Run Report #199 – 16th February 2019 by Lisa Campbell

It’s 06:25 and I wake up. My alarm, set for 06:30, hasn’t gone off yet. It takes me a few seconds to work out what day it is. Ah yes, Saturday... parkrun day! Then I remember... today is my first day as Run Director for Market Harborough parkrun. The nerves kick in. 

As I get ready, I mentally run through what I have to do, what I have to remember, what to say in the pre-run briefing etc. I feel sick. I feel dizzy. I don’t like this feeling! 

Simon helps me carry the two boxes of kit and the speaker downstairs, and load them into my car. The kit is all ready to go. Laptop, radios and barcode scanners are charged. 38 volunteer bibs are washed, dried and folded, paperwork for volunteers is attached to clipboards and a final check ensures the tokens are in order. Turns out being RD is a week-long role!

We leave home at 07:30, and arrive around 5 minutes later. The park is empty. I send Simon to the river to shovel the mud that has built up on the path out of the way, ensuring it’s not slippery for the runners. I can’t be dealing with a runner in the river on my first day as RD! Meanwhile I lay out all of the signs, posts etc. As volunteers and other members of the Core Team arrive I delegate sections of the course for them to set up. All is going to plan. 


It’s around 08:30 when most volunteers start to arrive. I tick them off on my list and hand them their relevant equipment and tell the marshals where I’d like them to marshal. 

It’s 08:50 now and that means it’s time to head to the start. Simon’s gone on ahead to get the speaker from my car and set it up. Mark approaches me and tells me that it’s his wife, Alex’s 50th run. I make a note and head to the start. 

Roger climbs the stepladder first and introduces me. I am only half paying attention, half concentrating on taking deep breaths and telling myself that I just need to follow the script in my hand. People clap and Roger steps down. My hands start shaking. I climb up the stepladder, realising it’s much harder to stand on than I thought. I don’t make it to the top step as I’m worried I’ll fall; luckily I’m 6ft tall! 

The next three minutes are a blur. I just remember the barrage of self-conscious thoughts: “I’m talking too quickly”, “I’m taking too long”, “I’m shouting”, “can they all hear me?”, “I hate my voice”, and the worst one: “why does this run brief contain so many damn Rs!” (for those who haven’t noticed, pronouncing Rs is not my strong point!). 


3-2-1-parkrun and their off! A wave of relief as the runners disappear around the corner. 

The next 18 minutes are fairly relaxed. Everyone is in place for when the first finishers cross the line. I spend most of my time near the funnel, checking that the timekeepers and finish tokens are on track with each other. Then something happens. I still don’t know exactly what, but next check of timekeepers and finish tokens shows that they’re one out from one another. Oops... Don’t panic. Nothing I can do about it now. I’ll deal with it afterwards. 

A couple of further issues arise; two people cross the finish line twice. But the funnel managers and finish token volunteers are on the ball and spot this and remedy it quickly and easily. Both people are given a second finish token and we explain that they must scan the first and pop the second in the tub without having it scanned. 

Around 10:15 and the last people cross the finish line, followed by the tail walkers. We pack up the rest of the finish and head back to the bowls pavilion. Meanwhile, various volunteers have packed up the rest of the course. We pack everything back into the kit boxes and head to the café. Bev has already set the laptop up for me. Time to process the results. 

I plug in the first barcode scanner. Then I see the message on the screen. ‘No OPN records found’. I don’t know what that means, but it certainly doesn’t sound good! Did I accidentally press the reset button on the scanner? If so, that’s 1/3 of the runners who won’t get their results! Bev tells me not to panic (I still do) and I unplug it and try again. Same message. I try another barcode scanner. That one works fine and the results from that one are uploaded. I try scanner number 3. That works fine too. This worries me even more because it tells me it’s the scanner, not the cable or laptop. I plug scanner number 1 back in and wait... Bev then says “if this doesn’t work I don’t know what to do”. Whaaaat??? I need you to tell me that this is a common issue that you have a remedy for! We both wait, nervous energy floating between us. Then... 202 records uploaded. Yes! Not sure what the issue was and frankly I don’t care. It’s working. Phew! 

