Banstead Woods parkrun is cancelled on 2021-05-15 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Jack and the Beanstalk 2

Banstead Woods parkrun

Report by Paul Waller

25 June 2020

Not since Jack decided to take his cow to the market has a trip to the market had such far reaching consequences.

Once upon a time, it was all very simple. We did what we did during the week and then gathered on a Saturday morning for a run round the woods with friends. Occasionally the run would be slightly better than tolerable and we would look forward to doing it again the following week. That is the appeal of parkrun, there is always next week.

Then someone ate a Bat and it all changed.

One summer morning in Wuhan, China, someone decided to go to the market and before you could stock up on toilet rolls and pasta most of us were stuck at home, gatherings were banned and our Saturday mornings were significantly different.

Curiosity drew me out of the house on that first parkrun free Saturday morning. Would I see friends getting their fix or would the woods be devoid of runners, would the dog walkers be marching righteously through the woods grateful that a pandemic had given them the opportunity to reclaim their self-appointed rightful position as the owners of the woods?

Rather pleasingly, I did see several fellow parkrunners on my run through the woods. Greetings were exchanged at a safe social distance, we enquired about each others health and then we were gone.

I have returned to the woods on several Saturday mornings since, often later than our traditional 9.09 start time and I still find plenty of familiar faces to wave to and plenty of dog walkers who whole heartedly object to our presence even as individuals.

At the time of writing, we are still no closer to the return of parkrun. The organisers of the London Marathon are apparently exploring ways for their event to proceed in October and if successful perhaps that could be used as a model that not only parkrun but also other club events adopt. In the meantime ‘Not parkrun’ is the new parkrun (or the new normal parkrun as opposed to the old normal parkrun which is simply known as parkrun).

In last week’s anniversary article Chris encouraged everyone to write a few words and talk about what they’ve been up to since we last met. If you’ve got something to tell us about don’t forget to drop the office a line (

Reporter: Paul Waller


Banstead Woods parkrun 13th Anniversary 2020

16 June 2007 was the beginning of our lovely event and each anniversary, at the nearest weekend to it, we celebrate with a bring and share post parkrun party and presentations.

Sadly, we can’t be together for our 13th anniversary due to the Coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions on public gatherings that has meant missing our weekly injection of parkrun and community bonding that lifts us all up for the weekend ahead.

For most of our history we’ve been tucked away in our own little beautiful woodland corner off the general radar of other parkrunners providing almost a feeling of seclusion as our community gather to warmly greet each other every Saturday.

You’ll not be surprised to hear that despite the lockdown I’m often still seen in the woods as I drop by on one of my runs or walks in the area. It is always wonderful to see many of you enjoying our woods for your own personal parkrun or general enjoyment. It always brightens up my day seeing you and exchanging a range of distance elbows; high fives and some interesting run/dance routines as we try to maintain the social distancing in the woods!

During April and May the carpet of bluebells was exceptional this year following such a warm and dry Spring. The same can be said for our parkrun path. After enduring months of rain during Winter we now have a perfect trail of dry paths for our course that is definitely in pb condition (or it was until last night’s rain)!

At our anniversary it is always my pleasure to recognise those that have had a special year in their running by awarding the Anne Roden Trophies to the male and female runners of the year; together with the Dave Davies Shield for the volunteer of the year; the runners up and all who have volunteered at BWp. That pleasure is postponed this year and we’ll have to await our next anniversary in 2021when society will have settled down and we’ll be enjoying the new normal.

As Event Director I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and making friends with many wonderful people who have created such a special community. In those 13 years a lot of people have given up a lot of their time and their lives to support me to ensure that we delivered a safe, inclusive, quality parkrun experience for all. You have shown the event great warmth, camaraderie and respect. You are some of the most wonderful people anyone could ever have the opportunity to share time with and I thank you all for this.

Our current management team of Gill Stalley, Sue Esslemont, Linda O’Sullivan, Paul Waller and Therese Panetta have been a total rock of support for the event. They have shared the workload and given the event the benefit of their collective vast life experience and values to support the event in making balanced decisions behind the scenes. I place on record my thanks to them, and their predecessors, for all their hard work, friendship and wisdom.

We introduced a few changes this year including expanding the team of Run Directors. That was a tremendous success with Dave Freeman, Elliott Burton, Kevin Lewis and Moray Laing picking up this role with great vigour, enthusiasm and success. Thank you.

