Witton parkrun – Run Report Event #113

Before we stared with Matthews report, have a look at this cheeky message he sent me this morning!!! How rude! Hahahahahahaha


No idea what he is implying here?????


WITTON PARKRUN REPORT #113 – 13th January 2018


Our 113th parkrun on the 13th January. What could possibly go wrong? Well in actual fact, surprisingly little for what was technically Witton’s second outing of 2018, but our first regular Saturday parkrun after our New Year’s Day fun and games. Witton is always cancelled for the first proper weekend of January, due to cross country commitments in the park so the middle of the month is always when parkrun starts again for us, and 96 of you joined us to start your year off with a run, jog or walk around our legendary ‘Beast’.


Conditions were set fair for Saturday’s run, with a relatively mild and sedate week’s weather allowing the course to firm up considerably from the mud-filled challenge it presented over the festive season. That said, the wind was bitingly cold, which led to several runners leaving it until the last possible second to remove their jackets.

First across the line for our first proper run of 2018 was a Witton first timer, Joshua Holgate of Blackburn Harriers, who completed only his second ever parkrun and first at Witton by smashing out a great time of 18.34. It seems parkrun may be a new year’s resolution for Josh, with his only previous run being with our neighbours at Hyndburn last week, when we were cancelled. He was nearly a minute faster this week, and has finished in 1st position on both his first two parkruns.


Left in Josh’s wake was Witton regular Justin Collighan, who finished in 2nd place in 20.15. This was Justin’s first run at Witton this year, having started 2018 off with two appearances at Lytham Hall parkrun.


Third across the line was another Witton frequenter, Blackburn Harrier Mark Almond, who finished in 20.43. This was Mark’s 25th Witton parkrun – halfway to the 50 club – and was his first appearance since November. It was his fastest time at Witton since February last year, although he has only appeared on five occasions since then, including this weekend.


First female across the line was Blackburn Harrier Hannah Cookson in 12th place in a time of exactly 23 minutes. This was Hannah’s 16th run at Witton in her 46th parkrun and was the 4th time she has been first female to finish, her first time achieving that since last February.


Second placed lady was some way behind Hannah, with Elizabeth Sullivan crossing the line in 25th place in 27.19. This was Elizabeth’s 27th parkrun at Witton out of 40 total.


Third female was a parkrun first timer – Diane Vaughton finished in 29.05 in 30th position. Welcome to the parkrun family Diane, and well done to all our speedy men and women.

Diane was one of 22 first timers at Witton on Saturday, of whom 9 were completing their first ever parkrun. This was the most in a single weekend since Event #96 in September, when 13 first time parkrunners were at Witton. We hope you enjoyed your first experiences and will come back for more in the future.

Here seems as good a place as any to mention a few stories to come out of those Witton first timers on Saturday, so here goes. First mention goes to Ian Newton, who finished in 15th place in 23.46. This was Ian’s 7th parkrun, and his third in a row at 3 different parkruns. Having run 5 of his previous 6 parkruns with our neighbours at Cuerden Valley, Ian was returning the favour paid by Witton last week when we all went over to his patch when we were cancelled, by coming over to our patch now we’re back in business. According to his post on our Facebook page after the event, he thoroughly enjoyed his visit, and it sounds like he may become a familiar face at Witton in the future.


Second shout out goes to Craig Cunliffe, who finished in 43rd position in 30.43. This was Craig’s 64th parkrun, and 61 of the previous 63 have been at St Helens parkrun, with the other two coming at Warrington parkrun. Craig was another who enjoyed his experience, so much so he’s planning to return next week!


The final mention I want to make is to the first timers who finished in 14th and 21st place, namely Simon Moore and…Simon Moore! In what I believe must be a unique occurrence for Witton parkrun, we had two first time Wittoners with exactly the same name! While we have had runners with shared names run at Witton before, to have two run in the same week and both be first time Wittoners is quite incredible. In fact, we had 4 Moores at Witton on Saturday, more than doubling our all-time number and, also rather unusually, no Moore has ever run more than once at Witton parkrun. Who will be the first? Just for the sake of housekeeping, and to confirm the same man didn’t just run through the finish funnel and get scanned twice (not that this would work anyway – parkrun have rules against these things don’t cha know!), here are the two Simon Moores stats: Simon Moore 1 finished in 14th position in 23.26. It was his first ever parkrun and he is a member of Ribble Valley Triathlon Club. Simon Moore 2 finished in 21st place in 26.13. It was his first Witton parkrun and his 8th overall, the Whitchurch Whippet club member having run 5 of his previous 7 at Bradford parkrun. This was his second parkrun of the year, following a run with our friends at Hyndburn parkrun last week, but his parkrun debut actually dates back all the way to Burnley parkrun in August 2013! Well done to both the Simon Moores, and we hope at least one of you will return – perhaps next time we could get a photo!

