parkrun ~ a well that never runs dry

parkrun is many things to many people - indeed, to more and more people each week. It may be an opportunity to spend time outdoors after a busy week. It may be the chance to meet up with friends, or make new ones, and meet interesting people from other parkruns. It could be an opportunity to try to run or walk faster than last time, or to visit somewhere new.

It’s a chance for youngsters from the age of 4 upwards to rub shoulders (figuratively at least) with grown-ups and to share in physical activity with family members and friends. Increasingly, it’s being seen as somewhere positive for people who might be struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem or loneliness.

How did we manage before parkrun came along? And who remembers what they used to do on Saturday mornings?
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Some of the morning's fab volunteers sporting the very latest in parkrun raspberry hi-vis tops, trying unsuccessfully to hide behind our pop-up banner, in use for the first time! (photo: Sam Rodda)
And parkrun gives something else too. Each week there’s a constant stream of numbers which some of us find irresistible! Not everyone realises that numbers, once you’ve got to know them, love playing little tricks. I’ll give one example before describing today’s parkrun.

Today was our 444th parkrun. And it was the 100th time that we’ve seen 444 or more finishers. Numbers, if you can hear me – I thank you! More numbers anon.
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the morning's smiley start line (photo: Rich Kenington)
After the excitement and fun of a fortnight ago with our North Bristol NHS take over, and the shenanigans last week with a second running event starting an hour after we did, it was a relief to enjoy a normal Saturday morning when most of the excitement revolved around our introduction of our new pink hi-vis volunteers’ tops and the debut, at long last, of our pop-up banner.
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Emily and Nick, our fabulous first time finish token hander outers (photo: Pete Davey)
We had 4 parkrunners who’d never volunteered at Ashton Court before, for our 444th event. Emily Strathdee and Nick Lowry were anxious about being asked to hand out finish tokens, but they did so with aplomb, as we knew they would, and were justifiably pleased with themselves afterwards.

By that time 633 parkrunners had crossed our finish line. 440 of them had run here before, another 83 didn’t have a barcode, 60 were already parkrunners visiting us for the 1st time, and 50 were taking part in their 1st ever parkrun.
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Things people do to avoid getting up early to come to parkrun, number 444: Ella Campbell, on the left, is off to Uganda for a few months, and she goes with our best wishes for a great trip and a wonderful experience. Alongside Ella are Georgie and Henry Dodd, in their 1st and 3rd parkruns respectively (photo: Pete Davey)
6 of those visiting for the 1st time have registered Ashton Court parkrun as their home event and had already run somewhere else before coming home.

Conversely, 11 of those running their 1st ever parkrun don’t have Ashton Court as their home event. They include the morning’s 1st female finisher Dunya Ansems, whose home is Greenpoint parkrun in Cape Town.

Coincidentally, Andrew and Vikki Thomas, who ran with us last week on Andrew’s 50th birthday, were in Cape Town this morning at Zandvlei parkrun, a little over 20k away from the event at Greenpoint.
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We had a Hen Party, all the way from Liverpool! The Blushing Bride-to-be is Charlotte, but because she and her Hens forgot their barcodes that's all the information we have! Best wishes for your special day, Charlotte (photo: Pete Davey)
Of those 440 who had run here before, 108 – almost a quarter – ran faster here than they had before. 3 of those 108 – Eleanor Smith, Julia Mortimer and Tom Dabin - beat their previous pb by 1 second, and another 2 – Kieran Headon and Claire Lyon - by 2 seconds.

Contrariwise, Phil Widdington, who ran a pb of 25:55 last week, ran the same time today (and was the only one to do so this week), while Anna Hulbert finished 1 second behind her pb.
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Did we mention the rhino? We didn't mention the rhino! Inside the suit is Andy Humphries with his wrangler Paul Rooker alongside (photo: Pete Davey)
There’s a feeling amongst those who understand these things that the more often you run at Ashton Court, the more difficult it becomes to achieve a pb.

So many congratulations go to Andy Thompson, for beating 21 minutes for the first time in his 97th run here. Likewise, Edward Burke reduced his pb by 9 seconds, down to 18:39, in his 92nd home parkrun, and Katriel Costello, who improved her fastest time from 27:16 to 27:02 in her 65th parkrun at Ashton Court.

31 finishers today are aged under 18, and 7 of them achieved pbs – well done Thomas Eames, Eddie Colquhoun, Liam Osborne, Matilda Knox Cartwright, Ruby Priscott, Roisin Bodley and Florence Wagstaffe.
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Edward Burke, on his way to his 20th Ashton Court pb in his 92nd run here, his first since April last year (photo: Pete Davey)
All the 1st 3 male finishers achieved pbs. Stuart Barlow improved from 18:26 to 18:11, David Langston from 18:29 to 18:26 and Michael Kearney from 18:41 to 18:33.

I’ve already mentioned Dunya Ansems, the 1st time 1st finishing female. Our 2nd female today was Jo Temple – who ran exactly the same time today as she did a fortnight ago, last time we saw her. Immediately behind Jo was Orie Amadi, visiting us for the 1st time from the parkrun in beautiful Wendover Woods.

The top 3 age grades were scored by Alison Engledew (79.35%), Derek Gray (79.24%) and Jonathan Taylor (77.33%). It was great to see Alison and Dave Engledew back on the hillside – they are 2 of the 12 parkrunners with us today who took part in our 1st parkrun back in 2011.
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This was a 1st pb since November 2018 for Katriel Costello (photo: Pete Davey)
Very well done to Jane Duffus, the 47th Ashton Court parkrunner to have completed 250 parkruns! Emma Coles completed her 150th parkrun, and Les McAllister and Rob Campbell their 100th events (Rob’s another “survivor” from our 1st event).

2 juniors, Thomas Eames and Oliver Dent-Young, finished their 50th parkruns, Thomas with a pb as we’ve already seen. They’re the 27th and 28th Ashton Court juniors to have finished 50 5k parkruns.
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Queen for the day! Jane Duffus just might be enjoying her 250th parkrun, and quite right too! (photo: Pete Davey)
Returning to our fist-time visitors: Barbara Tanton, having run 295 parkruns elsewhere before coming to see us, takes this week’s “What took you so long” award (no prize, it’s just for fun). Barbara and her husband Byron (51 runs behind Barbara) usually run at Bushy Park parkrun, where it all began, and where they’ve both run over 200 times.

Having mentioned one South African visitor, I mustn’t forget a 2nd – Jenni Hammon, whose home is Boksburg parkrun, a little way east of Johannesburg. Jenni’s run 132 times in South Africa, and twice here in the UK, once at Hilly Fields in London, and here today, making Ashton Court the westernmost parkrun Jenni’s visited!
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here's Jenni Hammon, all the way from Boksburg in South Africa (photo: Pete Davey)
It was nice to meet Wai Meng Au-Yeong (a Run Director at Leavesden junior parkrun) and her friend Annette Howard. Their home event is St Albans parkrun and I know they enjoyed their day out in Bristol.

I also enjoyed a quick catch up with Chris Amy, who has visited us at least once every year since 2012. Chris’ home event is Medina I.O.W parkrun.
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She's having a great time really! Wai Meng Au-Yeong from St Albans parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
And so it took a little over 32 minutes from first finisher to last – that’s at least 19 finishers every minute. In fact, the busiest minute was the 32nd, when we saw 51 of you cross the finish line. Thank you to all the volunteers in the finish area, for keeping things moving along as smoothly as possible, and to all the runners too, for your patience waiting to have your barcode and finish token scanned.

Mustn’t forget the marshals on the course, who once again did a great job, and well done to my co Run Director Amanda Halford, who did the shouty bit for the first time, and did it very well! I’m sorry I forgot to mention beforehand that you needed to tell the runners and walkers when to go!
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We've never had anyone named Fizz at Ashton Court before so Fizz Armstrong is the 1st! Good to see Rich Miller back after illness and injury got in the way (photo: Pete Davey)
Now back to that number 444. The 1st ever 444th finisher at Ashton Court parkrun was Jill Noyes, Tail Walking at event #202. And although that’s the only time we’ve ever seen exactly 444 finishers, it’s not the only time Jill’s finished in that position, because she repeated the feat at event # 323, albeit this time with a further 52 finishers behind her.

Jill’s the only one of the 60 females and 27 males who’ve finished 444th to have done so more than once, assuming that the 12 unknown 444ths are 12 different individuals.

This morning’s #444 is Lewis Long, and he's the 87th different parkrunner with a barcode to take that finish position.
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The first parkrunner to finish 444th once, and twice! Jill Noyes (photo: Pete Davey)
Staying with the number 4 (this is too good an opportunity to miss after all!). Looking at all the 4th female and 4th male finishers, 410 different parkrunners have filled those 2 positions, 184 males and 226 females. 274 of those 410 have finished 4th once, and 61 have done so twice, while Tanya Chowdhury has finished 4th 28 times, and Paul Jefferson 18 times.

Meanwhile, the highest placed 4th female overall is Jen Woolfson, who finished 14th in event #023. We only saw Jen twice after that. 2 females have finished 99th overall when finishing 4th female. The 1st was Ella Halcrow at #246, on her only visit here, and the second was Fleur Cockley, who before today had run exactly ⅓rd of her 63 parkruns at Ashton Court.
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In the middle, in the red and black, is Lewis Long, today's 444th finisher (photo: Pete Davey)
I'll resist the temptation to look at the many different parkrunners who’ve finished 44th male or female as I need to finish this before our next parkrun!

Only 2 parkrunners have run in our 4th, 44th and 444th parkruns. Geoffrey Morgan, who was 50th male, then 65th male and today 282nd male, and Wendy Price, who was 12th female, then 41st female and this morning 254th female.

This morning, Wendy’s finish position was skewed somewhat because Wendy was Tail Walking. And having mentioned a Tail Walker, it’s time to close.
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Wendy Price and Geoff Morgan, the only parkrunners to take part in our 4th, 44th and 444th events (photo: Pete Davey)
Thank you everyone who was involved in this morning’s parkrun one way or another. Congratulations to those Milestone Marvels and the speedy ones who ran faster than they ever had before. Those of you who were visiting – thanks for popping in, it was good to see you. I hope you enjoyed your day out and that you come and see us again sometime.

And to those who hadn’t run a parkrun before, welcome to the family. I’m delighted to see that 8 of last week’s first-timers returned to Ashton Court yesterday and I hope that we see many of you from today come back very soon too, if not to Ashton Court, then perhaps to another parkrun elsewhere.

Have a good week, and wherever you are at 9 o’clock next Saturday morning, may your barcode be with you.
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More of the morning's fab volunteers (photo: Pete Davey)

Report by Rich Kenington, Run Director

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.

Once again Pete Davey took some great photos of today's parkrun, parkrun as he ran around the course with you all. You'll find them here on our Google Photos pages. We also have a library of our parkrun photos in our Flickr group.


International Women’s Day parkrun, Saturday 7 March 2020

parkrun’s research shows that, across the world, women are less likely than men to take part in parkrun. Despite the fact that females make up 54% of registrations, they are less likely than men to take part in parkrun and to continue participating.

parkrun want that to change and are organising a global female-focused parkrun celebration on Saturday 7 March 2020, which is the day before International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day parkrun is a fantastic opportunity to encourage more women and girls to participate in parkrun events all over the world. In England, International Women’s Day parkrun will support the This Girl Can campaign created by parkrun’s partner Sport England.

All local parkruns are being encouraged to participate in International Women’s Day parkrun, and we’re delighted to say that Ashton Court parkrun will be doing so.

We hope that all the morning’s volunteers will be women and girls (although there may be one or two familiar males on the team that day).

We’d like everyone to wear purple – that’s the colour suggested by parkrun for the day.

We’ll have a special selfie frame available which we want to see used as much as possible – please use the hashtag #IWDparkrun

So, please put our Ashton Court International Women’s Day parkrun in your diary or calendar and come along and join in the fun.

Men and boys are welcome too – and all they’ll need to do is turn up and run, jog or walk! And maybe eat some cake afterwards. It’s a tough life!


“Invigorate the bodies and nourish the souls”

I was recently asked by someone unfamiliar with Ashton Court’s parkrun course how to describe it. I felt it fair to say its wasn’t the kind of parkrun you’d want your daughter to bring home for tea. A big burly thing, with a brute of a hill and at times an unforgiving headwind to battle through. Not like some of the others I’d seen, gentle flat things that would scarcely have you break a bead of sweat. Indisputably a proper parkrun.

Unperturbed, 587 hardy souls took up the challenge of Ashton Court parkrun this week.
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The first-timers' briefing on the right, with everyone else milling around, getting ready to parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
So this was officially the 443rd of Ashton Court’s parkruns. But thanks to some exhaustive historical research it seems Ashton Court could quite legitimately claim to be the first parrun ever. Pre-dating Bushy Park by the small matter of 130 odd years, Ashton Court resident Sir Greville Smyth did, with typical mid-Victorian zeal, establish a “park perambulation” around the 1870’s. He sought to “invigorate the bodies and nourish the souls” of the workers on the estate, their families and local villagers by taking weekly “vigorous” exercise around the estate. Indeed the 24-furlong course followed much the same path as the modern day course we enjoy so much each week. Sir Greville Smyth did also boast to have completed the course in the fastest time ever. Astonishingly in a time well under 10 minutes. Although the fact that this was in fact completed on horseback was quietly ignored by polite society at the time.

Leading the way here, with her pink rain jacket around her waist, is Chela Pieruz, who having run 274 parkruns elsewhere (most of them at her home event of Workington parkrun) takes away this week's "What took you so long" award (no prize, it's just for fun) (photo: Pete Davey)
So fast forward some 150 years or so and this week’s run director Mike “Megaphone” McBeth (as he has never before been known) gave one of the finest examples of loud hailer usage in some time and was quick to point out that February could potentially provide us with the opportunity for no less than five parkruns. Furnished with this knowledge the throng were sent on their way dizzy with expectation.

Here's Lissie (in pale pink) and Gabbie Rand (in green), who both ran their first-ever parkrun here last week. 8 of last week's first-timers returned as soon as possible, and we hope Lissie and Gabbie's pbs (improving by 4:12 and 3:14 respectively) will encourage them to keep on coming back (photo: Pete Davey)
Our roving reporter on the course met up with of the runners along the way. Nick Orchard whose home parkrun is Somerdale Pavilion was running for the first time with his wonderfully intemperately named dog “Merlot”. A beautifully full bodied and roundly crafted finishing time of 25:00 minutes is one they should both be most proud of. Cheers!

Did you notice a running race took place shortly after we finished? There was a 5k and a 10k, and 5 of our finishers took part in the 5k, and 4 more, plus 1 of our volunteers, ran the 10k! On the left here is Kate Hoffen, our 11th female finisher with a time of 24:02, just 22 seconds shy of her pb, and then finished 5th overall and 2nd female in the Winter Warmer 5k in 25:36! Wow! Alongside Kate is Matthew Bambery, running his 38th parkrun and finishing 1 second quicker than last week, missing his pb by 6 seconds (photo: Pete Davey)
Such is the heady nature of parkrun these days scarcely an eyebrow is raised when it is your 60th birthday and three members of your family jet in from Ireland to join you to help celebrate. So, Many (slightly belated) Happy Returns to Vanessa Redmond who completed her 332nd parkrun and first as a sexagenarian. She was joined by her cousins Pauline Blair and Bernie Donahue. Although tragically Bernie forgot to bring her barcode and joins the very short list of people who have travelled from one country to another to run a parkrun and don’t have their event recorded for posterity.
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Happy Birthday sweet sixteee! Vanessa Redmond's been with us since day 1 when she volunteered at our 1st event. Bet she never imagined then that she'd've run 331 parkruns before she was 60! (photo: Pete Davey)
Along the course I met the winner of this week’s award for most obedient dog which went to Bailey who trotted along most obligingly for owners Emma and Ed. Having run on several occasions with a far less ruly hound and one that is highly prone to enjoying performing roly-polys at the top of the hill I looked on quite enviously.
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We don't see Helen Clark often enough at Ashton Court parkrun, this being her 14th run here since she first came along in April 2017. So it was great to see her achieve her highest female finish position of 3rd, and reduce her pb by 85 seconds to get below both 23 and 22 minutes on our course for the first time, finishing in 21:57! (photo: Pete Davey)
Heading up to the turn I caught up with eight-year-old Brennon Elphick, his Mum Jennifer and their dog Richard. Brennon has completed an impressive 15 parkruns, 10 of which are Ashton Courters and an eye watering 57 junior parkruns. A strong headwind put pay to his quest for a sub 30 minute run this week but I won’t be betting against him achieving this goal very soon indeed.

Always a warm welcome at a parkrun finish line (photo: Pete Davey)
parkunners may not be aware that there is a weekly award for “Marshall of the Week”. Virtually every week this is handed to Bill Lawrence for the several hundred high-fives he manages to provide for runners on the downhill stretch. But quite remarkably this week this most prestigious award goes to Hugo Stramrood who fulfilled the role of “loneliest marshal” at the turn. Not unlike Alan Tracey in Thunderbird 5 who in every episode of Thunderbirds was stuck out in space all on his own for months on end, Hugo was marooned some 2½ kms away from the start and the rest of civilisation but took up his role with gusto. We must ask ourselves where would we all have ended up without Hugo’s vital assistance in making sure everyone turned around and went back down the hill?
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No sign of Steve Zodiac but here's Alan Tracey Hugo Stramrood stationed at the end of the world! (photo: Pete Davey)
I then had the pleasure of meeting Martin Kay from Cheddar. Now I made a point of talking to Martin mainly because he was wearing a very heavyweight woollen hat which although not completely unseasonal must have raised the temperature inside his hat to an uncomfortable level. But this didn’t seem to perturb Martin who then proclaimed this was his 50th parkrun. He travelled all the way up from Cheddar to run today and was this week's sole representative of the Lonely Goat Running Club. I was slightly disappointed to learn that this club didn’t consist solely of people who each owned a single goat. It is actually an affiliated running club for those who don’t necessarily have the time to join an organised running group but still wish to be part of a thriving community. Praise be to them.
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It doesn't seem so long since Lorraine Cromwell ran her 50th parkrun, and yet this was her 70th! Close behind is Lonely Goat Martin Kay (photo: Pete Davey)
Now every runner it seems has a parkrun story. Mary Ryan completed her 179th Parkrun and she gleefully informed me that she has Uppsala parkrun in Sweden on her cv. Surely not a claim that could be made by any other runners at Ashton Court. She finished in a very commendable 30th place that day, 513 places higher than she did today. Uppsala, Uppsala and away!
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Uppsala, Uppsala and away! It's Mary Ryan! (photo: Pete Davey)
The other man called Martin who ran today, one Martin Riddiford, now has 319 park runs to his name. Today he crossed the line in 49:13. There is not a parkrun I can recall where I fail to notice Martin steadily making his way round. I liken him to the ravens at the Tower and the apes at Gibraltar, no Martin at parkrun and surely the Empire would crumble. Martin’s story is actually quite incredible and I hope he won’t mind me sharing this with you all. Back in 2003 he suffered a brain haemorrhage and had to learn how to walk again after months in a wheelchair. Up until that point in his life he was a bit of a marathon runner. In Martin’s words parkrun gave me the opportunity to run again and that is why I’m always at the back enjoying the fact that I out there running! Sorry to all the marshals!”

No apology needed Martin, this is one of the many reasons we all absolutely love parkrun.

Martin Riddiford - now we know why he's almost always smiling (photo: Pete Davey)
Also I cannot conclude without a mention to the Thomas family who had three generations running today; David, Andrew and Lucy all ran as part of Andrew’s 50th Birthday celebrations.
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David, Andrew and Lucy ~ 3 generations of the Thomas family, celebrating Andrew's 50th birthday! (photo: Pete Davey)
As you know parkrun is always a delicious feast for numerophiles and thanks to Rich for providing these great numerological nuggets;

We celebrated a number of milestones today and our new marvellous milestone parkrun club members came across the finish line in the following order:

Peter Kennaugh-Gallacher was first, crossing the line in position 103 to complete his 50th parkrun. Peter’s approximately the 730th one of us from Ashton Court to have run 50 parkruns.

We’re unsure how often Bryan Walsh has pushed his child and buggy up and down the hill but the 3 of them crossed the line in 190th place, at the end of Bryan’s 100th parkrun. Bryan’s our 314th member of the 100 parkrun club.

Bryan Walsh hangs on to that buggy in the wind (photo: Pete Davey)
Next in was a junior – Ruby Thorn in 305th place, who in 15 weeks has gone from not running a parkrun to having finished 10 of them and is the 131st of our juniors to achieve this.

The 388th finisher was Martin Kay who was visiting us for the 5th time from his home at Street parkrun. Martin’s another new member of the 50 parkrun club.

In the red is Rita Davies, on her way to her 200th parkrun and her 100th here at home. Hannah Susorney, cheerful as ever, is alongside (photo: Pete Davey)
And in 449th position was Rita Davies, who simultaneously finished her 200th parkrun anywhere and her 100th parkrun at Ashton Court. Rita’s the 87th to achieve the 1st milestone and the 176th to achieve the 2nd. Which leads us nicely to the morning’s other Ashton Court only landmarks:

Finishing 62nd was Andy Young, who became the 77th one of us to have run here 150 times.

The 144th finisher was Trevor Johnson, just ahead of James Holbrook in 153rd place, the 419th and 420th to have completed 50 Ashton Court parkruns.

Rowland Monk became the 78th of us to finish 150 parkrun here when he finished in 222nd place.

Finally, 489th over the line, Roy Baker was the 177th one of us to finish 100 parkruns here at home.

Congratulations on your wonderful parkrun achievements, you should be very proud of yourselves! Some of you have qualified for new parkrun club t-shirts and the rest of us are looking forward to seeing you showing them off when the weather improves!

A cheerful wave from report writer David Milne (photo: Pete Davey)
Report by David Milne, p352

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.

Once again Pete Davey took some great photos of today's parkrun as he ran around the course with you all. You'll find them here on our Google Photos pages. We also have a library of our parkrun photos here in our Flickr group.


Alices in parkrunland

The Takeover

Back in August last year we were asked by Alice James if it might be possible to organise a volunteer takeover of one of our parkruns by staff members of the North Bristol NHS Trust. How could we say “no”? Today saw Alice’s idea come to fruition, and what a great success it turned out to be!

North Bristol NHS Trust is the largest hospital trust in the South West. The Trust provides acute, specialist, maternity and outpatient services at both Southmead and Cossham Hospitals. Providing all these services requires a huge number of people, all with different skills, interests and abilities, who all have one common passion – our health and well-being. Where would we be without such people?

Over 20 of them volunteered to help make today’s parkrun happen, and all of us at Ashton Court parkrun are grateful to them for doing so. Many of their colleagues and friends came along to take part. Lots of these volunteers and participants had never been to parkrun before and I hope that some of them at least are inspired to make parkrun a regular thing.
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Ivan Kisyov hands out finish tokens with a big broad smile, as Alice James and Olivia Donnelly look on (photo: Pete Davey)
Alices in parkrunland

Our Run Directors this morning were Alice, Alice and Alice. We’ve seen 89 different Alices take part in our parkrun, although it wasn’t until our 25th event that we saw the 1st one. The 5th Alice was Alice Doggrell, who joined us at our 75th parkrun and has now run here 236 times. Alice James was the 7th Alice to come along, to our 80th event. Alice J has run here 5 times, a number which will begin to grow now that she’s made her home here in Bristol. Our 11th Alice, Alice Irwin, first came along to our 153rd event. Alice I has run here 35 times now, having also – like Alice J – spent a lot of time since that first visit away from Bristol.

Last week at our 441st parkrun we welcomed Alice number 89, Alice Hall from Cardiff parkrun. Today no Alices took part in the run, nor (to my dismay) did anyone visit us from Alice Holt parkrun.

Meanwhile, devotees of AA Milne may like to know that although we enjoyed the company of 4 Christophers and 2 Robins this morning, Christopher Robin was not amongst our finishers. Which was probably just as well because by the time our Alices had wrapped the results up, the guard at Buckingham Palace had been changed for the day.
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One of the morning's 4 Christophers is on the left - Christopher Elliott - not on the way to Buckingham Palace. Neither was Ben Jefferson alongside him (photo: Pete Davey)
Association Football news

4-4-2 was the formation we deployed today and up front we were led by Gavin Dale and Claire Hammett, who both achieved pbs.

Our swashbuckling midfield comprised debutant David Pudner in the 347 shirt, Peter Burns (wearing 351), Kathryn Ayres (352) and Neville Taylor (353). Excellent performances in particular from Kathryn and Neville who also both achieved a new best time.

The back four did particularly well, given that they were a makeshift quartet put together at the last moment. I was one of the four and Tail Walker 2, Emma Stanley, another. Emma had made one appearance while on loan to Eastville parkrun a fortnight ago, and this was her first time at her home event.

