Episode IV – A New Hope (or Event 156)

I started drafting this report some two weeks before Saturdays event, as that was when I announced to the rest of the core team I was standing down as Event Director and off core team.__DSCF9534

As I finish it on Monday morning on a slow train to Waterloo, I do so with mixed emotions. I started park running in early 2013 as a need to lose weight and get fit following a health scare. At that time the only parkrun in Dorset was Poole. In those days it regularly attracted around 570 runners each week, but continued to grow, and fast. Additional runs have since started in Weymouth, Bournemouth, Blandford, Upton House and of course Moors Valley.

I had run all my parkruns at Poole, so when approached to be involved with setting an event up in Moors Valley and living in Verwood, I jumped at the chance.

Although MVpr celebrated its 3rd birthday last Saturday, I, like some of the remaining core team and a couple that have previously departed were involved in all manner of work for a considerable time prior to launch. Did you know that each new parkrun has to source £3,000 to cover costs before an event can be launched? In addition, permissions must be sought and granted from landowners and of course a route has to be devised and measured. There were a number of route incarnations before we settled on what we have now. You may think at times from your Garmin etc that the distance is short or long. These devices measure on straight lines so won’t consider the twists and turns around the lake over the final half kilometre etc, however the course has been officially measured by UK athletics at 5k.

If memory serves the first event was a rather damp affair, but it confirmed we had a great course (1 lap being unusual) great venue and support from all at Moors Valley Country Park and as time would show, great volunteers, who as we all know, none of this would be possible without.

So, we fast forward to early 2017 when for a number of reasons, the majority reading this won’t be aware, MVpr was nearly wound up. For the event to continue we needed a new Event Director and to expand the core team. In typical comedy film tradition, I was the last to step back and was duly voted to take the helm by the remainder of the team. There were a few issues to resolve, some minor, some major, but the troubled waters that had nearly seen the end of MVpr were quickly subdued.

In addition to recruiting another 4 team members, our biggest headache was storage. To operate effectively requires a significant amount of equipment, from signs, hi-vis, scanners, stopwatches, radios, finish tokens etc. It’s not practical to take all this home every week so with the assistance of Moors Valley we sourced some suitable on-site storage for the majority, and this is before we start the weekly pleas for volunteers.

To operate safely and successfully MVpr requires an average of 35 volunteers each week. It’s surprising that some people think putting on this event is our full-time job, but like everyone else involved, we’re all volunteers with jobs, family lives and other interests. It does become rather tiresome therefore to constantly plea for volunteers each week, only to have an influx (if we’re lucky) on a Friday evening. You won’t be aware of the stress this causes to the Volunteer Co-ordinator for that week and the number of times we have discussed event cancellation. There are now 4367 individuals who have registered MVpr as their home parkrun, but each week there are a regular handful of people who forgo their run, so everyone else can have theirs. I implore you all to volunteer 4 times per year. There are a wide variety of roles that can be undertaken. Nothing is difficult (I’m proof of that) and full training will be given.

So, back to Saturdays birthday / pacing event. We had pacers from 20-39 minutes inclusive, yours truly being 26. It was a fine morning and ideal running conditions. Pacing is always popular and attracts large numbers. This week we had 527 individuals take part, just 10 shy of the current attendance record. If you heard Jason’s RD speech, he gave some impressive stats, not least of which was that all parkruns undertaken at Moors Valley equate to running 6 ½ times around the earth!DSCF8828

There were a few special runs this week Jason Oakley, Paul Clark and Jane Landymore completed their 100th runs and Linda Secretan, Andrew Hunt, Gillian Walmsley, Chris Sinkinson and Tony Howell completed their 50th. I was overwhelmed with Jason’s kind words and the team’s presentation for my time as Event Director and even more so when presented with a rather large bottle of Tennessee’s finest bourbon post event.DSCF8831
But back to the event in hand. For those of us pacing it can be very difficult to maintain a steady even pace, especially when running a time slower than you normally do. And whilst there were 1 or 2 hiccups 117 of you achieved new PB’s, which is fantastic.

