“Thinking Day!”

Banstead Woods Report for Event 667 – 22nd February 2020

Report by Alison Cattermole         Photos by Kelly Marie Mason

Link to this week’s photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157713209594567

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Compared with some of the weather we’ve had recently, today was a rather bland day at BWp. The ground under foot was muddy and in some places free water splashed our legs. But otherwise, the temperature was relatively mild for the time of year and there was no precipitation of note, at least not during the event (I did get rained on walking home). It was good to be joined by many participants from Nonsuch, whose course couldn’t be used. It made for a large BWp of 317!

But whilst the weather might not have been particularly memorable, there were two milestones that most definitely are. First, one of our regular octogenarians, Colin Sutherland, reached his 50 runs – a fantastic achievement at any age, but especially when you are over 85! And then George Frogley, celebrated his 85th birthday by running his 466th parkrun and moving into a new age category. He also provided participants and volunteers with some sweets at the finish. Thanks George and congratulations to you both!

But, back to the weather, we are SO lucky at Banstead parkrun. I have written before about how seldom it rains between 9 and 10am on a Saturday morning, a bit of light drizzle; some mega-drips from the branches of overhead trees; a brief shower on the walk over. In over 6 years I have never got completely drenched in all my 151 parkrun and 91 volunteer experiences.  But this last month has made me wonder whether we have some guardian angel looking out for us. Two mega storms, Ciara and Denis, over two consecutive weekends, with torrential rain and howling gale force winds creating rivers of water flowing down the various paths we use at BWp and localised flooding. And did it impact parkrun? No, it did not, save for some rather muddy conditions. On each occasion, the rain and winds held off until parkrunners were safely home. We must be doing something right!

Unless you were a girl guide, you probably won’t know that today is Thinking Day or rather World Thinking Day as its been known since 1999. I was a girl guide in the 1960s, I was in the Kingfisher Patrol and loved my time in the 2nd Crownhill Guide Company which was based in Plymouth where I grew up. Thinking Day is a day when girl guides think about their fellow guides in all the countries of the world, the meaning of Guiding, and its global impact. Of course, we didn’t use the word ‘global’ 50 years ago, that seems to be a relatively new word, but we did use the time to think about friendship and what we had in common with those from other lands. We also raised money for the cause. The original idea when the concept of Thinking Day was initiated was that each guide would save a penny (that’s an old penny!). By the time I was a guide, we were still saving pennies but for some reason, we would always shine the pennies by soaking them overnight in vinegar. The pennies would start off dark brown and dull and by morning they would be bright and golden. It seemed like a miracle to me back then; alchemy at work!

And why am I mentioning this in a parkrun report? Well, partly because I can, there are no rules about what I have to write about, but mainly because the concept of Thinking Day is such a good one. These days, the Girl Guides Association provides a topic to focus the thinking and this year, 2020, the theme is: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

And here is the link with parkrun (thanks for staying with me), because parkrun is in its concept one of the most diverse, equal and inclusive sporting events ever established. Everyone can come to parkrun and take part. There is no entrance fee and our founder, Paul Sinton-Hewett, has made it a life time promise that it will always be free.

One aspect of parkrun which contributes to its inclusivity is that everyone arrives in running gear, which is a great leveller. You cannot tell from their attire a person’s social class, how educated they are, what sort of job they have or even if they have a job. All these things are invisible and irrelevant. When it comes to running 5k, it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have or how many 0s there are on your salary. Whether you own a 5-bedroomed home, rent a flat or sofa-surf; drive a Ferrari (I did actually spot a rather smart Aston Martin with DB5 in the number plate this morning), arrive on a bike; or shanks pony as we do. Everyone is welcome.

parkrun’s equality is demonstrated by the fact that it doesn’t even matter whether you are any good at running (thank goodness), aspire to be Mo Farah or the lovely Dina Asher Smith, belong to a running club or just want to walk the route. Everyone runs the same distance at the same time. It’s just that someone crosses the finish line first and someone last. And you don’t even have to take part in the actual running. If you want, as many people do, you can volunteer to ensure that the event takes place.

Turning up each week is a diverse mass of humanity of all shapes and sizes, ages ranging from under 11 to well over 80 years old with around 30% identifying as women at BWp (I believe worldwide it is higher).

If there is an area where we do not score as highly for diversity as we should it is in the area of ethnic diversity. 20% of the UK population comes from black and ethnic minority groups and in London it is an amazing 44%. Just looking around at parkun, you realise we are clearly still not reaching some groups and that is a tragedy for everyone. It is an observation you can see in other areas of life. I sing in a large London choir which is almost entirely white as is my community orchestra. My father-in-law is involved in the University of the 3rd Age and he says that ethnic diversity is a problem for that organisation too. So diversity remains a work in progress for many activities in the UK, not just parkrun.