Between Emma and I were Sarah Jane Tucker and Laura Kate Steward, and we’re grateful to Walsall Arboretum parkrun for lending Sarah and Laura to us this morning and hope they enjoyed their away day. You’ll have noticed that I’m the odd one out of quartet as my name doesn’t end in ‘a’.
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Sarah Tucker and Laura Seward, on loan from Walsall Arboretum parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
Staying with Association Football, a number of us were concerned that the appearance of a pirate ship in the sky so close to Ashton Gate might be seen as a little provocative, especially given the amount of hot air that accompanies footie these days. Fortunately, Captain Morgan’s rise and fall passed without incident! (For those unfamiliar with the area, Ashton Gate is home to Bristol City. Their rivals Bristol Rovers are sometimes known as “The Pirates”).
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Here's the pirate ship Captain Morgan in flight, with Bristol City's home of Ashton Gate in the left background (photo: Rich Kenington)
The parkrun

We’ve never had so many pairs of feet cross our finish line as we did today. Before today our largest number of finishers was 678 – now it’s 698! Of those 698, 62 were taking part in their very first parkrun. Another 84 had run a parkrun before, but this was their first time at Ashton Court. Unfortunately, 98 finishers didn’t have a barcode with them, and of the remaining 454 who did have a barcode, 108 finished faster at Ashton Court than they ever had before.
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Now we know what 698 parkrunners looks like (photo: Rich Kenington)
Rosie Hattersley’s personal best was especially significant, because her time of 19:11 moved her up from being the 29th fastest ever female here to the 15th.

I’ve already mentioned 1st female finisher Claire Hammett’s pb. Despite improving her time Claire remains our 9th fastest female, but her Ashton Court pb is now equal to that of four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion Chrissie Wellington. Now there’s an incentive for Claire to chip at least another second from her pb!
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This is Rosie Hattersley, on her way to becoming our 15th fastest female ever (photo: Pete Davey)
I can’t possibly mention all the pbs, but I do like Steve Dyke’s style in reducing his best by just 1 second! But imagine the anxious moments waiting for the results to be published!

Joe Butler has run so many pbs in recent months that I almost don’t need to check. I don’t know how Joe spent his summer holiday but since August 31st he’s run here on 12 occasions and has achieved 10 pbs. Today saw an 8 second improvement down to 20:36.

Tom Farman celebrated his 99th parkrun with a significant pb, beating 20 minutes for the first time, improving from 21:17 to 19:27.
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In the middle of this synchronised trio is Tom Farman, flying to his pb. Tim Ginns leads the way and James Leith is close behind. When they finished their order was reversed, and James had also beaten 20 minutes here for the first time. Gerard Watson is on the left in the 250 t-shirt, taking part in his 50th Ashton Court parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
Emily Tanner moved from 33:25 to 32:56, and Arusha Preece improved from 27:22 to 26:07, while Paul Turner took his best down from 22:27 to 21:58.

One of our juniors, Ishmael Bradley, improved from 20:33 to 19:30 and in fact it’s great to see so many juniors improving. Dylan Peters, Luca Salt, Martha Harrison, Luke Staddon, Ffion Allen, Ruby Priscott and Arthur Allen are all juniors who achieved pbs today.
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Pb-tastic Arusha Preece is all in grey, on the right (photo: Pete Davey)
We enjoy milestone runs at Ashton Court just as much personal bests. Today we saw Isla Shipway, another of our juniors, run her 10th parkrun. Sally Derrick completed her 50th parkrun, and Jennifer Griggs her 100th. It takes at least 5 years of park running to complete 250 parkruns, and 3 parkrunners did so today. Maggie Salter, Sean Gregory and James Hawke all reached the magic 250 parkrun mark, while Marie Malloy finished her 350th parkrun exactly 350 days after her 300th!
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Jennifer Griggs is on the right, running her 100th parkrun, Sally Burns is to the left with Amelia Jephson in-between. Katriel Costello is following (photo: Pete Davey)
Mike McBeth ran his 150th Ashton Court parkrun, and Gerard Watson ran here for the 50th time

Congratulations to everyone who achieved a new personal best or completed a milestone run. Now on to your next one!
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Going a little bit bonkers in the middle of the shot is Maggie Salter! And why not? It's not every day you run your 250th parkrun after all! (photo: Pete Davey)
While I’m patting people on the back, how about those 62 brand new parkrunners? From 5th finisher Nick Pestell to Kath Kaboutian in 693rd, they all came along and tried something new on a Saturday morning. Having kept Kath company for the final kilometre I know how much she enjoyed herself, and I hope the other 61 newcomers did so too.
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First time parkrunner, and first time volunteer - tail walker Kath Kaboutian had a great morning (photo: Pete Davey)
84 parkrunners visiting us for the first time would be a lot on a summer Saturday morning, so to see so many in January came as quite a surprise.

For example, Owen Spacie, Simon Hughes, Felicity Brooks, Danny Corder and Tomos Rees popped across from Cardiff parkrun. Newport parkrun’s Chelsea Dennison and Peter Olivier weren’t quite so far from home.

Anna Lord, Claire Fleming and Lucy and Robbie Chandler came along from Lydiard parkrun (the parkrun formerly known as Swindon). Jo Kingston and Sam Cliffe came to see us from Bushy Park parkrun, where it all began.

As an East Yorkshireman I have to mention our first ever visitor from Beverley Westwood parkrun, Benjamin Blacker.
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Here's Marie Malloy after 349½ parkruns. Baby Alice, sleeping soundly in her papoose is probably the youngest person out on the course, while close behind is Jan Moody, the 2nd oldest participant, in her 25th parkrun (photo: Pete Davey)
Furthest from home was Madeleine Woods, all the way from Sydney’s St Peters parkrun, and the winner of this week’s “What took you so long” award (no prize, it’s just for fun) is Akshay Kumar Joshi, from one of my favourite events, Bedfont Lakes parkrun, who had run 211 parkruns elsewhere before coming along to Ashton Court.
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Mike McBeth's the one in the 100 club t-shirt, running here for the 150th time. In the Bristol 10k top is Nicola Stephen, on her way to a 5th pb in her last 6 runs at Ashton Court (photo: Pete Davey)
Finally, it was nice to meet and have a brief chat with Leonie Roberts and Andre van Mierlo from Cwmbran parkrun. Andre is a Dutchman, this was his 1st parkrun, and of course later this year (29th of February in fact) the Netherlands will become the 22nd country in the parkrun family.

And what a family we are! Full of smiles, full of surprises, full of encouragement and compassion. Thank you everyone who came along today and helped make our parkrun number 442 so successful.
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Another look at the Captain's stern, and indeed those of many of our first-timers as they listen to Poppy's first-time briefing (photo: Pete Davey)
Have a great week, and wherever you are at 9 o’clock next Saturday, may your barcode be with you.

Report by Rich Kenington, born in the NHS

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.

Pete Davey took a load of great photos on his way round the course. You'll find them here on our Google Photos pages. We also have a library of our parkrun photos here in our Flickr group.


Slip slidin’ away . .

It was a chilly start to the 3rd Ashton Court parkrun of the decade, with temperatures a little above freezing, but that didn’t stop 640 of you lining up at the start line. After a great run briefing delivered by our youngest ever run director, Poppy, we were off!
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A chilly briefing . . (photo: Rich Kenington)
Despite the blue skies and sunshine, the paths at the beginning of the course were really icy, so lots of parkrunners hopped onto the grassy section to avoid slipping and sliding. As soon as we had passed the giant stone head, the sun had melted the ice so we had a more straightforward path up to the top.

Furthest from home today was Ray Wales, seen here alongside Punyawee Dulyayangkul. Ray's home event is Sandon Point parkrun in Wollongong, a little way south of Sydney. Ray has run 175 of his 192 parkruns at Sandon Point, while Punyawee has run all her 32 parkruns here at Ashton Court (photo: Dan Jones)
My favourite bit of Ashton Court parkrun is just after the turnaround point. Firstly, you know it’s downhill practically all the way back and secondly, the view! It’s days like these that remind me how lucky I am to have Ashton Court on my doorstep. The view at the top of the hill today was absolutely beautiful and you could see for miles. I have to say that as far as beautiful views go during a parkrun, Ashton Court is definitely in my top 5! My other notable parkruns for views are Penrhyn, Eden Project, Swansea Bay and Pegwell Bay.

Alex Hamblin, Duncan Hamilton and Rhys Smith, who would finish 1st, 4th and 2nd. All 3 achieved pbs: Alex beating 18 minutes here for the first time, and both Duncan and Rhys going under 19 minutes for the first time.

