My 1st parkrun – Move over Mo Farah!

Almost 10 weeks ago I started on my couch to 5k journey and today, Saturday 28 April, I ran my first 5k parkrun. I can't believe I actually did it! It's not been a simple journey as it took me almost a year and a half to find a guide runner - but I'm so glad I didn't give up.
I've not posted anything on my blog before about my new running adventures, after all it is a baking blog. BUT I'm so chuffed and feeling really proud of myself. I'm also hugely grateful to my wonderful (and very patient) guide runner and his wife for helping me.
I decided to try running as I mostly work from home and had begun to feel quite low and isolated. I knew I was on a slippery slope to depression after suffering a major set-back with my sight and I knew I needed to make a change. So, I decided to try a sport that would help me meet new people and get me out in the fresh air - running seemed like the perfect solution. I thought it would be easy to find a guide runner locally, but it wasn't. But I'm not one to give up and after almost a year and a half I was finally put in touch with a guide runner through a local sight loss charity Worcestershire Sight Concern.
10 weeks does not seem such a long time to get to this point - but we've worked so hard. Indeed, if you'd have asked me 10 weeks ago I'd have said I'd never be able to run a mile, let alone 3.1 miles (which is 5k). Being visually impaired you can't just pop on your trainers and have a jog, everything has to be planned and as much as I hate it I also have to rely upon the help and goodwill of others.
My guide (Corin), who is a seasoned runner and a complete inspiration, and I met for our first 'run' on the 18th February. I was so nervous and worried, I thought I might fall and not be able to do it. Funnily enough Corin was equally nervous. But neither of us needed to have worried! We hit it off instantly!
We decided on a couch to 5K plan as a starting point. On that first run I thought – ‘Oh My Goodness I can’t do this!’ I couldn’t run more than 45 seconds without looking and feeling like a tomato!
We persevered, we followed the programme and I quickly got bitten by the running bug. I started running on a treadmill once a week too and very soon I was running for 5 minutes at a time and on week 8 I ran for 5K without stopping!
Although I can only run with a guide, it's amazing the difference running has made to my mental health and my sense of independence. Today, Saturday 28 April, we took part in our local parkrun for the first time and I was totally blown away by the support and friendliness of everyone. Friends who I used to work with also came to cheer me on - which was amazing. I've been introduced to a whole new circle of friends and the whole experience has given me a new drive to not let anything stand in the way of achieving my goals.
Lizzie parkrun

It's early days for my running adventures - but we are not going to stop now that we've reached the 5k target. Our aim now is to inspire others with a visual impairment to feel brave enough to run with a guide. We also want to encourage experienced runners to volunteer to become a guide runner.
With the aim of raising awareness and hopefully raising some money in mind, I applied for place at next year’s London Marathon and am delighted to have been given a place to run for The Guide Dogs for the Blind. Corin is going to run with me. We are absolutely determined to do it!
I'll be posting more about our running adventures - I hope you don't mind!

Lizzie (A4405505)


Kingfisher Harriers Takeover 14th April 2018

Saturday 14-4-18 will be awash with the bright glow of orange as the Harriers swoop in and encourage us to walk, jog or run the course.

The takeover is part of an initiative to strengthen community bonds and we trust the event will be received in the spirit intended.
Have a great orange Saturday.


