WITTON PARKRUN #146 – 13th October 2018

Storm Callum packed far more of a punch than its illustrious predecessors Ali and Bronagh, as anyone who was around for the wind and rain on Friday will attest. Upon waking up on Saturday morning, it appeared as though things were much calmer, but by the time we arrived at Witton at 5 to 9 there was wind and rain aplenty sending parkrunners running for shelter under the gazebo and the rest under the huge tree that marks our finishing post.


The drama had already occurred by then, however, with a fallen tree blocking our course at the top of the small hill. A contingent of early rising parkrunners, led by (read: filmed by) Michelle broke the tree up with their bare hands and removed the obstacle from our route, allowing Witton to go ahead as always: we NEVER cancel for weather, rain, sleet, snow, fallen tree or no fallen tree. It isn’t our first fallen tree and it probably won’t be our last given the amount of our course that occurs in woodland. In all honesty though, our immense thanks go to Bryan Searby, Bernie Johnson, Peter Craine and John Kearney, without whom Witton parkrun #146 was in severe doubt.


Whether it was the howl of the wind and rain the night before that had people switching off their parkrun alarms, or a glance outside in the morning which saw them dive back under the covers, Witton saw 66 brave souls venture out to run, jog and walk the Beast this weekend, our lowest figure since Event #123 at the end of March. In reality, conditions weren’t that atrocious: there was a bit of rain about, but it had mostly subsided before the start and the biggest obstacle was the wind, which provided a head/cross/tailwind dependent on where you were, particularly on the start/finish straight behind the pavilion (and I use straight in the loosest possible sense, since it quite patently isn’t straight!)


First to cross the line this weekend was returning Wittoner Josh Crowther in 18:27. This was Blackburn Road Runner Josh’s 20th parkrun and 15th with us at Witton, and was the first time he has joined us since our birthday run at the end of August. Despite the conditions, his time was just 6 seconds outside his personal best, and is the fastest he has run the Beast since setting that PB in August last year – great going, Josh! Second person home was Wesham Road Runner David Taylor in 20:11. This was David’s 4th run with us at Witton and whopping 182nd parkrun in total, with 80 of those coming with our neighbours at Preston parkrun. Third to finish was Matthew Bishop in 20:55. This was Matthew’s 10th parkrun overall and 7th parkrun at Witton, with 5 of those coming in our last 11 events since July. He celebrated his 10th parkrun with a new Witton PB, knocking a whopping 46 seconds off his previous time and dipping under 21 minutes for the first time – great effort Matthew! To make this achievement even more impressive, Matthew’s previous PB came on his very first visit to us, back in September 2015 for Event #3, when we were using our original, easier course, so to knock such a margin off is hugely impressive!


First female to finish was Horwich RMI Harrier Suzanne Budgett in 14th place in 24:37. This was Suzanne’s 37th parkrun and 9th at Witton, and was the 4th occasion she has been first female. Perhaps more notably, Suzanne’s finishing time matched exactly the time set by Blackburn Harrier Kate Cookson as first female finisher last weekend! This is the first time Witton’s first female finishers have finished in exactly the same time two weeks in a row, although James McLeod managed the feat of finishing in first position overall in a time of 19:34 at both Events #55 and #56 in October 2016. Second female home was Witton regular Jane Magee in 18th position in 25:33. This was Jane’s 18th parkrun with us and 25th overall – halfway to a 50 t-shirt now, Jane! Third female across the line was Accrington Road Runner Rebecca Sharples in 21st position in 26:30. This was Rebecca’s 33rd parkrun and 5th with us at Witton, with 11 runs apiece at Burnley parkrun and Cambridge parkrun being her most visited events. Well done to all our speedy men and women this weekend.


Milestone time! And just the one notable Witton parkrun milestone this weekend, with Witton core team member Sean Procter running his 70th parkrun and 50th with us here to join the illustrious Witton 50 Club! Although present as a volunteer from the outset, Sean ran Witton parkrun for the first time at Event #4 in September 2015 and has been able to run relatively frequently compared to some of the core team, clocking up regular runs at Witton in 2017. In the past 6 months, Sean has changed job role, which has involved working on Saturday mornings, which means he has not been able to join us at Witton that often in recent months, running just 9 times at Witton since the end of March. This has delayed his membership of the Witton 50 Club, which he brought up by finishing in 10th position in 23:22 this Saturday. This is someway off Sean’s Witton best of 19:12, set at Event #51 in September 2016, but we’ll let him off, since he revealed he’d run 15 miles BEFORE arriving at parkrun on Saturday and despite living a mile from Witton Park! Congratulations on becoming the 38th member to join the club Sean, good to see you running at Witton once more.


For those interested, the full Witton 50 Club consists of:

 1. Anwar Khan – 122 runs

 2. Matthew Vernon – 119 runs

 3. Scott Smith – 98 runs

 =4. Aimie Wormald – 94 runs

 =4. Peter Toogood – 94 runs

 =4. Lynda Vernon – 94 runs

 7. Diane Harrison-Leeming – 88 runs

 8. Suzanne Ferrandino – 87 runs

 9. Kate Pomfret – 80 runs

 10. Isabel Chadwick – 78 runs


11. Patricia Procter – 77 runs

 =12. Antony Duckworth – 75 runs

 =12. Ian Goodliffe – 75 runs

 14. Matthew Cocker – 74 runs

 =15. Irene Slater – 71 runs

 =15. Anne Marie Rustidge – 71 runs

 =17. Justin Collighan – 70 runs

 =17. Norman Walsh – 70 runs

 19. Julie Price – 69 runs

 20. Bernard Johnson – 68 runs

 Julie and Ian

21. Vicky Spencer – 67 runs

 22. Jon Carberry – 64 runs

 23. Kerry Elliott – 63 runs

 =24. Bruce Elliott – 62 runs

 =24. Andy Haworth – 62 runs

 =24. Sarah Watkins – 62 runs

 27. Peter Nicholson – 61 runs

 28. Sue Duckworth – 60 runs

 =29. Chris Chadwick – 58 runs

 =29. James McLeod – 58 runs

Jon and Sarah

31. Emily Snape – 58 runs

 32. Sandra Snape – 56 runs

 33. William (Bill) Dwyer – 55 runs

 34. Dorothy Myers – 54 runs

 =35. Jacqueline Dwyer – 52 runs

 =35. Lorna Pickup – 52 runs

 =37. Sharon Cocker – 50 runs

 =37. Sean Procter – 50 runs

 Emily and Sandra

No milestone t-shirts were awarded again at Witton this weekend, but the following people were running significant milestones all the same:

 Vicky Gore (Wesham Road Runners) – 190 runs

 Matthew Vernon – 140 runs

 Laurence Keighley (Ramsbottom Running Club) – 140 runs

 Kate Pomfret (Blackburn Road Runners) – 90 runs

 Sean Procter (Blackburn Harriers) – 70 runs

 Jane Magee – 25 runs

 Joshua Crowther (Blackburn Road Runners) – 20 runs

 Matthew Bishop – 10 runs

 Eleanor Allsop (Blackburn Harriers) – 1 run

 Hannah Tomlinson – 1 run


Mega kudos to Eleanor Allsop and Hannah Tomlinson who saw the weather outside on Saturday and decided it was the perfect opportunity to join the parkrun family for the first time! They become the 3073rd and 3074th different people to run at Witton and the 1217th and 1218th people to start their parkrun journeys with us – we hope you enjoyed it ladies and that we see you again soon!

