Run Report #156 – 21st April 2018 by Abby Davies

Spring has sprung so that only meant one thing on a Saturday morning ... the perfect day for parkrun! Up and dressed into my London Marathon finishers t-shirt from 2016, to celebrate the event that got me involved in running and a regular parkrunner, I make my way to Welland Park.

Found my spot at the start line – between 25 and 30 – and Paul takes his place for the briefing. All of the usual announcements, a clap for the marshals, a 50th parkrun for one runner then 3...2...1 off we go.

First lap is spent finding my pace and settling in to the run. One thing I notice – it's hot, really hot! My lace becomes undone (annoying) so I take a moment to re-lace before trying to catch up with the crowd I was with. Pushing on, at the turnaround point my mind wanders – urgh two more laps to go.

Heading past the tennis courts I spot a new sign that I've not seen before 'YOU'RE AWESOME' which put a smile on my face and made me feel awesome! Lap 2 feels like a struggle, it's really really hot now and I know that any minute I'll be overtaken by the, what I call, Harborough parkrun Elites. Surprisingly it isn't until I reach the turnaround tree that I get overtaken today.

Lap 2 over, I start on lap 3, knowing that the fast runners have finished it feels good to have the whole path to ourselves. Each week, on the final lap I make sure to take time to thank every course marshal who has given up their morning and today I do the same. I find doing this encourages other parkrunners to say thanks too which when you're on the marshal side is very much appreciated.

High-fiving Austin on my way around I knew it was the final time (until walking back to Tesco carpark!) that it was the last time I'd see this corner. With the finish line in sight I pick up the pace knowing that soon I can stop, hopefully for a breath of fresh air (the humidity didn't allow this!).

I've taken part in 10 different parkruns across the country but Harborough will always be my home! Along with our dedicated core team, fantastic volunteers and pretty park, there's two things that make our parkrun really unique, weekly pacers and the time zones at the start line.

Thanks to all the volunteers for once again putting on another great parkrun!


Run Report #155 – 14th April 2018 by Claire Parker

From Zero to Hero!

“Come to parkrun with me tomorrow”, I almost chocked on my pizza whilst having dinner with an old school friend. “I’m built for comfort, not speed” I said. Up to this point I hadn’t heard of parkrun but by the end of the evening I had been educated into all things parkrun and agreed to marshal the very next day. My first stint as a Marshal, was brilliant fun, I got to stand with Austin and immediately I knew I was in good hands. I was amazed how friendly everyone was from the moment I arrived and felt appreciated by both runners, other volunteers and the core team.

So, after a few times marshalling, I found other roles were grabbing my interest. Barcode scanning, handing out the finish tokens, number checking and tail walking to name but a few. My worst fear was timekeeping, but I felt I had to have a go and surprisingly, its now one of my favourites! Week in, week out I joined the high viz hero’s and was starting to get to talk to many people and making friends, I then found the social side of parkrun. Saturdays were fast becoming the best day of the week – I was addicted! I was volunteering in some capacity every week and soon gained my purple 25 t-shirt. I even started running a few times too!

As time went on, I started to think that perhaps one day I would like to join the core team. I knew that the team was at full complement but who knows what the future would hold. I contacted our then Events Director, Brian to express my interest and he suggested that I shadowed the Run Directors as an assistant to find out more about the role and to gain further experience. This was far the best move I made, I started to find out more about what went into putting on parkrun week in, week out, the course, organising and instructing volunteers in the various roles and shadowing the RD during the event. The RD team were so welcoming and helpful and keen to share my interest.

Completely out of the blue one Monday night I received a telephone call, my name had been put forward to join the Core Team, someone had moved onto pastures new. I remember being completely surprised, I’m not sure the Run Directors had ever heard someone so excited - my dream had finally come true! I couldn’t thank them enough.

This week saw my first stint as Run Director – that blue and white jacket fitted me perfectly! Such a lot of work goes into putting on parkrun every week behind the scenes from appealing to volunteers, washing and sorting out the kit and putting out social media posts but I managed to pull it together with the advice of my fellow core team members who were always on hand. My biggest fear was to stand on that ladder and speak in front of 300+ people. I needn’t have worried, armed with a script and a sense of humour, I was introduced to my audience by our Co-Events Director, Roger and all went smoothly, even down to processing the results. My volunteers, pacers and core team colleagues were amazing as were our 356 runners of which there were 27 first timers and 59 PB’s. It was so lovely to receive so many positive comments and welcomes from our runners and fellow volunteers, both on the day and afterwards on social media. I really enjoyed my first day as RD.

