Run Report #228 – 29th December

2018 - a parkrun year

We’ve had quite an eventful 2018. Our first parkrun of the year on 6th January had to be cancelled half an hour before the start as rain followed by a hard frost overnight made the course too icy to safely run.

We had to make use of our ‘Winter course’ from January through until mid-March as continual heavy rain meant that the University field was under water for much of the period and was far to muddy to run in even when the surface water subsided.

parkrun, as you know is a free event, but we do require donations to improve the course and provide esential safety equipment. An audit of parkun access to defibrillators highlighted that the one we would access at the Quay Climbing Centre was too far away to be accesible in the event of a runner falling ill.  We raised sufficient funds to not only buy our own defibrillator but also a lockable storage box which houses a permanently publically available defibrillator at the Haven Banks Outdoor Centre.  We hope never to have to use the equipment but it is good to know that it is available at the start/finish if ever needed.

We were also forced to cancel in early March when much of the South West and Midlands was covered by a sheet of snow, our first and only occasion when snow has resulted in an event cancellation at Exeter Riverside.

As the weather warmed up over the summer we welcomed olympians to our parkrun. James Cracknell, whilst on a visit to Exeter in his role as a Great West Run ambassador came along and volunteered as a results scanner at our 21st July (run 204) parkrun and just like busses, double gold medalist Kelly Holmes arrived just in time for the pre-run briefing.  Despite starting in the middle of the pack and filming the run for Facebook, she still completed the course in a very criditable 18:39, and is currently the 11th fastest female to complete the course.

Later in the summer, I had the priviledge to tail walk my 250th parkrun with olympic sailing hopeful Daniel Budden as part of the #teamparkrun initiatitve where atheletes were invited to thank runners and volunteers for their support through the national lottery.  Keep your eyes open for him in 2024 as he is a genuine medal prospect at the Paris, France games.

The parkrun can only go ahead with the support of our volunteers, some of whom volunteer week in, week out. Our core committee does a fantastic job of ensuring that the event moves from success to success.  Whilst I risk missing people out, specific thanks to John Caswell, Mike Feighan, Martin Brint, Paul & Becci Barter, Alex Bosley and Steve Hagley, who have contributed so much as Run Directors, and we have recently proved that gender is no barrier to becoming a Run Director as Petra Aubert, Alice Green and Bev Ashe have all undertaken training and have completed this role.  Regualr barcode scanners Richard Ashe and Dianne Goodwin always keep a tight ship and Felicity Ward-Smith, Steven Forrester and Catherine Mountford, completing her gold Duke of Edinburgh award, have been regular timekeepers.  A special mention too to Lewis Jones.  Come rain or shine, Lewis can be more often that not be found out at Marshal 7 in the university field directing runners across the field.  Lewis has now volunteered on 141 occasions which is a phenomenal achievement.

As you may have heard, after 3½ years as Event Director, I have decided to hand over this reponsibility. My last parkrun of the year was on Christmas Day and it was perhaps fitting that Dennis Hall, who takes over sole responsibility as ED from 1st January did a great job as Run Director in damp and drizzly conditions.  Despite the rain, we welcomed 413 runners to Exeter Riverside, our second highest attenance ever.  It was a great way to start Christmas Day, and I would like to say a thank you for the champagne gift which accompanied our Christmas Day lunch.

Our last parkrun of the year was also an eventful one. The key that we use to open the exit gate to the university field broke in the lock.  Our volunteers had to improvise and redirect runners back through the field entrance.  This resulted in our final parkrun of the year being 600 metres longer than our usual route.  Unsurprisingly, we had no PBs this week!  So our final stats for the year are:  15,103 runs were completed, with a total distance run of over 75,000 kms. We welcomed 2,406 new parkrunners to Exeter Riverside.  2,544 PBs were achieved.  We averaged 296 parkrunners at each event.

For many of us, 2019 will begin with a parkrun, or perhaps two, on 1st January.  Whatever your parkrun plans for 2019, we wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Adrian Mountford



Run Report # 227

2018 Christmas Day parkrun


parkrun on Christmas Day…!? Why would anyone want to do that? I’m staying in in the warm…

For the last three years my response to my husband’s suggestion of a Christmas parkrun at Exeter Riverside has been greeted with a variation on the above. No way was I ever going to change my Christmas routine. This year, however, on Christmas morning, something changed. Maybe it was the new running watch he’d got me as an early Christmas present, or the new Contra top and running shoes I had just opened (yes, there was a bit of a theme to my presents this year!), but I actually thought about going, and then agreed to. Perhaps it was just that I had no excuse not to.

Before I knew it we were in the car, together with 400 freshly washed barcodes ready to hand over to the volunteers at the finish. It was cold and drizzly, but as we parked the car and saw a steady stream of santa-hatted runners heading towards the start, I felt that maybe I had made the right decision. As we got closer to the start and saw the assembled crowds, we worried that perhaps 400 barcodes might not be enough, it certainly seemed likely that last years Christmas record of 234 runners would be broken – and it was, with a fantastic total of 413 runners completing the course, many of whom were visiting parkrun tourists.

