Bolton parkrun have had more than their share of cancellations during this dreadful winter when nature seems to be reserving its worst weather for Friday night/Saturday morning, so although it was pouring down at 8:30 am, there was some relief that it was 6℃ and the course wasn't covered in snow or ice. The rain actually stopped about ten minutes to nine which was welcome, but the course was still under a little water in places, especially straight after the track and along the bottom.


Among the announcements at the start we had a presentation to Dave Hitchen who has volunteered over 200 times (did I hear that right?) and travels every week to do his duties at Leverhulme Park from York (did I hear that right too?) Anyway, even if I have got those wrong, what I haven't got wrong is that Dave has been recognised as Volunteer of the Month by parkrun UK and Vitality. Well done Dave. Well deserved.

Among those running anniversary runs (more of them later) there were lots of First Timers from the two Darwen Running Clubs (the Dashers and Running Group).


We don't know the time of the first placed runner this week but I know he was fast. When you are running at 37-minute pace (as I was) you get to see the front people as you are running down from Cruella for the first time (and they are running downwards for the second time) and I can confirm that the leader was moving very quickly. Josh Birmingham was inspired to run a Personal Best in second place taking 28 seconds from his time of last week in his 12th parkrun, half of which have been at Bolton. James France was one of the 45 Darwen Dashers who ran and he finished in 3rd position, his 3rdtop 3 finish in 15 Bolton parkruns.


The first lady to finish was Vicki Hamer of Burnden Roadrunners who was running at Bolton for the 79th time.


There were 15 runners who managed to run a Personal Best time, taking advantage of the weather improvement. All aboard the PB Express for Josh Birminghan, Simon Taylor, Mick Taylor, Kirk Webster, Robert Pilling, Neil Wharmby, Matthew Connell, Jane Wardle, Leslie Greensitt, Jan Taylor, Karen Johnston, Daniel Guest, Natalie Waite, Hugh Williams and August Aldred.


CATEGORY RECORDS: There were no new Category records set this week.


129 runners were ladies and 182 were men, and there were 30 juniors. Don't forget that while we love the youngsters running with us, if the junior is under the age of 11 they MUST be accompanied at all times during the run by an adult, which doesn't have to be a parent, but should ideally be someone they know.


There were 43 First Timers who joined the parkrun party at Bolton of which 31 were running a parkrun for the very first time and joining the ever growing parkrun family. Now you have done that first run why not come back next week and set a new Personal Best time. At Bolton we average 24 First Timers every week, so well over the average this week.


On Saturday there were 14 runners who were shown as 'unknown'. It's terrible to have a brilliant run, maybe get a Personal Best, maybe even finish in FIRST PLACE (!) and then fail to have it recognised because you have no barcode. PLEASE .... Don't Forget Your Barcode. Need a new barcode? Or would you like your result as a text? Follow the link to your profile from your latest results email. And remember please don't take home the finish tokens. They are not souveniers ........  DON'T BE A TOKEN MAGPIE. Also, just a reminder that you cannot produce your barcode as a photograph on a mobile telephone which is not one of the many official ways of having your time recorded. There are not many rules at parkrun but due to the nightmare of administrating people who don't have a barcode, there are no exceptions: no barcode – no time.




The Burnden Roadrunners are closing in on having 10,000 finishers at Bolton parkrun, far more than any other running club. They are currently on 9,775 and I think they should reach that milestone by mid May. Who will it be?

On Saturday the Darwen Dashers became the first and only running club in Bolton parkrun history to have more than 250 different appear at Leverhulme Park.


Runners celebrating milestones with us this week:

Brendan Connaughton - 175 runs, of which 160 have been at Bolton. Brendan ran at Bolton for the first time in March 2013 and has broken his Personal Best 13 times.

Louise Geoghegan – 100 runs, of which 94 have been at Bolton. Louise gets herself a jet black 100-run commemorative T-shirt for this milestone. She first ran at Bolton in October 2013 and has broken her Personal Best on 12 occasions, the current PB set almost 4 years ago.

