Run report for 2 February

Not our normal run report (which we accept are rare) but a lovely report on last Saturday's run from Alan who was visiting from Eastbourne:-

Thank you Hilly Fields

Travelling up from Eastbourne to visit our daughter we were expecting to attend Catford parkrun - but icy paths meant that we turned up to hear the disappointing news that the event had been cancelled. On no! - what no parkrun? Well, credit to my daughter, alternative plans were hastily put together and by 9.00 we were attending the first timers briefing at nearby Hilly Fields parkrun.

As always, huge credit and thanks to the volunteers who had turned up early and made sure the course was safe - mainly adjustments to direct people off of paths onto the grass to avoid icy patches. So not only did we have hills we also ran mainly on grass - a very different experience to the tarmac paths of Eastbourne's very flat course. Plus, as the name suggests, Hilly Fields involves hills - a long slow incline as well as a shorter, but much steeper, uphill - and you do each of these three times! Quite a shock for soft seasiders, where an ornamental bridge represents a category one climb!

Everything was as you would expect at parkrun - friendly, fun and just a great way to start the weekend. But given the circumstances, the volunteers were even more amazing than usual, not jut making sure we were safe but also providing huge encouragement all around the course, especially at the start of the hills. Also, big thanks to Stephen Robson, as Run Director, who had been checking the course during the week and was clearly at the park very early on the Saturday making the necessary adjustments to the course. He was also very clear regards the conditions and the focus on safety as the priority issue - no PBs please and just be sensible. And it was his birthday as well!

Thank you again Hilly Fields parkrun and we look forward to running up that hill again soon!

Alan O'Connor
Eastbourne parkrun


Our good friend, Lucreta

Those of you who have become friends with Lucreta over the past few years, will picture a woman full of energy, enthusiasm, joy, compassion, generosity, kindness, creativity and a wicked sense of humour. She has been a central part of our Hilly Fields community, running alongside us, volunteering, sweeping up the leaves outside the cafe (yes, she would come up early to do this, before everyone else arrived) and being a champion for all our junior runners on a Sunday morning, turning up, rain or shine, sunshine or hail, to stand in 'position number one' to high-five and cheer each child around the course.


We remember a time, around Christmas (we think New Year's Day), where she had walked out of Lewisham Hospital - where she was receiving treatment for Leukemia and had spent a period in an isolation ward - telling the doctors she was 'going for a walk in the park'. Little did they know, she was on a mission, marching up Vicars Hill to come and volunteer! Little did we know that, under all the layers of warm clothing, she was in a gown and very definitely not supposed to be out in the cold December wind! It's this sense of determination - and her defiance - that got her back running with us, following chemotherapy, that got her powering back up the hill and chasing the times she ran before her illness.


A little while back, a few of us visited Lucreta at home and I was stopped in my tracks as I entered her living room. Displayed along one wall were an array of medals, trophies, cups, certificates and a beautiful photo of Lucreta, with her son Andrew, at Buckingham Palace, where she was collecting her MBE for volunteering and fundraising (she has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Sickle Cell Foundation and, more recently, the Anthony Nolan Trust).


When we have seen Lucreta in the past few months, she has said many times 'I miss my family', meaning us, her parkrun family. We will definitely miss Lucreta and her incredible energy, but let us remember her positivity at this difficult time, she said herself that she wouldn't want us to be sad. I know we all feel that Lucreta is 'ours', but you know she could be found all over the wider Lewisham community, volunteering at Brockley Max, over at The Albany on a Tuesday 'helping the old people', leading walking groups, making stylish clothing, or sharing her other passion, for performing at poetry slams. What an incredible woman!




Yes we know it’s still October but people have started asking so this is to confirm that we will have our usual festive period extra runs - 9 am on Christmas Day and 10 on New Year’s Day

See you all there


Happy 6th Birthday!

6 years! Where has the time gone?

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Even the most hard of heart would have struggled not to feel a little bit emotional this morning as Event Director Stephen said a few words to mark the occasion. The big take-home message was not so much about the running (although that does have an important place in all of our hearts!), but about the wonderful local community that has built up over those six years. The fact that lots of us can’t go out for a run during the week without crossing paths with someone we know from parkrun. And the friends. Some of those friends from the early days have since moved away, so it was very special to see some old faces return today - in particular Caz Manning all the way from Stockholm, former Hilly Fields RD Emma Malcolm visiting from Hampshire and junior parkrun RD Natalie Aldham visiting from Wanstead.

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There was much buzz on social media during the week about the photos from the very first Hilly Fields parkrun back in 2012 - here are some of those people today who were at the very first event:

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[Full disclosure, this dog did not actually run the first event at Hilly Fields parkrun]

So as has become traditional, the course was run in reverse today. Much debate about which is the easier - the “right” way or the “wrong” way. Perhaps some of the statisticians amongst our runners can give us some insight. Basic maths calculations on today’s results gives us a PB rating of 13% - 40 PBs out of the 300 runners today. 34 PBs out of the 273 runners last week equals a PB rating of 12%. So perhaps the reverse course is easier. Or perhaps people just tried harder for the birthday event!

Congratulations to Bill Schomberg doing his 100th run today, to James Armstrong doing his 50th run today and to juniors Madalena Fernandez & Gabriela Fernandez who qualified for their 10 t-shirt today.

And it’s always lovely to hang out in the cafe for that post-parkrun chat, taking it full circle back to the impact that Hilly Fields parkrun has had on the community and the groups of friends that have grown from a run around the park on a Saturday morning. (And incredible to think that 6478 people have benefited from a 5km timed run around Hilly Fields on a Saturday morning over the past 6 years.)

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The phrase said by so many about Hilly Fields parkrun today was "life-changing". Enough said…

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Extra runs when it gets festive

As in previous years we will be holding extra parkruns at Hilly Fields on Christmas and New Year's Days - 9am on Christmas Day and 10am on New Year, giving you an extra lie in or the option of a double parkrun if you would like to run a neighbouring parkrun which is going at 9.

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