Tag Archives: parkrunathon

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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Parkrunathon, Saturday, June 1, 2019

42.2 km

Courtesy of Maggie Davison

This past Saturday saw the incredibly successful completion of Parkrunathon 2019, organised by strider Catherine Smith and a crew of dedicated helpers in aid of the If U Care Share Foundation.

The day took in 8.5 Parkruns, starting with Sedgefield, and progressing through Hartlepool, Cotsford Fields, Sunderland, South Shields, Windy Nook, Chester-le-Street and finished with Durham in the evening.  Hundreds of people turned up to take part in some or all, including a record turnout for Sedgefield with nearly 500 runners.

The event was a resounding success and recent counts suggest around £5000 has been raised for the foundation – so far! Click here to find out more about donating. 
To find out how the day went – check out the Facebook page and read a report from Pete King (Sedgefield Harriers) which tells the story of local runners, regardless of club, coming together for such an important cause and having a great day in the process. Click here to read more.  
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Parkrunathon 2019, Saturday, June 1, 2019

Parkrunathon 2019 will take place this Saturday, 1st June. in support of the IF U CARE SHARE foundation. Here is the planned schedule if you’d like to drop in:

parkrunathon 2019 schedule

Timings are approximate but there will be plenty of updates on the Facebook page throughout the day.

If you can, please come and join us for as many or as few parkruns as possible, whether it be in a running or supporting capacity. The more the merrier. For those wanting to run, there is no registration required, just simply come along. All parkruns, apart from the official parkrun at Segdefield, will be classed as freedom runs, no official timings.

More details can be found on the fundraising donations page and on Facebook.

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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 …

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parkrunathon, Saturday, August 9, 2014

8 x 5km

George Nicholson


Pieces of eight.To boost my Great North Run Fundraising I undertook yet another parkrunathon. This year deciding on 8 parkruns courses in the Manchester area. Rather than attempt it on my own I ‘volunteered’ Sam Nightingale to accompany me. Before she married, many Striders knew her as Sam Brown, former Event Director of Sunderland parkrun, & the young Lady who started up the Netball club, Wearside Wildcats.

It was Sam of course who introduced so many of us to parkrun, organising our Televised Santa Run and our annual Netball Tournament, which is now in its 4th year. Sam and her hubby Oli now live in Manchester.

zero down, eight to go.The schedule of events was decided upon and contact was made with each of the Venues and promoted on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Vodafone JUST TEXT GIVING also helped me along the way with promotion by designing ‘posters’ and promoting it via Twitter. From that we were contacted by Chorlton Runners and 2 of their Members Leona Beaumont and Lorraine Pang elected to accompany us on ‘our journey’, and what a difference they made. Apart from being delightful Company, they turned out to be invaluable help and support in so many ways. Arriving at the first venue – Woodbank ( more of that soon ) 2 other ‘unattached’ parkrunners Karl Downing and Jason Ridgeway also decided to come along for the ‘fun & runs’. At the 3rd venue ( Bramhall ) Sam’s Hubby arrived with 2 of his friends , Neil Grice and Gazz Pashley. From then on, we were a ‘TEAM WITH A DREAM’ travelling in convoy to each subsequent parkrun location, enjoying many laughs and providing morale boosts for each other whenever the going got tough, making it a most memorable day for me.

The omens were favourable from the start. Weather forecast was good and at 7:15 am we arrived at WoodBank park to be greeted with an amazing reception of friendly faces. There were approx. 18 parkrunners who had turned out at this early hour to run with us, the course had already been laid out, signs, cones flags etc. – Wonderful. My aim was to attempt to run each parkrun in about 30 mins, but that soon proved to be unattainable on some tough hilly courses on a very hot day. Survival and enjoyment became far more important than ‘times’.

Run #2 was the Official parkrun at Cheadle Hulme. This was only their 7th Event, but the 60 other runners and all the Marshalls & Organisers had put out the ‘Red Carpet’ for our arrival and again we were given VIP treatment. Of particular note here was a delightful youngster called Annabel who had a bell, and must be the loudest Voluncheerer in the Manchester area.

Event Director Janine met us at the magnificent Bramhall park for run #3. A most scenic run through woods & hill around a magnificent Stately Home

Run #4 was different again, 2 laps & flat around Burnage RFC and the very pleasant riverbanks. E.D Katherine & other ladies did an excellent job here of marshalling the ‘Dream Team’ at some critical junctions.