Arrow Valley parkrun reaches for the Stars – Run Report David Harrison 17-3-18

Today was the day that Arrow Valley parkrun reached for the stars, not just any stars, the Redditch Stars! During the year our local running club take over all of the volunteer roles and even provide cakes and bananas, lots and lots of bananas. It was, therefore, fitting that both the fastest male and female runners were club members, Brad Allen and Jo Scott. More about their fine achievements later.
To ‘celebrate’ National Sleep Day, parkrun invited runners to run in their pyjamas! I was slightly worried that there may be some embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions but I am pleased to report that it was far too cold for that to be a problem! I think that a few regulars decided to take ‘National Sleep Day’ too literally, so numbers were down a little with 313 keen runners braving the elements for Arrow Valley’s 298th park run.
It is the first time that I have volunteered and was probably just as well that I wasn’t running considering that I was nursing one hell of a hangover following four days at the Cheltenham Festival. Volunteering really makes you appreciate all of the work put in by the heroes who do this week after week. It was nice to be able to give them a well-earned rest. I was also surprised how many volunteers are required for the different roles, 45 in total today.
Everyone did a great job but I would like to mention Linda Beresford and Mindy Jones who gave out the finish tokens and had to put up with me for the duration of the run, and also Hannah Barker who had the fantastic title of Funnel Manager. In my experience, it always pays to have a nice well tended funnel.
Nicola ‘Did I tell you I ran a marathon?’ Noel did a brilliant job with the pre-run briefing and announcements. Very funny and quite scary at the same time.
IMG_4694 stars nini

My favourite bits from her address included, “You will do not one lap, not three laps, just two, no negotiation, we don’t run a corner shop!” and “No pushing or shoving or we will have you out!” Two volunteer jobs have interesting titles; ‘Lead Bike’ and ‘Tail Walker’ which were performed with great enthusiasm by Victoria Lewis and Louise Houghton. I feel obliged to also make a special mention of Karen B. Lee (aka Lady Beoley) who had two jobs. Token sorter and chief shouter-outer of the first lap times. The latter job required Lady B to expose one hand to the freezing elements and she almost lost her fingers to frost bite. I was pleased to offer my armpit to bring said hand back to normal body temperature (other warm body parts were available but were declined!). Talking of the weather, it was absolutely freezing. Only one degree centigrade but with a chilling wind and a mixture of snow and hail blowing in across the lake. The runners were huddled up together before the start trying to find some warmth and shelter from the wind. It was a bit worrying to see a couple of brass monkeys walking around carrying welding gear. Following the ‘Beast from the East’ which led to the cancellation of the parkrun a couple of weeks ago, and the big thaw which followed, a new lake had formed across the path, which meant that the runners had to splash their way through about 10 metres of ankle deep water within the first minute of the run! A few wimps took the scenic route but got a bit bogged down in the mud. It looked a bit like the Wolf Run out there! IMG_4702 stars puddle

I was impressed with how people wore running vests or short-sleeved tops. They are a bit crazy in Redditch! I guess that they had to run faster just to keep warm and that is exactly what 21 people did, recording personal best times. This included Brad Allan who finished first in a new PB time of 18.25. It was also the first time he has finished first in a parkrun, so he was naturally delighted afterwards. IMG_4714 stars Brad

Adam Hill finished 2nd in 18.34 and Richard Gallois finished 3rd in 19.22. I could see from the warmth of the café that Brad was in the lead at half way and waved at him, in between bites of my bacon sandwich, but I don’t think he noticed. Jo Scott was the first lady to finish in 26th place overall and in a good time of 21.34. Rachel Davies was 2nd fastest in 22.04 and Helen Chapman was 3rd fastest in 23.10. Steve Taylor was the first person to finish in PJs in 16th place in a time of 20.50. Roland Rignall and his 18th month old daughter Penny were the first push-chair combo to finish in 11th place and Lui the Black Labrador was the first dog to pass the line in 91st place and a time of 26.42. This was all the more commendable considering the fact that he had to pull his owner Nicholas Diamond all of the way round and didn’t have any toilet stops either! Two impressive milestones were reached by Lesley Rowlands who has now run 100 parkruns and Charlotte Meekins who has completed 50 parkruns. Both were sporting sashes, head boppers and big balloons with the numbers on. Lesley was dressed in a rather natty white fluffy onesie supported by her daughter Mollie who had a bright yellow ‘Easter Chick’ onesie. IMG_4710 stars lesley 100
There were 28 first timers including 20 people who had never run a parkrun before, anywhere. Incredibly, John Trueman managed to finish in 33rd place in 22.04. One to watch next time for sure. I hope that they all had a great time and weren’t put off by the cold temperatures.
It was impressive to see how much effort the runners put in and in a strange way quite satisfying to see how many people looked as exhausted as I normally am when I run. I hope to join them in two weeks time.


