Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report 1st January 2019 – Event 409



The One on New Year’s Day

Report by Karen Cole

On turning up at the registration area, we found a cheery band of volunteers, who were massing and being briefed as to their duties which lifted our spirits as they do each parkrun morning, especially as overhead the skies were grey and heavy, as we took the small walk to the start line in a long procession of colourful tees. The parkrun fairies were kind to us today and gave us cooler conditions, which provided the perfect opportunity to talk to others before we started. Now where did I put my gloves?

Thank you to Nicki, today's RD, for the runner's briefing where runners were warmly welcomed and introduced to the course layout. This type of course provides lots of opportunities for the faster runners to overtake and to receive and indeed give encouragement as they whip past us slower mortals. This course gives perfect opportunity for some fast times and certainly some PB opportunities arose I am sure. I can see more challenge to this course when cooler and wetter conditions set in as I reckon the grass underfoot could bring on that special parkrun mud, which was already starting to appear. (Mud? At Riddlesdown? – Surely not! – ED)

There were quite a few seasoned tourists at Riddlesdown today which allowed the perfect opportunity to catch up on where we had been and where we were heading off too, especially as it was the New Year Double, where athletes attempt to complete two parkruns, at their normal venues but at slightly adjusted times in order to make this possible. Today, tourists from Tooting Common, Banstead Woods, Dulwich and Havant were using Riddlesdown parkrun as their first venue, before shooting off to other events for parkrun number two.

Nicki, our RD, gave a big thank you to the volunteers who gave up their time to ensure that we were able to run this morning. There were certainly a cheery band of Marshals out on the extremely well marked out course, all supporting by giving encouragement and clapping. Don't forget if you are unable to run, have a race coming up or are just generally a good egg, then volunteering is a great way to give back to the parkrun community. Head over to the Riddlesdown parkrun webpage for details of the next few weeks’ roster and sign up for a position that suits you - you get to wear a hi-vis jacket, what more incentive do you want?!

First timers, as mentioned above, are always warmly welcomed and are at the start of their parkrun journey, working towards their first milestones. The trick when working towards your milestones is #DFYB - Don't Forget Your Barcode!
4 of you were listed as unknown runners this morning. That's one run less to count towards those milestone tees.
Were you celebrating a special milestone this week? That's the great thing about parkrun isn't it, that each person has their own individual journey to talk and share about. Especially pertinent though to also remember to hand in your finish token, parkrun needs them for next week as they unfortunately are not a souvenir, medal or indeed your own version of Bingo.

There are usually hot drinks, breakfast, conversation and early results available at The White Lion for the apres parkrun, which allows perfect opportunity to catch up on how all of our runs had gone and what we thought of the course. Unfortunately, we had a date with Roundshaw parkrun, part two of our New Year Double, so couldn't today.
Thank you again Riddlesdown parkrun for starting our weekend off on a positive note. Look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Report by Karen Cole, of Havant parkrun



Riddlesodwn parkrun Event Report 8th December 2018 – Event 404



The One where the Mud thought about making an appearance

Report by Tim Allison

Having last run at Riddlesdown on its 400th event I was back with the course 1% older now hosting Event 404. Joining me were 101 other runners (and/or walkers), alongside the team of 18 volunteers without whom the event wouldn’t have happened. As always, the appeal is for more to join that merry throng who get little more than a respectful clap prior to the start, and a smattering of thanks around the course as they are jogged past. (And of course the warm feeling of having done something good for your fellow humans, and contributed to the continuation of the parkrun legacy for another week – Ed)
A number of roles allow for volunteers to also run so addiction to course completion isn’t a legitimate excuse for not putting oneself forward. Glancing down the results list there were 24 finishers eligible for the purple volunteer shirt signifying 25 “helps”, so at approximately a quarter of the field a good proportion appear to have got the message!

Looking at the “T-Shirt” column only 42 of those running haven’t qualified for at least one colour, in other words the majority have partaken in enough events to own at least one. In theory it is possible to have earnt a 50, 100, 250, 500 and a V25. I haven’t been involved long enough to know when a J10 shirt began, it might have been from the outset in which case it is possible to have got both a J10 and a 500. I wonder who, if anyone, can claim that double? Nobody on the downs on Saturday could claim a 500 though - Nicki no doubt is closing in on that number of volunteers despite the helpers shirts only existing at 25! – (619, actually, but who’s counting… Ed) - We did have 6 entitled to a 250, 5 of whom are regular Riddlesdownites. Oddly, at least from a statistical perspective, with 26 letters of the alphabet to consider, 4 of those 6 have first names starting with the letter “L”! Of the 6 there are 3, Ange Norris, Les Huitson and Paul Groves, with a V25 shirt in addition to the 3 others making a total of 4. The other 3 are all well on their way to the V25, holding just 3 shirts. None of the 6 are eligible for a J10 to have another shirt though I’m sure all wish they could go back to such an age now to qualify for one! There were 3 in the field whose only shirt is the V25 who perhaps deserve special mentions for this unselfish feat. So, a name-check goes out to Helen Hughes, Ritu Bonwick and Steve O’Loughlin. All 3 are closing in on their “Red 50” though in case their “Purple V25” is occasionally lonely in their respective wardrobes.

