Event number 388, 16th March 2019

On an overcast and blustery Saturday morning there were a total of 308 runners, joggers and walkers turned up Rye Meadow in their usual jovial manner to take part in the 388th Abingdon parkrun. Despite the rain that we have had over the last week the course was surprisingly not too muddy, probably helped considerably by the winds that have been effecting the area over the same period.

Run Director and volunteer co-ordinator Mike Shepherd helped Benoit Jaudun give the first timers briefing to the 25 newcomers to the parkrun family. Mike then proceeded to let everyone know about the milestones being run today. Peter Dunne of Chichester running his 250th, Nick Bell and David Humphreys both running their 50th and youngsters Magnus Khochawat and Cameron Holroyd running their 10th. Well done to all of them. Mike also pointed out that there has been traffic jams in recent weeks on the road up to Kingfisher Barns and that all runners MUST obey the Marshals directions, even if it means having to stop and wait for the traffic to pass. It is important for all runners to realise that parkrun shares the road with the local residents and as such the continued success of the weekly run is dependent upon the good will of all others users of the paths and roads that we run upon. With visitors from as far away as Exeter in the West, Oldham and Pennington Flash in the North, and Chichester in the South we set off at 9:07 am from the start line towards the Lock with a gentle tail wind behind us.

Despite threatening clouds the rain held off for the whole run, its just a shame the same could not be said for the wind. Gusts of over 35 mph were felt on the return part of the lap from the little concrete bridge heading back towards Rye Meadow, with even the strongest runners feeling the force of the full on head wind. However it didn’t stop there being a total of 28 people getting PB’s, all of whom must be feeling particularly proud of themselves today.

I find it surprising that it now takes 22 volunteers to help make this weekly event happen and I’d like to express my personal thanks to all of you lovely people for helping to change the character of my weekends. Parkrun and the camaraderie of all who take part in whatever capacity has had a wonderfully positive impact upon my health and wellbeing. Long may it continue.

Stuart Watton


Peter Dunne (home event Chichester) ran his 250th with us today


Run Report – Event No. 384 The Malthouse Surgery GP Practice Takeover

Prescribing parkrun- the best medicine - Saturday 16th February 2019

parkrun is for the community, by the community and that was in evidence today as The Malthouse Surgery hosted a volunteer takeover with staff and patients, as part of a partnership between the Royal College of General Practitioners and parkrun. This has encouraged GP Practices all over the country to promote parkrun to patients and staff.

Exercise, volunteering and community spirit are all key ingredients for health and well-being and often more powerful than many medications for conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, anxiety, depression and asthma. Early feedback from the partnership is showing a vast range of health benefits from cardiac rehabilitation to weight loss and a reduction in social isolation. parkrun is transforming patients’ lives, but the challenge lies in convincing people that it is for them and not just for “serious runners”.

I think that Abingdon parkrun excels in its inclusivity as a parkrun. Many of the first timers today commented on the friendly buzz, the support and the smiles. Abingdon parkrun is a happy place to be, whatever the weather, for that “feel-good” feeling on a Saturday morning.

The weather was kind to us today with some spring like mildness in the air and the course more benign than the recent “tough mudder” conditions. There were 362 runners with 39 first timers who included staff and patients as well as the Malthouse staff couch to 5K group in their lime green T shirts, who have been training since November and graduated today with everyone completing the course, which is a fantastic achievement!

As well as first timers there were people revisiting parkrun after periods away and old and young running together.  There were a number of tourists and the tail walker, Hayley Kinch, the Malthouse Surgery physio, is one of the original Bushy park parkrunners, who has run some parkruns in the past with Mo Farah.

Patrick Bowden, Fraser O’Driscoll and Jamie Brock all completed their 10th parkruns.

The fastest time was 18.15 with 55 PBs.

I would like to thank all the volunteers and especially Mike Shepherd, who was invaluable in co-ordinating today and hopefully there are some newcomers who have caught the parkrun bug making the event a great success.

 Dr. Anne Taylor





Event cancelled – 2nd February 2019


Unfortunately, due to the forecast for freezing temperatures overnight, we've taken the decision to cancel Abingdon parkrun tomorrow, the 2nd February.

