2018 – A Year in Review

Review by Erica Jones
Pictures by Charles Bowley, Zena Hassell and Richard Woodfield

Despite January being a rather dark and depressing month, there’s much to look forward to in 2019, especially for those of us who are able to drag ourselves out of bed and over to Dunorlan Park for 9am every Saturday morning. (Plaudits of course to those volunteers who are up even earlier to help set up the course!)

We may complain about the early start on a weekend but we all know we love parkrun, don’t we? At least, the figures indicate we do, with 2,592 people having taken part in our event in 2018. One of those, Mark Scott, is just a few events shy of his 200th at Royal Tunbridge Wells, and not far from his bottle green 250 parkrun top – the first to be earned by a current RTW participant!

Anyway, they say you can’t look to the future without understanding the past, so we’ve taken a look back at 2018 and picked out a few noteworthy moments, because who knows what new highlights 2019 will bring?

The year started rather coldly, with a few unwelcome Beast from the East related cancellations, but we’re parkrunners and wherever possible we won’t let a little cold weather stop us.

February - and the Beast from the East created opportunities for PB descents of the first hill!
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In February we were visited by a group of students from Kent College, who enjoyed the challenge of our hilly course. March saw a more sedate highlight in the form of two young children bearing a ‘Tap for Power’ banner. They may not have been taking part in the 5k, but they were very much helping the rest of us to ‘power’ around the course!

March - "Tap for Power" - a welcome, albeit temporary, new feature at the start of Heartbreak Hill!
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Volunteering stalwart/hero Judy also deserves a mention for March, as many of you wouldn’t know it but she stepped up as volunteer co-ordinator at the end of the month and later in the year volunteered at her 200th parkrun. Our helpers really do make all the difference to parkrun and we’re grateful to every one of the 178 of you who helped out in 2018.

April saw another highlight you might have missed, when a participant in a green 250 parkrun top ran the course. Christine Gibbons, chairman of parkrun Global, had popped by to try our course while visiting friends – it’s always great to meet tourists!

April - and The Beast from the East finally gives way to Spring...
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April - 4th anniversary celebrations. Run Director, Louise, backed by volunteer pacers, thanks regular volunteer Judy for another year of service
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In mid May, we started to use the alternative course. This incorporated a diversion to avoid two striking features - which had become known, graphically, as Quagmire Corner and The Shoewash. The revised route has evoked mixed reactions, with some enjoying the reduced encounters with mud while others were not so keen on the additional (relatively slight) uphill section (which is thankfully followed by a speedy downhill). Overall the route has still continued to see a high number of PBs achieved through the year. It remains to be seen how the revised course might stand up to the combined rigours of a long wet winter and lots of tramping parkrunner feet. So, we’ll have to watch this space for any further developments.

May - A revision to the course hopefully meant that scenes like this at The Shoewash have become a thing of the past!
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And here's Event Director, Joe, tackling The Shoewash - with some panache!
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Dame Kelly Holmes stopped by in June to help us celebrate 70 years of the NHS. She did a great job of inspiring the crowd but some may have missed her if they were distracted by Run Director Francis’ historic midwife get up. Top marks to him for fancy dress effort.

June - temporary midwife and Run Director, Francis, shares a joke with Dame Kelly
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Also in June, regular parkrunner Nick brought along a camera and filmed his 5k. Those of us at the more leisurely end of the timings blinked and missed him as he ran past, but it’s certainly a great way to view our event and beautifully shows off Dunorlan Park.

We got a new fastest female finisher in July, when Nicole Taylor beat the course record for women on a very hot day, achieving a time of 17.48. This may have prompted more than a few women to eye the record more closely. Could we end up with a battle for times in 2019?

In August our final finisher was much more remarkable, when Commonwealth Games judo medallist Jemima Yeats-Brown volunteered as tailwalker for the national Team parkrun event. It was great to have her join us and help emphasise that whether you run, jog or walk the taking part really is what counts.

It’s easy to forget now, but week after week through most of the summer we enjoyed warm parkrunning weather and unbroken blue skies. Many a post-parkrun sociable half hour was spent on the café balcony or relaxing on the grass near the finish funnel.

The long hot summer continues - post parkrun relaxation
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September had perhaps our most striking participants show up, when Lloyd and Suzannah brought their entire wedding party along to take part before their main event. Both wore appropriate clothing for the big day and Suzannah deserves special recognition for running 5k in a full-on wedding dress.

September - the wedding party!
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Summer gives way to autumn in lovely Dunorlan Park
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In December the other half of our duo of volunteer heroes gets a special mention because Noeline took part in her first ever parkrun when she stepped in as tailwalker at the last moment. For those of you who don’t know, Noeline is the other half of the Judy/Noeline volunteering duo, having clocked up well over 100 events as a volunteer.