 New parkrunners!

 Those on the verge of a notable parkrun milestone include:

 Sarah Watkins (Red Rose Road Runners) – 139 runs

 Bernard Johnson – 79 runs

 Matthew Chester (Blackburn Road Runners) – 59 runs

 Miriam Hamilton – 39 runs

 John Kearney – 9 runs


Conditions were not conducive to personal bests this weekend, so huge congratulations to the five of you who managed to do so in spite of the weather! We have already mentioned Matthew Bishop’s efforts in 3rd place, the other four to do so were Wayne Haworth, Tony Whittaker, Gary Moore and Christine Duckworth. Wayne Haworth ran his second parkrun with us and third in total this weekend and knocked nearly 3 and ¾ minutes off his time from our birthday parkrun in August, reducing his time from 33:59 to 30:16 – well done, Wayne! Tony Whittaker was also returning to Witton for the first time, in his 5th parkrun and lowered his mark from Event #142 of 33:37 down to 32:44 this weekend, a reduction of nearly a minute – great work, Tony! Blackburn GroupRun’s Gary Moore was running his third parkrun overall, all with us at Witton and all in the last 4 events, and has lowered his mark on each occasion he has visited us so far, from 43:52 in his debut outing, to 42:20 last weekend to 41:33 this weekend – nearly another minute off this week and 2 minutes 20 off since he first started – keep going, Gary, that time will be sub-40 soon!


Last, but certainly not least, was recent Witton regular Christine Duckworth, who ran her 9th parkrun with us and 12th overall this weekend. Christine is the wife of Witton 50 Club member Tony Duckworth, and only recently started joining him for parkrun, ostensibly to keep an eye on him after a bout of illness. Tony was soon back up to speed and running further up the pack but Christine has continued to parkrun with us, since making her debut at Event #132 in June. This weekend marked the third time she has broken her Witton PB, lowering her mark of 44:47 at Event #141 down to 43:33 this weekend – a reduction of 1 minute and 14 seconds – brilliant work, Christine! This is now Christine’s second fastest parkrun time ever, behind only the 42:44 she ran at Leamington parkrun in August, a course which appears on a cursory glance to be considerably flatter than the Beast! Great efforts from all those aboard the PB Express this weekend, and for those who just missed it, there’s always next weekend!


It was hardly weather to be standing out and about in this weekend, so as always we are hugely grateful to the hi-viz heroes who gave up their time this weekend so Witton parkrun Event #146 could happen this weekend, and as always seems to happen, we had more volunteers in the wet than we often do in the dry, with 23 names on the roster this weekend. Our thanks go to:

 Jon CARBERRY • Francesca BURY • Michelle SEARBY • Sally HUPFIELD-SMITH • Bryan SEARBY • Viki WALSH • Elouise Sylkie PEMBERTON • Anne Marie RUSTIDGE • Annika HALSALL • Mick POMFRET • Diane HARRISON-LEEMING • Matthew VERNON • Scott SMITH • Cameron ASHTON • Antony DUCKWORTH • Irene SLATER • Lynda VERNON • Alan VERNON • Bernard JOHNSON • Peter CRAINE • Debbie ASHTON • John KEARNEY • Katie CRAINE

Tail Walkers

Our thanks to you all and special thanks to Katie Craine, daughter of Wittoner Peter Craine who joined us at Witton to take photos this weekend as part of her college photography course. As always, pictures are available to view on our Facebook page, along with a small selection in this run report, and don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know if any shots of you lot in full running mode are suddenly worth a small fortune!


Finally, this weekend’s notices. Huge congratulations to Witton 50 Club member Irene Slater, who completed the Manchester Half Marathon on Sunday in 2 hours 21 minutes and 49 seconds, a huge half marathon PB by over 19 minutes! For those who aren’t sure, Irene was volunteering for us on Saturday, on the corner by the wooden animals as you exited the first woods. Great work, Irene! Massive congratulations too to Witton core team member Annika Halsall, who also finished the Manchester Half Marathon in 2 hours 17 minutes and 28 seconds, 24 hours after competing in cross country on Saturday afternoon! Well done ladies, and to all the other Wittoners who took part in cross country on Saturday afternoon in the wind and rain! I imagine it was messy!

Peter and Rebecca

Be aware we’re rapidly approaching Witton’s next cancellation, which will be on November 3rd (3 Saturdays away) for the annual Witton Park bonfire so get planning your next round of parkrun tourism! A number of Witton regulars appear to be heading to nearby Bolton parkrun and it would be great to see you there. They have a hill called Cruella de Hill which they think is pretty tough – come see if you think it’s tougher than the Beast! (It isn’t ;) )

Aimie and Chris

Witton’s 150th event will be two weeks later and we’re still working on a theme so any inspired ideas are more than welcome for that.   As I mentioned in last week’s run report, I will be missing Event #147 for a friend’s wedding in York and will instead be completing York parkrun on Saturday morning. As a result, Witton needs a run report writer for next weekend so if you feel like giving it a go, do get in touch!


Have a great event on Saturday and I’ll see you all in a fortnight.

 Enjoy the week ahead!

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun

Me and co


WITTON PARKRUN #145 – 6th October 2018

The first parkrun of October was another cool affair, with some dampness underfoot but parkrun itself remained mercifully dry. Whether the changeable weather or the multitude of Sunday races this weekend was to blame is unclear, but the 77 parkrunners who came along to run, jog and walk the course this weekend marked a 6-event low, dating back to Event #139 in mid-August, when many were still enjoying their summer holidays.

Good pre-run shot

First to cross the line this weekend was returning Wittoner Fraser Snape in 21:04. Despite this being Fraser’s 47th run at Witton (and 75th overall), it marked the Trawden AC man’s inaugural first place finish with us. It also marked the third slowest ever first finishing time in Witton parkrun history, with only Chris Chadwick’s 21:37 at Event #120 in March and Allan Dodds’ 22:23 at Event #17 on the old course, on the infamously torrential Boxing Day 2015 parkrun which required emergency course alterations, finishing in slower times than this weekend’s run. Indeed, Fraser was nearly a minute outside his own Witton PB and half a minute outside the best time he has set on our tougher ‘Beast’ course. Second person home was James Hoskinson in 21:29. This marked James’ second run at Witton, after he visited us in May, and his 16th parkrun in total and he celebrated his return with a new PB, knocking 14 seconds off the time he set on his previous visit to us. Well done, James! Third place went to a first time Wittoner, Geoff Pennington of Beeston AC in 21:45. This was Geoff’s 52nd parkrun and his 15th different parkrun location, with 18 parkruns at his home parkrun of Beeston in Nottingham topping the list.


