Swindon parkrun, event 411, Run report

RUN REPORT for Swindon parkrun Number 411


Even though the sky was blue and the sun (150km from Swindon) shone, there was a refreshing little autumn nip in the air.


Perfect conditions for running.


Maybe that’s why, even though we are deep into August, the month in which much of Europe (Are we – still – in it?) is on holiday, 486 of us made it to the start line.


And what’s more, one in ten of today’s runners were First Timers and tourists. Yes, lots of tourists, from near and far.


What does that say about parkrun, in particular Swindon parkrun?


Does it say that many Swindon parkrunners don’t go on holiday in the first two weeks of August? Or that, even when on holiday, anywhere in the UK, many people look for a parkrun?  Or that many parkrunners have relatives and friends in Swindon? Or possibly even, that Swindon is, for the discerning few, a holiday destination of choice?


Who knows? For whatever reason,among today’s almost five hundred runners, 51 were newcomers. We welcome them one and all and hope they enjoyed our lovely Lydiard Park course.


Certainly, 66 of today’s runners did, enjoy the course, because they got themselves new PBs and our congratulations.


As does Swindon regular Tony Osman, who today reached a key parkrun milestone, the T-shirt rewarded 100 runs. Brilliant!


Another regular, Chris Kysnaston, reached double that number but gets no new T-shirt. However, on the start line, he did get a generous round of applause.


The next time we can all meet, greet, queue for the loo, tighten our laces, set our watches, and applaud volunteers, first timers, and parkrun achievers one and all is Saturday 18th August.


Till then, keep well, keep running, and enjoy the holidays!


Matt Holland



Swindon parkrun, event 410, Run report

Swindon parkrun, event 410 Run report.

Swindon parkrun

Event number 410

4th August 2018

Yet another hot day at Swindon parkrun, although most of the 459 runners who took part probably thought that it was slightly cooler than of late.

Today was a day when we were graced with three Run Directors at the same event – Run Director for today was Tim Howe, in attendance were also our regular RunDirector Emma Sperring, and a visiting Run Director from Llanerchaeron parkrun.

The pre-run briefings were shared by Tim, Emma and Alethia today.

Tim reminded us that the Junior parkrun scheduled for 9thSeptember will clash with the Swindon half marathon. As volunteers are expected to be at a premium on that day, Tim appealed for volunteers for junior parkrun to come forward before the August Bank Holiday. If there is going to be a shortfall of volunteers, the Junior parkrun scheduled for 9th September will have to be cancelled.

Emma talked about the start of the ‘GoodGym’ initiative which will hold it’s first run on Tuesday 7th August commencing at 6pm from the Oasis Leisure Centre. This is a great way to keep fit and do some good work for the local community at the same timeEmma will be leading the group herself this week. Well done Emma! All parkrunners (and everybody else) are welcome to join in.

Alethia was the last person to brief everybody. Unfortunately, Alethia gave us all some very sad news. Sadly, Paul Gee passed away this week after a long illness bravely borne. Paul was a well-known and much-loved Swindon parkrunner, and a member of the Slinn Allstars running club. Alethia’s kind words were followed by a minute’s round of applause from everybody present and were concluded with the start signal for today’s run.

And so, 459 runners took off on the Lydiard park circuit once again. Being the first Saturday of the month we ran in ‘reverse’ today. Cue the usual conversations about runners own preferences on which way round they run,and the usual comparison of times depending upon which they run around the circuit!!!!

Today we had 59 first timers in attendance which is a remarkable number as we are in the middle of the summer holiday season. 61 runners recorded PB’s today (either we are all getting used to running in this heatwave or it was actually a bit cooler today!).

Parkrun visitors from Stratford, Rushmore, Truro, Sheffield and Abingdon were in attendance and we hope that you all enjoyed your ‘Swindon’ experience and will drop in again sometime?

Today’s ‘milestone’ parkrunner was Samantha Weedon who completed her 50th parkrun today. Congratulations Samantha and we hope to see you wearing that special red 50 running top very soon.

A couple of other things to mention today – unfortunately one of our fellow runners took a tumble on the home straight and ended up with a couple of big bruises on his face. The good news is that he recovered and managed to get across the finish line in one piece. Well done Sir!

The other thing is to make sure that you all keep hydrated in this weather and keep drinking plenty of water, especially before and after taking part in your weekly parkrun. We can’t cope with too many people fainting with dehydration at the same time. Thankyou.

And finally, a very big thankyou to all 42 volunteers who made today’s parkrun possible. Without your help we wouldn’t have been able to run!

See you all next week for more fun in the sun.

Steve Heavens

(Matt and Ben are both away this week)


Swindon parkrun, event 409, Run report

RUN REPORT for Swindon parkrun Number 409


Well, the Blood Moon, wherever she was last night, was well and truly eclipsed today by the change in the weather.


Was it a summer breeze, a stiff southerly, or the first signs of a gale on the way?


What’s for sure is that along the opening straight, today’s runners, joggers, and walkers were well and truly buffeted by a swirling headwind the like of which we’d not experienced since spring.


Some runners really struggled, while others, like the 51 who got themselves new PBs and our congratulations, clearly relished the conditions.


Hope the 46 First Timers did too and that the tourists from Bracknell, Canterbury, Cheltenham, Chipping Sodbury, Exeter, Northampton, Istanbul, and Qatar, whom we welcome, had a good time!


In fact, Run Director Emma welcomed 422 of us who willingly gave a rousing round of applause to the 45 volunteers who made Swindon parkrun possible today.


