Graves Report (Chris Heggs)
Like all good sequels, the 2nd running of the Totley Parkrun Challenge ramped up the action and the spectacle as a record breaking 52 Totley runners, and an enthusiastic volunteer (thank you for your service, Julia Hurley) descended on Graves Park.
For those not familiar with the course, a quick search of the Graves Park parkrun website reveals phrases such as ‘a long shallow downhill’, ‘a sharp rise’, ‘a sweeping descent through the treeline’, ‘before heading uphill once again’ and ‘a final ascent of the hill’.
In summary, it’s a hilly one and just to double the fun, you do it all twice.
However, those Totley runners who regularly attend the Tuesday/ Thursday night sessions from the pavilion, or the Sunday social runs, barely acknowledged the fluctuating gradient, describing the course as fast and flat.
Charlie Baker opened proceedings with a pre-run coaching warm up, which had an immediate impact as he romped to victory, with Laura Allen matching his achievement for a Totley clean sweep. Clearly the triumph left Charlie bewildered as he then managed to leave his first placed footwear at the park for Ian Bates to rescue.
The pre – run draw saw several attention-grabbing pairings, with the pick of the head-to-heads taking place between Kieran Hickey and Mick Kay with the former proving to be victorious by a decisive age grade margin of 0.04% (in terms of time I believe this is around a tenth of a second).
Youth led the way, with Eddie Smith and Hrishi Popat storming around the course in impressive times and both setting personal bests.
The parkrun initiative is all about being active and participating, and once again that was the predominant response from those in attendance.
For those with a little more of a competitive edge, the early ‘league table’ (not a cup) has been shared on social media, but with 8 more challenges still to take place, there are plenty of points still available.
For the third challenge, we are crossing the border and are heading to the Monsal trail in the peak district national park on the 17th of June, a great opportunity for a bit of parkrun tourism.