Swindon parkrun, Event 419, Run report

Event number 419

13th October 2018


It was always going to be touch and go weather-wise, with the fickle gods of rain and wind seemingly locked in a blustery debate about what the prevailing conditions should be.

It was decided just as this week’s Park Run director, Tim, stepped up onto the bench to address the assembled 421 runners - with rain firmly winning the argument.

The freezing bullets drew a collective ‘urgh!’ from the huddled throng - with some pacers using their laminated time signs to shield themselves from the worst of it.

Apparently it was all down to Storm Callum, which if Friday’s Daily Express is to believed would: “unleash hurricane-force gales and biblical downpours in an violent blitz showing worrying similarities to the historic tempest which struck three decades ago.”

It really wasn’t that bad if I’m being honest.

Among the visitors to this week’s Parkrun were a group of six bell ringers or should that be a peal or perhaps a cacophony? They were celebrating the start of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers Peal and Quarter Peal Festival (Well... it certainly has a ring to it!) After the group reportedly ran like the clappers (ahem..) they headed for the historic St Mary’s Church next to Lydiard House, to ring out a quarter peal (45 mins of continuous ringing) what an amazing effort!

Keen to get the runners going - in his words “it’s better to be wet and running than wet and standing still”, Tim sincerely but rapidly congratulated Liffey Daniels for her 100th parkrun and then also congratulated Dawn Shoemark for reaching her 100th parkrun - the last she will do as a Shoemark as she is getting married next Saturday to Paul Woodward and will become Dawn Woodward! Many congratulations to you both from your fellow Swindon Parkrunners!

We were unleashed with a short, sharp blast of the trusty hooter. The efforts of our 35 amazing Parkrun volunteers were especially welcome this week as they stoically endured the (apparently Biblical) downpours to urge us on/ check our times/ mark out and check the route and generally make it all work. Thanks as always!

Until we meet again next week remember to increase the peace (and minimise the criticise!)




Swindon parkrun, Event 418, Run report

RUN REPORT for Swindon parkrun Number 418


At a quarter to nine this morning, instead of the usual happy hubbub of chat and warm ups under the trees, most runners ended up in a shivering huddle under the eaves, of the Forest cafe, still chatting but with a main aim of trying to keep dry.


You see, it was raining, and those of you who preferred not to have raindrops falling on your head, so stayed in bed  -  it was the lowest turnout since March at Swindon parkrun - may have been secretly smiling at the choice you’d made.


Well, you missed a great morning!


Once we’d settled down – yes, there was a buzz of excitement in the air – and today’s Run Director Emma had welcomed the hardy 377 of us, we warmed ourselves up by giving big cheers and generous rounds of applause to all sorts of fine people, and a dog!


We gave a 14th birthday cheer to parkrun UK; welcomed tourists from Hebden Bridge, Little Stoke, and Pomphrey Hill; applauded Annabel Wallis for making it to 50 runs seven years after her first parkrun; congratulated Junior Lucy Spencer, from another one of those ever-helpful Swindon parkrun families, for reaching 100 runs; and gave a big cheer to Patch, the terrifically fit terrier, whose little legs carried him to his 300th parkrun today and who either helps or hinders his owner, Swindon regular Barbara Thomas, on her own brilliant runs. In fact, the last and very biggest cheer of the morning came for Patch the dog when he received a bag of biscuits and a certificate. Would he have liked a T-shirt too?


Three runners who will definitely be getting T-shirts and our congratulations are Juniors Fletcher Hart, Joshua Olowoporoku, and William Higgs, who have all reached 10 runs, all done in Lydiard Park.


Two more Juniors who deserve a mention are Patrick Mochan and Daniel Patel, who were first and second over the finish line today.


Well done the Juniors, all round!


Well done too to today’s 45 First Timers for choosing to run in Swindon in the rain; congratulations to the 51 runners who obviously like it wet, windy, and anti-clockwise, and got themselves new PBs; and huge thanks to the 43 volunteers who made today’s run possible. We hope you were not too cold and wet.


We also hope that any Swindon parkrunner who are tackling nearby Half Marathons tomorrow, either at Cricklade, Oxford, or Salisbury, have good runs and slightly better conditions than we had today.


