It’s about the doing it, not about the times

Basingstoke parkrun #614, 16th November 2019, Run Report by Alastair Bridgman

Firstly well done to all 601 people who decided to start their weekend with a burst of activity in the glorious winter sunshine. Whether you walked, ran, or did a bit of both, well done to all of you. It was forecast to be freezing but the sun came out and brought blue skies and warmth to this week’s event.

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This week I decided to help and encourage Ania, my 12 year old step daughter round the course. In September Ania broke her arm and has only been out of a cast for a week and a half. Her fitness has naturally decreased in this time but after much consideration in the week we thought it would be a good idea to use it as an easy run to start getting her fitness back up. The plan was to start slowly and just get to the end. With the help of one of her friends, Bethan, we ran and talked. That was until we got halfway up tennis court hill when the talking seemed to just stop! A little encouragement at the start of the 2nd lap from Bethan and we started to run a bit faster. We ran the whole way, and managed to run each mile quicker than the last. I was very proud of Ania to keep going and it will do her the world of good as she becomes more active once again. Parkrun can mean many things to different people but just getting out and being active is the one common link everyone has. You don’t always have to go for a pb, it can be about helping others back to fitness, helping someone's motivation or any other reason to make someone’s run just a little more special.

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Well done to the 26 first-timers and the 28 who were new to Basingstoke and the 57 who managed a Personal Best. And a very special welcome to the new Hook Runners who completed their ABC course and got their medals. This is one of the most important parts of parkrun, that it is totally inclusive to everyone of all abilities and is a great place to start your journey towards being more active.

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Congratulations to those who are further along the path and have made parkrun a regular part of their lives. Richard Brand, Phoebe Davis, Fiona Draper and Charley Draper completed their 50th run today. Craig Gilbert and Guy McIntyre are up to 100 runs, and there was an unofficial milestone for Barry Shepherd in his 150th. Kemuel Dean Solomon was doing his 100th different parkrun event by visiting Basingstoke, which is an impressive achievement.

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Thank you very much to Gordon Hossick, for being the Run Director today and at many other events over the past couple of years. We wish you good luck and a safe trip around the world next year and hope to see you back again on your return.

With the inevitable increase in rain this season, the ground is getting muddier and the paths are getting more slippery. We need to prioritise safety over times and think about running around the slipperiest areas, rather than through them. Please keep to the outside of all the poles and markers. Several people were running on the inside but that will not give you a full 5k of running meaning your time will not be an honest 5k time. It is worth taking a minute to think about this as you plan your route around the park and your overtaking.

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From now on, over the winter months, all our times are likely to be slightly slower than they were in the summer. With the colder air, the damper atmosphere and the slipperiness beneath us, it is inevitable that we may lose a few seconds here and there, and this will reflect the season rather than our fitness. However, the effort that we put in now will reap rewards when the ground is harder.

The event was made possible by 50 volunteers, thank you to all of you: Alison Rachel JONES • Caroline PARTNER • Avi GOVIND • Grant HODGSON • Alison JAMES • Tommy MILLAR • Dave HOPE • Matt PILLINGER • Karen TURNER • Brian WORTH • Frankie WELLINGS • Lorna GORDON • Jonathan RUDDLE • Ryan PARTNER • Gemma MOSELEY • Rich EBURNE • Ben HASTINGS • Mark NORRIS • Mark COUGHLIN • Glen JEPSON • Jane EWING • Boyd JNO-LEWIS • Emma COLLINS • Mike STANFORD • Mike HEDDERLY • Jack HEDDERLY • Gary JEPSON • Lisa HEDDERLY • Denise HOPE • George HEDDERLY • Lisa HOTTEN • Paul STREETER • Lisa FIXTER • Gordon HOSSICK • Tom HARDING • Peter RAILTON • Alastair BRIDGMAN • Mike ATHROLL • Chris TOWNLEY • Ivy EBURNE • Halszka KONIECZEK • Katie TURNER • Paloma DYER • Sarah GAMBRILL • Susan SHAPLAND • Barbara WEST • Dave OXLADE • Sue JACKSON • Deborah RIVERS • Pooja AGICHA

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Remember – and thanks for 100 parkruns

Basingstoke parkrun #613, 9th November 2019, Run Report by Peter Chiverton

This week in November brings the theme of Remembering. There’s “Remember remember the 5th of November” reminding us of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. And 11th November is Remembrance Day, where we remember those who have lost their lives or suffered in wars past and present, and at 11am poppy wreaths are laid at the War Memorials in the towns and villages of the UK – including Basingstoke at our own War Memorial Park.

