Banstead Woods Report for Event 539 – 16th September 2017

Report by Alison Cattermole                             Photos by Gill Stalley

Link to this week’s photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157686732961954


What a joy to be in Banstead Woods today. We are so fortunate to have such a beautiful backdrop to our exertions of a Saturday morning. In the league of most pleasant parkrun environments, Banstead Woods must surely appear near the top. This morning it was particularly true.   The transition between summer and autumn never seems to be gradual.

One day, you are wearing T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops and then suddenly you wake up and realise the mornings are darker and the evenings beginning to close in. You start to wonder how long you can delay turning on the central heating and rooting around in the cupboard for the winter coat.   Today was one of those days.

As I prepared for parkrun I changed my mind on what to wear and opted for a long sleeve shirt and a second layer. My husband even took gloves and wore them. The temperature as we stepped out of the door was 8oC and we could just about make out the condensation trail as we breathed out and the almost ‘minty’ freshness as we breathed in. What is it about the seasons that mean in the middle of January 8oC seems raw and gloomy and makes you want to curl up in a ball and hibernate, but in September there is a glorious crispness that is simply invigorating?  

In 1911, W H Davies wrote a poem called Leisure and included it in his book From Songs of Joy and Others. It starts, “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare…” I run slowly enough that to many it may seem as if I am actually standing still and certainly my pace means that I have, as the poem continues “…time to stand beneath the boughs…time to see, when woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.…” It’s a lovely poem reminding us of the glories of nature that can pass us by if we don’t take time to look. parkrun gives us all a brief moment in our busy lives to appreciate what a beautiful area we live and run in. You don’t actually need to stand, just lift your eyes every now and then and take in the wonders around us.  

I last did parkrun two weeks ago and then the ground underfoot was clearly visible, the leaves on the trees still green, although the verdant lushness of midsummer was fading. The remnants of blackberries that had survived the birds were still holding on for last minute foragers looking forward to a late summer crumble. And the path still hard and unyielding from the comparative lack of rain was stony under foot.  

What a difference this week. The recent rain, courtesy of Storm Aileen that fortunately only really skimmed the south of England, had turned some of the route to a muddy bog. It was still possible to find circuitous paths around these areas, but it was a reminder of what was to come. When each parkrun means legs splattered in mud, feet squelching in our shoes, the weekly tasks of washing off trainers and soaking socks before putting them in the machine (the socks that is, not the trainers).   Elsewhere the ground was carpeted with other early signs of autumn. Hundreds of green acorns, free of their dimpled cups, were scattered over the path making it feel a bit like running over marbles.

At another part of the route, the ground became spongy from the soft furry chestnut burrs which had already shed their conker treasures beloved of young (and not so young) children throughout the county. Up in the trees it was clear that the leaves were beginning their transition from green, through various shades of yellows and ambers to brown, and there were many strewn across the path with the promise of crunchiness to come.  

One of my favourite memories from this morning was of turning the first right angle left hand bend, and seeing the sun streaming through the trees, shafts of hazy spotlights directed onto the floor of the woods as if lighting the main stage at a fairy festival. Perhaps it was.   _DSC0001

The autumn was not the only newcomer to the woods this week. Many of you, like me, will have enjoyed seeing the wonderful carvings of Lucy and the lamppost and Aslan coming to life during the summer months. And then, later, the addition of the wardrobe near the finish line. It was perhaps, quite fortuitous that the scout carpark was shut this week and those who usually park there were diverted to Park Road. This meant they had the opportunity to see these sculptures as they walked to the start.

Many of us who’ve seen these artistic additions to our woods were wondering where the Witch, so central to C S Lewis’s book ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was. Surely she hadn’t been forgotten? Of course not! Today, in the lower wood, on the home straight just below the finish line, was the tall, imposing and simply stunning new carving depicting the Witch. What a fantastic surprise! _DSC0291

C S Lewis is best known for his children’s books but he was a well-respected and eminent academic who wrote many books, among them an early autobiographical book called ‘Surprised by Joy’ (nothing to do with his wife, Joy, whom he met later). In it he talks about a state of mind, where you feel somehow removed from the stresses and strains of normal life, relieved momentarily from the difficulties that we all endure, and are elevated to a spiritual place of contentment. He called it ‘joy’.

Sometimes, just sometimes, and perhaps only for brief moments (because, as you know, I don’t really like running), as I crawl around Banstead Woods on a Saturday morning, and especially on a day like today, I occasionally feel what Lewis described as ‘joy’. I hope you do too.

