parkrun founder runs at Basingstoke!

Basingstoke parkrun #543, 14 July 2018, Run Report by Mike Pini

In October 2004 Paul Sinton-Hewitt organised an event attended by 13 keen runners who raced around a 5km route at the now-famous Bushy Park in the London Borough of Richmond, with the help of three other volunteers. None of them would have dreamt that less than 14 years later there would be 542 parkrun venues around the UK denying well over 100,000 people of all ages longer in bed each Saturday morning, and that the phenomenon would spread to 19 other countries around the globe.

Basingstoke parkrun 543 - 2018-07-014-626

On 14 July 2018 Mr Sinton-Hewitt made the trip to War Memorial Park with his wife Joanne to run the 543rd event in Basingstoke, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend. On his low-key return he set a new PB of 20:22, clocking up his 389th parkrun on yet another gloriously warm morning in sunny Hampshire. On this occasion the founder was joined by 526 other athletes and who walked, jogged with dogs, jogged with prams or ran as fast as they could, proudly supported by 44 volunteers.

Basingstoke parkrun 543 - 2018-07-014-629

The founder of parkrun was joined at Basingstoke by someone created out of recycled parkrun hi-vis. We welcomed Wonky Bear, accompanied on his trip to Basingstoke by his human Hannah Perrin, and while he didn't complete the course, he gave parkrunners young and old high-fives to encourage them around their 5k run / jog/ walk. Wonky and Hannah has travelled from Pegwell Bay parkrun, and both were pleased to join a number of parkrunners including Paul and Joanne at the regular watering hole - Cafe Giardinho in Basingstoke Town Centre - for a coffee and a chat. All are welcome to join the regulars and occasionals there on any Saturday morning.


Basingstoke parkrun 543 - 2018-07-014-12


If you love your data, you’ll no doubt check out the parkrun results each week – which, for the most avid analysts of running stats, can often take as long as getting around the two-lap summer course. And if you’ve combed through this week’s data you’d have counted no less than 32 people who have completed at least 250 parkruns! And that includes one man with over 500! (By the way, if you want to delve deeper into parkrun stats UK-wide then visit and click on ‘results’ – you’ll see lots of options to amuse yourself while recovering from your next parkrun.)

Basingstoke parkrun 543 - 2018-07-014-613

Kudos also goes to Paul ALLAWAY for his 150th, Tammy WILLIS for her 100th, and the triumvirate of Alan BROOKER, Becky MCRAE and Gary ROLFE for earning their 50 t-shirt. A round of applause to Barnaby Sadler for reaching 10 parkruns as a junior. And well done Paul Moulton for completing his 25th volunteering occasion. Thirty-five first timers joined the party, and 73 recorded PBs. but unfortunately, we have 34 UNKNOWNs this week – so don’t forget that if you don’t have a bar code, we can’t register your time.

Here’s to another ten years at Basingstoke parkrun! See you next week.


Ain’t no party like a parkrun party…!

Basingstoke parkrun #542, 7th July 2018, Run Report by Avi Govind

Here’s a challenge for you. Cast your mind back to July 2008. Can you remember what was going on in the sporting world back then? Quite difficult, isn’t it? Let me help you:

We had the Olympics taking place in Beijing, Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 9-7 in the fifth set in what is often considered the best Wimbledon final ever, Padraig Harrington won the British Open golf championship, oh, and of course Basingstoke parkrun started on 5 July!

Basingstoke parkrun 542 - 2018-07-07-478
How does this work?

The man responsible for getting Basingstoke parkrun off the ground, Euan Bowman, was back at Crabtree to help us celebrate our birthday – as Matt Pillinger mentioned in last week’s run report, both Basingstoke parkrun and Euan have gone on to bigger and better things in the intervening ten years with Euan now being Country Manager for parkrun Canada. If you’re ever round Vancouver way, you may bump in to Euan there as he returns home shortly – he can tell you the story of how he arrived unannounced at parkrun HQ to ask whether he could start a parkrun at Basingstoke, and you can blame him for all the potential lie-ins you have given up due to parkrun!