Today, Sandra Powell was remembering too. In July 2017 Sandra came along to Basingstoke parkrun for the first time, and since then she has completed 103 parkruns. Sandra is one of our regular visually impaired parkrunners and if you speak to her you’ll find that she looks forward very much to her weekly trips around War Memorial Park – having guided her around the park a number of times she gets so many encouraging shouts as people pass her, and we have a good old chin wag as we go.

Sandra using her cane to point the way!

Sandra has volunteered at parkrun before as well – she’s been a Tail Walker while being guided around the course. She wanted to have a go at a different volunteer role having reached her 100 parkruns, so Sandra and I were marshalling today. If you missed us, we were at the point below the sports pavilion where you turn sharp left onto the grass and head toward the finish. We were doing our best to encourage you all as you completed your parkrun, on what turned out to be a cold and frosty morning when we arrived at the park, but then the sun came out and it turned into a lovely November day, rather more pleasant for marshalling than I guess it was last weekend in the wind and rain. Thank you to all the parkrunners who showed their appreciation as they passed us today.


I know we mention the importance of volunteering every week at Basingstoke parkrun. But why should I volunteer at our parkrun? Here are some suggestions:

  • You’re vital to Basingstoke parkrun! Each week we need 40-45 volunteers to make the event happen – some during the week, some on Saturday morning that still allow you to parkrun, and some that mean you volunteer instead of completing a run. And so when you do volunteer you earn the gratitude of your fellow parkrunners and become one of those hi-vis heroes out on the course.
  • If you are injured such that you cannot run, it's a way to give back to the parkrun community and to remain part of it. In fact, looking for a way of keeping in contact with fellow runners while injured is the reason parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt set up Bushy Park parkrun back in 2004, so you would be in good company.
  • Friendships: I have got to know some fellow parkrunners properly while volunteering with them.
  • You can get experience that will stand you in good stead in other areas of your life. For instance Basingstoke parkrun welcomes Duke of Edinburgh volunteers to help us put on our parkruns. Or some of the roles (like Run Director or Volunteer Co-ordinator) might be useful to put on your CV – the roles use skills that fit into many different job areas.
  • It’s fun! Sandra mentioned that it made a lovely change to see and cheer on our fellow parkrunners, as there are some who she never encounters when she parkruns because of the difference in speed.
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    I know that for some people volunteering can be difficult – you may have commitments before or after parkrun that make it tricky to do. Or you may be worried about getting something wrong. But please consider – just as a parkrun needs its parkrunners (otherwise all of the marshals would be standing around cheering along other walkers in the park, which would be a bit weird) it also needs volunteers every week to safely operate it. And if Sandra who is visually impaired can volunteer and enjoy it immensely, or our teenage DofE volunteers, or even children (with supervision), or older people, then so can just about anyone else. So don't let worrying about things going wrong put you off. Please email after taking a look at where there might be gaps in the roster ( or talk to the Run Director at any parkrun if you want to know more.


    So what happened at today’s parkrun?

    570 people completed today’s parkrun. After the dips in attendance of the last couple of weeks due to the Rugby World Cup matches and especially last week’s abysmal weather, that was a huge boost (more than doubling last week’s attendees). Well done if you were one of the 56 attendees who managed a PB – special kudos to Elizabeth Hopkins doing her 222nd parkrun and 45th at Basingstoke – she got her 12th PB at Basingstoke this year alone; and to Jill Hazelton who was completing her 105th parkrun (39th at Basingstoke) who managed a PB here for the first time in almost five years.


    Fifteen people did their very first parkrun today – a huge welcome to you if you were one of them, and we hope you will be back soon to try to get a PB next time. And welcome also to the twenty first time visitors to Basingstoke – we hope you enjoyed parkrunning with us and that you will come back to visit very soon.