Towards the end of the year a future parkrunner also entered the fold, when Run Director Louise and regular runner and volunteer, Nick, welcomed their first baby, Isabelle, into the world. Congratulations to the family!

Finally, the year ended on a high number, with Christmas Day parkrun smashing our event's previous record for participants, when 329 people came along to run, jog or walk the course before settling down to their turkey. Well done everyone!

December - Christmas parkrunners ready for action
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Good luck Louise and Nick

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event number 221
20th October 2018

Run Report Writer Judy Guest

On a lovely autumnal morning Louise was the Run Director for the last time, as she is standing down before the imminent arrival of her first baby. Louise has been with RTW parkrun since inception, originally sharing the Run Director role with Joe. We will greatly miss Louise and all that she has brought to this role, but we give her and her husband Nick our good wishes Who knows - very likely there may be some ‘buggy running’ in the future!

Louise and Nick having fun with Dame Kelly earlier this year
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Louise presiding over our anniversary event raffle
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Louise welcomed Peter White and Vicky Waghorn to the 50 club.

Reminders were made of the Halloween themed run next Saturday which is also a Pacer Day. Feel free to dress up accordingly.

We saw 266 people who ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 37 were first timers and 53 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 23 different clubs took part. Sadly a massive 32 runners did not bring along their barcodes, meaning they did not get a time, but more importantly this prolonged the results processing. Please remember your barcode.

The event was made possible by 33 volunteers:

Ross MARSHALL • Joseph WATTS • Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • Steve BARNFIELD • Judy GUEST • Richard NASH • Gloria RICHARDS • Nick FITZGERALD • Richard WOODFIELD • Coral SADLER • Noeline SIMS • Lizzy ADAM • Colin RATCLIFFE • Huw JONES • Hugh STEPHENSON • Erica JONES • Isobel WARREN • Oliver DAWE • Robin BARWICK • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Bethan CHANDLER • Victoria CAGLAR • Angela TYLER • Derek JEE • Maisie VERNON • Mark DENNISON • Amy DOBSON • Jane PALMER • Hannah CRAINE • Grace GOODWIN • Annie TAYLOR

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

The male record is held by William LEVETT who recorded a time of 16:12 on 8th April 2017 (event number 149).
The female record is held by Nicole TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:48 on 21st July 2018 (event number 209).
The Age Grade course record is held by Cath WHEELER who recorded 86.98% (21:23) on 15th September 2018 (event number 216).

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,861 participants have completed 36,634 parkruns covering a total distance of 183,170 km, including 6,550 new Personal Bests.

 

Celebrating NHS70

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event no 205
9th June 2018

Written by Karen Cole, parkrun tourist from Havant, with Judy Guest and Richard Woodfield
Photos from Joe Watts, Richard Woodfield and Zena Hassell

Celebrating NHS70 in style and what a celebration! At 8.00am  the balloons were being blown, bandages and fake blood for the volunteers was out in anticipation of our celebration and thanks for 70 years of the NHS. As runners started to arrive it was lovely to see so many people who work for the NHS dressed in their uniforms. A big thank you for people working for the NHS!

Looking around beforehand at the early arrivals it seemed that head bandages might be the "go to" choice for appropriately themed clothing - but many other options were soon in evidence. For instance, Francis was fetchingly attired as a midwife. Former ward sister, Rosemary, as tail walker, was well equipped with a stethoscope should any parkrunners require checking out.

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Our #NHS70 celebration run was started by Dame Kelly Holmes, along with the Run Director, aka "Temporary Midwife" Francis, and veteran RTW parkrunner (and genuine paramedic) Mark
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As parkrun hour approached it was nice to see runners nudging, whispering to each other and pointing to a lady in blue who was hereself taking photos. Was it her?! We had the pleasure of welcoming Dame Kelly Holmes who had kindly come along to help us celebrate. Hearing everyone talking after, and seeing the photos all over social media, she made the day even more special.

In welcoming our guest, Dame Kelly, Francis had certainly done his homework the previous night. Not only did he of - course - cover her double Olympic gold medals but he also reeled off an extensive list of all the records she had achieved at various distances - several of which still stood. He pointed to the contribution parkrun initiative could make to the health and well being of so many people. In our own way parkrun could assist the NHS by helping people to keep healthy for as long as possible. Dame Kelly paid tribute to the huge contribution to society made by so many people in the health service. And she talked about the pleasure and achievement to be gained from running - whether we were old or young, fast or slow. She also gave a good plug for JOIN IN JUNE in which she was promoting taking part in physical activity. (You can read about it on her Twitter account @damekellyholmes)

Enjoying the run
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We were contacted during the week by Karen who was coming as a tourist on a visit to Hever Castle and asked to do the Run Report. Her son Alexander kindly volunteered on barcode scanning even if he was the most reluctant 13 year old to have his photo taken with Dame Kelly Holmes!