So, thank you to my old school friend for introducing me to parkrun, to the parkrun Core Team, past and present and to all the runners and volunteers who turn out every week. I hope I did and continue to do you proud as one of your Run Directors at Market Harborough.

See you next week!


Claire Parker


Run report #154 – 7th April 2018 by Stuart Beard

I am a parkrun evangelist.  I love parkrun, whether marshalling or running; I love the weekly catch up before the run, the debrief in the café afterwards, the wait for the email to see if the official time matches with my wrist-borne technology, and scanning the results finding the progress of people I know and working out the name of the guy with the lopsided gait that overtook me in the final stretch.


I’ve done a few, this week was my 54th, and 52nd in Harborough.  Until last week my other run was in France on holiday, where only a parkrun obsessive will make a 3 hour round trip for a 30 minute run.  The bonus being a top 20 finish (out of a field of 38!).  Last week, however, I became a proper tourist, deciding to run at Kettering just for the hell of it.  Being a tourist is a thing, for many that is the essence of parkrun, visiting different runs near and far, and for some it is all about ticking off the alphabet of parkruns.


Although parkruns are universally the same, there are small differences that come into sharp focus, particularly if your parkrun experience is shaped by only one course.  These differences are just that, differences that are to be embraced and enjoyed, and I’d like to share a few.  So Kettering parkrun is at Wicksteed park, it’s a 2 and a bit lap course with a hill and straight off we have issues here; 2 laps means sub 30 minute runners never have to worry about the greyhound of a leader steaming up behind and scaring the pants off you, at Harborough you have to be in the 24 minute bracket to avoid this.  I am not! A hill I hear you cry. Yes, some parkruns have a hill, at Kettering they have cleverly crafted a course with one hill that you go up twice, but come done three times and, even better, finish on a downhill.  The terrain is different, since the Trees Turnaround was paved; we have near perfect underfoot conditions all year round.  Kettering has a wide assortment of stony track, grass, pavement, wooden decking, a floating pontoon bridge (weird the first time) and even a railway line if you feel so inclined.


Organisationally, as you would expect it is very similar.  The Race Director strutting about looking important (is that all they do?), a very well-rehearsed new runners briefing and 3,2,1 parkrun!  What was missing, and is something we are well catered for at Harborough are pacers.  Even when I am not targeting a time that is being paced, the position of them, particularly after the tree turnaround is a good yardstick for my own performance.  On the other hand, there is something refreshing at running a new course, not recognising the landmarks and not knowing if your little peer group of fellow runners will leave you clawing for air at some point.


I strongly recommend a bit of touring, not least because you are guaranteed a PB at every new course, but in the large part, keep it Harborough!



Stuart Beard


Run Report #153 – 24th March 2018 by Lizzie Holtham

Hi All

Please find below the run report for Saturday!

parkrun 153 and my 50th!!

I can’t believe I’ve reached this milestone! Exactly a year ago today I completed my 11th parkrun, 6 weeks after my second child was born, it took me 37.51 to complete it and I was over the moon!! I managed to get round 5k with an interesting jog/walk/shuffle technique, but I did it!!

Yesterday I managed a PB, my technique is more run than shuffle now but so much remains the same! I love every parkrun I do....not always at the time, but once I cross the finish line, the endorphins kick in!!

For my 50th not only am I lucky enough to have run it but also be badgered into volunteering to write the run report!! (Just kidding Paul!) Double whammy!!

Running is a funny old business, someone I work with likened it to meditating, you focus your mind, you concentrate on your breathing and find an inner calm! For me this is true! I don’t look particularly calm or concentrated when I run but that is the effect! I’ve thought a lot about running over the last year; always making the excuse that I wasn’t a ‘real runner!’ parkrun has helped me to realise that each of us standing at the start line on a Saturday morning is a ‘real runner’ and how lucky we all are to spend an hour of our Saturday morning, with like-minded friendly people!

To the 20 first timers, well done you for coming! I really hope we’ll see you next week!

To the 55 parkrunners that got a PB this week!!! That’s amazing!!

To the 34 volunteers, if you hadn’t of given up your Saturday morning 291 of us would have been very disappointed! Thank you!

To my friend chasing me down the finish straight, thank you for pretending you didn’t have ‘anything left in the tank’ so you couldn’t overtake! I suspect you probably did!

See you lovely lot next week!!



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