not(parkrun) – Made In France

Until last week when visiting my parents 20 miles south of Paris, I hadn’t run a full 5k since the last Banbury Parkrun…  In their village, however, they have what’s called a “health-track” which goes through fields and woods and I worked out a 5k loop which I ran 4 mornings last week.

It is a shame that my old Garmin no longer synchs with the app; hence I can’t give you the evidence, I am afraid. Here is my run report instead.

It felt very bizarre to get dressed and ready to run in a house from which I normally only depart to walk to the village boulangerie. 8:45am - ready to go! Turn right outside the house and take first left. Go down the little country street, stone bridge over the river. Leave the street for a country lane, through woods over a wooden bridge, into an open field where the Town Hall have installed a few bits of outdoor gym equipment, like beside the canal at Banbury. I met a few fairly elderly women exercising and walking around the field and a few dog owners – the latter definitely felt that they had priority on the territory!

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The second part of the run is shady, going over two wooden bridges - a 5K just isn’t the same without a wooden bridge! Not as wobbly as the one we know, but there were not 400 people with me either. Ducks and geese acted as marshals along the river. Leaving the woods for a long stretch along the trainline to get to a set of nice houses and back, over the railway line and back home. Stretching was performed in my parent’s back-garden watched over by their beautiful geraniums.

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Even though they attended Banbury Parkrun once and they know that we run regularly, my parents were actually impressed; I don’t think they took me seriously when I said I would run during the week and certainly not 4 days in a row.

For the occasions, I was wearing the local Ligue Contre le Cancer t-shirt sponsored by my Mum. I was also with the same music track as in Banbury, so you were all on my mind throughout my run.

I ran in Banbury, London, Singapore, New York and now…Saint Cheron!


Now for the stats: First 5k at 6:33min/km, second at 6:27, third at 6:19; still not the under 30 minute bar I’d like to get back to but I will blame the heat and the good wine!


(not)parkrun #1 – Banbury

Today we ran our first (not)parkrun, my husband Stuart, (Banbury parkrun Event Director) and myself.

We both wore our new apricot t-shirts to make it feel a little like a parkrun.


We ran a route that included road and trails.  It was a lovely sunny day, with a little breeze.  Whilst running the trails we decided to run a route we were familiar with, apart from one section that we always wondered where it went.

Cheri 1

We went on a little detour but felt accomplished now knowing where the tree lined lane went.  Whilst out we encountered several people who were very polite with ‘good afternoons’ and with social distancing, all moving into single file on one side of the paths/trails, so that we could pass.  It was surreal running for (not)parkrun and under the social distancing conditions.  Never the less number 1 (not)parkrun done and results submitted.

Stay safe



Banbury parkrun, the (bored) game has arrived!

Hey and hi to our wonderful #parkrunfamily

Alas, we are still without our weekly run reports for obvious reasons, but we have something of a treat for you right here thanks to Banbury parkrun regular Wendy Ockenden.

Thanks so much for this Wendy, it's absolutely genius!

We give to you, Banbury parkrun; the board game!  Go print a copy off and be sure to let us know how you get on!


#staysafe #loveparkrun




Keeping the spirit of parkrun alive…

It was quite the occasion in Banbury this week which saw the inaugural Banbury Junior Garden parkrun take place. The ‘just over’ 100 lap 2km course was carefully marked out with purple chalks. It was amazing for the first event to have a full roster of volunteers; these ranged from a bear bigger than one of the course participants, to unicorns and pugs dressed as rabbits.


With space limited the course was run with just over 100 laps. A leakage from the paddling pool caused the bigger of the two participants to lose footing on a few occasions but it was nothing compared to the normal mud-fest at Banbury parkrun. The first part of the event seemed to drag but after a quick water break and a more refreshed little runner, the second part went much quicker.


It was neck and neck for most of the event but young Amelia saved her sprint finish legs for the home straight and pipped mum to the post.


One of the stand out features of Banbury Junior Garden parkrun is the post event refreshments. As you can see from the photo below, runners and marshals enjoyed a ‘Ritz’ high tea experience for the efforts of the inaugural event going off without any hitches…


As a family we are missing parkrun and doing this event today reminded us of why we love volunteering and running with all the wonderful people each Saturday at Banbury parkrun. Amelia has missed cheering you all on each week and we are really looking forward to when we can all come together again to run, jog and walk at Spiceball Park.

#stayhome #staysafe

The Russells

And now for the stats:

This week 2 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 2 were first timers. Representatives of 1 club took part.

