Run report: event #55 The one with the tourist run report

Whilst I am rarely short of a word or two, this week's run report is by tourist Andrew HARRIS.  Thanks Andrew!  Hope you all enjoyed your run.  Next week sees Marcia back in charge.
Thanks, Sharon

* * * * *

Ever since meeting Sue MILLWARD on New Years day at Wanstead Flats, I had been planning to run at Westmill.  Saturday was the day, and Westmill my 158thparkrun & 75th different venue.  I’m hoping to reach 100 different venues by the end of next year.

When Sharon, the Run Director, heard I was coming I had a message asking if I could help by bringing some non running volunteers.  A quick look at the volunteer roster, and seeing 5 members of her family on the roster gave a hint to some of the problems small venues like Westmill have covering all the roles required to allow the event to run smoothly.  So I agreed to write the run report.

We set off from North Kent at 7.30am, with a slight panic when Dan GREEN didn’t appear.  He thought I was picking him up, and vice versa.  Once we resolved that we hit the A2, M25, A10, and arrived at Westmill an hour later.  It was clear from the complexity of the site, that this was an area shared with several other activities, and we were directed to the specific parkrun parking area.  After a chat with Josephine JOEL, who was leading the C25k group this week, we changed into the recommended trail shoes & walked up to the start.

I introduced myself to the day’s Run Director Sharon to be met with “Oh you’re Mr Tourist!” – I’ve never been called that before (Be relieved it wasn't anything worse... - Sharon).  Chatted to various other runners, including Cass CASTLETON, who has run parkruns in every country that has parkrun.

We then had an entertaining & unique parkrun briefing given by Jake THRELFALL, with a bit of help from Mum (And Mindy the soft toy! - Sharon).  Then we were set on our way.  I had seen the route from a runner’s webcam, but nothing really prepares you for a course than running it yourself.

The course is quite undulating & twisty, with one section running on an uneven camber.  Having run in quite large congested courses recently, it was nice to be able to run in a small field & get into our strides early on. A couple of times I almost took a wrong turn, but the person running behind me had set up the course & put me right – thank you (That would be Mr THRELFALL... under strict (and freshly written) instructions from his wife! - Sharon).  I always like running near lakes & rivers, and Westmill has both of those in the nearly 2 laps of the course, with some fantastic views when you have climbed to the finish area (Shhhhh!!!  We say "undulating" - Sharon).

There were 56 finishers, including a large group of C25k runners in their second week.  On a personal level, I was delighted to be able to run all the way for the third week in a row, having had a left hip replacement in April.  My time was only 3 seconds slower than  3 weeks ago at Victoria Dock, a dead flat parkrun.  My finishing position of 26th was my second lowest ever!

As parkrun runners we owe a big vote of thanks to the volunteers every week. This weeks heroes were Cass CASTLETON • Lindsay RUSSELL-SMITH • Carla BELL • Margaret BALFOUR • Jan STOCK • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Garth MORRIS • Richard EARL • Andrew HARRIS • Isla THRELFALL • Josephine JOEL • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Paul THRELFALL • Sonia COUSINS • Jessica SMITH • Kerri-Louise ROOKE • Ali BIRD • Emma ALLENDEN • Harry SMITH • Daniel KIRBY • Karl TUNSTALL

Of the 56 runners, 5 forgot/didn’t have a bar code, 15 were running at Westmill for the first time, of which 5 were running their first ever parkrun.  Hopefully you all enjoyed the experience & will look to return one day.  19 people set a PB.  Well done all.

parkun doesn’t run itself, so if you aren’t planning to run one week, please consider volunteering. .

I look forward to returning to Westmill at some stage in the future. Andrew HARRIS


Run report: event #54 The one from Market Harborough

Saturday's run report is brought to you by voluntourist Roger Pangbourne.

Run Report #54 - The one from Market Harborough

02:00:  Bed! - After picking up Mrs P from the airport - alarm set for (ugh!)...

05:45:  Alarm rings (ugh again!)

06:10:  Wristband and apricot donned; off we go - Still don’t believe goggle maps telling me it’s nearly 2 hours from Market Harborough to Westmill, but Marcia wants me there for 8:15 a.m., so we (that’s me as Mrs P fast asleep!) are on the way!

06:11:  SatNav tells me goggle maps was lying - could have had another 30 mins in bed!

06:15:  Beautiful morning - almost regret listening to the ‘Free Weekly Timed’ podcast yesterday, so settle for Radio 5 Live.