First female home was Blackburn Harriers’ Kate Cookson in 11th place in 24:37. This was Kate’s 19th parkrun and 13th at Witton and follows on from her appearance last weekend when she finished as second female in a new personal best time. This weekend, she went one position better in the female rankings and no wonder as she set another new PB this weekend, knocking 5 seconds off last week’s time – great work, Kate! Two places further back, in 13th, was the second female, recent Witton regular Jane Magee in 25:10. After a run of three straight first female finishes at Witton between Events #141 and #143, Jane slipped down to 4th last weekend but was back up to 2nd this week in her 17th visit to us and 24th parkrun overall. Third female went to Darwen Dasher Holly Turner in 24th position in 27:17. This was Holly’s 22nd parkrun at Witton and 95th overall, and her first visit to us since November last year. Alongside first place female Kate Cookson, this marked the first time that two juniors have been among the first females since Event #120 in March this year, when we had JW15-17s in 1st and 3rd female positions, but to find two JW11-14s in those positions means we need to go back to Event #96 in September 2017, when JW11-14s finished as 1st and 2nd female. I looked this up assuming it would be uncommon, but it turns out not so much: in Event #92 in August 2017, JW11-14s made up a clean sweep of 1-2-3 at Witton, while way back at Event #72 in March 2017, we actually had JW10s, the youngest category of parkrunners, as 2nd and 3rd female! Well done to all our speedy men and women this weekend.


Milestone time! And there were NO parkrun milestone t-shirts handed out at Witton this weekend, nor new members of any Witton clubs. The following people were running notable milestones however:

Lynda Vernon – 110 runs

Ian Goodliffe (Blackburn Road Runners) – 90 runs

Alan Fretwell – 75 runs

Fraser Snape (Trawden AC) – 75 runs

Liam Bennison – 25 runs

Matt Campbell – 20 runs

Agatha Taylor – 20 runs

Michael Hayward – 10 runs

Michelle Smalley – 1 run

Hugh Snape – 1 run

Liam and Scott

Huge congratulations to 4 year old Hugh Snape, who celebrated his big birthday by running his first ever parkrun with us this weekend. For those who don’t know, 4 is the youngest age at which you are officially allowed to sign up for parkrun and Hugh’s dad Paul had his barcode safely tucked away ready to be scanned after his little legs carried him around one of the North West’s toughest parkrun courses in an amazing 42:51. Having crossed the line, he immediately forced dad to pick him up – and quite rightly so!

Brilliant effort Hugh!

Little Hugh

Those close to notable numbers are:

Matthew Vernon – 139 runs

Kate Pomfret (Blackburn Road Runners) – 89 runs

John Cookson (Blackburn Harriers) – 89 runs

Craig Cunliffe (Blackburn Road Runners) – 74 runs

Sean Procter (Blackburn Harriers) – 69 runs

Scott Walker (Darwen Dashers) – 39 runs

Jane Magee – 24 runs

Kate Cookson (Blackburn Harriers) – 19 runs

Mark Lougheed (Blackburn Road Runners) – 9 runs


With a quiet week on the milestones front, I thought it might be a good time to check in on the Witton Clubs and see who’s close to joining. The Witton 50 Club currently has 37 members, with the most recent joiner being Dorothy Myers at Event #139. The next 5 people in the list of most Witton parkruns are:

Sean Procter – 49 runs

Julie Gaskell – 47 runs

Fraser Snape – 47 runs

Julia Rushton – 46 runs

Helen Dolan – 45 runs

Sean (and Elouise)

The Witton 100 Club is still waiting for its 3rd member, after Anwar Khan became the first member at Event #118 and I joined him soon after at Event #122. There are presently 4 other Wittoners who have completed 90+ Witton parkruns. Favourite to become the next member of this club is Scott Smith, who on Saturday completed his 97th Witton parkrun. After this, there is a 3-way tussle, which includes the battle to be the first female member of the Witton 100 Club. Tied on 93 runs apiece are Witton regulars Aimie Wormald, Peter Toogood and Lynda Vernon. So with any luck, there should be some Witton milestones to detail before the end of the year – get parkrunning folks!

Witton 100 Club Race

I’d also like to spend a little time this week talking about Bernie Johnson. Bernie will be a familiar face to Wittoners, having first run with us at Event #45 in August 2016. From there, he missed running at just 8 Witton parkruns up to Event #118 in February this year, a run of 74 parkruns and was only missing from 6 of those parkruns, volunteering on the other two occasions. At the end of February, Bernie was sidelined with what he thought was a tight calf. No stranger to tweaks, Bernie sensibly took a few weeks off, but with the pain not subsiding and, if anything, getting worse, he went to see a doctor. Tests were conducted and Bernie was given the surprising news that he had somehow developed blood clots in his calf muscle. By this point, Bernie was barely able to walk, let alone run, and given vague, and often conflicting, advice from a variety of medical officials, he was unsure how to proceed. In the meantime, he became a regular face marshalling at Witton parkrun, popping up in a variety of locations around the course over the months. Slowly, Bernie has gradually attempted to improve his situation. He found riding a bike far less painful than walking or running, so satisfied himself with that in the interim. He went for gradual jogs on the treadmill to try and rebuild the muscle, all the while unclear what had caused the clots in the first place or a clear positive prognosis for the future. He got the news that the clots themselves had disappeared, but still the pain remained. As his gait improved, I did suggest maybe he might want to consider tail walking at Witton, but Bernie was fairly steadfast that if he couldn’t do it justice, he’d rather just marshal.

Volunteer Bernie

Months went by, until this weekend. My mum, Lynda, happens to work with Bernie’s wife at a local junior school and she told mum this week that Bernie was planning to run at Witton. She professed concern that he would put his recovery back by doing this and hoped he would reconsider and wait until the car was available to him the week after to go somewhere easier to run, like the much flatter Burnley parkrun, but Bernie is not easily swayed and duly lined up on the start line at Witton on Saturday for the first time in over 7 months. I had no idea what his intention was, but reckoned given his struggles (and with no evidence that he was anything like ‘right’), I presumed he would be steady. I suggested to mum beforehand that he may be close to her pace of 39 minutes or maybe closer to mine at 29 minutes. As I headed towards the Beast for the second time, turning the bend into Myerscough College, I spied Bernie sprinting down the hill towards the start/finish area. While delighted to see him, I was surprised to see just how steadily he was taking it: despite moving quite fast down the hill, he was among parkrunners I’d expect to be finishing in around 50 minutes – clearly Bernie wasn’t pushing it at all. It was only at the end that discussions with others proved I had been mistaken: Bernie wasn’t taking it gently at the back: when I saw him, he was a kilometre in front of me, sprinting down to finish in 6th position in a quite remarkable 22:41! Yes, it was Bernie’s second slowest Witton parkrun ever, second only to his first ever visit to the Beast, but there was a big difference to this parkrun than any other, as Bernie himself confessed to me afterwards: he’d enjoyed it. After 7 months out, this was a huge release. He wasn’t bothered about nearly killing himself chasing after Justin Collighan or desperately trying to dip under 20 minutes for the first time (and failing!), he just revelled in being able to take on the Beast again on his own terms. While he had spent a few weeks – in his eyes – ‘limpless’, in training he had been comfortable at around 9 minute miles: at one point during Saturday’s run, his phone buzzed to record a 6 and a half minute mile! And fingers crossed, in the immediate aftermath, there were no signs of any ill feeling between Bernie and his calf, so perhaps after an enforced absence during which he has obtained the purple volunteer 25 milestone t-shirt he proudly sported on Saturday, he can now resume his quest to get his black 100 milestone running t-shirt. Witton regular Peter Nicholson commented on Facebook that it was great to see Bernie back up and running and welcome back – and so say all of us. Brilliant to have you back Bernie and here’s to a run of good health and rehabilitation – just take it easy, yeah?


