Happy 7th Birthday Conkers parkrun

Conkers parkrun No. 375   -   April 21, 2018

This week’s event was a very important one because on Saturday it was the 7th Birthday of Conkers parkrun!

It was a lovely sunny day and lots came dressed for a party! It was also the second highest attendance at Conkers with 594 participants, 52 first-timers, 82 PB’s, representatives of 39 clubs took part. The event was made possible by 34 wonderful volunteers and of course the amazing core team of seven: Roger, James, Jen, Laurence, Lyndsey, Nicola and Seran!

The top three female finishers were Tracy Hinxman (who was actually 7th overall), Deborah Gilman and Rebecca Gentle.

The top three male finishers were Liam Bradbury, Ted Mockett and James Farmer. Congratulations to those six and to all the other participants who ran/walked/jogged the course this week!

As has become the tradition - it was the end of year awards ceremony! In the café, after parkrun, many people stayed to celebrate all that makes Conkers parkrun special. Some of the brilliant people who make the event so tremendous were given the recognition they deserve. It is always very hard to choose just one person for each award, which shows what an amazing community it is!

This year the awards went to:

Junior Award: Charlotte Carr for excellent volunteering, D of E participation (and also a good year of running).

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Charlotte receiving her well deserved award from Lyndsey

Family Award (a new award this year to recognise a significant whole family contribution – recognising how we value families at Conkers!): The Kirkwood Family (attendance, volunteering and general jolly people).

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The Kirkwood family - winners of the very first family of the year award.

Director’s Award: Denis Dickinson (Fab photos, running and volunteering himself and family members to fill roster gaps!).

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Dennis Dickinson receiving the Directors Award

Volunteer Award: Lyndsey Hill (selfless sacrifice and all round mucking in).

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Volunteer coordinator Jen awarding the Volunteer of the Year award to Lyndsey. 

Men’s award: Rob Eaton (most top five finishes – he had to rush off to London Marathon after parkrun – Note: he completed it in less than 3 hours!).

Women’s award: Faith Tipper (most top three finishes)

Pacing award: Ivanhoe Runners (most accurate pacing – but only1.8 seconds separated them and SDRR who were the recipients of last year’s award).

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The Queen of Ivanhoe Heather Swan receiving the pacing award on behalf of her club

Runners’ Runner: Chris Hanman (some know him as Wonki Donki, some as the smiley, encouraging chap who runs back along the course after he has finished!).

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Nic Briggs presents Chris Hanman with the coveted 'Runners Runner' award

Original event director and Conkers parkrun founder- Andrew Harris - popped in on the special occasion and ended up presenting an award! When I started my 5K parkrun journey (aged 6) I used to call him ‘the parkrun judge’ as he was always at the finish line keeping an eye on the funnel!

I thought it would be nice to include a few things referring to the number 7 because it was the 7th birthday! This was event number 375 and Conkers parkrun started on 16th April 2011. Since then 11,279 participants have completed 107,260 parkruns covering a total distance of 536,300 km, including 18,069 new Personal Bests.

There are also 7 colours of the rainbow so lots of people showed up on Saturday wearing rainbow clothing or accessories, one of the ‘magnificent seven’ came and ran whilst still others were wearing ‘seven deadly sins’ costumes! A quick poll by those runners suggested that the sin of choice would be gluttony which was just as well as there were several choices of cake back at the café!!!

Three of the people whose 7th run it was today achieved new PBs, Chris Jones, Matthew Tombs and Rebecca Todd. They achieved times of 27.58, 28.21 and 42.41 respectively.

Val Crosby and Penny Manton did their 100th parkruns this week, crossing the line in 35.06 and 41.45. There was some tomfoolery with balloons en-route which ED Roger found himself literally entangled in! Two juniors achieved their 10th parkrun - Harry Bradshaw and Eva Stinchcombe. Well done to you all!

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Centurian Val Crosby snares Roger

As you all know, there are seven days in the week – so in seven days we’ll be back at Conkers for another super event. With any luck it will be another lovely weather day!

By Eleanor Bradley - age 11 (in May. I am quite excited about my birthday already!)

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ps. Although Roger said that there wouldn't be any girls jumping out of cakes at the birthday run, he didn't expect anyone to drop out of the bottom of one!!



Every parkrun counts!

Conkers parkrun Run Report No. 374  -  April 14, 2018

We awoke to a day promising to be dry with possible temperatures of 9 degrees at 9am with seemingly light cloud and light winds. The beast from the east was gone and south south west winds were bringing more Springlike weather at last. It was also the 2018 Grand National Day. I offer no apologies for the horse racing references included in this report! The betting was on for a dry if not sunny day for the 25 furlong Conkers Derby(shire); OK Conkers is in Leicestershire but only a couple of hundred metres from Derbyshire.

