Event #143 – the one with the parkrun squirrel

After running my 100th parkrun on the 13th January 2018, I am honoured to be writing this week's run report. If you're a regular to parkrun you may recognize me, Evelyn. I'm usually the one in purple, and most often smiling.

I started running in October 2013, with a couch to 5K program because I wanted to lose some weight. When I completed the program, I couldn’t run the whole distance in 30 minutes. In fact, it took me 47 minutes. I ran my first 5K race in December 2013 and I saw an improvement, it took me 40 minutes and I got a medal at the end! I was ecstatic and caught the running bug from then. I was living in Canada at the time and before I had left England, I had no awareness of the running community. I had read about parkrun and was happy to see there was one already up and running at Luton Wardown. I joined in as soon as I was able to. I ran my first parkrun back in October 2015 and have hardly missed any since. Saturday mornings are just not the same if I have not started the day with a run at parkrun.


My weight was not going down, running did maintain it though. But I was starting to lose my mojo for running. I was still able to come to parkrun every Saturday morning and parkrun kept me going. I decided I needed to get back into running properly, so on 1st December 2016 I embarked on a run streak. I was going to run a minimum of 1 mile every day in December! I was able to successfully complete this personal challenge. To this day, I am still running everyday and I’ve now reached 417 days! Included in those runs are several races ranging from 5 miles, several half marathons and one full marathon! I love running much more now and I don’t know what I would do without it! parkrun has been present throughout. It’s a great community and I have met a few people I can now call friends! I’ve also joined the Stopsley Striders too!

parkrun has also captured my weight loss journey with great photography from both Adam Langford and Malcom Rankin - Thanks guys! I finally looked to changing my outlook on the food I ate and joined the Keto lifestyle! It enabled me to lose over 3 stone (20kg) and having parkrun pictures really helped me to actually see the improvements.

All the running I have done since last July 2017, has been in support of Simon #teamsimon. I will be running the Manchester Marathon this April too. Simon suffered a severe stroke earlier in the year! It has left him paralyzed on his left side and he also requires a wheel chair. Myself, a group of friends and former work colleagues have been trying to raise funds to enable sufficient works to be done to change his home to help accommodate him. The funds raised will go towards purchasing a wheel chair, obtaining a mobility vehicle for his wheel chair and make alterations to his home, such as widening doorways, etc, for wheel chair access. We have now raised £20,056 of £50,000. As you can see there is a long way to go! If you are able to support our efforts please go here to read his story and donate. Much appreciated.

Ok that's enough about me! On to event 143 held on 20th January 2018. It was a grey chilly Saturday morning, at barely 2°C. With some heavy drizzle too and at some points a little sleet and, dare I say, snow.

Luton Wardown parkrun 20.1.18 Event 143

Ready to run, jog and walk despite the cold and drizzle!

Something that did get hampered by the weather was the jobs of the barcode scanners/number checker. Some of the readers were affected by getting wet, a few attempts had to be made before successful beeps were heard. Also, those paper based barcodes did not last the distance. Several soggy, smudged and torn barcodes were being presented and were not readable by the readers. That meant more people to see the number checker (me)! The sheet I was attempting to write on was also getting soaked and the pen stopped working after only the 4th entry. I resorted to taking pictures of the codes instead. That was definitely a more efficient approach!

The Barcode Crew

The Barcode Crew

Despite the weather conditions there was still a huge turnout of 318 people, including 40 first timers and 16 tourists, who ran, jogged and walked the course! The weather did not dampen our spirits. We had a visit from a secret squirrel - the parkrun Squirrel. You may have spotted a man in black with a go-pro on his head. He was speaking to a few of us, volunteers and those who had been out on the course, asking questions. The answers given just confirmed how amazing Luton Wardown parkrun is. If you haven't seen the video go here. Thanks Phil (who himself had a great run coming in, in the first 20 finishers)!

Both Rob Barnes and Tom Rankin didn't let the weather ruin their 50th Milestone runs! Rob celebrated coming in as first finisher with Tom not too far behind, as third finisher!


Rob and Tom at the start

Congratulations to you both. A very well done to the 48 of you who smashed their PB's!