No new milestone t-shirts to be earned today, but there’s always some notable numbers to be hit. Those celebrating milestones were:
Lynda Vernon – 75 runs
Mark Brennan (Ossy Joggers) – 70 runs
Elouise Sylkie Pemberton (Trawden AC) – 60 runs
Jacqueline Dwyer – 40 runs
Elizabeth Sullivan – 40 runs
Cheryl Braysford – 10 runs

And those about to hit milestones are:
Jack Bennett – 69 runs
John Cookson (Blackburn Harriers) – 69 runs
John Shorrock – 49 runs
Oliver Thompson – 29 runs
Andrea Ashworth – 29 runs
Daniel Hamilton – 19 runs
Heather Shah (Blackburn GroupRun) – 9 runs


There were no less than 13 personal bests achieved on the Beast this weekend and it would be remiss of me not to mention some of them. Largest PB of the day went to Shaun Salvage, who on his second run at Witton knocked a whopping 2 minutes and 22 seconds off his time from December 30th.

Special mention goes to Autumn Barlow, who on her 6th Witton parkrun finally bested her time of her first visit, by a mere 2 minutes and 21 seconds!

There were PBs for both Stacy Feeney and Julie Graves, who are both fast becoming Witton regulars. Stacy’s was her third PB in 3 visits dating back to just before Christmas and she knocked exactly a minute off her previous PB which was set on Christmas Day itself, down now to 30.51.


Julie meanwhile is on a run of 5 straight PBs in consecutive Witton parkruns, dating back to December 23rd, her latest PB knocking another 47 seconds off her time from New Year’s Day, taking her down to 35.22.


What makes both ladies achievements all the more impressive is that they are taking part in Run Everyday January and Witton parkrun was Day 13 of running 5k everyday this month! I can confirm both ladies are feeling it, but clearly it must be doing them some good as they just keep getting faster and faster!

Smallest PB of the day went to Jack Bennett, who on his 5th visit to Witton finally bested the time he set on his first visit way back in July 2016, by knocking all of 3 seconds off his time set that day, down now to 22.53.

And one of the perks of writing the run report is the opportunity to mention your mother as many times as possible, so well done to Lynda Vernon, who surprised herself by running a new Witton PB of 39.43, besting her time from July last year of 39.54 by 11 seconds. She credits this to another parkrun first timer, Adam Macquarrie, whom she works with and joined his wife Kerry at parkrun for the first time on Saturday. Chasing after him, mum finished just 9 seconds adrift of Adam on his first run of the Beast. Well done to all those who achieved a PB on Saturday, and I’m sure the rest of us will get there soon!


One other story I get to mention, since I’m writing this thing, is my ongoing personal duel with fellow Witton veteran Anwar Khan. Between us, we have completed 228 parkruns, of which 188 have been at Witton. We’re both closing in on 100 Witton parkruns (Anwar’s on 96 and I’m on 92) but despite being relatively evenly matched, we’ve never been close enough to have any sort of competitive rivalry. Until now that is. Since New Year’s Day, Anwar and I have finished in consecutive positions in all 3 parkruns this year. On January 1st, after first running at Blackpool parkrun, Anwar held me off in a sprint to the line at Witton, finishing 1 second in front. Last Saturday, when we visited Cuerden Valley, we again found ourselves side-by-side, this time on the slog uphill to the finish and again, Anwar had just enough in his legs to finish 1 second in front. Determined not to lose 3 weeks in a row, I wasn’t convinced when he was able to stay comfortably a few seconds in front all the way round this weekend, only to get the jump on him on the run down the hill to the finish and this week he had no answer. This week I won by 6 seconds, making it 2-1 to Anwar and an advantage of 4 seconds in my favour. It can’t last much longer (surely?) but it has been fun while it’s lasted. See you next Saturday Anwar!


As always, Witton is grateful to those who give their time on a Saturday morning to ensure parkrun can happen and this week we saw a course heaving with marshals which always makes it easier to run around the Beast. This week’s hi-viz heroes were:
Ali MCARTHUR • Debbie BEVITT • Scott SUMNER • Justin COLLIGHAN • Michelle SEARBY • Bryan SEARBY • Annika HALSALL • Ian GASKELL • Suzanne FERRANDINO • Diane HARRISON-LEEMING • Julie PRICE • Matthew VERNON • Scott SMITH • Lorna PICKUP • Alan VERNON • Bernard JOHNSON • Peter NICHOLSON • Deborah ASHTON • Corinne SURKITT • Jonathan HOOLE
Thank you to you all.