Basingstoke parkrun 542 - 2018-07-07-330
Euan Bowman

There was so much going on before the run that I almost don’t know where to start telling you about it. First off, as well as our tenth birthday event, there was another very special birthday today, as core team member Caroline Partner was celebrating her 40th birthday – she was a worthy recipient of some of the food and drink that people brought to share (some of the sharing went on until after 11am!).

Basingstoke parkrun 542 - 2018-07-07-94
Happy birthday Caroline!

A large amount of that was brought by members of the FOOBS trail run organising committee, who turned up with a very large cool box and 400 ice pops that they gave out to sweltering runners (and a thankful Run Director!) at the end of the run. They were publicising their event that is taking place for the first time this October on the trails around Old Basing.

Basingstoke parkrun 542 - 2018-07-07-11
What you could win at the FOOBS trail run

Before the run started we also had some presentations. First, we had mementoes for the four people who have been Event Director at Basingstoke – Euan, Lynn Brastock, Steve Fisher and me. Next, we had the announcement of the results of our first Hall of Fame awards, for the male and female who have contributed to Basingstoke parkrun over the past year, and voted for by our parkrun community.

The female award saw Denise Hope finishing third, Cerys Byrne in second, and regular volunteer barcode scanner and Run Director Lisa Hedderly winning the vote. The male award saw Mark Norris in third, Matt Pillinger second and erstwhile marshal Ross Pollard taking the award. Well done to both Lisa and Ross who are worthy inaugural entrants into our Hall of Fame, and thank you to them and the rest of the nominees for the contributions you make – a number of voters commented on how hard it was to choose between the nominees.

Basingstoke parkrun 542 - 2018-07-07-39
Hall of fame entrant Ross Pollard (on the left!)

Also, thank you to our 41 (rather hot) volunteers today who not only gave up their time today but stood in the heat for over an hour so that we could put on our run – special thanks to David Burke, Jessica Bate, Tori Burford, Lily Weineck and Sophie West who all did their first ever volunteer stints at Basingstoke today.

Basingstoke parkrun 542 - 2018-07-07-47
Our leading runners

The front of the field saw a fantastically close run between Nick Liu, Tom Harding and Dave Rawlins who were together for most of the 5k and eventually finished in that order. For the women, Alison James was first finisher, and was followed home by Naomi Holborough and Jackie Price. Alison was the person who achieved the highest age-grading (75.36%) and Andrew Le Roux achieved the highest male age-grading (72.09%). For those who are not sure what the age grade is, it compares your time to that of the world record for your category, giving you a way to compare performances by people of different ages and genders.

We welcomed six first-timers to the ever-growing parkrun family today, as well as nine first-time visitors to Basingstoke – and some people who took part in that first parkrun ten years ago (Solomon Lane, Matt Lane, Lynn Brastock and Tim Ellis took part today) as well as course record holder Dave Ragan.

Basingstoke parkrun 542 - 2018-07-07-572
Course record holder...

Well done to the seven people who got personal bests – I suspect that that number will increase significantly next week when we are back at War Memorial Park – and also congratulations to our milestone runners this week: Davina Luthra and Barry Lovelock did their 50th runs, Matthew Mason and Euan Bowman (he’s popping up a lot in this report, isn’t he?!) reached the 100 milestone, and, while it’s not an official milestone, Malcolm Brown certainly deserves a mention for reaching the imposing total of 400 parkruns – that’s 2,000km around parks…

Basingstoke parkrun 542 - 2018-07-07-575
2,000km around parks!

As we embark on our next ten years, I wonder what people will remember about July 2018 when they look back at the sporting events of the month. Another Nadal / Federer final? England winning the World Cup?! We can only dream…

But don't worry, it’s coming home next week (parkrun, that is - as we’re back in War Memorial Park for the start of that second decade), and it’s a great week to come along as it marks the start of Basingstoke’s Love Parks Week. See you there!


