Event #316 – It takes all sorts!

351 parkrunners, 43 first timers, 50 PBs and the parkrun jigsaw

Written by Peter Coombs

Like all other parkrun events, Hanley parkrun operates a strict 'no barcode, no time, no exceptions!' rule but when an athlete's printed barcode won't scan, their details are written down and added to the results. So this Saturday morning I found myself in the role of 'soggy barcode monitor'.

Fortunately, after some early light drizzle, the weather was dry and unseasonably warm and there were very few unscannable barcodes for me to deal with. Free to act as a roving reporter, I was able to talk to some of the other 29 volunteers and 350+ runners and ask them about their parkrun experience.

The Run Director: Bryn HOLMES has been involved with Hanley parkrun from the very first event back in September 2011 when there was only 17 runners and five volunteers. Six years later, Bryn is one of the core team of volunteers at Hanley parkrun. Whilst most weeks I can rock up at 8.50, enjoy parkrun and be happily back home for a thick cut bacon butty before 10am, the Run Director is at the park soon after 8.00, is last to leave at getting on for 11.00 and has all the hassle and responsibility of organising volunteers and ensuring that hundreds of people have an enjoyable and safe 5k. It's quite a responsibility and commitment so why give up your Saturday morning to do it? Bryn simply says “I love it.”

The First Timers: I find Melanie PIPER and Aoife JACKSON looking a little lost near the bandstand and after guiding them towards the first-timers briefing, ask them what brings them to Hanley parkrun. The answer to that question could be 'broomsticks' as it turns out that they are both Quidditch players from Keele. Melanie has only ever run 5k on a treadmill indoors before and they're both keen to improve their fitness for the upcoming season.


The Volunteer: Like me and several other volunteers today, marshal Caroline DAVIES is saving her energy for a competitive 10k on Sunday. I ask Caroline what she likes about parkrun. To my surprise she says “I hate parkrun. I really don't like doing laps”. So why is she here giving up time to volunteer when she could be having a nice lie-in? “Well, it's good to give something back.”


The First Finishers: These are the people I usually only see disappearing off into the distance, but this morning I'm able to catch up with the first finishers - if only because I'm already waiting at the finish when they arrive. With 5k times I can't even dream of achieving, these are clearly very good runners so what's the attraction of mixing it with the pooches and pushchairs at Hanley parkrun?

Tim TWENTYMAN, a club runner with Newcastle (Staffs) AC, is first across the line in an impressive 18:47. His second 'first finish' in seventeen attempts. What does he like about Hanley parkrun? “It's good training”. But isn't it really just a fun run? “It's still competition and a chance to go fast” says a slightly breathless Tim.

Another highly competitive runner is first female finisher Tracy DEAN of Staffordshire Moorlands AC. I congratulate her but despite still recovering from last week's Chester Marathon and having just clocked a new parkrun PB of 20:15, Tracy is disappointed not have gone sub-20. She says parkrun is a good “tempo session” (…for non-experts like me, that basically means a faster paced workout. Don't ask me about 'lactate thresholds'). I ask Tracy if she'll now have a post-run fry-up but she explains that this morning she's already her usual breakfast of oats, fruit and hemp protein. I make a mental note that bacon butties may not be the secret to cracking that elusive 24-minute 5k…

The Family: Dad and daughter duo Danny WALKER and Millie WALKER have just completed parkrun together. It's Danny's 49th and Millie's seventh. I ask Millie if she has a special breakfast before running but she gets round on “just yoghurt”. Danny says he really likes the “family feeling” at Hanley parkrun and hopes that not too many regulars are lost to Newcastle when, or if, a new parkrun starts there.


The Visitor: In the post-run crowd I meet Karol TOMKINS who is combining a walking trip to the Peak District with a visit to Hanley parkrun. Karol's usual parkrun is Shorne Woods near Gravesend in Kent but she's done plenty of 'parkrun tourism'. Shorne Woods parkrun is almost all on forest trails and Karol likes the tarmac paths of Hanley Park. How does Hanley compare to the other parkruns she's visited? “Very enjoyable. Definitely in the top ten” says Karol..

Chatting to people this morning reminds me what a diverse but friendly group of people parkrunners are. Thanks to everyone who answered my daft questions and apologies for any misquotes.

Oh, and sitting (…I won't say 'collapsed') on a grassy bank just past the finish funnel, Melanie and Aoife have now completed their first ever parkrun. I ask them how it went and if they'll try Hanley parkrun again. The answer is more Arnie than Harry Potter: “Yes. We'll be back!”