Helen Varnom – 50 runs of which 44 have been at Bolton. Helen gets herself a Cardinal Red 50-run commemorative T-shirt .

Daniel Guest – 10 runs with all 10 having been run at Bolton. Daniel gets himself a junior white 10-run T-shirt and has got the bug having completed his 10 in the last 15 weeks. To celebrate his 10th run he ran a Personal Best (his 8th in 10 weeks) taking 3 seconds from his time of 2 runs ago.


And those who are knocking on the celebration door include:

Neil Bonnar – 274 runs

Brian Mather – 199 runs

Timothy Green – 199 runs

Vicky Spencer – 124 runs

Ethan Wallace - 99 runs

Joanne Larke – 74 runs

These runners are just 5k short of their personal milestones.


Number of Commemorative T-shirts on show today:

Junior White (10 runs) – 10 runners

Cardinal Red (50 runs) – 51 runners

Jet Black (100 runs) – 64 runners

Green (250 runs) – 10 runners

Blue (500) – 0 runners


The top 5 attendees this week were:

Barry Shackleton (Darwen Dashers) 353 runs

Kenneth Warner 309 runs

Ian Riggs 298 runs

Karen Shackleton (Darwen Dashers) 298 runs

Paul McGreavy 286 runs

These five runners have completed 1,544 parkruns between them.


Keep in touch with the latest goings-on at Bolton parkrun using one of the following media:




There are some brilliant photos on Facebook and Flickr, mainly taken by Dave Hitchen so if you are on one of them, feel free to copy it for your personal collection.


Want to give feedback? Have anything to say or want anyone mentioned in future run reports?  Are there any corrections needed to this report? Please e-mail


IS IT YOUR BIRTHDAY? We have an "It's my Birthday" bib which you can wear on the way around the course so that the marshalls and other runners can shout nice things as you run past. And you're certain to get your photo taken and a mention in the report. So, if it's your birthday, make it known to the Race Director before the run starts.


FANCY being a pacer? We have a range of waistcoats if you wish to do a service to some fellow runners by getting them around the course in a certain time. And get yourself a volunteer credit at the same time?


VOLUNTEERS – REMEMBER that parkrun can only take place weekly because of the volunteers and marshalls who give up their time on a Saturday morning. If you want to get involved, email This week, we had 32 credited volunteers so thank you all, and we hope you enjoyed the less cold atmosphere.

And potential runners remember that to officially take part at Bolton (or any other parkrun anywhere) you need to be registered at but you only need to register once and the barcode they give you will be needed each week when you have finished the run. DON'T FORGET YOUR BARCODE.


Bolton parkrun started on the 5th February 2011 with 60 runners and 8 volunteers. The course record was set on 22nd April by Michael Cayton in 15:46, and the female course record was set by Elizabeth Greenwood in March 2012 at 18:22. There have been 8,686 different runners on the course, representing 392 different running clubs, and they have completed 79,720 runs. THIS MEANS it is almost certain that the 80,000th finisher will cross the line this weekend. The average attendance is 223 every week and there have been 13,747 Personal Bests. Our attendance record is 448 which was set in June last year, and Bolton parkrunners have completed 398,600Km and have been running for 4 years and 153 days.


And that's it for the report for run #355. If you fancy writing a run report, and putting your slant on it, get in touch. We would love to hear from you. See you all again in a few weeks.


Barry Shackleton






It's quite cold - have you noticed? It's been mentioned once or twice on the news...


Conditions aren't set to get any better so in the interest of everybody's safety there will be no Bolton parkrun on Saturday 3rd March.


Rest up, stay warm and stay safe!


The Beaumont Hospital Takeover

So, this Saturday, 3rd March 2018, Bolton parkrun will see its first health takeover of the year, as The Beaumont Hospital celebrate their 35 years of service and take the helm for the first time.