06:50:  Pass ‘the parkrun that begins with an ‘H’’! (regular podcast listeners will know what I mean!)

07:39:  Arrive ‘at bottom of the track’ SatNav was also lying to me (darned technology conspiring against me!) - there’s some more time I could have had sleeping!!  ‘Left gate’ appears shut, so explore the lovely eclectic set of random facilities at Westmill.

07:56:  Meet Marcia (RD) ‘en famile’ - Family looking thrilled at being up this early on a Saturday morning!  Later I learn that they’ve all been Hi-Vi heroes – bless them!

08:00: Fellow ED, Sue arrives – with sparkly new signs for car park control.  Marcia assigns me the privileged pre-course setup role of ‘Car Park attendant’ – I feel honoured to be waving the brand new ‘Westmill car park entrance’ arrow sign!  I just have no idea where the car park is!!

08:05: One of the volunteers is off with arms full of cones and arrows to mark out the entire course – boy, that’s one heck of a pre-event setup volunteer role – well done him!

08:10:  Sue takes me down to the car park – the website says parking for ‘100+ cars’ – more like 500+! – wow!!

08:11 – 08:30:  parkrun chit-chat about Event Director stuff – it’s all very interesting you know – honest!

08:30: Cars start arriving – nobody seems willing to take me up on my offer of ‘Special £5.00 car parking fee today’! – lol.

08:40: Several first timers arrive – ask about where’s the start? – Realise I don’t actually know, so take a punt that it will be back up towards the shed by the gate (lucky guess!)

08:55: Dash up the hill for the First Timers Briefing – all nice and clear – decide to use the normal ‘follow someone’ route!

08:59: Marcia’s RD briefing, then 3-2-1-parkrun! (chorus of watch GPS ‘bleeps’) and we’re off!

09:01: What a most generous parkrun start this is!  Is do like a bit of downhill!

09:04: We’re still going downhill!!  Now start worrying as ‘what goes down…’!

09:05: Try to stay close to my ‘nemesis’ for today, running in red just in front of me – I’m on his shoulder and he looks like he’s running a very even pace.

09:07: o.k. – here it is!  First little bit of hill isn’t so bad, but there’s obviously more to come.  Nemesis gains a few yards on me.

09:09: Some more “thank you Marshal” puffs and high-fives all round – reaching out to Jan with her dogs and Mike on his chair (hope I have the names right!) and then there it is!  Up along the golf course, all the way back up to the top.

09:12: Past the finish on lap one and more high-fives for the whole funnel.  Nemesis has 20 yards on me now – I blame all the extra yards I’ve run high-fiving marshals!

09:14: And we’re back downhill again – my long legs and ‘excess’ puppy fat pay dividends and I’m back within 5 yards of my nemesis again.

09:18: 22 degrees and sunshine is lovely for a beach day; less so for a parkrun! – up the first bit of hill again and nemesis is striding away from me (still, he doesn’t know what kind of final sprint I have!)

09:19: Phone is telling me I’m still on track for 25 minutes – I’ll be pleased with that today – just a whole kilometre of hill to go!!

09:21: Start catching the Tail Walkers and some of the lovely ‘Couch to 5k’ folks – “Well done all” – “Keep going” – “Looking strong” – meanwhile my nemesis is now out of sight – still I’ll start my sprint with 500m to go.

09:22: I’ll start my sprint with 400m to go.

09:23: I’ll start my sprint with 200m to go – will this hill never end?!!!

09:24: See the finish – start my sprint! Timer blip – finish token (017) – find some shade to collapse!  Phone tells me average pace 4:59 per km – pleased with that – but also time taken 24:29 – Flipping technology – cannot trust it!

09:27: Stop seeing stars – chat with my nemesis who is also a Westmill first timer – only his second parkrun, but he explains he’s an off-road XC runner, which explains his speed up the hills (I rationalise!)

09:35: Chat with Gareth in his 100 top – 181stparkrun and his 5that Westmill – I subsequently spy loads of volunteering on his record – well done him!  Not only that he’d also ‘enlisted’ 3 of his family on volunteering duties today – top effort!

09:45: Applaud the C25k finishers as they come through the finish – all first timers – brilliant job everyone and well done Sue for coaching them around.

10:00: Send up flares, call in coastguard rescue and police seeking helicopters as we search for our Tail Walkers today.