Run #5 was back to another magnificent stately home – Wythenshawe park. We were escorted round by 2 of their runners, but unfortunately became quite a spread out Team and several took wrong turnings at key points. one of us, namely me, took a major wrong turn and ended up running almost 5 miles rather than 3.1 L – a major fail.

Run #6 at South Manchester park was known by most of the team as it was their main local run and we were met there by another regular runner. However I never got to see any of it. The major fail on the last run resulted in me getting severe cramp in both calves and I simply could not walk, never mind run. It was also on this course that Jason went ‘down’ with a bad leg injury, which meant both he and Karl had to pull out. Each of them did however a credible 6 runs that day.

I at least had 2 hours to recover and was able to continue at Worsley Woods for run #7. Despite being quite late on a Saturday afternoon 6 ‘Locals’ turned up for us and were proud to show us round their scenic route.

At 6:30 pm we arrived at our last venue for run #8 – the magnificent Heaton Park. We were met by E.D. Damian, who explained the course and ran with us. Despite being desperately tired by then, not even twice up ‘Angina’ hill would prevent me from completing this one.

So by 8:00 pm we were ‘done’ – literally and physically . Although I missed out run #6, I’d still covered 25 running miles in the 12 hour day. Thankfully for me it was Sam that had driven the 90 miles in between. It was also worth noting that it was only the 3 Ladies who had completed all 8 of the 5k’s – Girl Power at its best.

A great day however, many friends made, but most importantly a lot of money raised once more for my chosen charity, Acorns. Big thank you to all who contributed and made this possible. Next stop for me Great North Run #34

Absent Friends.

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West Midlands parkrunathon

8 parkruns

George Nicholson

Each year for the Great North Run I try to think of some new and different ways to boost my fundraising. Based on Paul Smith’s idea of running several parkruns in one day I opted to run 8 of the West Midlands parkrun courses on August 10th. My chosen Charity ACORNS have 3 Hospices in that area – Selly Oak nr Redditch, Worcester, and Walsall. It was also their 25th Anniversary. So with a quarter-mile warm up and then 8 x 5k ( 3.1 mile ) separate runs, 25 miles for 25 years took on much significance and would be an obtainable target for me.

George's Tour of the West Midlands ... well done, mate!

With the help of Jane Niven ( Sunderland parkrun’s Event Director ) I was able to make contact with these 8 parkruns, get them to spread awareness and ask if some of their regular runners would run with me on their respective courses.

Julian Hart, my Son-in-Law, who lives near Dudley, and is a member of the Cobra Running Club, also spread the word. I was also extremely grateful to Phil Owen who contacted his network of friends on FETCH. Further help was provided by a couple of my 2012 Torchbearing Friends who lived locally – Tony Worth and Anne Barnes. ACORNS are very well known in the Birmingham area so their assistance in promotion was also invaluable.

The Timetable was set and at each venue and I was greeted by sizeable groups of runners and supporters. The warmth of the reception Anne and I received was truly remarkable. Not only was it a very emotional day, but a productive one too. Their generosity, as well as Striders’ , has been wonderful and I currently have approx £900 in my fund so far, and there is still 4 weeks to go before the main event – the 2013 GNR J

As regards to the runs ? Well the pictures ‘Tell the Story’. All lovely parks to run in and lots of happy smiley faces around me. I started at 7:00 am at Leamington, then Bananaman made his appearance in front of the assembled 295 Coventry runners – the only official 9:00 am parkrun of the day. Brueton Park, Arrow Valley, Worcester, and Wolverhampton all started bang on time and we kept close to the 30 mins run time. Walsall also started on time at 5:30 pm. This is a 3 lap course but the hill at the end of each lap began to take it’s toll as I could feel the tiredness creep in. Run time here dropped to 32 mins. Traffic was horrendous getting into Central Birmingham and this was the only time we were late, arriving at Cannon Hill park about 7:15 pm.