To confirm Fran's remark that you can see for miles, there's a plume of smoke in the left centre of the photo, and above it on the horizon is a line of trees. From where this photo was taken to those trees is a little over 17k! Just beyond the trees is, appropriately, Freezinghill Lane, one of the roads between Bath Racecourse and the A420 road (photo: Dan Jones)
Our first male finisher of the day way was Alex Hamblin who crossed the finish line in a PB time of 17:53. A further 56 of you achieved parkrun PBs today, pretty amazing considering the icy conditions, so who knows which speedy PBs you will get without the ice! Our first female finisher was Claire Hammett in a time of 20:21. A special mention must also go to our 44 brand new first timers. We hope you enjoyed it and we look forward to seeing you all again!

On the left is one of the morning's 44 brand new parkrunners, Michelle Verity. On the right is one of the results' 88 unknowns. Hope we see you both again soon, and both with barcodes! (photo: Dan Jones)
Many congratulations to the following parkrunners who all achieved their 50th parkruns today; James Saget, Graeme McAllister, Tracey Vincent and Nic Mansell. We hope you enjoy wearing your new red 50 t-shirts! Although not an official milestone, congratulations also go to Catriona Scott who achieved her 150th parkrun today.

In the middle of the photo with the yellow trim to his shorts is James Saget, enjoying his 50th parkrun (photo: Dan Jones)
It seems that come rain or shine, Ashton Court parkrun just keeps on growing. January is usually the busiest time of the parkrun calendar for obvious reasons and Ashton Court is no exception. In fact, since Ashton Court started nearly 9 years ago, the attendance records for the third Saturday of the year has nearly quintupled from 130 in 2012 to 640 in 2020. The graph below shows how much our wonderful parkrun has grown in popularity.
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(graphic: Fran Upshon)

Paul Jefferson has run at Ashton Court on the 3rd Saturday of the year on 6 occasions. This morning was the 250th time Paul's run here at home. Paul's just behind Evan Griffiths, running his 23rd parkrun and his 9th at Ashton Court (photo: Dan Jones)
A huge thanks to all the lovely volunteers who made sure that our event could run today and thanks also to the tail walkers who made sure that we all made it back home safely.

Tail Walkers Michalis Sanidas and Rich Kenington with some more first time parkrunners, who unfortunately didn't have their barcodes with them. But we know they will next time! (photo: Dan Jones)
Report by Fran Upshon, p457

Here's run report writer Fran Upshon on the right, in her 252nd parkrun, alongside Sara Vajda, who was parkrunning for the very first time (photo: Dan Jones)

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 wonderful photos of today's brilliantly bright parkrun, and they're on our Flickr pages. You'll find them, together with all our other photos, by following this link.


Only 2 parkrun days until Christmas . .

After a week of bitterly cold weather, a soggy Friday and the threat of a wet windy Sunday, this week’s Run Directors (RDs) Janet O’Connell and Liz Hill managed a near Christmas miracle of arranging a dry and warm (well for December!) Saturday morning. Traditionally December sees some of our lowest attendances of the year. Despite the appeal of Christmas shopping, resting up before Weston AC’s Christmas Cracker race on Sunday, the cross-country race in Blaise Castle in the afternoon or maybe even a few sore heads post-Christmas parties, this week 393 people ran, jogged and walked the course. 53 athletes recorded new Personal Bests. It seems unlikely our attendance will fall back to the levels we saw during the rugby world cup, but less said about that the better.
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with the pre-run briefing completed, this crowd of parkrunners will be headed this way in just a moment or two (photo: Rich Kenington)
We welcomed 50 first timers to Ashton Court this week. Unusually two of this week's first time Ashton Court runners were running a milestone parkrun. Emyr Morgan started parkrunning at Eastleigh parkrun and is now a regular at Cardiff, this week he ran our slightly hillier course for the first time and his 250th parkrun, earning himself a green 250 T-shirt. David James is a regular at Tonbridge parkrun, running at Ashton Court this week earnt himself his first milestone T-shirt for his 50th parkrun. On the other end of the scale 12 runners completed their very first parkrun, we hope this is the first of many and we see you all again soon. Amongst the other first timers to Ashton Court included a candidate for the North Somerset seat in this week's election. For political neutrality reasons I'll say no more, although I'm guessing despite her supporters’ subtlety some of the more eagle eyed runners could guess what party she is standing for.

3 of the first 4 early leaders got off to a flying start. But who's that running in the wrong direction? It's Duncan Colquhoun, who wasn't quite the last starter of the morning, and who managed to overtake at least 310 parkrunners on his way to finishing in 79th position! (photo: Rich Kenington)
Soon to be also running in a red T-shirt our second runner completing his 50th parkrun was Luke Stanley. Luke joined us at Ashton Court for his first parkrun in January 2018. Two of our junior parkrunners completed their 10th parkruns this week for a white, juniors-only 10 Tee. Whilst Rosie Walker only started parkrunning this year, completing 10 parkruns in under 6 month including her PB last week, Joseph Bussell took a slightly more leisurely route to his 10th parkrun. Joseph started parkrunning in 2016, also ran his PB on his 9th parkrun but back in April and held out the suspense of his 10th till this week.
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50th parkrun today! Big parkrun moment for Luke Stanley (he's the one with a hat on) (photo: Rich Kenington)
This week we had a bumper crop of people running their 250th parkrun, in addition to Emyr, Tim Neal-Hopes and Phil King also both earnt their 250 T-shirt. Phil King has been a regular face at Ashton Court since his first parkrun back in April 2013 and has run here 209 times. Tim Neal-Hopes on the other hand started parkrunning in Cambridge in 2012, joined us once for the first time in 2013 before more regular visits since 2016. In the meanwhile Tim ran at over 100 different parkrun events on his route to 250 parkruns.
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Despite having the number "250" on his chest, Phil King now has 250 behind him, as his next parkrun will be his 251st! (photo: Rich Kenington)
Running their 100th parkrun this week at Ashton Court was Ian Hamblin and Shirley Clegg. Like Tim Neal-Hopes, Ian also started his parkrun journey away from Ashton Court, at the gone but not forgotten Little Stoke parkrun. Ian has run at many of the local parkrun, his 100th parkrun marked his 15th run at Ashton Court. Shirley Clegg ran her first parkrun here, in 2013, she has completed 78 ups and downs of the Ashton Court hill, and is the Ashton Court record holder for the VW65-69 age category. Many congratulations to all of this week's milestone runners. However long it's taken, however fast you've run, whatever locations around the world you've run, it's a great achievement and I hope you have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy the journey parkrun takes you on.
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the leader of this particular pack (in her apricot top) is Shirely Clegg, just under 5k away from completing her 100th parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)
Shirley Clegg's second mention this week goes for her topping the Age grade table, gaining a WAVA of 84.34%. The VW65-69 age category is clearly a competitive age group here with the second place this week going to Alison Roberts in the same category with a WAVA of 82.38%, rounding up the top three was Michael Coupe with a WAVA of 82.14%. Rounding up this week's top 5 WAVA scores was this week's first finisher James Rodgers, whilst finishing as first female for the second time was Helen Faubel.
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It was lovely to see Helen Faubel and Sorrel Langley-Hobbs return to Ashton Court after a long absence. They and their families are regulars at Burnham and Highbridge parkrun these days. Here's Helen, delighted (we think) to have finished first! (photo: Rich Kenington)
We often see people carrying balloons depicting a particular parkrun milestone that they wish to celebrate, including this week; Joe Pritchard's 50th run at Ashton Court. Rarely people wish to celebrate their 21st parkrun, instead Beth McMillan floated up the hill with her two and one balloons to celebrate her 21st Birthday, many happy returns Beth!
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Here's our birthday girl Beth McMillan, with 2 friends to her left who ran without barcodes (I know!) and who for evermore will be known as "Beth's friends" (photo: Rich Kenington)
Also in the news this week the military invaded our regular start/finish area. When the volunteer crew turned up in the morning they were slightly surprised to find a number of cadets already entrenched in the park. Thankfully due to some excellent negotiating, a peaceful solution was found to sharing the space and both of our events were able to live happily side by side. There were some rumours of the Queen's shilling being offered to a few parkrunners after their run, we can only offer wishes of good luck to anyone who took up the offer.

