Friday, 28 March 2014

Friday Photos (10): Running in the streets of New Cross 1953

This photo is of a group of women running in what looks to be a race in Knoyle Street, New Cross in South London. The photo was taken in 1953, I believe on June 2 when there were street parties across the UK to mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (there are more photos from this same party at Plastic Plastic's remarkable series of old Deptford and New Cross photos). 

What I love about this picture is the sheer joy on the faces of these women running down their street in their party clothes. In addition this street is in the area where I run today - the street itself is still there though most of the old houses have long been demolished.

Previously in the Friday Photos series:

Anita Neil - Britain's first female Black Olympian?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

South London Running News: Spring 2014

The sun has shone and the ground's drying out, and even the most fair weather of runners are showing their faces and indeed their legs.

Sidcup 10

I took part in Kent Athletic Club's Sidcup 10 Mile Road Race a couple of weeks ago (Sunday 9th March) and it felt like the first run of the summer, I was pouring water over my head after the first lap. More than 300 people took part in a well organised run, starting off at Sidcup Leisure Centre and finishing three laps later in the grounds of Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School. Mark Steinle (Blackheath & Bromley) came in first for the men with a time of 55:11, while Tina Oldershaw (Paddock Wood AC) was the women's winner in 62:05.

Lewisham-based Kent Athletics Club have had a busy winter, winning the Surrey Cross Country League for the second year in a row. Not to mention the club's Conrad Williams winning a silver medal in the 4 x 400m relay at the World Indoor Championship in Sopot earlier this month.


Parkrun continues to expand locally as everywhere else. On 8th March, more than 1400 runners were out for a 5k Saturday morning run across nine South East(ish) London runs, compared to 969 in the same area on the same weekend last year. At my home parkrun, Hilly Fields in Lewisham, slippery conditions on the muddiest part of the course necessitated a change of route during the latter part of the winter, but it's now back to normal.

Parkrun participants in 9 South London events,
second weekend in March, 2013 and 2014

Nearly 700 people finished the 'Wrap up and run' 10k in Crystal Palace last week (16th March) in aid of Age UK. Patrick Brown of East London Runners was the fastest man (35:52), while Sarah Watson of Kent AC was the fastest woman (39:59).

With the encouragement of Southwark Council, London City Runners are establishing a London City Athletics Club that will include a youth athletics section. Their inaugural event is a 10k run in Southwark Park on March 30th - with plans in place too to refurbish the athletics track in the park. On Saturday 5 July the park will also see the Southwark Park 150th anniversary 10k Run, organised by PB Race Events.

PB Race Events are also organising the 'Run for Diabetes 10k' in Greenwich Park on Saturday 14th June, while on 19th October there's another Greenwich Park 5k/10k organised by Run Through.

New Eltham Joggers are organising the Eltham Park 5 on Sunday June 8th, a 5 mile run through Eltham Parks and Shepherdleas Wood. There's also a 3.5 km run, and a 1 mile family fun run on the same day.

Croydon Half

Next big run for me is the Croydon Half Marathon on 30th March,organised by Striders of Croydon - I think there's still some places left.

(all photos from Sidcup 10 2014)

See previously: South London Running News Summer 2013

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Bob Crow out for a run

Sad to hear of the untimely death this week of Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers).  Many have praised his efforts in defending jobs and conditions of workers on the London Underground and elsewhere, but for the purposes of this blog we will claim him as a runner. OK he may not have been a great athlete, but here's the proof of his membership of the global brother and sisterhood of pavement pounders  - out for a jog with his dog Castro (and wearing a Fire Brigades Union hat)

Nice quote put up in his memory by tube workers at Covent Garden station:
'Fear of death follows fear of life. A man who lives life fully is prepared to die at any time' (Mark Twain).

Monday, 10 March 2014

Record Sleeve Athletics (8): Sergio Mendes - Olympia

Previously here I have discussed Giorgio Moroder's 1984 Olympics Track Theme 'Reach Out'. Also recorded for the '84 Los Angeles games was Olympia by Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes. The sleeve for the American single shows athletes engaged in various sports.

The continental Europe release goes for a more simple torch-bearer design.

Music, to my ears, is mediocre 1980s cheese with lead vocals by Joe Pizzulo. Lyrics too are on the epic side - hey dude, it's just some people running around and swimming - no-one died!

'From the corners of the world they come
The bravest and the best
To write their names in history
And to face the final test
And they gather as they've always done
With one purpose and one name
To give the souls and lives to
The challenge of the game

Olympia, Olympia
Light the flame and let it burn
Olympia, Olympia
You will teach and we will learn
We will learn in your name
We have come to honor courage
More than glory, more than fame
We will learn if we can
The triumph of the spirit
Is the victory of man

They have traveled lonely roads of pain
For the moment yet to be
Knowing in the journey each will find
Their own humanity
And they reach out to each other
To make us all aware
That we celebrate our brotherhood
In the struggles that we share...'

See previously in this series: