Defibrillator Fund

Today we are launching a campaign to raise funds to buy a defibrillator for Parke parkrun.

One of the many wonderful things about parkrun is that it is free to all and we would not normally ask for donations but having our own defibrillator could make a huge difference.

We're getting advice on different options and it looks like a portable defibrillator will cost something in the region of £800-£900.

If you can donate anything towards the defribrillator fund, it would be greatly appreciated.

Here is the donations page  - simply scroll down and click on the 'Donate to parkrun' image.

Thank you for reading.








**21 October 2017 PARKE CANCELLATION**

Given the high winds forecast for Saturday morning, we've taken the decision to cancel this week's parkrun.

With all the trees on our course it was just too high a risk for runners and volunteeers. Especially as we've had trees topple recently.

A few parkruns in the area have also cancelled - you can see the latest list here:

Sorry to disappoint but hopefully see you next week. 


The one that wasn’t quite a parkrun – 12/08/2017

Well it was 176th time unlucky today because for the first morning in our history we weren't able to hold a parkrun proper. We've always been proud of the fact that we've never had to cancel an event, no matter what the Dartmoor weather has thrown at us or how close to the wire we've got filling volunteer slots. But we can be just as proud at what we managed to pull off today.

At about 8am an early morning jogger told us that a tree was down towards the end of the first loop, taking some fencing with it. We were facing a Grand National-esque obstacle that needed a combination of long jump, hurdling and ninja skills to avoid the sharp sticky-out branches and bits of barbed wire. We decided it was just too hazardous to use this bit of the course but do we cancel the whole thing or try and put on an alternative run?

Thanks to the quick thinking of Keiran, Andy, Sally, Colin and with Angela directing communications with parkrun HQ from home, we had a plan for an alternative route.  If you ever need a can-do attitude before 9 in the morning, this is the crew you want.

The route would miss out the first loop and make up the distance by extending the run along the lovely flat railway track and back, heading up into the woods and from there finishing as normal. The only thing was, because we couldn't guarantee that the distance of this alternative route would be 5km, we couldn't run it as an official parkrun. People could run but their runs wouldn't be recorded.

Breaking the news to everyone arriving resulted in some obvious disappointment especially to the first time would-be parkrunners, the parkrun tourists (some having travelled many hours to join us) and those on a milestone run. But the overriding response was 'we're here, let's run' and for those that know the course there was a fair bit of relief at not having to haul themselves up the fiendish hill.

Many people offered to give up their run to help out and this meant that together with our scheduled volunteers we had our new route fully marshalled and tail-walked. Thank you Jenny, Clive, Sharon, Ian, Sally, Colin and 'High 5 Ken', our man at the Lustleigh outpost.

No official times but Kieran and Graham were on the stopwatches shouting out unofficial ones as about 150 or so runners came home.

Estimates on distance put the route at about 4.8km but many regulars were knocking significant chunks off their normal times - all that hill training on our normal course clearly paying off.

So apologies to all the runners and volunteers for not getting a formal record of today's event but hopefully you'll remember this one for the spirit of parkrun instead. And on that note, August 12th is the birthday of Paul Sinton-Hewitt, founder of parkrun. Happy Birthday Paul!

If you would like to help out in future events, volunteers for any role, any time are always needed and you'll get full support, a high-viz jacket and hundreds of thank-yous on the day. Just drop a note to

Even more dramatic photo of the tree




Parke parkrun #172 – 15 July 2017

Report by James White - Parke parkrun visitor

This week's parkrun theme was "Family" and never could it have been more apt.  My brother, sister and I along with our families (8 of us in total) met up to run at Parke.  It was an emotional day for us, having held our Dad's funeral the day before and we had all agreed that a parkrun would blow away the cobwebs.

We had heard excellent things about Parke ahead of arriving.  It had been described as "Beautiful", "Challenging", "Hilly", "Fun".  It's safe to say that it was all of those things and more.

We arrived in the car park and met the Pelling family, who kindly showed us down to the start.  They were super friendly and immediately put us all in a positive frame of mind.  They did, however, scare us a little with tales of the first hill.  I had decided to run with our 1 year old in the buggy and I got the sense that this was classed as a little bit crazy!  Apparently I was only the 2nd buggy pusher to have ever run the course.

The first timers briefing was expertly delivered and before long we lined up at the start for the run brief.  And then we were off!

It was an eventful start!  We started at the back and were running along when a lady fell heavily.  She was thankfully ok, and escaped with a few scrapes and bruises.  We headed onwards and soon turned off of the road and joined the trail.  We knew the hill was coming, and had prepared mentally for it, but when we rounded the corner and saw it we were shocked!  IT WAS HUGE.

I tried running it and got about halfway up before the combo of the buggy and the wrong shoes choice (road instead of trail) meant I had to give in and walk the rest of the way.  As soon as we got to the top we were off and running.

After the initial shock of the first hill I really settled in and started to enjoy it. With the path being narrow in places and the buggy being quite wide I had to be very careful with where I passed people but everyone was wonderful and kindly moved over to let me through.

The undulating stretch along the top through the woods was lovely, however I was pleased when we started heading downhill again and back towards the farm.  Elsie in the buggy got very excited about the cows so we sang "Old McDonald had a farm" for a bit.

We turned the corner over the bridge whilst the speedy front-runners came streaming the other way.  We were pleased to turn onto the long straight flat path where we built up some momentum ahead of the last hill.  After the final loop through the woods we were back at the bridge and on the final stretch!  Then disaster struck, my brake cable broke and I trod on it causing the buggy to stop dead in its tracks with Elsie flying forward and me hitting the handlebars.  After scooping up the broken cable we pushed on to the finish.

Elsie and I then stood by the finish to cheer the rest of the family in.  My brother, Chris, loved the course and his girlfriend, Laura, running her first parkrun enjoyed it too.  My sister Carly and her son Lucas also really enjoyed the course and ran extremely well.  My daughter Olivia (7) and my wife Sarah were spurred on by the amazing Mary Wylie who kept them going all the way round.

After we had all finished we got some family photos and chatted to some of the core team and the Pelling family again before heading to the café for some well earned tea and cake.  We were still in the café when we received our results!  Cracking work by the results processors!!

We were so glad to have visited Parke.  It was everything we hoped for and more.  It is a beautiful, yet challenging course though some lovely woodland.  The regulars were so nice and made us feel so welcome.  It was the perfect remedy for what had been a tough couple of days for us.   Thank you Parke.  We can't wait to visit again.


This week's stats

This week 141 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 28 were first timers and 34 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 16 different clubs took part

The event was made possible by 14 volunteers:

Robert WELLS • John RICHARDS • Alison RICHARDS • Tim SLEATH • James WHITE • Lottie WOODS • Patricia ATKINS • Shani ADAMS • Kieran DORE • Graham NEAL • Pete ADAMS • Bob SMALL • Sara PELLING • John CORNISH

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

Male placings:
Adam HOLLAND (SM30-34) of Notfast RC, was first over the line in 18:14 - first appearance.
Geoff DAVEY (VM40-44) of Teignbridge Trotters, was second over the line in 19:28 - has been first to finish on 16 previous occasions.
Ewan WALTON (VM35-39) of Teignbridge Trotters, was third over the line in 19:46 - has been first to finish on 2 previous occasions.

Female placings:
Melanie BROOKS (VW40-44) of Dawlish Coasters, was first (12th overall) over the line in 22:37 - 13th time in 56 appearances.
Joanna RANDALL (SW30-34) of Teignbridge Trotters, was second (18th overall) over the line in 23:53 - was first to finish once before.
Elizabeth TREBILCOCK (VW50-54) of Truro RC, was third (31st overall) over the line in 25:03.
The three highest age grades were recorded by:

David BALDWIN (VM55-59) – 72.16% for the time 21:51 (7th overall).
Geoff DAVEY (VM40-44) – 71.75% for the time 19:28 (second overall).
Adam HOLLAND (SM30-34) – 70.93% for the time 18:14 (first overall). 

The female record is held by Vikki THOMPSON who recorded a time of 00:20:08 on 29th October 2016 (event number 135).

The male record is held by James BAKER who recorded a time of 00:16:50 on 1st August 2015 (event number 70).

The Age Grade course record is held by Xavier BLY who recorded 84.68% (22:05) on 24th October 2015 (event number 82).

Parke parkrun started on 5th April 2014. Since then 4,340 participants have completed 20,552 parkruns covering a total distance of 102,760 km, including 3,997 new Personal Bests.


Bob’s 50th parkrun – 24 June 2017

Report by Bob Small - runner and volunteer

‘Now everyone’ shouts Tim as we all line up at the start, ’we have a visitor here with us today all the way from Australia – Ken Swanwick; where are you Ken?’ Ken raises his hand to the applause from the gathered throng. I make a mental note to catch up with Ken after the run. Then, after a prompt from Alison Hydon, Tim continues ‘and we have a 50th parkrunner today – Bob Small, where are you Bob?’ I raise my hand to the very generous round of applause. Then the whistle blows and we off along the track.

