Category Archives: parkrun

Billingham Junior parkrun, Sunday, December 24, 2017

2K

Lewis Littlewood

This run was cancelled last week because of the ice, so we decided to try again on Christmas Eve.

The weather was warmer but very windy, perhaps I should have worn my skins after all.

I was with Patrick and Oscar and we were all very excited to be trying a new run.

The location is really convenient with handy parking and toilets at the Billingham forum across the road from the park.

The course is 2 and a half laps of the park and very flat. Potential for a fast race.

This was their second event so there weren’t  many people taking part. I’m sure it will build up.

The first lap I was in second place behind a boy from a local running club; I had eyed him up before and thought he might be competition. I stayed right behind him and then managed to overtake him by the end of the first lap.

I knew that my Daddy would be saying ‘Make it stick’ so I had to keep up the pace.

The second lap was really hard. I was starting to think I might win but the pace was very quick. I looked at my watch on a mile in, 6:47 – I started to think about racing for a PB!

With a half a lap to go, I had a lead of about 15 yards. I tried to go for a sprint finish but I just did not have the energy. I knew I was going to be first finisher.

The RD seemed quite surprised by the time. Course record. I had done a quicker time at another run in London but it had measured short and my Daddy had run with me. This I’m taking as my new pb.

I missed cheering Oscar and Patrick over the finish line because I was so exhausted and was lying on the floor. I think we all ran really well considering it was so windy.

Straight to MacDonalds for breakfast to celebrate!!

I really enjoyed the run and would recommend other people going.

Georgengarten parkrun #3 Hannover, Germany, Saturday, December 16, 2017

5k

Jonathan Hamill

Impressive levitation skills from the Chairman.
Photos courtesy of Georgengarten parkrun

I was staying about an hour South of Hannover during a business trip and with the weekend spare, I decided to fit in some running. I had heard that parkrun had recently made a start in Germany, and when I realised I was within striking distance of one of the recently established events, I set my alarm!

I jumped on the metronome train and headed North to Hannover. A quick tram ride took me directly to the Georgengarten area, where the temperature was the wrong side of zero. A bunch of hardy runners were assembled beside a gazebo, and I got chatting to the Run Director Bettina as I gradually removed layer after layer of Strider kit. This was event number three, and I listened with some trepidation during the course briefing, “27 turns” and “if you don’t see a marshal, just keep going straight ahead’.

I met a visiting Australian couple (Alex and Naomi Wallace) who were working their way around Germany and the UK with some parkrun tourism in mind. We surveyed the long straight ahead, and I thought the 27 turns mentioned would make the 2nd half a twisty affair.

Front row - centre stage. Doing us proud. And off, a shade quicker than sensible, I soon realised the long tree-lined straight (the famous Mansions Allee) was just over a mile. We turned right to initially follow a fairly straight path but the twists and turns followed. I had a local runner (Frank from Hannover Runners) who had inched ahead of me on the first mile but I held my nerve and caught him in the twists and turns and he stayed on my heel until the end.

To my right, I started to see the gazebo and start/finish area and knew I was close. I remembered the instruction about turning around the last marshal and then I had a short distance to the finish during which I hastened as much as I could, and got a few more yards away from Frank. I crossed the line and was pretty pleased, (not least considering my Glühwein intake the previous evening) with a position of 7th finisher in a time of 23:28.

We strolled across to the nearby bakery to have a coffee and I then left to catch my return tram and train, bidding farewell to the friendly core team and wishing them well for the future. Maybe I’ll manage a return visit one day!

Windy Nook Inaugural parkrun, Saturday, December 2, 2017

5km

Andrew Davies

First Striders at Windy NookI’ve been trying to be ‘Great North Done’. That’s what everyone calls it when you’ve run all the parkruns in the North East. What do you mean you’ve never heard of it? It’s not like I’ve just made it up!

It’s all the parkruns from Druridge Bay down to Darlington. There are 23 now, I think. I might count Catterick and Northallerton as bonuses.

