Category Archives: parkrun

Parkrunathon, Saturday, June 1, 2019

Carolyn Galula

Courtesy of Maggie Davison

November 17 was my 50th Parkrun which I celebrated at Riverside but one I will remember for all the wrong reasons. The run route had to be changed 5 minutes before the start as a young man was threatening to jump from the footbridge. Rumour has it that a parkrunner with connections to If U Care Share talked the young man down until the police arrived. I will never forget seeing that young man being escorted to safety through the park by police.

Only a few days earlier I had been invited to participate in Parkrunathon 2019 for this self same charity. Irony or karma?

So along came June 1st, and after a series of injuries I was probably the most unfit I have been since taking up running and was going through one of my lowest periods ever. I had no idea how the day would evolve and even less idea how my running would stand up to this rather obscure running challenge.

Courtesy of Maggie Davison

The atmosphere was electric. We were all buzzing. The organisation was flawless. A sprightly bunch of runners descended the coach at Sedgefield, looking fresh and enthusiastic. Junior Parkrun followed by the “official” Sedgefield Parkrun – we were well on our way! For me it was all about finish lines. Finish times were banished from my mind!

From Sedgefield we got back on the coach to Hartlepool. Wasn’t sure what to expect. After all their official Parkrun had been finished only minutes earlier. Would anyone be there? Of course there was…local support was out in full force. 2.5 runs ticked off and back on the coach – direction Cotsford Field.

Timing was tight for this one. 40 minutes’ turnaround time. It’s one of my favourite parkruns but not an easy one.  My legs were kind and got me round the full course just in time to get back on the coach to Sunderland.

We had a generous amount of time at Sunderland and were “blessed” by the rain. I was cold, stiff and fairly miserable by this point, and although I walked some of the course it was here that my determination kicked in. I was suddenly determined to tick off all these parkruns. Sunderland I didn’t enjoy you…at all! But the Sunderland crew supplied us with ice lollies and we were off again. Next port of call – South Shields.

It was here I got my mojo back. Kept a slow but steady pace and ran the whole course. We had terrific support with hot drinks, snacks and fresh strider faces to join us on the run. By this point we were more than half way. Only 3 left to go…

Windy Nook was our next chosen destination. Boy did I suffer on this one. I literally felt broken. But if I could get through this one, then there was just Riverside and Durham left. My family were coming to support at Riverside so I knew I’d find some renewed energy there, and, well even if I had to run till midnight I would finish Durham!

Windy Nook has to be THE most complicated parkrun ever; twists and turns everywhere. The core team were there thankfully to keep us right. On the last lap I teamed up with George who was also battling the beast and we crossed the line, albeit in last position, together.

Only 2 left. It started to really feel like I could do it. Did I mention I’d never run this far before? Longest run to date had been a half marathon. Even getting on and off the bus at this point was proving tricky!

Riverside was fab. My local parkrun. Mam, sister and bestie all there to support me, but the support for the event as a whole was simply amazing. Another fab supply of drinks, snacks and encouragement.

Back on the coach to Durham and I was giddy knowing that I was on my way to running my first ever marathon distance. But by this point I was hurting – everywhere.

I will be forever grateful to Kerry for running with me at Durham. She fixed me mini challenges of reaching a lamppost, a bridge, a tree then allowing myself to walk and recover before starting to run again.

I crossed the finish at Durham with a massive feeling of accomplishment and pride and maybe a year or two. Not necessarily pride in myself but in the club and running community that I am part of. I can only imagine the organisation that went into planning everything. The support throughout the day was simply amazing. 

Courtesy of Maggie Davison

What a day! Pushed myself to my absolute limits. But more importantly we raised awareness and precious funds for this amazing charity.

I hope the young man who marked my 50th Parkrun has found solace in this or another similar charity.

Would I do it again. Of course I would.

Parkrunathon 2020 – has a nice ring to it!

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Parkrun Strider takeover & DKMS Blood Cancer registration event is a resounding success, Durham, Saturday, March 24, 2018

5k

Anita Wright


When the shout went out from the Club Chairman, Jonathan Hamill, for volunteers to turn the Durham parkrun purple, in support of DKMS, it was with all the customary enthusiasm Elvet Striders are known for, that folk stepped-forward to give up their Saturday morning to take over all the scanning, marshalling and run-directing.

Shaun Roberts, a popular, respected and long-standing member of Elvet Striders running club, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia earlier this year after a routine blood test and was placed on the register for a stem cell donation.

DKMS is a blood cancer charity founded in Germany in 1991 by Dr Peter Harf, in honour of his wife, Mechtild.

Within one year of the founding, DKMS (Deutsche Knochenmarkspenderdatei -German Marrow Donor Program), had increased it volunteer donors 23 times, to 68,000 people. This gave even more inspiration to Peter and reinforced his motivation to expand internationally.

Since launching in the UK, in 2013, DKMS have been receiving great support, registering more than 300,000 people as potential blood stem cell donors. Some of these amazing people have gone on to donate blood stem cells, giving more than 330 second chances of life to blood cancer patients in the UK alone.

Fast forward to 24 March 2018, a lovely Spring morning at Maiden Castle.

By 08:30 the car park was buzzing with a 35 strong team of Strider volunteers and some co-opted Strider children, excitedly awaiting instructions from Jill Young.

An enthusiastic cheer went up when Shaun arrived and was warmly welcomed by all his friends.

Shaun joined the merry band of volunteer Strider marshals, time-keepers, starters, photographers and supporters as they headed off to their various check-points.

The runners started to arrive.

It was impressive to see such a big splash of Strider purple on the starting line for the pre-race briefing.