With so many races on this weekend, many Wittoners were on volunteering duty this weekend, with 22 matching last weekend’s 5-week high, while also allowing Event Director Michelle Searby another week of parkrunning, knocking 5 minutes off her time from last weekend – well done, Michelle! This week’s hi-viz heroes were:

Ian CLARKSON • Sue DUCKWORTH • Michelle SEARBY • Bryan SEARBY • Ella TURNER • Sarah SUTHERS • Ian GASKELL • Julie GASKELL • Suzanne FERRANDINO • Diane HARRISON-LEEMING • Julie PRICE • Matthew VERNON • Scott SMITH • Rachael SNAPE • Lorna PICKUP • Gary BLACKBURN • Christine DUCKWORTH • Lynda VERNON • Matthew CHESTER • Alan VERNON • Dorothy MYERS • Debbie ASHTON

Our thanks, as always, to you all – we couldn’t do it without you!


Onto this week’s notices! And, having made several mentions of Sunday’s races, I suppose I should update you on how the Wittoners did! Witton regular Lorna Pickup was in Rochdale completing the Rochdale Half Marathon. She aimed to be under 1 hour 55 minutes and completed it in bags of time, finishing with a chip time of 1:54:39! While there, she ran into friend of Witton Corinne Surkitt, who was competing in the Rochdale 10k, and did so in a time of 1:11:40, marking a massive 10k PB – well done, ladies!

Lorna and Corinne

Over in Chester, some of our Blackburn Road Runners were in action. Matt Chester, who was marshalling at the top of the small hill on Saturday, completed the Chester Metric Marathon in a chip time of 2:48:50. For those unaware, a Metric Marathon is 26 kilometres, rather than 26 miles, a considerably shorter distance somewhere around 15-16 miles in length and a good bridging point for those scaling up between a half marathon and a full. He was joined in the Metric Marathon by Witton core team member Annika Halsall, who finished in 2:57:36 and Witton Superman Ian Goodliffe, who finished the Metric Marathon in exactly 3 hours and 1 minute, 24 hours after running our parkrun on Saturday morning! Finally, not satisfied with a mere ‘Metric Marathon’, Road Runner and Wittoner Gary Blackburn completed the full ‘Imperial’ Chester Marathon – all 26.2 miles of it – in 4:12:50. Great work all of you!


Witton ladies Julie Price and Suzanne Ferrandino were both in action at the West Coast Half Marathon which began in Preston and finished in Lytham St Annes. Julie completed the route in a chip time of 2:35:17, while Suzanne was not far behind, just dipping under the 3 hour mark in 2:59:56. Well done ladies, a great achievement and for all of you out there who don’t think you’re capable of such feats, both Julie and Suzanne are in their 60s and have come to running through the Couch 2 5k programme, not through some lifelong love of the sport. Anyone can run these distances if you’re prepared to put a little training work in!

Julie and Suzanne

And a special mention to Wittoner and Darwen Dasher Viki Walsh. As many of you are aware, Viki’s dad, Dasher and Witton regular Norman Walsh, tragically died of a heart attack suffered hours after completing parkrun with us in May. Norman was very dear to our hearts and a plaque bearing his memory is positioned on our starting post. To celebrate Norman’s life and try to prevent other families going through the pain she suffered, Viki resolved to run the Three Towers Ultra Marathon to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation in memory of Norman. The term ‘Ultra Marathon’ refers to any race beyond the regular marathon distance of 26.2 and this particular Ultra is around 43 (FORTY THREE) miles in length, taking its name from its route, which traverses three notable towers in the region: starting in Darwen, the route takes in the Jubilee Tower overlooking the town, before heading towards Rivington and taking in their self-named tower, before heading over towards Haslingden and, en route, taking in the Peel Monument overlooking Ramsbottom, before heading back towards Hoddlesden. As you’ve probably guessed, this is not a flat run, and in actual fact boasts elevation in the region of 7,500 feet! This is a stonking challenge, but one that Viki passed with flying colours, finishing (which we all know is the biggest challenge in these conditions) in around 13 and a quarter hours. Astonishing effort Viki! As part of her training, she ran from her home in Darwen to Witton Park, then proceeded to run the Beast lap 8 times (4 complete parkruns!) and then run home. So there you have it: proof that Witton parkrun can help prepare you for the toughest of events! Massive congratulations Viki, and we know who was helping you all the way along, chuffed to bits at how strong you were. If you want to donate to Viki's cause, you can do so at the link below: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/viki-walsh2?utm_id=124


And with that, a few general notices and we’re done! Be aware we’re rapidly approaching Witton’s next cancellation, which will be on November 3rd (a month away) for the annual Witton Park bonfire so get planning your next round of parkrun tourism! Michelle and some of the core team are heading over to our near-neighbours at Bolton parkrun, so maybe we’ll see you there!

Ian and Irene

Witton’s 150th event will be two weeks later and we’re still working on a theme so any inspired ideas are more than welcome for that.

Lynda and Heather

Finally, it helps to look into your personal diary once in a while, and I have confirmed what I already vaguely knew, which is that I will personally be missing Witton Event #147 in a couple of weeks’ time to attend a wedding in York (yes, I’ll still be parkrunning – don’t worry!) so I’ll need someone to step up and write the run report. We do have a few writers ready on standby, but are always keen to hear new voices so if you fancy giving this a go, and giving us your unique take on the weekend’s happenings, then get in touch via the usual channels and we’ll pencil you in!

Tail Walkers

Never fear though, I’ll be there this Saturday for Event #146. It’s been a while since I’ve written a monster run report, but with so many momentous things for Witton regulars, I hope you’ll permit me a little loquaciousness to celebrate you lovely lot once in a while!

See you all on Saturday.

Have a wonderful week!

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun



WITTON PARKRUN #144 – 29th September 2018

The first properly autumnal parkrun of the year occurred on Saturday and I can’t have been the only one to open the front door and be caught out by the chill in the air! But once we were out and about, I soon acclimatised to what was a pleasant, sunny morning as 82 people wandered down to Witton for the 144th running of Witton parkrun. This included returnees, first time friends and family and a very special appearance by our Event Director Michelle as tail walker!

