans, Jen Denman, Jen Hill, Alex Yates, Charlotte Jones, Jane Molloy, Jac McCallum, Peter Lapthorne Shena Lancaster, Fraser McCallum and Sandra Wise at the start of Jane's 100th parkrun.

Archant

It's not often Saturday morning parkrunners get to line up alongside Olympians and with national TV cameras pointing at them but Garden City Runners found just that this week at Panshanger Park.

Sky TV were on hand to film a feature on Ware Joggers octogenarian John Butcher and to help Paul Pollock, Andy Baddeley and Kevin Seaward, who have all represented their countries at Olympic Games, took part.

They were also up against 40 GCRs, included in which were Lois Burgess and Jane Molloy.

For Burgess it was the completion of her beginners course and she celebrated in style with a personal best time of 33 minutes 13 seconds.

Molloy’s celebrations were for her 100th parkrun.

She said: “It was a lovely occasion with lots of support from my wonderful GCR running buddies who made me feel very special and very lucky.”

Chris Pease (30:37), Tracy Behr (31:30) and Karen Atkinson (33:14) also claimed personal bests.

GCR took the first four places at Ellenbrook Fields.

Neil Hume, Tom Wackett and Jack Tann all came in with a time under 18 minutes with Peter McKenzie claiming a PB of 18:10 for fourth.

Emon Martin also went quicker than before over the course, clocking 22:15.

Paul Guy was the first back at Jersey Farm in a course PB of 18:58 and Terry Fowler’s recovery from heart surgery continued as he finished alongside wife Elaine, herself claiming a PB of 26:21.

The club’s final parkrun PB of the week was earned by Richard Darley at Rothwell with a time of 26:19.

The bad weather over the weekend was no barrier to other GCRs tackling difficult runs.

Dave Heal ran the Usual Suspects Challenge Event at Samphire Hoe Country Park near Dover, where he completed a half marathon in 2:08:43.

He said: “Some runners on the day pushed onto marathons and ultras but the circuit changed to a more inland circuit as race officials and park wardens decided they were very concerned about runners being swept out to sea as conditions worsened.”

Stuart Whitford took part in the end of day race in Devon called Race the Light.

The goal was to start on the beach once the tide had receded enough to allow runners to wade across the Erme estuary.

Whitford said: “I’m 6ft and ended up quite high pitched, giving an idea of the water depth.

“After this, the run headed off around steep country lanes, fields and very muddy trails within a country estate.

“Head torches were compulsory with the last few miles through the woods, a further wade across the estuary and very steep incline to the finish all in pitch black.”

He finished 159 out 257 runners, completing the distance in 1:32.

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