And finally….I will be hitting a birthday milestone in a couple of weeks and this quote from C S Lewis is giving me inspiration:

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

SPECIAL THANKS: To Steve ‘the saw’ Hill without whom we might not have had a Banstead Woods parkrun today. Steve removed two trees which had fallen across the route making it safe and clear. You are a star, Steve - we are very grateful.

SPECIAL ANNOUCEMENT: The runner who came in at number 11 didn't return his finish position token. You may have been a late starter and missed the announcements but we really need the token back. If you are reading this, please bring it back next week. Many thanks!


This week 138 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 11 were first timers and 16 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 17 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 18 volunteers: Chris PHELAN • James CARTWRIGHT • Anne RODEN • Mark THOMPSON • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • David MORRIS • Mike MASON • Steve O'SULLIVAN • Linda O'SULLIVAN • Judith WHEELER • Elliott BURTON • Piers HARTE-JONES • Lindsay PRITCHARD • David GOODMAN • Alison CATTERMOLE • Moray LAING • Adam TURNER

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Banstead Woods parkrun Results Page.

Male placings: Bruce HARROLD (VM40-44) of Dorking & Mole Valley AC, was first over the line in 18:32 - 8th time in 13 appearances. Adam SEABURY (SM18-19) of Epsom & Ewell Harriers, was second over the line in 18:42 - was first to finish once before. Mike MASON (VM40-44) of Collingwood AC, was third over the line in 18:44.

Female placings: Hasmita VICKARS (VW45-49) (Unattached) was first (47th overall) over the line in 24:53 - first time in 52 appearances. Samantha TREVETT (SW20-24) (Unattached) was second (52nd overall) over the line in 25:01. Karen LLOYD (VW40-44) of Reigate Priory AC, was third (68th overall) over the line in 26:40.

The three highest age grades were recorded by: Glenn QUARTON (VM60-64) – 83.87% for the time 19:07 (4th overall). Bill ARNOLD (VM55-59) – 76.64% for the time 20:03 (6th overall). Peter BROWN (VM60-64) – 74.81% for the time 21:26 (15th overall).

The male record is held by Kevin QUINN who recorded a time of 15:25 on 7th June 2008 (event number 54).
The female record is held by Natalie HARVEY who recorded a time of 17:01 on 30th July 2011 (event number 216).
The Age Grade course record is held by Clare ELMS who recorded 89.66% (18:42) on 26th April 2014 (event number 361).

Banstead Woods parkrun started on 16th June 2007. Since then 8,664 participants have completed 82,989 parkruns covering a total distance of 414,945 km, including 13,888 new Personal Bests.

Event Report Alison Cattermole



Event 539 – Saturday, 16 September 2017 – car parks

For this week only please note the event car park at Park Farm will be closed to parkrunners. Please use the public car park at the bottom of Holly Lane - CR5 3NR. Alternatively see if it is possible to jog, walk, cycle or car share to the event to reduce the pressure on the car park.

We share the event car park with the scouts and they have a big event taking place this weekend increasing the demands on the Park Farm car park as a result.

If you are volunteering please meet for briefing and training at the information desk in the registration area in the woods.

Please pass on this message to others you think might be attending this week.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Chris Phelan
Event Director


“I’m off to see the Wizard!”

Banstead Woods Report for Event 538 – 9th September 2017

Report by Ed Nelson                             Photos by Kelly Marie Mason

Link to this week’s photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157686390192554


A bright morning welcomed us all to the woods this week and following the usual customary briefings, Director Chris started 203 parkrunners on their way. This run reporter then began to see for himself what a parkrun looks like from behind the scenes.

I started fact finding by pestering the very friendly team of volunteers with hundreds of questions about what each one was doing and why. I learned that there are lots of different volunteering roles at parkrun and some even allow you to run as well. I came away with a greater appreciation of the skill and enthusiasm of all involved; particularly the team at the finish funnel who issue the tokens and record our times. The way they work together to support each other, especially when a group 10 parkrunners are simultaneously hurtling across the finish line was impressive. Normally when I cross the finish line I’m a confused and sweaty mess with blurred vision, so this was great to see and fully take in!

No-one is ever last at parkrun except the volunteer Tail Walker (thanks to Paul this week) who brought the biggest laugh of the morning by asking how many runners we’d had that day, before realising the final place token in his hand held a big clue! All the team were friendly and encouraging and I thoroughly enjoyed the morning. I only wish I had volunteered sooner.

