Run report: event #40 The one with the middle life crisis

40 is a difficult age.  One with so many questions about which direction to go and whether you are happy with how things are.  Event #40 certainly had midlife crisis potential!

We saw a change to the route, which will continue for the foreseeable future.  This includes a new starting point for those who forgot to put on their listening ears at the briefing (Liam MUNT!!!).  The change takes our parkrunners away from "steep hill" and the first fishing lake, although it does make for a challenging run along the camber of the mown Skylark path.  While it would appear it was time well spent last night writing "Westmill parkrun" on 50 new markers, I am very grateful to Jonny NICHOLLS, Adam GUEST (aka Princess Ferret), Anne RAMSDEN and Liz COATES for coming along extra early to help mark up the course and guiding you on the new path.

The new course worked well for Robert O'HARA, Jon DAVISON and Elvaaron TYLER who all chalked up new PBs in the wet and boggy conditions.  General feedback on the changes was positive and it seems that no one fell on their bum.  This was a bit of a miracle for first finisher Tim SEARLE given he included a bit of gymnastics last time he ran the course.  Maybe it's because we've cut out the flat bit where he fell over...

Tim was followed in by Jonathan and Jonny battling hard along the final stretch, with Jonathan TIFFEN taking the honours.  Jonny NICHOLS was probably weighed down by his 'big coat', something I have never previously known a northerner to own.  Then Jonny does have a habit of losing his clothes, and last week I acquired a lovely new running jacket to cycle home in.

Our first lady was sadly an UNKNOWN due to an unfortunate case of DFYBitus.. Sorry, I know it's disappointing, and we do not want to spoil anyone's fun, but the instruction to the core teams from head office is clear.  This week I must have spent about eight hours on Westmill parkrun business and at larger parkruns, it can add a lot of time to results processing.

So our official first lady was Helen CARTLIDGE who was visiting us for the first time, from St Albans Striders.  Striders had opted for a bit of Hertfordshire club tourism today, as did Dacorum & Tring AC, along with representatives from Castle Park, South Oxhey and Stevenage parkruns.  There may have been a few others, but my notes were a bit soggy.  Julia BOOKER was second lady, assisting Bear to another barkrun victory.  Helen's Striders club mate Kate BURN was third lady.

Once our 66 parkrunners navigated the new course and found our mini barcode scanners Finley SEARLE and Acer THRELFALL in the long grass, the final uphill drag was made a 'sweeter' sight by Clare GALLAGHER's cake stall.  You generous lot raised a fabulous £71 in aid of the charity MIND.  Thank you.  Further details of John and Clare's challenge are here.

So while turning 40 might have brought it's challenges, it all worked out well in the end and I personally really enjoyed the atmosphere today, and being your RD.  I hope you did too.  Now, if I could just sort out this weather!!

RD Sharon

Did you know, Westmillers have covered 13,030km since 22 July 2017.  It's the equivalent of walking to Lake Baikal and back... And that's what you get for having an indagatrix as a Run Director.

The event was made possible by 25 volunteers:
Anne RAMSDEN • Jonny NICHOLLS • Tim SEARLE • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Clare GALLAGHER • Asta NEELY • Isla THRELFALL • Peter KEATS • Aycan AKYUZ • Charles BELL • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Dixon NEELY • Xander NEELY • Martin WELLS • Maureen HURT • Esmé NEELY • Finlay SEARLE • Stephen JOHNSON • Adam GUEST • Darren NEELY • Liz COATES • William HOARE • Jonathan HANCOX

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


Changes to course – please read

Hello Westmillers, hope you are all basking in a post VMLM glow whether you ran, volunteered or watched on the telly.

Following discussions with the landowners, we are having to implement some changes to the course.  They are a little difficult to describe in text, but essentially they impact in the "steep hill" field, and take runners away from the first lake.

The course has been remeasured, and to accommodate the changes we are pulling the start back to the briefing area.  This means that the finish funnel will be in the same location, and not at the top of the hill by the car park!!  See, RD Sharon was thinking of you.

A Strava map of the route should be available here.  And there are photos on the Facebook page, in the pinned post.

We are hoping to have some extra marshals on hand to point out the route changes, so we reasonably confident about losing anyone.  The start should be at 9am, as usual, but please be prepared for some minor delays while we get all the marshals to their new positions.

See you Saturday ~ RD Sharon


Run report: event #35 The one with a touch of Royalty

It's been a funny old week, Granville.  Despite the challenges that life can bring, there is always parkrunday, formerly known as Saturday, to look forward to.  Event #35 at Westmill certainly did not disappoint.  Westmill is a small parkrun with a big heart, starting with warm welcomes for all our volunteers.  Hugs were in free flow for willing(ish) victims such as stalwarts Charles BELL and Mike STOCK, as well as for first time volunteers (or voluntourists!) Tim & Finlay SEARLE.

