Run Report #194 – 12th January 2019 by Leanne Shrive

‘I had the pleasure of pacing again at parkrun this week, I've paced on 13 different occasions now and each time I thoroughly enjoy it. I thought I could give a bit of a 'low down' for those that have never paced but would like an insight! People say to me all the time that they couldn't pace out of fear of doing it wrong, or being too fast/slow. *DISCLAIMER* None of us claim to be professional pacers, we are all just volunteering to say we will try our very best to be as 'on time' as we can be! There was 7 different times being paced this week: 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36 and 38 minutes.


Duties start at 8:30 and I learnt the hard way when I rocked up at 8:45 to a 'jovial' telling off from Paul (ooops!) just as he was about to start the briefing for those that hadn't paced before. Bibs and timing cards (kindly made by Roger that we actually wouldn't be able to pace accurately without), Paul explained that the idea is to run as consistently as possible, whilst reaching each 'check point' at the time on the card, all whilst encouraging those around you.


Huddling in the rain and cold at the start line we all took our positions ready for the 'go'. You can hear murmurings of 'what time is that pacer?', 'I'm going to try and stick with them' and 'I might chase them for a PB' (eeek pressure!!). Announcements made and we're all off, all 433 of us - that's a record number of people at our lovely parkrun by the way. Looking at the card, we're already behind. We're at 20 seconds and not even past the start line (some people don't realise how congested our start line is, so it really does help if you stand in the right time zone at the start) but I know the crowds spread out and we can claw this back, a few seconds at a time at each 'check point'.


There's 3 main check points on the cards; start corner, playground corner and turnaround tree's, as well as an average pace in kilometres or miles. Pacers aim to arrive at each checkpoint around 10ish seconds either side of the time on the card (although the closer the better!), keep a steady pace between checkpoints, be aware of anyone around them and keep talking to anyone who will listen. I check over my shoulder a lot whilst pacing, to make sure anyone hanging on is getting any encouragement they need, particularly on the last lap where we are all tiring. I thank the marshals on the last lap, reminding the runners it’s the last time we'll see that marshal or that landmark!


Coming down by the dog walk for the last time, I tell people around me that I am going to keep a constant pace till the end (you can't do a sprint finish as a pacer!) but that they should all aim to overtake me by the time they cross the line. The amount of people that say they having nothing left yet come flying past you on the last hundred meters is amazing! Crossed the line, (my watch says about 15 seconds too slow but that's ok because there was a flurry of people whizzing past us and I jumped out their way), and there's normally some beaming faces turning round to thank you, that's what makes pacing feel so rewarding. Someone might have achieved a PB, completed their first parkrun, they might have achieved a time they hadn't thought they'd reach again, or they might just be glad to have got round another parkrun. Whatever their reason for being there, I'm always pleased to have encouraged people round (I don't say helped them round, because it’s their legs that carried them round not mine!)


Lastly, I had to ask Roger from some stats because I thought you might be missing some. So, Well Done to the 433 runners who set us a new record amount of runners! There was representatives from 28 clubs, 37 first timers and 38 parkrunner's achieved PB's, all looked after by our 42 lovely volunteers. Oh and to the 21 'unknowns' on the results - next time, don't forget your barcode!’


Run Report #193 – 5th January 2019 by Roger Pangbourne

A Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to the first Run Report of 2019.

After last week’s bumper-filled stats edition, a somewhat slimmer Run Report this weekend!  But any statistician cannot ignore when a record is set, so let’s start off with that:  On Saturday, with a chill in the air, but no signs of any rain or snow, a record attendance of 415 parkrunners completed Market Harborough parkrun.

It’s nearly a full year since the previous attendance record was set:  The first weekend of 2018 didn’t quite set a record (361), but the second weekend did at 394.  This record stayed in place throughout 2018, the second and third highest attendances being in May (381) and June (378).  So 415 is a great way to start 2019 and we look forward to many similar sized attendances through the year.  Here’s a little chart of our record attendances at MH parkrun:

Attendance records


Starting with event number 1 (111).  After dropping to the lowest ever attendance for event 2 (92), we then had 5 record attendances in a row, growing from 118 to 179.  A month later, saw the 200 mark exceeded for the first time (203 in July 2015) and then a break until January 2016 (209).  April 2016 saw the record broken twice, once at the start of the month (227) and then on the 4thSaturday of April, MH parkrun’s first birthday (a massive 295).  The first weekend of 2017 was the next record (342), nudged up in March to 375.  Then came the above mentioned 394 in January 2018, which stayed on until this past weekend.  So the big question is:  Will 415 be our attendance record for the rest of 2019 and if not, how many weeks until this is broken again?!