10:08: Tail Walkers cross the finish, arms full of cones, arrows and signs, then it’s onto post-event close down – taking all the equipment back to storage, all neatly packed away for next week.

10:30: Sitting down outside the Westmill restaurant with what must be one of the best parkrun café views around – spectacular.  The heat has brought out lots of campers, but still plenty of tables and seats.

10:40: Marcia weaves her magic with the results and they’re done and submitted in no time – I reflect on the joys of results processing with 92 parkrunners compared to Market Harborough’s normal 350ish!

10:45: Restaurant staff looking a little flustered:  “Hot food and drinks are taking 30 minutes” – With half a banana since 6 this morning, I’m not missing up on the chance of ‘bacon and eggs benedict’!

10:55:  Food and drinks arrive – must be more technology problems, but now the problems are in my favour!

10:56: Food and drinks all consumed! (well maybe it took a little longer!)

11:00: More general parkrun chit chat.

11:14: Results text arrives:  “Roger, your time in position 17 today at Westmill parkrun was 24:29. Well done on your 1st run here – you were never going to catch your nemesis anyway.  Thanks also for volunteering – we loved the way you waved that car park sign around.” – How do they know that??!!

11:19:  Leave Westmill after a thoroughly enjoyable morning, having ticked off the ‘W’ for my alphabet challenge (13 letters done with 13 different parkruns, 12 to go) and more importantly the ‘West’ for my compass ‘running challenges’ achievement – just ‘South’ to go!

11:20:  SatNav tells me I’ll be home at 13:15.  Sit back and listen to the cricket on the way home.

13:01:  Arrive home – flipping technology!!

13:30:  Snooze time!

Finally, congrats to all 92 parkrunners today; 33 of whom were First Timers, including 16 of whom were completely new to parkrun – Welcome, we hope you come back again and again!  Congrats to an amazing 21 of you who had PBs today – how you did that in the heat, I don’t know – well done!

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

Last and by certainly not least, a huge thank you to our 19 other volunteers today who made your lovely parkrun happen:  Helen BRUNTON, Richard EARL, Brandon FISHER, Marcia FISHER, Lauren FISHER, Caitlin FISHER, Gill FLINT, Jonathan HANCOX, Nigel HOARE, Susan MILLWARD, Elizabeth PHILLIPS, Jan STOCK, Mike STOCK, Sarah TAHSIN, Jean THOMPSON, Katie THOMPSON, Laura THOMPSON, Paul THRELFALL, Caroline TUTTY.

Roger Pangbourne


Run report: event #53 Happy 1st Birthday Westmill parkrun

We Brits love the weather.  Or at least we love to talk about the weather.  This past week, there appears to have been little else in the news.  The irony of this is not lost on me as I start to write the Birthday Run Report... RD Carla BELL had asked me to write the run report, as I'm the only core team member who seems to enjoy doing them (hint - volunteer role available!).  When Carla doesn't know what to write about, she starts by talking about the weather... and she isn't even British!!!

Anyway, for those budding Michael Fish out there, we had wind, rain, sun all before 9am.  Eventually the big guy upstairs decided that we would have a warm and dry parkrun for our birthday, and no one was left crying in the kitchen that it was all a disaster.  That said... it didn't make it any easier to get the little white flags in the ground today!!  It was land of the round discs at Westmill today.. that and my inner Banksy protecting anyone falling down the rabbit hole.

Today we greeted 154 parkrunners to Westmill; our second highest total, as compared to 172 on our inaugural.  It was quite a hike from our normal numbers of around 60 runners, and it was great to both welcome lots of new faces and to see that the course could cope.  Many of our parkrunners were Panshanger refugees, displaced for the day by the Festival of Wildlife that continues on Sunday, but we also had visitors from Ellenbrook Fields, Tamar Lakes, Reigate Priory and Witney.  Even Bangkok!  Thailand is yet to join the parkrun family; it is 11,695 kilometres away, and will only get you 68% of the way of the distance covered by Westmill parkrunners in our first year.  We've covered 17,250 kilometres!  Enough to get you from Ware to Hobart in Tasmania.

As Carla did at the briefing, it's only appropriate to acknowledge a few of the people who have truly supported the Westmill parkrun.  Funny what happens when you agree to meet some unknown bloke in a pub, in response to a random Facebook post asking if anyone knew of any parks or fields near Puckeridge.  That meeting led to a weekly event delivering proven health benefits to the community.  Even creating a community.  That random man was actually Adan FREEMAN who must be credited with getting Westmill parkrun off the ground.  Even if he has never run it.  Yet...