At the start, Dennis, the day’s Run Director (and new Event Director) was in a fantastic Christmas outfit, his festive briefing included jokes that must have come from a Christmas Cracker. He also thanked outgoing ED Adrian for his 3 ½ years in the role.

Despite the drizzle, and the damp weather in recent days, the regular course around the university field was used – definitely the right decision with the number of runners, although the mud meant that it was not the day to bring out the new Christmas trainers. Thanks must be given to all the marshals around the course who gave up their Christmas mornings so that others could run, and greeted us all cheerfully despite the cold and damp. Thanks also to the non parkrunners, many walking their dogs, who stopped to let us past, and must have wondered what on earth was going on as several hundred Santas, elves and turkeys thundered past.

At the finish the timekeepers, funnel team and barcode scanners also awaited cheerfully despite the weather. 413 runners and walkers were efficiently scanned, including the 12 which had to be dealt with manually as we ran out tokens.

Also thanks to all the volunteers who delivered and dried out the kit in time for our next run on Saturday and for Mike who took the time to process the results on Christmas Day.

Altogether a very successful morning – and I don’t regret at all my decision to join in!

Clare Mountford

On Christmas Day 413 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 97 were first timers, and 14 runners completed their first ever parkrun. 63 new Personal Bests were recorded. Representatives of 60 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 20 volunteers:

Ivan JEARY, Karen COOK, Mike FEIGHAN, Paul & Becci BARTER, Richard & Beverley ASHE, Petra AUBERT, Martin BRINT, Felicity WARD-SMITH, Alice GREEN, Shaun VANSTONE, Mandy & Kayleigh LUCAS, Corinne MCWILLIAMS, Dennis HALL, Peter HORRELL, Richard TAFFLER, Ethan SMITH and Marcus BROWN

Christmas Day's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Exeter Riverside parkrun Results Page.


Run Report # 222 – 24 November 2018


Give us a break (in the clouds)

Every week the Event Director and Run Director have to decide if the course is safe to use. During Autumn and Winter that often focusses on the state of the University fields. They can quickly become waterlogged and very slippy. When it gets like that we look to an alternative ‘out and back’ course that avoids the fields. It reduces turned ankles and pulled backs and also stops us turning the fields into a churned swamp.

The forecast for this week’s run was not encouraging: a yellow severe weather warning for heavy rain. But the power of Parkrun did its thing and we had a good hour with very little rain. Still lots of impressive puddles on the course. We need to be brave and run through them and not cross over onto the cycle path on the way out: cyclists and a contraflow of runners on just one side of the path won’t work!

Despite the forecast, 259 people emerged from warm duvets to jog, run or walk our 5k course. All made possible by this week’s hardy team of volunteers: Richard Ashe, Rebecca Barter, Hannah Blizzard, John Caswell, Ella Coupland-Smith, Jenny Debenham, Lavinia Edwards, Max Evans, Rosie Glazier, Steve Hagley, Dave Hubbard, Lewis Jones, Bertie Kingsley, Sean Laws, Sarah Moffat, John Staplehurst, Rob Sweet, Shaun Vanstone, Felicity Ward-Smith, and John Wiseman.

18 of today’s finishers are also regular volunteers and have reached their ‘25 Volunteer’ milestone and been awarded their purple T-shirt. If you haven’t voluntered for a while, it would make a big difference if you could for a couple of sessions between now and Christmas. Take a look at the gaps on our volunteer roster

39 people completed their first Exeter Riverside Parkrun of which 7 people were doing their first Parkrun anywhere. Thanks for coming along.

Several people reached Parkrun milestones today: Elizabeth Bowden reached her junior 10 run milestone. Agnieszka Bobon reached her 50 run milestone. And Nicki Ashworth, Barbara Hutchings and Magda Bobon all reached their 100 Parkrun milestone. That’s a combined 1,800 km! Congratulations to you all.

Our first male finisher and first finisher overall was Christian Hewitt in 17:15. Joanne Page was the first female finisher in 20:52.

Times were a little slower this week, perhaps due to the extra turns and ‘water jump’ features. 24 people still managed to secure a Personal Best (PB) time: that’s about 50% down on what we usually see. 2 runners achieved an age grading of over 75%: Claudine Tisbury 86.81% and Karen Cook 85.40%. Usually we have around 7 or 8 people over 75%. You should all feel extra proud of your achievements.

We’ve got just 6 more Exeter Riverside Parkruns (including the special Christmas Day edition) until we say goodbye to 2018. Feels like it’s time to start digging-out the Christmas hats, tinsel and fancy dress!