Before the off

First to cross the line was Paul Brindle of Blackburn Harriers in 18:57. This was Paul’s 8th run at Witton and 28th parkrun overall and although his time was not officially a personal best at Witton, it was nearly a minute faster than his best time on the Beast and just 3 seconds outside the time he set at Event #10 on the old, easier course, which currently remains his Witton PB – nearly there, Paul! I must confess that as Paul headed back to the Beast for the second time, I was starting lap 2, on the opposite side of the path. I wasn’t sure Paul was running in the same event as us, such was his lead over the rest of the field! Second person home, nearly 2 and a half minutes behind Paul, was Craig Barton, in 21:23. This was Craig’s 7th parkrun at Witton and 9th overall and he was by no means sluggish this week, as it marked a new PB! This was his 5th PB in 6 attempts since his first run with us in July and this time he has reduced his time by 7 seconds from the 21:30 he ran two weeks ago. Well done Craig! Third person home was returning Wittoner and Blackburn Harrier Mark Almond in 22:18. This was Mark’s 33rd run at Witton and 53rd parkrun in total and marked the debut (at least at Witton!) of Mark’s shiny new red 50 parkruns milestone t-shirt! Great work Mark!

The winner!

First female home was Suzanne Budgett of Horwich RMI Harriers in 23:58 in 6th position. This was Suzanne’s 8th visit to Witton in 35 parkruns and 4th visit in our last 5 parkruns and she was rewarded with a new PB, knocking nearly a minute off the time she set at Event #104 last November – congratulations, Suzanne! Second female was from the other end of the age spectrum: Kate Cookson of Blackburn Harriers in 14th position in 24:42. This was JW11-14 Kate’s 12th run at Witton and 18th parkrun in total and, like Suzanne, marked a new Witton PB, knocking 24 seconds off the time she set at Event #88 in July last year. Very speedy Kate! Third female was friend of Witton Karen Shackleton in 15th position in 24:56. This was uber-tourist Karen’s 24th run at Witton and 324th parkrun overall and she completed the set of Witton PBs by our fastest ladies, knocking 20 seconds off her time from all the way back in Event #2 in September 2015! This means Karen becomes the latest person to improve upon an old course PB on our tougher, Beast course – well done Karen! (and Kyla the dog, of course!) Well done to all our speedy men and women this weekend.


Milestone time! And two t-shirts were awarded this weekend, both somewhat unexpected beforehand! First was to Blackburn Harrier Andrew Raynes who kept it very quiet that he was running his 50th parkrun with us this weekend. Andrew has run 14 times with us at Witton, not actually his highest number, which remains at Burnley (22), although technically 7 of those were before Witton existed! Andrew’s first parkrun was way back in April 2013 at Burnley parkrun and he also ran 9 times at Preston parkrun and once each at Carlisle and Keswick parkruns before Witton got underway in August 2015. His first run at Witton was Event #2 in September 2015 and he set his Witton PB on his next visit to us for Event #5 – 22:56. His best run on the Beast came at Event #36 in May 2016, just under a minute behind his Witton PB – can we get back there Andrew..?! In total, along with 22 runs at Burnley and 14 at Witton, Andrew has run 10 times at Preston and once each at Carlisle, Keswick and Penrith parkruns in Cumbria and at Beeston parkrun in Nottingham. Well done on your achievement Andrew and hopefully we’ll see a little more of you in the future!


The second t-shirt awarded this weekend was to Oliver Barton, a first-time visitor to Witton this week. Oliver completed his 10th parkrun with us and his first away from his home parkrun of Southport and as a JM11-14, this earns him a white 10 milestone t-shirt, once they’re back in stock. Oliver ran his first parkrun in June last year, his second in November last year and the rest have all come in the past 2 months. Clearly, Oliver has caught the parkrun bug and we’re delighted he ran with us for his 10th milestone parkrun. Well done Oliver, we hope you enjoyed your run at Witton and now onwards towards your red 50 t-shirt like the adults!


Others hitting notable parkrun numbers this weekend were:

Adam Macquarrie – 10 runs

Julie Fitton (Darwen Dashers) – 10 runs

Christine Duckworth – 10 runs

Emma Taylor – 10 runs

Peter Craine (Blackburn GroupRun) – 10 runs

Billy Riding – 1 run

Sharon Riding – 1 run

Jonathan Sellick – 1 run

Michaela Allen – 1 run

Matt Lovick – 1 run

Lynne O’Neill – 1 run

Tanya Allen – 1 run

Charlie Haworth – 1 run


Another 8 first time parkrunners this weekend which is great to see. That’s 18 in two weeks, more than the previous 5 events combined! These included relatives Sharon and Billy Riding and Michaela and Tanya Allen, sisters in law, with Tanya married to Witton regular Paul Allen, who also brought his brother Mark along for his third run on the Beast. And this is the wonderful thing about how parkrun works. Paul was interested in coming to parkrun after hearing about it at work (he happens to work alongside my mum, Lynda, a Witton regular). He started coming down to Witton and had soon roped his brothers in when they were free to come too. This has been the norm for the past six months or so and this week, Paul’s wife asked about coming along. She asked Paul’s brother Mark’s wife if she wanted to come too and they both turned up with their barcodes and completed their first ever parkrun this weekend on what is by no means an easy course. Both are interested in coming back and two more parkrunners have joined the club! Well done ladies!


There are parkrunners approaching notable numbers too. These include:

Vicky Spencer (Darwen Dashers) – 149 runs

Lynda Vernon – 109 runs

Ian Goodliffe (Blackburn Road Runners) – 89 runs

Mike Leatherbarrow (Southport Waterloo AC) – 69 runs

Ian Gaskell – 49 runs (t-shirt alert!)

Joanna Withers (Lostock AC) – 24 runs

Liam Bennison – 24 runs

Craig Barton – 9 runs

Mike 2

Special mention too for our Event Director, Michelle Searby, who completed her first parkrun since November last year and her first Witton parkrun since July last year. As many of you know, Michelle has suffered with serious back problems for a few years now, although this does not preclude her from taking part in parkrun, usually tail walking. This is a role she would like to fulfil more often, but as Witton Event Director she usually feels obliged to take on a role on the core team, more often than not as Run Director. The hope is that going forward, Michelle will be able to participate more often as the core team step up more often and – hopefully – you wonderful lot continue to help run our wonderful event. Witton parkrun belongs to all of you and the more people who get involved in running it means more running for everyone. Please, never think of parkrun as a closed shop. If you’re interested in getting involved behind the scenes, learning the core volunteer roles or just want to make sure you’re contacted when we need volunteers then get in touch or speak to one of us on Saturday and we can help you out. You can always contact us on wittonoffice@parkrun.com or wittonhelpers@parkrun.com while if you access your parkrun results email, you have the option to opt-in to the Witton parkrun volunteer email list, which basically means if Michelle is looking to fill the roster, she may contact the mailing list to see who’s free. It is NOT an obligation to volunteer, but ensures you don’t miss out if you would like to help!