After a cereal nosebag breakfast I’m lucky to have only a short drive to Conkers where I passed runners in various racing colours on way to their local racecourse.

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Blue sky, reflections in the canal basin, trees turning green and a rapidly filling car park

Following the First Timers and Run Briefings we moved to the start where we jockeyed for position whilst our Run Director for the day Laurence introduced the strategically placed Ivanhoe Runners club pacers. Then we were under starters orders, 3 2 1 and we’re off! The front runners galloped away from the field. With the encouragement of our pacers other runners ran at their own pace, as they either cantered, trotted or walked the course in the early Spring sunshine.

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Laurence holding  court at his run brief

Due to the large number of runners (our 3rd largest in Conkers parkrun history) even with the recently positioned new start there was polite jostling at the start, through the first bridge and up the winding hill to join the course of the old railway line. Numbers may have been swollen this week by the warmer weather, our welcome pacers, as well as the many visitors, including those from the Birstall Running Club stables.

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565 lined up and waiting for the 'off'.

The ‘Conkers First Fast and Furious Mile’ was busy. Today the course was firm and mostly dry except for the large muddy puddles along the flat. After a few furlongs sadly I did see a faller near me but she seemed OK and the ‘filly’ continued her race with the help and encouragement of friends and nearby concerned runners. That’s the true spirit of parkrun. I witnessed other runners who had to ‘pull up’ due to injuries. My heart went out to them as their hope for a possible PB was dashed.

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Stewards enquiry needed for cutting across the corner; pass the DQ book

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What!!! Mr. Cyclist - what a cheek!! :-) 

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At last, no short cuts and no rascally tongue sticking out

During the ‘Conkers Tough 2nd Mile’ hearts pumped as unusually a ‘photo finish’ was required after ascending Cheeky Hill catching runners red cheeked or exhausted but most still offering a smile!

At Canal Turn we were halfway homeward bound. Several runners passed me despite some with the handicap of being pulled by their dog or whipped by their offspring sitting or sleeping in a 3 wheeled buggy!

The riders and runners continued to spread along the field as they took heart and started the ‘Conkers 3rd Flying Home Mile’ prior to the Stephen’s Gate right turn.

And so it was that runners continued with encouraging words from marshals and friends ringing in their ears along the final straight before the Sprint Finish descending to the finishing line.

Over the line first this week was Chris Baxter in 16:59 by a horse’s head from Leon Foster in 17:08 in 2nd place, with 3rd placed Andy Hawtin in 17:59. Well done fellas! Congratulations too for the women as first over the line was Nicola Bowen in 19:12, a short head behind in 2nd place was Tracey Hinxman 19:16 and 3rd placed women was Emily Muddimer in 21:04.  A special mention for first junior male (JM11-14) Alex Coleston-Shields in 18:03 and 4th finisher overall.

Before I retired part of my job was to promote good school attendance and the slogan we often used was ‘every school day counts’. Likewise every parkrun counts too. Whether this was your first time at parkrun or your 417th (as it was for Jasbir Bangerh one of our visitors last week from parkrun HQ) or somewhere in between then you’ll be counting every parkrun. Of course you don’t have to count them yourself because it’s calculated for you on the parkrun results page. That is as long as you remember your barcode.

Recognising milestones has been a hallmark of parkrun. This week I joined the parkrun 50 Club, completing them in 80 weeks since my first parkrun baptism in October 2016.

My parkrun confirmation has now occurred. Like others it’s in my blood and I feel part of the parkrun family now with the parkrun spirit running through my veins.

Even on holiday where there isn’t a parkrun at 9am on a Saturday I’m even known to run my own unofficial parkrun along the seafront in Tenerife. In my diary after Friday it’s parkrunday!

As a volunteer every parkrun counts too as they are recognised for their efforts and a purple tee shirt after 25 stints.

We recognise the efforts of all 49 volunteers and thank those who made parkrun possible at Conkers this week and encourage you to sign up for a role when you can to make it continue every week in the future.

This week 565 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 74 were first timers of which 22 were making their parkrun debut and 64 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 44 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 49 volunteers.

One more figure that may be of interest, the 9,000th person to register Conkers as their home parkrun happened this week.

Keep parkrunning!