Run reporter, Karen, starting out on lap 2 and, later, with Dame Kelly Holmes
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Volunteers get in on the photos
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Karen writes:

"On turning up at the start line, 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. The parkrun fairies were kind to us today and provided cooler conditions than of late, which also provided the perfect opportunity to talk to others before we started.

Thank you to Noeline, for the new runner's briefing where new runners were warmly welcomed and introduced to the course layout. What a beautiful course you have too, with 2 looping laps in stunning parkland, which follow the boating lake in the middle and also the wilder cross country fields to the back of the course. These two differing aspects allowing for a contrasting feel to the course, added to the unfolding weather that apparently alters the course considerably. Indeed although rock solid today, I have heard that the back can get quite muddy and water logged.

Today, visitors from Bedfont Lakes, Aylesbury and Havant and as far away as Cardiff were using Royal Tunbridge Wells as their tourist venue.

Francis Eames, our Run Director for the event, gave big thank you as always 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 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 Royal Tunbridge Wells 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?"

Stylish running outfits - could these catch on at parkrun?
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"First timers, as mentioned above, are always warmly welcomed and are on the start of their parkrun journey and working towards their first milestones. The trick is when working towards your milestones is #DFYB- Don't Forget Your Barcode! If you were listed as unknown runners this morning. That's one run less to count towards those milestone trees. Milestones this morning announced were for joining the Junior 10 Club were Callum Benson and Elena Currah and also joining the 100 club were Kirsty Mauritz and Sandra Jones. She is a tourist from Cardiff but was with us volunteering when we started 4 years ago. 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!"

At today's parkrun there were 278 parkrunners and the event was made possible by 28 volunteers. These were:

Alexander COLE • Bethan CHANDLER • Carol MUNT • Emily MULLETT • Eve DUBREUIL • Francis EAMES • Huw JONES • India ERLAM • Jack NORWOOD • Jane FENTIMAN • John DYSON • Joseph WATTS • Judy GUEST • Karen COLE • Louise FITZGERALD • Maisie VERNON • Mark DENNISON • Mark SCOTT • Nick FITZGERALD • Noeline SIMS • Richard WOODFIELD • Robin BARWICK • Rosemary SUMPTER • Stella BEARD • Steve BARNFIELD • Steve BOLTON • Victoria MULLETT • Yolanda WITT

A small selection of our #NHS70 photos - (Have a look on our website for the photos by Joe Watts, Richard Woodfield and Zena Hassell). Very likely you are in one of them.
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PLEASE REMEMBER THE NEXT PARKRUN ON 16th JUNE IS CANCELLED DUE TO ANOTHER EVENT IN THE PARK. BECOME A TOURIST AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ON 23RD WHEN WE ARE SHORT OF VOLUNTEERS.

 

The 12th sevenoaks rotary 10k run with Friends of Shelby Newstead children’s charity – with dame kelly holmes

Children’s charity Friends of Shelby Newstead (FoSN) extends a warm invitation to Running/Athletic Clubs to once again participate in the annual Sevenoaks Rotary Club 10k Run in Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent. It is hoped that double Olympic Gold winner Dame Kelly Holmes will add to the excitement of the day with her attendance.
Scheduled for Sunday 8th April 2018, this year’s event promises to eclipse last year’s run with even more Running/Athletic Clubs and enthusiastic amateurs taking part in what will be a bigger, better and more competitive race.

The Sevenoaks Rotary 10k run in Knole Park is held with the kind permission of Lord Sackville and will provide runners with an undulating, part hilly challenge in a beautiful parkland setting. Free changing facilities, free parking and an accurately measured off-road course will enhance the runners’ experience.

FoSN is a registered children’s charity (No. 1148360) that has raised funds for seriously ill children for more than 20 years. 100% of funds raised goes directly to the benefit of those children that have been referred to the charity.

To create an additional competitive element to the day FoSN invites Running/Athletic Clubs to submit team entries as well as individuals. For full details log onto www.sevenoaksrotary10k.co.uk where you will be able to register. For those who register to run on behalf of FoSN and who pledge to raise at least £250 as an individual (or £1000 as a team of four) FosN will say ‘thank you’ with a suitably-refreshing prize of some much needed bubbly. (See below for team/time details).

FoSN is also planning an apres-run mini-festival of entertainment and refreshments which will afford lots of fun for all the family so why not make it a day out not to be missed?

For further information on Run in The Park contact Tim St.Clair-Pearce on 07880 742 888 or tim@shelbynewstead.co.uk

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