Finally, to end on a lighter note, Witton regular Sean Procter found himself with our neighbours over at Ormskirk parkrun on Saturday. Not being familiar with Ormskirk’s course, I am in no position to judge, but it is safe to say Sean was left unimpressed with Ormskirk’s claim of ‘inclines’ and made this position perfectly clear, much to the consternation of some of the locals! Sean’s claim that Ormskirk was ‘flat as a pancake’ may or may not have been an exaggeration, it took a regular Ormskirker Alan Hulme to have the final word: ‘I have to agree with [Sean] on this, having been up the beast twice, it makes Ormskirk look flat as a pancake!’ Regular viewers of the Witton Facebook page will have seen Alan’s inspiring story featured via the Parkrun UK page a few weeks ago. If you haven’t read it, it is well worth checking out.


And that’s about that for Event #113! Don’t forget that Witton is cancelled once again on February 3rd due to another cross country event in the park. The main Witton team are visiting our neighbours at Burnley parkrun and you’re more than welcome ( car parking charges apply) – encouraged in fact! – to tag along. If you want information on how to get there, or help getting there then do get in touch either via our Facebook page or via wittonoffice@parkrun.com. Otherwise, I will see you next Saturday for Event #114. Hope to see you there!

Have a great week,

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun



Witton parkrun – Run Report New Years Day 2018

WITTON PARKRUN REPORT #112 – 1st January 2018

The fourth instalment of Witton’s festive programme of 4 parkruns in 10 days was also the first Witton parkrun of 2018 and our first ever New Year’s Day parkrun! Unfortunately, the New Year failed to herald an improvement in the weather, with another damp morning, albeit dry for the run itself, and yet more mud to contend with. Numbers were also down, with our lowest attendance since November 2016, no doubt impacted by the triple whammy of some people nursing the effects of New Year’s merriment; others nursing tired legs after the Ribble Valley 10k 24 hours earlier and yet others still starting the New Year off with a bang by attempting a parkrun New Year’s double, taking the opportunity to be scanned at two different parkruns on the same day. With no obvious partner to Witton locally in an earlier timeslot, many regulars understandably took the opportunity to tour somewhere else to get in their double.

Among the 58 people who ran, jogged and walked at Witton on Monday, however, this did not stop four hardy souls from managing a double! And each comes with their own interesting story. First of our four to cross the line was Michael Moore in 26th place in 28.21. A veteran of no less than 258 parkruns, this was Michael’s first visit to Witton and came just an hour or so after he finished running his first ever event at Pennington Flash parkrun in Leigh! A Wythenshawe parkrun regular, this was Michael’s 37th different parkrun location.

Second “doubler” across the line was Witton regular Anwar Khan, in 31st place in 29.04. This came about an hour and a half after he ran parkrun number 120 with our neighbours at Blackpool parkrun, his first run there. Our third and fourth “doublers” were couple Christopher and Jane Oakey who were also visiting Witton for the first time. Both had also been with Anwar at Blackpool parkrun earlier in the morning and are regulars at Cuerden Valley parkrun, where the Witton team will be visiting next weekend when we are cancelled. Christopher was completing his 47th parkrun and finished in 34th place in 31.11, while Jane finished her 49th parkrun in 50th place in 39.22. Well done to all four people who completed 10k instead of the usual 5k, especially doing ‘The Beast’ as your second of the day!

And what of those at the sharp end? Well Witton started 2018 off with a real bang, with the top 3 covered by no less than 2 seconds! First to cross the line was Blackburn Harrier Andrew Heys, pushed to a new Witton PB of 19.29, smashing his previous best of 19.57 from November. This was the third time in 6 Witton parkruns that Andrew has been first finisher, and these have been his only visits in the period. Huge congratulations to him. Pipped into second place was Chris Barnes of Ribble Valley Harriers. This was Chris’ second visit to Witton in 3 days and he was 14 seconds slower this time round which meant settling for 2nd. Third, in 19.31, was fellow Ribble Valley Harrier Nick Gaskell. This was Nick’s second Witton parkrun of the festive period and his 6th visit in total, however his time was the slowest he has ever run here. A hugely exciting way to start the year at any rate, well done to all three men.