Once the event was finished and the cones, signs and the tables (nice to see them back at Banstead this week!) were packed away, the volunteers quickly relocated to the nearby Mint pub to process the results. If you have ever wondered what happens while you go off for a well-earned post-run breakfast, it is fascinating. The Mint becomes a hive of activity as the team of token sorters gets to work putting them back in order while laptops are hastily assembled and wifi enabled. The event photos are uploaded along with data from the two barcode scanners and the timers. The volunteers add in the parkrunners whose barcodes didn’t scan before making a few spot checks to ensure quality control. Special parkrun HQ software (it’s called the parkrun Wizard!) then merges all the runner IDs with the times and the Wizard then updates your run totals, PBs, points, averages, age grading etc. etc. The website goes live, emails are generated, text message alerts start pinging and this week’s results are all safely registered.

And so the parkrun Wizard could therefore confirm that a number of milestones were reached today. James Day and Barry Cannon reached 50 parkruns while Judith Wheeler and Roz Cawood hit 100 parkruns. Thanks to Nick Billing (and his young son) who in celebration of running 150 parkruns brought all the flapjacks, brownies and the cornflake cakes that were eagerly enjoyed by our finishers and volunteers. Bringing goodies to share your event milestones is one of the best things about parkrun and eating guilt free cake is the only reason why this particular reporter (if he is being honest) ever pulls on a pair of running shoes.

Now we are in autumn, the ground conditions will soon start to get a little bit squidgier underfoot but an impressive 20 of you still managed to run a personal best this week. Particular mention to Owen Waite who ran under 20 minutes for the first time on his 99th parkrun and to Mary Harte-Jones who shaved an astonishing 45 seconds off her fastest time in this, her 118th parkrun.

We had 6 brand new parkrunners starting today – welcome to all of you. In coming to Banstead for your first parkrun you’ve chosen the third oldest event in the UK, the 361st ‘least flat’ (according to this website anyway https://jegmar.com/fastest-races/parkrun/) but definitely the most friendly. You will now have the parkrun bug and we hope to see you again soon!

Finally, we love it when runners bring their dogs to Banstead Woods (we call them our six legged parkrunners) and I’ve often wondered how much easier the hill on the 2nd lap would be if I was being dragged up it by a large Great Dane or an Old English Mastiff. One dog this week clearly had a PB in mind as it slipped its leash and made a dash for the finish line. Fido if you are reading this - please keep bringing your owner to parkrun but do ensure he is kept on a lead at all times next weekend. Thanks!

Speaking of next weekend, the annual scout jamboree is taking place at Banstead and the Park Farm car park will be closed to anyone without a woggle. All parkrunners driving to next week’s event are asked to use the public car park off Holly Lane instead. It is likely to be busy so please do share a lift or come to the woods by other means if you can.

Until then, here are some quick stats for you all:

This week 203 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 14 were first timers and 20 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 21 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 20 volunteers:

Chris PHELAN • Judith MCNICKLE • Patricia CUE • Andrew STALLEY • Anne RODEN • Geoffrey PAYNE • Mark THOMPSON • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • Anthony FILBIN • Kelly Marie MASON • Nicholas FOSTER • Steve O'SULLIVAN • Linda O'SULLIVAN • Ian JOHNSON • Trevor MEADOWCROFT • Elliott BURTON • Ed NELSON • Mike CUE • Adam TURNER

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Banstead Woods parkrun Results Page.

Male placings:
Patrick CANAVAN (SM30-34) of South London Harriers, was first over the line in 17:00 - 7th time in 10 appearances.
Alix RAMSIER (SM25-29) of South London Harriers, was second over the line in 17:28 - has been first to finish on 14 previous occasions.
Neil REISSLAND (VM50-54) (Unattached) was third over the line in 18:14 - has been first to finish on 35 previous occasions.

Female placings:
Mary JAMES (VW40-44) of South London Harriers, was first (10th overall) over the line in 19:17 - 51st time in 96 appearances.
Hannah-Mai FLYNN (SW18-19) of South London Harriers, was second (37th overall) over the line in 22:05 - has been first to finish on 18 previous occasions.
Shun-Lai CHAN (VW45-49) of Collingwood AC, was third (55th overall) over the line in 23:32.

The three highest age grades were recorded by:
Neil REISSLAND (VM50-54) – 82.91% for the time 18:14 (third overall).
Gordon HENNESSY (VM55-59) – 80.81% for the time 19:01 (8th overall).
Mary JAMES (VW40-44) – 80.38% for the time 19:17 (10th overall).