But hey, don’t we all feel okay whatever the conditions, as long as we are running! And anyway, it can be rather nice, having our cheeks kissed by lovely life-giving raindrops; and once back in doors, discovering that a shower feels better and a cup of tea sweeter after a good run in the rain.


The next time we can run, rain or shine, at Swindon parkrun is Saturday 13th October.


Till then, keep well, keep running, and celebrating the joys of parkrun.


Matt Holland



Swindon parkrun, Event 417, Run report

Swindon parkrun

Event number 417

29th September 2018

There was a brisk Autumnal chill in the air as runners reluctantly shed their warm hoodies to stuff them beneath the blue tarp, flapped their arms and did those half-hearted stretches to get the blood flowing.

Among the assembled 436 squinting into the low angled sun - as Parkrun director Emma Sperring insisted on silence - were visitors from Lincoln, Evesham, Eastville and Falkirk who had clearly heard about legendary Lydiard and quite rightly made the pilgrimage to become part of something, quite frankly, magical.

We took time to applaud volunteer Stacey Smith for reaching her 25th volunteer milestone which means that she can now wear the purple t-shirt of outstandingness (I’m fairly sure that’s a word). Also outstanding are Parkrunners Lewis Watson who celebrated his 80th birthday on Tuesday and Zanda Miles who was celebrating his 17th. Con-flipping-gratulations!

Before we got going, there was a general plea for a 40-minute pacer, at which point many looked about expectantly thinking ‘this could be my chance to shine, to sport a hi-viz vest and to lead my own gang of runners to victory’; this was quickly revised to a request for a 22-minute pacer instead - heralding chuckles and awkward shuffling as potential volunteers sidled back to their original positions.

That said, Emma asked me to point out that volunteers are always needed - and you don’t need to be able to cheerfully bomb around the route in 22 minutes to help out. Simply send an email or even collar an official on the day and you will be found a role to suit! Not only that, you will also feel get that nice warm feeling.

Support was, as always, wonderful all the way around the route, and it was great to learn that James ‘snapper’ Booth was back at his usual haunt on the last corner before the finish line to capture the grim determination/ joie de vivre  (delete as appropriate) in unflinching crisp definition with his top quality lens.

Congratulations are in order for Joe Smith for completing his 10th run, Danny Davidson and Kate Moody for their 50th and Dawn McCafferty who completed her 100th - get those t-shirts ordered!

Ok - get your diary out. If you fancy it… there’s a Parkrun in Lydiard on New Year’s Day. It’s taking place at the highly civilised time of 10.30am and as always, we would love to hear from volunteers who are willing to help make this happen - what better way to kick off 2019 than to extend a helping hand?

Fun fact: New Year’s Day is the only day of the year when you can achieve ‘The Double’ ie do two Parkruns in one day! There are numerous Parkruns nearby that will be starting at 8.30am which then gives you ample time to then make your way to Wiltshire’s premier Parkrun for 10.30am.

Finally, and most importantly, we require more Jelly Babies to replenish the mouse-proof yellow tub. Don’t feel you have to stick to Jelly Babies - just something with a high shelf life (and a high sugar content) that’s easy to eat after a run - so perhaps not Walnut Whips or Sherbet Dib Dabs…


Keep picking them up and putting them down!

Ben Fitzgerald




Swindon parkrun, Event 416, Run report

Swindon parkrun

Event number 416

22nd September 2018


Saturday’s Parkrun was dedicated to the celebration of the life of a young man, Alex Weatherell.


We were reminded that Parkrun is more than just a running club, it’s a community of people drawn from all walks of life and all age groups who share a common bond.


Alex’s father Tony and step mum Mandy where joined by family and friends at the start line on Saturday morning - as Parkrun director Emma Sperring read the following eulogy:


“Alex loved running and he loved Parkrun. In May he ran his 11th Parkrun here in Swindon. In April he completed the London Marathon in just over five hours. And this time last year he ran the Swindon Half Marathon, finishing just behind Michelle and I pacing at 1 hour 50 minutes.