Post run for the core team doesn’t very often involve cake. It’s usually a case of ensuring all equipment has been returned, signs put away and processing results. The latter is one of those jobs that either goes smoothly, or not in my experience. Equipment failing to upload, and lots of manual entries as poorly printed barcodes have failed to scan are the typical problems. Please, please, please ensure you have a clear readable barcode each week, and remember, no barcode, no result. We have some wonderful people who sort all the finish tokens, some of which tend to go missing. These are not souvenirs to take home and belong to MVpr. The core team spend enough time during the week organising and arranging the vast amount of kit and all you must remember is your barcode, so understandably if you forget yours or use someone else’s, you’re using up more of their time and goodwill unnecessarily. Remember you can always come back next week and try again for free.

With this report coming to an end, my final official team volunteer role is nearly complete. In total I’ve officially volunteered 147 times over 5 years since I’ve been park running and completed 178 runs. Fingers crossed I’ll hit that magic 250 early 2020. I’m very proud of what we as a team have achieved. MVpr is recognised as one of the premier parkruns in the south, something that everyone who volunteers has contributed to. I’ll now have time to undertake some parkrun tourism and explore some of the other wonderful events near and far in the knowledge that there is an excellent team remaining that will continue in my absence.

The new Event Director has already been installed from within the existing team. You’ll have seen him on Saturday as Run Director, but if you didn’t, this is Jason. IMG_5029

So next time you receive those email / Facebook pleas for volunteers, please don’t ignore them and think someone else will do it, step up yourself. Think of everything the Volunteer Coordinator has to cope with and is giving up their time for you, and don’t forget your barcode, or you won’t go in the results.

We now have six 5k parkruns in Dorset and 2605 people ran / walked these this weekend and required 237 volunteers.

I’m now arriving at Waterloo on the train, so this seems and appropriate time to conclude. If you managed to stick with it and read to end, well done and happy park running.

This week at MVpr 527 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 61 were first timers and 117 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 37 different clubs took part and the event was made possible by 54 volunteers.

Moors Valley parkrun started on 7th November 2015. Since then 9,721 participants have completed 52,739 parkruns covering a total distance of 263,695 km, including 10,705 new Personal Bests.


Event #154 – 20th October 2018

A lovely fresh start greeted all of us this week! Although I find waiting for the run to start can be a bracing experience at this time of year, it was fabulous once I got going and I hope that all regulars and visitors enjoyed your parkrun this morning. This week we welcomed visitors from Beckenham, Hillingdon, Oxford, Gloucestershire and Croydon as well as several runners from the Ordnance Survey Runners. DSCF8357Next week, Halloween fancy dress is very welcome and encouraged, so do get out your best costumes! In two weeks (3rd November 2018), Moors Valley celebrates its 3rd Birthday! (Very convenient to remember date wise). To celebrate, Moors Valley parkrun are holding a pacing event - come along to celebrate three years of running, jogging, walking, new PBs, new and old friends and everybody who makes this parkrun possible. As of yesterday, there were some times that still needed a pacer so if this is something you would like to do, do get in touch with the team. DSCF8318 Turning to the stats! 369 parkrunners took to the course this week including a wonderful 30 first timers. A huge well done to everybody who walked, jogged and ran this week! DSCF8370A special mention to Olly SMITH who ran his 10th parkrun as a junior and Tom HICKS who ran his 100th parkrun. Congratulations to both of you! So many new PBs were made this week it’s impossible to mention you all, but very well done to everybody. Male placings: Peter BAKSH (SM25-29) (Beckenham RC) took first place this week with the super speedy time of 16:16 (and set a new PB!). Second place went to Charlie EDWARDS (SM20-24) (Hillingdon AC) who came in at 17:45 (again a new PB!). Third place this week was awarded to Benedict COWARD (SM20-24) (Littledown Harriers RC) who was across the line in 18:12. A very quick week and congratulations to all. DSCF8337 Female placings: Nicole FRITH (SW25-29) (Ordnance Survey Runners) set a new PB of 20:26 this week and took first place for the women. Katrina YERBURY (VW40-44) (unattached) took second place with a time of 21:51 and Rebecca GARDINER (VW35-39) (Lonely Goat RC) came third with a time and PB of 22:05. As above, a very quick week – congratulations!! DSCF8379The three highest age grades were recorded by: Peter BAKSH (SM25-29) – 79.30% and a time of 16:16 Brian LONG (VM70-74) – 78.84% and a time of 22:22 Simon HUNT (VM60-64) – 77.71% and a time of 21:23 DSCF8383 As always, a very special thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers! If you would like to give one of the roles a go, it’s a great opportunity to give something back to an event that so many of us enjoy participating in week after week. If you would like some more information take a look at the volunteer tab on the Moors Valley parkrun website. DSCF8398 This week’s hi-vis heroes were: Susan ANDREWS, Carole BLACKMORE, Rachel CASS, Ian COFFEY, Richard FOX, Nicole FRITH, Katy GODBEER, Steve GOODWIN, Joanne HANSELL, Paul HANSELL, Rebecca HART, Charlotte HART, Jort HILLE RIS LAMBERS, Celia HODGSON, Helen HOWELL, Neil JONES, Anna JONES, Michael KING, Sandra LAMBERT, Sally LOVEYS, Sophia O'SULLIVAN, Ellie PIPER, Paul SORENSEN, Naomi STANLEY, Fred UNDERDOWN, Jan UNDERDOWN, Alison WARD, Clifford WATERS, Glenys WATERS, Sara WILSON, Sally WINTERTON, Paul WOODS and Jenny WOODS.