And to finish, here is a quote from Lord Baden Powell who started the scouting movement of which the Girl Guides are a part.

“The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.” 

I think he was right. And I think parkrun does just that – even more reason to be involved.

Have a good week!

Statistics 

This week 317 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 47 were first timers and 45 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 46 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 18 volunteers: Chris PHELAN • Sue ESSLEMONT • Don ESSLEMONT • Waller PAUL • Kelly Marie MASON • Kevin LEWIS • Nicholas FOSTER • Carol Ann HOARE • Lorraine GARROD • Usha STEVENS • Kieran LEWIS • David GOODMAN • Mark OLIVER • Alison CATTERMOLE • Natalie LAING • Charlotte MACLEOD • Rachelle NUNES • Hannah BELSHAW

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

The male record is held by Kevin QUINN who recorded a time of 15:25 on 7th June 2008 (event number 54).

The female record is held by Natalie HARVEY who recorded a time of 17:01 on 30th July 2011 (event number 216).

The Age Grade course record is held by Clare ELMS who recorded 89.66% (18:42) on 26th April 2014 (event number 361).

Banstead Woods parkrun started on 16th June 2007. Since then 11,578 participants have completed 109,244 parkruns covering a total distance of 546,220 km, including 16,721 new Personal Bests. A total of 500 individuals have volunteered 11,943 times.

Event Reporter - Alison Cattermole

 

International Women’s Day

Banstead Woods parkrun is pleased to support International Women's Day by celebrating female participation at parkrun.

We would love to welcome as many women and girls as possible to parkrun on Saturday 7 March 2020.

parkrun is for everyone, no matter your age, background, fitness level or gender.

Help us to celebrate this by bringing along a female friend, colleague or family member and walking, jogging, running or volunteering at our event. You could even just come along to watch or cheer.

Read more about what parkrun is doing to support this initiative: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/02/05/help-us-celebrate-female-participation-for-iwdparkrun/

We look forward to seeing you on the 7th March.

Chris Phelan
BWp Event Director

 

A DOG’S TALE

Banstead Woods Report for Event 666 – 15th February 2020

Report by Daisy Dog         Photos by Lee Goddard

Link to this week’s photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157713116577041

BWp report 15 Feb 2020 photo - Tony Filbin

On our way over to the parkrun this morning my human told me about the funky new volunteer hub and reminded me that canines need to be seen and not heard during the run director’s briefing or he’d walk me further down the hill.

I just cant help it. I’ve no idea who or what we are chasing (my human is too slow to get to the front) but its great fun and I get very excited when we line up.When the run director says “lets show our appreciation for today’s volunteers” I do so in the only way I can, by woofing my head off. My human has told me to use this post to apologise to all Banstead parkrunners for this over exuberance.

Before the run the humans were talking about the forthcoming storm, that’s good news to me as it means there will be more puddles to run through next week.

I attended the first timers briefing, more and more humans are attending parkruns which is great because they seem to enjoy it as much as me. A lady from Guildford called Cat (strange name for a human) gave me a wonderful doggie massage which set me up for the run.

At Banstead canines start down the hill, parkrun protocol differs, some don’t allow canines at all, some do but aren’t really suitable such as those with narrow paths next to rivers or canals (I worry my human might fall in) one, Bedgebury pinetum has a completely different start with an extra loop near the end. The only one I am really envious of is Dartford heath where canine volunteers get a hi vis doggie jacket. Banstead, of course, is my favourite.

I lined up with 8 other canines and 247 humans, it was a bigger field than usual as some local parkruns had been called off due to the weather. There was lots of mud and puddles for me to splash through and I got nice words of encouragement from the volunteers at half way (though it was my human who needed encouragement as he was really slow today).

At the end there were lots of humans chatting, it seems they enjoy this even more than the run but I guess that’s the secret of parkrun, getting exercise in wonderful surroundings with a great sense of community – now if only they could provide bonios at the finish.

Statistics

This week 247 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 34 were first timers and 20 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 41 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 25 volunteers: Chris PHELAN • Therese PANETTA • Anne RODEN • David FREEMAN • Kate KNIGHT • Mark THOMPSON • James FREEMAN • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • David MORRIS • Heather FENTON • Phil FENTON • Anthony FILBIN • Sharon O'BYRNE • Lee GODDARD • Elliott BURTON • Tony SAILL • Usha STEVENS • David GOODMAN • Jackie COX • Nick BILLING • Alfie CURNOW • Moray LAING • Charlotte MACLEOD • Kim BARKER

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

The male record is held by Kevin QUINN who recorded a time of 15:25 on 7th June 2008 (event number 54). The female record is held by Natalie HARVEY who recorded a time of 17:01 on 30th July 2011 (event number 216). The Age Grade course record is held by Clare ELMS who recorded 89.66% (18:42) on 26th April 2014 (event number 361).