Looking at today’s field we had 11 first timers, although of these Riddlesdown virgins only 6 were first time parkrunners. In fact Lewis Marshall was running his first event at Riddlesdown, but his 255th parkrun overall. He has run at 51 different courses, most usually at Whitsable which he has completed 203 times. Only one other course, Canterbury, has he completed more than once, and here only 3 times in total. That meant Riddlesdown is his 50th tourist venue (we are honoured to have been chosen for his Golden Tourist Award) and joins 49 other venues completed just once. It seems churlish to look any further for a candidate to challenge for my unofficial title of “Tourist of the Week”.

As a measure of how tricky course conditions were this week, where we had puddles and slippery mud, though nothing compared to how bad things can get over the Winter months, there were just 4 PB’s recorded this week. Whilst these are to be celebrated, of course, the fact that all 4 runners were having only their second run over the course shows that regular participants all found the course to be the winner over the clock this time around. Maybe Lee Catlin, Andrew Sharp, Lucas Caviglia and Marc Milford can each improve their time further on their next course appearance, they will be welcome back for sure.

On to the podium positions and we once again salute Dylan Wymer as the first home, with a time this week of 18-03, with second place going to Martin Filer in 18-57, and Patrick Sinclair our third finisher in 20-05. The ladies podium had a familiar look to it with Nicola Archer, Ange Norris and Juliet Cleghorn on the respective steps, having times of 21-05, 22-33 and 22-43 respectively.

Rather generously I consider myself to have finished in the middle of the pack reflecting the inclusivity of the Parkrun event’s ethos (rather than in the final 10% of entrants). However it was a genuinely enjoyable morning partaking in the “old crocs” race where three of us finished in a heap with a combination of a snapped hamstring, a hip replacement and a recent heart attack between us. No doubt with the best bits of us combined, and our ages dropped to match his, the bionic combination would relegate Dylan from the top step. In truth we are all grateful to enjoy just getting round. It won’t be long before we are all back again, and all aiming high at our “post-setback” PB’s. (comeback PBs, surely? -Ed)


Report by Tim Allison



Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report 1st December 2018 – Event 403



The one where the forecast made lots of people stay in bed rather than venturing to the Downs

Report by Keith Simpson
Photos from Nicki’s Mobile, and ‘borrowed’ from Paula Hooks' facebook page!

When I posted the forecast on Friday morning I commented that I was tempted not to as it showed non-stop heavy rain which might put too many people off. Well I was right, but the forecast wasn’t.


Even when I left home at 8.30 the forecast was still showing the same heavy rain, and it was raining right up until the pre-run briefing. Then there were only a few spots during the whole run.

Some facts about Event 403:

The smallest number of runners since Event 144 on the 8th February 2014.

5 of today’s runners also ran on 8th February 2014 (Helen Peters, Paul Groves, Paula Hooks, Roy Edie and myself and that was Paula’s 100th run).

We have only ever had 12 events with fewer runners.

There were no dogs, but there were 2 Kiwis (Paula and Jim).

There were no new PBs.
(ah…. yes… about that… we had glitches with the timers, which don’t like being soaked, it seems, and half the times were right on one of the timers, and half the times, minus 22 minutes – don’t even… - were right on the other timer, but we weren’t 100% certain about the join between them… after some deliberation, we published results, and waited. There were several emails – all very polite and lovely – questioning results, and after sitting down on Sunday afternoon, warm dry and with hot chocolate, the error in the published result set was found. And one of the things which changed was this fact. There was one solitary PB at Event 403, achieved by Laura Mackay, running her 4th Riddlesdown parkrun – Well done Laura! – Ed)

We had 3 Karens running.

There were 2 runners with the surname Vince who were not related.

There were 3 members of the Hewitt family, one of them was volunteering.

We had no unknown runners (so no one forgot their barcode) which was also the case at event 144.