For those of you new to this game, takeovers involve a group, typically a local running club but this time a health organisation, helping out with various volunteer roles, running in their club colours, and providing information about who they are and what they do.

The takeover was the brainchild of Sales & Marketing Manager Alice Halfpenny. We caught up with Alice to find out more about The Beaumont Hospital.

First and foremost - who are you and what do you do?......

Hi, I'm Alice Halfpenny, Marketing Manager - BMI The Beaumont Hospital. I promote our services to the local community, this includes GP’s and potential patients.

And what does BMI The Beaumont Hospital Offer?......

Located just off Chorley New Road, The Beaumont Hospital offers orthopaedics, general surgery, women’s health services, cosmetic surgery and much more. Patient care is supported by our on-site diagnostic imaging and physiotherapy suite, both of which have recently been refurbished. Whether you choose to use private medical insurance or fund your treatment yourself, as a patient at The Beaumont Hospital you will benefit from fast access to treatment and experienced consultant care throughout.


Where can we find you?.......

Old Hall Clough, Chorley New Road, Lostock, BL6 4LA

On our website
Or our Facebook page

What are you celebrating?.........

BMI The Beaumont Hospital is celebrating 35 years of service.

At our Bolton parkrun takeover we will be handing out refreshments and dishing up birthday cake to celebrate our 35th anniversary.

Make sure you say hello to the BMI team to grab yourself a free water bottle.

There will also be a photographer out on the course snapping parkrunners, make sure you wave!


14 Things Only a Bolton parkrun Run Director Can Relate To


14 Things Only a Bolton parkrun Run Director Can Relate To



SPOILER ALERT: This article contains some soppy thank you messages.


1. Checking your phone after two minutes of putting it down to see an insane number of unread Whatsapp messages isn’t unusual.

giphy (3)


2. You’ve suddenly realised after 10pm on a Friday night that you forgot to sort more than 400 finish tokens.



3. You have a socially unacceptable number of photos in your Whatsapp message history detailing the quality of and/or weather impact on tarmac paths in Leverhulme park.



4. There's nothing quite like the feeling of handling the bollard covers and hi-viz jackets when they've been sat moist for a week in a container...



5. You’ve received an email from a runner urgently instructing you to change their finish time because it’s two seconds slower than the time recorded on their Garmin.

Excuse Me


6. Swear words you didn’t know existed can be muttered when trying to put a gazebo together, with a hangover.



7. Your better half has come close, on more than one occasion, to causing actual bodily harm on account of the volume of parkrun equipment that needs to be taken home / washed / sorted / take up otherwise nice space in your home.

Find you


8. The struggle for volunteers on a Thursday night is real...



9. You accept that Rob Short’s contributions in the Whatsapp group will be intermittent and at best divisive…



10. There’s nothing like the feeling of seeing someone smash their parkrun PB.



11. You no longer believe anyone can do fancy dress better than Emma Donaldson (not even this dog dressed as a panda).



12. You’re aware of some sort of joke about Andy Patterson and cakes but you’re not really sure what it actually is or where it originated.



13. 30 hi-viz waistcoats hanging to dry on your washing line is a totally normal scene in your back garden…



14. You make a unique face when you hear the words “someone didn’t take a token”

Angry Results




Seven years of Bolton parkrun. 8,592 people have taken part. 842 people have volunteered. Unbelievable, Jeff (that’s one for the Sky Sports Soccer Saturday fans amongst you – for everyone else, Jeff’s just a lad in a suit and tie who get excitable about football news).


Some of you reading this may have been stood at the start line on that flippin’ miserable rainy February morning in 2011 for Bolton parkrun Event #1. Some of you may have taken part with us for the first time today or in the last couple of weeks (hiya!).





Whether you’re old or new to parkrun, let’s make sure we shout about something loudly: this event is put on and managed entirely by volunteers (*pauses for effect…).