Among them was one runner, Swindon stalwart Stephen Heavens, who got his own deserved and appreciative round of applause for being both runner and volunteer many times over at Swindon parkrun.


Today, Steve completed his 250 parkrun and his 284th stint at volunteering; and, with his team of helpers, only just managed to complete the post-run takedown before the heavens (!) opened and his celebratory nibbles had to be whisked inside. Steve, we thank and salute you; and hope that you’ll continue running and volunteering for many more years to come. (In fact, as a special extra volunteering treat, would you like to write next Saturday’s Run Report, please? -J)


Three other regulars, who are also more than just runners at Swindon parkrun, also hit significant milestones today. For making it to 300 runs, we say well done to Alan McAdam; and for reaching 200, Claire Joyce and Philip Jefferies get our congratulations. But the latter two will each have to do another fifty runs if they want that coveted green T-shirt that Alan and Steve have already got.


Red T-shirts and our congratulations definitely go to four runners who hit 50 today. Well done to Craig Douglas, Ashleigh Netherton, Lucy Chandler, and Veronica Laker, who has done all her runs in Lydiard Park.


The next time we can run, jog, or walk parkrun in our favourite park (for a newly-written history of which, see https://www.lydiardtrust.org.uk/lydiard75/ ) is Saturday 4th August. Get ready to go anti-clockwise and keep to the left.


Till then, keep well, keep running, and keep dry. What!


Matt Holland



Swindon parkrun, event 408, Run report

Swindon parkrun

Event number 408

21st July 2018

How long can this amazing heat last?


The usual lush green lawns of Lydiard park have been bleached to straw by the sun and great cracks have opened up in the tortured top soil.


The going at Lydiard Park for parkrun number 408 was most definitely firm and the air was like hot soup.


Tim was sporting the hallowed parkrun director tabard this week and didn't let the lack of a hooter hold him back as he set us off with a cheery 'and.. go!' whereupon 422 parkrunners adopted the familiar good natured fast walk, pause, jog, walk, side-step friendly dog, run, before the field opened out past the first left hook.


Despite the challenging conditions - the marshalls and pacers were out in force and urging us on with unbridled enthusiasm. Their encouragement was needed more than ever as we collectively answered the weekly 5k question with that parkrun 'can do' grit.


I don't know whether it was some form of mirage but as I staggered round I couldn't help but notice that Colin's dogs appear to have significantly shrunk - or perhaps they were further away? 


Crossing the 50 barrier this week was Michael Randall and clocking up 100 runs, Ian Spencer - well done both!


We had 38 first timers - you are most welcome - and incredibly 65 of us recorded new personal bests, in these conditions!? 


A team of 37 hard-grafting volunteers made parkrun 408 a possibility.


Until next time, keep running, stay cool and wear a hat!


Ben Fitzgerald




Swindon parkrun, event 407, Run report

RUN REPORT for Swindon parkrun Number 407


They say that a week is a long time in politics.  And it’s also a long time in football and tennis.


Well, in parkrun, it’s an age not to do one in Swindon for two weeks!


That’s how long it’s been since we last ran or walked our Saturday morning 5k in Lydiard Park.


So it was good to be back. Especially because watching our politicians, footballers, and tennis players struggle to reach goals on the world stage can be frustrating, while at Swindon parkrun, so much is achievable, weekly, by each of us.


The last fortnight of vicarious vicissitudes (Sorry. =  experiencing emotional ups and downs through the actions of others) is over. Today, it was we, ourselves, who faced the emotions and the challenge. Only we could surge up the back straight; only we could find reserves for the second lap; and only we could push for a new PB.


OK. It was only 5k in a local park, not world politics at Chequers, the world cup in Russia, or a big-money match at Wimbledon.


But life’s what we make it. And today, we all did our best, that’s for sure, and feel the better for it.


At the start line, in more relentless summer sunshine, our Run Director welcomed 382 of us, including 24 First Timers and tourists from nearby Oxford and far away New Zealand.


By the finish, 32 people had got themselves new PBs and our congratulations, which also go to one Swindon stalwart, a regular runner, amazing volunteer, and all-round helper, Pete Edwards, who today reached the terrific T-shirt rewarded  milestone of 250 runs. Brilliant Pete!


Brilliant too, for making today’s run possible, are this week’s 40 volunteers, to whom we say many thanks.


In fact, there are other participants at Swindon parkrun today who merit a word of thanks. When a passing cyclist came off his bike by the Hay Lane entrance, and was clearly in trouble, it was Swindon parkrunners who summoned help and controlled traffic.


This was a stark reminder that we share Lydiard Park with other users and that it behoves us to respect and treat them well.  Swindon parkrunners came out of this incident well and we hope that the cyclist does too.


The parkun family not only looks after other park users but also its own. Today, regular runner and queen of cool cup cakes, Alex Griffin, offered anyone two show court tickets for finals Sunday at Wimbledon.


So at the end of today’s Swindon parkrun, the names of half a dozen parkrunning tennis enthusiasts were put into a hat. The lucky person whose name was drawn out was generous Jane Shave, who, in her delight, promptly offered a monetary donation to swell the coffers of Swindon parkrun. Hope you see some good tennis Jane!


The next time we can set out on our favourite 5k, on Saturday 21st July, summer summits in politics, football, and tennis, will all be over, but in Swindon, we still have a long way to run.


Till then, keep well, keep running, and, while it lasts, enjoying the sun.


Matt Holland


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