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

The event was made possible by 30 volunteers:

John ROWLANDS • Andrew GALE • Liz DAVIES • June ROWLANDS • Kate NEALE • Philip DAVIES • Kulwinder ASSRA • Kathy SADLER • Marie HAYWOOD • Peter BROWN • Bridget DRIMUSSIS • David BROWN • Fiona FAYKER • Geoffrey WHITE • Evelyn LUTTERODT • Anthony WIGHTMAN • Frank GICQUEL • Karen BULL • David BULL • Ivor WEBB • Sue POTTER • Kate POTTER • Rhona MCKEE • David WYNN • Julie TYSOE • Ned HOWE • James AVIS • Jennifer AVIS • Rickey AVIS • Stephen AVIS

I hope you enjoy reading as much as I have enjoyed writing this weeks run report. I hope to see you this Saturday, it's the first Chase the Pacer of the year.

Have fun!

Dates for your Diary
27th January - first Chase the Pacer of the year
10th February - pink parkrun for Valentine's Day and the L&D Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit
24th February - Chase the Pacer
17th March - St Patrick's Day - it's got to be a green-themed day!
31st March - Chase the Pacer


Event #142 – the one with even more milestones (and cake)!

Before I begin this report, I'd like to give a gentle reminder on the barcodes. It is important to have the correct details on your barcode which include your full name and your 'In Case of Emergency' number (ICE). Having those two things printed accurately can save lives.

Now, moving on to a lighter subject, Evelyn Lutterodt ran her 100​th parkrun with us. Such a miraculous achievement should not go without any recognition, so we take our hats off to you. Well done Evelyn! You have have worked very hard.


Evelyn cutting the obligatory cake after her 100th parkrun

There was another milestone last Saturday, and that was Tom O’Connell’s 10​th parkrun!
Congratulations to you Tom as enduring running up a hill 4 times every Saturday 10 times in a row isn't an easy task. We all anticipate your 50​th run 40 weeks from now.

There's a certain group of people that make parkrun a safe, free and encouraging environment and that group are the volunteers. Last Saturday's event was made possible by 34 people who gave up their time to provide a service, and for that, you all deserve a massive thank you. Thank you.


Evelyn with a mix of our volunteers and runners.

Nearly 350 (exact number is 348) people ran, jogged or walked the course, with 43 first timers, 39 (could've been 40 if I'd been 5 seconds faster) who recorded new Personal Bests and 18 representatives of different sports clubs, including Dunstable RRC and St Albans Striders.

Now for the male placings!
Robert Barnes (definitely seen this guy on here before) finished with 17:45 (he almost got a PB too), Alastair McGeoch-Williams came second (he was a first timer at Luton!) and finished with 18:06. Thirdly, Thomas Rankin (seen this one before too), who finished in 18:47.

For the women, Christine Lathwell (I've also seen her on this list before too!) came first and finished in 21:26, Linda Scanlan passed through the funnel second with 22:03 and finally, Kim Caddy passed third in 24:29!

That's it for this week's report. Make sure you come fully prepared with your barcode and other essentials! Get ready for this week's parkrun!


Dates for your Diary
20th January - Me Time Fitness Fiesta at Riverbanks Primary School (including parkrun)
27th January - first Chase the Pacer of the year
24th February - Chase the Pacer
17th March - St Patrick's Day - it's got to be a green-themed day!
31st March - Chase the Pacer


Event #141 – the one with the New Year’s Resolutions

It was very obviously early in the New Year on Saturday as we had a big crowd for a cold, dull Winter's day. At least 34 people were completely new to parkrun and we suspect there were more as we had a larger than normal group who came up as 'Unknown' on the results.
First rule of parkrun - No barcode, No result.
If you were a newcomer I hope you enjoyed yourself whether you got a time or not? Just take heed of what we tell you - parkrun is addictive and your Saturdays may never be the same again!
If you were a regular parkrunner who brought a friend, thank you and I hope they didn't curse you too much half way round!

In an attempt to make report writing easier I asked people earlier in the week for their best parkrun memory of 2017 and their hope for 2018. Here is what I got back:

Karen - My best parkrun memory of 2017 is getting my very first sub 30 for a 5k (29:30) and then I managed 29:12 the following week - I was chuffed to bits
My aim for 2018 is to run 10k in under an hour

Karen and the PB bell

Sarah - I completed 10 runs in 2017.. knocking 6 minutes off since my first run staring 2018 off as I mean to go on with a double!