Records apart, we welcomed 39 First Timers to MH parkrun this weekend, 23 of whom were completely new to parkrun.  And we congratulated 48 parkrunners achieving PBs to start 2019 in fine style.

Up front, it was a close battle between Steve TURVEY and David STAFF all the way around.  Steve kept trying to drop David, but David determinedly stuck on and then kicked on past Steve in the last km, picking up his 4th ever First Finisher at MH, this one by some 10 seconds.

First junior through the finish was Ben WOODING, 7thoverall in a cracking 19:34.  First Female Finisher was Erin BILLINGTON, setting a PB at 21:04.

Congratulations again to Anne DAWKINS for her 50 parkrun milestone – please be patient with the T-shirt order Anne! :)

Otherwise congratulations to Julie LAKE who became our record breaker yesterday in position 395 and our Tail Walkers in positions 414 and 415 – along with all the team of 37 volunteers.  We couldn’t do it without you, so thank you once again.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and week ahead and here’s an idea:  Why don’t we all do it all over again next week?!

Happy parkrunning.


Roger Pangbourne


Run Report #192 – 29th December 2018 by Roger Pangbourne

Well that was 2018 folks, another year over and new one just about to begin.  So pop the kettle on, grab something nice to nibble and huddle up for a (largely statistical!) review of 2018 at Market Harborough parkrun!

But first, it is a Run Report, so let’s hear about event number 192 from Saturday:


Jo was up the RD stepladder and overall a silky-smooth event ensued.  Thank you to our wonderful 34 volunteers who made the event happen.  It was a windy at first 9 degrees and the dry skies brought out 353 people to run, jog and walk the course.

We welcomed a large number of First Timers (36) – of whom 19 were tourists and 17 were completely new to parkrun (obviously feeling the effects of too much Christmas chocolate!).  We hope to see you again and again through 2019.

Despite the headwind into the Bowls Pavilion straight, 45 of you managed new PBs – congrats to you all.  Particular congratulations to the PBs from:

  • David STAFF, who knocked 5 seconds off his PB to record a fantastic 17:50 on his 114thparkrun (110that MH), but was pipped to be the first finisher by one second by Benjamin HAINES, a tourist from Burnham and Highbridge.  That must have been an exciting finish sprint!
  • Paul GRANGER, another PB after 135 parkruns (all at MH) – great to be still hitting PBs after so many parkruns!
  • Patsy WILSON and Wiki SOLLY, both of whom recorded PBs on their 50thmilestone PBs – Well done!

Otherwise on the day, up front was a good three-way tussle with David and Benjamin mentioned above and young Adam BARBER.  From what I saw Adam did much of the hard work towing the other two around for most of the 5k until wisdom took over and David and Benjamin fought in out for First Finisher.

The top 10 all finished under 20 minutes; you have to run under 25 minutes now if you want to appear in the top 100; around 29 minutes may see you into the top 200 and depending on the turnout, around 35 minutes will see you into the top 300.  Everyone completed this weekend’s parkrun in under an hour and the kit was soon stashed away, with thanks again to the volunteers who help with this essential end of event task.

In the café, much talk about the previous fabulous Christmas Day event and the forthcoming ‘New Year’s Day Double’.  Market Harborough parkrun chooses to participate in the Christmas Day event, but not the NYD event, meaning there are plenty of tourist opportunities for those wishing to try out a couple of new parkrun courses.  But we’ll hopefully see you back in the New Year on 5thJanuary for event number 193!


Now, what about that 2018 review?...


Well due to some bad weather in the first couple of months and an August Food Fair in the park, we had 2 fewer events than in 2017.

2018 RR1


But overall you wonderful parkrunners completed 1,200 (7.7%) more parkruns this year than last.