Michelle and co

Michelle was hoping for a full roster to cheer her round as she completed her first Beast in 15 months and you lot delivered as always, with 22 hi-viz heroes lining every inch of the course, the most since our birthday event. This week’s roster was:

Michelle SEARBY • Sally HUPFIELD-SMITH • Bryan SEARBY • Hazel BAXTER • Elouise Sylkie PEMBERTON • David HILTON • Mark BRENNAN • Suzanne BRENNAN • Ian GASKELL • Mick POMFRET • Diane HARRISON-LEEMING • Julie PRICE • Matthew VERNON • Scott SMITH • Lorna PICKUP • Irene SLATER • Lynda VERNON • Alan VERNON • Bernard JOHNSON • Dorothy MYERS • Stanley HILTON • Barbara SUCHORZEWSKI

Want to see your name up in lights? You know where to find us. Thanks guys!


Onto this week’s notices. Witton will next be cancelled on November 3rd (5 Saturdays away) for the annual Witton Park bonfire so get planning your next round of parkrun tourism!

Witton’s 150th event will be two weeks later and we’re still working on a theme so any inspired ideas are more than welcome for that.

We’re sorry that there was a little confusion over the results this weekend. Although they were processed in the usual speedy fashion, human error meant that a couple of gremlins had snuck into the usual smooth operation. Rest assured, all parkrunners are now accounted for and in the correct position and whatever your time is now is your time! I don’t think anybody lost out really – congratulations to the 23 of you that got a personal best this weekend, the most since Event #133 in June!

First Timers

I also hope you enjoyed our new toy! Thanks to your kind donations, Michelle has been able to ditch the unreliable megaphone in favour of a waterproof speaker, which in addition to be using for the pre-run briefing also allows music to be played during the parkrun for your enjoyment. It was quite nice to be running past the start/finish area with music blaring and with any luck, that should become a regular feature at Witton (as for the waterproof aspect to it, we’ll see how brave we’re feeling when it starts chucking it down!) As a result, our coffers are quite empty at the moment, and although we have no pressing requirements, it never hurts to have at least something in the rainy day fund to be topped up when needed. As a free event, parkrun relies on the kindness of participants to fund it and any money you give will only be used on things to improve the Witton parkrun experience. If you wish to donate, please follow the link, where you can also see you’re not alone in being an all-round Witton parkrun good egg! http://www.parkrun.org.uk/witton/aboutus/ Alternatively, you can give the money to a member of the core team at parkrun and we will deal with submitting it, as can be seen on the web link. Thank you!


Finally, as some of you may have noticed on our Facebook page, Tuesday marked International parkrun Day. This is the day when we all get down on our hands and knees and thank Paul Sinton-Hewitt for his brilliant idea of parkrun. For those of you who don’t know, parkrun began in 2004, when a club runner, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, was injured and feeling at a loose end. He decided to organise a little event for some of his club running friends, a 5k run around their local park, Bushy Park in London. It would be a timed event and he hoped to make it a regular thing so they could track their progress over time. The results were typed up in a local coffee shop and the Bushy Park Time Trial was born. Over time, more people started to come along to take part, including people less associated with club running. And so parkrun was born. The second opened in 2007 in Wimbledon Common and later that year, Woodhouse Moor began the first parkrun outside of London. In 2009, Amager Faelled parkrun in Denmark became the first international parkrun and parkrun now operates free, weekly, timed 5K runs in 20 different countries, from Canada to New Zealand, with the most recent adoptee being Malaysia, which began its first parkrun in April.

The parkrun pioneers

This truly global event, which began with 13 runners on a Saturday morning in October 2004 has this week seen its 5 MILLIONTH barcode issued. Sarah Hewitt, allied to Skipton parkrun, has been issued with barcode A5000000 and every week, nearly 250,000 people worldwide are running a parkrun on Saturday mornings. What a truly amazing success story and long may it continue. And with that, I’ll see you on Saturday for Witton parkrun Event #145.

Have a great week.

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun

Chatting after


WITTON PARKRUN #143 – 22nd September 2018

First we had Storm Ali. Then it was Storm Bronagh. I can’t say I was too hopeful of a dry, trouble-free parkrun on Saturday but apparently Mother Nature was feeling kind, with Saturday dawning dry and bright. There were no fallen trees or branches to be cleared away and despite a significant amount of rainfall during the week, the woods were nowhere near as muddy as I’d expected: the trees no doubt glad to soak up all that water after a parching summer. And so it was that 82 people descended on Witton to run, jog or walk the Beast this weekend for Witton parkrun #143.


An unusual look to the top 3 this week, with two first timers amongst them. First to cross the line was Thomas Brindle in 20:43. This was Thomas’ 5th parkrun and first away from his home parkrun of Preston, although the Beast slowed him down a little from his Preston best. Second man home was Matthew Walker, who returned this weekend for a second parkrun having run with us last Saturday as well. Clearly, he’s got the hang of the Beast, knocking no less than 1 minute 15 seconds off his original time from last weekend, finishing in a symmetrical 21:12 – well done Matthew! Third home was another Witton first timer, James Boult of Clayton-le-Moors Harriers in 21:39. This was James’ 38th parkrun dating back to 2015, and only the second time he has run away from his home parkrun of Burnley, following a visit last weekend to our neighbours in Hyndburn. This means that the top 3 finishers at Witton this weekend had completed our course a total of 4 times, an astonishingly low amount with so many regular speedsters taking on the Beast month to month. This is actually the lowest cumulative Witton record for the top 3 finishers since Event #88 in July last year, when the top 3 had also run at Witton a combined 4 times in total. Unusual!


First female was Jane Magee in 13th position in 24:51. This was Jane’s 15th run at Witton and 22nd parkrun in total and marked the 6th time she has been first female finisher with us, which now puts her 6th in the most first place finishes at Witton for a female. A couple more will take her up to 2nd, but she has a little way to go to catch Joanne Nelson’s Witton record of 13 first place finishers! She also once again graced us with a superb cake – yummy, Jane! Second placed female was Horwich RMI Harrier Suzanne Budgett, who finished in 19th position in 25:56. This was Suzanne’s 7th run with us at Witton and third in our past 4 events since our birthday event last month. This has meant Witton has now overtaken Wythenshawe parkrun as Suzanne’s most visited event – we’re glad you enjoy the Beast so much Suzanne! Third female across the line was Blackburn Road Runner Sandra Snape in 27th position in 28:36. This was Sandra’s 55th run at Witton and 94th overall – closing in on the century Sandra! Well done to all our speedy men and women this weekend.


Milestone time! And not one but TWO t-shirts handed out to Witton regulars this weekend. First across the line was Ian Brodrick in 41st position in 31:29. This marked Ian’s 42nd run at Witton and – more importantly – his 50th parkrun in total, earning him a red 50 milestone parkrun t-shirt. Ian first came to parkrun at Witton in February 2017 for Event #67 and completed the Beast in 33:25. Since then, he has earned 6 PBs on our course, reducing his time steadily to a current PB of 30:01 in August – sub 30 is agonisingly close Ian! Ian’s remaining 8 parkruns have been run at Haigh Woodland (twice), Bolton, Burnley, Ormskirk, Clitheroe Castle, Preston and Cuerden Valley, including some of those as part of Witton parkrun on tour. Well done on your achievement Ian, it won’t be too long before you’re in the Witton 50 club either!


