“Singapore or bust”

Banstead Woods Report for Event 548 – 18th November 2017

Report by Alison Cattermole                             Photos by Christopher Knight

Link to this weeks Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157689737225055


I am not going to write about today’s parkrun. Not that it wasn’t spectacular in the woods with those glorious tail-end autumn colours. The last of the leaves on the beech trees giving off an almost luminescent glow of orangey yellow and copper leaves coating the forest floor like a luxury carpet disguising the slippery underlay of gloopy mud. There were the usual stellar performances from the speedy and less speedy, 2 legged and 4 legged runners, those who are wheel assisted and, of course, the volunteers without whom parkrun wouldn’t exist. And, as you will see, I now realise how lucky we are at Banstead to have so many people willing to help out each week.   But before I move on, worthy of note this week was that the runner who came in first was assisted by a rather gorgeous and very fast dog. Woof woof!!


No, today, I am going to write about my parkrun of 3 weeks ago.

I thought I was on for a good time. Perhaps not a PB (that boat floated last in 2014!) but maybe sub 40 minutes (I’m nothing if not optimistic). The weather was fine, the course was flat and dry with no obvious tripping hazards.  It all boded well. But I had factored without the early start, the temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius and humidity at 80%.

Yes, folks, I was a parkrun tourist! After nearly 4 years parkrunning in Banstead Woods, my husband, Peter, and I found ourselves in Singapore on a Saturday and decided that we couldn’t miss the opportunity to try out another course, in another country, on another continent. A fitting place for him to run his 150th and me my 95th.

Ali at Parkrun

Amazingly, in a place as small as Singapore, there are 2 parkruns – an East Coast and a West Coast, though oddly, both are on the South Coast of the island. We decided to do the East Coast course as it looked on Google as if it ran very close to the coast. We were not disappointed.I had thought all parkruns, wherever in the world, started at 9am, but in Singapore to avoid the heat of the day, we started at 7.30am. As we fell out of bed at 6.45am, donned our running gear and grabbed a couple of bottles of water, I began to regret the last Singapore Sling from the night before!

The starting point was just like any other parkrun – runners appearing seemingly from nowhere, milling around, some doing warm ups and other chatting about the week past and weekend to come. There were the same parkrun flags, a few volunteers and the usually friendly regulars welcoming new faces. What is it about parkrunners that make them so warm and inviting? We chatted companionably to another tourist from Ireland, a couple from Australia and several locals. When the Run Director asked about tourists, around a third of the group put their hands up – the vast majority were from the UK. One thing I noticed immediately was that Peter and I were just about the oldest there. Later, a quick look at the results confirmed that of the 68 participants we were both the only runners in our age category. The first, and I suspect, only time I will ever be first in my age category. Result! Singapore would seem to be a young persons’ island.

The course was an out and back on a concrete track, 2.7km out and 2.3km back. After our starting instructions, we walked en masse to the start line. It was already feeling very warm. But the sun was shining and the course was completely level. I was looking forward to this.There were so many things that marked this parkrun as different from Banstead - The trees for one thing. In Banstead Wood we are blessed with majestic oaks, beech, chestnut and ash to name but a few. In Singapore, the trees  along the track were palm trees, lime trees and colourful flowering bougainvillea in orange and white.The next thing I noticed was the number of people. In Banstead Woods, save for a few hardy dog walkers and supporters, parkrunners mainly have the woods to ourselves. Not so the East Coast parkrun in Singapore. There were several organised groups of people running on the same course and many solitary individuals. We don’t see many Buddhists in Surrey, but there were a several groups of orange clad, hairless gentlemen walking slowly along the path, usually followed by a similar number of secular walkers. On the sea side of the path, there were groups practising Tai Chi, moving as if in slow motion, in unison around a tree. There were a number of dog walkers, other people out for a Saturday morning stroll before the day got too hot.  On the land side of the path was a service road being used by pelatons of cyclists in their usual garish colours of lycra – not unlike any Sunday afternoon in Surrey. To say the area was like Piccadilly Circus would be fanciful, but given the early hour and the fact that the path was only 3m wide, the place was crowded! In Banstead Woods I am avoiding tree roots, exposed bricks and muddy puddles; in Singapore, I was weaving in and out of Buddhists, walkers and dogs, and avoiding oncoming runners. It was quite stressful!

The first half of the run was directly into the rising sun and I was very glad of my baseball cap. It kept the sun out of my eyes and stopped the sweat dripping down and blinding me. After a kilometre running under the palm trees, we emerged to run alongside the shore, no more than 20 yards away with a narrow but inviting sandy beach and the waves gently washing up.I passed a group of four patient fishermen, their rods and fine lines forming a feint triangle in the haze and through the mist I could see a solitary paddle boarder gently gliding across the calm blue.Ahead of me I could see dozens of ships, which with the sun so low in the sky appeared in silhouette. Crude carriers, container ships, tugs, cargo boats…. all in a neat row queuing to come into port of off-load their cargo or take on another. I wondered where they were going to, where they were from and who was aboard ….

