Ashton Court parkrun is cancelled on 11 April 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

When will we see you again?

The cancellations of all sorts of sporting and other mass-participation events have been coming thick and fast recently, so there was one big question this week as Ashton Court parkrun day approached: will it go ahead or not? Countries where parkrun events have all been cancelled so far include: Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Sweden and USA. Thankfully Ashton Court parkrun did take place (otherwise what would I have to write about?!), but who knows for how much longer?
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Run Director Tony Myers briefs the crowd of eager runners, and not a megaphone to be seen (photo: Dan Jones)
On Saturday 422 runners and 30 volunteers decided to group-isolate at Ashton Court parkrun. Saturday’s turnout was the lowest so far this year and there were 148 fewer parkrunners than the week before. Perhaps people are making their own decisions about staying away from events, or could it be that they were resting on the day before the annual Bath Half marathon? The public health emergency seemed to have passed by one of our brave volunteers by this week. The token handler in question declined to use the latex gloves brought in specially saying that their hands “weren’t all that cold”!
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Round the bend? We probably are, running up and down our hill each week, but we love it! (photo: Dan Jones)
Tony Myers was the run director using the lovely new public address sound system and he gave a very clear main briefing in his usual calm and reassuring way. It was the second outing of the ‘quiet please’ paddles – I’m certainly looking forward to being asked to parade around the start with one of those! Before we set off, we were also able to say “happy birthday” to George Nikou ,one of our newer run directors.
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Birthday Boy George Nikou with 1,000 metres to go .. (photo: Dan Jones)
We welcomed 52 people who were at Ashton Court parkrun for their very first time this week, which caused me to reflect on how important a clear and informative main briefing is (thanks again Tony!). There were 8 brand-new registered parkrunners and 44 first-time visitors, including runners from Edinburgh, Chorlton, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leicester, London, Surrey and Newcastle – Australia! Remarkably, seven of the first 15 runners to finish were running at Ashton Court for the first time.
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The front 4 from left to right – Caroline Vans, Maria Metcalfe, Joanna Edwards and Lorraine Ogden. Caroline and Maria’s first parkruns were last week, and we’re thrilled to see them both come back straight away and each knock 2 minutes from their times last wek. Joanna had also been here once before, last September, and found it a little tougher this time, whilst for Lorraine this was her first parkrun. Hope we see you all again soon. (photo: Dan Jones)
The rain held off at the start and the puddles on the plateaux were not quite as full as they have been – but a fine rain started about 20 minutes in. The weather and puddles were clearly not deterrent to the 67 parkrunners who achieved personal best times at Ashton Court this week (that’s 16% of everyone who was running) – so huge congratulations to them.
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Fine margins: Ash Mukherjee beat his previous best by 1 second, Marian Allen and Kathryn Ayres both finished 1 second behind their best times (photos: Dan Jones)
We had some superb landmark runs to celebrate on Saturday. Neville Taylor ran his 50th parkrun. All Neville’s parkruns since he started in June 2018 have been at Ashton Court. Congratulations and well done Neville.

Two Great Western Runners completed 100 runs. Phil Harfield was the first of the two to finish, he's run 47 times at Ashton Court, having run at Bushy parkrun 37 times before moving to Bristol.

The second of the pair, Gemma Portis, has completed 61 of her runs at Ashton Court, with another 30 nearby at Pomphrey Hill, Eastville, Chipping Sodbury and Burnham and Highbridge.

We’re looking forward to seeing you both in your sleek black 100 shirts on our hill soon.
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Congratulations to Neville, Phil and Gemma (photos: Dan Jones)
A big round of applause and very special congratulations to the amazing Lou Neal-Hopes from Southville Running Club who completed 250 parkruns on Saturday. Lou’s parkrun journey began in August 2013 at Ashton Court parkrun event number 117 and since then she’s run with us on 77 occasions, which is more times than anywhere else. Lou likes St Albans and Eastville quite a lot too. Lou seems to have parkrun in her blood – not only has she run 250 times, but she’s also volunteered with parkrun 113 times.