Event 153 – Well done Anna

What a muggy run that was! I certainly could have done with more of a breeze and without wanting to sound like I am urging on the time of year where we all don gloves and hats (I’m really not!), I am looking forward to slightly cooler runs!


This week, Anna Parnum was our Run Director. Anna has been volunteering with Moors Valley parkrun for a year as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award so this marks a significant milestone for her. Thank you from everyone at Moors Valley parkrun, Anna, and good luck with the rest of your Award!


Turning to the stats! 323 parkrunners took to the course this week including 11 first timers. Congratulations to everybody who walked, jogged and ran in the close conditions.


We welcomed tourists from Wells, Stubbington and Warwickshire this week (to name a few) and hope you enjoyed the course as much as we all did! A special mention to Annette ELLIS, Rich ZAMBRA and Nick WESTBROOK who all ran their 50th parkrun this week. Congratulations to all of you!


Male placings: Rich MCALEER (SM-30-34) (Lonely Goat RC) took first place this week with the super speedy time of 18:09 (and set a new PB!). Second place went to Jonathan MARTIN (SM30-34) (unattached) who came in at 18:59. Third place this week was awarded to Jamie MITCHELL (SM25-29) (JP Morgan Running Club) who was across the line in 19:10.


Female placings: Bex Cleary (VW35-39) (Stubbington Green Runners) set a new PB of 20:33 this week and took first place for the women. Rebecca GARDINER (VW35-39) (Lonely Goat RC) took second place with a time of 22:50 and Sally BOWER (VW50-54) (unattached) came third with a time of 23:44.


The three highest age grades were recorded by: Julian SPENCER-WOOD (VM65-69) – 81.03% and a time of 21:05 Linda Mela BURN (VW65-69) – 80.23% and a time of 26.03 Brian LONG (VM70-74) – 79.43% and a time of 22.12


A very special thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers! If you would like to give one of the roles a go, it’s a great opportunity to give something back to an event that so many of us enjoy participating in week after week. If you would like some more information take a look at the volunteer tab on the Moors Valley parkrun website.


This week’s hi-vis heroes were: Anna JONES, Anna PARNUM, Becky JAY, Ben COLLYER, Carole BLACKMORE, Celia HODGSON, Clifford WATERS, Dan STICKLAND, Edward Rhys WILLIAMS, Ellie PIPER, Gary TAYLOR, Glenys WATERS, Heidi SNOOK, Helen HOWELL, Ian COFFEY, James PACKMAN, Joanne HANSELL, John MATTHEWS, Jonathan SMITH, Kim BAILEY, Lin PURANDARE, Lindsay CASS, Martyn HOULDSWORTH, Matt STRIDE, Neil JONES, Nikki GRAHAM, Paul TURLE, Polly AMOS, Sally WESTBROOK, Simon POPE, Steve GOODWIN, Sue PULMAN, Susan ANDREWS and Tracey SMITH


New Years Day parkrun

There will be no New Years day parkrun at Moors Valley.


Christmas Day parkrun

There will be no christmas day parkrun at Moors Valley as the park is closed

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