When I got to the ‘half-way’ point at 2.7km, there was a smiling volunteer on a bike cheering me on and ensuring I did indeed about turn. Suddenly, all the black boats came into sharp focus and with the sun behind me I could see them clearly, the containers piled high on top of one another, the long low flat deck of the oil tankers with their various pipes and pumping equipment, the busy top sides of the tugs. The tide was on the turn and I saw the boats were not in a straight line but actually at the same jaunty angle.

The run back to the start was exhausting, the heat began to tell, my legs felt heavy and my pace dropped to not much more than a crawl; and I was pretty desperate for drink!

But before I knew, it was all over and I had survived. Not a great time, over my 40 minute aim, but it was a time nonetheless. And I wasn’t actually last! Andrew the tail walker was several runners behind me.

I must give a shout out for the volunteers at the Singapore parkrun. There were so few. Indeed the Run Director had press-ganged his entire family of four, including his young children, to help and without them I’m not sure how the run would have happened. They don’t have the luxury of a report writer and the photos on this run were taken by the Run Directors teenage daughter with her iPhone; they don’t always have photographs.I am so glad we didn’t bottle out at 6.30am and stay in bed. We survived the humidity and temperature, met some lovely people and got to feel that same lovely smug post run feeling before a day of extreme sight-seeing.

All in all, a typical parkrun experience proving that where ever you run, whether your home run, another run in the UK or further afield across the world, you are assured of a great welcome, a familiar, efficient operation and best of all, the encouragement and support of fellow parkrunners. Thank you Singapore and thank you parkrun for this global phenomenon. It made my holiday.

PS. No cakes in Singapore either, unlike Banstead Woods this week. Thanks to the baker (Lorraine Garrod 200 parkruns) – they were yummy!


This week 181 people ran, jogged and walked the course.

The event was made possible by 19 volunteers:

Therese PANETTA • Susan ESSLEMONT • Andrew STALLEY • Don ESSLEMONT • George FROGLEY • Alan IMESON • John MACMILLAN • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • David MORRIS • Chris J EVANS • Nicholas FOSTER • Emily OLIVER • Patricia FROGLEY • Oliver ZONFRILLO • Christopher KNIGHT • David GEORGE • Elliott BURTON • Alison CATTERMOLE

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

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 8,780 participants have completed 84,538 parkruns covering a total distance of 422,690 km, including 14,018 new Personal Bests.


Event Reporter   Alison Cattermole




Unfortunately we had a problem today with one of the scanners malfunctioning and we have been unable to download the data from it so we have some gaps in the results.

If you ran today, but are not in the results, please email in to  bansteadoffice@parkrun.com  with your name, barcode number, your finish time and finish position (approximate if necessary)

This will allow us to gradually build the results table.

Please note that we will not republish the results until at least Tuesday so please be patient.

Many Thanks

Don Esslemont

Run Director Event 548

Banstead Woods parkrun


Part Closure of Outwood Lane – November 18th to 26th

As part of the on-going drainage works in Outwood Lane we have been made aware that a small section of Outwood Lane will be closed from November 18th to 26th. This will be on the Coulsdon side between Lower Park Road/Holly Lane and Station Approach and across Court Hill. If you are coming to the woods from that direction please allow more time and you may need to re-route your journey.

For more information please see the Surrey County Council website - https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/road-maintenance-and-cleaning/roadworks/outwood-lane-chipstead

Gill Stalley
Banstead Woods Core Team


“It’s all about me!”


Banstead Woods Report for Event 547 – 11th November 2017

Report by Mike Mason                         Photos by  Don Esslemont

Link to this weeks Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157662503553388


It’s a pretty tough gig volunteering as event report writer. When you have penned as many literary works of genius as I have, you really start to struggle for fresh ideas!

Thankfully, I had no such problems whilst writing the report for event number 547 as this week…   …oh yes, it’s all about me!

A cold, wet morning did little to dampen the enthusiasm of our wonderful team of volunteers or the 152 hardy runners who left the warm comfort of their beds behind to tackle this week’s parkrun. But enough about them, this week it’s all about me!

Run director Steve ‘Mr Stand-Up’ O’Sullivan delivered the pre-run sermon this week. There may well have been a few millstone, erm, I mean milestone announcements at the start – Nick Carew-Gibbs was warmly welcomed to the ‘50’ club, and Paul Addie (Horley Harriers) was duly inducted to the ‘100’ club. Well done to you both.

But it’s all about me, and only one runner was about to join the rather more select ‘300’ club this week – yes, yours truly! Thank you for the kind round of applause!

Not mentioned at the start, Matthew Hartgrove was making only his second visit of the year to Banstead Woods to celebrate his 150th parkrun – achieving a new personal best time of 19:06 to boot.

But I digress. It’s all about me remember, and this week I made the unusual decision (for me at least) to take things a little easier as I had the dreaded Surrey League cross-country to run later that afternoon.

I really enjoyed a fun, relaxed canter around the slippery mud-bath course – happily soaking up the plaudits from my fellow volunteers and spectators, my adoring public, even random dog walkers! All the while happily soaking my fellow park-runners as I splashed through miles of muddy puddles! And why not…it’s all about me after all!

