Run Report #44 – 21st April 2018

I find that one of the most special and unexpected joys of parkrun is coming back to the same place week after week and seeing it change, almost imperceptibly sometimes, from season to season.

We're coming up to what Oprah Winfrey would term a 'full circle moment' here at Billericay parkrun, having now seen the seasons shift from summer, to autumn, to winter (still very much here 8 weeks ago!), to a quick spring, to fully fledged beautiful summer again.

And what a beautiful sight it was!

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The sun brought out some brilliant performances, including for us as an event as it was our second highest attendance ever. Well done Billericay!

This week we welcomed 282 runners, joggers and walkers, beating our inaugural special event (257) but not quite reaching the 332 we saw on New Year's Day.

It was great to see each and every one of you :)

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It's so rewarding for us to see the event going from strength to strength so massive thanks to everyone who's introduced us to their friends and families.

On that note, a big welcome to our brilliant 16 first timers - hopefully we'll be seeing you all back for many many more parkruns.

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Standing by the finish line, I saw so many of you giving it your all, with a completely epic 71 of you achieving PBs - that's an incredible 25% of the field overall. Waheyyy.

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Included in those 71 was one of our blind runners, Richard, who with guide Mark smashed his way to a milestone sub 30 finish in 29:28. Amazing work Richard.

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Helping you to the PBs - and making the run possible in the first place - were our fantastic volunteers.

Behind the scenes of our run are a great many faces who help us week after week after week, or every so often, or for the first time ever, to keep our free run running free!

Speaking as someone who got into parkrun purely as a runner, and who is now somehow on a core team, there are few more rewarding ways to spend a Saturday morning than helping other runners achieve their best performance.

Email us at billericayhelpers@parkrun.com if you want to help on a future week as we need volunteers for all of our next 5 runs.

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This week we also had six wonderful pacers - Stephen Foggo, Simon Lashmar (who ran the marathon today!), Adam Havis, Emma De Cruz, Stephen Page and Michaela Molyneaux.

I know lots of you were thanking them as you crossed the line, it really makes a massive motivational difference to see your PB running in front of you in human form and to try to catch it!

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Don't forget you can request a time (or volunteer as a pacer yourself) by emailing billericayhelpers@parkrun.com


Finally, one of my favourite parts about being a run director at Billericay is the chance to enjoy this view.

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I look out for it right after I start each run and really love seeing all the colourful shirts and people of all ages, shapes and sizes running and walking in a zig zag across the park.

Today I got a similarly inspiring view when I went to see the London Marathon and stood at the 23 mile mark to watch some of our regulars and my other friends who were participating. It was my first time ever being at a marathon and it was absolutely incredible to see all the emotions on the runners' faces and to stand there shouting their names.

A HUGE well done to all our London Marathoners this year, who tackled the extreme heat to make it to the end of the equivalent of 8.44 parkruns! Alexa Joel, Ruth Havis, Peter Tullett, Jeanie Hughes, Lauren Dadds, Samantha Leftwich, Simon Lashmar and Keith Walker - you are all total legends.

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Congratulations also to our marathoners from Brighton last weekend: Sam Hill, Elaine Cory, Emma De Cruz, Lucy Hill, Henry James, Nerys Aylen, Ann Gibbs, Kevin Brushett and Melisa Brushett. It was great to see all your finisher tops out on the course this week - very well deserved!

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And well done to Colin White and Anthony Moore who completed the Manchester Marathon the weekend before last too :)

I'm sure I've missed someone but wanted to give a shoutout to all I could - it's a lot of work all through the winter to get yourself into the kind of shape to run that distance, so hats off to all of you. Many of us, including me, hope to one day join you at that start line!

Next week, Michaela is your run director. See you then!

Rachel Varnam
Run Director


 

The Billericay core team are:
David Hayday : Catherine Sunderland : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Michaela Molyneaux

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericayhelpers@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericayhelpers@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

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If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE and if you would like to buy some excellent parkrun gear, you can SHOP HERE.

 

Run Report #43 – 14th April 2018

It is a well known fact in our core team that I do not like writing run reports, in fact I do everything I can to dodge it, I like numbers, I work with numbers and do everything I can to avoid writing words…. but as it was my 100th run today I just felt I should take ownership; and write about all the things I love about parkrun.

The smiles:

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The poses:

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The families and friendships:

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The fabulous volunteers:

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Billericay parkrun number 43 came around as quick as a flash and somehow it has taken until mid April for that big thing in the sky to make an appearance, but YES!! After a fairly grey start, FINALLY the sun was shining.

