Event #4 The one with all the PBs

Our super organised parkrun team arranged for a nice dry, bright day for event 4 but somehow ‘not freezing’ seemed to get missed from the order. A walk of the course identified a couple of icy patches where puddles had frozen so the setup crew did their best to break them up and highlight them for the runners.

The first timers briefing was again a big crowd; Adam explained how parkrun worked and an introduction to our course.

Then it was time for my debut as RD!  I tentatively climbed up onto the bench (at 5’2” I needed all the help I could get in the height department) and called for quiet.  Thanks for being so obliging and well behaved.

Formalities out of the way we made the small walk to the start and on a 3,2,1,Go the runners were off (twitching at their watches as the countdown went on). By the time we had carried all the bags, coats etc. over to the finish the front runners were already coming past!

Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018They all seemed to be enjoying the fast, flat course (although one of our Tring tourists would only give us flat-ish :-0) and before we knew it the first finisher, Alan Barry from Stopsley Striders  was charging up the funnel (or tunnel as it was called by one of the team) in an impressive 18:10. In total there were  54 PBs! - 11 of which were for people on only their second parkrun :-)

The timers kept clicking and the tokens kept being handed out (so many we had to open Box 2!) as we watched the numbers go up to an amazing 195!  This allowed for some fun as runner 180 crossed the line and the timers called out the number check.

Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018

We had a great range of people running and walking around the lovely park course, it was especially lovely to see families getting active together. The ages ranged from the under 10s to the over 70s - really proving that parkrun is for all.  There were 20 people doing parkrun for their very first time and we hope they loved it and will be back again soon.

Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018

Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018

We had a few tourists (and tourist dogs) including quite a group from Wimpole Estate.  In total there were 101 runners at Houghton Hall for the first time and representatives from 22 different clubs were there – word of Houghton Hall is spreading!

Last but absolutely by no means least I want to thank the volunteers that made the event possible.  Even though we are a new event the team worked really well together and made my RD debut an enjoyable experience – I hope they made your run (or walk) as much fun.

See you next week :-D


Event #3 New Years Day 2018 – The one with the parking issues

Happy New Year everyone!

On a cold, slightly damp morning in January, who would have thought we would have two hundred and forty three runners come and run around our lovely park, a large proportion of them already having run at Luton Wardown Park at 9am!

Some slightly bleary eyed faces greeted me as I tried to comprehend why the barriers were down on the overflow carpark we usually use, something to do with it being a Monday, I was told, argh!!!

Houghton Hall parkrun 1.1.18

Ah well, we won't get many runners out on New Years Day, how wrong I was!


The stream of runners was quite overwhelming through our little gap in the trees at the start, over a hundred more than we have previously had.


Houghton Hall parkrun 1.1.18

Fortunately, everyone made it round safely, including the FOUR! buggies and multiple dogs, with only one slip at the end by an ambitious over-taker! (alas, no photo of that bit)

Houghton Hall parkrun 1.1.18

Some stats:

Fastest Male - Robert Barnes - 17:51

Fastest Female - Jennifer McBain - 20:01

243 Runners

Four Buggies

Three Dogs

Two Pinch Points

And a Partridge... oh wait, Christmas is done already...!

A huge shout out to our lovely volunteers, we really can't do this without you, also thanks to both Cheryl and Amanda for the photos :)

See you all soon,



Event #1 The Inaugural Run

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

12 marshals marshalling
11 directors directing
Ten juniors a jumping
Nine ladies squatting
Eight men a chatting
Seven first timers a briefed
Six scanners a scanning
Five PBs
Four timers keeping
Three Santa hats
Two tail walkers
And a buggy in a pinch point!

An astonishing 142 (yes, really!) parkrunners headed in force to Houghton Hall Park, Houghton Regis, for the very first official parkrun at Houghton Hall on the 23rd December! Run Director Adam Langford created a calm yet wonderfully jolly environment from start to finish with everything going according to plan, if he was a bit overwhelmed, you wouldn’t have known! There were turkey hats, fancy dress, high hopes, excitement all round and one buggy-dog runner!

20171223 Houghton Hall parkrun Event #1

The whole set up was smooth and orderly, everyone knew what they were doing from the runners to the 22 volunteers, bar few parkrun newbies but they had soon been rounded up, welcomed with open arms and given their first-timers briefing by Jeanette Eames, on this brisk, foggy morning.

For those who didn’t come for our first event, and those who are trying to find a PB course, look no more! A recent lottery funded boost gave this stunning park a lovely visitors centre, climbing frames for the children and stunningly kept gardens to the rear of the park and upgraded parking.

This two and a half lap course feels shorter than it is, starting from mid-way up the park under a canopy of trees. As you set off, you pass some climbing equipment, you’re then led out the park and meet with a six meter incline towards the back end of the course. No drama, until you meet it for the last time! Back in into the second pinch point, its flat again until you loop back, consisting of mud, gravel and tarmac paths, there’s no ‘ideal’ footwear, especially when it’s wet! Coming back through the top end of the park you pass the finish funnel for the first time, probably dropping off your jacket as you go! The tarmac path brings you through a shelter of trees, and towards the visitors center at the front of the park. Diverted then through the mud and/or gravel path be sure to duck and jump under tree branches and over the roots, it makes for a challenging but extra fun addition to the course, of approximately 800 meters over two laps. You exit the wooded area, not far from where you went in, almost wondering how you did so many meters in there as you fly through and make a sharp right to see where you started the course and repeat, going past the finish funnel a second time and then for the third time, sprinting to the finish you leave that greatly loved safety-blanket of grip from the gravel path for the slightly slippery, unnerving grass counterpart to receive your finish token with lots of applause and motivational love given at the end and throughout the course from all our wonderful hi-vis heroes.

There was just short of two minutes between the first male and female finishers. Jed Noblett came in as the first finisher with an incredible sprint finish almost cartoon-like spinning others as he came flying down the funnel in a very respectable 17 minutes and 38 seconds. Our first female finisher came soon after our second and third males with an equally respectable time of 19 minutes and 36 seconds. Another astonishing achievement was made by Margaret Dewinter snatching up the Age Grade record of 82.89% with a time of 24 minutes and 50 seconds. Our fastest and youngest finisher in the JM10 category, with a total parkrun experience of an astounding one run (haha!) was Samuel James in 23 minutes and 28 seconds, narrowly shadowed by Jake Langford and then Oliver Coombes. Our finisher with the most parkrun experience was Dave Thomas, clocking his 428th run in 30 minutes and 37 seconds.

Lastly, I would just like to give a humongous thanks and applaud to Tam Quinn for making this whole thing possible, the whole core team for coming together and getting set up so quickly. To all the volunteers, runners, those who took part in our trial giving us some important feedback, you’re all amazing.

I think I speak on behalf of everyone involved in saying it was a truly tremendous event, run impeccably well and we’re all so pleased that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves (including getting a testimony from a tourist saying how well the event was run and what a beautiful course!) So congratulations to everyone and see you all again next week!

20171223 Houghton Hall parkrun Event #1

By Gwynneth Gordon
Pictures @ https://www.flickr.com/groups/houghtonhall-parkrun/


New Years Day parkrun

We are delighted to be joining forces with Luton Wardown to host a New Years Day run.  Luton Wardown will kick off at 9:00 am and Houghton Hall will follow at 10:30 am.

The Houghton Hall Visitors Center Cafe will be open for post run drinks.

We look forward to seeing you at our 3rd event and getting 2018 off to a happy and healthy start.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Older Posts ⇒
⇐ Newer Posts