Stand off at the AC corral . . 8.15 on parkrun morning (photo: Rich Kenington)
On the 21st December we will be having our annual festive celebration, so dust off those Christmas jumpers, Santa hats or other festive wear of your choice for the run. After the run please join in the Christmas jollity in the courtyard for the bring and share picnic of cakes, mince pies, biscuits and anything else people are happy to bring and share. There are sometimes even healthy options available.
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There's no need to wait until the 21st to wear that special Christmas kit as Emma Coles demonstrates (photo: Rich Kenington)
Finally thanks to all of this week's 26 volunteers: Carole BUTLER, Christopher ELLIOTT, Colin TRAER, Dan JONES, David BRAITHWAITE, David TAYLOR, Edward PARSONS, Evie HARRIS-COOK, Fi LANG, Gill ATWILL, Hugo STRAMROOD, Janet O'CONNELL, Jason EAMES, John O'BRIEN, Liz HILL, Moe SOE, Nick BURNS, Oliver THRAVES, Rich KENINGTON, Ruth DAVIES, Steve PARSONS, Tariq KURD, William LAWRENCE and Andrew SHEPPERD, Liz SHEPPERD and Michael SHEPPERD who sorted the position tokens after the run...
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More Christmas decs . . (photo: Rich Kenington)
While the Shepherds sorted
The tokens by coffee
All seated in the cafe
The RDs of the day came down
And glory shone around
And glory shone around

"Fear not," they said,
For mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all parkrunkind,
To you and all parkrunkind."

"To you in Bristol
Town this day
Is an easy fix to troublesome results shall be found
The Savior which is WebFMS*
And this shall be the sign
And this shall be the sign."

"The heavenly phototimer
You there shall find solutions
To human view displayed
And missed timer clicks
and sweaty barcodes
easy fixes will be laid
easy fixes will be laid."

Thus spoke the RDs,
And forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of parkrunners praising PBs, who thus
Addressed their joyful song
Addressed their joyful song

"All glory be to
parkrun on high
And to the earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth
From heaven to men
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease!"

*WebFMS is the web based app the RDs use to process the timer and scanner data files prior to your results being sent to you by email or text, but you don’t really need to know this!
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Hi-vis looks great at any time of year - thanks everyone! (photo: Rich Kenington)

Report by Colin Traer, poet laureate

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 took some photos of the start of our parkrun, and they're on our Flickr pages. You'll find them, together with all our other photos, by following this link. They're also in Google Photos if you prefer to look at them there.


Four – Three – Two – One – GO!

“There is harmony in autumn, and a lustre in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen as if it could not be, as if it had not been.” Percy Bysshe Shelley.
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“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower“ Albert Camus
(photo: Rich Kenington)

The trees are changing colour, while the large oak where we gather for the morning’s briefing has lost virtually all its leaves. The sun shone pleasantly if weakly, and there was barely a breath of wind.

Our beloved Turkey Oak is already preparing for Springtime, as our parkrunners prepare for the morning's excursion up and down the hill (photo: Rich Kenington)
So what better to do than enjoy Ashton Court parkrun number 432! Certainly 443 of you thought that, with 31 people helping with marshalling, timekeeping, token scanning and sorting and all the other volunteer roles that are needed for each event.

The colour of the Mansion's walls ("like the inside of a Crunchie bar" someone once said) blends in well with the seasonal shades, in contrast to the many colours worn by our crocodile of parkrunners (photo: Rich Kenington)
We’ve had the words from Shelley, but for poetry in motion we could do no worse than look towards our first finisher, Arthur Dickson-Bell, who ran quickly at his first ever parkrun at Ashton Court last week, and even quicker at his second parkrun this week. And first woman across the line, Claire Hammett, also recorded a new PB, beating nineteen minutes here for the first time and becoming the 9th fastest female we've seen at Ashton Court. Arthur and Claire are both in their early twenties, so have youth on their side. But parkrun also has the age grade statistic that rates your performance against the world record pace for your age. And our top performer this week was Stuart Ellis, whose time of 22:22 gave him the age grade performance of 79.81% on his 100th parkrun to boot. And he’s got around fifty extra years on Arthur and Clair! Second only to Stuart in age grade was our oldest runner, Michael Coupe, with an impressive 79.42% age grading.

In yellow is Ben Swift, at home here at Ashton Court and running his 343rd parkrun. On the right is Richard Sumner, playing away for only the second time from his home at Weymouth parkrun in this his 42nd parkrun; and in the middle of the trio is Peter Rooney, taking part in his 1st parkrun (photo: Rich Kenington)
At the other end of the age scale we had 4 juniors under 11 recorded in the results, with one of them, Paddy Parmiter recording a new PB. The under 11’s have to run with a responsible adult for safekeeping, and Simon Parmiter would have been there with Paddy providing suitable words of encouragement I’m sure! Mind you, Paddy might say he could have run faster if Simon had kept up with him better. Arthur Allen was the last of the juniors to finish, but that’s a good thing because he was one of our tail walkers, making sure everyone got round safely. Thank you Arthur!

We haven't counted how often Eve Blackmore has pushed a buggy up and down our course, but this was her 100th parkrun at Ashton Court, and her 133rd in all (photo: Rich Kenington)
We had 17 parkrunners doing their very first parkrun. Christopher Hill was one of these, running up and down our hill in 25:43, while Daniel Squibb avoided being a damp Squibb by choosing one of the nicest Saturdays in November to complete his first parkrun ever. Another 48 runners tackled the Ashton Court course for the first time, having completed at least one parkrun somewhere else, and the fastest of these was David Leahy, who was our second finisher in 17:58. David’s only other parkrun was at Newark three months ago. Another first timer and finishing not far behind David to be fifth across the line, was Adam Hands whose first parkrun at Ashton Court comes after a hiatus of over five years. His three previous parkruns had all been at Newcastle.

I didn't get their best side until during the run, but this was too good an opportunity to miss! Zoe and Darren Lambert were visiting us for the first time from Newbury parkrun, and both were running their 78th parkrun. They were kind enough to thank us for a "great run" in Facebook later in the day. Thank you too! (photo: Rich Kenington)
First timer Roman Lagnado also caught my eye, as he describes himself as a runner with the Sexy Walrus club. While today was a nice change, we’ve certainly had the weather for walruses recently. The Sexy Walruses hold a mad-sounding annual handicapped triathlon in Oxfordshire, although Roman normally parkruns in the London area. He is the seventh Sexy Walrus to complete an Ashton Court parkrun. The “What took you so long award” (no prize it’s only for fun) goes to Rory Morrow who had done 214 parkruns elsewhere before coming to Ashton Court. Rory has done most of his previous parkruns at Craigavon in Northern Ireland which is somewhat flatter than Ashton Court, although the lakes in the middle of the course are much larger, and possibly deeper, than the potholes at the top of our course.

Here's Rory Morrow, about to complete his 215th parkrun, and his 1st here, alongside Sophie Patten, taking part in her 2nd parkrun and on her way to a pb (photo: Rich Kenington)
Overall, we had 50 runners record new best times right from our first finisher all the way through to Karen Fletcher, who has now recorded four PBs in her nine runs at Ashton Court. Rob Beaver and Hayley Beaver both recorded PBs on their second parkruns. Well you wouldn’t expect the Beavers to have any trouble getting through the puddles on our course would you!

Giving us a wave is Karen Fletcher, on her way to finishing 27 seconds quicker than before, with Angela Holland close behind (photo: Rich Kenington)
The classic poets celebrated their heroes in iambic pentameter, while we like to celebrate ours over five kilometres. And whichever way we describe performances, everyone who takes part is a hero, runner and volunteer. But we do like to call out the runners who have reached milestones, especially if they bring cake, so a big well done to Clare McLachan who completed her 200th parkrun, Kate Darbyshire and Jennifa Burgess who completed their 150th’s, and Stuart Ellis who I mentioned earlier completing his 100th event.


Lovely to see Clare McLachlan enjoying her 200th parkrun (195 of them here) so much (photo: Rich Kenington)
And the best thing is we can do it all again next week.

As the course marshals return to our assembly area the start and finish volunteers pack our equipment away, ready for our 433rd parkrun next Saturday (photo: Rich Kenington)


Report by Paul Hodges, Run Director

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 took photos for us today, and they're on our Flickr pages. You'll find them, together with all our other photos, by following this link.

We've recently begun to add photos to our Google Photos page. It'll be a while before we catch up, but with a separate album for each event it's easier to find our back numbers! This link will take you to them.


“We’re merely one tree . . .”

