Mud, sweat and tears

Basingstoke parkrun #518, 20th January, Run Report by Mike Pini

It's said that the 11th day of January is the day when many people give up their New Year's resolutions. But Basingstoke's parkrunners must be made of stronger stuff. Despite the cold and wet, 504 people set their alarm clocks, donned their hi-vis t-shirts and jackets, laced up their trainers and clocked up 5 kilometres, or 3.1 miles for those still using old money, on the 20th day of the year.


Stats lovers will be pleased to know that 29 first timers - 14 of whom experienced their first parkrun anywhere - ran, jogged or walked alongside 49 people who recorded new Personal Bests. Every Saturday many club runners attend parkrun as an excellent training session and a great chance to meet up, and today members from no fewer than 40 different clubs took part.

It was a special day for Lucy Harlow who ran her tenth parkrun; Andrew TOAL, Joe MCAULAY and Nathan PITSCH who completed their half-century of runs; Andrew MOUNTFORD, Nick BOYD-MARSHALL and Simon PARKER who join the prestigious 100 club; Neil WRIGHT and Mark APPLEBEE who have 150 and 200 runs respectively under their feet; and Peter BAULCH who now proudly has 250 by his name.


There were plenty of emotions behind all the numbers too. One lady was so overjoyed on crossing the finish line after jogging round the whole three and a bit laps without stopping for her first time that she broke into tears.

As always, the event wouldn't have been possible without the 39 hi-vis heroes who made sure all manner of jobs were professionally and cheerfully done on the day. A big round of applause to everyone who dedicated their morning at War Memorial Park.


Fancy trying your hand at writing a few run reports? Our volunteering team is setting up a fresh roster of writers from the beginning of March, so if you're interested in joining the team - either to write a single one-off report or one report every four months - then email the Basingstoke parkrun office ( or talk to one of the current report writing team to find out more. Being the event reporter allows you to run the course or volunteer in another role on the day, if you wish.


Keep on (park)running!

Basingstoke parkrun event #517, 13th January 2018; Run Report by Paul Johnston

Keep on (park)running!
Slate grey skies did not deter an impressive 572 people from taking part in parkrun this morning. A healthy number, which is often typical of early January, boosted by those who are following a New Year’s resolution to work off those Chrimbo pounds or just to get fitter. Often, people heed the advice almost given by The Spencer Davis Group (hint … see report title!) but sometimes those resolutions can fall by the wayside as people get despondent with a perceived lack of progress and a perception that it is better to stay snuggled under the duvet rather than enjoying the great outdoors.

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However, parkrun, running, jogging, walking, or however people get around the War Memorial Park, has many more benefits than just getting faster or dispensing with the effects of the Christmas pudding. So, for those of you who are finding it difficult to find the motivation to carry on with your new year’s resolution (and for those more experienced runners who are in a ‘trough’ - hey, we all have times where we are not on top of our game, even Usain Bolt!!), here are some reasons for carrying on the great work you have started;-

1. You have done the hard graft - often the most difficult part of exercise is doing it for the first time and conquering the fears. Following that, many say that the hardest part is often just opening the door and getting out

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2. It is good for your physical health - this is quite an obvious thing to say, but in addition to just losing pounds, parkrun can result in other physical benefits - build stronger bones, improve your heart, lower blood pressure, sleep better, visit the doctor less
3. It is good for your mental health - outdoor recreation is slowly becoming recognised more widely as an excellent opportunity to improve mental health. You can improve memory, see the sunny side of things and run stress away.
4. It's very social - one of parkrun’s greatest qualities is its inclusivity, camaraderie and friendliness. Just a perfect pick-up on a Saturday morning after a hard week at work. You can get to know people who you might not ordinarily strike up friendships with as whilst Lycra can't hide everything, it does mean that you can't tell high court judges from bus drivers or IT consultants from landscape architects. Also, there are a whole host of more social running clubs that exist, if you don't want to run solo.

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5. Save cash - Forget fancy equipment or a pricey gym membership. When it comes to running, all you need is the right footwear (tip - last year's version of that expensive pair you have seen can often be found cheaper on the internet)
6. Get primal and learn about the great outdoors - Bruce Springsteen was right as baby, we were born to run. Parkrun is also a great way to experience the joys of the open, the changing seasons and the vast range of flowers and wildlife that we share parkrun with. At this time of year, there is nothing like the sight of the first snowdrops to remind you that the warmth of spring and longer days are just around the corner.

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7. Do it any time - whilst parkrun only happens on a Saturday morning, getting out for a jog, walk or a run can be done at anytime that you fancy it and can be done instantly. No waiting for a class to start, just get the trainers on and open the door (see point 1!)
8. Support others - it's great to support others by volunteering at parkrun (volunteers get a nice running shirt after 25 stints) if you can't run, or fancy a break.

So, it doesn't really matter whether you are Mo Farah, Slo Farah, Paula Radcliffe or Crawler Radcliffe, there are a whole host of reasons for carrying on with parkrun (readjust those resolutions if you need to) all of which can apply whether you finish first or last.