More photos of smiling runners and volunteers on flickr - thanks Wendy Sears.

Thanks to all the volunteers this week : Laura Joan HALL • Bryn HOLMES • Beth DAWID • Millie HOLMES • Naomi OWEN • Philip DAWID • Jonathan TIDESWELL • Wendy SEARS • Ruth PARKES • Peter DIVALL • Dave ELBORN • Paul COTTERILL • Simon CLARKE • David COOPER • David KINSELLA • Karen SEILES • Dan OXLEY • David HEBB • Andy DIDDAMS • Caroline DAVIES • Craig CARPENTER • Sara BROOME • Peter COOMBS • Dan HEATH • Oscar SCHOLES - FURNESS • Gary EDGE • David CLARKE • Katherine TRAVERS • Charlotte WILLIAMSON • Amany WILLIAMSON

Get in touch by e-mail (hanleyhelpers@parkrun.com) or have a chat to us on Saturday morning to put your name down! To make the magic of parkrun happen each week, we need a minimum of 15 volunteers each week to cover the main finish area roles and marshalling points.

Event History
This week 351 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 43 were first timers and 50 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 31 different clubs took part. You can find a full set of times here.

Hanley parkrun started on 24th September 2011. Since then 6,496 participants have completed 49,556 parkruns covering a total distance of 247,780 km, including 9,585 new Personal Bests.


Event #315 – Therapeutic running and walking

333 parkrunners, 31 first timers, 49 PBs and the joy of running

Written by Adri Hartveld

As an aging athlete, 58 on Saturday, running for me could have lost its appeal, but it has been the walkers and runners enjoying parkrun at a slower pace, who have most enhanced my motivation to keep going.


As a physiotherapist I hear from most of my patients that they want to get fit. Through Couch to 5K and parkrun, they see friends and family members getting fit, and they start believing they can do it. This belief that he / she can achieve (“self efficacy”) is the key to motivation.

Therefore, last Saturday and on Saturday, on my birthday, again I was keen to get up at 7.20am to do my warm-up exercises in the kitchen. I ran from my home in Newcastle to Hanley Park, a nice hilly 3.3 miles. After a lap running with the front runners, I dropped off and chatted with the other participants during the remaining two laps. I asked them about the therapeutic effects they feel doing the parkrun, and from training for it.

The most common reply was stress relief. So many parkrunners told me about how running and walking clears their mind and relieves them from the pressures of work. Running and walking gets us away from stressors and gives us time for reflection. It makes us calmer and elevates our mood.

It has always struck me how many people smile whilst they’re running. There was no hesitation about talking to me whilst jogging around the hilly three lap course. Several parkrunners told me about how it motivates them to not only train to run, but also how to tackle other things in life. It has built the confidence in many participants, particularly by those who wanted to be slimmer. They’ve lost weight, others have noticed, and they have become more upbeat to get out there and keep going. One lady struggled a lot with the loss of her mother and so many pains in her body. parkrun and training through a run and walk programme got her back to functioning well, and feeling happy again.


Although we tire ourselves during the run, we feel much more energised afterwards and in general throughout the week. We feel fitter, not just for ourselves, but also to coach: many parkrunners help others to get fit, a cricketer told me how it helps his cricket coaching, and a boxer ran with his daughter to keep himself fit and guide her with her netball training.

The social aspects were mentioned a lot. So many of us have made friends through parkrun and clubs, and the 2 groups particularly named were Potters Trotters and Stoke FIT. parkrun is also a great opportunity to do something useful and fun as a family. Who knows how much family life is enhanced and how many friends are made through parkrun?

Two runners told me about the spiritual benefits, getting closer to God. Walking and running gives us time for reflection and prayer. It makes us appreciate the wonders of the human body as well as the beautiful nature we travel through.


I interviewed a 9 year old, proud as punch of getting round and keeping up with his mum and big brother. I ran with a 78 year old lady that uses her runs to keep strong, to help her to continue with her job and supporting her granddaughter.

The benefits of running at the back seemed greater than running at the front. It made me appreciate more that it's participation and not pace that counts.

More photos of smiling runners and volunteers on flickr - thanks Wendy.

