Sunday, 27 May 2012

The 2012 Eurovision parkrunning contest

Round two of marshalling this week and another really warm day again. The last time I marshalled was when we had the very warm spell at the back-end of March. Today was much the same – only hotter.

The day needed some coolness and class, so I decided to wear my nautical-inspired outfit. I bedecked myself in white shorts, blue and white striped t-shirt and blue deck shoes. The only item missing was a hat.  I almost opted for my Richard Gere Officer and a Gentleman outfit, but, on second thoughts, and knowing the forecast, I left it, neatly folded, in my special dressing up box.

7:00am arrived – time to make my way to Ore station to catch the 7:15 train to Hampden Park. As we trundled down the track, somewhere near Norman’s Bay, I noticed a small tea-drip on my shorts. Nooooooooo!

It wasn’t as if I had over-spilled on my legs; it was the tiniest drip, but now I had seen it, it seemed noticeable. And when one has such thrilling legs, as I do, I worried that others may spot it when I was marshalling and that may put them off their stride.

I had some orange-fragrance Marks and Spencer hand wipes in my rucksack, (as every self-respecting gentleman should have), so I took one out and dabbed gently at the offending mark. Bugger! It wasn't coming off. Oh well, I was just going to have to live with it. And, maybe, nobody would notice.

I arrived at parkrun and strode joyfully to the start area, where the organisers were frantically setting up the start and finish chutes. They are great though. Despite the freneticism, (I have just made that word up), they still had time to greet me:

“Hi Martin, nice to see you. I see you’ve dripped a small amount of tea on your shorts this morning…”

“Hey, Martin, good to see you. Do you want a cup of tea? Oh, I can see you’ve already had one….”

Once everything was set up, it was time for marshalling duty. I donned the over-sized high viz and, resembling a nuclear-fuelled oompah-loompah, I made my way over to marshall the bridge section.

On Eurovision weekend, I am affectionately renaming this bridge The Hump and, from hereon in, this week’s extravaganza is known as the Eurovision parkrunning contest.

9:00am ticked by. I heard the countdown in the distance. Three, two, one….  Let the Eurovision parkrunning contest, BEGIN.

A couple of minutes later, the first of the runners thundered by, going hell for leather in the heat. The first to go were well-rehearsed, with excellent stage presence and production values. 

Fortunately for me, they were going too fast to notice the tea-drip on my shorts. Whoosh, phnow, shooom – past me they all whizzed, heading off on their large loop of the park. A couple of friendly “Thank you, marshall” graces were proffered in my direction.  Was that a subtle attempt to nobble the Eurovision parkrunning jury? Try harder, I can be nobbled, for the right price.

The last of the runners came through, with determined concentration and friendly smile, and the sound of feet disappeared into the distance. The birds could be heard tweeting the end of their morning song, the sound of a train rat-a-tatting in the distance and the sun was silently piercing down on me.

Then, the excitement  really began and, in true Song Contest style, it was time for the voting…

First over the bridge came Ed Dodd, representing the Current Republic of Eastbourne AC with his version of ‘You Can’t Catch Me (La La La La La La)'. A favourite with the parkrunning audience, he was awarded ‘douze points’. For anyone who doesn't speak Eurovision, that's 12 points.

Dix (10) points, went to Matthew Southam also representing the Current Republic of Eastbourne AC with his entry, 'Boom, bang-a-bang’ as he bounded with style and aplomb over the bridge. (Note to self: investigation into the partisan running of two entries from the same country. Is this permitted under the Eurovision parkrunning contest rules? )

Huit (8) points, and third place, went to David Perry, representing himself, and who entertained us all with his upbeat version of 'Happily Slappidy Feet'.  This was a very slick performance and one he should be very proud of.

The other 76 nations followed behind. I was particularly impressed by this entry from the little known nation of Labradoodle. As you can see, these contestants had real grace on the stage with stunning production. Their version of ‘Woof for Peace’ was a mightily uplifting ditty.

But, as with most Eurovision parkrunning contests, there were a few entries that sounded the same. With versions of ‘Are we nearly there yet?’, ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘It’s Too Damn Hot’, being some of the more memorable ones.

I did have to disqualify the lovely Kate Fowler for smiling as she came over the bridge. Grimacing, pained expressions, pathos and determination are all permissible at the 4km mark of the Eurovision parkrunning contest, but grinning from ear to ear is not.

There was one entry though that did particularly hit home. It came later down the running order, but I couldn't identify the artist. 

What was that you were  singing?

‘I see you spilled some tea – tee-he-he-he-he!’

I was very much struck by this …

And when I kicked him in the shins, so was he….

Martin Allen, nil points.

All was forgiven though at the after-parkrun party as the runners mingled politely, sipped water and deconstructed their performances.

The lambrini, ferrero rocher and debauched dancing came later - and rumour has it that was just Kate Fowler again...

Ps. – please note this piece is entirely fictitious (for the most part) and no runners were actually injured (or drunk) in the making of this blog.
Follow me on Twitter @martinallen72

Visit Eastbourne Parkrun website here


  1. Nice work there, Martin:) For me, Saturday was all about the good, the bad & the ugly.

    The good: I came 3rd (which just goes to show the heights I can achieve when the really good runners stay away).
    The bad: being disqualified for smiling. It's my own fault - I should have read the small print more closely.
    The ugly: the debauched dancing. I must have had sunstroke cos I don't recall doing that but all I can do is apologise. Again. Sorry.

    Thanks for marshalling, Mid-Pack Martin. I look forward to seeing you sprint away from me next week. (Try and wear clean clothes next time, though. Really... we do have standards.) Kate F

    1. I have ironed and pressed my very best lycra for next week!

      You did a fab job on Saturday. Really great. Being third placed is something I'll never achieve! lol

      And thanks for taking the blog in the spirit in which it was intended. It was a bit of a risk, I know, but I thought you'd be the kind of gal to laugh with it. :-)


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