In our 112th event, this was the closest three-way finish Witton has ever seen. By comparison, our 100th event saw our first ever dead heat in terms of time, but third place was fully 27 seconds behind that day. Three times in the fifties, Witton saw the top 3 finish in less than 10 seconds. In Event 56, way back in October 2016, Witton regular James McLeod finished 3 seconds clear of 2nd and 4 clear of Witton’s own Sean Procter in 3rd, our second closest finish ever. In Event 54, two weeks earlier, Graham Morris won, 8 seconds clear of 2nd and 9 clear of 3rd. And in Event 52, in September 2016, Chris Barnes was the winner that day, 9 seconds clear of 2nd and 10 clear of 3rd. Twice in our early days, in Events 4 and 15 on our old course, 1st and 2nd were covered by a second, but on both occasions third was some way adrift.

As for the ladies, first to cross the line was Joanna Smith in 15th position in 26.21. This was Joanna’s second visit to Witton, and her first in almost 2 years, since Event #20 and she has clearly improved in the interim period, setting a new PB over 4 minutes faster than that January day in 2016! Second female was Blackburn Harrier Kate Cookson, who finished her 7th Witton parkrun in 17th position in 26.39, fully 6 minutes faster than she ran 2 days earlier in Event #111. Third lady was Clayton-le-Moors Harrier Nerina Gill, a frequent Witton visitor, in 20th place in 27.28, her fastest run at Witton since last April. Well done to all three ladies.

It was also – just about! – a celebratory run for another Witton regular: Bruce Elliott, wife of Kerry, who kicked off the festive period with her 100th run at Event #109 on December 23rd, ran his own 100th parkrun on January 1st. The Elliotts only just made the start line, having run (yes, RUN!) all the way from their home in Darwen to join us at Witton in time for the 10.30am start. Joining at the back, Bruce finished in 42nd spot, just a second behind his wife, in 33.21. Another who began parkrunning not long after Witton started, in Event #5, Darwen Dasher Bruce has completed 58 of his 100 runs at Witton. Since starting in September 2015, he has now run at 23 different locations, covering much of the North West, and also ticking off Glasgow’s Ruchill parkrun along the way. Congratulations to him.

That was our only new milestone t-shirt of the day, but as always there were others hitting notable numbers. These were:
Karlyn Forrest (Preston Harriers) – 25 runs
Mark Ellithorn (Chorley Athletic and Triathlon Club) – 25 runs
Stu Doherty – 20 runs
Stanley Hilton – 20 runs
Jacqueline Ellithorn (Chorley Athletic and Triathlon Club) – 10 runs

And those about to hit a notable number are:
David Watson (Red Rose Road Runners) – 69 runs
Bernie Johnson – 69 runs
Jane Oakey – 49 runs
Mick Pomfret – 9 runs

It should also be noted, that two people joined us on New Year’s Day for their first ever parkrun so congratulations and welcome to Emma Carter and Freya Banton. I hope you both thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will come back for more! In total there were 14 people visiting Witton for the first time, of whom I have mentioned 5 in passing in this report, and 7 people, including 1st placed Andrew, started off the year recording PBs, despite the mud.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, Witton has, as always, been indebted to the people who have given up their time over this busy period to ensure our little event has gone ahead as planned. On Monday, our hi-viz heroes were:
Autumn BARLOW • Em FOX • Sean PROCTER • Julia RUSHTON • Michelle SEARBY • Bryan SEARBY • Mark LORD • Suzanne FERRANDINO • Diane HARRISON-LEEMING • Sarah GABRIEL • Matthew VERNON • Alan VERNON • Patricia PROCTER • Chris COVILL

With 2017 over and done with, I have tried to compile a few numbers for those of you interested in those sorts of things. In total, 1162 different parkrunners ran at Witton in 2017, including 726 who did so for the first time.

The top 10 Witton attendees in 2017 were (out of a possible 47):
Matthew Vernon – 42 runs
Bernie Johnson – 42 runs
Kate Pomfret (Blackburn Road Runners) – 40 runs
Ian Goodliffe – 40 runs
Lynda Vernon – 39 runs
Anwar Khan – 38 runs
Pat Procter – 37 runs
Aimie Wormald (Darwen Running Group) – 35 runs
Suzanne Ferrandino (Blackburn GroupRun) – 34 runs
Asif Garda (Blackburn Road Runners) – 33 runs

As already stated, parkrun can never happen without our loyal volunteers and Witton has a superb core team who help make sure it happens come rain or shine week in week out. In 2017, no less than 144 people helped parkrun to happen by volunteering on at least one occasion.

