Winchester parkrun #272, 25th August

Not many people start their wedding days by running 5km at 9am, but for Andy Greenleaf - our course record holder - a parkrun was just the way to kick off his big day. Asked by event director David whether he was planning to go for a PB, he said no, but nonetheless was our first finisher in a modest 16:05 - a time most of us can only dream of! Andy also brought several speedy friends with him, meaning we had six finishers who were under 17 minutes. Well done Andy and we hope you had a fantastic wedding day!


The parkrun was also special for another person, Robbie Downer, who is one of our Duke of Edinburgh volunteers. This Saturday's event was his final volunteering session with us, and he took the opportunity to be the day's run director. Robbie calmly delivered the pre-run briefing to the runners, even getting a few laughs out of the audience. He did a great job this week making sure the event ran smoothly, and has been reliable and performed well in all his previous volunteering sessions too. A big thank you to Robbie from everyone at Winchester parkrun for your commitment and help.

There were 371 runners, walkers or joggers in total this week, of whom 50 were new to Winchester parkrun - welcome to you all and we hope you'll come and join us again. One of those 50 was Jon Oldham, who ran his 50th parkrun. Siggi Narang also ran her 50th, and Patrick Warburton and Robin Speed both ran their 100th parkruns (you kept that quiet, Patrick!). Well done to all of you.

As always, thanks to all of the volunteers who made the event possible. It's particularly helpful for our volunteer coordinator Ann if she knows in advance when people are available to help, so please email if you know which Saturdays you could volunteer. Training is given for all roles on the day, and you'll get a step closer to your purple volunteer t-shirt!


Run Report parkrun #269: 4th August

This week, a guest report written by Mark Galpin who was visiting from Upton House parkrun.

After finding out that I have an extra day off this weekend I looked into going to a parkrun event not too far from home to make the most of this event. So this week I decided to visit Winchester. After a pleasant trip up the M27 and M3 I arrived at North Walls recreation ground for this week's run on a magnificently sunny morning in August.

As I am one of many of the parkrun Army why do you not give it a go? It is easy to be a volunteer and you are also able to gain yourself the coveted 25 parkrun t-shirt which you can only get by being a volunteer. It only takes a few minutes to do most jobs or to be a marshal if you happen to have an injury one week.

The information given at the First Timers briefing by Janet Haughton was very informative. I was paying attention to the details about seeing a fair amount of the first field, whilst doing a small loop and then the 2 full loops. We were also told to make sure that we kept clear of the cricket sight screens on our way around on the first lap.

With today being a pacer event I was determined to finish inside 30 minutes which I have done once before on my visit to Moors Valley so my intention was to finish before David Howells. When we set off it was all a bit of a zoo and I was unable to find my pacer to begin with although I eventually found him a little in front of me.

After the first turn I learnt that you have to keep your wits about you as you get clipped by the low branches from the trees that line the River Itchen. As I was told earlier about the sight screens I kept a good watch to make sure that I was not the in race entertainment!

Well with the first lap of the favoured field I started to enjoy my run and see whatever else came my way. At this point I passed the 3km sign for the first time and I was thinking it was going quickly today and after a turn to the right meant a little more branch dodging but more entertaining was trying not to be tripped up by the countless tree routes that show through the ground.

As we make our way around the larger field with a lovely trip down the River Itchen in the offing I hear a raucous racket on the top turn with the supremely cheerful Su Browning giving us a little bit of encouragement. I can understand why this young lady is placed as far from Winchester as possible as she was having a great party in the park giving some much appreciated encouragement. On this lap I stayed to the left of the tree but had quite a few slaps from low branches.

As we make our way down towards the leisure centre I have this feeling of giving in to temptation and joining a couple of the dogs that are happy to go for a refreshing paddle in the river. We now turn back to the bridge to make our way back to the first half of our run this morning and see the sign giving me hope my morning's efforts are nearly done but realize the 4km marker is for our next lap. As we carefully negotiate a couple of bikes I cross the bridge for the 2nd time knowing I'm half way through my run.

Around now I am having a quick look over my shoulder for the pacer I am trying to beat, he is safely behind me and I intend to keep it that way after having passed him in the first few turns. Any hope of being nearer the 28 minute pacer is well lost at this point. I continue on my journey when I get to the top corner the second time Su is still there giving us more cheer to which I replied she was expending more effort than I was and maybe doing the run might be a little less tiring.