Thanks to all the volunteers this week : Taryn TALBOTT • Bryn HOLMES • Beth DAWID • Graham MCLACHLAN • Julie HOLMES • Philip DAWID • Lee BARNARD • Ben BEWLEY • Chris KINSELLA • Michael John UNWIN • Kerry DIXON • Mark DIXON • Charlie COX • Paul COTTERILL • Simon CLARKE • Karen SEILES • Paul GLOVER • Andy DIDDAMS • Sara BROOME • Jo YENDOLE • Mel BATH • Oscar SCHOLES - FURNESS • Andrew SLACK • Natalie CARTER • Lara WILLIAMS • Katherine TRAVERS • Mark HOUGHTON • Charlotte WILLIAMSON • Amany WILLIAMSON


Get in touch by e-mail (hanleyhelpers@parkrun.com) or have a chat to us on Saturday morning to put your name down! To make the magic of parkrun happen each week, we need a minimum of 15 volunteers each week to cover the main finish area roles and marshalling points.

Event History
This week 333 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 31 were first timers and 49 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 31 different clubs took part. You can find a full set of times here.

Congratulations to Laura Hall on her 50th parkrun and also to junior Toby Colley who completed his 100th parkrun with a new PB.


Hanley parkrun started on 24th September 2011. Since then 6,453 participants have completed 49,205 parkruns covering a total distance of 246,025 km, including 9,535 new Personal Bests.


Event #314 – Having your cake and eating it!

290 parkrunners, 27 first timers, 54 PBs and the joy of volunteering

Written by Wendy Sears

Ok I have a confession to make. I love volunteering at parkrun. There! I said it. But here's the thing. Sometimes I want to run too! Believe it or not, those two things are not incompatible.

So you wake up one morning, thinking to yourself: "Mmmm, I'd love to volunteer on Saturday, but I also feel like stretching my legs a little." Well fear not! Here are five ways that you can have your cake and eat it too! Yes, I knew the word cake would grab the attention of some of you!

xxx parkrun

Be a pacer!

On the last Saturday of every month, you will hear the call for pacers. Pacing is really enjoyable! You simply run to an agreed time, one with which you're comfortable. You put on a tabard which displays that time for everyone to see and try to ensure your run is as evenly paced as possible. Simples!

Support the Pre-Event Setup!

You're helping to support the process of setting up for the parkrun. The meeting point is always by the tennis courts at 08:00am. Have you ever wondered who puts out the barriers, cones, flags and directional signs? Well wonder no more. Come and help and satisfy your curiosity. You'll be supported all the way and soon you'll be able to put everything in place blindfolded. And you can run afterwards. (Please note that parkrun insurance doesn't actually allow you to undertake pre-event setup whilst wearing an actual blindfold. That was just an expression!)

Support the Post-Event Closedown!

So you finish your run and are catching your breath. Why not stay a little longer to help put away all the barriers, cones, flags and directional signs, after the tail walker has crossed the finish line. You get to socialise and see where everything is stored - which is useful for when you want to support the pre-event Setup... am I being too subtle here? After the run, you can also make toast, pour the coffee or wash up in the parkrun cafe; sort the finish tokens; or, if you are more technically minded, learn to process the results.

Tail Walk!

Walk at the back of the field to ensure that everyone is accounted for. This is a great role and you get to cross the finish line, sporting a fashionable orange tabard.

Hanley parkrun 16.09.17

Run report writer!

Simply submit a report about some aspect of your parkrun experience. It can be specific about the experience of the day or about your cumulative parkrun experiences. Be aware that anything in the realms of 'Fifty Shades of parkrun' is not likely to make Hanley parkrun pages, but beyond that, feel free to express yourself!

Each one of the roles above allows you to run, jog or walk the course; counts towards your parkrun running tally (providing you remember your barcode of course); and ensures you are also registered as having volunteered. And once you get the volunteering bug ... and it is addictive ... you may find yourself volunteering for timekeeping, or giving out finish tokens, or scanning, or run directing!

Thanks to Mick Hall for sharing some photographs from this week's run, now on flickr.

Thanks to all the volunteers this week : Andrew PEMBERTON • Ash WILKS • Brian TONKS • Bryn HOLMES • Craig CARPENTER • David COOPER • David EAMES • Dean BROMLEY • Gary PAYNE • Graham SHERIDAN • Ian SLOSS • Jackie MCGOWAN • Jasmine GREEN • John BEATS • Kaye MORRISSEY • Kerry DIXON • Kevin BILL • Laura Joan HALL • Linda SHEFFORD • Liz TIDESWELL • Mark DIXON • Mark HOUGHTON • Michelle HARROP • Mick HALL • Murray GRIMES • Oliver James CLARKE • Paul COTTERILL • Phoenixe COPE • Sam BROOKES • Simon CLARKE • Wendy SEARS

Get in touch by e-mail (hanleyhelpers@parkrun.com) or have a chat to us on Saturday morning to put your name down! To make the magic of parkrun happen each week, we need a minimum of 15 volunteers each week to cover the main finish area roles and marshalling points.