The top 10 volunteers were (again, out of a possible 47):
Michelle Searby – 47 parkruns
Alan Vernon – 47 parkruns
Bryan Searby – 44 parkruns
Diane Harrison-Leeming – 41 parkruns
Sean Procter – 40 parkruns
Sally Hupfield-Smith – 40 parkruns
Ian Gaskell – 38 parkruns
Matthew Vernon – 35 parkruns
Julie Gaskell – 30 parkruns
Lorna Pickup – 28 parkruns

As for Saturday, please be aware that Witton parkrun is CANCELLED due to a cross country event in the park. The regular Witton team are heading over to Cuerden Valley parkrun, near Preston. Please feel free to ask about transport arrangements if you’d like to come and we’ll see what we can do. Cuerden Valley has long been touted as the toughest parkrun in Lancashire, a title largely undisputed until Witton switched to the Beast. So come along, and try the competition out for yourself! For the record, our Cuerden visitors, Christopher and Jane, both thought Witton was equally tough to their home course so we’re clearly made of hardy stuff in Blackburn! Whether you come to Cuerden Valley, or take the opportunity to run at one of the many other parkruns in the local area, I hope you have a successful Saturday and Witton will be back in business as normal on Saturday, January 13th 2018. I look forward to seeing you then, if not before.

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun


Witton parkun Run Report – Event #111

WITTON PARKRUN REPORT #111 – 30th December 2017

Cricket fans will be aware that the number 111 is considered unlucky to the English. Known as a ‘Nelson’, there is no particular logic to this (the number looks like a wicket) but nonetheless umpire David Shepherd became renowned for standing on one leg until the score ticked over to another number. Anyway, in the third instalment of our four festive parkruns, Witton parkrun reached a Nelson, with Event #111 seeing the final parkrun action of 2017.

And how unlucky was it? Well not very; but it was a dismal morning: wet, dreary and cold. We were warned by Michelle of a small amount of ice going up to the small hill, but mercifully there was a clear path down the middle between the slippy sections allowing us to stay safe. If anything, the copious amount of rain that has fallen recently had made the course treacherously muddy. Care was needed but as always Bryan was on hand to save out-of-control runners at the bottom of the muddy slope.

The weather didn’t put too many off either, with a healthy 84 people running, jogging or walking the course this Saturday, exactly the same as last Saturday but less than our stellar numbers on Christmas Day. The Ribble Valley Harriers were out in force again on Saturday, with the first four positions all being taken by members of this particular club. First to cross the line was Stephen Hall in 18.14, a new PB on his third visit to Witton, all since October. He has a current streak of 3 first places in 3 visits, I wonder how long he will be able to keep it up? Exactly a minute down the road was Ben Walmsley, who won a very close battle with third placed Chris Barnes, who crossed the line in 19.16. This was Ben’s second visit to Witton in consecutive weeks, and his 5th visit in 7 parkruns overall. Chris has been a more frequent parkrunner, completing 36 in total and Saturday was his 10th visit to Witton but his first since March 2017.

Fourth to cross the line was another Ribble Valley Harrier, Eleanor Bolton. Fresh from breaking the SW18-19 category record last Saturday, she returned for another strong showing, although 20 seconds slower than she was last week, finishing in 20.28, she still finished as fastest female. Second lady across the line was Carly Edwards of Blackburn Harriers, fully three minutes later in the pleasingly symmetrical 23.23. This was Carly’s 8th visit to Witton, and her first since our anniversary in August. Third female was fellow Blackburn Harrier Hannah Cookson, who finished in 24.35. Hannah was also first junior home. This was Hannah’s 15th parkrun at Witton, exactly 1/3 of her total, and all of her last 6 parkruns have been at Witton. Well done to all our speedy parkrunners.

The holiday season continues to bring visitors from afar, with some parkrunners joining us from the far sunnier climbs of Greece on Saturday and Rachel Walpole honouring us all the way from Newport in Wales by completing her first ever parkrun away from her home parkrun – in her 145th event! We also completed Ferrandino Bingo on Saturday, as Witton regular Suzanne Ferrandino’s son Dan and wife Rosie became the last members of the clan to complete a Witton parkrun! Now time to get on with planning a Ferrandino bonanza for your 100th Suzanne by getting them all together for the same parkrun!