We never take these decision lightly, but the risk to volunteers and participants both in making their way to the event, as well as taking part, is too great, and we'd rather cancel now in good time.

Mike Shepherd



Run report Abingdon parkrun #381 Mud

19th January 2019

Have we reached peak mud? It rained on Friday night and in the morning before the run so the mud was exceptionally slippery making parts of the course difficult. For example, if the coefficient of friction at the mud shoe interface was less than the gradient to get over the concrete bridge then climbing the slope would be impossible. Then the only way would be to take a run at it and gradually slow as one climbed. This meant that faster runners found the bridge easier than the walking wounded at the back. They probably do anyway in all conditions.

Running faster may also make it easier to balance in slippery conditions. On a bike it's certainly easier to balance at a reasonable speed than when going slow. The gyroscopic effect of the wheels may help on a bike, while runners have to rely on some sort of inertia effect. On the other hand traction to maintain speed may be the problem for faster runners. Some Parkruns are all on grass (e.g. Prospect Park at Reading) so spikes would be possible there.

Back to the peak mud question. If it rains all week, the puddles will be deeper and the far field will become a paddy field but I don't think it will be any slipperier. Enough of mud, what we really need is a frost to firm things up or snow to make the fields and trees look pretty.

We had 400 runners at this week's parkrun. Last week we had 474, which was an all-time record for Abingdon. The smallest number at Abingdon Parkrun was 26 on 19th January 2013. This was my best ever parkrun in terms of placing (23rd). Looking back at these old Parkruns it's a bit annoying that the "Total runs" is updated so 6 of the runners in 2013 are listed at 250+, 17 at 100+, 3 at 50+ and none at less than 50. At the time most of us were on less than 50 and 250 seemed out of reach.

Large numbers of runners are good but the car park is soon full. Please be reminded that there are plenty of car parks within a 10 minute walk from parkrun or why not come on foot or by bike.

This week the fastest runner was Quinn MIELL-INGRAM (JM11-14) who was also fastest on age grading (82.44%). Second and third were Roy SCHUMACHER and Alexander PENNINGTON (both JM 15-17). It must be tough for elderly twenty year olds to be beaten by these boys. Fastest lady was Lucy RYCROFT (SW18-19).

Twenty nine people got PBs on the mud. They should really fly when conditions are better. There were 8 tourists trying Abingdon for the first time and 18 trying parkrun for the first time. Twenty seven "unknowns" either forgot their Parkrun cards or lost them in the mud or had never registered.

John Last


Event no. 378, 29th December 2018

Lots of Milestones this week

First-timers 20181229

Michelle and Simon Tickle (and Holly and Jack) joined us from the Fylde coast, and Simon completed his 100 milestone event with us, while Michelle completed her 200th.

10 Events (juniors)
George LONG

50 Events
Liz Bedford
Joanne Fellows
Chris Lyon

100 Events
Fran Long
Simon Tickle
Melanie Pickett
Mike Pickett

250 Events
Mike Shepherd

I didn't manage to get pictures of all of the Milestone participants this week, but here are a few:

Melanie & Mike Pickett

Fran Long

Mike Shepherd


Event no. 378

Report by Leah, helped by Les Newell

You may not know me but you will have heard me at the start of a parkrun. My name is Leah and because I get so excited about parkrun, I like to bark very loudly during the last moments of the pre-run announcements. I am at parkrun every week unless I am on holiday or my human is too hungover.

Once we were allowed to go, I made my usual dash for the lock. 400m at a pace Roger Bannister would have been proud of. Once I realise there is no one to chase, I like to slow down and enjoy the parkrun experience. There were still a few reindeer and Santa hats to be seen but most of the humans had returned to relative normality.

Abingdon parkrun #378
Photo: John Harvey

Like many of the humans, I don’t really enjoy running past the finishing field to start a 2nd lap. I decided to stop today and walk a bit, but soon got going again. Once past the lock for the second time, I start my run for home, through the mud, round the field, through some more mud and then along the final track to the finish. After parkrun I headed to Java as normal, where I listen to the humans talk about injuries, illness and football.

