Event 154 – the one with the third birthday!

Happy Birthday Luton Wardown parkrun!

I'm really not sure how 3 years have passed.
It doesn't seem so long ago that 197 walkers, joggers and runners made their way around a beautifully sunny Wardown Park for the first ever parkrun, supported by 21 volunteers. Since then there have been a total of 35,259 runs, covering 176,295k and adding up to 2 years, 29 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes and 21 seconds!! All supported by 508 amazing volunteers.

We have walked, jogged or run in every kind of weather and at many, many different speeds - from 15 minutes to over an hour and 15 minutes and beyond. Every single 5k is an achievement for someone and 7341 of them have been PBs!

However the numbers don't really tell the story, the people do that. Rivalries and friendships have been formed, often hand in hand, and we have become a community, a vibrant, multi-coloured, lycra-clad community brought together by the magic of a free 5k run in the park on a Saturday morning #loveparkrun


So it seems fitting to include some of the things people wrote when I asked them to sum up what parkrun means to them in 3 words, 3 sentences or 3 paragraphs.

Claire - I’ll do 3 paragraphs.
Amazing as ever and so lovely to see and feel the sun
Fantastic atmosphere and so proud to be part of it. Chatting to people who you might not necessarily talk too is fantastic.
Achieving goals that were not once achievable and feeling proud. Being told by others they were trying to chase you! Amazing.
Happy 3rd birthday.
Thankyou to everyone who helps with our lovely parkrun. Xx

DeanLovely friendly people

New weekend routine.
Met great people. 
Changed my life!

Jane - Commitment, happiness and determination!


One for Rick
50th parkrun Saturday
1st marathon Sunday
No stopping him!

And one from me (Kate)
1. Friends
2. Cake
3. Happiness

 TreesaFriendly, fun, cake!

Liz - Friendly, fun , fabulous !

JulieFriends, cake and fun! 

Running marathon tomorrow.
First one ever.
I blame parkrun.

MarkMy beloved parkrun

AdamRun with friends

ElizabethOhmy! Parkrun! Family!

And finally:

Alison - Saturday morning obsession!


Here's to the next 3 years (and many, many more)


For results and a shedload of statistics have a look here
For all of the photos Malcolm and others have taken have a look at our Flickr site

28th April - Chase the Pacer
26th May - Chase the Pacer (with added Carnival set-up going on!)



Event #153 – the one with more alliteration

Last super Saturday was a slightly warmer one, the warmest we've had all year! The mood was better, the delightful ducks were swimming happily in the River Lea and the clouds had parted for the sensational sun. Although it wasn't so hot that the run was unbearable, otherwise there wouldn't have been so many pleasant personal bests!

LutonWardown parkrun 7.4.18

There was a total of 291 precious people that ran, jogged or walked the familiar course on Saturday. Out of that 291, 31 rowdy runners recorded radical personal bests, 32 were fantastic first timers and 19 were sporty and speedy sports representatives from different certifiable clubs, including the successfully spectacular Stopsley Striders and the dazzlingly dashing Dunstable RRC!


With all that being said, let's congratulate the most recent marvelous milestone in the healthy history of our loveable Luton parkrun. Drum roll please...let us eulogise the gorgeous Gemma Gregson, who completed her 10th parkrun with us! A very mighty and well-deserved well done is in order. The passionate parkrun community will be by your side during these next 40 parkruns so we can congratulate you on your 50​th​ run.


Now it is time for the motivated males placings. The first, the dashing Dan McAlpine, finished with a time of 17:10. The second, the rip-roaring Rob Barnes, went through the funnel at 17:42. And the third, the terrific Tom Rankin, crossed through with a time of 18:40.


As for the fabulous females, the exquisite Emily Feasey crossed through the funnel with a time of 23:32. Second place went to the alluring Abi Brown finished with 24:05. And finally, the third woman to cross was the precious Paula Nicol, who ended her run (with buggy) in 24:13.