2018 RR2


There were 201 more unique parkrunners to Market Harborough in 2018 (+7.3%)

2018 RR3


Here is a little table showing our most frequent parkrunners through 2018:

2018 RR4 Most Frequent


And a fabulous 264 more total volunteers (+16.0%)

2018 RR5


Provided by 62 more unique volunteers through the year (+17.9%)

2018 RR6


We love our volunteers and thank them for helping deliver this wonderful event every week – a special ‘heart’ to all those who have volunteered on at least 10 occasions this year:

2018 RR7 Heart


Combining parkruns completed with volunteering credits, gives us some interesting stats on who has attended the most consecutive events in 2018.

2018 RR8 Consecutive


We still had plenty of PBs, although the more events parkrunners complete, the more difficult it becomes to reach out for PBs, so we did see a drop in the overall number of PBs (-7.8%):

2018 RR9


And here’s the roll of honour for the most PBs in 2018:

2018 RR10 PB


We had a few fewer First Timers in 2018 – still plenty each week to fully occupy our First Timers Briefing volunteer, but overall down 119 (-7.3%)

2018 RR11


All of this meant we had a great average of 334 parkrunners at each event (up 36 +12.1%), supported by an average of 38 volunteers (up 6 +18.8%):

2018 RR12

2018 RR13


You may be aware that parkrun HQ have a stated aim to gradually increase the average time at parkrun each year.  This isn’t as odd as it sounds.  As many PBs continue to be recorded, we also continue to reach out to the community and welcome more and more people to participate in a safe, free, weekly timed 5k walk, jog or run.  This inclusivity is great to see nationwide and Market Harborough has continued to support this trend, this year increasing our average time by 35 seconds:

2018 RR14


That said, there have been some great time improvements this year, take a look through this little lot! (minimum of 5 completed parkruns in 2018 to qualify for this table):

2018 RR15 Time


Some of our Age Grade % records have also been beaten this year – here are the top 2018 performances, shown in amber if they set a new MH record in 2018:

2018 RR16 Age


On our website the top 1,000 Age Grade performances are shown  (   To qualify for this list, you’ll currently have to achieve an Age Grade rating of around 66%.  To give you an idea, these are the approximate times for each Age Grade category you’ll have to hit to make this list:

2018 RR17 Age target


There is also an overall ‘Fastest 500’ list ( Those quickies up front now need to beat 20:39 to appear on that list!


Finally on the stats report (are you still awake?!) we have had plenty of milestones achieved and announced each week at the RD briefings. It’s a little difficult to extract this data, but I reckon we have had:

  • 31 junior 10 milestones achieved (white T-shirt) – congratulations those below:

2018 RR18 jnr10

  • 137 50 milestones achieved (red T-shirt)
  • 43 100 milestones achieved (black T-shirt)
  • And 22 V25 volunteer milestones achieved (aubergine T-shirt) – congratulations to those below:

2018 RR19 V25


Well I think that about wraps up the statistical review of 2018.  Looking at other happenings through the year, we had:

  • Ice, a flood and a food fair leading to 3 cancellations.
  • A record turnout (394) on the second event of the year.
  • A first first finisher who was female (Chloe FINLAY in March with 18:58).
  • A new female Course Record in July (17:36).
  • A few fallers, but thankfully nothing too serious - thank you to everyone who helps out anyone who is ever in any trouble at parkrun.
  • An amazing response to our fundraising appeal – thank you again, allowing us to supplement the first aid supplies, buy radios, pacer bibs and a few other essentials that keep the wheels turning.
  • A record number of volunteers at an event in December (51).
  • We’ve had a hen do, a few parkrun romances (I won’t embarrass anyone by mentioning names), a few weddings are due in 2019 and we’ve had a few babies and returning mums.


What a year!  On behalf of the whole Core Team, it has been our pleasure to look after the wonderful thing that is Market Harborough parkrun.


Happy New Year to one and all.



Roger Pangbourne


Run Report #191 – 25th December 2018 by Louise Dicicco

I really look forward to parkrun every Saturday, and even more so when there is an extra run on Christmas Day.  What better way to start the festivities than to meet up in Welland Park for a run / jog / walk with your friends and like-minded people.  There was a sea of Santa Hats and other festive costumes today.  This was my third time for running at parkrun on Christmas Day, and over the last four years, the numbers attending on Christmas Day have gradually increased, while at the same time the average numbers attending each year have also increased:


Year Average Weekly Attendance Attendance on Christmas Day
2015 144 124
2016 210 151
2017 298 184
2018 334 325


LD RR pic

Today, there were 325 who joined the parkrun, supported by 26 wonderful volunteers.