    Congratulations to the following who reached parkrunning milestones that earn you a T-shirt:
    Junior Lydia Jenkins: 10th parkrun (white shirt)
    Charlie Bellsham, Hannah Bonner and Gerard Dooner: 50th parkrun (red)
    Steven Lock and Rowan Softley: 100th parkrun (black)
    Unofficial milestones were reached by Jenny Froud (150), Ann McKenzie-Ayling (200) and Andy V Cullen (300 parkruns).
    Volunteering milestones were reached by Lydia Vickers and Sarah Gambrill, both volunteering at their 25th event (purple shirt).


    What’s it like parkrunning when visually impaired?

    I’ve asked this question to Sandra before as we’ve gone around the park. The main thing she described was the liberation of being able to do something that most of us take for granted.
    However if you want to find out, you could do what today’s Run Director Paul Moulton did a few weeks back. Having done this he wrote a report on what he had done with his running club Hatch Warren Runners, and with his permission I have included an edited version here.

    Blind leading the Blind

    “On the weekend 12th October at Basingstoke parkrun I had the opportunity to experience what it was like to be a guide runner for a visually Impaired runner. I also got to experience what it might be like to be a visually Impaired runner being guided. Talking to Peter Chiverton prior to the run, he mentioned that the Basingstoke Guide Running Group that he is a member of, had brought along eye masks and tethers available for anyone who wanted to try out guiding. Another parkrunner, Dave Barber, had the same thought so we buddied up. I started off wearing the mask with Dave guiding. We assembled at the back of the pack and then we were off. Instantly a number of unsettling feelings become apparent. Without the benefit of sight, balance is compromised and it takes a while to get used to. Also, there is the uncertainty that, even though you have a guide, you are going to run into a tree or another runner and that it will hurt. That feeling didn’t leave me until we swapped after the first lap. I have seen VI runners just holding the strap while running but I found more comfort in being able to hold on to Steve’s forearm. It allowed him to steer me more accurately and gave me some balance feedback. Another challenge is the voices of other parkrunners. Suddenly hearing someone talk when you don’t know they are there makes you think you are about to run into them, or them into you. Constant commentary from the guide is needed to anticipate everything. After swapping so that I was now guiding, it quickly becomes apparent how much information needs to be relayed to the VI parkrunner in order for them to feel comfortable. Transitions from path to grass, tree roots, puddles, corners, other runners in proximity and most importantly the finish – time to stop running!! I found it quite informative to see this from both sides and would certainly consider becoming a VI guide. If anyone is interested in doing what I did, there is an eye mask and tether kept with the parkrun hi-vis. Why not find a friend and have a go? If nothing else, you will have a new perspective on what VI runners experience every time they run.”

    So that's it for today. But Remember - there is a new parkrun next Saturday for you to be part of!



    Can’t quite remember the club that were volunteering this weekend…

    Basingstoke parkrun #612, 2nd November 2019, Run Report by Cami Cameron

    Would the biggest sporting event to happen this Saturday be cancelled due to wind and rain? Not with the guys and gals from Hi5 on hand to fill the volunteer roster.

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    Wait - you didn’t think I was going to talk about the little rugby match did you! Not when there’s parkrun about! You may not know this but at time of writing parkrun has over 6 million registered runners and happens in 22 different countries! (
    Basingstoke was actually the 10th event in this country and the last one to be called a Time Trial before the change of name to parkrun...

    This Saturday was extra special to me as the running group HI5 Runners Rooksdown that I’m part of stepped up to cover all the volunteering roles.

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    HI5 recently celebrated its 2nd birthday, and in the past year has grown in size quite considerably. Very much like parkrun the group is made up of a mix of abilities and ages.

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    Also like parkrun it runs on the ethos of ‘The more the merrier’.

    I did think at 8:45 as the Run Director I might cancel as only the volunteers were at the briefing in the cold, wind and rain,

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    but then some parkrunners started to appear so we pressed on. In fact 272 braved the weather to join the run.
    The cold definitely had got to me because I made the terrible faux pas of forgetting to congratulate the milestone runners. Junior Heidi Lloyd reached her 10th run; Graham Kent completed his 100th run; Tommy Miller reached the unofficial 200 runs. Making it to an incredible 250 runs was David Burrell. Many congratulations and well done for completing your milestone runs in the rain.