10th birthday parkrun at Crabtree Plantation this Saturday 7th July

Because of the B Love Festival (new name for Basingstoke Live) at War Memorial Park this weekend, Basingstoke parkrun will be held at its alternative venue at Crabtree Plantation next Saturday 7th July. Because it is Basingstoke parkrun's TENTH BIRTHDAY we would encourage everyone to get there early - the first timer briefing will take place at 8:45am and the main briefing will start at 8:50am to allow for birthday presentations and the result of the Hall of Fame vote. We will return to War Memorial Park next week 14th July. As it's our birthday we'd love people to bring cake to share if you would like to.

Please pass this message on to your fellow parkrunners to avoid panic jogs from War Memorial Park to Crabtree as the start time approaches (it happens every time!).

Please if at all possible walk or cycle to the event, and given the earlier start to proceedings arrive allowing plenty of time to reach the briefing place.

Crabtree car parking arrangements.

The parking arrangements below have been devised to help us to be allowed continued use of Crabtree Plantation for parkrun and remain good neighbours with those who live nearby. You are urged to follow them, otherwise we may lose permission to use the course, and be forced to cancel some summer parkruns.

Please see the map below for advice of where to park. Your choices are:

i. Free parking available at:

  • A30 Crabtree car park (but DO NOT park on the A30 outside of the car park)
  • Lime Pits (closest car park to the start and there is a crossing island on the A30)
  • Rucstall Community Centre (access from Holbein Close)
  • The usual War Memorial Park car park at Crossborough Hill.

ii. Plenty of pay and display car parks in Basingstoke Town Centre, which are a warm-up run away from the Crabtree start.

We strongly encourage you NOT to park at Black Dam Ponds car park (not shown on the map) as this gets very busy and there is then no space for regulars. Please do NOT park on Black Dam Way, as this can cause issues for public transport using the road. It may mean we can't use Crabtree for parkrun at all in future if these requests are not followed.

In summary - please park responsibly and safely.


Skylarks nesting at Crabtree.

There are signs on parts of Crabtree Plantation warning visitors to keep clear as there is a nesting area for skylarks (they nest on the ground). We have changed the course this year at the request of the Council to avoid the nesting site. Please take heed of these signs and keep animals and children that you are responsible for away from this area. Please ensure you follow the directions of the marshals on the course.

Basingstoke parkrun will also be at Crabtree on the following additional date in 2018:

Date Reason
6th October Basingstoke Half Marathon site build

Basingstoke parkrun 537 - 2018-06-02-512

Milestone T shirt photo this Saturday.

If you have received a new parkrun milestone T-shirt recently, 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.

Here's a picture of last month's milestone T shirt achievers.


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 August!


Not a perfect parkrun :-(

Basingstoke parkrun #541, 30th June 2018, Run Report by Matt Pillinger

Before I move onto the stats, the parish newsletter announcements;

The 541st running of Basingstoke parkrun saw 542 runners complete the 5k course. Its been a long time since we had a 'perfect parkrun' (event no. = no. of runners), event 453 on 19 November 2016 to be precise. Surely it will happen soon? but then I remember saying that a few months ago. Those familiar with the Friday 'predict the attendance' competition on facebook will know I always predict 'perfect' so I have more reason than most to hope for 542 runners next week.

Speaking of next week - its our 10th birthday and we are at Crabtree. We also will have a special (non human) visitor - want to know more, well you'll just have to turn up next Saturday.

All 542 runners today are special, but we had 1 very special tourist - 9 years and 51 weeks ago, Euan Bowman started the very first Basingstoke parkrun and he was our first Event Director. Chatting to Euan today he was quite impressed with how much Basingstoke has grown since he emigrated in 2012 and indeed the growth of parkrun around the UK. Every great oak starts with an acorn though and none of us would be running or volunteering if it wasn't for Euan's dedication and commitment to getting us up and running. It might be that Euan emigrated because Basingstoke could no longer satisfy his parkrun ambitions - for he is now country manager for parkrun Canada, which has 15 events and is growing all the time.

Which brings me nicely onto summer holidays (this is the first report I have written which has some semblance of flow to it). During the summer, lots of you will be off around the UK or overseas - check if there is a parkrun close to your holiday. parkrun is in 19 other countries as well as all over the UK.

With many of our regular volunteers off on holiday too, we could always use some additional helpers over the summer, so please e-mail and help us put on your weekly run.

