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.



Run report: event #30 The one after the night before

I nearly got away with it.  If it hadn't been for that pesky kid Nick KENYON-MUIR, no-one would ever have guessed that last night I was co-host at the Ware Joggers annual quiz.  That, of itself, was not a problem.  The slight problem was that there was me, nerves and access to red wine.  It's not that I am not very good at drinking; I'm exceptionally good at it.  I'm just a whole lot less good at stopping and being a grown up... I'm glad that I'm a quadragesimarian, so no risk of a repeat performance over the next few weeks, even if I struggled to read out that quiz question last night.

Still, I had my trusty side-kick Peter KEATS with me, who was in the requisite red & white bobble hat uniform for some RD training.  Lesson 1 = Don't go on the red wine the night before.
Peter quickly learnt that tourists are easily spotted by their early arrival, although maybe a little concerned that I was also able to predict at least one of the occupants of said car; a Mr Paul FREYNE.  The clue was the new 'like' to our Facebook page this week, Peter!

We were honoured to be visited by Paul, along with Iwona KWIDZYNSKA, who have something of a celeb status in parkrun circles.  Paul is founding member of the 'Freyne' club, for those tourists who have visited more than 250 different global parkrun events, whereas Iwona is the first female to complete her 100 milestone by attending 100 different events.  Today was 442nd parkrun/398th event for Paul and 103rd event and parkrun for Iwona.  I hope you enjoyed our course today.

The last time our first finisher, Tim SEARLE, had seen me, I was belting down the Strand after a man who was wearing nothing more than a Santa posing pouch.  I ought to clarify this was as part of the Winter Run 10k last Sunday, but maybe the image was a bit too much Tim who managed to fall and then roll over several times before coming home in a new PB of 19:11.  In a somewhat bizarre twist this was not on the steep hill, where I've placed the cameras in the hope of earning £250.  No, it was on the flat bit by the lakes, so your guess is as good as mine as to what actually happened; maybe some homage to the start of the Winter Olympics.

There was a particularly strong performance in barkrun this week, with Tess romping home as first finisher alongside first timer Chris DEMETRIADES.  Tess was followed home by Luna (and first female finisher Cassandra TREVIS), then Ash and Buster.
You were all very good boys and girls and definitely earned a biscuit, oh yes you did.

I must also say thank you for our volunteers who braved the cold today, to ensure a safe event for all our participants.  As a core team, we always welcome new volunteers, like Liz COATES today as one of our marshals.  If you're not sure whether volunteering is for you, perhaps have a read of this piece which I wrote for part of the Hertfordshire Year of Physical Activity.  I do feel obliged to point out that, unlike Carla BELL, I actually remembered all my volunteering children.  Poor timekeeper Charles BELL was about to be left at Westmill by his mum, until I intervened.

So I think the sofa beckons.  At least for a hour or two.  For those it applies to, enjoy half term, and I'll see you next week.  Minus the after effects of UB40.

RD Sharon

This week 55 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 25 were first timers and 9 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 9 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 21 volunteers:
Julia GRISTWOOD • Susan MILLWARD • Carla BELL • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Frank O'SHEA • Lynsay EVANS • Garth MORRIS • Marcia FISHER • Emma NIXON • Isla THRELFALL • Peter KEATS • Charles BELL • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Paul THRELFALL • Caitlin FISHER • Cerys EVANS • Tommy SHEPHERD • Fabien LONG • Liz COATES
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Westmill parkrun Results Page.


Run report: event #29 The one with shrimp but no barbie

Sometimes the life of an RD is a lonely one.  I arrived early at the course to open the gate, dig out the parkrun paraphernalia, nicely lay out the hi-vis vests, put up the flag... hand over the signs to Keith LAWRANCE on course set up... The kids were sensible enough to stay in the car, while Paul THRELFALL and I enjoyed what constitutes some "us time" (steady!) when you have three kids under ten.  Checked the loos were in order.  Straightened up the vests... There was a flurry of excitement when Stephen JOHNSON pulled into the car park at 8.26am, although it did look for a while that we might have to send him around on a solo lap.

Of course, I should not have worried.  While the hardy volunteers still outnumbered the potential runners at 8:47am, a couple of minutes later, in time for a group photo, we had a bit of a flash mob parkrun gathering.  Isla THRELFALL briefed our new victims, er, runners; some brand new shiny newbies who were soon to be less shiny and more muddy, and tourists from as far afield as Panshanger, St Albans and ... Brisbane.

