It’s a Takeover – 24th March 2018

What? No snow? No freezing temperatures? Could this be the start of Spring at Worcester Woods parkrun? Spring or no Spring quite yet, there was definitely something in the air today, as Black Pear Joggers staged a ‘takeover’ at Worcester parkrun, or perhaps more accurately, a ‘support the volunteers’ event. That meant a record 83 volunteers helping out today, from cake makers, warm-up leaders, marshals, pacers and many other roles being supported.

But why do it? As Paul Evans, Chair of BPJ said in his briefing, it was all about the club celebrating everything that parkrun means to us. Nearly 500 members of the club have completed over 16,500 runs at Worcester Woods, plus being involved regularly in volunteering. It’s definitely the ‘home’ parkrun of many BPJ runners, and so today was a great opportunity be able to give something back.

Peter Darwen, dedicated parkrun tourist and BPJ member organised the takeover celebration, so we asked him a few questions to find out about his motivation for getting more of us enthused about volunteering.


How did you get started with parkrun?

I ran my first parkrun was here in September 2012 when I had only just started running 5K distance. It was a shock moment! I ran it in 25:14. Shock because of the aches and pains afterwards, so much so that it put me off running it again! I didn’t run parkrun again until January 2014, when I was persuaded to try it again by fellow runners at BPJ.

I have now run 190 events at 37 different locations, with 118 of them here at Worcester…to be continued! Of all the parkruns that I have participated in, Worcester Woods remains my favourite. The combination of running through the woods, the varied terrain and the friendly atmosphere generated by the volunteers and fellow runners which makes it special.

What is your proudest/funniest parkrun moment?

Definitely the proudest is running sub 20 for the first time at Worcester Pitchcroft in July last year, because I thought it was beyond me at my age. Funniest? That could be seeing Ian Wild dressed up as an elderly lady pushing a pushchair when it was fancy dress at Halloween. I may have a photo somewhere. Another time is a pre-parkrun photo shoot in the woods for a BPJ calendar a few years ago, and the funny looks we got from dog walkers. Rumour is there may still be a few of these calendars knocking about, but maybe the less said about it the better!

Why did you organise the BPJ takeover?

I’d rather call it a celebration of Worcester Woods Celebration! I wanted to give something back as a thank you. I had seen other clubs doing the same thing at other parkruns and thought BPJ could do this too. I knew that people from the club would be happy to get involved, and that we would be able to provide pacers to help runners especially. I think people really appreciated this aspect today, as well as the cheering marshalls!

What is your favourite volunteering role?

I love being a pacer. It makes it all worthwhile when fellow runners thank you at the end because you have helped them to get a quick time or a PB.


Setting the Pace the band of BPJ Pacers!!

Is there anyone you wish you could persuade to do parkrun with you?

My youngest daughter, who thinks that running is boring! But the atmosphere at Worcester Woods is so wonderful ad friendly, I am sure she would catch the bug after a few weeks!

Thanks Peter, and thanks to all the BPJ club members who got involved today, not forgetting all out regular volunteers who help us out week in, week out, and make our parkrun what it is – we really do appreciate you! Don’t forget, volunteering is a great experience, and if you feel inspired to get involved, just email; the team will be delighted to hear from you.


Big CONGRATULATIONS today to Graham Plumpton who ran his 250th parkrun today, great running over those 5 years of parkrunning. Should have a 250 shirt for you soon to order.


50th parkrun today for Joe ADAMS
Junior 10 parkruns for Max HEPPENSTALL, Martha JOHNSON
& Liam WITHEY.


We had Tourists from far afield today Southampton, Newcastle, Tonbridge, Braunstone, Cheltenham, Shrewsbury, South Manchester, Milton Keynes. Hope you had fun in our mucky trails.


There were precisely 500 runners today which is aesthetically pleasing and 57 PB's. We hope you enjoyed your run and will be back for more now its warming up.