“We’re merely one tree with various types, shapes and sizes of leaves that all wave differently in the breeze”
Rasheed Ogunlaru

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Our course marshals set off up the hill to their various positions . . (photo: Sarah Jones)
There is nothing better than visiting Ashton Court on a crisp autumn morning in November when the sun is glistening on the turning leaves, displaying their rich vivid colours as they fall from branch to ground carpeting the frosty grass in a bright quilt, before without warning they dance around in the breeze.
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The first-timers briefing went well . . (photo: Sarah Jones)
Run 431, wasn’t quite blessed with this image, the early dry morning turning somewhat wet, windy and extremely wintery. However a carnival of bright, colours, like autumn leaves gathered under the tree in anticipation of the ascent up the hill.
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And away they go! First finisher James Pyke is on the left of the front row (photo: Sarah Jones)
Run Directors, Rich and Tony, swept everyone to the start and with a sudden spirited gust they were away, a flurrying burst of bright energy striding along purposefully in one direction and all with the same goal.
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Disappearing into the Autumn gloom (photo: Sarah Jones)
Like a tornado James Pyke was the first of 376 runners to finish in a time of 17.35, recording a new pb and knocking a remarkable 1.04 from his previous best time.
Thomas William Stone having completed 220 parkruns elsewhere before finding Ashton Court blew in with a time of 18.40 finishing in third position.
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Here's Thomas William Stone, whose home event is Leamington parkrun, flying towards winning our "What took you so long award" (no prize, it's just for fun) (photo: Sarah Jones)
First female to breeze over the line was Tanya Chowdhury with a new pb in 20.49 taking 30 seconds off her previous best which was recorded on 13/09/2014.
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Marcus Kropacsy, close to completing his 300th parkrun, just ahead of Tanya Chowdhury, today's first female finisher. Nirpal Singh Gillar follows (photos: Sarah Jones)
Another to record a pb on her 231st run was Gill Atwill taking off 12 seconds since her last pb on 28/09/2013. Gill ran at the first parkrun here back in April 2011.
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Specs off, shoe lace undone - nothing was slowing Gill Atwill down this morning! (photo: Sarah Jones)
I know Liz Shepperd will be delighted with her new pb on her 29th run, her time down by 1.20, Liz and husband Michael having become regulars here since January.

There were a total of 37 pbs today, congratulations to all of you.

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This was Liz Shepperd's 12th personal best this year, and her time of 44:17 took her below 45 minutes for the first time (photo: Sarah Jones)

There were 26 first timers here from other parkruns and 20 first timers new to parkrun. I know everyone at Ashton Court hoped you enjoyed your visit and unlike leaves that fall in autumn, you will not fall away but return very soon.

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Congratulations to Hayley and Rob Beaver on completing their first parkrun - hope we see you again soon (photo: Sarah Jones)

As always a special mention to the 27 volunteers who made parkrun happen, their sunny smiles and cheery disposition definitely not indicative of the inclement weather. High fives aplenty, clapping, cheering and encouraging every participant.

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4th in line is Richard Harding, about to complete his 200th parkrun (photo: Sarah Jones)

It is a breath of fresh air to be a tail walker, and along with Gina Jennings I witnessed the delightful determination of everyone as they made their unique way, in their own special time, along the branches and roots of Ashton Court parkrun.

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Tail walkers Louise Nikou and Gina Jennings approach the final bend - at this time of year a stunning sight if you have the strength left to appreciate it! (photo: Sarah Jones)

Just like leaves, all types, shapes and sizes, waving differently in the breeze.......


Report by Louise Nikou, Tail Walker

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 wonderful photos of today's wet parkrun, and they're on our Flickr pages. You'll find them, together with all our other photos, by following this link.


Spring into Autumn with Dorothy

Having left a bright and pleasantly warm springtime Melbourne on Tuesday, it’s been a big surprise to find a bright and pleasantly warm autumnal Bristol.

What a beautiful autumn morning we were treated to today. Wasn’t it glorious! Ashton Court at its very best, reminding us how fortunate we are to be able to run, walk, jog and volunteer here.
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Ashton Court, stunning in the autumn sunshine . . first timers' briefing . . main run briefing
Who ran with a spring in their step today? Of our 408 finishers, 62 had never taken part here before, another 38 didn’t bring their barcodes, so 308 could have achieved a personal best, and 52 did just that.

Perhaps not quite as springy as Eliud Kipchoge last week, but springier than many was John Bradwell, who with his first pb for exactly a year reduced his best time by 101 seconds in his 46th parkrun here, beating 28 minutes for the first time.

Karen Fletcher ran here for the 8th time today and smashed her best time by 2 minutes and 29 seconds, breaking 40 minutes, 39 minutes and 38 minutes all at once, finishing in 37.46!
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sunshine and smiles on the start line 

One of our juniors, Max Fullman, completed his 9th parkrun this morning, and knocked 66 seconds off his best time to finish in 30.50.

Matthew Lewis still belongs to Little Stoke parkrun and has run most of his 227 parkruns at Chipping Sodbury parkrun. This was Matthew’s 16th visit to Ashton Court and he finished 53 seconds more quickly than before, with his time of 25.52.

Ayesha Hussain celebrated her 19th AC parkrun by knocking 19 seconds off her previous best, finishing in 28.23.
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Someone who discovered parkrun this year is Miles Bird, who has now run 19 parkruns, all of them here. Miles has achieved 10 personal bests, including 3 in a row, which have taken him from 34.31 to 34.25 three weeks ago, to 33.29 last week and now 33.12 this.

Grace Mernagh-Cole has now run 23 parkruns, all of them here, and today ran her 7th pb with her time of 32.32.

Sarah Howell first came to parkrun in July and seems to have caught the parkrun bug! Today was Sarah’s 10th parkrun, and her 5th new best time – 31.33.

And Cheryl Coles cut it fine – parkrunning 1 second quicker than she had before to finish in 29.38!
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And another of our juniors, Samuel Nye, celebrated his 10th parkrun with a 53 second improvement, crossing the line in 21.00.

Samuel’s achievement brings us to another group of parkrunners with a spring in their step. For example, Lucy Avent, who finished 141st, and completed her 150th parkrun, and Caroline Seymour, who finished 190th to complete her 50th parkrun.

Emma Bassett finished 213th and became the 36th Ashton Court parkrunner to complete 250 parkruns. 12 of those 36 were at Ashton Court this morning.

One of our tail waggers, in fact our final finisher today, Louise Nikou, completed her 50th parkrun.

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Had it not been for some good work from Dan Jones today we might not know these finish positions. Dan was one of our finish token giver outers and was volunteering for the 25th time.

Many congratulations to these milestone marvels, and to everyone who achieved a pb (with apologies to those I’ve not been able to include in this review).

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I hope the 20 finishers who completed their first parkrun this morning went home with a spring in their step, even if they arrived at Ashton Court with a degree of apprehension. It’s especially encouraging to see that 5 of today’s newcomers are aged between 11 and 19, and 7 more between 20 and 24.

Our newcomers may like to know that today’s finishers included 21 folk taking part in their 2nd parkrun, 9 of whom had completed their 1st ever parkrun at Ashton Court just last week. I hope we’ll see some of you back at parkrun soon, if not here with us, then trying out somewhere else instead.

2 finishers who did just that are Matt Bailey and Russell Nash. Matt and Russell are our first visitors from Clevedon Salthouse Fields parkrun, which started 4 weeks ago, and they’ve run at CSF once, and came along today to find out how we hilly folk roll!

Matt and Russell are 2 of the 42 parkrunners who popped in to see us today. We were also joined by Richard Mulvany and Thomas Paul Wallace from Cardiff parkrun, by Stephen and Tanya Honey from Ellenbrook Fields parkrun in Hatfield, and by Benedict Harrison and Catherine Mair from Enfield’s Grovelands parkrun.

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Helen and Graham Barker came along from Harrogate parkrun, Steve Bush and Phil Bees (of whom more in a moment) from Plymvalley parkrun, and Ash Mukherjee and Sallie Turnbull from just up the road at Eastville parkrun.

Debbie Woodley visited us from Severn Bridge parkrun, Chloe White from Llanerchaeron parkrun (which takes place just outside Aberaeron, between Aberystwyth and Cardigan, as I’m sure you all know), Annette Hall from Haverhill parkrun, Phil Day from Southampton parkrun, and Adrian Stocks from Bromley parkrun.

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As with all the pb achievers, I can’t mention all our visitors by name (well I could, but you know . . ). I hope you all came down the hill with a spring in your step, taking in the views across Metropolis Bristol as you recovered from the initial 2.5k. Please come back and see us again when you can.

Furthest from home amongst our visitors was Daniel Searle, whose home event is Albury Wodonga parkrun. Albury-Wodonga is 2 cities combined, separated by the Murray River and the border between New South Wales (Albury) and Victoria (Wodonga).

This was Daniel’s first parkrun in the northern hemisphere, and I hope he enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the 4 parkruns (1 at Curl Curl and 3 at Merimbula) I took part in on my recent holiday. Thanks to Jane Greenford for guiding Daniel up and down our course.

