Abbie Donnelly and Gus Withers ran the fastest parkrun times in the UK this weekend (21st January).
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Like death and taxes, one slightly more upbeat guarantee in life is parkrun every Saturday. The fastest times this weekend included three women under 17 minutes and one chap under 15. Blink and you’ve missed them!
For those regular rankings readers, Abbie Donnelly is a name you might recognise. With a 16:32 at Lincoln parkrun it’s certainly a performance of the week to top the women’s table. The Lincoln Wellington AC athlete broke 16 minutes for parkrun last March and brought her 5k road PB down to 16:07 and 5000m track PB to 15:54 in a successful 2022.
Gus Withers, at Chalkwell Beach parkrun (which goes past my Uncle Mark and Auntie Alison’s house), broke 15 minutes with 14:45. The out and back on the pan flat promenade can often be hit by the wind, but that didn’t matter to Withers today. It was the first time under the significant 5k mark for the Leigh-on-Sea Strider who was second at the Essex County XC champs in Basildon a couple of weeks ago.
The next on the podium
The two other females who cruised under 17 minutes were Megan Davies and Amy Griffiths, of Sale Harriers and St. Mary’s Uni (although we think it might be AFD now) respectively.
Davies, one of 20 Megan Davies on Power of 10, ran 16:39 for a shiny new parkrun PB after lowering her 5k road PB to 16 flat at Podium 5K last March. Already this year Davies has run 3000m indoors and finished second at the BMC / Glasgow AA Metric Miler Meeting (inc Scottish 3000m Championships).
Griffiths, who was only a touch slower in 16:45 at Leicester Victoria parkrun, is another runner who celebrating a parkrun PB today. After 2022 focused on middle distance on the track, the Luke Gunn coached athlete is starting 2023 with a longer distance than usual and doing so in style.
The next couple of chaps
At Gorleston Cliffs it was Tyler Bilyard who was first finisher today in 15:17. Right out east near Great Yarmouth, “the resort where happiness is guaranteed”, Bilyard has started 2023 with a bang (and a win) at the Sheffield BMC 1500m indoors in a time of 3:49.65. Good times ahead for the Norfolk U23.
Ferry Meadows parkrun saw the front running of Isaac Ellard, crossing the line in 15:18, just a second behind Bilyard’s time in Norfolk (in Cambridgeshire this time) although it wasn’t quite a parkrun PB for the Helpston Harrier it was his third parkrun of the year and he’s improved with each one. Given the trajectory of 16:38 on 7th Jan, 15:45 on 14th Jan and nearly another 30 seconds quicker today we are predicting 15:03 next week and a world record somewhere in the July.
The fastest course of the weekend?
Four events doubled up with fast runners this week and it was Leicester Victoria, Cardiff, Chalkwell Beach and Dulwich, but given that Chalkwell Beach had a top of the men’s rankings and a seventh (and it goes past my uncle’s house) we’ll give them the top spot this week.