I plug in and upload the stopwatch data. I then manually enter those whose barcodes wouldn’t scan. I remove the second result of those who crossed the line twice. I manage to work out that the discrepancy between the timekeepers and finish tokens occurred between runners 96 and 148. But that’s a fairly wide window. Not entirely sure what to do about this, so I ask Roger to help out. We work out what to do to fix this, and the results are good to go. I then finalise the volunteer roster, adding in those who turned up in the day to support, to ensure they get their volunteer credit and thank you email. 

I then hand the kit over to Nicola, who is RD this week, and do a final Facebook post for the week. Finally, I can relax! Overall it’s gone pretty well. Everyone is alive, and got their results. The support from The Core Team and the runners/volunteers was great! In a weird way, despite the stress and anxiety, I’m quite looking forward to my next stint as RD! 




Christmas Day parkrun

We're pleased to announce we will be organising a Christmas Day special parkrun!  This will be in addition to our normal Saturday events, so please make a note in your diaries for Tuesday 25th December 2018 at the usual start time of 9:00 a.m..

A few volunteers are required for the event, but we will be operating a 'parkrun lite' event to keep the volunteers to a minimum.

Please note the café in the park will not be open.

We will not be organising a parkrun on New Year’s Day, but there are other parkruns announcing New Years Day special parkruns - look out for separate parkrun announcements.

See you there!  Ho ho ho!


Market Harborough 3rd Birthday Annual Awards 28th April 2018

MALE parkrunner of the Year


Highly commended:  This goes to one of our quicker parkrunners.  He started with us in 2016 and has run 49 times - all except one at Market Harborough.  He has achieved 8 PBs and knocked off 1 minute and 8 seconds off his best time this year, which when you are already running under 20 minutes is pretty impressive.  He's been our 2nd and 3rd placed finisher, but not quite yet first finisher.  He also volunteers with us, highly commended is:  Jamie McAllister

Winner:  This also goes to one of our quicker parkrunners.  Not quite sub-20, but consistently sub-22.  This is a man who is usually one of the first to arrive, whether he is running or volunteering - and he does lots of both.  If he's not competing later in the weekend, he's usually here volunteering for a range of different roles he's carried out in the year.  He was a parkrunner of the Month back in March 2017, but our Male parkrunner of the year is:  Graeme Rolfe


FEMALE parkrunner of the Year


Highly commended:  I'm just going to keep this simple - 25 PBs in the year - 25 … quite amazing.  She was our parkrunner of the month in November last year - highly commended is:  Lizzie Holtham

Winner:  This is a young lady who first ran with us at event 14.  Since then she has flown past her 50 and 100 run milestones.  What is even more impressive is that even after 100 parkruns, she is still achieving PBs - this is quite rare - 9 PBs since she ran her 100th parkrun.  All her parkruns have been with us at Market Harborough.  She was a parkrunner of the month way back in November 2015.  She is a constantly smiling face when on the course, our Female parkrunner of the year is:  Pam Hilliam


JUNIOR of the Year


Highly commended:  One of our most frequently running juniors, with a very impressive age grade %, with 3 PBs knocking off 43 seconds down to a very impressive PB of 18:26, highly commended is:  Jacob Amies

Winner:  This young man only started with us in July last year.  Since then he has hardly missed a parkrun.  He has picked up 10 PBs, knocking off 5 minutes 31 seconds from his first run.  All his runs have been with us and together with his Dad, he was parkrunner of the month in August last year.  Our junior parkrunner of the year is:  Ben Brant


VOLUNTEER of the Year


Highly commended:  First starting with us in February 2016 and then barely missing a parkrun.  He won parkrunner of the month in July 2016.  He's recently won a Vitality volunteer of the month award.  He is someone everyone knows and can say hello to as they round his very own corner, highly commended is your very own:  Austin Hobbs

Winner:  This man has been one of our most active volunteers, with over 80 parkrun events to his name - and you will also see him volunteering around at other local sporting events.  He is one our first volunteers to arrive on parkrunday.  He knows what goes where and helps with setting up and taking down the course.  Our volunteer of the year is:  Marco Roginski


STORY of the Year


Highly commended:  This time last year we had one or two Duke of Edinburgh volunteers.  At this point we currently have 9 Duke of Edinburgh volunteers working towards either their Bronze, Silver or Gold awards.  It is a delight that parkrun can support our younger community in this way and in recognition of their progress and community support, highly commended are:  The Duke of Edinburgh volunteers