By Adrian Harding




Run Report # 219 – 3 November 2018


Pyrotechnic Parkrun

 Warm and dry for this morning’s ‘Bonfire Night Weekend’ Parkrun. We collectively put on a great display. Some runners went off like rockets, nobody failed to light and everyone sparkled. None more-so than our volunteer pacers in their brand new, blue pacing vests. Our timekeepers also used our new timing kit for the first time and even our Run Director got in on the action with his new megaphone.

It was great that we had our biggest turnout of 2018 - 380 people - to see our volunteers looking so shiny! This was our fourth largest turnout ever which is even more incredible when you consider that our record of 422 finishers was set at a time when there were fewer local Parkruns to choose from.

A big thank you to everyone who has donated to Exeter Parkrun over the course of the year whether that be to purchase our defibrillator (which we place by the finish funnel), or replace our kit. Also those who, by staffing an aid station in the rain during the Great West Run, attracted a donation from the race organisers.

We are also hugely grateful to people who freely give their time to make our event the fun, inclusive and motivating success it’s become. This week’ s volunteers were Neil Adger, James Adger, Richard Ashe, Rebecca Barter, Paul Barter, Hannah Blizzard, Marcus Brown, Ella Coupland-Smith, Max Evans, Mike Feighan, Steven Forrester, Christina Green, Peter Horrell, Lewis Jones, Simon Kain, Emma Kain, Sean Laws, Ruby Melville, Mic Morgan, Val Mountford, Leigh Powell, Shaun Vanstone, and Felicity Ward-Smith. Many thanks to you all and glad you stayed dry and relatively warm this week: you chose well!

If you haven’t voluntered before or for a while, it would make a big difference if you could volunteer for a couple of sessions between now and Christmas. There are lots of different roles and there’s always help at hand if you need it. Take a look at the gaps on our volunteer roster 9 of today’s 422 finishers have reached their ‘25 Volunteer’ milestone and been awarded their purple T-shirt. We’d love to improve that ratio and get to 10% or more.

50 people completed their first Exeter Riverside Parkrun of which 18 people were doing their first Parkrun anywhere. Thanks for coming along.

Congratulations to Emily Macaulay on reaching her 50 Parkrun milestone today.

Our first male finisher and first finisher overall was Peter Monaghan in 16:48. Nicky Savill was the first female finisher in 19:33

I don’t know if it was the good running conditions or people still being full of ‘energy’ from bowls of Halloween sweets but I can’t remember a week when we’ve had so many people – 92 (including me :) ) - achieve a Personal Best time for the course. We also had 10 people achieve an age grading of over 75% including Peter 89.98%, Heather Lambert 89.47% and Karen Cook 88.12%.

We had a volunteer photographer on ther course today, so keep an eye on our photo collection In the meantime, there are some great shots from a couple of week’s ago when we were running in the fog; very atmospheric.

Well done to all of today’s finishers and volunteers. When you look out of your window tonight and see fireworks in the sky, they’re for you. All of them.

By Adrian Harding



Run Report # 218 – 27 October 2018


Goodbye summertime


On the weekend the clocks go back we were greeted with a mix of sunshine to remind us of the amazing summer we’ve had, and cold that let us know that winter’s on its way. The transition could be seen in clothing choices too: lots of long sleeves and running tights on display plus the first sprinkling of gloves and hats. But still some hardy souls persisted with shorts and vests: I think I caught flu just from seeing them!

A big ‘thank you’ to this week’s chilly volunteers who made it possible for 331 people to walk, run or jog 5k around the Exeter Riverside course. There are over 20 volunteer roles that we need to fill every week. We’re lucky to have a core group of regular volunteers but we always need other people to join in. Take a look at the gaps on our volunteer roster and sign-up for a session or two

Our first male finisher and first finisher overall was Chris Alborough in 16:43 (a Personal Best - PB - time for our course). Hannah Mattinson was the first female finisher in 19:39 on her very first Parkrun anywhere; she certainly got the hang of it! Like Chris, a further 50 people achieved a PB time for the course. Well done to you all.

8 people achieved an age grading of over 75% including Karen Cook 86.67%, Corinne McWilliams 86.18% and Mark Davidson 79.62%

Congratulations to Mark on reaching his 50 run milestone on his first time with us at Exeter Riverside.Last week we added Mandy Lucas, Caroline Gentry and Dennis Hall to the red-shirted ‘50 Club’. Dennis is currently our co-Event Director (and was this week’s 30 minute pacer); he’ll be taking over fully from 1st January. A great example of combining being a regular participant and also a regular volunteer. In addition to Dennis, 16 of this week's finishers are part of the purple-shirted '25 volunteer milestone' club. 

60 people completed their first Exeter Riverside Parkrun. Alongside Hannah, 26 people were doing their first Parkrun anywhere. We had visitors from South Hams and South Africa and places in-between (although it’s fair to say most were nearer to South Hams!)

When this week’s 331st finisher crossed the line they became Exeter Riverside Parkrun’s 11,928th finisher of 2018. Collectively we’ve covered 59,640km this year. That’s very nearly 1.5 times around the equator or 1,413 marathons.

By Adrian Harding



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