In 58th position in 34:37 was Witton regular Peter Toogood. This was Peter’s 91st run at Witton and marked his 100th parkrun overall, earning him a black 100 milestone parkrun t-shirt. Peter ran at Witton’s first event at the end of August 2015, but this was actually his second ever parkrun as he had run at Sheffield Hallam parkrun the week before! Witton has been Peter’s main parkrun, as seen by just 9 runs away from Witton among his 100 runs. Indeed, between April 2017 and July 2018, Peter ran exclusively with us. He has sought to make up for this in recent weeks, however, with 4 of his last 6 parkruns taking place away from Witton – perhaps a sign of further tourism to come Peter? He has now run 4 times at his debut parkrun event (Sheffield Hallam), with 2 runs at our near-neighbours Hyndburn in recent weeks and single runs at Markeaton parkrun in Derby, Hillsborough parkrun in Sheffield and Mulbarton parkrun in Norfolk completing his century. Great work Peter and you are currently in a three-way battle to be the next member of the Witton 100 Club, with Aimie Wormald and Lynda Vernon also currently tied on 91 runs with us! Will one (or more) of you get there before Christmas?


Others celebrating notable parkrun numbers this weekend were:

Scott Smith – 110 runs

Elouise Sylkie Pemberton (Trawden AC) – 75 runs

Joseph Entwistle – 20 runs

Salim Patel – 10 runs

Maryam Sultan – 1 run

Archie Valentine – 1 run

Aminah Sultan – 1 run

Jason Sheard – 1 run

Jonny Daniels – 1 run

Matthew Sheard – 1 run

Yusuf Sultan – 1 run

Naeem Sultan – 1 run

Gary Moore – 1 run

Alfie Valentine – 1 run


We had no less than 10 first time parkrunners on Saturday at Witton, the most since Event #131 in June (Norman’s celebration run). It was great to see so many people introduced to parkrun, and it was even better to know that 6 of the 10 were juniors, including 5 aged 10 and under who were expertly shepherded round by their responsible adult to a sub-40 minute parkrun – no mean feat for little legs on the Beast!


Those about to hit a notable number include:

Jamie Dowdall (Darwen Dashers) – 59 runs

Tammy Bradley – 39 runs

Peter Craine (Blackburn GroupRun) – 9 runs

Adam Macquarrie – 9 runs

James French – 9 runs


Another week of enthusiastic volunteers around the course who were once again praised by visitors. No new names on the roster just yet, but there are going to be new faces giving volunteering a go in the coming weeks and if you want to join them, you know where to find us (contact us via Facebook or on wittonhelpers@parkrun.com). It was also wonderful to have the usual noise associated with Janet Davies with us on Saturday. Janet has volunteered 29 times at Witton, but more recent attendees may not be familiar with her, as due to work commitments all but 4 of her volunteer weeks were in our first year, but this is her second visit since our birthday so maybe we’ll be seeing more of Janet and her horn encouraging us around the Beast in the coming months – I know Anwar certainly hopes so!


The 19 hi-viz heroes who made Witton parkrun happen this weekend were:

Simon TOWNSEND • Michelle SEARBY • Bryan SEARBY • Emily SNAPE • Janet DAVIES • Ian GASKELL • Julie GASKELL • Mick POMFRET • Suzanne FERRANDINO • Diane HARRISON-LEEMING • Julie PRICE • Matthew VERNON • Scott SMITH • Lorna PICKUP • Lynda VERNON • Alan VERNON • Bernard JOHNSON • Keira BENNISON • Barbara SUCHORZEWSKI

Thanks as always to you all, we really couldn’t do it without you.


On the subject of volunteering, our very own Event Director, Michelle Searby, is planning to tail walk the course this weekend for her first parkrun running credit since November 2017 when she tail walked at Hyndburn parkrun, and her first running credit at Witton since Event #87 in July 2017! This is only possible when we have a secure core team and I’m pleased to say we’re confident of allowing Michelle to participate more often than has been possible in the past. Every volunteer we get helps with that cause and it would be nice if everyone can participate as often as they’d like going forward. Further to this, Michelle would love a full marshal roster as she wanders round the course, which I think leaves at least 4 spots still available so if you fancy coming down and offering your support to Michelle and Witton parkrun, get in touch. Weather on Saturday should be dry and bright, but may be a little bit on the cool side, but a walk in the woods on a bright, autumnal morning…who can resist?!


Finally, the usual notices. Witton will next be cancelled on November 3rd (6 Saturdays away) for the annual Witton Park bonfire so get planning your next round of parkrun tourism!


Witton’s 150th event will be two weeks later and we’re still working on a theme so any inspired ideas are more than welcome for that.


If you’ve glanced at our Facebook page, you may see that we may have a little more noise in the park than usual this coming Saturday thanks to a purchase made through your kind donations. This has left the coffers quite bare at this moment so if you could spare a couple of pounds to top up the kitty then it would of course be most grateful and used for something Witton needs in the future. Remember, parkrun is absolutely free to users, but like any public event incurs costs to run, particularly when purchasing new or replacement equipment. If you wish to donate, please follow the link, where you can also see you’re not alone in being an all-round Witton parkrun good egg! http://www.parkrun.org.uk/witton/aboutus/


Finally, enjoy the rest of your week and I will see you on Saturday for Event #144.

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun


Witton parkrun – Run Report – Event #142

WITTON PARKRUN #142 – 15th September 2018


After a week’s touring (see my previous run report on where most of the regulars went last weekend!) it was back to Witton Park on a wet Saturday morning for the 142nd running of Witton parkrun. Heading down to the park, I looked at the rain falling heavily and suspected a significantly reduced attendance, but we’re made of stern stuff up here and 80 of you came and ran, jogged and walked your way round the Beast this weekend. There was a decent smattering of Witton first timers too, and I apologise for the somewhat hurried first timer’s briefing – I was dragooned in at the last minute and caught off guard! Hopefully you all found your way around the course and enjoyed it along the way. With the weather damp, though improving during the run, there was naturally a little mud around the course, but overall it’s still in decent nick. The rain meant it was less humid than in recent weeks, and I don’t know about you, but I found the cool water a welcome relief during the morning’s exercise.


First across the line this week was Ribble Valley Harrier Stephen Hall in a very speedy 18:02. This was Stephen’s 12th parkrun and 7th at Witton and was just 7 seconds outside his PB set on his last visit to us in June. This was the joint-14th fastest time ever seen on the Beast, showing that the course is still pretty quick in mid-September. Second across the line, not that far behind Stephen, was fellow Ribble Valley Harrier Ben Walmsley in 18:20. This was Ben’s 18th parkrun and 8th at Witton and marked the second time he has run our course sub-18:30, with his time this weekend marking a new PB by 4 seconds, back to October last year – well done, Ben! Some way behind the Harriers was third place finisher Steve Dunn of Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde AC in 21:11. This was Steve’s second run at Witton, following on from first visiting us in July at Event #135 and was his 79th parkrun overall. His time this week was just 2 seconds slower than he ran on his first appearance with us – so close, Steve!