The event was made possible by 6 volunteers:

Big Bear (marshal) • Pinky Pie (marshal) • Pugsy Bunny (marshal) • Uni the Unicorn (marshal) • Thom RUSSELL (photographer) • Amy RUSSELL (time keeper, race director, run report writer)

The female record is held by Amelia RUSSELL who recorded a time of 43.49 on 19th April 2020 (event number 1).

Banbury Junior parkrun started on Sunday 19th April 2020. The course may or may not go ahead next week depending on whether ALL participants are more willing to follow the strict guidelines of not cutting sections of the course.


International Women’s Day

On Saturday 7th March, Banbury parkrun is embracing International Women’s Day!

To mark the occasion we’d really love to have as many female volunteers as possible on board, so ladies, if you’re free and willing to give up an hour of your morning please send an email to Thank you.

We do of course completely appreciate that many of you will want to take part so, why not help us celebrate the event further by bringing along a female family member or friend who is yet to partake in a parkrun, be it your Mum, wife, daughter, niece, partner, sister, Grandma, you get the idea! We’d love to welcome them.

It goes without saying that we can’t have a special event without a bit of a theme going on, so purple is the suggested colour of the day - get those 25 t-shirts out and anything else you fancy donning too, tiaras, tutus, wellies, anything goes!

Come and join the fun!


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Christmas & New Year’s Day @ Banbury parkrun

The core team are thrilled to announce we are holding two special events to celebrate the festive season.

A Christmas event on 25th December at 9am - festive fancy dress absolutely encouraged! A chance to burn a few calories before indulging in all that Christmas means to you and your families.

A New Year's Day event at 10:30am. Having a later start time will hopefully allow you to do the now famous parkun NYD double. Check out the compendium for our nearest parkruns starting at 9am.

If you'd like to volunteer at one, both, either of our festive specials, drop an email to

Ho! Ho! Ho!


Event 259 – The winter (course) is coming…

This week's stat-tastic run report comes thanks to Daniel ROWAN who ran his 90th parkrun and 85th at Banbury:

On a lovely autumnal Saturday morning I joined 254 other runners for another parkrun; it’s always a great feeling to start the weekend with an achievement (sadly for me, that’s usually as productive as it gets). Welcome to the 19 first timers, and 18 tourists, who joined us; we hope you decide to see you again soon!

As always, a massive thank you to the volunteers, who give up their time to make this event possible.

And now for the stats…

Wait! Hang on a second, don’t the stats usually come at the end of the report?! Well yes, normally… Apologies in advance, it has always been an intention of mine to spend a couple of hours exploring the vast amount of data held on the parkrun servers, and this week’s weather-induced switch to the winter course seemed to give me the perfect premise for a report, and it was also something I found myself wondering recently as I try to chase that all important PB…

Question: Is the winter course faster or slower than the summer course?
From my casual asking around, this is certainly something that people have differing opinions on, and for a variety of reasons. Some are of the belief that the winter course should be objectively faster, because more of the run is on a harder surface, which surely helps with pace. Others, like my partner Iwona, believe that it is slower, reasoning that as well as the weather usually being worse running an additional lap is that bit more repetitive, making the winter course a more daunting prospect.

I’ve found that a useful rule for life is that the plural of anecdote isn’t evidence, so I turned to the data held on Banbury parkrun servers to help answer this question.
Some caveats to bear in mind before going any further:

  • To provide a healthy amount of data on which to base my unsophisticated analysis, all data in this report comes from Banbury parkrun, from the dates 20 October 2018 until 19 October 2019.
  • I thought about going back further with the data (after all, Banbury parkrun has been running since September 2014) however as the parkrun grows, the profile of parkrunners changes with it, and in the interests of data quality and consistency I decided only to use the past years’ worth of data to try and limit some of the variation.
  • For the past year, the winter course was used by Banbury parkrun during the following dates - between 13 Nov 2018 – 20 April 2019 and of course this week - 19 October 2019.
  • For ease of calculation, I’ve used decimal time. To get back to hours: minutes, take the digits to the right of the decimal point, and multiply it by 60. E.g. a time of just the digits to the right of the decimal point, and multiply it by 60 (minutes in an hour). For example, a time of 28.45 becomes 28:27 (.045*60)

So… Back to the task of trying to measure which is the quicker Banbury course. My first thought was that perhaps the proportion of runners achieving a PB (that’s Personal Best to the uninitiated) each week would be a good indicator of course speed (the hypothesis being that on a fast course, more people are likely to get PBs, right?)