“Alex’s dad Tony and his step mum Mandy are regulars here at Swindon Parkrun and Tony tells me that it was Alex who got him running after persuading him to do the Santa fun run here at Lydiard in 2015. They then found out about Swindon Parkrun and started running here in 2016, eventually persuading Mandy to come along too. Mandy at the time couldn’t stand running but soon changed her mind at her first Parkrun - she was hooked!

“Alex at just 25 years old died very suddenly and very unexpectedly last week. He will be missed by everyone who knew him. It is Alex’s love of running and Parkrun that brings Alex’s friends and family here to Parkrun today to celebrate Alex’s short life.

So, today I will be running with Tony; please give him a cheer as he runs by. It will mean a lot to him that you as the Swindon Parkrun community care and understand.”


Assembled Parkrunners paid tribute to Alex and showed support with a minute long round of applause before the hooter signalled the start of the run - as runners set off with Alex and his family very much in their thoughts.


This week we were honoured to be joined by visitors from Huddersfield, Portsmouth, Kent, Tetbury and Boston, with 455 of us lining up to run, walk or jog the course on this overcast September day. There were 42 first timers and 72 of those taking part smashed their own personal barriers, setting new personal bests.


A technical glitch has resulted in some of the results going awry and being marked as ‘unknown’  - if you happen to know your finishing position and your name is not mentioned, please email in and we shall endeavour to match numbers to names!

Many congratulations to Tim Midwinter on his 100th Parkrun and Darren Hughes for his momentous 250th!


Thanks to the 46 exceptional volunteers who made this week’s run possible.


Until next week, stay warm, look after each other and keep running!


Ben Fitzgerald




Swindon parkrun, event 415, Run report

RUN REPORT for Swindon parkrun Number 415


For the first time since mid June, numbers exceeded five hundred at Swindon parkrun on a glorious autumn morning in Lydiard Park today.


Dotted among the 543 runners, joggers, and walkers, warmly welcomed by Run Director Emma Sperring, were scores of sky blue shirts, worn with pride by the many happy parkrunners who successfully completed last Sunday’s fabulous Swindon Half Marathon.


Present too were key members of the Half Marathon planning and support team, from founder and organiser in chief Graeme Hardie to the family of fans holding the cool cardboard press-here power pad. For those of us who ran, walked, and staggered the 13.1 miles round Swindon, and had a few week-old aches and pains to prove it, it was great to be reminded of the atmosphere, organisation, and support of last Sunday. Well done and thank you to the Swindon half Marathon Team and its sponsors.


Thank you too to tourists from Arrow Valley, Gainsborough, Oxford, and Newcastle (Australia!) parkruns for choosing to run at Swindon today.


There were 47 First Timers, whom we welcome, and 83 speedsters who got themselves new PBs and our congratulations.


Getting our thanks are the 38 volunteers who made today’s Swindon parkrun possible.


Btw, that’s on the low side of the number of volunteers required to run Swindon parkrun as smoothly as the Swindon Half Marathon. In other words, your parkrun needs you! Please volunteer whenever you can and save Emma and other Run Directors from having to make pleas for volunteers at ten to nine.


Also getting our congratulations today are six people who reached T-shirt rewarded parkrun milestones.


In particular, we say well done to two young men from Swindon parkrun running and volunteering families. Junior James Mayneord hit 100 runs, with a new PB no less; and Jacob Mcadam made it to the big 250, which have included him being first over the line on two separate occasions at two different parkruns. Brilliant, both of you!


And brilliant too today was Eddy Bamber, getting himself a new PB and hitting 50 runs, as did Alison Millin, who has done all hers in Lydiard Park. Our congratulations also go to Simon Collinsfor making it to 100 runs. New T-shirts all round!


The next time we can all increase our number of runs at Swindon parkrun is Saturday 22nd September.


Till then, keep well, keep running, and, if you are of an age and stage in life where it might be of interest, think on this.


Does becoming a grandparent entitle you to run more slowly? It’s certainly a new status and appellation that makes you sound less speedy and cool; more cosy, creaky, and crotchety. We’ll see, as others have before me.


Matt Holland


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