As I make the turn for the final time from the Leisure centre I look back to see where the 30 minute pacer is and he's safely in my dust I get to the finish line with my quickest parkrun so far. Thank you to Helen Bonnor for assisting me in token sorting afterwards.

Here is a rundown of this morning's run:

Our final finisher this morning was Christine Brooker and it doesn't matter whether you do your 5km in the quickest time or the slowest all that matters is that you enjoy taking part. I am no Mo Farah either but I turn up most Saturday's when work allows.

We had 118 female and 204 male recorded runners today.

The first place finisher was Jamie Taylor in 17:40 (I was somewhere near the 3km marker at this time)

First Female runner was Karla Borland in 20:09 in 20th place overall (I was just short of Su Browning now)

We had 57 personal bests, 48 first time visitors to Winchester Parkrun, 15 First timers (well done to you all).

The dogs did well on the run and deserve extra credit in the heat of this morning.


Our defibrillator has a home, so we thought we’d try it out

Hello everyone.

After last Saturday's parkrun a group of the core team - some of the run directors, volunteers, and regular parkrunners - gathered to talk through some of the potential medical emergencies that might happen during a parkrun. With well over 100,000 people taking part every week, statistically incidents can and do happen, so we thought we'd prepare ourselves a little.

Led by Patrick, one of the core team, and two parkrunning doctors he knows, Lucy and Mary, the group talked through a realistic example scenario - a 25 year old female collapses is the back field. We started by splitting into small groups to discuss how people in different roles might respond, which raised some useful discussion points, before moving on to how to assess the patient and administer basic first aid. This is a great life skill to have and if you'd like to know more then do check out this link…/adult-basic-life-support-and-a…/…

Some of you who were there on Saturday might have noticed a shiny yellow cabinet newly attached to the side of the cricket pavilion. This is now the permanent home for our crowdfunded AED - which will be available for all users of River Park all the time very soon - and we thought we'd use the opportunity to demonstrate how it works. Patrick borrowed a training AED from parkrun HQ to go through each step. The defibrillator talks the user through the steps and monitors the patient to tailor the response and treatment to make it as simple as possible to use.

As with all medical emergencies, time is paramount. Our second scenario was of a 50 year old male at the finish complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. This situation is one which could precede a cardiac arrest and we determined that discretely asking someone to get the AED from the cabinet would be advisable, just in case.

It was a very informative session and as well as useful learning points for the individuals who there were a number of things that came out which the group felt we could improve as a parkrun community.

Mainly it's about raising awareness. The AED cabinet will be unlocked during parkrun each week so that anyone can access it at any time. If you become aware of an emergency that might need the AED and you happen to be nearby - even simply running past it at the time - then please, please just grab and take it to the scene. In future, Run Directors will brief this each week.

Winchester parkrun has been going for more than 5 years, and so far we've been very fortunate that we haven't had to deal with a serious medical emergency in that time. Hopefully we won't need to for a long time yet. But there are several cases of defibrillators saving parkrunners' lives, and even just knowing where the AED is kept might make the crucial difference.

Thank you for reading and we'd be grateful if you could share this post with your parkrunning family and friends.

Winchester parkrun team.


The Pavilion Project and parkrun

The cricket pavilion and scoring huts at North Walls could be considered part of the furniture at Winchester parkrun. Although primarily designed for use by the many cricket teams that play on the pitches there, the facilities are also used by many other sports clubs year-round. Several parkrun courses have been designed around the building, for the last couple of years we've stored all the kit there, and lately it's been used as a place to get together over a cup of tea once parkrun is done, something that is an important part of the culture for many parkruns. The entrance has long been the place to put jackets, bags and valuables while you're stretching your legs. You could consider it to be our HQ on a Saturday, and we're very grateful to be able to use it.

It doesn't take a keen eye to notice that the pavilion has seen better days though and without a refurbishment it could soon fall into disrepair. If that happened the impact on those groups that use it would be significant. Fortunately, a better long term solution has been found and rather than sprucing up the current building The Pavilion Project aims to replace it completely. Regular parkrunners might remember when Mike Caldwell from the project visited to show off the plans for the new building earlier this year. It looks fantastic and will be a huge asset not just for Winchester parkrun, but for the other sports teams who play matches at River Park and the community as a whole. Having a warm, dry place to get changed, store valuables and kit, as well being somewhere attractive to meet for a post parkrun natter will only enhance everyone's enjoyment of parkrun on a Saturday morning, particularly in the winter months.

