221 complete 312th Wilmslow parkrun in memory of Alan Turing

Every Saturday at 9am hundreds of runners enjoy the popular 5K run at The Carrs.

On 25th June this year the hosts kindly agreed to organise the event in memory of Alan Turing (1912-1954), a resident of the town from 1950 -1954. June 23rd was the anniversary of his birthday.

In 2021 members of the Wilmslow Historical Society (David Briggs, Alan Cooper and Jon Kelly) and Wilmslow Civic Trust (Christopher Dodson, Stuart Kinsey and Rob Sharpe) formed a Turing Town Group determined to celebrate the memory of this "genius in many fields".

Already an original portrait by local artist Paul Webber hangs in the Library, copies of which have been distributed to 12 or so significant locations around the town. More events and memorials are being actively considered.

Before the start of the run David Briggs, Chair of Wilmslow Historical Society, explained to runners and spectators that Alan Turing was an Olympic standard long distance runner and but for illness would possibly have represented Great Britain in London in 1948. Turing ran the marathon in 1947 in 2 hours 46 minutes which was actually only 10 minutes slower than the winning time a year later.

David pointed out that Turing lived at 43 Adlington Road, Wilmslow and worked at the University of Manchester and that Turing and his great friend, the local author Alan Garner, frequently ran together around the lanes of Wilmslow and environs. Famed around the world for his work on helping crack the Enigma Code and developing theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, by the time Alan Turing came to live in Wilmslow his interests had moved on to phyllotaxis and morphogenesis - the development of patterns and shapes in biological organisms.

He produced the seminal work on Fibonacci sequences and the golden ratio. He often wandered around the area looking at patterns of flowers and plants. Sunflower heads were of special interest. The Turing Town Group therefore offered some sunflowers to runners when they completed their run and also gifted cards recording the event to participants and spectators.

Finally to the run itself. The first runner to finish on Saturday was Luke Mendham in a time of 18 minutes 3 seconds. Tom Rogers was second on his first visit with 18 minutes and 23 seconds and Matt Darnley was third with 18 minutes and 40 seconds. The first female Diane McVey came in 7th overall on 19 minutes 26 seconds and Rebecca Jackson actually completed her 250th parkrun by recording 25 minutes.

As it was the last Saturday in June representatives of 5K Your Way joined. They help people with cancer to volunteer, walk and run. Over the years the average finishing time is a very respectable 28 minutes and on average 178 athletes have participated every week. Alan Turing would have been very impressed!

If you have any ideas to help the Turing Town Group celebrate this local genius please contact Jon Kelly via email: [email protected]. If you want to participate in the parkrun either as a runner or volunteer marshal, then contact: [email protected].

Guest post by Alan Cooper.

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