Lou has also managed to fit in an incredible amount of parkrun tourism and almost conquered the parkrun tourist’s alphabet challenge, because she’s run at parkruns that begin with 24 different letters of the alphabet – she’s only missing J and Z! Last year Lou and her husband Tim ran an extraordinary 55 parkruns each in a single year, “surely that’s impossible” I hear you say – not if you run every single week and take advantage of every double parkrun opportunity at Christmas and new year it isn’t.
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In the pink is Punyawee Dulyayangkul, on her way to a new best time, 48 seconds quicker than before! In the trio behind are Louise Neal-Hopes, just 1 kilometre away from completing 250 parkruns. Alongside her are Chris Whale (76 parkruns), and Tim Neal-Hopes (267). (photo: Dan Jones)
Lou’s whole family are crazy parkrunners after my own heart – her 247th parkrun at the end of February was at Cape Pembroke Lighthouse parkrun, which sounds as though it might be somewhere in Wales, but is in fact in the Falkland Islands! Lou’s husband Tim finished 3rd, Louise 7th and their daughter Libby was 19th out of the 33 finishers. There can’t be many Ashton Court parkrunners who’ve even been to the Falklands, never mind run a parkrun there! True to form, the following day Tim and Louise took part in the Cape Pembroke Half marathon, as you do! There was an epic parkrun-themed celebration cake after Lou’s 250th parkrun on Saturday, too – well done Louise!
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And Louise's cake tasted as good as it looks (photo: Mike McBeth)
One of our visitors, Tania Ritchie, is this week’s winner of the what took you so long award (no prizes – it’s just for fun!). Tania had run at 236 parkruns before arriving at Ashton Court and she finished in 23:27 – an impressive time! Tania can be forgiven for taking so long to get to us because mostly she runs at Newy parkrun, in Newcastle – that’s Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia!

However, what’s even more impressive about Tania’s parkrun journey, is the number of different parkruns that she has visited: 70 different parkruns in total! Like Lou Neal-Hopes, Tania has almost conquered the parkrun tourist’s alphabet challenge, because she’s run at parkruns that begin with 22 different letters of the alphabet – she’s only missing u, x, y and z. I imagine that now she’s on her way to Upton House parkrun in Poole, York parkrun and Zandvlei parkrun in Cape Town, Zielona Góra parkrun in Poland, or (perhaps closer to home) Zillmere parkrun in Brisbane!
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Furthest from home on Saturday was Tania Ritchie, and she's flying down the middle of the road, alongside one of our junior runners. Close behind, in the pink, is Hannah Michie, who's probably second furthest from home, as her home event is Aberdeen parkrun (photo: Dan Jones)
Now to Saturday’s results. Emily Strathdee from Bristol and West AC was our first female finisher with a personal best time of 19:26 AND Emily topped the age grade table with 76.16%. This was the first time Emily has beaten 20 minutes at Ashton Court, and she immediately became our 25th fastest female ever. Our first male finisher in 18:27 was an Unknown runner – can you imagine being first finisher at parkrun? (Remember, it’s a run not a race!). Can you imagine being first finisher at parkrun and forgetting your barcode? I’d be inconsolable!
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Another flyer is Emily Strathdee - the 25th fastest ever female at Ashton Court, and in the background is our 2nd female finisher, Beth Pescud, who fooled us all by finishing her first parkrun last week in 32.02 and then knocked over 10 minutes off her time. Beth won't be doing that again! (photo: Dan Jones)
Our resident statto (initials RK) tells me that there's some confusion about whether we saw our 300th first finisher on Saturday. It's all quite simple, in fact, because if we include the 24 times an unknown runner has finished first, then 299 different male and female parkrunners have finished first at Ashton Court. If you exclude them, then 304 different folk have been first to carry a barcode across our finish line.

At the foot of our results page is a summary of our parkrun's statistics and achievements. On Friday it told us we'd seen 299 different first finishers, and now it tells us we've had 300. Which must somehow mean that Joe Driscoll, who was our first barcode carrying finisher, is either our 300th first finisher, or our 304th, depending on which list you look at. Congratulations Joe (probably)!
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This morning's first finisher with a barcode is Joe Driscoll from Winchester parkrun, where he's run 78 of his 96 parkruns (photo: Dan Jones)
Topping the league of most parkruns completed so far was Andrew Higgins, a visitor from Leamington who’s completed 373, while our own Marie Malloy continues to power up and down our little hill – now carrying 3 month old baby Alice - Marie has completed an incredible 357 parkruns – 246 of them at Ashton Court.
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Here's Leamington parkrun's Andrew Higgins, "only" 127 parkruns away from a new parkrun club t-shirt! (photo: Dan Jones)
It’s been wonderful to welcome so many doggies to parkrun at Ashton Court recently – they really do enjoy it and they add to the all-encompassing nature of parkrun. I’ve been lobbying for parkrun to issue special bark codes for some time, but so far without success. The first dog finisher this week was your very own run report writer, running with Zoly, who’s a Hungarian Viszla.
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and here's run report writer Mike McBeth, keeping up with Zoly .. or is it the other way round? (photo: Dan Jones)
Unfortunately, though, some dog handlers were a little wayward on Saturday and three of our canine running buddies were running free and off lead during parkrun, which put other runners and dogs at risk. So please remember that while we welcome dogs to Ashton Court parkrun, they must be kept on a short lead at all times during the run.
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Not quite sure where our long and winding road will lead for the next few weeks - let's hope it's not long before we're all back, running round the bend, up the hill and back again (photo: Dan Jones)
So when will Ashton Court parkrun #449 take place? We know that it will be at 0900 on Saturday… but which Saturday?