Event Cancellation – 3rd March 2018

After completing a preliminary course assessment the weather has continued to deteriorate in the 5 hours since. The team had concerns over travel and static volunteers exposure to cold and have taken the decision to cancel.

We have left it as long as we could before confirming the decision to give the event a fair chance but hopefully early notification will prevent unnecessary travel to Arrow Valley.

Have a great week and see you next Saturday for our favourite run, walk or jog of the week. If you would like to help with delivery of the event please review the future roster to see where you could add your magic.

Kind regards, Dylan & The Core Team


Arrow Valley parkrun report #292 – 27-01-2018 – Kevin Tomkinson

Arrow Valley parkrun #292 – 27-01-2018

Some people enjoy running in the sunshine, some people enjoy running in the snow, some people enjoy running in the rain and some enjoy running through autumn leaves.

Where am I going with this? Well, this weekend Arrow Valley parkrunner Doug RICHARDS completed his 250th parkrun at Arrow Valley and I bet in those 250 Saturday mornings he has run in all of these conditions from the sunshine of June or July and the snow of December (or March).

250 parkruns, 1250 kms, 775 miles, hundreds of new friends and plenty of other adventures. For anyone who wants some running inspiration, give his book a read which includes running in the sand in the desert, talk of elephants and plenty of other stories. Keep an eye out for edition 2 coming soon (I hope!).

Well done Doug, we salute you and thank you for the cake. Welcome to the club!

My 18th run round the lake started with a surprise, seeing Paul COOPER who usually runs at Brueton parkrun appearing at the briefing. He fancied some local tourism and had never tried Arrow Valley in over 200 parkruns. I ran with Paul until the hill on the 2nd lap when he ran off and I couldn’t keep up anymore! It wasn’t my turn to run with the buggy this Saturday - that was saved for Sundays run so I had no ! This week there was 430 finishers, the 8th highest attendance at Arrow Valley supported by 42 volunteers, many of whom were helping others this week by acting as pacers. It was great to see while going round that the pacers had groups of people with them all striving to get a new PB or seasons best. Here is a link to the results - Event 292

Looking on the Facebook list of pacers, the closest to their “pacer” time was Anita HARTLEY who was pacing 32 minutes and crossed the line in 32:01.

Finally, to the marshals on the course – Thank you, I’m so glad the torrential rain which I saw forecast for Saturday did not happen!!


This week’s heroes in yellow -

Christopher BIRD • Kevin TOMKINSON • Kristabel HILTON • Colette CHURCHILL • Peggy BLUNN • Jayne WOODWARD • Darren MANSELL • Tom BRISTOWE • Liz ADEY • Ricky YOUNG • Mike HANSON • Sian PERRY • Natalie CUTLER • Peter TAYLOR • Sarah MARSHALL • Raymond BOYLE • Dave POTTER • Emma SHANNON • Debbie ALLEN • Becky NORRIS • Ruth BURTON • Lee WALKER • Rachelle HARBUN • Louise PEARCE • Paul ELVY • Kate SYKES • Anita HARTLEY • Clare GRENNAN • Dan O'MALLEY • Olwen FIELD • Elizabeth FILER • Mark JOWETT • Diane PALMER • Ian HURST • Katie STEWART • Jessica NIELSEN • John LAY • Heather BALDWIN • Tony DOWNES • Scott BEVERLEY • Michele LAIGHT • Suzie DUNSTER

If you would like to help at future events, here is the FUTURE ROSTER

Celebrations this week

Congratulations to the following Arrow Valley parkrunners who entered one of the parkrun clubs at the event

10 club – Archibold DAVIES, Kathryn YOUNG

50 club – Andrew EDGINTON – Andrew has completed 47 events at Arrow Valley, 2 at Dolgellau and 1 at Hanbury hall.

Kevin ROSS – Kevin has completed 38 events at Arrow Valley, 11 at Stratford-upon-Avon and 1 at Evesham

There were also celebrations for Hayley GWILLIAM’s 50th parkrun. Hayley has completed 36 at Arrow Valley, 5 at Hanbury Hall and Cannon Hill parkrun and 1 at Dudley, North Beach, Brueton and Gunnersbury.

