31 Jan

Eastbourne Toddles On

Mike 'Chopper' ThompsonEastbourne parkrun toddled to its fifth birthday party with a record turnout on Saturday (28 January). The inaugural event in 2012 saw eight volunteers help 120 runners enjoy the pancake flat Shinewater Lakes course and the 270th run dragged 349 runners from under their duvets, with 20 volunteers making it all happen safely.   

The first event established the course best times at 18:29 by Tim Lunnon (Crawley) and 20:08 by Sue Fry (Hailsham Harriers) but these times were eclipsed on Saturday. The first finishers were Edward Hickman-Casey (Highgate Harriers, 16:05) and under-15 prospect Harriet Bloor (Hailsham Harriers, 19:50), with Hickman-Casey within shouting distance of the outright course record owned by Chris Dodd (Eastbourne Rovers, 15:51) since 2015.
 
The leading age-graded run on Saturday was achieved by the runner-up in the women's category, Liz Lumber (W50 Hailsham Harriers, 20:17) with 82.66% and the outstanding record has been held by W50 Jane Clarke (City of Norwich, 19:31) at 90.35% since January, 2015.
 
Among the many celebrations within the main event was local character Mike Thompson (pictured), locally known as 'Chopper', who ran his 100th parkrun on his 60th birthday (21:33) resplendently attired in top hat and tails!
 
Eastbourne Rovers' Stuart Pelling is credited with starting Eastbourne parkrun and he ran the fifth anniversary event (6th, 18:17). Another 100th parkrunner was Phil Cole (M40, 22:22) who headed his age-category with his aesthetically pleasing time.
 
Personal bests tumbled as good conditions prevailed and runners made an extra effort before tackling the celebratory cakes at St Wilfrid's Hospice, where the annual awards were presented by GB paratriathlete Faye McClelland, who was fourth in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Triathlon and is ranked third in the world.
 
Perhaps the most significant statistic arising from the 270th Eastbourne parkrun was the 42 newcomers who will form the bedrock for this event's continued growth and success. 
 
Full details at Eastbourne parkrun website