The weather maybe dull but Conkers parkrunners know how to spread the sunshine

Conkers parkrun Run Report No. 373  -  April 7th 2018

This weeks parkrun was notable for at least two reasons, it is first parkrunday for what seems like a long time when the weather was kind to us. Despite the promise of rain we woke up to find that Rashid at the weather place had supplied us with the wrong information for which we are grateful. Once the weather had been sorted in our favour, we were visited by a team from HQ including Joanne Sinton-Hewitt, Helen Hood, Ian Rutson, Glen Turner, Jake Lodge, Jas Kaur Bangerh and Clare Fowler. I hope they were impressed by the usual enthusiasm and happy vibes coming from over 560 Conkers parkrunners and volunteers.

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some of the 535 runners, joggers and walkers ready to enjoy the Conkers trails.

First back down the funnel for the men was one of the HQ visitors and head of communications Glen Turner, followed by Chris Baxter and Kelvin Banbury. Leading the pack for the ladies was Nicola Bowen followed by Elaine Sherwin and Christina Hawtin.

There were 20 dipping there toe into a parkrun for the very first time including Patricia Mutton, Peter Brookhouse and many juniors. We hope to see all 20 back at Conkers on a regular basis.

Four parkrunners hit the 100 run mark so will be able to claim their 100 shirts soon, they are Paolo Iorio, Sam Cross, Andrew Windle and Laura Nugent who has also completed part of this report with her story in rhyme. Getting to 50 runs and soon able to claim her red 50 shirt is Neve who is a JW10 runner so that is fabulous commitment from one of our many junior runners.

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Paolo and Andrew who both hit the 100 mark this week.

Of course Conkers parkrun is not just about running, jogging and walking, we need a full team of volunteers to make this happen each week, and when a junior reaches the coveted 25 volunteers mark and able to claim the purple 25 volunteer shirt, it is a brilliant contribution to Conkers parkrun, so thank you Sam Hill you are really appreciated. Thank you to the other 31 volunteers, it is great that we have so many who are new to parkrun stepping up and taking a turn at volunteering. It really is great fun no matter what role you do, so keep a lookout for those volunteer emails and Facebook posts.

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And have completing the parkrun there is of course the cafe to catch up with everyone and even make new friends.

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For some volunteers though the work is not yet finished, RD Nicola Briggs and Volunteer Coordinator Jen Cross sort out the results so that everyone who presented a barcode receives a time by text / email. 

And now over to Laura Nugent with her lovely story on the day of her 100th parkrun

Maria Delores x


When I ran my first parkrun

It was nearly my last

With blisters underneath my feet

I wasn’t very fast


40 mins 15 seconds

Was the time that I ran that day

At Darley parkrun

I stopped and started all the way


But after that I persevered

The bronze DofE to get

Then soon I was enjoying it

And all the new friends that I met


When the weather spoiled the course

We moved to Conkers parkrun

On Saturdays at 9 o’clock

We went along and had some fun


The Ennstone Trail is on the route

With names like ‘Stephen’s Gate’

‘Cheeky Hill’ and ‘Canal turn’

Near the end, so don’t be late


‘Finish Funnel’ is the last

You collect your token here

Barcode scanners around the corner

Who register your time with a cheer


When I had completed

My bronze DofE

I volunteered for Junior parkrun

For my silver to achieve


I still volunteer while running for gold

For my final DofE

So come along and volunteer

You are needed, just like me


Bring along your family

You can even bring a dog

Don’t worry about the weather

We run in snow or fog


So now I have completed

100 runs today

A black t-shirt I’ll be given

Then it 250 runs on the way...

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 My dad and fellow parkrunner before the start

Laura Nugent




Runners, joggers, walkers, pacers and an Easter Bunny!

Conkers run report No. 372  -  March 31, 201

Welcome to another egg-citing Conkers parkrun report. Slightly disappointed by the date; one day later and our illustrious run director Lyndsey Hill could have started the proceedings with those immortal words “Sorry but due to eggs-treme weather conditions I have had to cancel”. Since it wasn’t April Fool’s day. I checked out what day it was. March 31st is actually brother and sister day so congratulations to any siblings who ran today. It is also the birthday of Descartes who is often misquoted as “I think therefore I am” but we parkrunners know he actually wrote “Curro ergo sum(Ah, the benefits of a classical egg-ucation).

Welcome back to Tom Doe who achieved first place with a time of 16:59. Tom is the course record holder at 15:03 which give you some idea how eggs-acting conditions were today. Special mention to James Farmer who came in second with a new PB of17:40 on his 211 parkrun (We still remember him as a junior parkrunner at Swadlincote!) I bet he was eggs-austed but egg-static with his efforts. Thomas Bradley was third in 17:45 and Shaun Coulton was 4th dipping under 18 minutes with a time of 17:57, Shaun runs in the 50-54 age category which gave him the best overall age graded time of 84.22%. The first female home was Emily Muddimer, a first timer at Conkers but clearly used to the conditions, with a time of 20:39.