Here are today’s parkrun numbers. There were a total of 349 runners, an incredible 51 ‘First timers’ and 19 runners achieving PBs. From a personal point of view, today is my 200th parkrun and that means I’ve run 1,000,000 metres!

I have a PB of 17:00 (I’m still not happy with the timekeepers that day!) from when I was a much younger dog. Those days maybe gone but I still enjoy my weekly 5k. I did manage to finish as first dog today, knocking spots off the Dalmation!

I would like to thank all of this week’s volunteers, Lily BOWER, Helen BOWER, Alistair BUCKLEY, Rose BUCKLEY, Robert CLEGG, Lucy HAMILTON, Maria HAMILTON, John HARVEY, Denis HOULDEY, Tony LONG, Chris LYON, Zebedee MARSH, Skye MCSORLEY, Emma MOORE, James MOORE, Yolanda OWEN, Ben REYNOLDS, Stephen SADLER, Dominic SEMPLE, Fiona SEMPLE, Mike SHEPHERD, Susan VEITCH and Clive WILLCOCK.

However, I would especially like to thank John STYLES who always buys me a cheese croissant after my run. My favourite part of the week!



Event no. 377, 22nd December 2018

Run Report by Linda Cole

Santa, his elves and reindeer decided to take a break from Christmas preparations, and were joined at Abingdon parkrun by their old friends, the Holy Family. The total number of runners today was 417. The festive characters weren’t the only visitors, with 38 visitors coming from Milton Keynes, Oxford, Cambridge, Dundee, York, Nottingham and beyond. Ordnance Survey runners were also present to ensure Santa could find his way back to the North Pole in time to have a good rest before Christmas Day.

During this morning’s run Santa, his elves and Reindeer, were delighted to hear the tale of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.


The Wardrobe, following behind the Lion and the Witch

parkrun has long reminded me of another story, that of The Hare and the Tortoise. Should these characters attend a future parkrun (World Bookday parkrun fancy dress anyone?) they should watch out for this week’s Hare who finished in an impressive 18:37. His time is particularly impressive given the muddy conditions underfoot; reindeer hooves, Santa boots and Shepherds’ crooks to be replaced by trail shoes to cope with the muddy conditions in the interests of Elf and Safety. Tortoise would doubtless be accompanied by a friendly Tail Walker like Kathy Burbidge, who completed today’s event in 58:42 and was joined at the back by a friendly bunch of runners including juniors and veterans and every age group in between.

The thing that makes me want to recommend Abingdon parkrun to Hare and Tortoise is that thanks to our two-lap course they could actually run part of the run together. As more of a tortoise-like runner than a hare, I have lost track of the number of times an overtaking hare-like runner has shouted things like “good running” or “you can catch him” or high-fived a juvenile reindeer or young elf. At the end, it is always so nice to hear cheering, clapping and “go Santa” or “good running Reindeer” at the end from more experienced, faster runners who have ignited my love of parkrun and persuaded me, and many others, to go for that elusive sprint finish. Thank you fast runners, every high five, cheer and motivational comment means a huge amount to us slower runners.

All the Santas, elves and reindeer and their friends would like to thank the fantastic volunteers at Abingdon parkrun for making such a friendly and festive atmosphere.

Michelle DURHAM • Aldred DURHAM • Julian MOORE • Caroline Elizabeth HUTCHINGS • Mike SHEPHERD • Javier PRIETO • David KENNEDY • Hazel WIGGINTON • Stephen COULSON • Maria COATES • Martin WALKER • Maggy SHEPLEY • Kathy BURBIDGE • Duncan HEPBURN • Alistair BUCKLEY • Linda COLE • Sabiene NORTH • Fiona SEMPLE • Dominic SEMPLE • Simon BURBIDGE • Neville KING • Zebedee MARSH

The tokens were ably sorted outside Java and Co. by the geese a-laying and a Christmas pudding.