Here is the just for fun Wall, do give your friends and family a mention if they made it...and well done to you....


*** PB Wall of Pride (≥10 parkruns and PB Today) ***
Adam BOURNE (10) 23:14
Carys DEELEY (25) 35:34
Chris GOODERHAM (53) 25:25 *** Boom ***
Clara SALT (16) 32:55
Craig BOOTH (29) 27:25
Dom COWLES (11) 24:16
Edward DUFFY (60) 21:24 *** Boom ***
Freddie ADAMS (21) 18:40
Gareth ROBERTS (54) 25:01*** Boom ***
Gavin TREVELYAN (69) 29:48 *** Boom ***
Irene SHAW (10) 35:18
Isla CHATTERTON (13) 29:32
Lezley MORAN (11) 34:32
Nathan CHATTERTON (13) 29:33
Phil HAVERFIELD (25) 24:06
Rachel WILMOT (26) 31:00
Rich BENTLEY (92) 25:30 *** Boom ***
Richard James EVERS (78) 21:07 *** Boom ***
Ruth SCANLON (12) 26:04
Sarah LAWRENCE (19) 36:25
Thomas REED (72) 21:09 *** Boom ***
Veena ALLISON (21) 29:15


Figure in () = parkruns completed
*** Boom *** for 50+ parkruns and a PB today


Send us your photos vial links and we'll share them, and as always if you can volunteer let us know.

Have a great week and see you again soon.



There be Pirates me Hearties #351 27th January 2018

parkrun. You couldn’t describe it in one sentence if you tried. It means so many different things to different people, something that was clearly evident today at Worcester Woods. Where else would you see a group of Mental Health Ambassadors brightening up and encouraging us on a rather drab, dull day in their cheery, blue (or purple) tops whilst at the same time, just a few metres away, observe Wally’s crew of cheery pirates from the Jolly Malvern Joggers waving their cutlasses and threatening to overrun the Woods? Rumour has it there were also a few other Wallys resplendent in their stripy tops, weaving through the woods today. Well done if you spotted one.

#351 Malvern Jogger Pirates

As mentioned there was a #runandtalk event today at parkrun, hosted by the Mental Health Ambassadors from Black Pear Joggers (Alison, Glenn, James and Steve) and Pershore Plum Plodders (Sian). They were there as part of a nationwide initiative set up by England Athletics, and supported by Mind, the mental health charity. We asked Alison, Glenn and Sian to tell us a bit more.

“#runandtalk events will be happening all over the country this week, and it is a great initiative to try to break the stigma of talking about mental health and to try to raise awareness of the positive impact that running, or walking and getting outside can have on mental health. Running is great for you once you get started! We are here today to run, jog, chat and eat cake afterwards, and also to be a simple presence and to signpost people to help that might be available. This will also lead up to the Time to Talk Day on 1st February – take a look at the website if you want more details!”

#351 MHA BPJ

It was good to have you here with us at parkrun, and to see the encouragement to keep going that you were giving runners and walkers out in the Woods today, and great to be reminded that this is something we can all be involved in. Mental health problems affect one in four of us yet people are still afraid to talk about it. For people with mental health problems not being able to talk about it can be one of the worst parts of the illness. So by getting people talking about mental health we can break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all.

In other news, congratulations if you celebrated a milestone today:

100th: Christopher ATTWOOD, Nick GRIFFITHS

150th: Debbie PARKER, Vivien TOLLEY

200th: Karen COOPER

250th: Ian WALWYN

Congratulations also, if you achieved a PB today in all that mud – a great achievement. As always, parkrun would not be possible without the volunteers, all 43 of them. If you think volunteering is not for you – think again! It’s a great thing to do, the runners will love you, and you can treat yourself to an extra-large slice of cake afterwards, knowing you have done something awesome. Please email – the team will be delighted to hear from you.