Sally-Anne CAREY travelled a massive 16,500 kilometres to join us.  That's 3,300 parkruns, and a lot further than the 2,048 parkruns that have been completed at Westmill since July 2017.  I am sure Sally is wondering what on earth she was doing at the boggy banks of the fishing lakes, rather than the South Banks of Brisbane River, but judging by her happy face as she went past with Richard EARL, she enjoyed it, if maybe questioning the choice of white clothing.

We warmed our spirits with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday for Sir Terry NICHOLS, who was on the runner high of moving into a new age category and the chance to chase more accolades.  Terry celebrated being our most "mature" (I use the term loosely) runner by accompanying (within arms length), Isla, our youngest runner today.  It is truly fantastic to watch the parkrun experience link the generations, and I'm not sure who was pacing who, but Isla secured a new PB 33:33.

Garth MORRIS must have been pleased with my powers of persuasion that meant he ran rather than stood in a ditch, as he was our first male parkrun finisher.  Garth was accompanied by the female barkrun first finisher, Ella, whereas the first male barkrun finisher made up (somewhat hilariously) for a late start by running in with first female finisher Julia BOOKER.  Bear has his own little fan club, in Jake THRELFALL, who was very excited to scan them on his first barcode scanning experience.

While the hi-vis vests are drying out, you'll be pleased to know that Acer THRELFALL has warmed up, in part due to the restorative powers of a sausage sandwich from the Three Lakes restaurant.  His thoughts on the morning are "It was cold.  And damp.  But I liked timekeeping."  Good points, well made, to be fair.

So next week, you'll be delighted to know that we welcome a brand new RD on board, Peter KEATS.  If you don't recognise the name or face, you'll be sure to recognise the lycra clad bottom which regularly graces the cover photo of our Facebook page.  Be sure to come along and join in his debut, sartorial elegance is guaranteed.

RD Sharon

This week 44 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 6 were first timers and 10 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 7 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 19 volunteers:
Susan MILLWARD • Jan STOCK • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Lynsay EVANS • Keith LAWRANCE • Isla THRELFALL • Sarah DOE • Charles BELL • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Paul THRELFALL • Bailey DOE • Martin WELLS • Stephen JOHNSON • Sarah BERRY • Cerys EVANS • Fabien LONG • Eleonore LANCELOT

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


Out with the Blue, in with the RED

Westmill parkrun
Event number 28
27th January 2018

If you were looking to ban the January ‘blues’ (cold/dark/wet, ages till payday, the post-Xmas bank statement)  than you had come to the right place. Not only was there a lovely red streak in the early sky when I arrived, but we were delighted to welcome Diane Taylor and her lovely running group Herts Girls Can who came to raise awareness for RED (RunEveryDay) January, which encourages everyday physical activity, and supports the mental health charity MIND, by providing hot drinks and scrumptious cakes. It was great to see so many of you donning all kinds of red attire in support of their fund- and awareness raising efforts, I hope you enjoyed the refreshments, your participation and contribution are hugely appreciated!


We are continuing to attract a large number of new parkrunners and first timers, partly because some other parkruns in the vicinity being cancelled due to a waterlogged course, and maybe partly because word is spreading that whilst Westmill might be, just ever so slightly, erm, challenging, it is also a very beautiful, scenic course, supported by friendly, supportive volunteers..? So this week we gave a warm welcome to tourists from London, Harlow, Stevenage, Cambridge, Wimpole/Jersey (sorry if I missed anyone out), as well as 7 parkrun virgins (your Saturdays will never be the same again..), we hope that you thoroughly enjoyed your first run with us, and that you will come back soon!


The first 3 female finishers today were: 2nd overall finisher Carla Brown in 20:06 setting a new female course record in the process, Laura Wills in 25:51, and Claire Teague in 28:08.
The first 3 male finishers were Will Dupre in 19:53, David Attwood in 20:26, Mark Crook in 20:29.
The juniors were headed home by Jack Offord in 25:00, Joseph Teague in 28:01, and Toby Grace in 33:50. Joseph also joined the 10 club, congratulations, and we look forward to seeing you in your white 10 t-shirt soon.