Luton Wardown parkrun 7.4.17
LutonWardown parkrun 7.4.18

Before I end this report, it is important to thank all of our vital and valiant volunteers, who came extra early to get set up for perfect parkrunning. Thank you to every single one of our 33 volunteers, because we have all of you to thank for making parkrun possible.

LutonWardown parkrun 7.4.18

That's it for this wicked week's report. Make sure you're ready for another 5km run this Saturday, aim for even more personal bests and celebrate parkrun's 3​rd anniversary on the 14​th​ April!

Luton Wardown parkrun 7.4.17


14th April -
our 3rd birthday! Mad Hatter's theme followed by cake in the Cricket Club
26th April
- Stopsley Striders Beginners course starts
28th April - Chase the Pacer
26th May
- Bank Holiday Chase the Pacer



Event #152 – the one with the multi-coloured tutu & lot’s of cake.

This week a fabulous 293 people ran, jogged and walked the course (and tackled the ‘mound of opportunity’ 4 times!) at Luton Wardown parkrun on a colder than expected Easter weekend. Well done you to all!

Luton Wardown parkrun 31.3.18

Another great turnout on the morning.

I was asked to write the run report this week by one of the Run Directors as I am running my first marathon in London on the 22nd April 2018 to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, and I’d thought I’d say a little about parkrun and the boost it has given me to my running journey!

I had previously dabbled with running with a couple of charity 5K runs in London in 2006 and 2008, both which ended up in much discomfort as I weighed 5 stone more than I do now and didn’t commit to any regular training. Coupled with a negative running experience with a running club outside of town which didn’t cater for beginners at all, I had totally lost my confidence with running and it fell by the wayside.

Fast forward to 2016, 5 stone lighter, and I had started to run 5k’s on the treadmill in the gym. I really wanted to go outside to run, but lacked the confidence and motivation to do so. Someone mentioned parkrun to me, so I liked the Luton Wardown page on Facebook and watched all of the updates and posts months before I plucked up the courage to go. I finally gathered the courage to come to Luton Wardown parkrun on the 27th May 2016 on a blustery and showery spring morning. I remember walking over the bridge to the boathouse, following all the other runners and walkers, and feeling really nervous, but as soon as I introduced myself and was directed to the new runners briefing I was made to feel really welcome. One parkrun later I was hooked, and it became my new Saturday morning habit! I soon encouraged my sister, brother in law and nephews to come along too and by June we were all taking part each week and loving it – I’m also really proud of their achievements.

Luton Wardown parkrun 31.3.18

Getting to the top of 'The Mound of Opportunity'

What I love about parkrun is the sense of community, that everyone is welcome regardless of if you want to sprint round, run, walk, Jeff or just have fun and be active. I’ve taken part in parkrun 38 times now in all weathers, 34 of these at Luton Wardown, once at Milton Keynes (up the famous zig zags) but have also taken part in parkruns on holiday in Poole and on New Years Day in Houghton Hall, and on Christmas Day on Stevenage. I hate mornings, so it is a real testament to parkrun that I get up early on a Saturday morning to take part, and on bank holidays too – that’s how much I love it! I’ve also volunteered 21 times, and help most weeks set up at Luton Wardown, but have also tail walked and marshalled and love encouraging others on.

Thanks to a pacer week I finally made my long awaited goal of running a 5k in under 30 minutes in December 2016 (thanks Kim for pacing) and motivated by other parkrunners I have joined Stopsley Striders running club which I would never done without the encouragement. I have made some great friends and I have also discovered the joy of post run cakes at Leeroy’s café in the Cricket Club each week!

Buoyed by the enthusiasm and sprit of parkrun I entered the ballot for the Virgin London Marathon on a complete whim, and was beyond shocked when I received a letter telling me I had a ballot place in October 2017. I realise I am extremely lucky to have the ballot place on my first attempt for the London Marathon and decided to run the marathon for charity so some good could come from my efforts and choose Cancer Research UK. I have been training since January and parkrun has often been the start of my weekend long runs and has given me a smile to take with me for the rest of my long run – although I am looking forward to coming back to the café after the marathon is done and enjoying cake. If anyone would like to sponsor me my link is here.
There are also many other fellow parkrunners running marathons this spring, some of which are for charity – please do consider giving them your support (some of them have fundraising activities in the Cricket Club afterwards) or a good luck wish!