Despite the rather wet trails 46 participants recorded new Personal Bests. As well as being egged on by the marshals they were no doubt helped by the eggs-ellent efforts of members of South Derbyshire Road Runners who paced the race at minute intervals.

PBs of note include Julie Thompson who squeezed under 26 minutes with a time of 25:59 on her 154th parkrun, under elevens Oliver Kennedy (26:25) Jesse Bradley (22:14) and Corin Bradley (25:12) and also Alex Mohamed who managed a very neat 23 minutes dead on his fifth outing.

Parkrunners who will soon be egg-static with their new club T-shirts (no eggs-pense was spared when parkrun shelled out for these) are James Sturdy who is now a centurion, Claire Smithard, Bob Taylor and Mark M Morgan who can now “wear the red” having reached 50 and an eggs-tra special mention to Luke Christian and Grace Kennedy who get their junior 10 shirts.

A little further eggs-amination of this week’s statistics shows 422 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 36 were first timers. Their desire to get some eggs-ercise means that since April 2011 11,111 participants have eggs-perienced Conkers parkrun, so on that theme; congratulations to Richard Hanlon who ran his 111th parkrun in a time of 29:49 and Frank Thompson who came 111th with a time 24:14.

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Conkers Bunny Girl Nikki hopping down the funnel.

Finally I am sure we all want to eggs-press our thanks to the 55 eggs-traordinary volunteers (including the Easter Bunny who hopped round in a time of 45 minutes despite having a big day tomorrow!) who made this event possible this week and a special thanks to Lyndsey, Roger and all the core team as organising it all is no yolk.

The Kirkwoods x




Family, Overseal C25K and a Gorilla

Conkers parkrun - Event number 371  -  24th March 2018

Following on from the St Patrick’s ‘green’ Day theme festivities last week, Conkers parkrun continued with more celebrations for event number 371 with members from Overseal Running Club completing their C25K graduate run. Those of us who have entered the world of running via the C25K will know the following to be true: It can take anyone in nine weeks from having no running experience to running 5K. At the start, you read the nine-week course description and find the expectations a surprise and how they progress at such an impressive rate. It works! Massive congratulations to all of you, we are really pleased you chose the Conkers ‘family’ to celebrate your achievement and help you on your journey. (Warning, parkrun becomes addictive.)

Family is very much a part of parkrun and Conkers is a perfect example of bringing families together. Each week, the results reflect many family members running together and the family theme extended into the volunteers this week of which five were from the same family. Thanks to all the following Hi-Viz heroes, without you, parkrun cannot take place.

Laurence KINGSCOTT • Jan COBB • Mark BOAST • Jennifer CROSS • Steve BRYANT-BROWN • John MORGAN • Seran Catherine BRADLEY • Lyndsey HILL • Melissa HOWELL • Samuel HILL • Philip HUGHES • Anne HUGHES • Katie BRYANT-BROWN • Damon BLAND • Tony STONE • Andrea ALLEN • Penny MARSDEN • Luke CHAMBERLAIN • Erin HUGHES • Frankie HUGHES • Helen PEACH • Lisa WILLIAMS • Emma CONNOLLY • James STEPHENSON • Richard D HILL • Claire DALTON • Rhys MORGAN • Alicia COONEY

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A busy briefing for those new to Conkers

 This week 455 people took part with an impressive 47 first timers to Conkers. Even more impressively, the weather behaved! There were representatives of 26 different clubs. A special mention to Thomas Bradley who was first to cross the finish in 17:31, clocking up a new PB.

There were 59 people in total who recorded a new PB including Vicky Driscoll with her first Canicross parkrun at 19:56 and another special mention to Rich Miller for finishing in 18:20 with a new PB (and also for his weekly encouragement and support).

In-keeping with celebrations, congratulations on reaching your 50th parkruns: John Pegg, Philip Hadland, Justin Kirkham, Emma Connolly and Roger Stoney.

Also congratulations on reaching your 10th parkrun: Euan Barlow, Sophie Gair and Amelie Wilson. Amelie also clocked a new PB! Well done.

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Some ‘monkeying’ around…

As the clocks change and the weather improves (fingers crossed on the latter) the holiday season begins. I’ve already organised all my ‘holiday’ parkruns throughout the year to keep my parkrun journey going (I warned you it was addictive). Like any holiday, no matter how great a time you have, it’s always good to come back to your Conkers home..


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