Report by Mike McBeth 189 parkruns, p061

Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this week's event happen. Although our parkrun has a great crowd of enthusiastic volunteers we're always looking out for more people to join the team and spread the load, and if you'd like to sign up as a volunteer, we'd love to have you. Please opt in to receive volunteer emails (via "manage my profile" on any result or newsletter email) and contact to offer help.

Don't forget to follow us on these news pages, on Twitter (@ashtonctparkrun) or on Facebook (Ashton Court parkrun) for the latest news and information. You can also find us on Instagram too, where we try to post something a little different from time to time.

This week’s full results are at the top of the table here with links to all our age group records and heaps of other statty stuff.

Dan Jones took some fab photos of today's parkrun. You'll find them here on our Google Photos pages, and also in our Flickr group.


In celebration of International Women’s Day

Although 1.8 million women have registered to parkrun, 650,000 of these are yet to take part. Research and insights from Sport England show that many of the reasons why are gender-related, with a fear of not being fit enough, worries about attending alone, childcare obligations and not knowing what to expect being much more commonly cited by females.
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Angela Seddon got the purple memo (photo: Rich Kenington)
This Girl Can was launched in 2015 with the aim of tackling the gender gap in sport and physical activity, and this year they have collaborated with parkrun for International Women’s Day to promote and encourage women to take part.
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as did Kathryn Gibb, who missed her pb by an unlucky 13 seconds (photo: Rich Kenington)
We welcomed Ruth Glanvill representing This Girl Can, who donated T shirts to some of the participating women, she chatted and listened with interest to their stories and reasons for taking part. Ruth works for Wesport, the West of England Sport Trust.
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This girl certainly can - Marie Malloy and her daughter Alice (photo: Rich Kenington)
Ashton Court parkrun is definitely a place where female participation is joyfully celebrated each week. Everyone is welcome – young and old, friends and families, walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers, and those that come along to watch and support. Their journey is their own and it matters not how it is completed, just that it is an enjoyable experience that will be beneficial to mind and body.
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Finishing her 1st parkrun in 50th place in 22:00 is Jane Kirkpatrick (photo: Rich Kenington)
The brief was to wear something purple and to encourage female friends to come along so that they too could feel the parkrun vibe! There were plenty of purple shades around, one lady that stood out was Vilma Boyles who was resplendent in her attire with vibrant purple hair decoration to match.
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Vilma was one of many who got the purple memo (photo: Rich Kenington)
Thank you to all the volunteers this morning, 24 were female with 4 males assisting. Many thanks to our Run Directors Alice and Janet who had everything organised and under control to the normal high standard. The new ‘Quiet Please’ paddle boards were most effective and allowed the briefing to be heard by all.
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Our new PA system seems to be working well, and those "Quiet Please" paddles really sting when applied to the back of a chatterbox's knees. Or at least, we expect they would. We've no plans to find out! (photo: Rich Kenington)
Of course Rich Kenington must also get a mention for his multi tasking roles! (not sure why but thank you very much!)

Today we had 17 women taking part for the very first time and 27 women park runners visiting us for the first time, a big welcome to you all, please return and bring a friend - of any gender!
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One of these parkrunners is Gemma Box, and she brought along a friend without a barcode. We hope they enjoyed themselves and that they'll both return soon, and both with barcodes when they do (photo: Rich Kenington)
Finally in celebration of International Women’s Day here are a few of our female achievements and neat feats!
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Joanna Harding managed the neat feat of finishing our 447th parkrun in 447th position (photo: Rich Kenington)
Huge congratulations to regular parkrunner Gill Atwill, who today as Tail Walker completed her 250th parkrun, her 50th volunteer role and on Monday celebrates her birthday - have a fabulicious day Gill!
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Tail Walker Gill Atwill (in hi-vis) can look forward to her birthday having got her 250th parkrun and 50th volunteering on her CV (photo: Rich Kenington)
Well done to Katrina Darke on completing her 50th parkrun in a time of 29.23, we hope she'll soon receive her landmark red T-shirt.
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What a great day to run your 50th parkrun - congratulations Katrina! (photo: Rich Kenington)
Anne Dockery was our top age grade runner with 85.57% in a time of 26.27 and after her run happily sat and sorted the tokens for next week.

Today’s first female was junior Lee Clementine, running only her third parkrun and achieving a pb of 21.01 with an age grade of 75.97% .