No milestone t-shirts to be awarded in our last run of 2017, but plenty of people hit notable numbers on Saturday. These were:
Vicky Spencer (Darwen Dashers) – 120 runs
Isabel Chadwick – 90 runs
Chris Chadwick – 70 runs
Jake Bennison – 25 runs
Laura Nicholson – 10 runs
Vicky Heys (Clayton-le-Moors Harriers) – 10 runs

And those about to hit notable numbers:
Ian Riggs – 289 runs
Anwar Khan – 119 runs
David Atherton – 79 runs
Ben Wrigley (Wesham Road Runners) – 59 runs
Carly Edwards (Blackburn Harriers) – 29 runs
Mark Ellithorn (Chorley Athletic and Triathlon Club) – 24 runs
Luke Hodson (Bristol Up & Running) – 24 runs
Paul Boardman (Chorley Athletic and Triathlon Club) – 19 runs
Stanley Hilton – 19 runs
Joe Gleave (Darwen Running Group) – 9 runs
Jacqueline Ellithorn (Chorley Athletic and Triathlon Club) – 9 runs

As for membership of the Witton 50 club, a re-evaluation of the stats has revealed that I jumped the gun slightly and in fact Saturday saw Pat Procter’s 50th run at Witton, not Christmas Day as first thought. Indeed, somebody technically got there first, with James McLeod joining us on Saturday for his own 50th run at Witton, finishing in 6th place. James first came to Witton in May 2016 for Event #36 and has finished in 1st position on 16 occasions, while his PB has dropped from 23.04 to 18.42. As for Pat, she completed her 53rd parkrun in 79th place in a time of 43.31. Pat’s first Witton parkrun was in September last year for Event #69, just after our first anniversary. She has been virtually ever present since, and has joined us on tour at Hyndburn, Bolton and Haigh Woodland in recent months. James and Pat become the 23rd and 24th people to complete 50 runs at Witton, with Sue Duckworth on 49 runs and Irene Slater on 48 runs close behind. Further, the race is close to an end to be the first Wittoner to complete 100 runs at our parkrun, with Anwar Khan still leading on 94 Witton runs and Matthew Vernon on 90 runs. Leading lady is Aimie Wormald, on 78 runs although I suspect it may be a little while before she hits 100 as she heads towards her third trimester!

A smaller number of hi-viz heroes on Saturday, but nevertheless vital to us being able to go ahead and we as always are grateful for giving your time over this busy period. This week’s volunteers were:
Debbie BEVITT • Justin COLLIGHAN • Sean PROCTER • Beth COLLIGHAN • Vicky SPENCER • Michelle SEARBY • Sally HUPFIELD-SMITH • Bryan SEARBY • Joanne MCLEAN • Ian GASKELL • Julie GASKELL • Matthew VERNON • Alan VERNON • Jonathan HOOLE

And that’s me just about done! Much shorter than the usual – I’m sure some of you may be disappointed by the lack of end-of-year stats accompanying this report, but I simply don’t have accurate figures to hand at this time. Safe to say that 2017 has seen several notable milestones, including the 2500th different parkrunner at Witton, the 1000th first time parkrunner at Witton and the 10,000th run to take place at Witton. We have also seen several Wittoners gain their 100 t-shirts, even more gain their 50 shirts and no end of PBs, celebrations and the odd tumble along the way. Nationally, this weekend also saw the 100,000th parkrun event to take place in the UK as this incredible movement continues its growth. Who knows what 2018 has in store for us, but I hope to see you all on Saturdays at 9am for more parkrun adventures.

Whatever your plans for New Year, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable night and don’t forget that New Year’s Day is the only chance in the year to complete two parkruns in one morning (and have both of them count) so have a look on the parkrun website and get planning, with lots of runs taking place between 9am and 11am to give you a chance of completing 10k instead of the usual 5. Witton is hosting its first ever New Year’s Day parkrun at the slightly later time of 10.30am so you get a lie in! Or you can get there for 9am and hang around for an hour and a half – I know which I’d prefer!

Also, PLEASE NOTE: Witton parkrun is cancelled on January 6th 2018 due to a cross country event in Witton Park. The Witton team are heading to Cuerden Valley parkrun near Preston and are happy for as many Wittoners as possible to join us there. If you need any help organising transport or have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team either on Facebook or via wittonoffice@parkrun.com.

If you can’t join us for New Year’s Day, or don’t plan on joining us at Cuerden Valley on January 6th, then Witton will be back in business proper on Saturday January 13th 2018 and whether you’re a parkrun veteran, Witton regular or thinking of trying something new as a resolution, then you will be made more than welcome. So please don’t be scared, come along, give it a try – it may be the best decision you ever make.

See you in 2018!

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #lovewittonparkrun


Witton parkrun – Run Report – Christmas Day 2017


Christmas Day PJ parkrun is fast becoming a new tradition for lots of the local parkrun community.


This week 127 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 47 were first timers (very busy first timers briefing pictured) and 17 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 29 different clubs took part.