Yes it’s true, I might not have crossed the line first this week, nor second or even third – some other runners by the names of Ollie Garrod (17:15), Thomas Thayre (17:39) and Peter Edward Fuller (18:50) just beat me to it!

I didn’t even come fourth! That position went to occasional visitor, and rather talented runner, Julie Briggs - first lady past the post this week in 18:55, achieving the highest age grading of the day. Sarah Ridge and Samantha Trevitt were second and third across the line in 23:45 and 24:26 (a new personal best) respectively. But this week it’s all about me, and no one else crossed the line in 7th place…   …yet alone in such style. Neon Blue compression socks are all the fashion I’ll have you know!

Further celebrations, just for me, took place after the event when a smaller-than-usual crowd (due to the impending cross-country fixture) retired to the Mint for tea, coffee, and to devour an assortment of chocolate cakes and haribo – the food of champions! Luckily, I got first dibs on the Colin the Caterpillar cake (surely the greatest chocolate cake ever made) and had more than my fair share of extra thick chocolaty slices. Well, it’s all about me…   …yum yum!

It’s also true I may not have been the only runner to attempt the frankly bonkers parkrun/cross-country double this week. But those who know me will know just how much I hate cross-country, and how rarely I run them. Just for that, I deserve some more cake!

And after all, if only for this week, it is all about ME!

But just in case you feel compelled to read about others, here are the stats:

This week 152 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 8 were first timers and 11 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 26 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 22 volunteers:

Chris PHELAN • Susan ESSLEMONT • Andrew STALLEY • Don ESSLEMONT • Carmenna BAILEY • Anita HEDGES • Sean SADLER • Mark THOMPSON • Ethan WALLER • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • Mike MASON • Kevin LEWIS • Nicholas FOSTER • Emily OLIVER • Steve O'SULLIVAN • Linda O'SULLIVAN • Carol Ann HOARE • Elliott BURTON • Mark LOWTHER • Kieran LEWIS • Piers HARTE-JONES

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

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 8,777 participants have completed 84,357 parkruns covering a total distance of 421,785 km, including 14,011 new Personal Bests.


Event Reporter   Mike Mason




Banstead Woods Report for Event 546 – 4th November 2017

Report by David Goodman                          Photos by Kelly Marie Mason

Photo Link for this week: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157690198082136


Grattitude. Yep, that spelling is correct. Gratitude is an attitude.

One of the things I love about going to parkrun is that everyone seems to have really good attitude; a great outlook on life, helpful, supportive and friendly. As I was cycling down this morning I was thinking about all the things I was grateful for. I was fit and healthy enough to cycle to the event, take part and get home again.

As I was cycling in the rain I was thinking how lucky we were to have proper roads just about everywhere. How lucky to have a nice drop of rain which keeps this country so green and flourishing. How warm it is for this time of year. How lucky was I to have a bicycle! What a wonderful display of autumn leaves. What a warm welcome I got from my fellow runners.

So how about all those volunteers who turn up week after week to ensure the event runs smoothly for hundreds of runners? Doubly so for the organising team who do it week after week after week. It would be really great if we can show our appreciation to them with a little thank you when we see them.

Would you like to feel a little more uplifted in this autumn gloom? Just practice a little gratitude each night you lay your head on the pillow. Just try and think about 3 things you are grateful for. They don’t have to be huge; it can be as little as a fact that you got a parking spot right outside the shops when it was raining. Three simple ones that I think just about everyone can relate to are; I woke up in a nice warm dry bed, I’ve had something to eat today and the sky has not fallen in. That puts it all in perspective!

Anyhow, I suppose I better say something about our parkrun today! A quick thank you to the universe for giving us such a lovely spot to run in with wonderful autumn colours, great friends and some pretty reasonable weather. A special thank you to Frances and Peter for being such great pacesetters for me and each other and to Paul for giving me something to aim for yet again!

Banstead Woods parkrun Event number 546, 4th November 2017

This week 149 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 7 were first timers (hope to see you next time) and 18 recorded new Personal Bests (yay!) including Emma Roberston on her 143th run. Representatives of 18 different clubs took part.

We had some marvellous milestones; Tanya, Keith, Neil and Sue all completed their first run. Jason Sullivan and Rob Holt completed their 50th and Jo Quantrill who completed her 300th.

The event was made possible by 19 volunteers:

Chris PHELAN • Susan ESSLEMONT • Andrew STALLEY • Alan IMESON • Hazel IMESON • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • David MORRIS • Heather FENTON • Phil FENTON • Mike MASON • Kelly Marie MASON • Emily OLIVER • Judith WHEELER • Elliott BURTON • Encsi NADAS • Lindsay PRITCHARD • David GOODMAN • Nick BILLING

A huge thank you to each and every one of them.

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

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 8,769 participants have completed 84,205 parkruns covering a total distance of 421,025 km, including 14,000 new Personal Bests.

Have a great weekend. See you next week.

Event Reporter: David Goodman

⇐ Newer Posts