There were a total of 46 female pbs - well done girls!
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Jennie Alger got the memo, and a pb too! (photo: Rich Kenington)
This weeks prize ‘for what took you so long - it’s just for fun’ to the person having done the most parkruns before visiting Ashton Court goes to Belinda Cottrill finishing 8th female in a time of 22.19. This was Belinda’s 325th parkrun, most of them having been at Crystal Palace parkrun.
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Here's Belinda Cottrill, who finally found her way to Ashton Court today. Her companion was second canine finisher, we think (photo: Rich Kenington)
The female visitor furthest from home was Laura Statham, whose home event is Mulbarton parkrun 292.8k from Ashton Court Mansion as the crow flies! Laura finished in 30.44.
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On the right is Laura Statham, who we hope made it back safely to Norfolk! Kelly Payne and Lee Zurybida seem to be enjoying their first visit to Ashton Court parkrun too ((photo: Rich Kenington)
Please do take a look at the fabulous video kindly taken and edited by Caroline Potter before and after her run.

Female neat feats!

50. Jane Kirkpatrick 22.00 (First timer)

197. Brooke Clarke 26.00 (pb)

247. Andrea Goude 27.00

369. Linnet Tutcher 30.00 (pb)

481. Kate Harris 35.00

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Linnet Tutcher gave new meaning to "just popping out for half an hour", and she ran a pb, and she's the only Linnet to have participated at Ashton Court parkrun ((photo: Rich Kenington))
International Men’s Day is on November 19th, I don’t know whether this event will be celebrated by parkrun, but it would be fun to have all male volunteers just to balance the books!

Thank you to ALL parkrunners, volunteers and associated friends and family for coming along to Ashton Court parkrun.
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Run report writer Louise Nikou is on the left, Tamera Jones is stood beside the cone, and Linda Woodburn is just behind Tamera, with 2 of our Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme volunteers for company (photo: Rich Kenington)

Report by Louise Nikou, Timekeeper

Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this week's event happen. Although our parkrun has a great crowd of enthusiastic volunteers we're always looking out for more people to join the team and spread the load, and if you'd like to sign up as a volunteer, we'd love to have you. Please opt in to receive volunteer emails (via "manage my profile" on any result or newsletter email) and contact to offer help.

Don't forget to follow us on these news pages, on Twitter (@ashtonctparkrun) or on Facebook (Ashton Court parkrun) for the latest news and information. You can also find us on Instagram too, where we try to post something a little different from time to time.

This week’s full results are at the top of the table here with links to all our age group records and heaps of other statty stuff.

Rich Kenington, p568, followed everyone and took photos of most of you speeding down the hillside. You'll find them on our Google Photos pages, and in our Flickr group.