The male record is held by Kevin QUINN who recorded a time of 15:25 on 7th June 2008 (event number 54).
The female record is held by Natalie HARVEY who recorded a time of 17:01 on 30th July 2011 (event number 216).
The Age Grade course record is held by Clare ELMS who recorded 89.66% (18:42) on 26th April 2014 (event number 361).

Banstead Woods parkrun started on 16th June 2007. Since then 8,653 participants have completed 82,851 parkruns covering a total distance of 414,255 km, including 13,872 new Personal Bests.

Event Reporter: Ed Nelson


“And today’s headlines are…”

Banstead Woods Report for Event 537 – 2nd September 2017

Report by Mike Mason                             Photos by Ingrid Mrazova

Link to this weeks Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157686092627333


The trickiest part of writing any event report is coming up with a catchy headline!

Some weeks are just easier than others, and (thankfully) this so happened to be one of those weeks.

For event number 537 was jam-packed full of so many newsworthy and noteworthy performances (both on and off the course), and I am rather spoilt for choice.

But in true Friends* style, how about this one for starters:

“The one where Linda and Steve O’Sullivan forgot the tables…”

…and the stakes, and the hammer! At least they remembered the scanner and tokens!

It was just one of those mornings.

After a serious fly-tipping incident late on Friday evening blocked the road between the volunteer and event car parks, this week’s parkrun came close to being cancelled.

But sterling work behind the scenes from our event team and volunteers ensured that the police were notified in good time, and the rubbish was fully cleared and the road re-opened by the morning. In all the excitement however, tables were left at home!

The park bench proved to be a far more solid and sturdy alternative to our usual wobbly tables, and post-event barcode scanning proceeded smoothly without incident.

For those that missed them, the wobbly tables will be back next week although I have a cunning solution to the wobbly problem! More on this later**

“Teachers quiver in terror as new school term approaches!”

It’s the only logical explanation for Linda and Steve leaving half the parkrun kit at home – the fear and dread of a new school term looming!

Acting as run director this week, an undeterred Linda O’Sullivan delivered the pre-run instructions and several milestone announcements like a headmistress delivering lessons in morning assembly. And as always, stood from atop her customary soapbox!

“The miles(tones) finally ketchup with Ketchum!”

A poor tagline granted, but you’ll find no rotten tomatoes aimed at Keith Ketchum this week who was warmly welcomed to the ‘100’ club.

97 of those runs have been completed here with us at Banstead Woods. Such a shame Heinz didn’t have 97 varieties – that would have rounded the story off nicely!

Not mentioned at the start was super-vet Anne Davidson, who joined the ‘50’ club. Anne divides her parkrun visits over several locations, and was part of a large Legal & General past and present contingent visiting Banstead Woods this week.

“Happy Hill hammers home to 250!”

Finally, the largest round of applause was reserved for Steve Hill who reached the truly fantastic milestone of 250 runs this week (seen in the photo above, in purple).

Those who know Steve can attest he is rather handy with a hammer…and a shovel, and has regularly come to the assistance of the event team to help clear the course of felled trees and other debris over the winter (and occasionally summer) months!

But Steve’s also a remarkable example of how neither age nor growing parkrun tally need slow you down - setting yet another personal best this week of 21:54.

Having only broken 22 minutes for the very first time at last week’s event, this is all the more impressive. Well done Steve, and thanks for the yummy cakes too!

“Brilliant Bryant bounces back!”

Let’s hear three cheers for Banstead Woods stalwart Mike Bryant – Hip-Hip, Hooray!

Quite literally, as I believe this was Mike’s first full parkrun completed since having his hip replaced only 9 weeks ago! This is a truly wonderful achievement.

Let’s all continue to cheer Mike on as he continues taking his steps on the road to full recovery – Hip-Hip-Hooray!

“Kev the Rev gets a helping hand from God!”

If it’s good enough for Diego Maradona***, it’s good enough for Kev the Rev!

Congratulations to Kevin Lewis who set a shiny new personal best of 17:21 this week. Now I’m not likening our flying vicar to a cheating footballer, but after nearly 3 years of trying perhaps Kevin called upon a little divine intervention from the boss upstairs to snatch those 6 seconds from his previous best time!

In all seriousness though, Kev the Rev is a consistently fast runner at Banstead Woods and has worked very hard to achieve his new best time.

Alix Ramsier took the top spot in the men’s event this week with 17:13, with Kev the Rev placing second and Simon Ford third across the line in 17:49.

“I’m loving it! McDonalds tops tables in health and fitness shocker!” 