Tim & Finlay were your marshals up at the tree stump today, and Finlay reported back that Daddy Tim had behaved reasonably well.  Tim had almost managed to persuade a groom and best man to join us this morning, but it turns out they were just wanting to check we were going to be out of the way for the afternoon wedding reception.  Bit of a shame really, as I think some lycra clad squirrels [1.03], sorry parkrunners, would be a fantastic addition to some wedding photos.  Just one of the perks of a multi-use site!

Tim even found time accompany Kerri-Louise ROOKE on course set-up.  Perhaps he recognised it was in the company of royalty, given Kerri is the undisputed Queen of the EyeFlick.  That or he'd heard about Kerri's sense of direction and map reading skills... Not that Tim is much better having previously managed to fall over on a flat bit of the course.  But somehow, they didn't get lost and neither did our parkrunners.  There were only 39 starters... right?!  In fact, the course set up was complimented by participants, so thank you Kerri & Tim.

Many of our parkrunners received a personal welcome and a knowledge of post parkrun dietary preferences.  Chris MILLER from Tring was happy to have the bacon sandwiches that Jo BROOKS of Rickmansworth was passing on, despite the yard arm having not passed for him.  They serve from 10am at Tring, which may explain the squirrels' attire...

Apparently there was a run at some stage, although it was a little late in getting going; sorry.  We had to wait for the Queen to start, as part of her London Marathon training, I guess, but all too soon, the first finishers were coming in.  Patrick McGUINNESS was first over the line, with Lyndon HEARN in hot pursuit.  These chaps had cycled from Harpenden to join us for the first time!  I will have a word with the fishermen, if you fancy doing a triathlon.

Sue MILLWARD was first lady, with a top 10 finish, and she was followed home by Gemma SEARLE who was also running at Westmill for the first time.  Sue wasn't actually supposed here today, which rather banjaxed my plans to tell our fifteen first timers that I was Sue if they didn't enjoy Westmill parkrun.  I can't get away with anything!

Just one point of order.  Under 11s must run with their adult, at all times other than along the final finish.  This is not a rule that Westmill Run Director are imposing to be awkward, this is a parkrun rule and part of our insurance.

Next week you are in the culpable capable hands of RD Marcia, so get in touch should you fancy the warm, fuzzy volunteer feeling.

RD Sharon

Thank you to all our volunteers, particularly to Fabien LONG who today completed his Duke of Edinburgh stint and to William HOARE who joined us for his very first.
Susan MILLWARD • Andy JAY • Carla BELL • Tim SEARLE • Jan STOCK • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Lynsay EVANS • Garth MORRIS • Isla THRELFALL • Aycan AKYUZ • Charles BELL • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Finlay SEARLE • Sarah BERRY • Kerri-Louise ROOKE • Cerys EVANS • Fabien LONG • William HOARE

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

(And yes, I know that the correct quote is "It's been a funny old day", but bear with!)


The one after The Beast

Westmill parkrun
Event number 33
10th March 2018

The Beast had gone back to the east, there was no pest from the west, and the snow had made way for sticky, squelchy, glorious mud.
This week welcomed visitors from Castle Park, Stevenage, and Wimpole, if you enjoyed your run with us, please spread the word among your fellow runners, we have room for plenty more!

First finisher for the men was Oscar Bell (do I know him from somewhere..?) in 18:52, followed by David Haylett in 19:41 and Gareth Thompson in 20:28 , who both set a new PB.
Harriet Kealy was 1st lady in 22:34, followed by Julia Booker (and Bear) in 24:57, and Jos Ashpole in 30:44.
A special mention also to the three musketeers John Butcher, Brian ‘Snowy’ Smith and Terry Nicholls who seemed to be chatting the whole way round and kept each other going, and Abby Cox and Jill Flint, for their determination and huge smile with which they crossed the finish line!

This week 29 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 3 were first timers and 6 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 5 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 16 volunteers, and we even had a tourist volunteer from Castle Park, thank you Andrea Edwards, hopefully you will soon be injury-free and be able to come and run. And ofcourse a massive thank you to ALL you fab volunteers for giving up your time, and making the event possible:

Julia GRISTWOOD • Andrea EDWARDS • Susan MILLWARD • Carla BELL • Oscar BELL • Margaret BALFOUR • Stuart BALLARD • Paul COCKLIN • Jan STOCK • Mike STOCK • Garth MORRIS • Adan FREEMAN • Harriet KEALY • Aycan AKYUZ • Charles BELL • Fabien LONG
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Westmill parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by Ian KIMPTON who recorded a time of 16:29 on 23rd September 2017 (event number 10).
The female record is held by Carla BROWN who recorded a time of 20:06 on 27th January 2018 (event number 28).
The Age Grade course record is held by Catherine WRIGHT who recorded 79.87% (25:00) on 26th August 2017 (event number 6).
Westmill parkrun started on 22nd July 2017. Since then 1,105 participants have completed 2,234 parkruns covering a total distance of 11,170 km, including 402 new Personal Bests.

