Bognor parkrun #215 15/9/18

I cannot lie, there was an ulterior motive in volunteering to be this weeks Run Reporter. I am a recent convert to Running (or, Shuffling, which is a more anatomically accurate description of my style) having completed the Arun Fitness “Learn to Run” course at the end of July under the expert tutelage of today’s Run Director, Mr Keith Hardwell. During the Summer, I finished five parkruns – each marking a small improvement in my time and huge improvement in my confidence…but due to prior commitments, have been unable to run for three consecutive weeks. Those in the Know, will tell you that running is all in the mind…and after a three-week break, my mind was doing a grand job of convincing me that “Running Me” had in fact been an elaborate figment of my imagination! In danger of giving up at the first hurdle, by signing up to the role of Run Reporter, I was not only committed to turn up, but also to run!

Bringing Harvey, my faithful English Springer Spaniel, for his first parkrun experience was another tactical ploy. My mantra for parkrun is “You can slow down, but just don’t stop”. Today, I welcomed the knowledge that by bringing Harv I would inevitably be required to stop for Poo and Pee breaks and therefore I was forced to change my mantra from “…Just don’t stop” to “Just ENJOY it!”

So, we arrived at Hotham Park; blue skies and sunshine – another perfect Saturday in Bognor. In typical parkrun style, we were greeted by a bunch of volunteers in their hi viz jackets and felt welcomed and instantly part of the team. Keith confirmed that my role as Run Reporter was just to tell it how I saw it. (It’s one of the great voluntary roles that anyone can do – whilst still enjoying the opportunity to run!)

Harvey and I attended the first timers talk (although I think his attention was focussed more on a beautiful black cocker spaniel than on Nicola) First timers were welcomed and showed the route, and “housekeeping” rules regarding “Running with Children and Animals” were shared.

After the welcome and running brief, during which our visitors (including a bunch of superheroes from Harlow) were welcomed and our Milestone runners received a round of applause, we were off!

Now, for a Springer, who is used to being walked in the wide fields and woodlands on the South Downs, the experience of 256 people all setting off in the same direction must have been quite strange to say the least! Obviously, being a pack animal, he would have preferred to be right at the front, nose out, tail wagging and leading the way. Sadly, he was attached to me (and I hadn’t had the foresight to wear heelies…which frankly, would have been a stroke of genius!)

In addition to the inevitable poo stop, I was subjected to the Springer scent-following instincts to visit each and every tree – so knowing that this was hardly the best conditions for achieving a PB, we were able to really enjoy the company of other parkrunners on the path.

Lovely Poppy told me that this was her first “grown up” parkrun and did a fabulous job of keeping all the grown up’s going! What a little star! Later, I spoke to Paul who was completing his 70th parkrun! Josh, who is parkrunning for the Physical Challenge of his Silver Duke of Edinburgh award had encouraged his lovely mum to join in for the first time, rather than just dropping him off in the carpark. Good work Josh!

There were also many parents running with their younger children – what a wonderful way to learn lessons about resilience – keep on going! Run your own race! Pace yourself – and learn to push yourself at the right time. What important life-lessons to learn, whatever age we are.

Despite obviously finding it strange that we repeated the same route over and over, Harvey was delighted to meet his new friend “Derek in the Alley” three times in one morning! On my second time through the Alley, I chatted briefly with Brenda who was wearing a parkrun Volunteers t-shirt – she has volunteered over 25 times and, as she said “It’s great to give something back”. What encouragement!

Brenda and Derek epitomise the community atmosphere at Bognor parkrun. The spectators that shout encouragement from the verges, the Speedy Runners who urge you to keep going as they lap you, and the Volunteers at every corner who tell you “you can do it” when you still have another lap (or two) to complete!

So, this week, walking home with Harvey, my sixth parkrun completed I can confirm, I AM a proud and grateful member of the Bognor parkrun TRIBE – another 5K down (it wasn’t a dream, really!)

13 First Timers – first ever run
13 First time at Bognor
47 new PB’s set!
Simon Rowe’s 100th parkrun.
Congratulations everyone!


Bognor Regis parkrun – run report 18/08/18

On what appeared to be a cooler August day 274 runners gathered in Hotham Park for event number 211. Perfect weather conditions for a PB....? Maybe so, although it certainly felt hotter than it looked once the running started!

Event Director and RD for today, Ben Bowers delivered the run brief and welcomed 12 first time parkrunners, plus a total of 33 tourists... some from far flung places such as South Africa and Colorado!


Photo: Colorado girls with local parkrunner Claire Marie Tarrant (bottom right)

UK tourists included a group who had travelled from the home of parkrun, Bushy Park to celebrate Julie Papworth's 300th run 'Bushy-style' with Prosecco.


Photo: Bushy Crew (before the prosecco!)

We also welcomed UK tourist Andrew Howard who had set off at 1.30am to cycle 115k from his home in London before completing our parkrun and then cycling back!
Andrew seems to make a habit of this sort of thing, as he cycled down to run at our neighbouring parkrun in Chichester last week and has completed 336 parkruns in total, visiting parkruns all over the country!


Photo: Andrew Howard

And then we were off! One small lap and three larger laps of the park, past the boating lake, the play area, the animals of the Wildforest Falls adventure golf and of course the crossing of the little train track. There's certainly a lot to see to keep you entertained on this parkrun!

Plenty of words of encouragement from our brilliant marshals too, a high-five from marshal Sean and a good bit of banter along the way - apparently I would run much faster if I didn't chat so much!

The first finsher was Rhys William Boorman from Hastings AC, who completed the course in an incredible time of 16:53, achieving a new PB. Alice Cox-Rusbridge from Chichester Runners & AC was the first female runner home, in an impressive time of 20:17.