A great local organisation (Get Active) funded our start up costs to pay for training and our equipment (our scanners and timers have all since been replaced, but our tank of a laptop is still going strong!). Since then, every single aspect of Bolton parkrun has been coordinated solely through the efforts of volunteers who get involved for fun, to make a difference to our town, and sometimes because there’s nothing else to do…


Each Saturday morning, somewhere in the region of 20-30 people turn up to volunteer so that a free, timed, 5km run/jog/walk can take place. To all of our incredible volunteers who turn up come rain or shine, to make Bolton parkrun happen, we’ll never be able to thank you enough. Some events it rains from start to end, and you head home wondering what on earth you’re doing. Other days the sun is shining and you float home on a little cloud of happiness (with a touch of sun burn to boot…).




Mike Gregson wrote an article summarising 2017 at Bolton parkrun (read it here!), and he calls out some of the more recent regular volunteer heroes there. It would be remiss of me not to give a personal shout out to Dave Hitchen and Mick Entwistle who are nine times out of ten the first to arrive at the park to set up the course each week. These two guys embody the spirit of parkrun in their drive and commitment – having volunteered way more times than they’ve ever ran here. They typically have most of the hard work done before 8:30am every week and so smoothly, it’s very easy to take it for granted. Lads – thank you.

However, I wanted to use this article to talk more about the behind the scenes – the hi-viz curtain of mystery if you will.
I think it’d be really difficult to truly convey just how much work has to go on behind the scenes to keep the Bolton parkrun wheels turning week in, week out. That responsibility falls to a core team of nine individuals: myself and Mike Gregson act as Event Directors for Bolton parkrun, as well as occasionally acting as Run Director on Saturday mornings alongside Andy Patterson, Ann Butler, Dave Ardill, Louise Geoghegan, Rob Short and Rowan Ardill. There’s also one Emma Donaldson - Event Director of Bolton’s junior parkrun event (Sunday mornings in Queen’s Park – check it out!) and giver of moral support/much bants in our Whatsapp group.


We all typically volunteer as Run Director once every six to eight weeks, but you’ll also usually find us volunteering in another role if we’re not having a run on our “weeks off”.
For us though, most of our parkrun time starts Saturday afternoons and goes through to bed time on Fridays. We’re responsible for processing results, ensuring we’ve got enough volunteers to help out at the next event, checking the emails, keeping our social media channels up to date with engaging and fresh content, sorting the sweaty finish tokens, cleaning the sweaty finish tokens, planning club takeovers, washing and drying the hi-vis gear, fixing or replacing broken timers and scanners, managing complaints, designing alternative routes when paths get closed, emptying local supermarkets of all remaining mince pies for Christmas events, reviewing and updating the course risk assessment, printing out the non-scanning barcodes sheets, boiling our kitchen kettles 3-4 times to fill the hot drinks flasks and much more.


Our situation isn’t unique – the hundreds of parkrun events across the country will all have their own core teams who keep the lights on for their events. I’m beyond proud of our core team here at Bolton.
I’ve been involved alongside Rowan since day one of our little event. Back in the day, Row and I never had a plan of “we must recruit a team” (we never really had any plan if truth be told – we’re as surprised as you are that this thing is still going…). The team we have today has naturally evolved, with parkrun as the constant that has brought us all together. Like-minded people who enjoy parkrun and who are only a few stages away from being classified as “not quite right."


The team has grown slowly, with Dave and Andy on board within the first couple of years, followed by Rob. Emma joined not long after, before going on to start Queen’s Park juniors, then the rest of the Butler-Geoghegan-Gregson rabble stepped into the ring in the last two years.
We all manage full time careers alongside our parkrun commitments. Andy, Emma, Lou, Ann, Row and Mike somehow find the time to manage family lives too. Some weeks we’ll put almost all of our free time into parkrun. Other times we might not lift a parkrun-related finger while we focus on other commitments. We share the awesome times when we leave an event buzzing from the positivity, or we receive a message from a first-timer saying thank you. We’re an outlet to vent to one another for those occasional moments where something hasn’t gone to plan. It’s a brilliant group of people who genuinely want to help each other, and help create a happy, safe event for Bolton parkrunners to take part in.