1) Breaking 20 minutes!
2) Breaking 19 minutes
3) My 50th parkrun
But honestly every parkrun is a big pleasure for me, love that friendly atmosphere.

Luton Wardown parkrun 6.1.18
Tomasz, on the left, in a battle up the hill on Saturday

Rick - parkrun 2017 - took 7 mins off my 5k, 3 stone of weight, set me up with 5 half marathons and a whole load of new friends.

Evelyn - Getting my very first sub 30 min 5K and the next was celebrating Pete’s 100th volunteering by the crowd manning his corner! That was uplifting for me ... I can only imagine how he felt when he first saw them.

Luton Wardown parkrun 6.1.18
Evelyn - always smiling

Paula - Best memory of parkrun 2017 was celebrating my 100th run with Maria as Run Director for the first time!

Fiona - 2017 wasn't too great for me, looking forward to getting back into running in 2018 and completing a parkrun without walking.

Paul - No particular highlight but parkrun is the highlight of my week. Just wish I discovered it sooner


Jose - The above as well as my first parkrun in March where I first met some of the DRR gang and my 20.36 PB with David as RD

Sunil -  Pacing my 8 year old son to consecutive personal bests, currently 34:29

JaneMy best memory was when I introduced Dwayne to Parkrun on the 24/12/16. He loves running now and he has indeed grown taller. My hopes for 2018 is for him to maintain my attitude and commitment for parkrun #lovelutonparkrun
(editor's comment - he writes a mean run report too!)

Luton Wardown parkrun 6.1.18
Dwayne, in blue, looking strong at the top of the hill

Natascha - Best memories of 2017. Starting parkrun in March. Started at 41:50 minutes - finished at 26:30 minutes. Looking forward to 2018! 

ErwinMy best memory of 2017? The look on Reece’s face when I paced him to a 24:29 PB at the beginning of July!

LisaThe one with the big puddles. It rained and it rained and I cheered and supported and volunteered. Watching people jump in and over the puddles was magic x x

DurcanWhilst doing parkrun in 2017 I have lost a few things on the way round. Three stone and four inches off my waist, to be precise. If found feel free to keep them as I don't want them back. Hopefully I can repeat the same feat this year

Lizzie - Haven't got just one memory of Wardown parkrun 2017 - I love the dressing up, love celebrating everyone's milestones, reaching my 100 parkrun,  25 volunteering, with Amanda, but mainly just love Wardown parkrun and it's amazing community. It means more than I can ever say. I can go a week without chocolate but going a week without Wardown parkrun - that's really tough, and thankfully rare.
Looking forward to a pb this year - it's been a while

As for me - my most powerful memory of 2017 was standing up and speaking in front of everyone the day after Lisa died. I have never been more proud of the community we have become.
For 2018, on a more practical level, I am hoping we get closer to starting at 9am!

Thank you all for a memorable year, here's to making 2018 just as amazing


If you want to kickstart your New Year and volunteer to make the parkrun magic happen have a look at the future roster, choose what you fancy doing and email us at utonwardownhelpers@parkrun.com

To see all the photos from Saturday, and from 2017, have a look at our Flickr page

Dates for your Diary
20th January - Me Time Fitness Fiesta at Riverbanks Primary School (including parkrun)
27th January - first Chase the Pacer of the year
24th February - Chase the Pacer
17th March - St Patrick's Day - it's got to be a green-themed day!
31st March - Chase the Pacer


Event #140 – the one where one just wasn’t enough

It’s the 1st January 2018. 222 crazy people have decided that they didn’t want a lie in to see in the New Year, but instead they wanted to run 5k at Wardown Park. 25 of these were first timers and 13 recorded new PB's.

It was a chilly morning but there was a buzz in the air and whispers of the long-awaited double. It was the only day of the year you can run or volunteer at 2 different parkruns and both would be counted! I saw a few of the speedy ones complete Wardown, run or cycle to Houghton and run again there! I drove past them in my car, with my already sore legs, wondering how I could run another parkrun and here they were running the whole thing!

It was my 25th birthday on this day. Instead of going out the night before and spending New Years’ Day recovering, I decided to wake up early and do the double. Everyone was so lovely to me and I even had a couple of ladies singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me as we started the run. I’m sure they were the same ladies that then did the same thing at Houghton Hall parkrun as well! I’m tempted to wear a birthday sash and badge at all parkruns to see if I can get a song each time to motivate me around. The marshals and volunteers were lovely as ever and wished me a Happy Birthday on each of the 4 times I passed them!