By the end of their 2nd lap the nightmares of my VLM 2011 were looking a very real possibility. Cramp and sickness were coming to me a lot quicker than the finish line. The pace dropped dramatically, but I never stopped to walk, and failure was never going to be on the agenda with the 7 running buddies alongside constantly urging me on with their words of encouragement. We turned the last corner and at long last the finish line with another dozen so supporters turning out to cheer me home, came into sight. How could I possibly fail? 8:00 pm by then, a long 13+ hour tiring day, but a Magic One. One with many new friends made and 25 miles run in a total time of 4 hours 08 mins 30 secs , plus a lot of money raised for a wonderful charity – Job Done ! J

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North East parkrunathon, Saturday, July 28, 2012

34.1 miles

George Nicholson

The rate of growth of parkruns has been quite phenomenal. This time last year there only 3 established parkruns in our region. Durham was about to commence, and since then 7 more have been added.

It would take a brave man to attempt to run these 11 parkruns in one day. It’s not just the fact that the distance of 34.1 miles has to be conquered, it’s managing the logistics of driving to each of the venues and ensuring supporting runners will be there to meet, greet, and navigate the routes. Twitter & Facebook make that job a lot easier. As this was also a fundraising event and required the additional eye-catching fun element of fancy dress, it requires that ‘brave man’ to be a ‘super man’ … “cometh the hour, cometh Paul Smith”

Although Paul is a Crook AC runner, he is well known to many of us. He is also widely known and admired for his ‘Runstreak’. To date he has run every single day for five and a half years, 2000+ days. When he told me he wanted to run for ACORNS Childrens Hospice it was my turn to be ‘choked’. A magnificent gesture…

Paul and LouiseThe day started at 9.00 am at Durham parkrun and provided many of the day’s ‘highs’ There were of course the usual large number of striders running, marshalling, and helping to organise this event. It was wonderful to see Emma, Greta, & Dougie turn up wearing their Acorn’s tops. My son-in-law, Julian Hart, from Birmingham only had time for this first run and was pleased with his 12th place. It was also announced at the Start that Michael Spedding was running. Michael is the brother of Olympic Bronze Medallist Charlie Spedding. Both he and Charlie were School running buddies of mine and his presence revived good memories of our XC races round Houghall Woods way back in the ‘black ‘n white’ days of 1967.

From Durham the parkrunathon entourage commenced its journey round the North East. First we headed South to Sedgefield, then onto Tees Barrage, Middlesborough’s Albert Park & Stewart Park, next stop was Redcar. Mid-afternoon it was ‘head back North’ to Sunderland (the only time we had rain!), Whitley Bay, Newcastle Town Moor, Gateshead, and finally at 10.00 pm Chester-le-Street’s Riverside.

Again many memorable moments along the way including the presence on a couple of occasions of Sharon Gayter, international ultra-marathon runner & multiple world record holder. She could only act as ‘starter’ at Tees Barrage, but did she make a special journey to run the final Riverside Run at Chester-le-Street.

Support from Striders was also amazing. 23 running at Durham, Adam Walker also ran at Sedgefield & Sunderland, Stephen Garbutt came to Riverside. Kevin Williams & Billy Ford did the first 5 on the trot. They could not give their time for the afternoon, but did return for the finale. Kevin to support & Bill ran Gateshead & Riverside making his contribution 21 miles and 7 runs in total. Mike Elliot & Greta also ran at Strider’s spiritual parkrun home at Sunderland.

It was a great thrill for me to watch Paul run at each of the 11 venues, naturally I did not have the ability to run every one, so I took the ‘soft’ option and ran every alternate one: Durham, Tees Barrage, Stewart Park, Sunderland, Town Moor & Riverside.

We kept the best for last. A very emotional one for me in fact, and I know the same feeling was experienced by Paul as we crossed the line. He described it as the best of his 2030 runstreak days. I wish I had the means to describe the euphoria I felt, a kind of “ make this moment last forever “ feeling…. The pace may not seem that fast, 26:40 for 5k, but believe me at the end of a 13 hour day, over 18 miles of similar pace running, and you are determined to keep alongside an international ultra-runner, it felt VERY fast , especially when most of the folk around me were 2 decades younger! It’s only dumb pride that overruled what my lungs, heart & legs were telling my brain. Paul SmithThe light was fading fast, and this added to the ‘theatre’ of the occasion. Riverside is a compact 3 lap course and the wonderful group of supporters were able to cheer us on at several places. Surely only running in the Olympic 5000 metre final could equal the experience

£1250+ raised for Acorns that day! What more to say? It was indeed another good day at the Office.

Great contribution as ever from the dozens of Striders who ran & supported ’Superman’ Paul Smith’s great challenge.

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