We had one parkrun virgin at the event; we hope Andrew Sharp will be back again very soon.

We also had 1 parkrun newbie at event 144; what happened, Carol? you haven’t run a parkrun at Riddlesdown or anywhere else since then!

4 other runners made their first visit to Riddlesdown; between them they have run 638 parkruns

The age category that had the most runners was VW55-59 with 8

56% of our runners were aged 50 or above

Gill O’Connor was the first female finisher for the sixth time.

Alexander John Rawlinson was the first male finisher in his 1st run at Riddlesdown, but his 101st parkrun overall.

It was Steve "Grumpy' McLoughlin's first outing as Run Director - congratulations on surviving such a wet event, RD Steve!


If you want to see what it was like at even 144, here is the link to the report, it will show you what challenges Riddlesdown can really provide for runners.



A massive thanks to the 20 volunteers today, with the forecast you must have approached your task with great trepidation, but you didn’t stay in bed, you allowed us runners to have our weekly Downs dalliance.



Report by Keith Simpson



Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report 24th November – Event 402


The One With a New Run Director

Report by Susan Rogers (who might possibly be the NRD!- Ed)

Wet but not too cold-lovely weather for November!!

It was a rather damp and grey morning as I left home and headed to the Downs, however my mind was less on the weather than my responsibilities as it was to be my first go at run directing at Riddlesdown parkrun and I was a little nervous. I need not have worried Nicki was there as usual making sure all went smoothly and I had been well prepared by Nicki and Andy, thanks to both of you. (Thanks to you as well Susan, you did a fabulous job! – ED) As you may know Nicki is in the process of building the team of volunteers for all roles, in particular Run Directors, so expect to see some more Run Director "virgins" over the next few weeks. If you are interested in any volunteering roles please let us know an Saturday morning, or you can email on riddlesdownhelpers@parkrun.com it's actually quite fun and very rewarding. Volunteering does mean you may have to forgo a run from time to time but it is the only way to keep the event going, and there are some roles you can do and still run. I have noticed over the last few weeks that packing up and storing the equipment is an area where help is often needed so if you are around at the end please do help - many hands make light work!

As to the actual event itself: As I have indicated the weather was not great, there was rain as the volunteers were setting up, and the rain over the previous week had left the course wet, muddy, and slippery. As a result numbers were fairly low this week but even so 100 of you turned up and completed the course with a few others doing just one lap. Well done to everyone who ran, walked or perhaps slid around the course, we are well and truly in the season where trail shoes, spikes or studs are useful kit.

We welcomed 2 brand new parkrunners this week, Lucas Caviglia and Migle Girule and a further 10 parkrun tourists, I hope you all enjoyed the course and that you come back again soon, I am sure you will appreciate the beauty of our course if you come back when the sun is out.

The less than ideal conditions did not stop 7 runners getting PBs, well done Joshua Hobbs, Tom Harmer, Robin Hobbs, Mark Hobbs, Alasdair Hobbs, Billie Ramsier and Steven Harmer, I guess there were celebrations in the Hobbs and Harmer families. The Ramsiers too could celebrate as Alix with his pooch was our first finisher in a time of 16.21 as well as Billie getting a PB. Ange Norris was the first lady across the line in a time of 21.58, running her 258th Riddlesdown parkrun, an impressive record, Ange also achieved the highest age grade percentage this week-83.54%. In fact looking at the runners this week over half have completed 50 or more parkruns in total with 4 members of the 250 club running this week and Kaye Quinn with 477 runs under her belt is well on the way to 500. It seems that once you start parkrunning it really does become a habit - hope our 2 first timers today know what they are getting into.

Standing at the finish today gave me a great opportunity to see the varied and colourful garb worn by the runners, and also to see how different people are in what they wear as the weather gets cooler. I was surprised however to see one of the younger lads come through bare chested! Good going for November, unfortunately I don't have a picture.

Finally on the subject of volunteering (yes again) we are planning events for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, although still seeking final permission from the landowners, but these events cannot go ahead without sufficient volunteers so please do think about helping out if you can and let us know as soon as possible.

Report by Susan Rogers

Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report 10th November 2018 – Event 400


The one which was the 400th one!

Report by Tim Allison
This summer I undertook a walk that took me from John O’Groats to Land’s End, in a somewhat indirect manner. The total distance of which was approximately that of 400 parkruns. This weekend marked the 400th parkrun at Riddlesdown, so it’s good to know the course has collectively caught up with me.
The reality of course is that Riddlesdown has been in front of me, and whilst I can claim to have completed the course on 137 official occasions (plus numerous training runs), there are plenty in the field who can make greater claims than I can.