We had 19 brand new to parkrun athletes today, many of whom were completing Hook Runners ABC (Absolute Beginners Course); and 16 first time visitors - hope to see you all again next week.

Hook ABC 2

Lots of milestones today as well: congratulations to juniors Sophie Taylor and Matthew Davey on their 10th runs, Neil Barton and Gareth Evans each completing their 50th, Roy Packer and Steve Parker on their 100th runs, Kerry Starkey on her 150th (breaking the 2 parkrunners at each milestone pattern) and Ruth Chenery and our super Event Director, Avi Govind on their 200th run. Bethan Mason also did her 25th volunteer stint today to earn her purple t-shirt.

10 runs


Mike Robbins was first finisher today, in 17:02, followed by Andy Goddard (17:17) and Tom Harding (17:39), all 3 of them among the 96 runners who are going home with a new PB. For the women, Kate Towerton was first in 19:19, followed by the ever consistent (& fast) Alison James in 20:36 and Penny Abbott in 21:39. Alison, Mark Slaney and Tony Watkins were the top 3 in the age graded league. All 3 of them are in their 50's (I know its hard to believe), which gives hope to us who have a year or 2 to go before we reach our half century.


Last parish council notice - Every week the RD reminds all runners that under 11's must run accompanied by an adult. Perhaps we should be more precise in our statement - today a young girl did one lap with her Mum and was then left at the finish area while Mum did another lap. She was quite upset, but was well looked after by Grant Hodgson and Lisa Hedderly, for which they have my thanks. Our volunteers have enough to do without taking on childcare duties - so a reminder - look after your under 11's please!

Stat Attack

Our attendances by event, with the course record at each point shown on the red line.
Event 541 attendance
The course record is 693 from 13 May 2017.

As we are half way through the year, here are the attendance stats

First 6 months

Shock, horror, we are down, for the first time ever, we have lower attendance for the first 6 months than in the previous year and this is despite there being 1 more event in 2018. April 2017 is highlighted as it was, and remains, our highest ever monthly attendance. The highest ever average runners per event in a calendar month was May 2017 with 587.

Ever worry that you are a bit slow for parkrun, well here's our total number of finishers in each time bracket since we started;

Finish times

Any runner up to around 40:00 will have lots of friends around them and even after that you are unlikely to be lonely.  Think you'll be last - well you never will be, because we always have a tailwalker and if you do go round with our usual tailwalker, Tommy Millar, you'll have a wonderful time, for he is a great conversationalist and has a huge collection of stories.


Ever wondered which course is fastest? Well wonder no more. For the last couple of years (since 12 Mar 2016) I've been maintaining average finish time for every known (so unknown athletes excluded) runner and also which course we ran, so here goes;

Which course is fastest

Here are the time differences between each course, using the faster course as the base - so Crabtree Skylark is 2:15 slower than War Memorial Summer Course. Who reckons they can beat that next week?

Time differences

If you are a faster runner and thinking '2:15, piece of cake', I'm afraid it's tougher for you, as the differences are based on the average time at each event, so here are the percentage differences

percentage differences

To calculate your predicted time next week, take this weeks time, convert it into seconds (Multiply the minutes by 60 then add the seconds), then divide it by 0.9284 to get your time in seconds for next week. So for Euan Bowman (20:12 today)

(20 * 60) + 12 = 1,212 / 0.9284 = 1,305 seconds. So Euan has 21:45 to get round next week.

Finally, I'd like to apologise for starting the run at 9:01 today. I have been reminded of the rules of parkrun and it won't happen again ;-)


Just Chilli-ing in the park, no Cheesy lines please …

Basingstoke parkrun #540, 23rd June 2018, Run Report by David Picton

This week’s parkrun gave us a chance to show our community spirit at its very best – with a massed volunteer takeover, a “Couch to 5K” graduation and ‘course re-planning’ on the hoof. In a week when 26 events were cancelled round the country, we kept on running and even scored the largest national weekly runner increase – as 185 more folks ran at Basingstoke compared to our session at Crabtree last week.