Looking at the results, there was also a 50th run for Catherine BENNETT who has completed 35 at Arrow Valley, 12 at Hanbury Hall and 1 at Kingsbury Water, Brueton and Fell Foot

100 club – Nick PRICE – Nick has completed 97 events at Arrow Valley, 2 at St Andrews parkrun and 1 at Ganavan Sands.

250 club – Doug RICHARDS – Doug has completed 201 events at Arrow Valley, 14 at Telford parkrun, 10 at Eastbourne, 7 at Evesham, 5 at Brueton, 3 at Perry Hall, 2 at Stratford-upon-Avon and 1 at St Peters, Hanbury Hall, Kingsbury Water, Wolverhampton, Cannon Hill, Wyre Forest, Shrewsbury and South Bank

5 stats from Arrow Valley parkrun this week

This was event 292 at Arrow Valley. In 292nd position was Richard HARRIS who completed his 7th parkrun in 31:42

42 volunteers made the event possible this week. In 42nd position was Rob GREENWOOD who completed his 117th parkrun in a new PB of 22:04

74 new PB’s this week. In 74th position was David BRISTOLL who completed his 25th parkrun in 23:44

The average run time for the event (overall) is 28:46. No one matched this time this week

Position number of the week = 288 – Pauline MOGG who completed her 100th parkrun in 31:33


This week there was 74 personal bests recorded.

Here is a list of the parkrunners with over 50 runs who achieved a PB this week –

Nicola BROWN - 32:59 - 93 parkruns

Rob GREENWOOD - 22:04 - 117 parkruns

Val RALPH - 36:29 - 137 parkruns

Well done to all achieving a PB this week

First timers

29 first timers took part this week, for 12 of them this was their 1st parkrun. The most experienced parkrunner for whom this was their 1st time at Arrow Valley was Paul COOPER who completed his 208th parkrun at his 8th location. His home parkrun is Brueton parkrun which he has completed on 199 occasions. Paul completed his parkrun in 140th position in 26:37.

Well done to all the 1st times, hope you enjoyed your parkrun and you will be back next week

Official Report

This week 430 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 29 were first timers and 74 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 38 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 42 volunteers: Christopher BIRD • Kevin TOMKINSON • Kristabel HILTON • Colette CHURCHILL • Peggy BLUNN • Jayne WOODWARD • Darren MANSELL • Tom BRISTOWE • Liz ADEY • Ricky YOUNG • Mike HANSON • Sian PERRY • Natalie CUTLER • Peter TAYLOR • Sarah MARSHALL • Raymond BOYLE • Dave POTTER • Emma SHANNON • Debbie ALLEN • Becky NORRIS • Ruth BURTON • Lee WALKER • Rachelle HARBUN • Louise PEARCE • Paul ELVY • Kate SYKES • Anita HARTLEY • Clare GRENNAN • Dan O'MALLEY • Olwen FIELD • Elizabeth FILER • Mark JOWETT • Diane PALMER • Ian HURST • Katie STEWART • Jessica NIELSEN • John LAY • Heather BALDWIN • Tony DOWNES • Scott BEVERLEY • Michele LAIGHT • Suzie DUNSTER

The female record is held by Becky STRAW who recorded a time of 17:49 on 23rd August 2014 (event number 110), and by Kristen FINDLEY who also recorded a time of 17:49 on 25th July 2015 (event number 159). The male record is held by Unknown ATHLETE who recorded a time of 15:08 on 10th September 2016 (event number 219). The Age Grade course record is held by Bronwen G CARDY who recorded 94.03% (21:14) on 12th September 2015 (event number 166).

Arrow Valley parkrun started on 14th July 2012. Since then 8,105 participants have completed 72,901 parkruns covering a total distance of 364,505 km, including 13,104 new Personal Bests.

Did you know?

Arrow Valley now has 6824 registered parkrunners



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