So, enough about me, and onto your amazing achievements!

Of the 293 people who ran, jogged or walked the course 27 were first timers, 16 of whom joined parkrun for the very first time, and 40 who recorded new personal bests. A massive congratulations to those with a new PB (I hope you treated yourself to some cake afterwards) and a very warm welcome to the first timers – I hope this is the start of a new Saturday morning habit for you too. The famed ‘mound of opportunity’ or slope which we get to enjoy 4 times each Saturday was not too slippy this week, Spring is on its way!

Luton Wardown parkrun 31.3.18

There were three milestones to celebrate; many congratulations Krisztina Czirbesz and Neil Wootten for joining the 50 club, and many congratulations to my own sister Jennifer Avis who joined the 25 volunteer club!

This week was a chase the pacer week, well done to all the pacers who made PB’s possible for their fellow parkrunners and the other volunteers (of which there were 39 in total) who made parkrun at Luton Wardown possible this week. A massive high five to our high viz heroes.

Luton Wardown parkrun 31.3.18

Kate pacing with her usual 'there's a camera' face. Editor's Note - she obviously didn't write this comment. :-)

There were lots of bunny ears out on the course this week, "Guess the jelly beans in a jar" at the Cricket Club (also running next week) and a multi-coloured tutu, outfit and hair worn by Thomas Darby (which was the inspiration for the title of this run report) who ran a cake sale in the Cricket Club afterwards to fundraise for HemiHelp who he is running the London Marathon for. You can find out more about at Thomas’s fundrasising page here.

Luton Wardown parkrun 31.3.18

Thom in his finest regalia

Until next week, for more parkrun fun!


14th April - our 3rd birthday! Mad Hatter's theme followed by cake in the Cricket Club
28th April - Chase the Pacer


Event 151 – the one with Elizabeth’s journey

I'll start this report in the usual way by thanking the 37 volunteers who enabled 281 walkers, joggers and runners to circle the park on a pleasantly mild morning.
Congratulations to Ben Noble on his 10th parkrun (and thank you for the biscuits) and to Lee Petryszyn on his 50th.
I must also mention Geoff White, the fastest walking stick in Luton, who has just got even faster and recorded his 4th PB in 8 weeks! I know a lot of people use him as a target but you are going to have to work even harder to keep up with him :-o

Luton Wardown parkrun 24.3.18
Geoff before his latest PB run

The rest of the report is a little different as we highlight one of our runners and her long and scary journey to parkrun and beyond. Over to you Elizabeth . . .

All the family including the dog

My Longest Journey – A Battle with Sepsis.

My life changed in February 2017 when I woke up in the middle of the night with severe abdominal pain. I had been fit and healthy so it was a shock to me to feel pain that was completely off the scale. After admission to the Luton and Dunstable hospital, and a diagnosis of a kidney stone that had blocked the tube leading to my kidney, my condition rapidly deteriorated and I become critically ill with a condition called sepsis.

Sepsis is the body’s immune system extreme over-reaction to an infection so it can start with flu or a simple cut, a chest infection or perhaps a urinary tract infection. Sepsis kills 44,000 people a year which is more than bowel, prostate and breast cancer plus road accidents in the UK put together. It has been called ‘the biggest killer you’ve never heard of’ and it can happen to any age group, fit, healthy people too. If you listen to The Archers or Call the Midwife, you will have seen that it often takes control very quickly and that can lead to a catalogue of issues both medical and psychological.

In my case I developed septic shock and blood poisoning, my blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels and I required intensive support to stay alive. Following a night of resuscitation, and a trip to theatre to repair my infected kidney, I had a heart attack which required me to stay in the Luton and Dunstable hospital for over two weeks. My road to recovery was a very slow one and once I had been signed off by the cardiac rehabilitation team, running became a fundamental part of my recovery. It’s something I can do easily and efficiently, with others or without and this flexibility has made it an attractive option for me.