As you can see from Figure 1, this statistic seems to suffer from quite volatile levels of variation at a weekly level; this inconsistency may suggest it more exposed to day-specific conditions such as weather, field size, and other external events (you don’t have to look far for a good example of this - take last week (12th Oct), which had one of the slowest average times recorded this year – two possible explanations being that runners stayed at home to watch Eliud Kipchoge’s epic sub-2 hour marathon finish, or perhaps many were preparing for the Oxford or Birmingham Half Marathon the following day?)

Although Table 1 suggests that people are more likely to reach a PB during the winter course, the fact that the percentage point difference is relatively small combined with the lower number of total finishes suggests to me that this is far from conclusive evidence. It may be worth a quick look to see if there is any other data which may offer more robust insight.

Fun with averages

Perhaps it’s as simple as looking at the average times for each course then?

Table 2 suggests, much like our findings from Figure 1, that the Winter course holds a slightly faster time, and a lower mean and median time (just as a side note, the median is often a useful average when measuring times because it is more resistant to the effects of outliers, e.g. tail walking marshalling. I’ve always wondered why parkrun UK use the mean average instead…) There is also a smaller standard deviation – a measure of variance – which can be interpreted as majority of the times falling within 6.9 and 6.5 minutes of the mean for each respective course.

Well, it looks like the Winter course has the edge on these numbers, but is the difference enough to make it significant? If only there was a formal statistical test for comparing the two distributions…

Thankfully, there is! I’ve decided to use an un-paired two sample t-test as quick and dirty method for comparing two samples from the same population. As much as I would love to get into the details, I’m aware I’ve probably lost a good many readers already so I will just summarise to say that a p-value (a probability score) of less than 95% (p-value < 0.05) in this test is commonly interpreted as significant evidence enough to reject a null hypothesis that there is no difference. Therefore the results of the two-sample test in Table 3 (p-value = 0.048) suggests that it is enough to meet the test for significance – indicating evidence that the winter course is faster (though it’s extremely close!)

For those more interested in the nature of the distribution, there are a couple of bonus graphs below. The graphs further illustrate the nature of the distribution (if nothing else, they’re pretty to look at).:


This ‘s’ shape distribution crops up a lot in statistics and is known as a sigmoid curve. Because much of the comparative increase in variation of green dots comes from the larger sample size of summer course runs, it isn’t particularly insightful here, however look closely and you can see some cool patterns in the data. For instance, the arm of green dots stretching out like a tentacle near the top – it looks like all these results came from an event on May 4th (Star Wars day!). I wonder why?


So it’s simple then, the winter course is definitely faster?

Not so fast – in fact I would hesitate to draw any conclusions from the data I’ve looked at today. Not that I’m suggesting this exercise was entirely a waste of our time; certainly a case can be made that the winter course will not affect your PB chances. However it’s likely (of course) that there are other things that will have much more of an impact, such as training, or what you had for breakfast. All things being equal, I don’t really believe that there will be too much difference. It’s important also to refer back to our caveats: this data is vulnerable to things that are difficult to measure, such as human behaviour. I imagine you see far fewer walkers and ramblers on cold winter days, which will inevitably affect the average for the field.

If I was going to explore this further (don’t worry, I won’t!), I would probably look for people who run regularly, and run tests on how either course affects their times (though, this too, wouldn’t be perfect, as most of the regular runners I know are improving all the time, and this is another compounding factor you would have to control for).

Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you found it interesting, please let me know if you have any thoughts, or perhaps avenues for future exploration and hopefully I’ll see you at parkrun soon!

Daniel Rowan

PS: If you’re a fan of data driven parkrun insights then worth checking out this report from event 183, authored by our very own RD Sam Young. Among many insights it contains what must be one of my favourite statistics: someone at Banbury parkrun has finished in position no. 186 a grand total of six times!

PPS: Shout out to Pug-man, thanks for the eggs.

And now for the stats (no really this time)...