This post isn’t intended to blow our own trumpets, or intended to be a glorified self-congratulatory piece - honest. I simply want to share some insight into what happens behind the scenes, and show some of the personality that I think makes our team so special, and the Bolton parkrun experience so unique. Without character and personality, it's just another run where people turn up, some run, some volunteer, we all go home and repeat again the following week like a machine.
None of us do this for praise or to be in the limelight - and believe me, after you’ve done your fair share of volunteering at events over winter months, trying not to cry in the cold or rain, you know ‘limelight’ isn’t coming anywhere into play… We never talk about trying to get noticed by people or in local press, and we don’t really care how many likes we get on the Bolton parkrun Facebook page.


Something intangible sits within each of us that’s simply a desire to build and maintain an environment that helps people in so many different ways. Getting fitter, socialising, recovering from injury, coming to watch a friend or family member be awesome at what they do, or banking time towards a Duke of Edinburgh award.


We rarely see each other all in the same place, so a couple of weeks ago when we had to last cancel, we seized the opportunity to all meet up for breakfast and celebrate Louise’s milestone birthday (21 again!). This is the first photo together we’ve ever had:



Guys – thank you for making (most of) my experience of Bolton parkrun what it has been, currently is and no doubt will be. You’re wonderful friends and I count myself lucky to be able to enjoy this ride with you.






A regular run says “Thank you Mick and the other volunteers”

All the volunteers at Bolton parkrun are awesome; that goes without saying. Without them, we wouldn’t get to do our weekly parkrun. A lot of them give up their chance to run so that the rest of us can take ours. And the remaining volunteers who either don’t or can’t run give up their time to make the event work smoothly and safely. We shouldn’t  forget that if we as runners look out the window on a Saturday and think “I don’t fancy it. It’ll probably be cancelled anyway”, the volunteers all turn out regardless

But I want to take this opportunity to highlight one particular individual who for me epitomises parkrun in general, and Bolton parkrun in particular. And this appreciation is even more deserved since I read in the 2017 Review that he topped the appearances table with an amazing 41 out of 49 events

My favourite bit of the Bolton parkrun course is the flat section between the bottom of Cinder Hill and Cruella. It gives me a chance to settle into a regular rhythm and enjoy the view of the meadow and the river on my right. After a while we come to a signpost which to my reckoning is about half way round the 5k run. The green space between the path and the river narrows away to nothing and is replaced by a metal railing fence. Right at this point I can hear him shouting at the top of his voice, encouraging all the oncoming runners regardless of their progress. “Keep going, you lucky people. It’s a beautiful day for running. PB’s are there for the taking!” or perhaps “Watch out for this muddy bit. Take care on the steps, boys and girls”. I’ve developed a routine whereby I move over to the right beside the railings and take a wide curve to the left towards the steps. He always spots me coming, mainly when I shout “Miiiiiiiiiiiiick!!!!” and we exchange horizontal fives

On my second lap he’s still going strong. “You lucky lucky people. You can’t fool me, you’re loving it! I can see it in your faces” etc. I’m usually too tired to even acknowledge him but he still makes me smile and he always encourages me by name

The wooden staircase is his chosen Marshalling station. He never gets to see the start, as he needs to be there before the speed merchants arrive. That means he never gets to hear the applause for the Volunteers that we give every week at the end of the Run Director’s Briefing. So I just want to say to the legend that is Mick Entwistle: Thank you. Your efforts are greatly appreciated by this runner, and I’m sure by every single person who has passed by your station

I’ll even forgive him for occasionally calling me Marcus. It’s a pity about that hat though. Shouldn’t someone tell him that’s not how you spell Bolton?

Martin Smith

83 completed Bolton parkruns

Bolton parkrun footnote - Martin is not averse to volunteering himself, with half a dozen stints in 2017, thank you too :)

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