Great news for next week - Rich has promised that it will be a dry one next week. If you don’t keep your word Rich, we’ve heard that there might be a bunch of pirates who would like a word with you…


Major Milestone #354 Christmas parkruns

On a weekend when Worcester was hitting the national headlines for the monumental ‘fatberg’ below the Bath Road, there were far more wholesome headlines being made at Worcester Woods parkrun, with some blockbuster milestones being celebrated, alongside a visit from the Mayor, Steve Mackay, to start the run. Lots of festive costumes and headwear on display, and lots of cake and chocolate to share. 


Ed and Mayor #346


Ed, sorry Santa, Steve the Mayor of Worcester, and Brian "boss of the funnel".


So well done if you were one of the 531 people who completed parkrun last Saturday with a run, jog or walk, and a big shout out to all the incredibly cheery volunteers who made getting round in all that squelchy mud so enjoyable.


There were lots of visitors with us on Saturday from as far off as South Africa, and we hope you enjoyed your visit. A special mention, however, to John Milner, from Shrewsbury who was joined by friends and family.


jon Milner family and friends #354


Amazingly, John has completed 50 parkruns this year, each in a different location. He said that it’s been fun, but all those early starts and long journeys have taken their toll on his body and wallet! An awesome achievement, John, well done from all of us and great to see you all (including Scott Perry, with you, completing his 20th different parkrun this year.) We asked a few leading questions, trying to get John to confirm the well-known fact that Worcester Woods is the best parkrun…with mixed results!


Favourite parkrun so far: Fountains Abbey or Eden Project


Quickest parkrun: Yorkshire


Most mud: Cheadle Hulme (“up to the knees!”)


Best Woods (getting desperate here): That would have to be Worcester!


Friendliest: Definitely Worcester!


So there you have it folks, we are the friendliest parkrun – it’s official!


Congratulations of you celebrated a milestone this weekend or Christmas Day; and lots of people did.


50: Merlin DUFF, Mervyn DAVIS, Richard LEAH and the amazing Claire GENT, Robert PRICE, Mark SEYLER, Bill BLOSS, Kay MOHANNA, Rachel BETTERIDGE


100: Ian HANNIS and Theresa HAYES, Benjamin GIRVAN
Stuart DAY


150 (unofficial but awesome): Ian Wild and Anthony JONES


250: The one and only Gerry RUDOLF


300 (unofficial but even more awesome): For the legendary Plum Plodders Carole MORRISON and Trevor CLARK


Here’s a photo of Joyce and Trevor mucking about on the way to the start....


Joyce and Trev #345


There’s no doubting that Gerry is an integral part of the team at Worcester Woods, as he seamlessly publishes the results and organises the volunteers every week, plus a host of other, unseen, jobs. Therefore it is only fitting to recognise his amazing achievement of 250 parkruns, and to find out a bit more about him.


Gerrys 250th #346


 The one and only Gerry!!


So here are a few (mostly) parkrun-related facts about Gerry that you may or may not know!


Parkrun got Gerry into fancy dress, and there is nothing he likes more than donning his reindeer antlers and painting his nose red for Christmas parkrun.

Gerry is a Worcester Warriors and Tottenham fan.

Gerry has played golf at Wentworth with Bernard Gallagher. He has also played golf in the dark – not so successfully.

Gerry can make his own marmalade, bread, and is a skilled cake maker. If you haven’t tried it, his Lemon Drizzle cake is to die for. Quote heard on Saturday: “mum, Gerry’s cake is even better than Granny’s!”

Gerry has helped and encouraged numerous people with their running. Lisa, Von, Bobbi and Russ say that he has been their long-suffering running coach and buddy for half marathon training. Apparently, he has a good listening ears!

Gerry has volunteered 155+ times.

He started parkrunning at 62 when diagnosed with diabetes and has since lost 5 stone, and has brought the diabetes under control.

