Butchart Bashes parkrun Best
Scottish Olympian improves long-standing 'world record' on parkrun debut
Tokyo 2021 Olympian Andrew Butchart (Central AC) has just achieved something that will probably last longer in the public's memory than any of his international exploits on the track. On Saturday 24th June 2023 the Scottish 5000m record holder (13:06.21 in 2019) made his parkrun debut – and what a debut!
The previous men's world parkrun record was set by another Olympian...and another Andy. The 'Harrow Arrow' Andy Baddeley ran 13:48 at Bushy Park – the original home of parkrun – on 11th August 2012, four years after finishing 8th in the Beijing Olympics 1500m final.
Butchart was participating in the Silverknowes, Edinburgh parkrun on a route the local organisers describe as: "This (course) has been accurately measured by us with a professional measuring wheel. The course is on Cramond/Silverknowes Promenade and is run entirely on tarmac footpath." They also add in the course description: "The course is designed to be enjoyable, rather than for pure 'PB' speed".
The Edinburgh 5K parkrun starts 500m east of Cramond Village and heads east with the Firth of Forth on the left. Landmarks the first finisher may not have noticed in his haste include Birnie Rocks, Ronald Rae's eight-tonne Fish Sculpture, the tops of the Forth Road and Rail Bridges, and finally the tall white ship's mast at Cramond Village.
Butchart scored an age-graded 94.3% for his 13:45 world record. He might be the world's fastest parkrunner but W60 Fiona Matheson (18:44 – 103.56%) remains the Silverknowes parkrun age-graded champion!
There were 403 finishers in the 632nd Silverknowes parkrun and every one of them can say they were there when 31-year-old Andrew Butchart, who is married to Scottish 800m Olympian Lynsey Sharp – who is yet to try a parkrun – beat the previous world record by three seconds.
The women's parkrun world best is 15:25 by 2021 Tokyo Olympian Isobel Batt-Doyle set at Aldinga Beach parkrun near Adelaide, Australia on New Year's Eve 2022. The UK's fastest parkrunner is Melissa Courtney-Bryant (Poole AC) who ran 15:31 at her home event in Poole Park on Christmas Eve 2022 – her world record lasting just seven days.
There seems to be a theme here. If you want to run a parkrun fast, head to the coast. Mind you, it does help if you are an Olympian!
Image credit: Central AC on Twitter