Event History
This week 290 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 27 were first timers and 54 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 29 different clubs took part. You can find a full set of times here.

Congratulations to Andrew Lee, who completed his 50th parkrun, and Andrew Pemberton, who completed his 100th parkrun.

Hanley parkrun started on 24th September 2011. Since then 6,422 participants have completed 48,872 parkruns covering a total distance of 244,360 km, including 9,486 new Personal Bests.


Event #313 – How Time Flies!

334 parkrunners, 31 first timers, 42 PBs and a time to reflect

Written by Olly Clarke

As we celebrate Hanley's 6th birthday, I like to think myself a bit of an old hand at it now. From when we used to start down at the bottom of the lake and wait for the fountains to come on at 9am sharp, to commentating about the 'new' course being hillier - or flatter - or whatever.

I was there when Hanley's founder Tommy Hill left to pastures new (and start another parkrun). I was there to see the first 100 shirts be given out (when they all got delivered to Liz's house for distribution) and I'll be there to see the first 250's pretty soon.

Here are some of my personal highlights.

#55 - My first ever; a cold November Saturday in 2012. We went out for all you can eat breakfast after as a reward.
#63 - The lowest attendance I've seen - only 37 hardy souls made it this day, it must have been chucking it down!
#111 - My highest ever positioning (7th). I went round in 22:11 which would have only got me 25th last week.
#113 - My PB! (20:40) Getting on for 4 years ago now, but I'll get back there one day!
#138 - My 50. It took me 83 weeks to get here, I clearly wasn't as committed at the start.
#191 - My 100. Only took me 53 to get to this one!
#171 and #172 - the Saturdays before and after Norah was born. Pretty impressed I didn't miss one, Emma was not so! (Think Norah's done over her 100 now too but being pushed in a buggy is cheating if you ask me)

As like lots of you, parkrun is now ingrained into my week, it's not an 'are you going?' anymore, it's not even a question! I'll hopefully hit my 250 next year, and I'm going to give that pb another good go at sometime too, I just need to find someone else to take charge of the buggy!

The volunteer takeover on Saturday by Newcastle (Staffs) AC was organised for a number of reasons; primarily to thank all the regular volunteers, as well as our event directors Bryn and Liz, for all the hard work they do week in week out to make Hanley parkrun as successful as it is. Secondly, to show everyone that club runners are not all lithe and sinewy sub-3 hour marathoners. Of course, there are some of those but they are more likely to be people like me, and you; people who just enjoy to run, no matter how far or fast. Running is one of the most inclusive activities you can do, and joining a club, any club, will only enhance the experience (but please join our club). It was also a time for members of Newcastle to reflect on a wonderful member of our club and avid parkrunner that we lost three years ago; Steve Askey.

Finally, a big mention has to go out to Kat Saunders who smashed over 70 seconds off her pb on her 100th parkrun.

Thanks to all the volunteers this week : Graham MCLACHLAN • Charli WELLER • Lee BARNARD • Mark David Arthur COOPER • Ben BEWLEY • Oliver James CLARKE • Peter MORGAN • Kathy JACKSON • Mark DIXON • Jennifer ALCOCK • Kayleigh MORRIS • Gareth COPLEY-JONES • Nick GORDON • Rob HAINES • Dean BROMLEY • Jo YENDOLE • Murray GRIMES • Anita BROOKES • Isabel BROOKES • Mel BATH • Ian BROOKES • Natalie CARTER • Darren SMITH • Debbie DAVIES • Jacqueline PEPPER • Violet HAWLEY • Deborah HOUGHTON • Mark HOUGHTON

There are lots of different roles available, from putting out the signs to pacing, timekeeping to token sorting and marshalling to making the tea and helping with the washing-up. Get in touch by e-mail (hanleyhelpers@parkrun.com) or have a chat to us on Saturday morning to put your name down!

Event History
This week 334 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 31 were first timers and 42 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 31 different clubs took part. You can find a full set of times here.

Hanley parkrun started on 24th September 2011. Since then 6,395 participants have completed 48,582 parkruns covering a total distance of 242,910 km, including 9,432 new Personal Bests.