In the ladies event, Susan McDonald took a leaf out of Steve Hill’s book and showed the youngsters that age is no barrier – crossing the line first in 20:05 and achieving the highest age-grading of the day. A tasty performance, served with fries (I mean style)!

Cass Chisholm took the second spot in 22:32, and Victoria Williams was third to cross the line in 23:00 exactly. Happy meals all round.

217 runners graced the woods this week, of which 31 were first-timers and strangely 31 also achieved new personal bests – spooky! Huge congratulations to all those who pushed themselves to new fastest times, and I hope all the first-timers enjoyed their maiden voyage around our beautiful woodland course. Please do come again.

A visit to McDonald’s was a special treat when I was a kid. Big Mac, fries, and a box of chicken McNuggets – yes, I was a greedy kid!

Now, as an adult (allegedly) I get my kicks from parkrun. It’s still a special treat, but one I can enjoy each and every week. Until the next time, happy running!

*For the cool young kids born in the noughties who may not know (and perhaps for the oldies of a certain vintage), Friends was a popular US TV sitcom from the 1990’s.

Back then, all the boys fancied Rachel and wanted to be just like Joey. All the girls fancied Ross, and wanted to be just like Rachel.

In truth, most of us were probably much more like Chandler and Phoebe than we would care to admit!

**I also have a wobbly table at home. To fix the problem, I bought a tatty old book penned by none other than our very own Paul Waller - just to shove under the table and stop it wobbling.

Imagine my huge disappointment when I found the book was so utterly hilarious I could not put it down! Honestly, go get a copy from Paul now - I highly recommend it.

I still have a wobbly table, but I haven’t laughed so much in ages.

***Diego Maradona is a cheating Argentine footballer from the 1980’s. I’m getting bored of this now, go google him!

Herewith the stats from today’s event:

This week 217 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 31 were first timers and 31 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 33 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 19 volunteers:

Therese PANETTA • Susan ESSLEMONT • Anita HEDGES • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • David MORRIS • Mike MASON • Wendy BALLARD • Steve O'SULLIVAN • Linda O'SULLIVAN • Simon PAVEY • Lorraine GARROD • Derek GARROD • Steve HILL • Piers HARTE-JONES • Nick BILLING • Alison CATTERMOLE • Ingrid MRAZOVA • Adam TURNER

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Banstead Woods parkrun Results Page.

Male placings:
Alix RAMSIER (SM25-29) of South London Harriers, was first over the line in 17:13 - 14th time in 56 appearances.
Kevin LEWIS (VM40-44) of Sutton Runners, was second over the line in 17:21 - has been first to finish on 28 previous occasions.
Simon FORD (VM40-44) of Stragglers, was third over the line in 17:49 - has been first to finish on 13 previous occasions.

Female placings:
Susan MCDONALD (VW50-54) of South London Harriers, was first (12th overall) over the line in 20:05 - first time in 2 appearances.
Cass CHISHOLM (VW35-39) of Dark Peak Fell Runners Club, was second (38th overall) over the line in 22:32.
Victoria WILLIAMS (SW25-29) of South London Harriers, was third (44th overall) over the line in 23:00 - was first to finish once before.

The three highest age grades were recorded by:
Susan MCDONALD (VW50-54) – 83.49% for the time 20:05 (12th overall).
David FREEMAN (VM50-54) – 80.02% for the time 18:26 (4th overall).
Tony TUOHY (VM55-59) – 79.55% for the time 19:19 (7th overall).

The male record is held by Kevin QUINN who recorded a time of 15:25 on 7th June 2008 (event number 54).
The female record is held by Natalie HARVEY who recorded a time of 17:01 on 30th July 2011 (event number 216).
The Age Grade course record is held by Clare ELMS who recorded 89.66% (18:42) on 26th April 2014 (event number 361).

Banstead Woods parkrun started on 16th June 2007. Since then 8,639 participants have completed 82,648 parkruns covering a total distance of 413,240 km, including 13,852 new Personal Bests.

Event Reporter   Mike Mason



Holly Lane closure 01/09/17

As of 4:00pm this afternoon (1st September) Holly Lane is still closed from Elizabeth Drive to the public car park. Surrey County Council advise that after a large fly tipping earlier, the road SHOULD be reopened by tomorrow. However, in the eventuality that it isn't, it would be advisable to approach the event from the bottom of Holly Lane (Chipstead Road/Outwood Lane) and for all volunteers to meet at the public car park if Holly Lane is still closed.

If Holly Lane IS open, then all volunteers to meet in Park Farm car park as usual.

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