After finally getting to Gibside last week (which is great by the way), I only had Druridge Bay for the set. I’d even got to the sneaky new one at Newbiggin not long after it started. That’s another good one, as our captains will testify to after today, I’m sure. Coincidently I bumped into Paul and Dylan Swinburne there, as I did today at Windy Nook. Yep, another new North East parkrun. We’re spoiled for them up here.

I rolled over in bed to see how many more hours I had to luxuriate when I noticed it was 07:58 and my 07:30 alarm had failed! Luckily I’d got my uniform ready the night before, as if I was a school kid, and was dressed in minutes and out the door before 08:20. This gave me plenty of time to do the 25-minute trip to Gateshead.

The postcode (NE108XU) sends you to Whitehills Community Centre where’s there’s space to park. From there you need to walk 500 yards through a housing estate to Windy Nook Nature Park. The organisers emphasised how we shouldn’t park in the housing estate to avoid annoying the residents. There was free tea and coffee in the Centre after. I expect it won’t always be free.

There was a lot of snow and ice left around the North East and Facebook was peppered with parkruns being cancelled. Luckily not Windy Nook. Coincidentally, my Daughter was supposed to be playing footy at Hill Top School half a mile away but that was cancelled too. The course is not far from Wrekenton XC so that should tell you what to expect. The snow had turned to slush which flowed down the paths and turned the off-road bits into slippy bogs. I’d packed my fell shoes but made the mistake of wearing my brand new Brooks instead. They’d be fine for this course normally but not today.

I was expecting lots of tourists from the cancelled runs. There were 215 runners, in the end. I suspect this parkrun will attract around 150-200 most weeks, but what do I know?
The organisers did a great job welcoming everyone, explaining the route and bad conditions and to expect some hiccups.

The course is complicated. At least it was today. There was a hiccup and we went the wrong way on the first lap (I’ll have to go again to be sure). It’s a three-lap course; you start and finish at the same point. Before the first lap, you set off around a small path loop in the wrong direction then you start the laps. Halfway around, there are 14 steps. But there are two sets of steps in the park and we went up the wrong ones first-time, I’m sure. The real lap has a long wood chip incline with the real steps and a muddy bank. It’s great to do it three times. It’s not as bad as the inclines and hill at Flatts Lane but the mud made it almost impossible to run up today (in Brooks).

Windy Nook is not a PB course. I was saving myself for Sunderland Strollers Half on Sunday and I took nearly 28-mins. I’ll be going back to get under 25 minutes soon. But I don’t think I’ll get very far under.

It’s a fine addition to the ‘Great North Done’ set and all the Striders should get there soon before any more parkruns appear (I’m looking at you Kerry in a Peterlee type direction).

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Park Run, Saturday, October 21, 2017

5K

Sarah Davies

As a parkrun fanatic, I am always delighted when a new Parkrun starts up in the North East. Not only is it great to see the movement growing, but it also creates exciting new possibilities for Parkrun tourism. However, although I like to imagine myself heading off into the wilds of Northumberland or North Yorkshire to tackle a new course, rarely does this actually happen: it’s enough of a challenge to get our family to Maiden Castle by 9, let alone anywhere further afield. But this Saturday was different. Knowing that I had to drop my daughter off for a rowing race in Ashington at the unearthly hour of 7.45 am, I immediately checked the parkrun website and was happy to discover that a new run had started in nearby Newbiggin-by-the-Sea just a week before!
Daughter and her friends dropped off, I headed straight there. The course is, appropriately, by-the-sea. The start is on the beach, but almost immediately you join the long promenade which curves around the attractive Newbiggin bay. There are some interesting sculptures and stunning sea views along the way. At the end of the promenade, you climb a steep grassy hill (I had a flashback to cross-country!), run around a small park, then descend and return along the promenade. The second lap follows roughly the same route. The finish is at the historic Café Bertorelli, famous for its ice cream. Sadly, I didn’t have time to stop and sample it!
This is a scenic, varied, and reasonably challenging parkrun, especially if you happen to be running into the wind (I was surprised to be first female finisher – admittedly, the field was not huge!) I would highly recommend it to all Striders and their families. I’ll be back, and not only so I can try the ice-cream!