Event #312 – Reflections on Volunteering

Written by Lee Lymer

All of you will have seen the temporary disruption to our course, so I won't mention too much about that.

Hanley parkrun 16.09.17

My focus this week will be on volunteering and I went around and chatted to as many of you, wonderful people, who spare your time to help the parkrun to take place, as I could. Thanks ever so much to you all! I was interested to know why people, some of you who purely just volunteered and didn't run, wanted to get up early on a Saturday morning to do this. Wow, did I get some fantastic and varied answers.

Clearly most of you felt very strongly that you wanted to return some of the pleasure you get from taking part in the event yourself. You wanted to give support to your fellow runners and you loved seeing the varied athletes taking part, whether it's walkers, children and families or club runners. Some of you volunteer almost every week and others less often, but you are all as valuable to us.

Many of you said that volunteering is a great way of still being involved in the running community even if you couldn't run. For example, you may have very young children, an injury, lost your mojo or even have a race the next and needed to rest your legs.

Hanley parkrun 16.09.17 Hanley parkrun 16.09.17

For those of you who have seen the volunteering rota will know that there are a lot of positions that you can do where you can run and volunteer. A lot of people, and I'm guilty of this myself, forget that you can also volunteer in the parkrun cafe. As you can imagine, it gets very busy so it's very important that more people can help. It isn't just about washing dishes, there are loads of different things that needs doing and of course, there is nothing stopping you running as well.

Another thing I was interested to know was why more people don't volunteer and of course nobody really knows the answer to that. There were a few theories on why and one on the top of the list is that it could be fear. Fear of not knowing what is expected of you or fear of having to commit to something that you don't have time for. Some people only decide that morning that they want to help, which is okay but if you can plan ahead, that helps us to know that all important positions are covered, especially when extra marshals are needed due to the course changes. And volunteering is something that everyone can do, not at all related to the speed that you run.

Hanley parkrun 16.09.17 Hanley parkrun 16.09.17

I haven't volunteered more than a couple of dozen times but I have covered most positions at least once, just out of curiosity. Therefore, I can say that most positions are so easy to do that no previous experience is needed.

Everyone who volunteered this week said that they found it extremely rewarding and if you have never tried it, I think you should. You can nearly always choose what position you want to try and there are several ways of taking part.

  1. You can send an email to hanleyhelpers@parkrun.com
  2. You can message us via Facebook or comment on one of our FB posts
  3. You can just speak to the run director after the run (or at the cafe)
  4. Ask your running club or group, if you are part of one, to organise a volunteer takeover. It's a fantastic opportunity to get involved with your club mates and share out the responsibilities between you. If you are involved in a club and want to organise a takeover, please get in touch - Newcastle (Staffs) AC will be taking the helm next week.

Quite a few of this week's volunteers and runners came to Hanley from South Cheshire Harriers. They are planning to start a new parkrun in Crewe. They have a venue and all the necessary permissions in place but are still seeking funding before they can start so we wish them all the best for their event. If you have any ideas for possible funding sources for them, please get in touch with us. We can't wait to have a new venue so close to us. Isn't it exciting?

Next week at parkrun...
We will be celebrating our 6th birthday on Saturday... we know there will be cake. Will you be joining us? Don't forget your fancy dress.

Thanks to all the volunteers this week : Eve TAYLOR • Bryn HOLMES • Liz TIDESWELL • Beth DAWID • Ian ALLEN • Ray WILSON • Lee LYMER • Alli-Bongo LYMER • Jonathan TIDESWELL • Lana DAVIDSON • Wendy SEARS • Ruth PARKES • Claire ALLMAN • Graeme SPENCER • Paul COTTERILL • John PUTT • David COOPER • Dan OXLEY • Emma DASEY • Caroline DAVIES • Craig CARPENTER • Sharon ELLISON • Mike WILKINSON • Dean BROMLEY • Laura Ann SLACK • Liz PRESTON • Daniel CHAPMAN • Phoenixe COPE • Clare EDGE • Gary EDGE • Natalie CARTER • Katherine TRAVERS

Event History
This week 327 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 31 were first timers and 39 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 24 different clubs took part. Congratulations to Dan Jordan, who completed his 100th parkrun. You can find a full set of times here.

Hanley parkrun 16.09.17

Hanley parkrun started on 24th September 2011. Since then 6,364 participants have completed 48,248 parkruns covering a total distance of 241,240 km, including 9,390 new Personal Bests.

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