The most popular runner's name today was Andrew / Andy (11 in total) - this brings us to our first milestone - Andrew Shrive - congratulations on completing your 50th run.  Also joining the 50 club were Becki Shiers-Clarke, Chris Burleigh, Debbie Brown and Kate Flexi.  Rekha Kamat completed her 100th parkrun and Sean McAuliffe completed his 200th parkrun.  Well done to you all.


There were 35 first-timers at Market Harborough parkrun today, and of those, 10 were completely new to parkrun - a perfect day to start your parkrun journey.


My parkrun journey started in May 2015 - I've now completed 158 at Market Harborough, and 161 in total.  If I'm not running then it's usually due to volunteering, holiday or because of illness (although thankfully that's not very often!)


Where will your parkrun journey take you to in 2019 and beyond?  My plan is to complete my 200th parkrun by the end of next year, complete a few more tourist runs to tick some new parkruns off the 'parkrun Alphabet', try and get the last three numbers in 'parkrun seconds bingo' - apparently it would take a runner 281 runs to ensure they have a finish time for every second, so I could be trying to complete my bingo card for a while yet!


Whatever your parkrun goals are, I hope you achieve them.



Louise Dicicco


Run Report #190 – 22nd December 2018 by Haylea Smith

Saturday morning brought some lovely running weather (if a bit damp underfoot!) and I, along with 342 like-minded people, made the weekly pilgrimage to Welland Park for parkrun.  The event was supported by 51 volunteers including 18 pacers – as ever, enormous thanks to these hi- viz heroes without whom parkrun couldn't happen.

It was fabulous to see so many people donning a hat to participate in the 'Bunnetrun' ... it gave many of us an opportunity to bring out the festive headwear!  It's hard to believe that Christmas is only a copy of days away and, as we crossed the start line on Saturday there were only 9 days of 2018 left.  This time of year always makes me reflect on the year's events, so in addition to my usual mental running commentary (I love running!  I hate running!  Why do I do this to myself?  What would I do without this?  Have I really only done one lap so far? etc. etc.)  I spent some time thinking about my parkrun 'journey'.

My first parkrun was at Harborough in July 2017.  I remember how terrified I was as I arrived. I'd had an absolute aversion to exercise my whole life and arrived at the park overweight, unfit, convinced that everyone would laugh and stare and certain that I would come last – you will never know how happy I was when I learnt about the tail walkers!  This weekend was my 52nd parkrun; I've run at 9 different parkruns across three continents including Boston USA, San Francisco and Phillip Island, Australia (that one is a little hot in January and it's where I learnt what 'undulating' means when it comes to running i.e. flippin' hilly).

Every parkrun I have attended has the same characteristics: a warm welcome, friendly non-judgemental people who don't care how big, small, fast or slow I am and an atmosphere of support and encouragement.  parkrun helped me to realise that if you put on a pair of trainers and give it a go you are 'a runner' and you don't have to wait to achieve a certain pace or distance to earn that title; that realisation gave me the confidence to go and try other events.  In the past 18 months I've participated in many 'races' including 5Ks, 10Ks and Half Marathons.  January 10th to 13th I'll be in Orlando taking part in the Dopey Challenge as part of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  The Dopey Challenge is 5K, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon run over four consecutive days – I won't be fast, and it won't be pretty but I'm really looking forward to it!

No matter where I run, coming back to Market Harborough parkrun feels like coming back home.  The routine is the same every week (including my non-runner husband always being the first customer in the café, although he's a bit gutted as when I first started he would have time for a full fry up and a second cuppa ... now it's a pain au chocolate), the familiar smiling faces, the awesome marshals (who doesn't love a high five from Austin?!) and the beautiful environment that we are fortunate enough to run in.  It's always amazing to see new people join the parkrun family and watch their journey as their confidence and fitness grows.

As well as a time for reflection on the past, it's a time to think of goals for the coming year.... my parkrun goal for 2019 is to give more back to our fantastic community by volunteering more, as so many regular volunteers are frequently giving up the opportunity to run. What's yours?


Haylea Smith

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