Winner:  This was possibly the easist of all our awards to decide upon.  Last year as part parkrun's PROVE project (Parkrun: Running Or Volunteering for Everyone), the idea of training some of our regular parkrunners as Visually Impaired guides arose.  We were blown away by the interest and enthusiasm that we received.  it so happened that on our 2nd week of trialing VI guiding, a young lady with a visual impairment arrived with her Mum for her first ever parkrun.  Since then this lady has hardly missed a parkrun and run with us.  We've had 4 different VI runners visit Market Harborough as a result of this initiative and some of our guides have also ventured to guide at other parkruns.  Wiki nominated them as did many others, your parkrun story of the year is:  The VI guides - please thank all those who have guided so far:  Simon Poynton, Graeme Rolfe, Jo Howell, (Roger Pangbourne), (Jo Raine), Clare Tector, Katie Carnell and James Butler.  (Nicky Garratt) and Martin Hazlewood have also guided in training mode.




Run Directors Meeting 11/09/17

Summary of RD's meeting 11/9/17

Our latest RD meeting took place and it was suggested that some of you may be interested in what was discussed and decisions that were made. So here you are in no particular order...

1)      Welcome to Team Pangbourne and thanks to everyone else for attending.

2)     "Pacing Pairs" trial will be extended. It was thought that pairs appear to be hitting times more consistently and that it's a good way to support runners that may not be as experienced.

3)      VI Guide Runner - Roger will do some exploratory work to see whether it is something that can be done at MH, what opportunities exist for training etc

4)      Christmas day run will be on but no run at New Year (as usual)

5)      A "Naked Run" (no watches) will be done for the nearest Saturday to when the clocks change in October.

6)      A new recording system will be used to help address issues surrounding under 11's running alone. One of the Funnel Managers will record the finish position of any children running alone that they suspect are under 11. If it is confirmed afterwards that they are under 11, the time will be removed from the results. This includes children doing a sprint finish between the playground and finish line.

7)      Sign support at briefing - Lisa Campbell has kindly offered her support. We will begin by trialling it at the First Timers and Main briefings. We will encourage other signers to come forward and investigate avenues to promote the service.

8)      Milestones celebrations - It was agreed that the milestones that are officially recognised by parkrun t-shirts will remain the focus. We reserve the right to celebrate anything else that we like too!

9)      Roster - Finish Token Support role will be replaced by a second Finish Token. This is to acknowledge the way that token distribution now operates. Token Sorter will be reinstated on the roster. One person can receive credit for this role. To encourage new faces to have a go, no one can do the role more than once in a 6 week period. First Timers Briefing role is now opened up to anyone, there will be a script provided.

10)  Basic CPR refresher training to be investigated.

11)  Handheld radios trial has proved to be a success. They are issued to RD, FM and marshals at Turnaround and Playground.


From 0-100 in 2 years!

Run Report #124 26/08/2017

From 0-100 in 2 years!

I took part in my first parkrun at Market Harborough on 9th May 2015, which was their run number 3. In February this year, I realised that I would be completing my 100th run later this year.

I then set myself the arduous task of completing my 100th run on my birthday, 26th August. Looking at my diary, this deadline would only allow me to miss two runs, which would be when I was on holiday in August. Having already committed to do a 10k run in June, I soon realised that I would have to be a tail walker on this day otherwise I wouldn’t achieve my goal.

The other motivation for me completing my 100th run on my Birthday, was that I was in the lead for the number of runs completed at Market Harborough – my closest competitors in April were between 4 and 6 runs behind my total runs. This would be the only time that I would be ‘first’ at a parkrun!

Having decided to ‘dress up’ for the occasion, I donned my pink tutu, and ‘100th parkrun’ sash and joined the other 345 runners at the start line, for the pre-run briefing and important announcements (housekeeping, tourists, and milestones – thanks to Brian for drawing even more attention to me by getting me stand on the step ladder in front of everyone!)

So, on 26th August I ran my 100th Market Harborough parkrun, on their run number 124 – becoming the first person to complete their 100th parkrun exclusively at Market Harborough.