The risk with highlighting a few, is that we may leave out some others, and if we have, we are truly sorry.  Or knackered.  But either way, no offence is intended.  Mike STOCK was acknowledged for marshalling at 52 of the past 53 events.  The map is even marked up as Mike's corner.  Although, I did once panic Richard EARL by kindly (to my mind) setting up Mike's chair before he arrived.  Richard, thought it was a memorial!!  We also celebrated the achievements of Abby COX who has run all 30 of her parkruns at Westmill; the unofficial term is "Passionista".  Abby is only 9 behind Michael GARDNER who has completed the most Westmill events, clocking up 39 today, and who is regularly ably assisted by barkrunner, Stanley.

At some point there was a run.  And, as I was running with Acer, it was a delight to see the  Lycra clad squirrels stretching as far as the eye could see.  First back for a piece of cake was Mark FORD with a fabulous new PB of 17:55; fifth best time ever.  In fact, all the first three (Mark, Thomas WACKETT, and Paul REDDAWAY) achieved personal bests today.  Lottie ROEWEDDER was first lady, again with a PB; 20:03 today and no doubt will be sub 20 very soon.  Stunning!  There were other milestones too, with Anne GARNISH and Tim PAGE reaching their 100th parkrun, and with Acer & Jake THRELFALL reaching their tenth (full) parkrun.  I might be Acer's mum, but I do think he deserves a mention for taking more than 4 minutes off his all time 5k PB with a time today of 35:41.  Proud mum moment.

Today saw an incredible 73 First Timers today.  Some said they didn't even know we were here, while others had thought that Westmill was an "impossible" parkrun for them.  Apparently in Japan, children celebrate their first birthday with an issho mochi cake tied to their back, and they are encouraged to take a few stumbling steps until they fall over, as a metaphor for life's journey.  No-one fell over on the "undulations" of Westmill today.  AND everyone got to eat some cake, rather than have it tied to their backs.

We really do hope that some of you will become regulars.  Or at least not be strangers... well... no stranger that you already are.

From good friends and true,
From old friends and new,
May good luck go with you,
And happiness too.

And that, is the little known second verse of Happy Birthday, and pretty much sums up today's event.  Always got to throw in a random fact!

Sharon (Core Team)

This week 154 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 73 were first timers and 29 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 18 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 24 volunteers:

Annegret SCOTT • Clive Vernon SMITH • Paul REDDAWAY • Wendy REDDAWAY • Janet READITT • Carla BELL • Oscar BELL • Cornelia SCOTT • Jan STOCK • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Robert O'HARA • Anne GARNISH • Garth MORRIS • Harriet KEALY • Liam SCOTT • Peter KEATS • Paul WILLIS • Laura SCOTT • Gill THURLOW • Ali BIRD • William HOARE • Jonathan HANCOX • Katie GRIFFIN

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


Run report: event #51 The one with the murdered Minion

Last week I was going to run with Daddy (Paul THRELFALL) but I thought it would be too hot.  I didn't expect summer to last this long!  I hadn't run the new course before but even though it was still hot by 9am, I had decided to run with my mum (Sharon THRELFALL) for her birthday.  ED Sue MILLWARD had organised a surprise bib which said "Running on my birthday", for any Westmillers to celebrate their birthday.  My little brothers wore the bib at Hertford junior parkrun on Sunday, but they had to take turns and wear it for one lap each as they are twins.

The sun brought out lots of visitors; we had tourists from Great Yarmouth, Stevenage and Panshanger.  There were 22 first timers, including some runners who had completed a C25k course with Sue.  There will be a new C25k course starting as part of parkrun on Saturday 4th August, so tell your friends.  Lots of people ask if they can walk at parkrun; you can walk as much or as little of it as you like, but you will never be last.  I can run 5k but in the heat I had some walk breaks to drink some water, and the volunteers always like a hug and a high five.  I make sure I give a hug to Mike STOCK; he always encourages me to do my best.

Mike STOCK is one of our stalwarts, but with the change to the start and finish, lots more Westmillers are able to help make our event successful.  Let us know if you can help out, or any feedback on how the changes are working and if you think we could improve anything.  This week Acer & Jake THRELFALL went to collect the water and were pouring it out for our early finishers.  I decided to cool now by running through the sprinklers, as did a few barkrunners (Poppy STOCK and Norman PAGE).