So, why are we telling you all of this? The Pavilion Project is now looking for funding with a view to building the new pavilion in time for start of the 2019 cricket season, now less than a year away. Winchester City Council have agreed to fund a significant proportion of the project and there are other commercial backers, but Mike and the team would really like the community to get involved too. We are more than happy to help. Last week saw the launch of the Project's crowdfunding campaign to raise £5,000 by the end of July. If you've never made a pledge to a crowdfunding campaign before, or are not sure what it is, then think of it as like making a donation to charity but with one key difference: you get rewarded for pledging. For a donation of just £10 you will get a Pavilion Project wristband, for £15 a children's t-shirt designed by local artist Lucy McLoughlin or the adult version for £20. If you are feeling more generous, there are limited edition prints of North Walls, VIP tickets to this year's Bonfire Night, or your chance to be recorded on the Pavilion's Century Board in recognition of your support. If none of the rewards tickle your fancy, you can simply donate a sum of your choosing instead. The link to the crowdfunding page is here, where all the details are explained. Some of the core parkrun team have already made pledges and it couldn't be easier to do.

We, as your core team at Winchester parkrun, are very excited by the project. Yes, it will be a more pleasant place from which to put on an event each week, but also we believe it will help open up access for even more people in Winchester to come together and get active in the fresh air, which is what parkrun is really all about. It would be fantastic to see lots of our wonderful parkrunners show their support for the project, in however small a way. Please do share the links to your family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you from the core team, and see you next Saturday as usual!


parkrun #262 Run Report 9th June

#NHS70 and the Clarendon Takeover

It was my privilege to be the Run Director at parkrun yesterday, as we joined in with the national celebrations for the 70th birthday of the NHS. It was our chance to show our appreciation for the work the NHS do and strengthen the links between parkrun and the NHS. I'm sure all of us have used the service at some point in our lives, and I know there are many Winchester parkrunners who either work for them or use parkrun as a means of staying healthy, whether through the Couch to 5k programme or otherwise. There are lots of stories on the parkrun website and social media pages if you'd like to read more. In particular it was fantastic to welcome a group from the Acute Stroke Unit at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

It was a great day all round as the sun shone and we topped 400 parkrunners again; young and old, from near and far, some with 4 legs or 4 wheels, running or walking, but all with smiling faces! There were a couple of milestones; 100th parkrun for core team member Laura Cowen, and a 10th birthday parkrun for Ruben Price. As ever, we couldn't do it without our fantastic volunteers, which this week were supplemented by a group from Winchester Rotary to promote the Clarendon Marathon. The man behind the local race, JJ Heath-Caldwell, organised a volunteer takeover providing marshals and barcode scanners. A mention too for Megan Grant, one of our DofE students, who gave an excellent first-timers briefing before the start. Here is this week's roll call, thank you everyone.


Once we got underway, the good conditions and firm ground proved ideal for some good times. When I started running at parkrun around 5 years ago I had a slightly silly personal aim each week of "not being beaten by any children" as I trotted round. I quickly realised what a futile hope that was as week after week, I'd hear a swoosh as a pair of smaller legs would zoom past me, usually approaching the finish. Yesterday, I wouldn't have been alone as one of our younger parkrunners zoomed passed everyone to be our first finisher in an amazing time of 17:42, an age grade of over 86%. Take a bow James Lewis! James is 11 years old... Congratulations too to Martin Wilson, who being in his eighth decade has a few years on James(!), running a very impressive 20:48, an age grade of 84%. If you're wondering what age grades are all about, you can read the explanation here.

James's great run was one of a huge total of 75 PBs, meaning that slightly better than 1 in 6 of you ran faster at parkrun than ever before! A mention too for Sarah Shedden, who sneaked under the 20 min mark for the first time by one second. It's not all about going quickly of course and it was great to see no fewer than 65 people at River Park for the first time. Tourists from many parts of the country came to pay us a visit and it was lovely to meet Sharon and Dawn from Rother Valley in Yorkshire and Brockenhurst parkruns, who are now somewhere on the South Downs Way. They are walking to Eastbourne - some 100 miles - in time to run at Eastbourne parkrun next Saturday. Good luck ladies!

Finally, a reminder that due to Winchestival there will be no parkrun next week. Why not visit one of our many near neighbours instead? We'll see you all in 2 weeks time!

Paul (RD)

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