e = cm 3

Ashton Court parkrun number 446 was a special affair, taking place as it did on leap day 29th February. Leap day won’t fall on a Saturday again until 2048 - that’s 28 years and another 1,456 parkruns away! The last time leap day fell on a Saturday was in 1992, before parkrun was even a glint in Paul Sinton-Hewitt’s eye, so this was the first time anyone has had the opportunity to parkrun on a leap day. Taking that opportunity at Ashton Court this morning were 440 walkers, joggers and runners supported by 30 lovely volunteers. The weather was mixed, and we did have all four seasons and some pretty icy winds up on the top of the hill, but I hope that the 17 first-time parkrunners still enjoyed themselves and come back again next week.
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Great to see Oskar House enjoying his first parkrun so much (it's always this good, Oskar!). Chasing after Oskar are Sayer Hilton (who beat his pb by 61 seconds), Simon Emery (in yellow, with a pb by 44 seconds) and a runner without a barcode (photo: Rich Kenington)
To help us celebrate the 29th February, Harriet Booth kindly leaped across our finish line in 29:02, taking 35 seconds off her previous best time and earning herself a PB in the process. We had 45 other PBs this morning, in spite of the icy winds blowing across the plateau. The top age grade of the morning was achieved by Stuart Ellis at 76.99%, who ran an impressive 23:11 in the VM70-74 category, with Robert Stewart VM35-39 and our first finisher in 17:26, second highest at 75.62%.
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It's as if she knew! Having beaten 30 minutes for the first time on the first of the month, Harriet Booth's pb on the last day of the month almost took her under 29 minutes (photo: Rich Kenington)
Winner of the “What took you so long?” award this week (no prizes, it’s just for fun!) is Danny Carroll who had completed 222 runs elsewhere, mostly on the flat at Cheltenham parkrun, before visiting our hill for his 223rd.
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Emily Strathdee was the morning's sole leaping frog, and she too achieved a new best time, improving from 21:15 to 20:37 (photo: Rich Kenington)
Other visitors enjoying the hill for the first time this week included Tom Palmer from Lancaster parkrun (running his 150th parkrun), Nicholas Dobson from Maldon Prom parkrun in Essex, Rosalie Hoskins who has run most of her parkruns at Hove Promenade parkrun, Martin Rose from Great Lines parkrun, Medway, Steve Callaghan from Nobles parkrun on the Isle of Man, and Charlotte Moran and Paul Adams members of Caerleon RC from just over the Severn.
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Running with 3 legs might be more of a hindrance than a help, but when you're a Manxman the triskelion comes with the territory. And 3 was the number of visitors we had from the Isle of Man's Nobles parkrun. We don't know if they were travelling together or if it was all a coincidence, but from left to right they're Steve Callaghan, Catriona Watt and Janette Gledhill (photo: Rich Kenington)
One of our regulars Desmond Jones has never visited any other parkrun and has in fact completed a streak of 150 Ashton Court parkruns without a break. Not only that, but Des ran his 250th parkrun overall this week. Des is the first person to complete all 250 runs at Ashton Court - well done Des! We look forward to seeing you in your new green t-shirt. We had an Excellently Elegant selection of females all with names beginning with E reaching their 100 milestone; Ellen Brooks Pollock, Emma Wellham and Eloise Morton. Lilla Farkas Kiraly reached 50 this week, and junior Misha Evans completed his 10th run. Well done to you all.
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Wearing matching hat and shirt, Desmond Jones, a little under 5k away from completing his special milestone (photo: Rich Kenington)
I don’t know of anyone celebrating a birthday milestone on 29th February, but I’ve always thought they got a pretty raw deal in only having a birthday every 4 years. According to parkrun UK’s random statistic of the week (published on social media), 4,440 parkrunners worldwide were born on 29th February.
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e = century milestone x 3 = Ellen Brooks Pollock, Emma Wellham and Eloise Morton, each taking part in their 100th parkrun. Emma's home event is Bushy Park parkrun but having set off on her parkrun adventure here at Ashton Court, she completed her century here as well (photo: Rich Kenington)
Leap day is also the traditional day that a lady can propose marriage to a gentleman. I didn’t see or hear of any such proposals at Ashton Court this morning, but I do know that parkrunners at Vogrie parkrun in Midlothian and at Nova Prestatyn parkrun were treated to propositions.
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Best leap of the day came from Pete Spain. Blissfully unaware of the shenanigans behind them are Sarah Gunn and Stephen Cotterill. Sarah would finish just 5 seconds behind her best time here (photo: Rich Kenington)
The Ladies will be in charge again at next week’s parkrun celebrating International Women’s Day when we hope to have an all-female team of volunteers to look after you, and we'll all be wearing purple! We’ll see you all again then.
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On the right, in pensive mood and perhaps already composing this run report, is Liz Hill, with Jennifer Owsley alongside. Jen was taking part in her 200th Ashton Court parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)

Report by Liz Hill, p147

Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this week's event happen. Although our parkrun has a great crowd of enthusiastic volunteers we're always looking out for more people to join the team and spread the load, and if you'd like to sign up as a volunteer, we'd love to have you. Please opt in to receive volunteer emails (via "manage my profile" on any result or newsletter email) and contact to offer help.

Don't forget to follow us on these news pages, on Twitter (@ashtonctparkrun) or on Facebook (Ashton Court parkrun) for the latest news and information. You can also find us on Instagram too, where we try to post something a little different from time to time.

This week’s full results are at the top of the table here with links to all our age group records and heaps of other statty stuff.

Rich Kenington, p438, followed the pack and took photos of most of you chasing down the hillside. You'll find them on our Google Photos pages, and in our Flickr group.


Blown away by parkrun

Ok, so I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting a bit fed up with the weather we have been having to endure of late…
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And off they trudge (our marshals always trudge up the hill), perhaps never to be seen again! Moe Soe, Rich Kenington and Amanda Halford, or M2, M3 and M4 as they were known on Saturday morning (photo: Sarah Jones)
Despite continuing high winds and saturated ground in many areas, oodles of folk still turned out on a damp Saturday morning to get their parkrun fix. I love the fact that the good humour that is associated with parkrun still shines through whatever the weather decides to throw at us. This was very much in evidence in the long list of cancellations for 22 February 2020 on the parkrun UK website. They included – “the river Severn has exclusive use of the course!”, “Swans on the course”, “Not enough arks available”, “emergent-sea…”, and my particular favourite – “parkkayak event on at the course”.
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Congratulations (and thank you) to Duncan Colquhoun, who finished in 22:02 (photo: Sarah Jones)
Given that this bad weather looks pretty set to continue, it is always useful to check parkrun's cancellation page before planning where to spend Saturday morning. Of course some cancellations are not necessarily weather related, and there is already an interesting entry for next Saturday - Eden Project parkrun is already cancelled due to the World Pasty Championships. I kid you not & in fact for all you bakers out there (I just had to google it..) it’s open to both professional & amateur bakers alike with 8 categories to choose from. So, if you are unable to take part in a parkrun next Saturday for some unfortunate reason ….
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Well done too to John O'Brien, who finished in 222nd place. Alongside him is Phil Robinson, who managed to finish his 21st parkrun in 221st position (photo: Sarah Jones)
Now, back to this Saturday just gone…