Finally, did you know that Gerry is a skilled archer? It has been reported (source requests anonymity) that before he retired from his job, he used to set up his targets on a weekend in the empty company warehouse to practice. Occasionally, arrows must have drifted, and it was not uncommon to find a rogue arrow in the racking.



Make sure you say hello to Gerry the next time you come to parkrun. You will also make him very happy by offering your services as a willing volunteer. Drop an email to; there are lots of different roles each week for you to get involved with!


Looking forward to seeing lots of you at the very special Christmas Day parkrun, or as usual next Saturday. Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and looking forward to more parkunning with you all in 2018.


Coached to 5k – Event 354 16th December 2017

On the weekend that Sir Mo won BBC Sports Personality of the Year, we should also celebrate our own local heroes. Whilst lots of other parkruns across the Midlands had to cancel because of the icy conditions, our fantastic team managed to clear away ice from the paths to make it safe enough to run. Frostmageddon was averted, and 530 of us managed to run, jog and walk our way around a chilly and slightly squelchy winter course.


Congratulations to you if you were one of 31 people who got a PB this week, and also if you celebrated a special milestone:


50: Adam TAYLOR, Brett BARFIELD, Matt BIRD, and special mentions for Dawn POUND (who has also volunteered over 100 times) and James GOLDBY (one of the Worcester parkrun founders, hitting 50 after 7 years of planning and volunteering).


100: Peter REEVES


200: Vonnie RALPHS (deserves a special whoop whoop for being here at parkrun #1 and battling through breast cancer and back to fitness)


#354 3

Vonnie and Pals!


Junior 10: Oliver ELIOTT-WILLIAMS and Frankie REED


Next week will also be a special milestone week with Gerry RUDOLF celebrating his 250th parkrun, and Joyce Morrison hitting parkrun #300. We can’t wait to celebrate with you!


#354 1


Parkrunning with us today were the group from Worcester Bosch, who completed their Couch to 5K course back in September. You can’t have failed to notice their ‘Sumo-Santa’ meandering around the Woods? There was also a post-parkrun mince pie and mulled wine celebration, where a few of the group explained their motivation for coming along on a Saturday morning.


#354 2


Helen Carlisle


“I helped to set up a summer Couch to 5K at Worcester Bosch, and 40 of us graduated on the 16th September at parkrun. Today it’s three months on, and we decided to have a re-run celebration together at Christmas. Working at Worcester Bosch feels like being part of a big family.


There is a focus on health and wellbeing, and we wanted to try to encourage people to exercise more. The course has been a success; it has got people out and active, with some joining local clubs or getting out and running together. It’s even got me more active, and I’ve been coming far more regularly to parkrun!


Sarah Lawrence


“I’m in my 60’s and have never really run before (at least not since school). Without encouragement I would not have run – I was too frightened! Now I have joined a local running group on a Monday night, and have been running every week. I love parkrun because it is fun and sociable – I still can’t believe it is free! It’s great that you get to meet people from everywhere, and while you are running on your own, you never feel alone.


Jenny Cranston


I’m also in my 60’s and am hoping to keep it up and keep healthy as I get older. I love that we have encouraged each other in our group. I have a friend who says she can’t run, and maybe I could be a mentor for her, so I’d like to see her come along to parkrun. It makes me laugh a bit when people younger than me say they can’t run! It’s not about stamina, but about determination.”


Thanks for sharing your parkrun stories with us, it’s always great to be inspired by others. If you have something to share about your parkrun journey, please let us know!

As always, parkrun couldn’t happen without our fantastic volunteers. If you feel you could help in the next few weeks, please email There is lots of space on the roster, especially over the holiday period. if you like to run too, there are lots of roles that you could do before, during or after – please get on touch.


See you next Saturday…bring on the festivities!


Winter Woonderland #343 9th December 2017

It’s probably fair to say that we can’t even begin to imagine the headache that the weather caused the core team on Saturday as they laboured over the decision whether parkrun should go ahead or not.