I used to run when I was younger and really enjoyed running half marathons. It’s been very difficult for me mentally to feel like I’m improving as my times are always very slow but that’s a conversation I have with myself every time I go out for a run. I have really enjoyed the camaraderie that I find at the Luton Wardown parkrun and now choose it weekly over the other runs in the area.

I attend with my family and we all enjoy the feelings of support and friendship that you get from the running community. I have also joined a wonderful group of runners in my local area, ‘Run Harpenden’ coached by Andy Jordan and this has given my mental state a lift as well as offering lots of ideas for improving my time and fitness.

I run a support group in the local area for anyone affected by sepsis and I am looking to reach out to others who have been affected with the condition or those who have watched their family member deal with the difficulties. If you would like further details please contact me: elisabeth@thegardensanctuary.co.uk or 07794351958. In the meantime look for me on a Saturday. My daughter Emi and I will be wearing the red Sepsis UK shirts so come and say hi and have a chat. I’d love to meet you.

Elisabeth Grover



To volunteer - have a look at the future roster, choose your role and email us at lutonwardownhelpers@parkrun.com
Results - can be found here

31st March - Chase the Pacer Easter special
14th April - our 3rd birthday! Mad Hatter's theme followed by cake in the Cricket Club
28th April - Chase the Pacer


Event #150 – the one on St Patrick’s Day

So Spring has supposed to have sprung and the temperatures are supposed to be looking upward towards double figures during March, but this simply wasn’t the case on Saturday.

Luton Wardown parkrun 17.3.18

It shows the strength of parkrun with such cold weather and a bitter wind that the 150th Luton Wardown parkrun was able to happen at all. I take my hat off (but not for long – it's cold you know!) to the volunteers who helped make the event happen. parkrun does not happen without these volunteers so I hope they have warmed up after such a great job on a cold day.

Luton Wardown parkrun 17.3.18

A special thank you to Richard Evans who has volunteered 100 times, such a wonderful achievement and one that was rightfully recognised by a card from all at our parkrun.

Richard 100

What a day for first timers. Who would have thought that 12 first timers would have made it down to seek the new obsession of parkrun on such a cold day. Well done to them and we hope to see you again next week or sometime soon.

Despite the weather it was good to see so much green for the St Patrick's day parkrun. I think many were showing their true colours in readiness for the afternoon’s rugby.

Luton Wardown parkrun 17.3.18

Luton Wardown parkrun 17.3.18

With spirits warmer than the air it was good to see so many great times and finishers. Rob Barnes was first finisher in a brisk time of 17:53, first female finisher was Christine Lathwell in 20:27 and this was also the best age grading run on Saturday. Sara House celebrated her 50th parkrun, there were 25 PB's and there were a few birthday runs too. Well done to all who celebrated or achieved something special on our cold 150th St Patrick's day parkrun.

Luton Wardown parkrun 17.3.18

This parkrun personally was part of my marathon training for London. I ran it slower than usual but it was nice as it allowed me to have a chin wag with Rick about marathon training. This shows the joy of parkrun as you can chat and keep fit at the same time in the beautiful surroundings of our park. The marathon will be my fifth and one in which I am running for Hemihelp; a charity that supports young people with Hemiplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy which effects the function of one side of the body. It is a charity that is close to my heart and a small charity with 2 part time staff that certainly needs the support. I will be back at parkrun on 31st March with cake for a small donation, and if you like to sponsor me then please visit my site Thomas Darby's fundraising page

See you all Saturday for what should be a warmer and just as colourful runfest in Luton’s favourite park!


Dates for Your Diary
24th March - parkrun/Foodbank Colour Run Double - parkrun at 9am, Colour Run at 10:15am.
Can you 'Do the Double'? Run both events? Marshal at both events? Do one of each?
Leeroy's Cricket Club Cafe will be open throughout both events.
Donations of food being collected at parkrun.

Charity Colour Run Poster 2018

31st March - Chase the Pacer Easter special
14th April - our 3rd birthday! Mad Hatter's theme followed by cake in the Cricket Club
28th April - Chase the Pacer

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