The ground underfoot was truly saturated as I discovered en route to the start… I had decided to run over to Ashton Court as part of my marathon training, but was arriving a little later than planned due to my choice of route, so I foolishly decided to take the short cut straight down the hill from our marshal 2 position to the start rather than taking the road route. Given that I wasn’t in my trail shoes, and my well-known propensity for tripping or falling over whilst out running, I am amazed to report that I did manage to stay on my feet as I slid down the hill. Other runners taking this route were not so fortunate and I saw at least two other folks arrive at the tree of information in a slightly less than elegant fashion – Chris Burren was one such who had gone for a slide on her bum, but luckily did not incur any damage!
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a runner without a barcode leads Marcus Kropacsy and Jo Temple. Jo was one of the morning's slippers and sliders who fell during the run, fortunately with no ill effects (so far as we know) (photo: Sarah Jones)
There were 462 brave souls who completed Ashton Court parkrun along with a great group of 29 volunteers, ably directed by Liz Hill and George Nikou. The course marshals did extremely well to hold on to our course signage and get it into position. I know that Amanda Halford as marshal 4 heroically made it to our furthest point despite much buffeting by the wind, without losing any signs and fixing them in place only to have the wind keep flipping them around. Happily, we have a straight-forward out and back course.
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Liz Hill and George Nikou briefing some of the morning's volunteers (photo: Sarah Jones)
The wind did it’s very best to slow us down up on the plateau, and lucky for us that Rich Kenington’s favourite marshal position is marshal 3 which was certainly bearing the brunt of the wind. This did nothing to dampen his usual enthusiasm as he cheered us all on. In fact all the volunteers were super smiley and full of encouragement. Thank you to all of them.
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Calm before, not a storm, but the arrival of 462 parkrunners at the marshal 3 station (photo: Rich Kenington)
Amazingly despite the wind, there were still 31 new PBs. I really don’t know how you all managed that as I felt like I was barely moving at one stage, so congratulations to all of you who managed to achieve a new PB. Just think what you can do in more benign conditions…
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Congratulations to Zoe Edney, about to improve her best time at Ashton Court by 1 minute and 59 seconds! Lynsey Robinson is close behind (photo: Sarah Jones)
Another rather astonishing figure is that despite this being our lowest attendance of 2020 by some way – we’ve had an a average of 639 parkrunners in the previous 6 events for this year – of those 462, a stonking 98 were first timers completing their first ever parkrun at Ashton Court – that’s just over 21% of you. And of these newbies, 19 folks were taking part in their first ever parkrun. Welcome to you all. We hope you enjoyed it and that you will all be back again very soon.
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First-time briefer Alice Doggerell explaining that it is only one hill (and half of it comes down) (photo: Sarah Jones)
We should also congratulate those of you who completed a milestone run on Saturday. These were Ross Simmonds, who can now claim a red t-shirt for having completed his 50th parkrun, and Tom White, who doesn’t qualify for a t-shirt, but he does get kudos for having completed his 200th parkrun whilst pushing a double buggy up our hill with his lovely sons Brodie and Dylan on board!
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Hanging on tightly to Brodie and Dylan's buggy is Tom White, not far from the finish of his 200th parkrun, 158 of which have been here at home (photo: Sarah Jones)
I also like to mention my favourite stat from our results table. This is the Age Graded result which shows the highest age grade for the ladies of 72.75% was achieved by Tanya Chowdhury and topping this week’s table was Eliot Haimes, for the men, with an age grade percentage of 72.75%.
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In blue is Eliot Haimes, on his way to 3rd place and the morning's best male age-grade score, with Adam Kula-Przezwanski alongside. Further down the field it was lovely to see Adam's mum Helen once more. Helen was a regular here for several years until moving to Tamar Trails parkrun in late 2017 (photo: Sarah Jones)
Better than that though is to be able to mention a story of triumph over adversity which is quite often the theme of stories related by parkrun UK. It was good to see Kim Ingleby back running at Ashton Court parkrun on World Encephalitis Day, a cause very close to her heart. As she explained to our Run Director, George Nikou, not only has she had to deal with personal tragedy since she last ran at Ashton Court parkrun, she was also a former GB triathlete before contracting Weils disease which led to her contracting viral Encephalisitis. Great to see you back Kim.
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Great to see Kim Ingleby putting adversity behind her, not to mention 322 parkrunners! (photo: Sarah Jones)
Now, we all know it’s Leap Year’s Day next Saturday, so we all get to do a 5th parkrun this February – how amazing is that?