I was a bit behind our mystery first finisher (#DFYB), but James HIPKIN performed excellently and got a PB that was under 20 minutes to finish second.  That's amazing, well done James.  The first lady was Janet READITT and she got a new PB too!  In the top 16, there were ELEVEN personal bests (the other five were unknown or first timers) so you must like our new course set up.

I ran with Kerri-Louise ROOKE and my mum.  Kerri enjoyed a more relaxed run in the heat, as she could talk ALL the way round.  My mum says I talk a lot, but I think Kerri talks more!

At the end, we all celebrated with CAKE and Maureen HURT passed on the ukparkrun rock from her trip to Rutland Water parkrun.  So it was handed over at Westmill and will carry on its journey next week.  You will have to watch our Facebook page to find out where it goes!


This week 68 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 22 were first timers and 21 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 7 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 25 volunteers: Susan MILLWARD • Jan STOCK • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Rachel SYMONDS • Richard EARL • Isla THRELFALL • Peter KEATS • Thomas MILLWARD • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Paul THRELFALL • Laura SCOTT • Maureen HURT • Maxwell COWE • Ben WHITE • Eric COX • Kerri-Louise ROOKE • Sarah TAHSIN • Isabel COX • William HOARE • Jonathan HANCOX • Tara ARCHER • Karen ARCHER • Katie GRIFFIN

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


Run report: event #50 The one where it came home

Westmill parkrun was in the unusual position of playing second fiddle on parkrun day, formally known as Saturday, offering the pre-match warm up for "the game".  And warm up it was...  Blimey.  Never mind having a winter break, many people took a summer break today leaving a hardcore squad of 42 players to tread the hallowed turf.

As many of you will have realised, we've now left the old ground and are settling into our new stadium.  RD Sharon 'Southgate' was an untried coach in the new set-up, but the squad listened and took in the guidance and tactical advice.  It was clearly the blue and white hi-vis waistcoat that did it.

The new set-up offers plenty of opportunity for regular squad members to get their name on the team sheet.  Under the new formation, a player can volunteer while still staying on the pitch for the full 90 minutes; car park marshal, set up, clear up, etc..  Email the managers at and say "Pick me, coach".

Today saw several players on a free transfer, from Oxford, Chelmsford Central and Maldon Prom.  We also had a team of away players from Harpenden Arrows, with their captain Taras HUZAR clocking up 100 caps on his debut at Westmill.  Congratulations!  Hopefully we see you again for a return match later in the season, when the pitch is a little more League 2 style.

Today's Harry Kane was Paul KEATING, clocking a sub 20 run on his debut, just ahead of Jonny NICHOLLS without the need for a referral to VAR.  Our Steph Houghton was Claire CADZOW, on her 'flake' parkrun.

We almost had our own version of the Nevilles today; Acer & Jake THRELFALL as Gary & Phil, with Isla as sister Tracey.  Not entirely right as Phil & Tracey are the twins in that team, but maybe Paul THRELFALL will have to be renamed as Paul Paul instead.

Special mention must go to our backroom staff, in particular to William HOARE who was joined today by mum and dad, Natalie and Nigel.  They proudly watched him hit the back of the net, completed his stint as a DoE volunteer.  William won't be hanging up his boots just yet; mum Natalie has signed William up to take on our first C25k course which will commence on Saturday 4 August within the normal parkrun set up.  Better still we've just signed a promising new player in the form of Ella COOK; certainly one to watch for the future.

Today we were also grateful for a safe pair of hands at the back in the form of Emily and Evie REID, plus barkrunner Beau.  Beau took full advantage of the magic sponge dog bowls, given the fact he was dressed like John Motson, and was reinvigorated for the second half.

So they think it's all over.  It is now.  For one week at least, when RD Sue will be back in the technical area.  There might even be cakes... Given it's birthday weekend for RD Sharon, barcode scanner Jake and timekeeper Acer!  GET IN!

This week 42 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 16 were first timers and 7 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 12 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 23 volunteers:

Jonny NICHOLLS • Mike STOCK • Sharon THRELFALL • Richard EARL • Isla THRELFALL • Peter OFFORD • Gill FLINT • Jake THRELFALL • Acer THRELFALL • Paul THRELFALL • Evie REID • Emily REID • Sarah BERRY • Finlay EARL • Abby COX • Eric COX • Kerri-Louise ROOKE • Ellie BURT • William HOARE • Jonathan HANCOX • Nigel HOARE • Natalie HOARE • Ella COOK

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

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