There were 34 PBs and several milestone runs. Congratulations to Max Wilson and Amanda Cox-Rusbridge celebrating their 50th parkruns today and to Gary Griffiths celebrating his 100th! In total, 27 different running clubs were represented in Hotham Park this morning.

As always, a fantastic, friendly event and just the best way to kick off a Saturday morning.

Many thanks to all the volunteers, we couldn't do it without you, and you make Bognor parkrun what it is. See you all again soon!

Sarah Mercer


A Morning to Remember # 210

Today, Saturday the 11th August, I had the privilege to return to my "home" parkrun for the first time in 10 months, since moving away from the area. The reason for returning today was to honour a very special man, Mr Peter Chittenden, who sadly lost his battle with Cancer on the 3rd August.


Upon arriving at Hotham Park, there were the usual bustle of runners of all ages and shapes making their way towards the starting area. If you weren't a regular at Bognor parkrun it would be easy to overlook the heartfelt hugs and smiles that were being exchanged and put it down to friendly exuberance. Cakes were dropped off – it's not for nothing that we have been known as a 'Saturday morning cake club' in the past, but today's offerings were impressive both in quantity and quality. They were being sold today to raise money for Chestnut Tree House and Prostate Cancer UK.

Run director for this morning's run was Keith Hardwell, who seemed to be calmly dealing with the pressure of co-ordinating an emotional event. For the uninitiated, Peter Chittenden was simply a legend. Ben Bowers, one of Bognor parkrun's founders and event directors took the time to address the crowd and explain Peter's unique place in our lives. He spoke of a sense of community, family and the friendships that have formed. He gave details of how truly inspiring a character Peter was, that he'd achieved so much including completing the second London Marathon in 4hrs 56 mins and lifting the senior male trophy in the 100 mile Himalayan challenge, that he'd completed 176 parkruns (148 at Bognor Regis) and that he'd even completed a 40 mile ultra after being diagnosed with cancer. Peter was always kind and encouraging with "time for everyone...he was one of life's givers", raising money for charity, particularly Chestnut Tree House. Peter clearly holds a special place in the heart of Bognor parkrunners which could be seen by the minutes applause they held for him before the start.

Today was a day to celebrate the legacy that Peter left to all he influenced, and also to celebrate the 80th Birthday of Ray Blackwell, a great friend of Peter – It could not be let pass without a rendition of Happy Birthday. There were also some first time parkrunners taking part today (a grand total of 12) as well as tourists from Basingstoke, Cheshire and Leicestershire. Jan Ostrom and Stephen Cox-Rusbridge completed their 50th parkrun on this special occasion. The first male finisher was Mike Houston in a time of 17.29 and Alice Cox-Rusbridge was the first female finisher in 20.06.


A number of participants today chose to walk the parkrun in memory of Peter and so there were more walkers than normal amongst the 325 finishers – however everyone marked it in their own way. I spoke to Sophie, a young parkrunner who said that she doesn't normally run but she, and her brother Chris, wanted to walk in Peter's memory. There was also a swing in the steps of the walkers as a parkrun regular, Andy Miles, was treating runners to Frank Sinatra, because it had been a favourite of Peter, he echoed the sentiment that Peter was a "Great Man" and wanted to honour him by walking in Peter's memory.


As the parkrun progressed, it was clear that Peter meant a great deal to everyone who knew him and stories were exchanged of his exploits and applause and cheers for other runners, just as Peter used to do. Peter would also have been incredibly pleased with the fundraising total for today with Kirstee Porter announcing on Facebook that £400 had been raised – with more being promised to follow, meaning that Chestnut Tree House and Prostate Cancer UK would have at least £200 each. It should also be noted that if anyone missed today and wishes to sign the book of condolences it will be open for another two weeks before being passed to Peter's family.

We know that Peter's presence will be missed at parkrun and other local running events, but his legacy, as Ben said, will continue as he really was the spirit of parkrun. Well done Peter, good running with you.

Kate Jones



Cloudy cooler run in the park – No 209

Huge crowds gathered on the paths of the park to take on a hot 5km park run. Anita gathered us all to run through the briefing. Today we had a few parkrun tourist from around the country . Also there were a large amount of first timers with consisting of first times at Bognor and total newbies to parkrun.

A cloudy and windy start everyone set off, through the trees was nice but in exposed areas the sun was still hot. Myself being on a slow run for me, ment I could take in all the sights, thank all the marshals, and just enjoy the atmosphere whilst having a free run.

Tony took Dereks spot today and what a fab job you done tony Dereks corner is a hard role to fulfil but I think he will be proud of you.

Was great to see parents running with young children in the prams this is what makes a great community everyone of all abilities coming together .

I would like to thank all the volunteers and run directors without you parkrun would not be able to take place weekly.


First timers - 20
Personal best - 21
50- Jennifer beck

Massive well done to everyone that took part today. We all look forward to seeing you next week.

Run report writer
Sarah gibbons


Sunny run in the park – No 205

Huge crowds gathered on the paths of the park to take on a hot 5km parkrun. Anita gathered us all to run through the briefing. A large amount of hands went up when first timers were called out.

Whilst running and taking in the park views it was great to hear parents with their children encouraging them to carry on what great supportive parents.

Next thing we're are being over taken by the first of the runner with a consistent stream behind.

Smiling faces as people crossed the finish line.

With tomorrow being the legend peter chittenden 80th birthday run we were joined by peter son in law Alasdair Swan .

First timers - 36
Personal best - 42
50- Alice cox-rusbridge and Gervais ward

Massive well done to everyone that took part today. We all look forward to seeing you next week.

Run report writer

Sarah gibbons

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