So, as you might know it’s traditional that we ladies can propose to a man should the need arise (some chaps can be a little bit slow at coming forwards in that regard, so will we see any ladies making the most of that opportunity next week??!!) However, in the spirit of that theme, and as one of your Run Directors next week, I shall be making a proposal to the weather gods to bring us some dry weather and to spread a little sunshine for us. Fingers crossed.
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And off we go, for the 445th time, up the hill and down again. Towards the left, in yellow, is Grace Neal, running her first ever parkrun, and in the centre is our run report writer Maggie Salter, proudly wearing her recently attained green 250 parkrun club t-shirt (photo: Sarah Jones)

Report by Maggie Salter, p148

Many thanks to the fabulous team of volunteers who made this week's event happen. Although our parkrun has a great crowd of enthusiastic volunteers we're always looking out for more people to join the team and spread the load, and if you'd like to sign up as a volunteer, we'd love to have you. Please opt in to receive volunteer emails (via "manage my profile" on any result or newsletter email) and contact to offer help.

Don't forget to follow us on these news pages, on Twitter (@ashtonctparkrun) or on Facebook (Ashton Court parkrun) for the latest news and information. You can also find us on Instagram too, where we try to post something a little different from time to time.

This week’s full results are at the top of the table here with links to all our age group records and heaps of other statty stuff.

Sarah Jones took some great photos of this windswept parkrun. You'll find them here in our our Flickr group.


Your teeth’ll fall out!

That’s what my mum would’ve said if I’d had 3 Curly Wurlys in the same morning! In the same week probably! But more of that shortly.

I missed Ashton Court parkrun on Saturday. Did you? Apparently around 50 people turned up there at 9am, so they won’t have missed the place, but I’m sure it seemed quite strange.

It’s only 6 weeks ago that I spent an anxious Friday night in Australia, wondering if the particular parkrun my brother and I hoped to visit would be on or not. The worry was that the air quality in the wake of the awful bushfires would be so bad the run would be cancelled. I’m pleased to say it wasn’t.

This past Friday was similar, as along with hundreds, thousands even, of others, I wondered if the last few parkruns that hadn’t already cancelled would still be standing on Saturday morning. Incidentally there's been some rain in Melbourne since then. My brother had to run through a puddle last week. Sounds dreadful!

Anyway, thanks to the dedication and thermal underwear of 4 teams of volunteers, Burnham and Highbridge, Clevedon Salthouse Fields, Eastville and Somerdale Pavilion parkruns went ahead on Saturday.

the red ones were off (graphic: Rich Kenington)
171 UK parkruns were cancelled. Most of them because of the menacing threat of Storm Dennis, although Wyre Forest parkrun cancelled because of Storm Brian, and Preston parkrun because their defibrillator was unavailable.

Apropos of nothing at all, the parkrun formerly known as Doncaster became Sandall Park parkrun yesterday.

I’ve tracked down the results of 197 parkrunners for whom Ashton Court is home, who found a parkrun that wasn’t threatened by either Dennis or Brian yesterday. There will have been others, no doubt, and I know it’s a pretty poor show, but I think 13 sets of parkrun results is more than enough for anyone’s weekend, and so I’ve drawn a line beneath them. Apologies if I’ve missed you.

96 of the 639 finishers at Eastville were from Ashton Court, as were 59 of the 277 finishers at Clevedon Salthouse Fields, 15 of the 331 who took part at Burnham and Highbridge, and 13 of the 111 at Somerdale Pavilion, and I’ve found another 14 Ashton Courters at 9 other different events.

21 Ashton Courters achieved pbs, and another 39 of us were visiting our chosen parkrun for the very first time.

(A list of all the results I've found is at the foot of this report.)

I don’t suppose Jordan Griffin and David Caple, the first parkrunning in France and the other in New Zealand, were quite as concerned as the rest of us about our storms.

I’ve just given away the fact that this week’s parkrunner furthest from home is David Caple. This was his 364th parkrun – almost one for every day of the year – and was at Millwater parkrun, a little way to the north of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island.
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Millwater parkrun - all done and dusted before Friday had finished here in the UK (graphic: Rich Kenington)
We’ve a 3-way tie for this week’s “What took you so long” award (no prize, it’s just for fun). Liz Hill, Craig Brown and Sean Gregory had each streaked for 9 consecutive Ashton Court parkruns before taking their barcodes to Somerdale Pavilion, Clevedon Salthouse Fields and Eastville parkruns respectively.

Incidentally, connoisseurs of streaking can expect some big news on the subject in a fortnight’s time!

I made my way to Somerdale Pavilion parkrun, along with Caroline and Liz, where we soon met the handful of Ashton Courters who had also selected mud and dizziness. We played with the frame, did the parkrun, some of us had coffee and biscuits and then we went home. Except that ..