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Onto this week's event - of the 572 people who ran, jogged and walked the course, 45 were first timers and 55 recorded new Personal Bests. Matthew Lyness (18.27) and Alison James (21.04) were the first male and female to cross the line and representatives of 43 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 35 volunteers:
Caroline PARTNER • Avi GOVIND • Tommy MILLAR • Dave HOPE • Matthew BAILEY • Matt PILLINGER • Paul JOHNSTON • Brian WORTH • Jane CROFT • Frankie WELLINGS • Phil MERRY • Candy WONG • Mark NORRIS • Heath NICHOLSON • Nicola DALE • Hayley NOAKES • Mike STANFORD • Jack HEDDERLY • Lisa HEDDERLY • Jack OLDCORN • George HEDDERLY • Izzy RUTH • Andy FEAST • Richard VAN DER LEEDEN • Daniel HASTINGS • Kerry GASCOYNE • Sam GASCOYNE • Austen MAY • Kathryn YORK • Philip YORK • Robert BULLION • Michal BURSAK • Cabhan YORK • Duncan ROUNDING • Mike ATHROL


Remotely Does It!

Basingstoke parkrun event #516, 6th January 2018; Run Report by Frankie Wellings

I wasn’t actually at parkrun on Saturday as I was having way too much fun at a wedding in London.

At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to write the run report without being at parkrun but then somebody gave me the idea of doing it remotely to demonstrate the power of social media.

Saturday morning started a bit misty and murky which made people hide in their cars for as long as possible which gave the false impression of a small field.  It was far from small with 571 enthusiastic people completing the 5km course.  This number included 25 people totally new to parkrun and 18 tourists visiting from Winchester, Eastleigh, Killerton and Medina. Some parkruns were cancelled due to the weather so it is great these people could still get their Saturday morning fix at Basingstoke.  Twenty one people bagged themselves shiny new PBs so well done to all of you.

One of those PBs went to William Bryan who crossed the finish line first in a time of 17:41 on only his second run at Basingstoke.  Second over the line was Alex Bigg in 18:45 and third was Tom Harding in 19:06.  First lady home was Alison James in 21:05 (26th overall) just missing out on a new PB by 9 seconds. Alison also had the highest age grade score of the day with 78.58%.  Second lady home was Isla Norfolk-Buggy in 22:01 and third place was taken by Susan Bryan in 23:20.

As always, Saturday's parkrun could only take place thanks to the army of volunteers who gave up their time.  The volunteers and runners were ably led by today’s Run Director, Peter Chiverton.  If you haven’t volunteered in a while or have never done it, please consider giving it a go. Behind the scenes, there is a flurry of activity each week to try and fill the roster and it would be great for the core team if they didn’t have this added stress.  Did you read last week’s New Year Bumper Run Report by Helen Cameron?  If so, you will have noticed that several of the interviewees commented on how much they have got out of volunteering.  I myself have made many friends at parkrun purely by volunteering and getting to know people.  It is fun, you won’t be asked to do anything you don’t want to do, and full training will be given.  All you need to do is email and let the team know which role you’d like to do and on which day/s. Thank you!


Remember, I wasn’t at parkrun and yet I still know all this stuff. I even know that Peter was wearing a blue and white hi-vis and the rest of the volunteers were wearing yellow hi-vis and one tail walker had an orange one!  So remember, anything  you post on social media is visible to a wide audience.

During the winter months when the weather tends to be more soggy (although to be fair, some summers are pretty soggy too), we are unable to open the grass car park which obviously puts more of a strain on parking.  With this in mind, please consider lift sharing, walking, running or cycling to the park – great opportunity for a warm up.

That's all folks, see you in the park on Saturday!



First Time parkrunners Frequently Asked Questions

If you are thinking about coming to Basingstoke parkrun but feeling a little concerned - especially if it is your first time - here are some answers to questions you may have that may encourage you to come along:

Isn't it really complicated to take part?

No - all you need to do is register for a free barcode here (, and bring it along to the event - you will then get your time shortly after the run

Do I have to be able to run all the way?

You can run, jog, or walk, and we often have participants that take over an hour to finish the course, so just take it at your own pace

With all the fast runners taking part won't I finish last?

We promise you won't finish last, as our friendly tail walkers follow behind everyone else to provide moral support and check there are no incidents on the course

I don't know the course - will I get lost?

We have a welcome and briefing for all new runners at 8:50am, including details of the course, and our marshals will ensure you go the right way!

If you have any questions, please email basingstokeoffice

We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday morning in War Memorial Park for a 9am start, especially if it is your first time!


Milestone T shirt photo on Saturday 6th January

If you have received a new parkrun milestone T-shirt recently, next Saturday (6th January) we would like to include you in a group photograph of milestone achievers that we arrange on the first Saturday of each month, and then publish in the run report. So wear your new 10, 50, 100, 250, 500 or 25 (volunteer) T-shirt with pride next Saturday and let us celebrate your achievement with you.

Don't worry if you can't be there with your milestone shirt this Saturday, we're planning to do it all again on the first weekend of February!

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