This week saw our third largest attendance ever - only more people attended our inaugural back on 24th June and our New Year's Day special event, so well done to ALL 257 of you who walked, ran and jogged around for a free timed 5km.

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Welcome to the 35 first timers, congrats to the 39 who got personal bests and a special well done to our tourist from Sydney!

What I love most about parkrun is that your only competitor is yourself and it is completely all inclusive. Anyone can give it a go, young or old, fast or slow, disability or able bodied, everyone is welcome at parkrun. We had 4 visually impaired runners today, and my Nan at 87 years young walked a lap with the tail walkers, so if you think you can’t do parkrun, think again, there really is no excuse!!

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Running is not a new thing for me, I have always run. I joined an athletics club aged 11 and my whole life has involved running, watching family members run and taking part in athletics competitions.

My Uncle introduced me, and the rest of the family, to parkrun back in August 2013, and my obsession with parkrun began! Any holiday or weekend away the first port of call is to check out the local parkrun. Last Christmas on holiday, when there wasn’t a parkrun nearby, we measured out 5km and 10 of my family members ran while 3 marshalled and one time kept for our very own parkrun, we really may have taken it a step too far! At my 100th today 13 of my family members also ran and my Mum marshalled, it really was a family affair.

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parkrun is entirely organised by volunteers, please take a look at our future roster and put your name down where possible, there are a variety of roles, all training is provided and lots of fun is guaranteed. To volunteer, drop us an email at billericayhelpers@parkrun.com

Finally, you may well have seen our friends from Essex Adoption and Fostering Services on Saturday. The Bear in Care very sensibly stuck to the paths, but was delighted to Hi 4 runners and walkers as they passed and, importantly, the team chatted with locals to raise awareness about the great work the team do to help young people in care. If you'd like to know more, visit their website at www.essexadoptionandfostering.co.uk/fostering. The lovely bear is also looking for a name, so pop over to Essex County Council Fostering & Adoption Facebook page to offer your suggestion.
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Next week Rachel is your Run Director, please show her lots of support and keep all our fingers crossed there is slightly less mud!!

Catherine Sunderland
Billericay core team

 

The Billericay core team are:
David Hayday : Catherine Sunderland : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Michaela Molyneaux

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericayhelpers@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericayhelpers@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

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If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE and if you would like to buy some excellent parkrun gear, you can SHOP HERE.

 

Run Report #42 – 7th April 2018

The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything".  So, this week's run perhaps had a deep and hidden meaning or a connection to our very existence.  Perhaps it did, but I just thought it was another great parkrun !

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We really might have to start a caption competition soon !

This time last year your Core Team were scurrying around getting permissions from the Council and from parkrun, filling out forms, planning routes, filling out forms, raising cash and filling out even more forms.  Fast forward a year and we're no longer the new kids on the parkrun block and, just to prove that, we've now had over 8,000 finishers since we started.

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Who was number 8,000?  Well it was Billericay regular Peter Hall who'll be volunteering on Saturday taking our photos - hopefully with his eyes open !
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Parking

This week saw me back in contact with Council as we sought to clarify new parking charges in the town and their possible impact for our run.  As I said on Saturday, this is the position we have now agreed and what I have in writing from officers of Basildon Borough Council.

Lake Meadows Park Car Park - This continues to be free on Saturdays as it was previously.

Radford Crescent Car Park - This used to be free on Saturdays, but changes now require either a parking season ticket or for users to 'pay and display'.  The Council have acknowledged the previously unforeseen impact on parkrun and have, as an interim measure, agreed not to enforce parking charges before 11:00am.  Important: this concession is limited to the Radford Crescent Car Park and only on Saturdays.  The hope is that this accommodation will be enshrined into the signage and Council website in due course.

A huge thanks to Billericay parkrun regular and Borough Councillor David Dadds for raising the issue on our behalf and to the Council for responding in a positive and supportive way. If you do need to drive to your weekly parkrun, please park with care and consideration.
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Milestones

After seeing our new 10 run and 100 run celebration tabards in action recently, this week it was the turn of a couple of our 50 Milestone achievers.  Milestones are a great way to celebrate your parkrun progress and we hope the tabards help to share the joy.  This week it was hats off to Shona Browning and Core Team member Michaela Molyneaux. Well done ladies. A great achievement and now on to 100 :-)
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Thankfully the long wait for free parkrun milestone t-shirts is nearly over - though it may be a little while before Shona and Michaela get theirs - after all, they're at the end of a very long queue.

Talking of milestones, there's no such thing as a parkrun milestone for 150 volunteering stints, but it was still a lovely surprise when my sneaky Core Team colleagues had clocked that Saturday was number 150 for me.  Thank you all for your generous comments and for the team for mocking up a unique and totally unofficial t-shirt for me - I'll wear it with pride.

