Run Report for Fountains Abbey parkrun 203

It was wonderful to be back at Fountains Abbey after the cancellation through snow and ice last Saturday. One of the privileges of being a Run Director is being able to conduct the course set-up.  This involves an idyllic free run through the grounds, armed with cones and signs, before anybody else has arrived.  It really is a rare opportunity to appreciate the splendour of the surroundings we are lucky enough to run through every Saturday morning, while also checking the condition of the route.  Yesterday, and with the excellent company of Dave Binks and Chris Brown alongside (and doing most of the carrying), it was obvious that it had rained hard throughout the night, and indeed was still raining hard: stair-rods; cats; dogs; even the odd dishevelled squirrel had fallen to earth looking at the number finding shelter in the undergrowth.

There was a degree of concern, but thankfully the waters were still running under the wooden bridge, not over, and the path around the Half-Moon lake was clear of water, just! Now we do always thank the National Trust, after all, without their unstinting support we would probably be running three laps around a muddy field and then trying to squeeze into a tiny café for post-run refreshments.  But yesterday morning their support was outstanding.  Before we had arrived on site, they had opened two sluice gates and cut draining channels from the path into the lake, both measures were effective in managing water levels and meant we didn’t have to exchange trainers for flippers (or indeed cancel the run).  So a huge thank you to the National Trust team working the grounds yesterday morning from us all.

One other thing that really stood out to Kathy and myself yesterday was again the volunteers.  Always brilliant, but yesterday the contribution from family groups was truly heartening and encapsulates so much of the magic of parkrun.  So as well as the wonderful individuals, a thank you to the Bell-Dales, Childs, Houghtons, McCookes, Oates and Parrys.  And to the younger volunteers, namely George and Millie, Oliver, and Kaelin and Chloe, we think you are amazing and deserve to have your names highlighted!

Any parkrunner drawing the curtains back early yesterday morning might (maybe just) have been forgiven for having second thoughts on seeing the rain and gloomy skies and returning to the warmth of the duvet. But no, 331 of you ventured forth and resolutely completed 5km in the rain.  This must be another example of the power of parkrun, and when all is said and done, there is something immensely satisfying about completing a run and ignoring the elements.  I will wager that a while ago, some of yesterday’s runners would have returned to blanket cove and skipped a week, though probably harbouring pangs of guilt for the remainder of the day.  Coffee and cake always tastes better when combined with drying out and warming up with friends and family in the café!

First home for the boys was Richard Watson in a terrific 17:54 (with a WAVA grading of 81.75%), while leading the ladies home was Eva Whitaker in 20:03, even more impressive as Eva runs in the JW11-14 age category and clocked a WAVA grading of 81.21%.  Continuing the theme of junior volunteering, we had some really impressive junior running yesterday: George Couttie, 3rd home in 18:25 (grading 78.73%), closely followed by Matthew Burke in 4th (18:36 / 77.79%) and Amelie Aylesbury, third lady in 21:17 / 78:15%.  To put this into context, all three run in the Junior 11-14 age category, and all three recorded personal bests.  In sum 40 PBs were celebrated yesterday – well done to you all!

Some Milestones and Mentions

Junior runners marking their 10th parkrun include Holly Newby and Erin Burrows, well done to both of you.

On running their 50th parkrun, congratulations to Richard Knowles (plus a shiny new PB), Paul Harford, Tracey Tinsley and Linz McCooke (marked by tail walking with her two daughters).

And although we don’t usually highlight 150th runs, a huge cheer for Chris Brown. This was Chris’s first run since his recent charity bike ride from the north tip of North Island to the south tip of South Island, New Zealand. Welcome home!

Volunteering at Fountains Abbey parkrun

For everyone that has already put themselves forward to help out in the coming weeks we are supremely grateful.

2 vacant volunteer slots on17 March 2018
Lots of vacant volunteer slots on 24 March 2018
Even more vacant volunteer slots on 31 March 2018

As always please drop us a line at if you can assist with volunteering in the future.

Donating to Fountains Abbey parkrun

It’s now four years since we set up Fountains Abbey parkrun and we have recently replaced some of our signage and kit and bought a few new bits and pieces. Some of the kit gets provided by parkrun HQ. Some of it doesn’t and on those occasions we do reach out to the community and ask for donations to help keep & our wonderful parkrun and improve its facilities and functioning.
If you would like to make a donation to Fountains Abbey parkrun please simply click on the link below:
Thank you very much for your support. 100% of the funds raised are used directly for the benefit of Fountains Abbey parkrun.