 

Portrush parkrun, Northern Ireland, Saturday, June 18, 2016

Jonathan Hamill

My legs feeling a little heavier from my mid-week efforts at Lisburn Half Marathon, I headed North, to Portrush (Portmagic as it is known to locals). Having grown up nearby, running on my old doorstep was a good way to conclude my trip.

portrush1aA school friend had recently opened a luxury B&B, and I was keen to try it out. Blackrock House is the 1st 5* graded B&B in Portrush, and recent runner up in the Tourism Northern Ireland Awards ‘Most Promising New Tourism Business’ 2016.

I alighted the Belfast train at Dhu Varren, just before the main Portrush station and walked round the corner to Blackrock House. Nicola’s house has fantastic views (photo above), overlooking the West Bay beach, promenade and having stunning views towards the Giant’s Causeway. It is also situated on the main Causeway Coastal Route, offering many running options, including a coastal run of around 6 miles to nearby Portstewart. It is a runner friendly B&B, and I’d highly recommend it to those of you who are contemplating running events in the local area.

portrush2

 

portrush3a I headed out on the Friday morning for a gentle run. Leaving Blackrock House, I dropped down onto the West Bay promenade, past the famous Barry’s amusements, the Lifeboat Station and Harbour, rounding the headland at Lansdowne, towards the East Strand (home to Portrush parkrun), and eventually back through the town.

On the Saturday morning, my runner friendly breakfast comprised granola with local yoghurt (Nicola also offers the post parkrun option of something more substantial). Portrush parkrun has a slightly more civilised start of 0930hrs and although it is a short jog from Blackrock House, I gladly accepted Nicola’s offer of a lift as she was taking some photographs of the event.

Portrush parkrun is the world’s first beach parkrun and it is run entirely on the sand. The course starts adjacent to the watersports centre at the East Strand and rounds the coastline towards the White Rocks and back. It is flat but challenging with a variable surface, according to the tide.

portrush4a

portrush6 Mervyn Thompson (pictured left), officiating as Run Director provided the briefing. This included the offer of tomato plants, from Fiona, one of the regulars who had got a wee bit carried away in the garden! A nice touch saw the milestone runners called up to the front and applauded by the crowd. A BBC camera crew was filming for the documentary, “Love in a day” which focuses on people doing things they love and on this occasion, the love of parkrun! Faye McLernon, a former schoolmate was filmed, (look out for the purple t-shirt).

Contrary to the weather forecast, it had been dry for the past few days and it was a sunny day, although the wind was pretty fierce, as I found out! High tide had been at 0630hrs and there was some reasonably firm sand along the route.

I set off from the beach start line and struck a decent pace, which would have delivered a finish of around 25 minutes. All was good, until the turning point – a flag with loose sand, which took the wind out of my sails. The return was into the wind, which was formidable and my pace took a hammering – no negative splits! I did wonder if the catch-up with an old friend in the Harbour Bar the previous evening had hampered my chances a little too!

202 runners attended Portrush parkrun’s 202nd event! The fastest finisher came in at 19:13. I was slower than usual but given the wind and miles under my belt during the week, I was happy to come in 10th in my age category at 27:07.

portrush5After some quick goodbyes, I had to shoot off to catch the train back to Belfast, and a comparatively complex two-flight hop via Heathrow home. There are no direct flights to Newcastle on a Saturday, which work with parkrun timings (I suspect most people would make a weekend of it anyway).