Banstead Woods parkrun started on 16th June 2007. Since then 11,531 participants have completed 108,927 parkruns covering a total distance of 544,635 km, including 16,676 new Personal Bests. A total of 500 individuals have volunteered 11,925 times.

Event Reporter: Daisy Dog (Tony Filbin had no input)

 

It’s all a game!

Banstead Woods Report for Event 665 – 8th February 2020

Report by John Belshaw                             Photos by Cameron Hale

Link to this week’s photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157713035910023/page1

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201 runners gathered at the start line this morning, and listened to the run director Moray Laing make the pre-run announcements.  Visitors from Birmingham and a couple of milestones – Encsi Nada has reached 150 runs and Sally Skipper has just become a Grandma, - congratulations all.  There was some tension in the air as people were nervously reminded of the spread of Corona-virus by people sneezing and sniffling in the crowd.

The conditions were muddy and perhaps we were lucky as the storm Ciara is forecast to come through on Sunday so just missed the event by 24 hours. My daughter Hannah has started running and volunteering for part of her DoE award, and whilst waiting for her I sat on Alan’s bench and had a chat about how technology is changing participation in sport.

It's all about gamification now isn't it, you know things have become so sophisticated and competitive that many of today’s activities have to be spiced up with incentives, just like a video game, to add excitement and to maximise performance by a few percent.

Of course it's more obvious in professional sport,  pro cyclists all seem to have just the right amount asthma for them to need the medically permissible amount of steroids, but not enough to make them  actually wheezy.  Some female athletes are having hormone treatment to adjust their testosterone levels so that they can compete with other women fairly.  Para-Olympians using springy blades instead of natural lower legs have to limit blade size otherwise they have such an advantage that they beat the best conventional athletes every time.

In swimming there was controversy about shark skin swim suits which gave such an advantage that so many records were broken, in the short period before the new suits were banned, that they had to create new record categories as otherwise the records were simply out of reach.

On social media the gamification of targeted adverts has become so sophisticated that use of them is classed as official weapons-grade technology, so successful have they been at influencing popular opinion.

Of course, non of this is really new, George Orwell wrote about such things in 1948, even though the sophistication and ease by which such things are carried out today, I am sure would astound him were he around to witness it. In 1948 he predicted the total propaganda outpourings of the government, in which everything they communicate could be said to either be completely false, or just generally misleading depending on trajectory of official policy.  Although he got the date wrong, nearly everything he wrote about in 1948, including the Big Brother technology, is happening today, with the tolerance of hate-speak against foreigners and the anaesthetising of the working class with alcohol and cheap thrills, it's all been seen before.

Orwell's thesis was that the methods of the leaders of the communists and the fascists, which start off with seemingly polar attitudes, actually curve round in a circle to meet in the common goal of oppressing the proletariat, the normal working people, which seems, at least to me, to reflect our modern times with chilling accuracy.

And so it is with running, the latest public outrage in the running world is that Nike have gamed the construction of running shoes - they are a bit bouncy and act like a para-Olympian blades, storing energy on the compression, and springing the runner forward.  These Alphafly shoes give enough advantage that Eliot Kipchoge could break the 2 hour marathon barrier. So the question is with gamification present in every part of life should we be concerned by this technology? Some high achievers are so competitive that they bring that attitude with them even to the peaceful forest of Banstead woods, and for sure you know at some point they will bring their Alphafly's with them.

For us normal runners such behaviour is counter-productive, the time and position is less important than the participation, however in other areas of life we should be watchful that we are not ourselves the victim of others gaming the system.

For me, and I am sure most other runners,  parkrun is an escape from the pressures of an over-gamified life, working in IT I spend a lot of time working with technology to extract performance and so at the weekend it is nice to just run through the woods with like-minded people.

The lead man was Andrew Reeves, the leading lady was Sarah Pemberton.

Statistics

This week 201 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 21 were first timers and 29 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 32 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 23 volunteers: Chris PHELAN • Judith MCNICKLE • Therese PANETTA • James CARTWRIGHT • Sue ESSLEMONT • Andrew STALLEY • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • David MORRIS • Rachelle SANDERSON • John BELSHAW • Elliott BURTON • Steve HILL • Nick BILLING • Gail HILL • Tom SANDERSON • Moray LAING • Cameron HALE • Charlotte MACLEOD • Andrew TAYLOR • Rachelle NUNES • Neil EDWARDS • Hannah BELSHAW

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

The male record is held by Kevin QUINN who recorded a time of 15:25 on 7th June 2008 (event number 54). The female record is held by Natalie HARVEY who recorded a time of 17:01 on 30th July 2011 (event number 216). The Age Grade course record is held by Clare ELMS who recorded 89.66% (18:42) on 26th April 2014 (event number 361).