Marshals provided enthusiastic support, high fives, and ensured that all runners, sleighs and wardrobes kept on the right side of both the road and the tow path, and well clear of any passing cars or boats. Santa has noted this, and will ensure that Volunteers and all parkrunners who followed their directions will be on the “nice list” on Tuesday.

A big thank you has to go to Run Director Julian Moore for inviting Santa, his reindeer and elves and, of course a few hundred parkrunners to join him for a pre-Christmas parkrun alongside the River Thames.

To the twelve first timers congratulations on your first parkrun and welcome to the parkrun family.

Today 5 people completed milestones, and they can tell you just how addictive parkrun can be.

Congratulations on your milestones:

100 Events
Linda Fathers

50 Events
Linda Cole
Amanda Wall
Bethan Lipp

10 Events (juniors)
Matilda Wall
Aidan Sherwood


Finally a big thank you from me to everybody who has welcomed me to the parkrun family over the last 50 runs… running alongside (usually behind) all of you has been a real pleasure. Here’s to many more parkruns in 2019.

Happy parkrunday and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Linda Cole


Helen introduced me to park run


Bethan and I did 50 runs


Event number 376, 15th December 2018

Abingdon parkrun
Event number 376
15th December 2018


cold - COLD - COLD !

It was such a cold morning on Saturday, with a bitter south-east wind. It was bad enough shivering in the cold as a runner, but spare a thought for the wonderful volunteers who made this week's event possible:


It was slightly less muddy than last week, as the ground had frozen making the going a bit easier.

We had 260 participants this week who chose to run, jog, or walk the course.

There were 16 first timers to Abingdon, made up of 10 tourists whose home events are elsewhere, and 6 taking part in their first-ever parkrun.

28 people recorded new Personal Bests.

There were Milestones to celebrate:

50 Events
Joanne Livingstone

100 Events
Sarah Dudgeon
Max Livingstone-Learmonth
Noel Francis

As you'd expect, there was plenty of cake to be had!

IMG_1736 (Custom)

Joanne Livingstone
(photo: Fran Long)

IMG_0545 (Custom)

Sarah and Max

IMG_0546 (Custom)

Noel Francis


Event no. 374, 1st December 2018

The overnight rain finished just in time for the 199 runners (and several enthusiastic dogs) to start supported by 22 wonderful volunteers (some of whom must have been setting up in the rain – so thank you for that). Conditions underfoot were a bit slippery so it's even more of an achievement that 10 people achieved PBs.

It was great to have several parkrunners join us from beyond Abingdon including one from Moscow (I particularly enjoy that the results table keeps the name in the correct alphabet) and also another graduate of couch to 5k as well as Daisy Sherwood achieving her milestone 10th on her 11th birthday and Nick Andrews and Rachel Hassey both reaching 50.

As always our volunteers were cheerful  - I find this particularly encouraging in the 4th kilometre as I am sure that the big field gets bigger between the 1st and 2nd time round!

Katharine de Villiers


Run Report 374, 1st December 2018

Mud, mud, glorious mud

Run Report 374, 1st December 2018

This week we got back to the real muddy Abingdon that we know and love.  As we ran around or through the puddles and waded across the far paddy field we forgot about the rutted nightmare of the summer parkruns.

Of course, as serious runners know, the Abingdon course is the ideal training surface.  The experts tell us that we shouldn't train on flat hard surfaces.  Uneven surfaces exercise foot and ankle muscles that we didn't know we had.  In the very dry summer deep cracks appeared in the far field, as the mud dried out.  The edges of these cracks broke down leaving a very rough surface.  Tiring of this excellent training, I looked forward to rain that would soften the mud so that thousands of tiny feet could level out the surface.  When the puddles get deeper and the mud thicker I will yearn for a dry summer.

Rain also enables us to see who the real runners are.  They have mud splashed all up their backs.  Slower runners have a lower mud line.  At the back of the field we relax, admire the scenery and finish relatively clean.

Fastest this week was Roy Schumacher and fastest lady was Sarah Dudgeon.  Best age grader was Jane Fabes with 82%.  There were nine first timers, four tourists, ten personal bests and eight unknowns in a total of 199 runners.

John Last

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