On the Run: Carl Marston spotlights the Wimpole Estate Parkrun

A selection of the dogs, with their owners, who reached the finish of the Wimpole Estate Parkrun ahe

A selection of the dogs, with their owners, who reached the finish of the Wimpole Estate Parkrun ahead of toiling columnist Carl Marston - Credit: Archant

Athletics correspondent Carl Marston is travelling around the region (and beyond!), running in different Parkruns.

I was shown a clean pair of heels, or rather a clean pair of paws, by not-one, not-two but three dogs at last Saturday’s Wimpole Estate Parkrun.

And there may have been more of the hounds ahead of me – it was difficult to keep with it all around a muddy 5K course.

I spotted a Husky, a Beagle, a Border Collie and a Shorthaired Pointer all mingling near the finish funnel when I finally limped in, with mud-splattered, tired legs.

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned cross country course to betray how short of fitness you are.


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But, my defeat to a pack of dogs aside, this really was a cracking run, and possibly the best Parkrun course I have yet encountered on this mini-tour.

Run-down

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The event takes place within the boundaries of the National Trust-owned Wimpole Estate, to the south-west of Cambridge near Royston.

While most Parkruns feature multi laps, this is a single lap course through parkland, on grass and on paths, starting from in front of the Stable Block, by the main Hall.

Last Saturday was the 245th staging of the event, attracting a good field of 338 runners, joggers and walkers (not counting dogs, of whom there were many).

It is nearly five years since the inaugural meeting was held, on January 12, 2013, when an impressive 292 entrants marked the occasion – that figure was not eclipsed until event No. 85 (362).

Saturday’s Results

Given the tough conditions, it was not surprising that no one beat 18 minutes.

Brian O’Connor was first home in 18mins 17secs, on what was his 151st Parkrun (he has a personal best of 17:03 for this course).

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Alexander Tate, from the appropriately named Muddy Mucky Munkeys, was second in 18:34.

The leading lady was Lindsay Porter, an over-35 veteran, in 21:31.

Records

Ian Kimpton is the only runner to duck under 16 minutes at the Wimpole Estate Parkrun. He managed it with 15:45 when it was a little warmer, in July of this year.

A Suffolk-based runner holds the fastest time for a female.

In fact Charlotte Murphy, of West Suffolk AC, is the only female to sneak under 18 minutes, thanks to a very impressive 17:58 from August, 2016. She was fifth overall that day.

Carl’s Experience

I will return to this one, that’s for sure.

It was a proper cross country course, complete with a nasty little climb near the lakes, while overnight rain had churned up the route and left a few puddles to splash through, or leap over.

No wonder that I struggled.

It was perhaps not the typical build-up to a journey down the M11 into North London, to report on Colchester United’s win at Barnet, but it was a good way to spend an autumnal morning.

The venue was a delight, within 3,000 acres of parkland and farmland, and deceptively undulating at times.

Other Parkruns

- Paul Dobson, of Springfield Striders, was first home at the Brandon Country Parkrun last Saturday. An experienced over-50 veteran, Dobson completed his 167th Parkrun, but only his third at Brandon, in 18mins 23secs.

It was a good day for veterans, because over-55 athlete Peter Thompson, of Walden Tri, was a runner-up in 19:21 at his first taste of this two-lap forest challenge.

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Katie Samuleson, an over-35 veteran from Cambridge & Coleridge, was first lady in 22:05 on a morning when 135 completed the distance.

Among the ‘first timers’ experiencing their first ever Parkrun, were Harvey Walters and Simone Hanlon. It was the 246th staging of the event.

- Over at the Maldon Prom Parkrun, teenager Henry Clarke led home a field of 285 in a time of 17mins 52secs, just seven seconds quicker than runner-up Ben Green, of Benfleet RC.

Two ladies finished in the top six. Aiko Hennington set a new best of 18:54 in fifth, while University of East Anglia Tri Club’s Hannah Bye was second lady and sixth overall in 19:37.

Tiptree Road Runners’ Andy Conway completed his 146th in fourth spot (18:31). By contrast, there were several ‘first timers’ choosing Maldon for their first Parkrun, including Tom Duhrsen, Jack Bell, Luke Beard, Caroline Harvey, Leanne Price, Emma Neave-Webb, Dylan Jacques, Vicki Thompson, Julie Smith and Gemma Hobbs.

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