This week 255 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 36 were first timers and 37 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 23 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 25 volunteers:

Jeffrey TRYBUS • Warren HARRISON • Graeme HACKLAND • Alice PALMER • Gyles HORNER • Helen ROBERTS • Claire UPTON • Danny BATCHELOR • Sera RELTON • Becky ROGERS • Martyn BANHAM • Alan UPSTONE • Jocelyn ATKINSON • Sally ANDREWS-DUKE • Fabienne GORDON-CUMMING • Tim KYTE • Stuart TAYLOR • Stuart HADEN • Neil SIMMONDS • Cat MILLER • Joe MILLER • Daniel ROWAN • Richard TEW • Kathleen BEGGIN • Nick MACEY

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

The male record is held by Ian KIMPTON who recorded a time of 16:30 on 4th April 2015 (event number 27).
The female record is held by Amelia PETTITT who recorded a time of 18:07 on 20th June 2015 (event number 38).
The Age Grade course record is held by Lilian CARPENTER who recorded 87.73% (28:40) on 29th June 2019 (event number 243).

Banbury parkrun started on 27th September 2014. Since then 6,931 participants have completed 51,544 parkruns covering a total distance of 257,720 km, including 8,979 new Personal Bests. A total of 714 individuals have volunteered 5,430 times.


Run report – Event 248


The sweat runs down my face. My ankles ache.
The marshals smile and say, "You're looking fine"
Small kids whiz from behind and overtake:
Fair play to them, the future's theirs not mine.
Some friends drift by, I strive to keep up with 'em
We're often told a parkrun's not a race
My legs, my lungs pump in a six-eight rhythm
To keep within the pack I'll push the pace.
We're faster than the folk who chose to lie in
But that proves nothing. Good to keep the score
From week to week, and deeply satisfying
To beat the person that you were before.
Good to see Kate, who weekly gets more nifty
And well-done Flo and Marlie for their fifty.


"We need a run report" they said. I'm on it-
Some poncy poetry should do the trick
If you can tell a haiku from a sonnet
You may be pining for a limerick.
Just take a gander at the future roster:
Next week you'll see some Shakespeare by God's Bones,
The real Macbeth and not some naff impostor,
A pizzle-pated coxcomb called Chris Jones.
Roll up, roll up, for Banbury parkrun needs you
It's possible to volunteer and run
Don't be the dog that bites the hand that feeds you
Feed the hand that bites you: much more fun!
Best find yourself some waterproof apparel
For soon could be your turn inside the barrel!



and now for the stats.....

This week 266 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 29 were first timers and 40 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 20 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 26 volunteers:

Sam YOUNG • Helen ROBERTS • Claire UPTON • Steven HEARN • Heather FINNIGAN • Sera RELTON • Alison HEATH • Tracy LAWRENCE • Sara CROSS • Cheri HADEN • Stuart HADEN • Bridget WILKINSON • Thomas CROSS • Andrew EATON • Jamie COX • Amy RUSSELL • Rob CROSS • Chris JONES • Nick MACEY • Gwyneth ROGERS • Sarah DES RIVIERES • Sara CARTER • Rebecca RAFTERY • Abigail SMITH • Georgina WILKINSON • Kelly COWLEY
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Banbury parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Ian KIMPTON who recorded a time of 16:30 on 4th April 2015 (event number 27).
The female record is held by Amelia PETTITT who recorded a time of 18:07 on 20th June 2015 (event number 38).
The Age Grade course record is held by Lilian CARPENTER who recorded 87.73% (28:40) on 29th June 2019 (event number 243).
Banbury parkrun started on 27th September 2014. Since then 6,580 participants have completed 48,259 parkruns covering a total distance of 241,295 km, including 8,550 new Personal Bests. A total of 683 individuals have volunteered 5,141 times.


View from the RD – Event #247

Well, after a week of blistering temperatures it looks like some people opened the curtains and thought "Blow that, I'm going back to bed" whilst lots of others thought "Cooler and slightly damp weather: ideal running conditions". Despite the total number being about fifty lower than we've had recently, no fewer than thirty of you set a new, best time for the Banbury course. Congratulations!

Perhaps slightly more perplexing was the fourteen people who opened the curtains and thought "Today looks like a good day to do my first parkrun". Since the poor weather didn't put you off, we hope that you come back again very soon and we'll try to lay on a better day for you. Maybe you'd promised to accompany existing parkrunners and couldn't back out, or maybe you'd just decided that this was the weekend that you'd decided to get involved and weren't going to get a bit of drizzle put you off [the Fitton family?]. Whatever, we're very pleased that you chose Banbury for your first parkrun experience.

At the other end of the spectrum, one of the tourists joining us for the first time was Neil Davies - a Bushy parkrunner. With more than five hundred runs to you name, you've clearly 'got the bug'. As with all twenty four tourists running/walking at Banbury for the first time, and any more who only make it to Banbury occasionally, I hope that we made you feel welcome.

