Cakes Galore at Allan's 50 Parkrun, 13 Oct

Peter reports on Allan Green’s 50th Park Run, all bar one, if correct at Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham. With Rachel’s help, they arranged to have an additional celebration and raise the profile of veganism by offering free vegan cakes to all of the runners at the finish. Being a Saturday and with good train links I was able to go and support this rare opportunity. By chance I did not have local campaigning arranged. I was however recovering from an injury sustained after the previous weekend’s running activities so it allowed me to focus on the photography and help on the cake stall. Allan’s 50th was also good timing for some publicity for the West Midlands Vegan Festival and Vegan Month (November) so we had some vegan literature available.

Allan started running again earlier in 2011 after a break of about 30 years and was resuming in his 50s so it was not easy but he was showing a lot of determination and consistency which is where the Park Run has helped with its weekly session. Allan ran his first Park Run in July 2011 and the few park runs where he has not run he has show his support for the event by marshaling. Allan’s earlier recognition was the announcement that he was selected as June’s Park Runner of the month.

Despite Allan needing to focus on his 50th run, he also showed his baking skills by cooking most of the cakes with Rachel and myself bringing some ‘Mrs Crimbles’ vegan loaves. Also running for VRUK was local member Paul Snell, meeting some of us for the first time. The weather was kind for the occasion, calm and sunny if on the cool side. Cannon Hill Park is a fairly busy park with other activities in evidence, especially British Military Fitness. The route of the run is generally very wide, enough room for a juggernault in each direction so, runners get the opportunity for a good start. The start is in fact on the other side or lower side of the circular loop to the finish, the 5K consisting of about 2.5 loops. Prior to the start there are the usual announcements and it gave Rachel the opportunity to mention the free cakes on offer after the run at stall on the bandstand.

Left: Paul Snell and 50th man Allan Green

Dog welfare is a major part of Allan’s daily routine

Paul on his first lap

Rachel ready to reward the runners

Inviting vegan cakes and some literature

Paul just finished in a PB of 22.43

Allan’s cakes – only a few left, a successful event

Allan approaches the finish, Paul warming down

Once runners had warmed down or recovered they started thinking CAKES! The chocolate cake was popular and soon went. There were lots of rock cakes and other dessert type slices with Mrs Crimbles loaves in reserve. I learnt not to wrap the slices in napkins as the customers were reluctance to take without encouragement. There were some questions about the ingredients and if they contained nuts. One said “What do you use instead of eggs?”. Some runners preferred a banana and we brought a small supply. One asked for water but we did not go that far.

There were 345 runners this week and Allan finished in 28.21 only 20 seconds off his PB and Paul finished in a PB of 22:43 helped by following an experienced runner. The next challenge for Allan and other VRUK runners is the Birmingham Half Marathon on 21 October where Allan will be running his first.

After the event we went to the nearest of the two park cafes, no vegan cakes there.

Thanks to Allan & Rachel for the vegan promotion! If any other member is approaching their 50th or 100th they might like to consider some additional vegan publicity if there are enough volunteers. Let the club know and Peter can help with the publicity or possibly attend.