The work that Gill Stalley does to spearhead our Volunteer Co-Ordinator role stands out for individual mention. Gill puts in an enormous amount of time to keep in touch with you all to ensure our monthly roster is complete and indeed we are delighted that you support us in these roles. Volunteering is one of the most rewarding experiences. It is genuinely uplifting and has the subtle outcome of bringing out the best in everyone supporting us to deliver our weekly BWp. Therese Panetta provides amazing support in the VC role as well and for many weeks of the year Therese steps in to organise the roster and manage the volunteers as Gill takes a well earned break. To strengthen the VC role further Natalie Laing also joined this top team. Natalie was getting further involved just as lockdown came along. Natalie has already made her mark in the team though with lots of constructive contributions. Thanks to Gill, Therese and Natalie.

Our Patron, Anne Roden, is so often with us as our No.1 timekeeper. Anne is the greatest multitasking volunteer you could ever meet. Whilst on the finish line capturing your time she can be seen sharing her Saturday morning with the young athletes (and their parents) that she coaches 3 or 4 times a week at South London Harriers. Anne’s international athletic career at the half and full marathon distance are just some of the credentials that Anne’s knowledge brings to development of those athletes. Thank you Anne for all the support and kindness that you’ve always shown to BWp and to me personally.

At the anniversary there would be lots of cake eating and chinking of cups so I invite you to raise a glass to these wonderful people that make BWp what it is.

In addition to our wonderful community of runners (who we see most weeks in the woods) there are a number of others who help with the infrastructure of the event. We thank Reigate and Banstead Borough Council for their continued support and Natural England who allow it to take place in an SSSI. The Woodchips (conservation group) who do so much to maintain the woods (often dealing with fallen trees). The Mint PH who have continued to welcome us for our post parkrun coffee. All the local running clubs in the area are very supportive and it is always with a warm welcome that we share landmark runs or special occasions with them and indeed all of our parkrunners.

Establishing the world’s third parkrun event was probably my greatest personal achievement; seeing it develop and be embraced as a community event has been a wonderful experience. Lots of friendships have been made.

Although I am currently the longest serving Event Director in the world (of some 2000 events) I have decided that it is time to move on and pass the role onto one of our true treasures that you’ll all know so well. Our very own Dave Freeman has agreed to take over as your new ED.

Dave and his family have been supporting the event since the beginning in 2007 and have totally embraced it. I think James (Dave’s son) who is 17 now, did his first event at age 5 and has been with us for all of his youth to date, supported all the way by Dave. Dave has been one of our regular Run Directors during the year and you couldn’t ask for a better person with such wonderful community values, wisdom and communication skills to follow in your footsteps. So I’ll be leaving you in very safe hands to guide you through our parkrun future.

There comes a time in everyone’s lives when you open up a new chapter. Now is that time for me.

It is my intention to officially handover the ED role to Dave at the first event following the restart of parkrun (once we’ve got through the pandemic). Let’s hope that is soon so we can get our Saturdays back to normal!

I’d like to finish by offering you the opportunity of sharing your parkrun news or story with us. We can keep the community thriving during the epidemic with your thoughts and reports which we could publish weekly in the absence of weekly event reports! Just send a message to if you would like to do this.

So I wish you all a great future and thank everyone of you for all that you’ve done to make BWp what it is.


Event Director
18 June 2020


parkrun UK – events cancelled – COVID-19

Hello all,

parkrun hq have cancelled all events across the UK. parkrun's message to all is:

“All parkrun events in the United Kingdom have been suspended with immediate effect due to the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. At this stage we have cancelled events up to the end of March. Please follow our communications channels for ongoing updates. parkrun’s global position is published and will be updated here.”

Take care everyone and we'll look forward to seeing you on the other side of this.

BWp Event Director
18 March 2020


Until we meet again

Banstead Woods Report for Event 670 - 14th March 2020

Report by Elliott Burton              Photos by Andy Taylor

Link to this week's photos:


The world we live in is a crazy one. On the one hand it creates growth within communities, parkrun is but one example of this, people banding together for the good of themselves and for the good of each other. But in one split second it could all be taken away just like that. Enter Covid-19.

Anyone that has even vaguely been keeping up with the news will know all about it. The new virus sweeping the globe, outbreaks all around the world. The warnings are clear, the virus can be fatal, with more and more cases happening every day. The precautions made clear, avoid direct contact where you can, wash your hands regularly (though let’s be honest, any reasonable human being should do that anyway and not need a virus to remind them to do so!).

Places around the world are closing, schools, restaurants, clubs, other commonly crowded areas. The UK has seen nearly 2000 cases already. Sporting events around the world have also been hit, with the euros competition in football pushed back, the grand national suspended, as well as the start of the formula 1 season affected. The virus is a pandemic, where does it end? And what does this have to do with parkrun as a whole?

The answer to that can be summed up as mass gatherings. Mass gatherings as a whole can be an easy hotspot for disease to spread, and such gatherings are disappearing by the day by order of governments worldwide. It’s only a matter of time until such events as parkrun are hit, and thus ties into the title of this report, until we meet again. I certainly hope we are not called off, but to my own mind it seems to only be a matter of time. So, in many ways this report is a plea to you all, take all precautions you can, follow health advice, stay clean, and I wish you all the best if indeed parkrun is suspended in the near future.