In fact on the 2nd of July 2011 there were a respectable 154 runners, although one of which got recorded as “unknown”, so clearly barcode issues existed right from the start even if that might have included forgetting to bring it! It wasn’t until the 29th outing that the number of runners was exceeded. I trust the welcome on the first day wasn’t the reason the numbers dropped off. Of course everyone got a “first timer” on that day, it is interesting that two of the 154 still only has that run as their sole outing at Parkrun. Many of the runners on that day now have significant run totals, 31 of whom now have their run totals measured in the 100s, a further 17 in the 200s, with slightly more, in fact 20 even in the 300s. 8 runners are now in the 400s, and 1 runner now in the 500s with 507!
The fastest time that day was 16:44, and whilst a July course is likely to be a fast one compared to many other times of the year at Riddlesdown, it is interesting that were you to rank the fastest times of all those runners completing the course over the 400 events, to effectively get each runner’s PB, then that winning time would still be number 19 on the list!

The 400th outing itself attracted a cast of 173 running participants, alongside the valuable contribution of 30 volunteers without whom the event wouldn’t continue. Indeed there were 21 “first timers” amongst us for whom the fuss of a significant anniversary was perhaps bemusing. There were certainly many completing the course not for the first time, many of whom couldn’t get lost here even if they tried. It is wonderful to have so many regulars. There were 7 runners this weekend who have qualified to own the 250 run t-shirt. Within that merry band Paul Groves has 290 runs at Riddlesdown, although his new hip is only in single digits at our course! Ange Norris has 257 runs amongst us, with Helen Peters and Paula Hooks at 231 and 225 respectively. Also over 200, with 201 was Barb Remfry with Kaye Quinn and Fiona Delaney completing the septet with 165 and 142. Do ladies have greater Parkrun longevity taking 6 of these 7 entries?

It wasn’t just Riddlesdown that was celebrating its significant anniversary though. In addition to the collective 400th achievement there were some notable individual celebrations being made also. Firstly Sam Gwynn got his Junior 10. Hitting the 50 mark, and qualifying for the red T-shirt were Alex Golding, Simon Lewis and Iftekhar Hussain. Iftekhar had cause for a double celebration as he also PB’d, by just 4 seconds too. Nobody graduated to the 100 mark this weekend, although Heidi Dann did achieve the (unofficially recognised) 200 run. Paula Hooks and Helen Peters hit the 250 mark however and now have the opportunity to wear the green T-shirt in recognition of that milestone.

I usually try and provide another unofficial winner (not sure if we're allowed to use the 'w' word! -Ed) in my reports, which is “tourist of the day”. However with Riddlesdown being the focus today I thought I would introduce an even rarer category which is perhaps to be called “anti-tourist” of the day. Special mention therefore goes to Robert Moulder who missed the first 52 outings at Riddlesdown, joining us for the first time at event 53. Since then Robert has run at Riddlesdown on a further 241 occasions to the sacrifice of all other potential parkrun venues. Such exclusivity over such a large number of runs is truly unusual and we salute such loyalty which might otherwise have gone unnoticed amongst the “round number” anniversaries we so often comment upon. (I believe the term for someone who has completed all their runs at one event is ‘passionista’ – ED)

Secondary to the fun and achievement we all derive from our exertions on the downs we come to the results. This weekend’s podium positions were composed of Dylan Wymer in 17:20. In second place Daniel Gillett in 18:09 and in third was Gavin Englefield, who also PB’d in a time of 19:14.
In the Ladies results Amelia Thomson came out on top with a time of 22:10, itself a new PB. I doubt few have knocked 5 minutes and 44 seconds of a PB before, let alone whilst being first finisher! Grace Cooper was on the second step of the podium finishing in a time of 23:07 with Selena Wong just behind in third place completing the course in a time of 23:51.

In our final section we celebrate Pb’s which were achieved by 11 athletes this week including Nici Jupp, Benjamin England-Smith, Kim Fernee, Thomas Girulis, Marcus Torre, Tim Kell, Emmett Murphy, Rebecca Miller and the aforementioned Amelia Thomson, Gavin Englefield and Iftekar Hussein.

So with about 2 years to go before we celebrate our 500th outing, and 8 years or thereabouts before we have repeated the feat of the first 400 it is perhaps more appropriate to say we hope to see you all again soon on the downs. How does next Saturday sound?

Report by Tim Allison


⇐ Newer Posts