And last but by no means least, I would like to thank our loyal band of lovely volunteers who give up their time so generously, without their help there would be no parkrun, this week’s event was made possible by:
Julia GRISTWOOD • Susan MILLWARD • Carla BELL • Oscar BELL • Jan STOCK • Mike STOCK • Lynsay EVANS • Garth MORRIS • Diane TAYLOR • Marcia FISHER • Richard EARL • Harriet KEALY • Charles BELL • James REED • Nick KENYON-MUIR • Lauren FISHER • Caitlin FISHER • Sarah BERRY • Finlay EARL • Cerys EVANS • Louis STEWARD • Fabien LONG

And for the rest of the usual statistics, these are as follows:

This week 64 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 28 were first timers and 9 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 9 different clubs took part.
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 1,035 participants have completed 2,004 parkruns covering a total distance of 10,020 km, including 353 new Personal Bests.
We hope to see you next week, when your RD will be the lovely Sharon,

Kind Regards,




Run report: event #27 The one that can jog on

I'm still cold.  Maybe damp is a better word.  Damp.  Moist.  Given that 'moist' is, apparently, one of the most unpopular words in the English language, I'll describe today's event as 'moist'.  Of course, that doesn't preclude it was also being awesome!

Today, on event #27, were we joined by a large jiggle of Ware Joggers (I've just made up that collective noun, but I like it), who were using Westmill parkrun as both a club event and a cross-country training session.  It was a great sight to witness all those club vests, even if they weren't quite so white at the end!  Ware Joggers often provide many of our volunteers, and truly are a club for all, providing the bookends of today's event in Oscar BELL and Esther BOUMA.  Ware Joggers meet at Wodson Park on Tuesdays & Thursdays for 7.30pm, if you fancy joining them.

We had a total of 96 parkrunners today; Ware Joggers made up more than half the field with 51 participants!!  There were also a massive 24 first timers; wow.  Please come back and visit us again from Barclay, Ellenbrook Fields, Wimpole Estate and... a small village near Hannover.  Henrike GARDEWIN was innocently participating in an exchange programme from Hertford's twin town of Wildeshausen (of the 'Blow Orchestra' fame) when she was dragged out of bed by today's Tail Walker Chantal GEALL and barkrunner Fraser.  If nothing else, Henrike really has experienced that particular oddity of Mad Dogs and Englishmen.  Although Noel Coward was thinking more of the mid day sun, than the lashings of cold rain we had today.

And considering those conditions, a huge thank you to all our volunteers this week, without whom we could not put on the event.  It certainly cheered me on to see our mini-marshals Acer & Jake THRELFALL at marshal point 3 today, their and all our volunteers' enthusiasm did not wane in the rain.  Thank you, you were all amazing!

In the circumstances, it was not surprising that there were some technical issues... Not only did Adan and I give up on any thoughts of trying to fold the pop-up sign, one barcode scanner decided not to work.  Isla THRELFALL instead used a new app scanner which is in its infancy; iPhones tend to love rainy conditions about as much as some our runners.  There was also a bit of an issue with the tokens sticking together, which meant a few problems with the first set of published results.  After an hour or so, I finally read the instructions, and it is hopefully now all sorted.  A massive 17 parkrunners were able to achieve a Personal Best in our moist conditions, in what is already a challenging and undulating course.  Fantastic performances, even if Kerri-Louise ROOKE smudged her mascara as I paced her round.

Another thing I found out recently for our barkrunners; it is possible for you to have your runs marked as "assisted" if you want to differentiate between those events you partake in with or without your short dogs on short leads #callback.
You just need to let the RD know on the day, after you finish.  Again... maybe I ought to have read the instructions.

So, save some important formalities, that's all folks.  RD Carla is your ringmaster next week.  Hopefully the scanners, hi-vis vests, marshals and runners will all dry out in time to get muddy again next week.  I'm told that one of our runners is bringing some cakes in aid of RED (Run Every Day) January so feel free to bring along a few spare pennies too.

Sharon (Substitute Sound System)

Thank you to our volunteers:-
Susan MILLWARD • Jessica TAYLOR • Julia BOOKER • Janine WIGNALL • Jacky O'LEARY • Jan STOCK • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Frank O'SHEA • Keith LAWRANCE • Marcia FISHER • Adan FREEMAN • Robin CHAPPLE • Asta NEELY • Isla THRELFALL • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Paul THRELFALL • Dixon NEELY • Xander NEELY • Esmé NEELY • Stephen JOHNSON • Finlay EARL • Darren NEELY • Samantha PLUMMER • Chantal GEALL • Louis STEWARD • Fabien LONG

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

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