During Jonathan Hamill’s briefing, he paid tribute to Shaun (a huge parkrun cheer) and the selfless generosity of a young person in the South of England who is helping Shaun by donating his stem cells.

Dogs’ leads were then checked, children under 11 were gathered up to ‘arms-length’, timers were readied… then they were all off!

321 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 18 were first timers and 51 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 23 different clubs took part.

Gareth Pritchard was the first of 45 Striders running, finishing in second place overall.
Sally Hughes put in an impressive performance as the first lady with a PB of 19:57.

 

The words of David Shipman, Club President, perhaps sum up the day best of all:

‘I have been involved with the Striders for over 30 years and today was one of the most uplifting and reassuring about the positive aspects of the club and the overall running community. 

The atmosphere from the outset was warm and supportive, with applause and cheers for Shaun when the purpose of the Parkrun takeover was explained.

At the finish around a hundred folk streamed into the Rowing Club to swab and apply to go onto the stem cell register. Of those 80 were successful, which is brilliant. A significant number of runners also said that they had already registered. Many others took leaflets to consider registration or to pass onto friends and family.

So a massive thanks is due to all,Rowers, Striders,Parkrunners, Waldridge Warriors, Neville’s Cross Battlers,Shadforth Shufflers,Couch to 5 Kers and a few passing strangers. I hope that we will see many of you again when we do a fundraising 24 hour relay in June. Keep an eye out for details from Chairman Jonathan soon.’

 

80 parkrun finishers registered with DKMS and provided samples in just over an hour, at Durham Amateur Rowing Club. The parkrun takeover has inspired 80 people to sign up as stem cell donors and potentially save lives.

An incredible success for all involved. We certainly did wear Purple with Pride on Saturday!

 

Position  Gender Position  parkrunner  Run Time  
11Robin LINTEN
Durham City Harriers
00.16.09
22Gareth PRITCHARD00.17.24
33Michael MASON00.17.41
55Mark WARNER00.18.18
1212Matt CLAYDON00.19.30
1717Mike BARLOW00.19.50
181Sally HUGHES00.19.57
2524Paul SWINBURNE00.20.38
3230Geoff DAVIS00.21.11
3835Andrew DAVIES00.21.35
524Anna BASU00.22.21
565Rachelle MASON00.22.49
6761Peter MATTHEWS00.23.27
7265Stephen SOULSBY00.23.36
10819Laura JENNINGS00.24.57
11191Chris SHEARSMITH00.25.01
11493Martin WELSH00.25.09
13827Jill RUDKIN00.26.20
142113Paul Andrew BEAL00.26.29
14633Stacey BRANNAN00.26.52
14734Claire HUNT00.26.55
15237Rebecca BLACKWOOD00.27.14
171126Jim NICHOLSON00.28.12
172127John ADAMS00.28.14
19356Maria DIMOVA-COOKSON00.29.15
19658Lynne WAUGH00.29.17
218150Malcolm Robert SYGROVE00.30.04
22070Sue WALKER00.30.16
22574Gillian GREEN00.30.22
23077Karen Anne CHALKLEY00.31.09
23981Victoria Esther DOWNES00.32.11
24584Claire HODSON00.32.40
25087Carol HOLGATE00.33.10
26599Katharine BARTLETT00.34.29
266100Alison SIMMS00.34.30
272105Lesley HAMILL00.34.56
273106Karen BYNG00.34.58
277169David ARNOTT00.35.14
294118Sue GARDHAM00.37.51
297178Mike ELLIOTT00.38.30
298120Joanne PORTER00.38.31
299121Joanne RICHARDSON00.38.31
303124Diane SOULSBY00.39.34
305126Jenny SEARCH00.39.50
306127Kate TALBOT00.40.27
321185John ROBSON00.49.40

(Visited 110 times, 1 visits today)

Georgengarten parkrun #8, Hannover, Germany, Saturday, January 20, 2018

Jonathan Hamill

Photo courtesy of Georgengarten parkrun

Having enjoyed a visit to Georgengarten parkrun during a business trip in December, I found myself in a similar position during January.

Arriving at the Herrenhäuser Allee, I met the friendly core team again. I also met a couple of visitors from London in apricot parkrun t-shirts and Nina from Ireland who told me about some other running options in the local area.

The temperature was a mild improvement over my previous visit but it was still cold! Putting it another way, I was in a clear minority wearing shorts. I took a warm-up along the tree-lined avenue and observed that the Georgengarten had survived Storm Frederike well, with only some damage to the trees towards the Willhelm Busch Museum.

We lined up, and I had the advantage of knowing the course this time – basically just over a mile of straight gravel path towards Hannover, and then a switch back to follow the twists and turns of the Georgengarten park back to the start/finish at the beginning of the Herrenhäuser Allee.

And we were off! I ran down the tree-lined gravel path, perhaps a second or two faster than my previous attempt but on the twists and turns, I found the going tough with the accumulation of miles in my legs from and after Brass Monkey Half Marathon the previous weekend.

Photo courtesy of Dirk Große (Georgengarten parkrun core team)

I managed to improve my time and placing finishing 5th and 1st VM40-44, in 23:05 (from 7th finisher and 23:28 in December). Perhaps the lack of Christmas markets and obligatory Glühwein helped.

I joined some of the finishers and core team across the road at the Steinecke bakery for post-run coffee and cake before saying goodbye.

Once again, a hugely enjoyable parkrun in Germany which seems to be attracting more runners. Thanks to the volunteer team for their efforts!

 

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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.

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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!

(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)

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).

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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!

 

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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
(Visited 114 times, 1 visits today)

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.

(Visited 41 times, 1 visits today)

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

(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)