Banstead Woods parkrun started on 16th June 2007. Since then 11,497 participants have completed 108,680 parkruns covering a total distance of 543,400 km, including 16,656 new Personal Bests. A total of 498 individuals have volunteered 11,900 times.

Event reporter: John Belshaw

 

 

 

The Trees

Banstead Woods Report for Event 664 – 1st February 2020

Report by Andy Taylor                              Photos by Jo Moon

Link to this week’s photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp_photographs/albums/72157712932214421

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 “There is unrest in the forest; there is trouble with the trees.
For the maples want more sunlight and the oaks ignore their pleas”

For those of a certain age (50+) and taste in music these lyrics are the opening of one of the classic rock songs of the 1970s and one that I always associate with the Banstead Woods parkrun. It became particular pertinent for me in early January when the band’s drummer of 45 years, and the ‘new boy’ in the band, Neil Peart, lost his three and a half year battle with brain cancer (I can’t imagine what that must be like).

Although not a massive fan of the Canadian band Rush, I do like the song ‘The Trees’ from their 1978 album Hemispheres. It was recorded in the UK and written about the English countryside, specifically the battle for sunlight in woodlands. When asked about the lyrics in 1980, Neil responded, “I was working on an entirely different thing when I saw a cartoon picture of these trees carrying on like fools. I thought, 'What if trees acted like people?’”. Indeed.

Banstead Woods comprises over 250 acres of ancient woodland owned by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and managed in partnership with the Downlands Countryside Management Project. Ancient woodland is defined as land that has been continually wooded since at least 1600, before when planting of woodland was uncommon and was therefore likely to be natural. It is made up of ash, hazel, birch, rowans and some oaks and maples.

Thankfully all the trees in Banstead Woods seem to get on well, at least when we’re around on Saturday mornings. And today was no different when 232 of us were set off by Run Director Elliott Burton for another 5k run through the trees, with 21 people new to Banstead Woods, of which 8 were new to parkrun. The only vocal tourist was a proud Worthingite from the south coast, after another ‘yelp’ was quickly withdrawn, probably realising that Nonsuch is not that impressive.

Despite the heavy conditions under foot (I hadn’t realised it had been so wet), there were 22 PBs from people who will no doubt run even faster as the ground gets firmer.  The first male home was David Freeman and first female was Laura Palmer. Glenn Quarton got the highest Age Grade with an impressive 82.69%. Congratulations to Kelly Mason and Steve Burke who both celebrated 250 runs, the vast majority of which have been through trees at Banstead Woods. And talking of trees how does the song end? When we fast forward we find out that:

“The Maples formed a Union, and demanded equal rights.
The Oaks are just too greedy, we will make them give us light.
But now there’s no more Oak oppression, for they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe and saw”.

And that is something that has happened recently on the final corner as the Woodchip Conservation Volunteers have carried out the ancient practice of woodland coppicing and dead hedging, cutting hazel, ash and lime trees down to the ground to produce new shoots to regenerate the trees and encourage wildlife.  So thank you to them for preserving this ancient woodland and as usual thank you to all the volunteers for allowing Banstead Woods parkrun to happen again this week.

Statistics:

This week 232 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 21 were first timers and 22 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 28 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 21 volunteers:

Chris PHELAN • Tricia ARNOLD • Mike BRYANT • Anne RODEN • Mark THOMPSON • Gill STALLEY • Nicholas FOSTER • Steve O'SULLIVAN • Linda O'SULLIVAN • Nick CAREW-GIBBS • Elliott BURTON • Lisa WEBSTER • Steve HILL • Lindsay PRITCHARD • Alison CATTERMOLE • Stuart ENGLAND • Moray LAING • Charlotte MACLEOD • Andrew TAYLOR • Jo MOON • Hannah BELSHAW

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

The male record is held by Kevin QUINN who recorded a time of 15:25 on 7th June 2008 (event number 54).
The female record is held by Natalie HARVEY who recorded a time of 17:01 on 30th July 2011 (event number 216).
The Age Grade course record is held by Clare ELMS who recorded 89.66% (18:42) on 26th April 2014 (event number 361).

Banstead Woods parkrun started on 16th June 2007. Since then 11,476 participants have completed 108,479 parkruns covering a total distance of 542,395 km, including 16,627 new Personal Bests. A total of 498 individuals have volunteered 11,877 times.

Event Reporter: Andy Taylor

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