For those interested in sampling the North coast hospitality, the following may also be of interest and I’d happily help folk with their travel plans as required:

  • North Coast 5k/10k at Portrush – 7th July 2016
  • ANI Prostrate Cancer 5 mile road race – 26th August 2016
  • Causeway Coast Marathon – 24th September 2016
  • Mussenden 10k Challenge Easter Saturday – 15th April 2017

Northallerton parkrun, Saturday, November 7, 2015

Danny Lim

This parkrun has the same vibe as Durham parkrun in the early days. A small, friendly group on runners gathering to run a flat, mainly grassy course around a few football fields. And maybe this is why I have gravitated to this particular event although I now live equidistant to 4 parkruns.

Of course, I had to choose the wettest day this season to run it. We were all soaked before we set off. It was more like running a Harrier League fixture! It was a bizarre, but I found myself in second place right from the start. But I’m no faster than usual, it was just a small field.

I ran this course last month and I promise, it is a very pleasant run in the park. So if you are ever in North Yorkshire, give this a go. Hope to see a few Striders some time.

Sewerby parkrun, Saturday, August 1, 2015

Jan Young

parkruner: Jan

parkrun: 1/8/15

location: Sewerby Hall, Bridlington, East Yorkshire. Georgian house built 1720, additions 19th century, now open as 1910 restoration.

course: 2k out and back along clifftop, final 1k through Sewerby Hall gardens and woods.

terrain: fast, slight gradients; winning time 16.39. I ran 26.5 on grass next to tarmac paths, woodchip in woods.

atmosphere: welcoming, being a seaside resort they’re used to visitors, marshalls gave lots of encouragement, all inclusive, the usual running buggies, juniors, walkers. They even have a visitors/comments book.

attendance: 167.

victuals: Clock Tower tea rooms; parkrun favourites – bacon/ sausage baps/ latte.

parkrunner: Jan Young

Manchester parkrunathon, Saturday, July 11, 2015

8 x 5km

George Nicholson

Last Saturday I took part in my 4th Charity parkrunathon to raise funds for Acorns Children’s Hospice, this time returning to the Manchester area to run in the official 9:00am run at Cheadle and to run round 7 other parkrun courses in the Manchester area all in one day.

parkrunathors for Acorns Hospice 2015

I did it there last year with Sam Nightingale (the former Sunderland parkrun E.D. & Netball Coach who is well known to many Striders). On that day 5 others joined us at different stages and we formed a ‘Dream Team’. One of those runners, Gazz Pashley, contacted me about a month ago and wanted to do the challenge again on the 11th July. So with little preparation and training I agreed, but not to do all 8! In the end I completed 6 of the runs which was still a distance of almost 19 miles, so I felt relatively pleased. More pleasing was the fun we had, new friends made, and the wonderful amount of money we raised. Leona & Lorraine were 2 Chorlton Runners who were also with us last year and they did a wonderful job recruiting several more of their fellow club runners. The Dream Team had grown to 10 in number for the 7:30 am start at Woodbank parkrun course.

parkrunathors for Acorns Hospice 2015

One big thrill and a lovely surprise was the appearance of Peter Bell and his lovely wife, Beatrice. They had seen my itinerary on Facebook, and as they were in the area met up with us all at 5:00 pm for run #7 at Worsley Woods – Thank you Peter.

parkrunathors for Acorns Hospice 2015

Arrow Valley parkrun near Birmingham (where I did a parkunathon 2 years ago) are undertaking to complete another tour of the West Midlands on September 5th to raise further funds for Acorns. Their Team starts off with a magnificent 30. Wonderful news.

parkrunathors for Acorns Hospice 2015

The pictures provide a better idea of the day than my words ever could, and will hopefully stimulate an interest in the minds of several of you.

