668 feel the need for speed in Crystal Palace Park
Not even the dinosaurs could put them off in RunThrough's event
Speed has always been an element in the history of Crystal Palace Park in south-east London. The Victorian pleasure ground, built between 1852-1855, has always been synonymous with sport. Motor racing took place here between 1937 and 1972 and the National Sports Centre and Athletics Stadium – the first multi-use 'sports park' concept of its kind in the UK – has witnessed many world records.
Now the venue provides a spacious and testing location for runners and is a regular feature in RunThrough's 200-race annual programme of events. The latest in that series took place on Sunday (9 May) with 5K, 10K and half marathon distances on offer.
It was hardly surprising that the event was sold out in advance as race-starved athletes were determined to get back in action after being in suspended animation for the thick end of a year. For many runners nothing gets the pulse going like direct combat with other runners.
There were 363 finishers (in 3:37:58) in the half marathon on an undulating (euphemism for hilly) route that took runners around the site of the former Crystal Palace exhibition centre, past the stadium and through woodland walks (pictured above) inhabited by dinosaurs.
The top three men were Jonathan Neville (Belgrave Harriers, 1:22:01), Peter Fuller (Southampton University, 1:23:03) and M40 Blake Vivian (St Albans Striders, 1:23:49). Also escaping the jaws of the Triassic reptiles on the route were the women's race leaders: Lindy-Lee Folscher (Epsom Oddballs, 1:32:04), Nadia Ahrazem (1:32:39) and Sophie Gunning (1:36:27).
Just two men went under 40 minutes in the 10K: Benjamin Howe (London City AC, 35:11) and Will Longhurst (Cambridge Harriers, 38:16). Four women managed sub-50 minutes, led by Katrina Hartley (47:06) and Lucie Goulard (LSE Athletics, 48:42). There were 227 finishers in 1:49:33.
The 5K dash was won by Geraint Jones (21:18) and Emma Barton (23:26) who was third overall, one second behind Noah Lansing (23:25). The 5K had 78 finishers in 1:06:12.
The unique atmosphere of the RunThrough Crystal Palace races in normal times can be experienced here
Results available at runABC events listing here
Image: Courtesy Wikipedia by Ewan Munro