parkrun practice makes perfect

Basingstoke parkrun #556, 13th October 2018, Run Report by Naomi Holborough.

Even the combination of tired legs from half-marathons the week before, disappointment from London Marathon rejection letters and the all too typical autumnal weather were not enough to keep 444 willing runners away from a slightly soggy War Memorial Park. As an aside getting halfway home to realise you’ve left your jacket behind is not fun… so a reminder to remember to pick up all your kit before you go ;-)

Tom Harding (18:09) was our first finisher this week, followed by John Heaver (18:32), a first timer at Basingstoke and Tony Watkins third (18:37). For the ladies, we had Alison James (20:49) 25th overall, Lisa Gottwald (21:40) 34th and Julie Hughes (22:36) rounding off the top 50.

Welcome to the 27 first timers to parkrun and 16 first time tourists to Basingstoke who descended on the park this week. Our furthest visitor was from Seattle…if they were here for the NFL game at Wembley, which saw the Seattle Seahawks take on the Oakland Raiders, then I can only assume they had heard such wonderful things about Basingstoke parkrun they had to come and check it out! 45 people got new personal best times this week, Congratulations to you all!

We had a number of milestone runners this week:

  • Diki Lama and David Bonner each completed their 50th parkrun;
  • Cami Cameron and Paul Neale each completed their 100th;
  • Luke Onslow completed the unofficial milestone of 150 parkruns…and more impressively, resides in the youngest age category (JM10).

Congratulations to all of you.

Basingstoke parkrun - 556 - 2018-10-13-554
Nice balloon, Cami!

This week’s volunteer takeover was courtesy of Hampshire's first parkrun practice - the Acorn Health Partnership.
Acorn Health Partnership is a local doctors surgery in Basingstoke and the first parkrun practice in Hampshire. Based over three sites, this is an amalgamation of the surgeries previously known as The Hackwood Partnership, Camrose Medical Practice and Gillies Health Centre. Acorn Health Partnership have committed to promoting the benefits of regular exercise to improve a person’s physical and mental health, and they feel that parkrun is an ideal way of doing this…I couldn’t agree more I mean look at these happy faces…parkrun clearly induces happiness!

Parkrun_#556_13-10-18 (786)

Smiley ladies!
Thank you all for sacrificing your time, not just with volunteering but also for your hard work keeping us all well!

Basingstoke parkrun - 556 - 2018-10-13-41

On the topic of volunteering, parkrun cannot go ahead without the many volunteers who give their time every single week to marshal, barcode scan, hand out finishing tokens etc. so a big Thank You to the 43 of you who volunteered this past Saturday. If you haven’t volunteered before, if it’s been a while since your last stint then please consider putting your name down for the future roster. Having a full roster ahead of time means that the run can go ahead efficiently and safely. As an added incentive, 25 volunteering stints will earn you a very fetching purple t-shirt…so what more motivation do you need?!
If you are interested in volunteering then you can email

See you all next Saturday at the War Memorial Park, bring your families and friends, and as always, don’t forget your barcodes! #DFYB #loveparkrun


A bit wet and cold

Basingstoke parkrun #555, 6th October 2018, Run Report by Matt Pillinger.

The Basingstoke half marathon, coupled with a trip to Crabtree and the rather dreary weather reduced the attendance to just 294 today, which is the lowest since the 'snow course' run on 3 March this year. Before that we have to go back to 1 January 2017 to find a lower attendance.


Staying at home was never an option for today's 35 fabulous volunteers


Thank you to them all and as usual if you would like to volunteer next, or any other, week, simply e-mail to be added to the roster.  We simply can't put on a safe, timed run each week without around 35 helpers, many of whom are also able to run.


Run Director Frankie's specific challenge today was for members of the 250 club (of whom 31 were in attendance today) to volunteer over the next few weeks.

I hope to see Tom Ferguson's name on the roster soon, for he joined that illustrious club today.

Joining other parkrun clubs were Gauthier Perrot, Nick Taylor and Kathryn Waterworth (50), and Graham Wallace, Pauline Smith and Lucy Smith (100). Less official milestones include Steve Mennear (150) and Steve McGeown who ran his 'Proclaimers' today.