Next week’s RD will be Sue, hope you have a good week
Kind regards,


Run report: event #31 The one with Olympic spirit

First of all, volunteer extraordinaire Isla THRELFALL is fine.  Absolutely fine; there was no need for amputation.

We were on a sort of household triathlon this morning; I had cycled over for set up, and Paul THRELFALL was taking a break from marshalling for his first run at Westmill while Isla and Jake THRELFALL were going swimming after completing their volunteer duties.  Unfortunately, Isla managed to shut her own finger in the car door, and subsequently fainted.  It's a good job I've practised my catching as runners de-robe on their way to the second lap, which means I was on hand to catch my own daughter!

First aid support was quickly provided by, amongst others, first timer Emma DEAKIN.  Emma was attempting to take a break from mum duties, having given birth only ten weeks ago (kudos - I think I was still wandering round in my dressing gown), and also from catching Jonny Brownlee.  Yes... the triathlon World Champion.  Hopefully the experience will not put you off a return visit, as long as Isla doesn't "do a Jonny" again.  So either Isla is very up to speed on the GB team, or she thought one of our other first timers, Sonia COUSINS (aka Brown Owl) needed a bit of a sprint warm up.

Anyway, while the morning started somewhat colder than PyeongChang, our 66 parkrunners were soon warmed by the support of marshals who all matched the level of enthusiasm of the North Korean cheerleading squad, if a little less co-ordinated.  Special mention must got to our tree stumps dwellers, the NEELY family, who answered the anxious call for volunteers on late Friday afternoon.

I know we always mention it, but we can not put on the event without our volunteers to keep to you all safe.  There can always be minor changes to the course, and we have to be mindful that we are not the only users of the Westmill Lakes grounds.  Today we had some fly fishermen down at the lakes, and we didn't want a repeat of this... with a javelin swopped for a fly hook.

Today, our German Madrazo was Anne GARNISH, ensuring that you didn't finish last.  It's a common fear amongst those new to parkrun, but if the worst you can be is Pita Taufatofua that's not so bad after all.  And just for the record, this week's Pita was Roy STRINGER, but then Val STRINGER has always known that.  You don't even need to be a local or regular to help out; Anne joined us from her home run of Ashton Court, so is more than happy with our undulations.  The first half of the Ashton Court course is like the north face of the Eiger, and the second something like a downhill ski course.

Most runners found it was more Seoul than PyeongChang by the second lap, and all too soon the Farahs and Bekeles of our merry band were across the finish line.  Three of our first five finishers were First Timers!  I'm glad I used up all the flags and markers to send you round, so no-one went off course.  It can happen!  Well done to Andy STUART who made the most of the crisper ground to come home in 21:54.

Clearly others were also inspired by Olympic events, with couple of Coe/Ovett tussles; Asta NEELY edging out Karan SAXENA, and Claire TOMLIN narrowly avoided a 'Molly Huddle' moment to Alli WYNN's incarnation of Emily Infeld.  Meanwhile, in the battle of the RD husbands, Richard MILLWARD and Paul THRELFALL decided to recreate the finish of the very first London Marathon, crossing the line together like Dick Beardsley and Inge SimonsenAlbeit, at a little slower pace and thankfully in slightly longer shorts.

Sir Terry NICHOLS continued in his Bubka-esque efforts of lowering his PB and the VM75-79 age category record by as small margins as possible!  Mark my words, Terry, those Jacobellis type finishes will get the better of you one day!!  Always run through the line, as my old sports master taught me...

I think I'm done for Olympic and sports references, so I will leave you with words of thanks for all our volunteers, and a link to the results.  Next week sees RD Sue back at the helm.


This week 66 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 23 were first timers and 13 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 9 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 22 volunteers:
Susan MILLWARD • Colin GRACE • Mike STOCK • Beverley MCLEES • Sharon THRELFALL • Lynsay EVANS • Anne GARNISH • Marcia FISHER • Richard EARL • Adan FREEMAN • Isla THRELFALL • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Dixon NEELY • Xander NEELY • Esmé NEELY • Stephen JOHNSON • Darren NEELY • Cerys EVANS • Ellie BURT • Fabien LONG • Amy LEIGHTON

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


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