Basingstoke parkrun 540 - 2018-06-23-50

Unexpectedly back in Memorial Park for a fortnight, we were treated to the sights, smells and sounds of the Cheese and Chilli Festival – which did mean a new startline, a huge fenceline and a tricky parkrun frontline for many brand-new volunteers in a very different event. A sea of blue and yellow saw the Hatch Warren Runners take over almost all our volunteer roles – many of them for the first time – bringing a wonderful buzz to the park.

Basingstoke parkrun 540 - 2018-06-23-625

Many of their more experienced runners also coached brand-new runners round their first-ever 5K challenge. As we cheerfully welcomed 25 first-timers in total, two ‘senior’ favourites for me were Peter and Vanessa Delaney – tackling their first parkrun and finishing side by side – showing that it’s never too late to join our running family.

Basingstoke parkrun 540 - 2018-06-23-692

In the welcome shade of the trees, 501 fabulous runners squashed onto a hastily rearranged start-line at the top of Tennis Court Hill. The Festival footprint also gave our marshals an even more important safety role than normal – keeping our runners well clear of the final few exhibitor vehicles making their way onto the showground across our route. To everyone’s credit, we had a safe, fun and high-energy event – with smiles and laughter as uplifting as the beautiful morning. Even with a tricky wall-tree chicane right at the start, 74 folks set a pace more blistering than the heat – each of them taking home sparkling new Personal Best times.

Basingstoke parkrun 540 - 2018-06-23-569

Leading the way, Tom Harding (17:57) took the tape for the 5th time at our event, just 11 seconds outside his previous top time. Liam Rutter (18:03) bagged second place with a crisp new PB – his third one in the last month – and Oliver Stevenson (18:22) came storming back to Memorial Park after a gap of 9 years to run his fastest-ever time at Basingstoke and take 3rd spot on the podium. Tori Waight (19:48 and 16th) was first lady home, completing only her fourth parkrun and topping a best time that has stood for 3 years. Rebecca Willis (19:57 and 18th) chased her to the line as our second female, and also set a new PB to beat her previous one from four years ago. The ever-sparky Alison James (20:42 and 29th) once again took the top age-grade slot at 81% and set her second-fastest Basingstoke time in 8 years.

Basingstoke parkrun 540 - 2018-06-23-1

Whilst many people are knocking on the door of milestone runs in the next week or so, only 4 registered ‘club membership’ this week and all were running their 50th events. Rebecca Phillipson, Candy Wong, Naomi Holborough will now be our new ladies in red (shirts), alongside Trevor Smith – congratulations to them all. With some great performances throughout the field, and personal victories right across the park, one that jumped off the page was young Bethan Mason. One of our Junior 10 runners, Bethan has not only completed 145 parkruns but also landed a brisk new personal best (25:28) to show she’s one of our stars for the future.

Basingstoke parkrun 540 - 2018-06-23-214

Turning to the stars of today, we also held our Hall of Fame Awards voting at this week’s run – celebrating the women and men who make our weekly event run as inclusive and positive as it always is, often with hours and hours of time behind the scenes. With 5 ladies and 6 men up for the Awards, you can still vote by emailing ( your female and male choice from the names listed on our Facebook page – along with your name and athlete (barcode) number.

Basingstoke parkrun 540 - 2018-06-23-303

As ever, our incredible volunteers were the heroes and heroines of the week – with Event #540 being delivered by Paul, two Mikes, John, Andrew, Lynn, Helen, Michal, two Rosses, Jodie, Ali, Luxmi, Avi, Kelvin, Michael, Grant, Rory, Nicola, Sinead, Joe, Tommy, two Davids, Caroline, Ben, Mark, Michele, Matt, Harry, Nathan, Nick, Carl, Nalini, Claire, Duncan, Shelley, Phil, Michelle, Finley and Tammy. With thanks to them all, please also see if you could help with just a quick email to – particularly as we come into the summer break period – and we’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Basingstoke parkrun 540 - 2018-06-23-675

And so … we are just one run away from our 10th Birthday! We’ll be in Crabtree for that event on 7th July, and we’ll be announcing the winners of the Hall of Fame voting that week. Until then, we’re in Memorial Park again next week (30th June) – have a great week and hope to see you there.

⇐ Newer Posts