Today also marked parkrun worldwide's 14th birthday, on 2 October 2004, 13 runners set off on what was then called the Bushy park time trial.  They cannot have any idea what they started, for this week, parkrun had its 5,000,000 registration and the lucky recipient ran at Woodhouse Moor parkrun this week. 

event #1

The cotton t-shirts, the white trainers, the lack of fluorescent colours, but somethings never change - everyone is starting their watch (non GPS in those days though). PSH

Paul Sinton Hewitt CBE (awarded for services to grass roots sport participation). The man who started it all.


Today's event had 294 runners, who were led home by Tom Harding (17:48), followed by Jay Russell (18:00, equalling his PB) and Steve McGeown (18:26). For the ladies, Alison James led you home in 20:48, followed by Becky Crisp (23:00) and Tracy Bremner (23:13).  In age grading, Tony Watkins finished first in 82.17%, with Don Powell (80.96%) and Alison James (80.54%) making up the podium

Meet the parkrunner

Regular readers will be familiar with my 'meet the parkrunner' feature.  The subject of this weeks interview is a relative newcomer to parkrunner, Mark Dolby, who has been running with us since January;

Tell us a bit about your running history?
I always enjoyed cross country and school and have taken part in the Great South Run several times, plus the Reading and Basingstoke Half marathons. I would love to run a marathon and will definitely do so before the big 50.

Mark Dolby FarleighFarleigh Hill doesn't look that steep in this picture!

How did you find out about parkrun?
Social media and just seeing the people every Saturday.

When and how did you start parkrunning?
Started this year to get fit and lose the beer belly. Have always enjoyed running and it doesn’t take a huge chunk out of the day.

It's a long time since my first parkrun. Yours is more recent (January 18), so, what's it like being a first timer - is there anything we can all do to ensure you feel welcome and supported?
Would recommend and have recommended it to everyone. All inclusive and definitely felt like I was part of something good. Nervous to start but definitely made to feel very welcome and great to see all abilities, ages and volunteers.

What is your favourite thing about parkrun?
Being part of a positive experience and a change for good. Only takes an hour of my day and leaves plenty of the weekend to spend with the family. Starting the weekend on a positive note and ready for the world.

Aside from parkrun, what other running do you do?
Very little. A big run this weekend 10.5 miles but that’s about it. (Ed - I asked Mark this question last week; this weekend, he is schlepping round Basingstoke half marathon route with lots of other parkrun regulars).

What is your running highlight?
Great South run (finishing in) 1:15 was probably the highlight. A great event and always a carnival atmosphere. My answer will change if I get my place for London next year.

Do you have any running experiences you'd care to forget?
No not really. I pulled my thigh muscle when doing the Reading half a few years ago and almost collapsed after running the Basingstoke Half a couple of years ago but all part of the experience.

What is the most valuable piece of running advice you've been given?
Make sure you train!

Do you do any other sports/have any other interests?
Have done a fair bit of cycling over the last 3 years raising money for the Ark Cancer Centre (Ark Riders). I’m much better at running but it has been a real experience and privilege to be part of such a special group of people

Mark Dolby Cycling2

What is your day job?
I am a Director of a local Financial Adviser firm in Reading.

Quick Stats

This is a worrying one - 2018 is in grave danger of being the first year where we don't beat our previous year attendance.

Attendance to end of September

We have 14 events left this year (as with last year), so could this be the first year Basingstoke parkrun doesn't grow in numbers?


Finally, very best of luck to everyone running the Basingstoke half marathon tomorrow.


Basingstoke parkrun at Crabtree this Saturday 6th October

Because of the Basingstoke Half Marathon site build at War Memorial Park this weekend, Basingstoke parkrun will be held at its alternative venue at Crabtree Plantation this Saturday 6th October, usual time 9am.

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 arrive allowing plenty of time to reach the start.

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.


Previous times at Crabtree.

Previous Crabtree visits (so you can check your "Crabtree" PB if you have one) were for these event numbers: 53, 56, 102, 107, 111, 124, 156, 158, 161, 173, 178, 211, 214, 217, 218, 220, 230, 266, 272, 284, 318, 320, 326, 338, 342, 375, 378, 380, 382, 392, 429, 430, 433, 434, 435, 436, 442, 446, 483, 486, 488, 496, 500, 537, 538, 539 and 542.