Luton Wardown parkrun 1.1.18

The bottom of the hill marshals wished me Happy Birthday each time. “She’ll get sick of it by the end”. I did not!

I had mini conversations with so many people around the course, it was nice to chat to new people. One lovely lady said ‘Happy Birthday, are you doing anything nice after parkrun?’ and I said ‘Another parkrun!’ and we laughed. She told me how she used to go out on New Years’ but when she was 25, she was waiting outside of a new running shop, waiting for it to open! Running changes you. It becomes an addiction – but a good one!

Luton Wardown parkrun 1.1.18

Me during the 1 lap my sash actually stayed on my shoulder!

New Years’ Day was also the start of my RED January challenge, raising money and awareness for mind by running every single day in January. It was great to see a few RED January t-shirts in the crowd – good luck everyone!

Luton Wardown parkrun 1.1.18

Thank you Luton Wardown parkrun for making my 2017 such a fantastic year. It was only right that I would kick off my 2018 by spending it with you as well. You’re all such a lovely bunch, see you on Saturday 6th where I’ll be bringing my friend from work! Please feel free to bring a friend as well.

Huge well done to first male across the finish line Robert Barnes who then also finished first at his double at Houghton Hall! WOW! Second finisher Gary Warren received the highest Age Grade percentage of the run (80.11%) so well done. Another big congrats to Christine Lathwell, first female across the line, and also highest female Age Grade (79.02%).

Well done to all that achieved their milestones;

50 runs : Jenny SAWYER, Mick GILES, Richard EVANS (all the way in South Africa!), Rob ALLEN, Tina GILES.

25 Volunteer : Marie HAYWOOD, Richard PEACOCK and myself




Dates for your diary:
6th January - bring a friend to parkrun (to kickstart their New Year's resolutions!)
27th January - first chase the pacer of the New Year


Event #139 – the one with the turkey sweats (and no suit)

I was lucky enough to have a special 50th parkrun
So the directors at Luton have said’ have some fun!’

So here I am with my fav memories so far,
As the last parkrun report for 2017- Hurrah!

For me it has been an up and down year
With laughter, sweat and a few sad tears

But what I think makes Luton parkrun the best
That stands it high and proud above the rest

Is the community it leads, the spirit it brings
The new friends you make and the joy this little run brings

Luton Wardown parkrun 1.1.18

We came together as strangers, now we are friends
What a message to our young one this really does send.

January and a new year double
With the new ‘resolutions’ you’d think there’d be trouble.

But Luton took the event in its stride,
The 97 finishers completed with pride.

In the spring we said farewell, to our Lisa one last goodbye.
Who will always beings a smile to my face, a twinkle in our Langford’s eyes.

Parkrun 2015-08-22 012

As the year has gone on our little parkrun has grown
The route changed a little, a few more selfies on our phones

From 97 finishers on New Year ’s Day
To 371 finishers on a November Saturday

I’m proud to be part of our Luton parkrun team
With 50 parkruns finished, and a few marathons. I’m living the dream (haha).

Now for 2018 and to get that purple shirt……
It’s so much easier than running and doesn’t really hurt.

Oh, before I forget the results from today.
It’s why you are reading this report anyway?

The first male finisher Robert Barnes crossed the line in 18:07
If I could do sub 23, I’d be in heaven!

The first lady finisher Bluebell Cooke came through in 20:08
She came through so quickly, I wondered if she was running late!

For today’s event there were 6 personal bests
No doubt they’ll get even quicker with a little new year’s rest.

Well done to Caleb Scanlan & Heather Chandler also joined the 50 club
Along with Andy Smith & Ian Straughan are now members of the 100 club.

One more thanks to our Hi-Viz heroes, of which parkrun needs each week
So come along and volunteer, it’s you my friends we seek.

Luton Wardown parkrun 1.1.18

So happy new year, to our Luton family so dear.
Can’t wait to see you soon…….. Oh waits it’s nearly New Year….

**Scurries off to organise double parkrun day 2018**

Lisa x

Dates for your diary:
6th January - bring a friend to parkrun (to kickstart their New Year's resolutions!)
27th January - first chase the pacer of the New Year

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