50th parkrun, a little milestone in life’s journey and not one to get too excited about really and yet, and yet… The Parke parkrun family has become quite important to us, my wife Tracy, myself and, to a lesser extent, our daughter Georgia. Firstly, and most importantly, it’s brought us a very welcome new circle of much valued friends from Manaton, Moretonhampstead and beyond. Secondly, and less importantly, it’s got me back into running; an avid athlete in the late 1960’s through to the 1980’s,I had stopped the daily, if not twice daily, grind of ‘putting in the miles’ in favour of cricket and, latterly, golf. How good it’s been to start again; feel the familiar aches and pains; remember the tiredness that gradually seeps through the body as the run progresses; remember too my wretched competitiveness that won’t allow me such a thing as ‘a steady, easy run’, always having to challenge myself to run as fast as I reasonably can on that day.

The whistle blows and off we go along the track; I’m fully intending to have an easy run today as a bad back has severely curtailed my training for the past two weeks and I’m really not sure how I’ll do – nor do I want to put too much pressure on my back. Starting at the very back I work my way steadily through the back markers reminding myself to take it easy; down the path towards the barn and I pass Ken Swanwick, ‘well done mate’ I say ‘you too’ he replies. Then ‘that hill’; it never gets any less steep or any easier –today it’s bone dry and the right hand side of the track is as good as it’s ever going to be so I just put my head down, look at the ground, and keep going. The top of the hill is achieved and I think, as I always do at that point, ‘great, the weekend starts here!’ Reminding myself again to take it easy, I see a number of runners just in front and gradually close in on them, passing them one by one. And so the run progresses – down the steady hill to the sharp right turn to bring us back along the bottom path to the barn. Here I’ve closed up on a chap and a girl; the latter is not going to allow me to pass without a bit of a fight on her part, matching strides with me over the bridges at which point I put in a surge, or what passes for a surge at nearly 40 years her senior, I sense her weakening, push again and then she’s behind me. All notions of an ‘easy run’ are completely blown out of the water by now and I’m committed to running the second loop as quick as I can.

My ‘big’ birthday is looming on Saturday 25th November, I’ve got this notion of trying to run my 70th parkrun on my 70th birthday - 22 weeks’ time. I think this is a very long shot as I know that there are some Saturdays on which I’m committed to other things – still, I’ll get as close as I can. I’m very fortunate to be able to run at my age and have every intention of keeping going until – well until I can’t. Maybe I will just have easy runs then, but then again maybe I won’t – the competitive instinct never dies!

On we go, long the old railway track and up the steep, short hill, passing another runner who is walking. Pushing on through the woods listening for anyone who might be coming up behind but not willing to look around. Down onto the old railway track again and runners in front although they must be too far distant for me to catch – or are they? Head down, watching my feet quickening their tempo, and now closing on a runner as we return over the bridges. Tiredness now becoming an aching reality – have I got enough in the tank to pass him? He can’t be feeling any better than me. No resistance from him as I pass him just before the left hand turn though the gate to start the uphill climb to the finish. He’s a good deal younger than me and surely will have a faster finish so I’ll have to make the hill count. Pound up the hill looking at the floor only occasionally looking up to see how far to go. At last on the flat road for the last 100 metres to the finish taking an automatic very quick look around to see if he’s there - can’t see him but sense he’s there somewhere so keep going right to the line. 50 Park Runs done! Grab my finishing token and walk away, unsteadily, to recover.

With recovery comes the opportunity to talk with friends but first I find Ken Swanwick who’s finished and is talking with his son. I introduce myself and say how good it is to hear that familiar Australian twang again. The first Australian I ever heard was Jack Fingleton commentating from Australia on the Ashes in about 1954/55; that accent fascinated me and I’ve always had admiration for things Australian, perhaps a bit more grudging when it comes to their cricketers and rugby players! Recent trips to Fremantle to see my daughter, Beth, have introduced me to more than the accent; parkruns in Cottesloe near Fremantle, Adelaide and Logan River near Brisbane have been thoroughly enjoyed in 27 – 32 degrees of dry heat. Ken lives near Brisbane in Queensland and, in retirement, is a committed parkrunner although has yet to visit Logan River. The most testing parkrun I’ve completed was the East Coast Park parkrun in Singapore and, although absolutely flat, it was 32 degrees with about 90% humidity; pace in such conditions is everything.

And so to the café with friends – Rob, Alison, Andy, Kevin and Karen. To these can be added Anne-Marie, John Legge, Mike Peace, Ian Mortimer and his sons and many more. To all of these my thanks for their friendship and laughter. Thanks of course to Kieran, Angela and Tim and all the regular volunteers for they do far more than organise a run every Saturday morning; through their efforts friendships are formed; laughter is created; good health and enjoyment in life is encouraged. None of these things can be measured in minutes and seconds and are all the more important as a result.

So to next week and parkrun in Verulamium Park in St Albans. Having lived in St Albans for 5 years or so, I know this park well – pancake flat around a lake – suits me! Then it’s just 19 runs to do in 21 weeks!

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