Around 4,000 years combined experience was present among the 48 men and women aged over-80 who made the pilgrimage to the birthplace of parkrun, Bushy Park, for their third annual Octogenarian Get-together on Saturday (6 July).
Bushy started the parkrun story on 2 October 2004 with 13 runners and now has a record attendance of 2,011 from Christmas Day, 2018. There were 1,365 finishers in the 796th run on Saturday including the inspiring older runners pictured above.
George Frogley (84) and Richard Pitcairn-Knowles (86) were the octogenarians behind this remarkable display of logistics, health and longevity as the participants, many travelling long distances, achieved a 100% finish rate on a warm, sunny morning on the dusty 5K course.
Two M80 runners were inside 30 minutes: Douglas Milsom (Hillingdon, 27:17 for 77.03%) and Gerald Billis (Wootton Road Runners, 29:04) and three M85s went under 40 minutes: Allan Smith (3M Gorseinon RRC, 37:25), Richard Pitcairn-Knowles (Sevenoaks, 37:56) in his 350th parkrun and Albert Yee (38:45) – who donated commemorative medals for everyone.
Of the eight ladies taking part, W80 Margaret Williams (Abergele Harriers, 34:09) was fastest and highest age-graded at 78.04%. Margaret Smith (42:55) lowered the W85 best time by two minutes on her 320th parkrun.
All the intrepid octogenarians had interesting backgrounds and colourful characters included former Spanish elite Ramon Saiz, of Maidstone Harriers, and the winner of the first ever British Masters cross country championships nearly 50 years ago, Arthur Walsham (Salford Harriers) from Stockport.
The biggest smile, as ever, was sported by the effervescent Dorothy McLennan (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) whose multi-talented background includes winning gold medals for Ireland at pole vault and heptathlon in Masters world and European championships!
Post run party treats for the participants and their proud families included cup cakes and Prosecco kindly laid on by Carol Dickinson of Bushy parkrun volunteers, plus those all-important medals. Octogenarians, runABC
salutes you all!
Image courtesy Carol Dickinson/Bushy parkrun