Since we’re on parkrun, lets delve into this weeks event, 208 hardy finishers completed the course today, still covered in mud from all the recent downpours, and while today’s event was dry, it was overcast and the heavens did threaten to give us another spring shower. Todays master of ceremonies, Kevin Lewis, got us underway promptly. There were milestones announced, though it seems Kevin has gained my curse of the milestone runners not being there! One milestone in particular who was there was Maria Lawrence, today completing her 500th! Congratulations Maria.

We welcomed 18 first timers today, still a healthy number considering the recent news stories, welcome to you all, always nice to see fresh faces taking on our course for the first time. Conditions this week were not akin to PB running but 14 people still managed to do so, including a near 3 minute improvement for Nathan Taylor, finishing in 4th this morning, and Paul Jackson heading under 24 minutes for the first time, congratulations to you all, proof that PB’s can be attained from even the most treacherous of conditions! The event as a whole saw a smooth running today, with no incidents as far as I was aware. The parkrun clock at Banstead is truly a well put together timepiece.

And so, to next week. One can only hope that the event goes ahead as normal, but should it not, then I hope you all remain safe, remain healthy, and help out others who may be in need however you can. We live in difficult times and in times like this, the parkrun camaraderie can and needs to be spread into the outside world as much as possible. Together, we can move through this, together, we can make things right again. The pandemic will spread, but in time, it can be contained. All we need to do is work together and each do our own part, until we meet again… 


This week 208 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 18 were first timers and 14 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 24 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 19 volunteers:

Chris PHELAN • Therese PANETTA • Andy DAVIS • Kate KNIGHT • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • Phil FENTON • Kevin LEWIS • Nicholas FOSTER • Kerena IVENS • Akshay KUMAR • Elliott BURTON • David GOODMAN • Mark OLIVER • Alison CATTERMOLE • Natalie LAING • 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 11,662 participants have completed 109,900 parkruns covering a total distance of 549,500 km, including 16,767 new Personal Bests. A total of 500 individuals have volunteered 12,005 times.

Event Reporter: Elliott Burton


International Women’s Day

Banstead Woods Report for Event 669 - 7th March 2020

Report by Ian Johnson              Photos by Hannah Belshaw

Link to this week's photos:


As this was the parkrun closest to International Women's Day, which is tomorrow, I thought it only appropriate that my report concentrate on our female runners.

The parkrun tweeter feed had urged us to bring a female friend or relative. I had hoped to be able to base my report on a female relative or friend of mine, but my wife doesn’t like running even when the weather is warm and it is dry underfoot (is that ever going to happen again) so wouldn’t come and my daughter does 3 hours of dance on a Saturday morning and is excused. Some of my fellow AJ’s run school attendees, 2 sisters and their mum, were meant to be attending but chicken pox has struck and they also couldn’t make it. Others were more successful with 4 women taking part in their first ever parkrun and a further 8 joining us in the woods for the first time today.

Therefore I am going to have to take a different tack and look at the history of female participation at the woods. I had hoped to be able to say that today had seen greatest number of women ever but my inability to use the results search function has foiled my attempts at finding that out, however I can report that at event 669 79 participants were female, quite an increase on the 21 who took part in event 1.

In these 669 events there have been 171 different female first finishers with Lisa Rooney this weeks first finisher having taken that spot an amazing 130 times a full 63 more first finishers than her closest challenger Mary James. As a comparison the man with the highest number of first finishers is Kevin Lewis with a measly 48 first finishes (I can talk my highest finish is 79). I know parkrun isn’t a race but Lisa has finished as the first female 2/3rds of her 197 runs in the wood.


Finally of the 20 PB’s achieved today 11 of them were by women, that’s 14% of all female participants today getting a PB, pretty impressive in my eyes

This week 223 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 22 were first timers and 20 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 28 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 21 volunteers:

Sue MCINTYRE • Tim MCINTYRE • Therese PANETTA • Waller PAUL • Gill STALLEY • David MORRIS • Phil FENTON • Nicholas FOSTER • Ian JOHNSON • Nick CAREW-GIBBS • Elliott BURTON • Tony SAILL • Encsi NADAS • Lindsay PRITCHARD • David GOODMAN • Nick BILLING • Alison CATTERMOLE • Moray LAING • Cameron HALE • Oliver CRENOL • 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 11,644 participants have completed 109,692 parkruns covering a total distance of 548,460 km, including 16,753 new Personal Bests. A total of 500 individuals have volunteered 11,986 times.

Event Reporter: Ian Johnson


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