The atmosphere was brilliant and I loved every moment of it. The whole morning was made even more special as my parents and husband came to watch and I ran with my brother-in-law who tried to pace me to a PB, but unfortunately we didn’t quite succeed. The amount of congratulations and birthday wishes I received on the course was overwhelming and I would like to thank everyone for their support.

The other notable milestone this week was Paul Atkinson, who completed his 50th run.

First across the finish line was Luke Montgomery (Corby AC) in 16:20; there were 70 runners with new PBs, and 33 First Timers. The total number of runners this week was 346.

During the last two years, I have also tried out various volunteer roles too, and will certainly do more volunteering now that I have reached my 100. Over the last two years I have met so many people as a result of parkrun, and have found the courage to join a running club. I simply love the atmosphere and community spirit that parkrun is all about. parkrun is now part of my weekend routine. My plan now is to get back to regular volunteering, and I would recommend everyone gives this a go as it is really helpful to see parkrun from the other side. I may also try a bit of touristing in the future.

Louise Dicicco


12 weeks to a Christmas PB

Here is the training plan that we promised. First of all we wanted to thank all of you for your commitment to the sessions, for having a great attitude and being so supportive to fellow runners during them.

A few bits of must read information. This plan is mainly designed for people that are relatively new to the sport and is a generic plan. It should continue the work that we have already done by introducing some variety and structure to training. It is personalised to some extent using something called the vdot formula to calculate training paces.

It covers 5 sessions a week. If you run twice a week at the moment, then continue to do so. Suddenly starting to run 5 times a week will most likely lead to injury. There is an old rule of thumb called the 10% rule. It's probably never been proved so considered to be a bit of a runners myth but the general principle is valid. Don't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%.

That said, if you are enjoying running and are coping well with the plan, feel free to introduce more runs per week but do it gradually. If you run twice a week, then do the first two sessions in the plan. One of them is likely to be a parkrun. If so, build parkrun into one of those sessions. e.g. if you are doing the long/slow run, complete parkrun and then continue for an extra few miles and then come back for scanning etc. You could also make parkrun one of your steady runs. Volunteering to be a pacer will help you to focus on sticking to your target pace.

We want to try to get you to make gradual progress over the 12 week period. Running hard too often will put too much load on your body. That is why we are suggesting only running parkrun hard at the end of each 4 week block. Hopefully you will see gains in these sessions. If not, the gains will come over a longer period. We're all different and we all adapt differently.

Some of the sessions are run at slower/steadier paces. To give your body the right mixture of intensities and distances, it is important that you stick to the prescribed paces. Smashing out a hard run because you feel strong, when you should be doing a steady or easy run is counterproductive. Save your hard efforts for the hard sessions. It'll help prevent getting over tired and injured.

Every 4 weeks, you should re-enter you current parkrun time into the calculator to get your training paces for the month. It is not designed to be used with aspirational times. Put in what you know is your current performance, not what you'd like it to be. However, if you ran a hard parkrun and know for whatever reason that you didn't perform well, use whatever time reflects your fitness level at the time.

During the sessions, we've tried to emphasis just how important the warm up is. A minimum of 10 minutes of light jogging, leading into faster paced running with some dynamic exercises/running drills is required. It'll make you more injury resistant and if you are consistent with the drills, a better technical runner.

Some drills to use include: High knees/heel to bum/bounding/skipping fast/skipping high/straight leg running/marching/reverse skipping/carioca/fast arms/fast feet etc

Use the internet to find your own and read a few articles about why they are beneficial. Don't neglect your general fitness either. Yoga, pilates and more vigorous classes such as circuit training etc will all contribute to making you a happier, healthier runner. Find something that you enjoy and attend regularly.

The sessions will continue in the New Year. Let us know how you are getting on with the plan. We'll be looking for your times anyway!

Remember that there are a number of excellent local running and triathlon clubs that can also support your running. Go along and try a few sessions, they all cater for runners of all abilities.


Copy and paste this link into a new window. It probably won't work very well on phones!


Announcing the start of Market Harborough parkrun

Market Harborough parkrun starts 25 April 2015

We are delighted to announce the launch of Market Harborough parkrun on 25th April 2015, 9:00 am at Welland Park, Market Harborough. We hope you'll be able to join us for the launch and a coffee afterwards.

Older Posts in Category ⇒
⇐ Newer Posts in Category