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


There was a slight chill in the air, but the runners found it to be mild in comparison to some recent weeks and came out in force to run, walk and jog together on Christmas morning. Lots of Thank you’s were replaced with calls of “Merry Christmas” and the jingle of the tambourines sounded just like the bells on Santa’s sleigh…


The event was made possible by 17 volunteers:

Rebecca SIMMS • Francesca BURY • Em FOX • Vicky SPENCER • Michelle SEARBY • Bryan SEARBY • Ian GASKELL • Julie GASKELL • Sarah GABRIEL • Matthew VERNON • Scott SMITH • Joe GEBBIE • Rosie GEBBIE • Andrew PICKUP • Alan VERNON • Deborah ASHTON • Chris COVILL
Thanks must go to all the volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering please email Witton parkrun they will be more than happy to find you a role or train you up if you wanted to do something different.
Witton parkrun started on 29th August 2015. Since then 2,504 participants have completed 10,499 parkruns covering a total distance of 52,495 km, including 1,835 new Personal Bests. Our 47 first timers means we made it over the 2500 participants milestone on Christmas Day! Congratulations to Shannon Knowles who was the 2500th person to give Witton parkrun a go. We hope you, along with everyone else running today, come back again soon


Witton parkrun – Run Report Event 109

WITTON PARKRUN REPORT #109 – 23rd December 2017

So much to say and so little time but we’ll give it a go! Witton parkrun #109 was a festival of pre-Christmas frivolity laden with a mine of parkrun milestones along the way in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, including new category records, notable personal moments and (after some vigorous checking and discussion) a very special Witton milestone.


In contrast to recent weeks, Saturday morning dawned drearily, with mist hanging about and not looking particularly appetising for a run. Apparently though, this was just me, with a healthy 84 people making their way to Witton for a run, walk or jog just before Christmas, though there was clearly a split between those coming with the intention of getting round, often several minutes off their PBs and those occasional parkrunners who sped round, with some particularly quick times for this time of year. Conditions underfoot were not perfect: the ice of recent weeks was replaced by considerable amounts of mud in various spots around the course, though this did not seem to slow many of the frontrunners down.

For the first time since our 100th event at the start of October, 3 Witton parkrunners dipped under 19 minutes. First person home was Ribble Valley Harrier Nick Gaskell in 18.02. This was Nick’s fifth visit to Witton out of just 7 total and his first parkrun for 4 months. It was his third time crossing the line in first place at Witton. His time of 18.02 was the fastest seen at Witton since April of this year, set a new PB for Nick, knocking 13 seconds off his last visit to Witton (on that April day when the last super-fast time occurred and he finished in 3rd place) and also – most notably – set a new Witton category record, lowering his own mark of 18.15 for the VM45-59 category, again from that April day. Great work just before Christmas, Nick!


Chasing Nick home was fellow Ribble Valley Harrier and first female, Louisa Powell-Smith in 18.50. This was Louisa’s second visit to Witton and her second ever parkrun and she was just three seconds slower than her debut on Christmas Eve last year. Until our second birthday in August, Louisa held the record as the fastest female ever to run at Witton, beaten only by an unknown athlete on our reverse route, with a new mark of 18.43. Louisa was not far behind this mark with her second effort on the Beast and I have no doubt she will be back to reclaim her crown as the fastest woman on the Beast at some point – perhaps on 22nd December 2018?


Third person home – and second male – was Ben Ratcliffe of Keele AC in 18.52. This was Ben’s third parkrun, all at Witton in 2017 and each time he has got faster, although his newest PB is only 12 seconds better than his first effort. Fourth place went to another Ben, Walmsley of Trawden AC in 19.06. This was Ben’s fourth visit to Witton in 6 parkruns, all since June this year.

Our second and third place ladies followed in 6th and 7th spots, with another Ribble Valley Harrier, Nichola Jackson in 19.42 and Eleanor Bolton in 20.05. This was Nichola’s second visit to Witton, her other visit being the very last on our original layout on Christmas Day 2015, making this her first experience of the Beast! Eleanor was making her third visit to Witton, celebrating the festive season with a new PB by nearly a minute since her first visit in August. Eleanor also joined Nick in smashing a previous category record into the bargain, breaking Elizabeth Greenwood’s SW18-19 record from Event #84 by 6 seconds. Huge congratulations to Eleanor and well done to all our speedy ladies and gentlemen, clearly conditions were up to scratch in your eyes!

Indeed, as you may have spotted, while we had some very fast runners with us on Saturday, we didn’t have a huge amount of parkrun experience at the head of our field. Indeed, if we take out 8th placed Justin Collighan, a Witton regular of 66 events, the other 8 named members of the top 10 have completed just 22 Witton parkruns between them! I confess to knowing the unknown athlete in 5th place and can confirm it was his Witton (and parkrun) debut on Saturday too, which takes us up to 23. Further, Justin’s overall total of 144 parkruns is almost double the other 9 members of the top 10’s 76 combined parkruns – I’m guessing parkrun isn’t their only running experience somehow!