Next Summer I intend to have a tour of the North East parkruns and some plans are already in place. Andy James has given me reasonable rates for a Bus with 2 drivers from Gillingham’s for the day. All I will then need is about 50 or so ‘volunteers’ to run with Peter & I. Fingers crossed they will be mostly Striders – Watch This Space …

Durham parkrun, Saturday, June 13, 2015

Conrad White

20:20:100 – A personal parkrun challenge

We all have aspirations and goals and I am sure Striders have many of these. Goals as you know should be “SMART” – the S being “specific” and the A being “achievable”. I have three running goals – some of you may already know them. Other people – goals may involve foreign countries or long events – one of mine was much nearer to home. Having run at the inaugural Durham parkrun in August 2011 I had felt that maybe with a bit of luck and some training a sub 20 at Durham might be possible. Age is working against me, but training seems to be working for me. Last year I was tantalisingly close with a number of runs below 20:10 – but the sub 20 Durham did not materialise. I did manage it at Riverside and again at York earlier in the year but could not find the extra oomph needed to get round those tight corners and over the bridge fast enough. I have had lots of encouragement mind for which I am exceedingly thankful. Loads of people knew of my goal. I was regularly asked if “today was the day”.

The parkruns were counting up and Saturday was to be my 100th parkrun – a mention at the start much appreciated. Could it be a double celebration? Leaving home for my usual jog down the Garmin ominously said “low battery”!!!!!! Thank you Katy for lending me what must be a much lighter version – saved my bacon. I had also invested in new, more padded shoes – would they have anything to offer. Many, many thanks for all the encouragement from too many to mention – I would hate to miss anyone out.

I set off (fairly) sensibly. I tried hard. I pushed along the back field. I attacked the railway turn, the bridge and the “Horsley turn” (if it is still known as that). The watch was looking good but perilously close. My legs were sore and I had tried as hard as I could. Stopping the watch I was hopeful, but I have been caught out before with a slight difference in my time and the officially recorded time – we all know something for £19.99 seems a better bargain than something for £20 – so a 20:00 would not have fitted the bill. Andy behind knew how much I wanted it and was encouraging with his time being close (I knew my time could not be corrected up and not be a Durham PB) and Graeme when he finished had clocked me across the line, also just sub 20. The wait for the official results seemed never ending. I’m not sure if there were issues but they did not arrive until Sunday. Huge thanks to all the volunteers who work with the run behind the scene getting the results out.

As for the title – 20:20:100 – 20th position, in sub 20, on my 100th parkrun. A memorable day. Again thank you all. Have your goals, make them SMART and one day you will hopefully achieve them. If I achieve another goal – you will all be first to know about it.

Very Tidy!

Ormskirk parkrun, Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dougie Nisbet

“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”

— William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

Listening to a bit of ShakespeareThe weather was calm, the first time for weeks, and the quote was for the benefit of PB hunters who might like to consider, contrary to most advice, actually going off a bit fast at the start. Interesting advice, and on another day I might have given it a go, but today I settled in at the back of the runners and waited to see how I’d get on in my first parkrun since January. I’d been quite encouraged by the Pier to Pier and decided to see how I got on with something short and fast.

Second lap of the Second LapThis is my second time at the Ormskirk parkrun and it might just be my favourite parkrun. It’s set in the campus of Edge Hill University and it’s great to see it promoted so positively. It’s warm and welcoming, with changing rooms, toilets, tea and coffee, a nice course, and best of all, you get some culture on the start line. The usual briefing also included the reminder that under 11s must be accompanied by an adult. “Why must under 11s be accompanied by an adult?”, we were asked. “To slow them down!”, came the instant reply.

Nothing starts a parkrun better than a bit of Shakespeare How we laughed, but it was no joke. It was great seeing so many young children out today; it wasn’t so great being convincingly beaten by so many of them. You’d think they’d at least have the decency to look as if they were struggling or trying. No respect, kids of today.

I wouldn’t say it’s a fast course, given that it has hills and circuits; two little ones and two big ones. I think. It didn’t matter as the marshalls seemed to know exactly where to send us, or maybe I just have that ‘still on his first lap’ look about me. I got round all the laps and up the hills and finished in under 26 minutes; when I say ‘under’ I mean in much the same way as £3.99 is under £4.00.

Still, the year is young, and perhaps next time, with some suitable cultural inspiration pep-talk, I can get that down a bit more.