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Olympic torch bearer lights up Gladstone parkrun

PUBLISHED: 14:26 22 August 2012

Bill O'Connor at Gladstone Park 5K

Bill O'Connor at Gladstone Park 5K

Jonathan Goldberg

Brent resident and regular volunteer Bill O’Connor brought a touch – and a torch – of Olympic inspiration to Saturday’s Gladstone parkrun.

O’Connor, a long-standing member of Queen’s Park Harriers AC and a teacher at Queen’s Park Community School, was a torch-bearer in the run-up to this summer’s Olympic Games.

The 67-year-old, who has lived in the area for more than 40 years and is one of only 16 runners to have completed all 32 London Marathons, helps out regularly at the weekly 5km event in Dollis Hill.

Gladstone parkrun director Glen Turner said: “parkrun aims to inspire people of all ages and abilities to come out and run in a group each week, and people like Bill are wonderful role models.

“Bill has been working with young people for decades, including encouraging them to run the London Mini-marathon. He is the type of person who can really encourage people to jump off the sofa and take steps to a more active lifestyle.”

Local runner David Craddock was first home in Saturday’s event as he clocked a time of 17 minutes 9 seconds, ahead of Daniel McKeown from London Heathside (18:06).

Chris Bailey of Highgate Harriers recorded a personal best to finish third in 18.39, with Gavin Brown fourth (19:09).

In the women’s division, Alison Haan recorded her first win as she stopped the clock at 26:41, with Nikki Elvin (27:31) crossing the line second and Sudbury Court runner Rita Scollan third (30:09).

Gladstone parkun has welcomed 124 different runners since its launch in June, with more than 150 registered on its website and ranked under a unique age and gender grading system.

The free volunteer-led event is held every Saturday from 9am, and is open to runners of all ages and abilities. Registration is free at www.parkrun.org.uk


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