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Anyway, back to Saturday's event where over 200 participants and volunteers helped us to notch up another one towards our very own 50th milestone !  Thankfully conditions were a bit better than recent weeks so over 30 of you lowered our PB - well done for that and keep ringing that bell.

As ever, we had first timers - 22 in all.  It's been nearly 5 years since I was a first timer at parkrun and I've almost forgotten what it was like.  Well I might have forgotten, but Sam Hill found a Facebook post I made on 24 August 2013 the day I completed my first event.  It said "My first ever parkrun today and absolutely loved it. Thanks so much to all the volunteers that made it possible!" As you can see, it really was love at first sight for me, and hopefully it was for some of our fledgling parkrunners from Saturday.

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Volunteers
As ever, none of this would have been possible without a great team of volunteers - 27 in all this week and every contribution made a big, big difference. Thank you all.

If you haven't volunteered at parkrun or haven't for a while, do put your name forward, it really is great fun and by keeping the roster ticking over, it means we don't have to pester you week after week to fill any gaps. If you can volunteer for any week, just drop a line to billericayhelpers@parkrun.com with your name, your parkrun athlete number and the week(s) you'd like to volunteer for.

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Our first birthday party! - 23 June 2018

To celebrate one whole year of Billericay parkrun, we'll be having a fancy dress parkrun followed by a breakfast picnic on the Lake Meadows main field.

Everyone is welcome so bring your friends, your family, breakfast food and some picnic blankets, and dress to impress! There’ll also be birthday cake and prizes for the best costumes, so get the date in your diary and we’ll see you there!

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So that's enough from me. Sam is your Run Director on Saturday so please give him your full support and co-operation. See you all soon.

David Hayday

 

The Billericay core team are:
David Hayday : Catherine Sunderland Rachel Varnam Samuel Hill : Michaela Molyneaux

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericayhelpers@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericayhelpers@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

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If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE and if you would like to buy some excellent parkrun gear, you can SHOP HERE.

 

 

 

 

Run Report #41 – 31st March 2018

(Slightly) warmer temperatures bounded into Lake Meadows this weekend to make our last run of March a real celebration of the spring.

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229 eggscellent runners took part this week, brilliantly supported by the help of 30 cracking volunteers.

It was good to see so many people taking part

from the small...

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(A great big well done to Milo, Henry and Tilly)

To the strong...

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And I also enjoyed seeing some epic sprint finishes, which resulted in a few mud slides at the end of the finish funnel, some more deliberate than others….!

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But as is often the case, the most tortoise-like of finishes matched all those March hares in style, if not in speed, with Len becoming the first person at Billericay parkrun to get a PB while crawling over the line!

Well done Len for still managing to do a hilarious comedy performance, even after a full 5k!

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The milestones kept on coming this week meaning our new milestone bibs got yet more airtime, with Rachel Hill completing her 100th parkrun and Laurence Farrow his 10th run.

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I’ve known Rachel for 19 years (which is about 73% of the time I’ve been alive!) so I was so happy to be able to celebrate with her and her family (all parkrunners – her son Sam is also on our core team) as this is a massive achievement.

I’m sure Rachel wouldn’t mind me saying that she has gone from not being massively active to running half marathons – and also, memorably, the entire distance of the 10 mile Great South Run in leather Hush Puppies when she left her trainers at home! Well done Rachel on this fantastic achievement, and I can’t wait to watch you ‘Jeff’ to yet greater heights!

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Big big thanks and congratulations also go to Andy Baker on his 25th volunteering stint at Billericay. Andy is most often to be seen at the finish line on the stopwatch, so he’s probably clicked you over the line many times!

We now have four volunteers who’ve completed their 25th volunteering milestones entirely at Billericay – meaning they’ve supported our run at more than half the events we’ve put on. Thanks so much Andy.

Regular Billericay runner Elaine Cory marked a milestone of a different kind, celebrating her 40th birthday with her 28th parkrun alongside her family. Happy birthday Elaine!

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Finally a call for volunteers…
We’re on the lookout for some volunteers to SPRING into action this April as our roster is looking about as empty as the cardboard boxes all my Easter eggs were in…

We literally cannot run without volunteers – from timekeepers, to finish tokens, to marshals, to VI guides, to barcode scanners, to tail walkers – and we need everyone who is able to volunteer to give it a go every so often to make sure we can keep our run free and sustainable.

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If these smiling faces aren’t enough to convince you, you might have noticed that parkrun HQ has applied a swishy new update to the website where a little ‘25’ volunteer badge is displayed next to the names of people who’ve volunteered on 25 days in the results, and a purple t-shirt is shown on their profile page. Oh yeah, and also get a free t-shirt when you make it to 25! What could be better?!