If you love Fountains Abbey parkrun, why not join the National Trust (NT)?

If you’d like to join the NT, which for a family is only around £9 per month, the link below provides more information, or you can go to the Visitor Centre at Fountains Abbey:

Important notices concerning the Fountains Abbey parkrun. 

Please do not be offended if we ask you to help us. Many thanks for your co-operation & support in looking after the beautiful environment in which we run each week.

The beautiful play area by the cafe is open from 10am on Saturdays; we politely welcome visitors down to the Abbey for the parkrun and if you’d like to stay and spend more time in the beautiful grounds please just head back through the Visitor Centre once the grounds open to the public [free to NT members].

A polite reminder to all parkrunners that the trees at the start area are not clothes pegs. Please would runners leave their kit on the ground during the run.

Fountains Abbey parkrun takes place before the NT site opens to the public, therefore parkrunners, volunteers & spectators are kindly requested to be through the Visitor Centre gate and down by the Abbey before 9am or you will be denied access. We politely ask that all visitors to Fountains Abbey parkrun help us and our special relationship with the NT by respecting the basis upon which we operate. The gate at the top by the Visitor Centre is now closed at 9am so anyone hoping to get in after this time will be disappointed. The good news is that we look forward to joining you for a coffee in the Visitor Centre café as soon as we possibly can. Thank you for your support in this important matter.

All parkrun visitors must vacate the Abbey grounds before 10am when the NT site opens.

Visitors arriving at Fountains Abbey by bicycle are asked to leave their bikes in the racks at the Visitor Centre please. Bikes are not allowed in the grounds beyond this point.

There are toilets by the Visitor Centre and these are well signposted. There are additional toilets around 50 metres behind the old start line by Fountains Hall. Please use them - no exceptions; we need your fullest support with this. Thank you.

Please stand in the correct place at the start of the run according to your ability. If you are slower than the runners behind you this will cause a bottleneck at the start of the parkrun.  Please mind your feet particularly at the start of the run. No slips and trips please

A reminder about one of the key rules that govern parkrun. For your, our and your children's protection could parents please help us by making sure that any children under 11 are accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

Why not order yourself a printed plastic barcode?

A range of tough and durable plastic parkrun barcode ID tags are available via These are the only UK authorised and professionally printed tags and feature the parkrun branding and logo, your athlete details and can also be personalised with your ICE (In Case of Emergency) telephone number and additional information including specific medical details. They come in a range of options and can be attached to a key ring, laces, and running vest zip or worn on a lanyard.

Local races

If you would like to hand out any race literature at Fountains Abbey parkrun we would appreciate you seeking permission from the Run Directors as there are some specific rules that govern us here at Fountains Abbey.

And now the official bit...

Fountains Abbey parkrun, Event number 203, 10 March 2018

This week 331 people ran the course, of whom 32 were first timers and 40 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 24 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 27 volunteers:

Steve MARKS • David JELLEY • Matt PAXTON • Neil DRING • Dave BINKS • Steve SILVER • Jon HANCOCK • Joanne BELL • Alison TURNER-PARRY • Emily PARRY • Oliver PARRY • Emma OATES • Tim TRIBE • Sally HOUGHTON • Emily HOUGHTON • Clare CHILDS • Oliver CHILDS • Graham BOYD • Katie OATES • Linz MCCOOKE • Kaelin MCCOOKE • Kathy GARGAN • Chloe MCCOOKE • Millie BELL-DALE • George BELL-DALE • Robert EAMES

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Fountains Abbey parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Sharon BARLOW who recorded a time of 17:36 on 25th July 2015 (event number 72).

The male record is held by George MILLS who recorded a time of 15:44 on 22nd October 2016 (event number 136).

The Age Grade course record is held by Val NAYLOR who recorded 94.76% (25:08) on 22nd July 2017 (event number 174).

Fountains Abbey parkrun started on 1st March 2014. Since then 9,492 participants have completed 55,032 parkruns covering a total distance of 275,160 km, including 9,908 new Personal Bests.