Somerdale Pavilion parkrun isn’t quite as simple as that. For one thing, as you may have heard, the course is bonkers. No other adjective really comes close to describing it.
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All lined up and off we go, with a turn to the right and a turn to the left. Was this a Rocky Horror Show Time Warp? (photos: Rich Kenington)
According to Strava there was absolutely no elevation on the course at all. Which I don’t think is entirely accurate. The course was described as “2 and a bit laps, including 3 curly wurlys” and we were advised to follow the one in front, unless we were the one in front. At least I think that’s what Run Director John Peake said, it was difficult to hear because of all those who had presumably heard it all before talking at the back. Grrrrrr!!!

It turned out where we were briefed was where we would start. All we needed to do was take a turn to the right, John shouted “go” and we went.
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And then .. a maelstrom of parkrunners awaits (photos: Rich Kenington)
We ran in a straight line for a little bit, then turned sharp right and almost doubled back on ourselves, then turned sharp left (unless it was another right) and then before you know it we were running around in ever decreasing circles (like a Catherine wheel) until I almost tripped over my own feet on a very tight corner and the circles became ever increasing. After that, best not to ask really. It’s very confusing at ground level and I’ve no idea. So I’ve included this jolly helpful course map below, and you can work it out for yourself!
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What could possibly go wrong? The Strava flyby trail looks even "better" (graphic: Rich Kenington)
I lost count of how often I saw some people, and gave up wondering which way they were going and what lap they might be on, and yet I didn’t see some of my friends at all. They insisted they’d run the same run as me but I can’t help having doubts .. perhaps the forces generated by all the parkrunners revolving around the curly wurly trap some of them in an invisible cosmic vortex?

That’ll be why I didn’t see everyone I knew during the run. (Everyone I knew who was there, that is).
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Three "befores" and one "how did I get here?" (photos: David Taylor and Rich Kenington)
I think it was close to the end of the second lap when a marshal told me to take care because I was approaching “the muddy bit”. Now by this point I’d barely stepped on a blade of green grass, so I wasn’t entirely convinced it could be any muddier here than elsewhere, especially as it hadn’t been “the muddy bit” on the previous lap (or two?). We had a laugh about it and then I waded on.

Finally, after about 40 minutes, I escaped the vortex for the 3rd time and found my way to the finish line. I was so pleased to see it that I even ran the last few metres!

My dreams of then going on to complete a lap of honour were, sadly, thwarted by the 110 parkrunners who had selfishly finished in front of me. One day ..

I loved this parkrun. Of course I did – it’s a parkrun! I’d’ve preferred a slopey bit somewhere to help rub the sleep from my eyes but you can’t have everything!

Together with Geoff Keogh I’d been involved in the initial discussions with Somerdale Pavilion’s management about setting up a parkrun there (they’d approached parkrun, which took the pressure off). I also met up with members of Bitton Road Runners and Fry Club Joggers, describing to them what else was needed to put a parkrun local to them in place.

I really enjoyed going to Somerdale Pavilion parkrun for the first time since those initial discussions and seeing what has become of those early aspirations and plans. The people who took up the challenge have done a fab job, with a course quite unlike any other parkrun that I know of, and certainly one that’s on pretty much every parkrunner’s to-do list. And just like everywhere else in the parkruniverse, there’s an amazing team of enthusiastic volunteers there who help make sure their parkrun happens every Saturday. Thanks to them all for Saturday’s parkrun.

I spent some time as I wandered around the course wondering what the Romans would have thought about what we were up to. There’s a villa underneath a nearby cemetery, and another buried beneath the chocolate factory. I don’t suppose they’d have understood volunteering, they had slaves after all. And they’d never have got a chariot around the curly wurly!

I didn’t only run a parkrun on Saturday morning. I also took a trip down Memory Lane. There was someone there who I knew when I was a member of the old City of Bath Athletic Club in the 80s, and several from when I ran with Bitton Road Runners in the 90s. I hardly spoke to any of them but it was heart-warming to see them still getting out for a run, whatever the weather, and enjoying being cold, wet, muddy and smiley.

Then there were a number of people I know from other local parkruns as well – it was lovely to bump into them once more. It was a little bit spooky to talk to a couple of people who knew of me but who I didn’t know. Spooky in a good way though. And of course; great to be with Carol, Caroline, Colin, David, Gordon, Isie, Jenny, Joe, John, Kieran, Liz, Lorraine and Pete from Ashton Court, our home from home!

And because it really wouldn’t have felt like a proper Saturday without visiting Ashton Court at all, meeting up with Elena, George and Louise Nikou for lunch there was a joy, and great fun too!

I hope you had as much fun as everyone I spent Saturday with did, and I hope we can parkrun at Ashton Court once more on Saturday. It’d be great to see you there too, but if you can’t make it, then wherever you may be at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning, may your barcode be with you!

Report by Rich Kenington, p105, Somerdale Pavilion parkrun

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