First female, once again, was recent Witton regular Jane Magee in 16th position in 25:07. This was Jane’s 14th visit to us and 21st in total and marked the 5th occasion she was first female finisher at Witton – great work, Jane! Not far behind Jane in 17th position was Accrington Road Runner Rebecca Sharples in 25:24. Rebecca is a family friend of Witton regular Peter Nicholson and joined him in running with Witton young gun Liam Bennison this weekend, earning them both a volunteering credit. This was Rebecca’s 4th visit to Witton and 30th parkrun in total. While not officially a Witton PB, due to her 23:15 ran on the old course at Event #5, this marked a huge Beast PB, knocking 1 minute and 16 seconds off the 26:40 she ran last time she visited us way back at Event #93 in August 2017. Third female was Witton regular and Blackburn Road Runner Sandra Snape in 31st position in 29:18. This was Sandra’s 54th run at Witton and 93rd parkrun in total. Well done to all our speedy men and women this weekend!


Milestone time! And not a great deal out there this weekend, although some people are getting closer to hitting t-shirts before Christmas. Just the one t-shirt awarded this weekend and unusually it was to a Witton first timer! Jake Barnett crossed the line in 57th position in 34:24 to complete his 10th parkrun and as a JM11-14 this means he earns a white 10 milestone t-shirt courtesy of parkrun. Impressively, Jake’s first 10 parkruns have come at 6 different parkrun venues, with 3 runs each at nearby Hyndburn and Preston parkruns his only repeat performances. His other runs have come at Burnley and Lytham Hall parkruns and he has already ticked an international parkun off his bucket list by completing parkrun de Rouen in France in August! Well done Jake, and hopefully you won’t have to wait too long for a parkrun t-shirt!


Another notable non-t-shirt milestone was earned by Witton regular Anwar Khan, who finished in 29th position in 28:41, marking his 150th parkrun event. 119 of those have been with us at Witton, although it turns out it was serendipity rather than careful planning which meant Anwar celebrated this notable achievement with us, with him not allowed to run a planned parkrun in Bradford last weekend! Great work Anwar, another notable achievement for the most experienced Witton parkrunner.


Others celebrating notable numbers this weekend were:

Malcolm Thomson – 110 runs

William (Bill) Dwyer – 60 runs

Daniel Hamilton (Blackburn Harriers) – 40 runs

Hazel Baxter (Misfits) – 40 runs

Robert Crompton – 30 runs

Paul Allen – 25 runs

Karen Almond – 10 runs

Matthew Walker – 1 run


And those on the cusp of a notable number are:

Scott Smith – 109 runs

Steve Dunn (Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde AC) – 79 runs

Elouise Sylkie Pemberton (Trawden AC) – 74 runs

Ian Brodrick – 49 runs (t-shirt alert!)

Bridget Gregory (Hedge End Running Club) – 29 runs

Gareth McGuire – 19 runs

Salim Patel – 9 runs


A mention too for Aurelio Bello of Hedge End Running Club who finished in 62nd position in 37:22. This marked Aurelio’s return to Witton, having previously visited us for Event #114 in January. Despite being only his second visit to Witton, it was Aurelio’s 321st parkrun in total, shooting him up to 8th in our most experienced Witton visitors table. It marks the 5th time a parkrunner who has completed 320 or more parkruns has run at Witton in our past 3 events, perhaps showing the greater prevalence of these uber-parkrunners as parkrun becomes ever more ubiquitous in society. Well done Aurelio, we mere-mortals can only stand back and admire such parkrunning numbers! Incidentally, 270 of Aurelio’s parkruns have come at his home run of Netley Abbey parkrun in Southampton, so he’s a long way from home when visiting Witton!


A quiet week on the volunteering front, not least because the Blackburn Road Runners were away providing an abundance of marshals at nearby Hyndburn as they performed a takeover of the volunteer roster there. But once again, you lot came up with the goods and it was good to see not one, not two, but three new names on the volunteer roster this weekend. Witton regular Keira Bennison handed out finishing tokens as she begins her Duke of Edinburgh volunteering, while I previously mentioned Rebecca Sharples acting as joint-chaperone for young Liam and we also had a new marshal, in the shape of Andrew Taylor. More commonly seen at Preston, Andy has also run 18 times at Witton and it was good of him to give up his time to help us on this quiet week. A total of 19 volunteers this weekend, and the Blackburn Road Runners weren’t completely missing, as Witton core team member Annika Halsall was still marshalling for us. This week’s hi-viz heroes were:

Rebecca SHARPLES • Michelle SEARBY • Andrew TAYLOR • Bryan SEARBY • Annika HALSALL • Ian GASKELL • Julie GASKELL • Diane HARRISON-LEEMING • Matthew VERNON • Scott SMITH • Lorna PICKUP • Andy HAWORTH • Lynda VERNON • Alan VERNON • Bernard JOHNSON • Peter NICHOLSON • Patricia PROCTER • Dorothy MYERS • Keira BENNISON


Our thanks, as ever, to you all. One other volunteering stat of note this weekend and a personal one at that. My dad, Alan Vernon (the one with the stick in the clearing as you come down from the top of the Beast) today became the 5th person to volunteer at 100 different Witton events, and the first who was not present at Witton’s inaugural event in August 2015. Dad was the last of the immediate Vernon family to become part of Witton parkrun. He began coming shortly after I got my mum running here and began volunteering at Event #39 in June 2016. On 99 occasions at Witton, he has acted as a marshal, almost all at the same spot in the clearing. His one desertion of post was for Event #129 in May, when he was completing his 100th volunteering stint at parkrun (dad is a prodigious voluntourist when Witton is cancelled) when we organised for him to tail walk and complete his first and – to date, only – parkrun. Since he started coming at Event #39, dad has missed just 4 Witton parkruns – one on Christmas Day 2016 (when I was the only Vernon to parkrun), one for a hospital appointment earlier this year and two this summer while we were on holiday in North Wales – an impressive achievement. Furthermore, dad becomes only the 7th person to have either run or volunteered at Witton on 100 occasions, after Michelle Searby, Bryan Searby, Sally Hupfield-Smith and Sean Procter on the volunteering front and Anwar Khan and myself on the running front. Well done dad!


Finally, a couple of notices. Further to my notice in the ‘Witton on Tour’ report last week, Witton will next be cancelled on November 3rd (7 Saturdays away) for the annual Witton Park bonfire so get planning your next round of parkrun tourism!


Witton’s 150th event will be two weeks later and we’re still working on a theme so any inspired ideas are more than welcome for that.


I also haven’t forgotten I owe some of you some 3rd year Witton stats – they’re coming, promise!


On a final, personal note, this weekend marked my 3rd parkruniversary – the week I did my first parkrun in 2015. I’ve come a long way in that time, made a lot of new friends and written countless Witton run reports. It’s great to share this wonderful community with you all and I look forward to another exciting 12 months ahead – who knows what they have in store?


In the short term at least, there’ll be another Witton parkrun – same time, same place – see you on Saturday for Event #143.


Have a great week,


Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun




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