The paths and areas outside the Countryside Centre were just too icy to be a safe option, as evidenced by a few tumbles. It looked like all was lost, until a slight change to the course was found. And what a change!


So team Worcester Woods – we know it was hard work for you this week, but we want to give you a huge thank you for the alternative course with an extra inner loop. It was truly stunning to run in parts of the woods that we don’t usually get to see on a crisp, frosty winter morning.


Welcome if you were a visiting us today! Good to see tourists with us for the first time from Arrow Valley, Ashton Court, Bramley, Cardiff, Little Stoke, Shrewsbury, St. Albans, Swindon and Wyre Forest. We hope you come back for another visit.

Even though it was a cold one, there were still plenty of mini parkrunners enjoying themselves this week. We caught up with a few of them, and love their unique take on parkrun! Thanks to Ruby, Nicole, Emma, Noah (8), Eddie (8), Arthur (10), Shannon (8), Alasdair (10), Izzy (7), Harry (5), Arthur S. (9) and Edward (12) for your amusing and insightful answers! Here they are..

'343 1




#343 2

What’s the best thing about parkrun?

Ruby, Nicole & Emma: Meeting people!

Noah: It’s really nice and enjoyable – it wakes me up!

Eddie: It’s free and it’s fun!

Arthur: Keeping fit!

Alasdair: Getting a new PB!

Izzy: It warms you up!

Arthur and Edward: The community spirit – because it’s not a race or a competition.


Can you describe Worcester Woods parkrun in just one word?

Here’s the collective list: Friendly, fun, enjoyable, fast, hard, exciting, fun (again), happy, awesome, slippery, better than Pitchcroft (sorry guys!) and….woody (of course)!

We know it’s not a race, but is there anyone you really want to beat?

Noah: I really want to beat Oliver Lloyd from my school, but my dad is slowing me down!

Alasdair: I really want to beat my sister Shannon. Shannon is the fastest in our family.

Eddie and Arthur: Our teacher at school, Mr. Clarke (watch out Mr. Clarke, they’re coming for you!)

Finally, although parkrun is already great, can you think of anything that would make it even better?

Ruby, Nicole and Emma: Start it later. And maybe free hot drink at the end would be good – the week the Co-op came was awesome! (spot the teenagers!)

Noah: Even more people doing it!

Eddie: More laps!

Arthur: Cake and sweets at the end!

Alasdair: An escalator!

Izzy and Harry: Sweets when you finish!

Edward: Maybe a young people’s pacer or group so that you can stay together and encourage each other.

That’s a great shopping list kids, hopefully the team will be able to do something with your ideas (especially the escalator) very soon…in the meantime, if you’ve got a great parkrun story about how parkrun has helped or changed things for you, we would love to hear about it. Email and we can arrange to catch up with you on a Saturday morning.

Congratulations if you celebrated hitting a milestone this week!

50: Samuel ELSDON

100: Rachel MATHIAS (visiting from Cardiff)

150: Helen BURTON

200: Caz KIBBLE

250: Chris GARRATT

Next week will be Vonnie Ralphs's amazing 250th parkrun, with a sparkly theme, so feel free to wear something appropriate to support her.

Due to conditions today, only a few PB’s, so an extra special congratulations if you got onto the...

Wall of Pride (≥10 parkruns and PB Today):

Amanda HYETT (15) 23:43
Greg DOBBINS (23) 24:07
Harry DOWNING (14) 30:25
Lindsey GOODRUM (14) 25:18
Malachi CASHMORE (60) 19:09 *** Boom ***
Mark TEAGUE (12) 18:21
Paul SMITH (28) 23:53

*** Boom = 50+ parkruns and PB today
Figure in () = parkruns compeleted

Finally, as always, a huge thank you to the volunteers who look after us and work so hard, especially this week. Don’t forget, if you can lend a hand, especially over the next few weeks (and on Christmas Day), please email, and make yourself a high viz hero!

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