This will be the last Basingstoke parkrun at Crabtree in 2018.



A Farewell to Summer?

Basingstoke parkrun #554, 29th September 2018, Run Report by David Picton

If this was one of our last gloriously sunny 2018 mornings on the summer course, then we couldn’t have wished for much better on the last Saturday in September. With a real nip in the air, 503 runners made the very best of the bright sunshine and one in six even managed to set new Personal Best times. We welcomed 32 first-timers to the Basingstoke course, with 18 of those tackling their first-ever parkrun. As Run Director Matt Pillinger got us underway, we took off across the park’s dewy grass and dry, shady paths to jog, run or wander through the first few crackling leaves of autumn.

With many people knocking on the door of milestone runs in the next few weeks, 5 registered ‘club membership’ this weekend and can now claim their new t-shirts. Hannah Davey joined the parkrun 10 club (for our junior members), Tad Filip and Graham Kent bagged their red 50 shirts, and brand-new black 100 t-shirts will be winging their way to Ray Gartland and Phil Merry. Unofficial 150 milestones went to Ann McKenzie-Ayling and to Beatrice Lovick, who deserved a special cheer as she’s completed all those runs across 9 different courses and is still a Junior-10!

With some great performances and personal victories throughout the field, one of this week’s star parkrunners for me was young Bethan Mason. Another one of our Junior 10 runners, Bethan has not only completed 159 parkruns (plus 84 junior parkruns) across 35 different courses, but she also landed a new personal best (24:45) and has volunteered 27 times over the last 3 years – what a great commitment to the spirit of parkrun … well done, Bethan.

Another person who inspires me every week also turned in an even more uplifting performance this weekend. Tony Nicholls – one of our visually-impaired friends – negotiated the course with his guide Michelle Horseman and landed a fresh new best time (33:04) more than two years since he set the last one. Tony’s now taken over 15 minutes off his first parkrun time, almost three years ago, so congratulations to them both for being such motivational and committed examples for us all.

Leading the way this weekend was an unknown runner, but Ashley Cox (17:40) pursued him all the way to the line to set a blistering new PB and Tom Harding (18:02) took 3rd spot on the podium. Freya Bloor (18:48 and 7th overall) was first lady home, just 5 seconds outside her personal best in a powerfully-paced and feisty fifth parkrun. The evergreen and timeless Alison James (20:36 and 34th) was our second female – and once again our top age-grade finisher (81.4%). But, my favourite visitor of the week was third lady home, as Anna Andrews (21:34 and 59th) finished just one second away from her previous parkrun time in Basingstoke two years ago, but a world away from her last parkrun a week ago in Queen’s Domain park, Tasmania!

As ever, our incredible volunteers were the heroes and heroines of the week – Event #554 was led by Matt and his band of 37 other volunteers, who were Walter, Emma, Avi, 2 Sams, 2 Ruths, Grant, Tommy, Lorraine, Ian, Toby, Tony, Brian, Jane, Frankie, Richard, Nick, Luke, Mark, David, Nicola, 2 Pauls, Mike, Jack, Lisa, Denise, Tammy, George, Kerry, Lily, Michelle, Michal, Tom, Alison and Nyki. With thanks to them all, please see if you can join our family or encourage others to volunteer with just a quick email to – particularly as we come into the cooler months – and we’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Looking ahead to next weekend, we’re once again lucky to have an alternative back-up course – as Memorial Park will be getting ready to host this year’s Basingstoke Half Marathon. Whilst 8 other parkruns across the UK will be cancelled because their parks are in use for other events, we’ll head up to the hills of Crabtree Plantation and hopefully return to our traditional two laps now that the skylarks have flown their nest. Have a great week and we’ll see you there.


Reminder: Basingstoke parkrun relocates to Crabtree 6th October

Due to the Basingstoke Half Marathon site build taking place at our usual War Memorial Park on Saturday 6th October, Basingstoke parkrun will be relocating for the day to Crabtree Plantation.

A map showing the location and places you can park will be published here in the week leading up to 6th October.

Please pass the message on, and avoid parkrunner disappointment or need for panic jog from War Memorial Park to Crabtree on Saturday 6th October.

This will be the last parkrun at Crabtree in 2018.


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