Indeed, the holiday season has brought back many Witton rookies to the fold, with fully 35 of our 84 visitors on Saturday having completed 10 or less Witton parkruns. This included a healthy 13 Witton first timers, of which two were completing their first ever parkrun this weekend. This meant that on Saturday, Witton officially reached 1000 people to have joined the parkrun family by running at our parkrun. And our 1000th joinee was Chris Lowry of Darwen Running Group, who finished in 27th place in 27.19. This is a huge milestone for Witton, to have encouraged 1000 people to join this amazing free facility in a little over two years. Some may have tried it and decided it wasn’t for them, some may have used it as a springboard to other running groups or activities, and some may just have become committed members of the parkrun family.


I confess I don’t have figures to hand on how many parkruns those 1000 Witton first timers have gone on to complete, but I’m pretty sure both myself and Kerry Elliott must be close to the top. Although many assume I’m a veteran of the first Witton parkrun, I didn’t actually start coming until Event #4 at the end of September. Equally, Darwen Dasher Kerry was the winner of the since-discontinued Witton parkrun female points table in our first year, completing 38 of our first 48 parkruns, but she too only joined us a week after me at Event #5. And why do I think me and Kerry must be close to the top? Well, on Saturday, we both celebrated our 100th parkrun just before Christmas. I don’t know if any parkrun first timers from Witton have already passed the 100-mark so do let us know if you’re aware of anyone. I happened to finish just two places and 16 seconds in front of Kerry, and spent some time going round with her on Saturday. When contemplating our achievement, Kerry said ‘just think – this is recognition of foregoing 100 Saturday lie-ins and coming running instead!’ When put like that, it does seem a little bonkers – but that’s parkrun! Both of us will eagerly await our black 100 milestone t-shirts when the next batch is delivered in February. I hope our latest entrants have enjoyed their parkrun experience as much as we have and go on to become valued parts of the parkrun family. Since our first parkruns at Witton, Kerry has now visited 23 different parkruns across the country, while I have toured to 7 other parkruns, but have volunteered at Witton 62 times, in 10 different roles, including marshalling, tail walking, token sorting, photographer, new runners brief and of course, most recently, run report writer. Indeed, of the 22 current members of the Witton 50 club, 14 of those made their parkrun debut at Witton, including 5 who only started coming after our change from the old course to the Beast. And there are plenty more lining up behind who’ve done more than 20 Witton parkruns, plus some new recent new joiners who are already hitting 10 and still coming back for more! Here’s to the next 1000 parkrun first timers at Witton – will you be one of them?

Following on from mine and Kerry’s milestone, here are some others who hit notable numbers on Saturday:
Jon Carberry (Red Rose Road Runners) – 125 runs
Suzanne Ferrandino (Blackburn GroupRun) – 75 runs
Lynda Vernon – 70 runs
Lorraine Pennington – 25 runs
Deborah Ashton (Darwen Dashers) – 10 runs
Shaheen Shah – 10 runs

And those on the cusp of a notable run:
Sue Duckworth (Darwen Dashers) – 129 runs
Isabel Chadwick – 89 runs
Anne Marie Rustidge (Darwen Dashers) – 89 runs
Andrew Taylor (Darwen Dashers) – 74 runs
Sandra Snape (Blackburn Road Runners) – 69 runs
Chris Chadwick – 69 runs
Phil Hayes (Thornton Cleveleys) – 19 runs
Miriam Hamilton – 9 runs

In addition to these, Pat Procter will on Christmas Day become the next person to join the Witton 50 club, while Irene Slater is poised to join her on New Year’s Day when she next joins us. Also, James McLeod is also sat on 49 runs at Witton and his next visit will see him join the Witton 50 club too!

As always, we are forever indebted to the hi-viz heroes who help make Witton parkrun happen, particularly at this time of year when there are so many other demands on our time. This weekend our thanks go to:

Impressively, I’ve managed to get to the bottom of this run report before I mention myself again! Because Saturday not only marked Christmas Eve Eve, and our 1000th first time parkrunner, and two category records, and two 100th milestones, but in addition to celebrating my 100th milestone and writing this run report, December 23rd happened to be my 29th birthday. Thanks to all wished me the best and I can’t think of many people I’d rather spend my birthday with than my parkrun family.

Think I should probably leave it there. Hope to see lots of you on Christmas Day for an extra dose of parkrun magic, ideally in your pjs!

See you again soon,

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun


⇐ Newer Posts