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Coincidentally, I was in both New South Wales and Victoria last Saturday. Having enjoyed Merimbula parkrun (on New South Wales’ Sapphire Coast) on a beautiful spring morning, my brother, sister-in-law and I drove 350 miles across New South Wales and Victoria to their home in Mount Evelyn, in east Melbourne.

But back to Ashton Court and a few more bits and bobs. Of the 370 of you who ran with your barcode, exactly 185 were female and 185 were male. We’ve seen more females than males twice here but have never had an even split before.

Nobody finished with the date in their time, but Thomas Cooney did the year thing, with his time of 20.19. Tony Deacon’s time was 22.22, which always puts a smile on my face.

The winner of this week’s much coveted “what took you so long award” (no prize, it’s just for fun) is Plymvalley parkrun’s Phil Bees, who unaccountably ran 280 parkruns elsewhere before visiting Ashton Court!

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All of today’s participants have completed 22,617 parkruns between them, which is 113,085k, and that’s a very long way. In fact, it’s almost 3 times around the globe. The globe is 8,015 parkruns long around the equator, although as it’s an oblate spheroid it’s only 8,002 parkruns long if you run them all via the north and south poles. (moral: never believe anyone who says it’s a “small world”!

Anyway, each of the 408 finishers have completed an average of between 55 and 56 parkruns, which is a contrived way of introducing Richard Mulvany, Tony Deacon and Catherine Davies, who have each completed 55 parkruns, and Jack Dunwell and Sharon Eaves, who have now both completed 56 parkruns.

The average finish position was 204½, so that belongs to Tamar Preston in 204th and Jenny Maxwell in 205th. Immediately in front of Tamar and Jenny was Claire Gordon, who finished in 28.25, and that’s exactly the average finish time achieved at Ashton Court parkrun across our 428 events.

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Now I’m back on finish times, there’s always a few participants who just can’t wait to finish. It’s customary to list them in 3s, and here they are; Gavin Dale (with a pb), Sam Appleton (visiting for the first time) and Stefano Dalcanale (who ran exactly the same time on this his 2nd parkrun as he did on his 1st, 4 weeks ago). The first 3 females were Chloe Broughton (good to see you back at parkrun), Jo Temple and Emma Pemberton.

The age grade scores paint a different picture; Shirley Clegg (the only one to score over 80% today), Maggie Salter and Antonia Gooder leading the way for the females, and Michael Coupe, Stuart Ellis and Gavin Dale (see above) topping the table for the males. Well done all of you and thank you for giving the rest of us something to aim for and aspire to.

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Funnel management . . in case you wondered what it looked like . . the moon wanes gibbous towards its final crescent . . the view of the leading runners from the start line 

So that’s our 428th parkrun wrapped up and put to bed. A beautiful morning and a lovely crowd of just over 400 people, who spent an hour or so running, walking or volunteering with their friends in gorgeous Ashton Court.

While I was in Australia, I listened to a radio presentation of “The Wizard of Oz”. Although I enjoyed it, having watched the video of the film on countless occasions when my daughter was growing up it was impossible to shake off the images in my memory of the story's characters. I've enjoyed a wonderful holiday, but it’s true what Dorothy said: “there’s no place like home”. It’s good to be back!

Have a good week, and wherever you may be at 9 o’clock next Saturday, may your barcode be with you.

Report and photos by Rich Kenington


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.

We were unable to find a photographer this week. You can find our entire photo archive, by following this link.


Ashton Court parkrun #418½ – another parkrun that never was

In February it was Snowmageddon, and now in August, we’ve experienced Stormageddon. In the greater scheme of things, of course, we’ve been fortunate in this part of the world in terms of how little damage and inconvenience we’ve had to contend with, but in our own little parkrun worlds, it’s been a tense and tough few days!

The week started with all of us reasonably sure where we’d be at 9am this morning, with one quite large group having decided to help celebrate Severn Bridge parkrun’s 1st birthday. Until the weather stepped in and forced many of us to change our minds. In total there were 70 UK parkruns cancelled today, mostly because of the threat of storms. Chadderton Hall parkrun was cancelled because of “Dr Kershaws charity duck race”, surely the best reason ever for a parkrun cancellation.

The group I was part of – Caroline Potter, Liz Hill, Lucy Avent and I – having found we wouldn’t be going to Severn Bridge after all, nominated Newport parkrun as our second choice, only for Newport to be cancelled shortly after. In the end we followed a different compass point to Shepton Mallet parkrun, knowing that Street parkrun was only 9 miles away if a 4th choice was needed.

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Lucy, Liz and Caroline, and the fairy door that didn't open (photo: Rich Kenington)

We needn’t have worried. As some will already know, Collett Park is a lovely little park, which to be honest I would never have expected to find in Shepton Mallet. It’s home to a 3-lap parkrun, with 3 loops and 3 out and back bits. The thought of 3 laps usually fills me with despair but the reality was lovely. The marshals were very supportive (if a little idiosyncratic – for example the lady sat beside the duck pond making duck noises as we all ran by). Of my 3 passengers only Liz lapped me so I decided they could all have a lift home after all, and even I lapped the Tail Walker, which seemed a bit rude, but as it clearly hadn’t bothered anyone ahead of me I didn’t give it much thought either!

Lucy, Caroline and I all finished 1st in our age categories (and yes, in my case there was only me!) and Liz finished 2nd in hers, but as Liz had won a series prize in the Towpath race the previous evening she was happy with that. And it was a nice surprise to see fellow Ashton Courter Caroline Pitura taking part there too.

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It's just gone 10 o'clock and we've already had a drink . . what do we do now? (photo: Lucy Avent)

I’ve found 226 Ashton Court parkrunners in the results of 29 different parkrun – with apologies to those I’m sure I’ve missed. Inevitably by far the majority of us – 114 in all - made the short trip across town to Eastville parkrun. 24 of us experiened increased sensations of dizziness at Somerdale Pavilion parkrun, 10 of us braved the sea front conditions at Burnham and Highbridge parkrun, and another 10 went up to Wotton parkrun – perhaps a good idea since the parkrun there seems to be devoid of trees!

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9 of us were at either Chipping Sodbury or Pomphrey Hill parkruns, with 5 more at both Riverfront (Newport’s other parkrun) and Shepton Mallet parkruns.

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It was great to see that our Australian friends Greg, Lauren, Caitlin and Evie, who returned home last week, got straight back into the parkrun habit with an outing at Tuggeranong parkrun. Greg and Lauren had run there plenty of times before they came over here but for Caitlin and Evie it was their first southern hemisphere parkrun.

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Lots more families were parkrunning together too. For example; the Taylors – Taryn, Peri and David – took part at Fell Foot parkrun; the Neal-Hopes – Tim, Libby and Louise – were at Portrush parkrun; Andrew and Vikki Thomas ran at Medina parkrun on the Isle of Wight; and Emma, Anna and David Bassett curled their way around Somerdale Pavilion.

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In terms of finish positions, one of our males finished 3rd, while 2 of our females finished 1st, 2 finished 2nd and 3 finished 3rd. Well done to them.

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87 of us were visiting a parkrun we hadn’t been to before, another 32 had been before and achieved pbs this time, while the remaining 107 had been before and were unable to beat their previous time.

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The best age grade score any of us achieved was 81.38%, by Jonathan Goodland at Riverfront parkrun. Jon’s home run is Eastville parkrun but he’s our Ambassador, so we try to be nice by including him. Second was Stuart Ellis, with 78.69% at Eastville parkrun, and 3rd was Maggie Salter, with a dizzy 77.11% at Somerdale Pavilion parkrun.

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Milestone Marvels: congratulations to Jon Woodward who ran his 50th parkrun, at Eastville, and to Alison Osborne and Kirsty Phelps, who both ran their 100th parkruns today – Alison at Eastville and Kirsty at Somerdale Pavilion. Also at Eastville parkrun, Jon Morgan and Lynn Chadeesingh both completed their 150th parkruns.

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Performance of the day? No question. A big round of applause for Steve Parsons, who ran his first parkrun for 1,443 days (just under 4 years) and finished in 38:19 at Chipping Sodbury parkrun, and came 2nd in the VM75-79 age grade, over 10 minutes and 36 places ahead of the Tail Walker. Nice work Steve!

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Although I hope everyone enjoyed their days out I also hope that like me you’re all looking forward to getting back home to our wonderful Ashton Court parkrun, if not next Saturday then as soon as possible afterwards. Always assuming, of course, that Ashton Court hasn’t been blown away in the meantime!

Have a great week, and wherever you find yourself at 8.45 next Saturday morning, may your barcode be with you.


Report by Rich Kenington


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.

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