To volunteer, all you have to do is send us an email to billericayhelpers@parkrun.com and let us know when you’re available ☺


 

Next week David will be Run Director but sadly I won’t be there, so please give fellow core team member Michaela a massive round of applause for me because it’s her 50th run next week.

Take care! And enjoy your chocolate!

Rachel Varnam
Core Team


 

A QUICK NOTE ON THE NEW PARKING CHARGES

Please watch out for new Saturday parking charges which begin affecting the Radford Crescent car park from next week. Read here. We are currently clarifying a few details and will post separately on Facebook and update our website when we have a clearer picture of what is happening.  Parking in Lake Meadows car park continues to be free on Saturdays.

 

The Billericay core team are:
David Hayday : Catherine Sunderland : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Michaela Molyneaux

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericayhelpers@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericayhelpers@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

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If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE and if you would like to buy some excellent parkrun gear, you can SHOP HERE.

 

Run Report #40 – 24th March 2018

This week's run report comes from the Bickerstaffs - you'll see daughter Sophie and dad Craig on Sophie's Corner giving high fives, and Nicola and Aaron running! Thanks guys for our run report this week!


 

It’s Saturday and that can only mean one thing…time to get ready for parkrun!

Last week's memorable snowy run seems a like a bizarre dream. On this slightly warmer Saturday morning I took part in Billericay parkrun with my family. My son and I were running, whilst my husband and daughter were marshalling and supporting. It was good to see 210 of you out in force this morning for Billericay’s 40th parkrun, including Keith Walker running his 100th park run and a record number of 33 ‘hi-vis heroes’ volunteering to enable parkrun to take place.

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What a difference a week makes!

Last September I took part in my first parkrun having heard about it through friends. My son Aaron also unexpectedly announced he wanted to try it having chatted to school friends so joined me. My husband Craig and daughter Sophie cheered us on, and since then we’ve all got the bug.

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Craig, Aaron, Sophie and Nicola

Craig and Sophie thought that if they’re standing cheering us on, they might as well don hi-vis jackets and cheer everyone on, so since then they can often be seen on ‘Sophie’s corner’, complete with foam hand giving out high fives!

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Sophie and Craig at Sophie's Corner

For those not familiar with parkrun there is probably a misconception that you need to be super fit or an experienced runner to take part. I don’t class myself as a ‘runner’, I hadn’t run at all before last September, I don’t run around the streets or park at any other time but I am a ‘parkrunner’! This is because we enjoy the atmosphere, the community spirit, need the encouragement and support as we run, love the sense of achievement whilst improving our fitness and have definitely got the parkrun bug!

Pacer week saw volunteers pacing 21, 24, 32, 38 and 40 minutes and so thanks must go to the volunteers helping 42 of you achieve personal bests. To those who rang the PB bell today, well done, great effort. There was a problem with the bell getting stuck so maybe it’s had so much use already it can’t cope!

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Left: Pacers Toby (21), Steve (24), Catherine (32), Pete (38) and Rachel (40) | Right: Melisa trying to unstick the bell!

It was good to see a number of visually impaired runners again joining in, aided by volunteer guide runners, I have nothing but admiration for their determination.

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There were a number of milestone runs achieved this week. I think celebrating milestone runs are a great part of the park run experience, and the juniors in particular see this as a challenge and wear their t-shirts with pride.

Keith Walker deserves an extra special mention, what an impressive milestone running his 100th park run. The new milestone celebration tops were proudly worn today and look forward to seeing them in regular use.

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Well done and congratulations to Oscar Hutt and Abigail King on their 10th parkrun, it is always great to see many juniors running, enjoying the experience whilst keeping active. We are one of the many families who enjoy park run together.

I know I am not alone in saying that us parents are often trying valiantly to keep up with our children, trying to keep our pride in tact whilst gasping for breath! Others are introducing children to an activity they can enjoy together, encouraging younger children to not give up and make it to the finish line when their sense of achievement is a reward in itself. Parents running with buggies have an added challenge.

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Finally, I would just like to mention the Hall family who were running today, raising awareness and sponsorship money for SNAP (Special Needs and Parents, an Essex charity for parents and carers of children with special needs and disabilities).

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Well done to the Halls!


Thanks very much to the Bickerstaffs for all their support!

 

The Billericay core team are:
David Hayday : Catherine Sunderland : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Michaela Molyneaux

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericayhelpers@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericayhelpers@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

barcode

If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE and if you would like to buy some excellent parkrun gear, you can SHOP HERE.

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