Congratulations, too, to Amanda Ivings who came and grabbed a "I'm running my 50th parkrun" bib before the start. Olly Ormond, Theo Till, and Paul Hammond were perhaps a little more shy, but if you're going to claim and proudly wear your milestone T-shirt then why not practice with one of our fetching bibs? We have youth and adult sized bibs for 10 [okay, only youth sizes for this one!], 50, 100, 250, and 500 runs, as well as for 25 volunteering stints and "I'm running on my birthday".

My biggest 'shout-out', though, goes to the volunteers who joined me and enabled the run to happen. Whether you'd been on the roster for a few weeks or responded to the mid-week appeal - possibly thinking that it would be too hot to run?! - your good humour before, during, and after the run are always very much appreciated. [I know that this is something we 'keep banging on about', but runners may have noticed there were only two people scanning barcodes on Saturday rather than the normal three. We only send e-mails and social media posts when we don't have enough volunteers to cover the key roles; the fact that they've become a weekly event is no more welcome by the organising team than I guess it is by the recipients. If everybody volunteered once for each twenty runs they did, we'd always be covered; if you're not sure what's involved or are nervous about 'the responsibility' - although there really is nothing to be nervous about - talk to any of the core team and we can take you through what's required or even find you a minder for your first occasion.]

Anyway, after a mixed forecast for the middle of the week it looks as though we might get some decent weather again next Saturday. I know where I'm going to be, and I hope to see you there too!

Nick Macey
Run Director

This week 242 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 39 were first timers and 30 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 28 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 24 volunteers:

Tony CRONIN • Sheree WAKEFIELD • Simon RICHARDSON • Paddy HAYNES • Alistair PAGNAMENTA • Sera RELTON • Lucy KHAN • Kurt TRINDER • Brian GREEN • Cheri HADEN • Stuart HADEN • Chris WADE • Kim HOPKINSON • Jack EATON • Natalie MILES • Tom SHEPHERD • Nick MACEY • Sarah DES RIVIERES • Abigail SMITH • Thomas RICHARDSON • James KENNARD • Finn SHEPHERD • Jo TRINDER • Melissa MORLEY

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

The male record is held by Ian KIMPTON who recorded a time of 16:30 on 4th April 2015 (event number 27).
The female record is held by Amelia PETTITT who recorded a time of 18:07 on 20th June 2015 (event number 38).
The Age Grade course record is held by Lilian CARPENTER who recorded 87.73% (28:40) on 29th June 2019 (event number 243).

Banbury parkrun started on 27th September 2014. Since then 6,551 participants have completed 47,993 parkruns covering a total distance of 239,965 km, including 8,510 new Personal Bests. A total of 682 individuals have volunteered 5,115 times.


Duke of Edinburgh Volunteering – Event #246

The 20th of July hosted the 246th Banbury parkrun and made way for a new Run Director, Jo Woodbridge (my Mum) who carried out the role for the first time. Despite being nervous, she aced it and made a good first impression.
This now leads me onto my experience as a Run Director.
For the past 6 months, I woke up early and volunteered every Saturday carrying out most roles as part of my bronze D of E award. This included, marshalling, barcode scanning, timekeeping and a host of other roles found on the roster sheet culminating in my being RD. My favourite role was most certainly being the Run Director as I had to lead the event and in doing this it allowed me to gain experience, maturity and teamwork skills all of which are very important for adulthood.
I learnt just how much of a complex operation the amazing core team carry out behind the scenes as there are so many things to do and check including: results, position tokens and the volunteer roster to name but a few. If anyone reading this has not volunteered before, please consider it as we can’t run the event without you.
The day itself started muggy, but soon morphed into a sunny one nearer the end. There were 4 milestones in total: Adrian Evans and Simon Hook both ran their 50ths, Wendy and Maddie Carter carried out their 25th volunteer stints and Ben Miller also completed his 50th run at the age of 9! Big congratulations to all of you on these great achievements.
With 42 first timers; 27 new PBs and our farthest tourist coming from Scotland, it was a successful parkrun for all.
Daniel Woodbridge
D of E Volunteer

The event was made possible by our fantastic volunteers:

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

The male record is held by Ian KIMPTON who recorded a time of 16:30 on 4th April 2015 (event number 27).
The female record is held by Amelia PETTITT who recorded a time of 18:07 on 20th June 2015 (event number 38).
The Age Grade course record is held by Lilian CARPENTER who recorded 87.73% (28:40) on 29th June 2019 (event number 243).

Banbury parkrun started on 27th September 2014.

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