    I also forgot to thank the volunteers! I think on our next pub run I may be buying a very expensive round of drinks. There were a few experienced volunteers present who were there to support the HI5ers, many of whom hadn’t volunteered before at parkrun or were doing a role they had never done before. Thank you from me and HI5 to Mike Athroll, Paloma Dyer, Lisa Hedderly, Mike Stanford, Jack Hedderly, George Hedderly, Tommy Miller, Mark Norris, Caroline Partner, Ryan Partner and Peter Railton.

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    I did remember to welcome any runners new to parkrun, and was surprised and impressed that there were people who turned out on such a horrific day weatherwise to start their parkrun journey. Eight people in fact chose to do so this Saturday; if I had a hat I’d take it off to you, though it would likely still be sopping wet... Well done Ssarah Evans, Gregory Roper, Catherine Aulman, Natalie Pearson, Alison Wall, Polly Bryant, Libby Penn and Aneesha Sainudeen. We also welcomed 11 first time visitors to Basingstoke - sadly I forgot to ask where people had travelled from.

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    think this little one visited but didn’t have a barcode

    Also completing special runs were Byrony Fernandez and Alison Wall who graduated from the first Couch to 5k course run by HI5 Runners Rooksdown
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    The parkrun worldwide age-graded record holder is Fauja Singh with 179.04%, set at Valentines Parkrun with a time of 38:34 on 31 March 2012 the day before his 101st birthday. On Saturday Tim Ellis finishing 6th position had the highest age-grade of 78.98%. Alison James had the 2nd highest age-grading of 77.12%.

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    Well done to all the runners that joined myself and HI5 at Basingstoke parkrun this week. Hopefully no one will be nursing a cold, and trusting you all managed to warm up, dry off and feel normal again before we do it all again this coming Saturday, though if we can cancel any rain, wind or cccccold weather from joining us, I am sure all the runners and volunteers will be very thankful.


    How to stay calm and keep parkrunning

    Basingstoke parkrun event #611, 26th October 2019; Run Report by Penny Metcalf

    On this damp and blustery Saturday morning only 376 people came to Basingstoke parkrun. A good two hundred decided to stay in the warm and dry and watch the rugby, hence guaranteeing a great position number for everyone who turned up. If you came today you quite possibly got your highest Basingstoke position number (for some time at least) which is likely to be rivalled only by next Saturday’s event - already an incentive for coming along.

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    We had 9 brave new parkrunners (well done on such a poor weather morning) and 14 new to Basingstoke (visiting from such places as Poole, Alice Holt and Seaton). There were also 32 personal bests, and one 12th birthday - happy birthday to Bethan Mason who ran her 215th parkrun - no mean feat for someone who has just turned 12.

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    Milestones: Well done to junior Samuel Kemp for doing his tenth parkrun, Oleg PH and Sam Kerr completing their 50th parkruns, and John Mannion for getting all the way to his 250th parkrun. An unofficial milestone was also reached by Chris Furness who impressively was completing his 400th parkrun. Catherine Gerlach was volunteering for the 25th time so will soon be in possession of a purple volunteering shirt. And Basingstoke's Queen of Barcode Scanning Lisa Hedderley was scanning your barcodes for an amazing 200th time (not an official milestone but still worth celebrating).

    Thank you very much to Tony Moore and the team of 41 volunteers who kindly stood in gale force winds and still managed to cheer everyone on at the same time.

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    The excited and/or anxious buzz surrounding the start line made me think that it could be timely to take a minute to think about the pre-run nerves that can attack before anything from a parkrun to a marathon regardless of the runner’s experience or pace. If you are someone who tends to experience pre-run jitters it can be useful to acknowledge it with even something as simple as ‘Here come the butterflies’. Just labelling the feeling can help give you some distance from it. You could ask yourself, ‘I feel anxious about...what exactly?’.

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    This might help you understand what exactly is causing the anxiety which can be the first step in managing it. There are things you can control and things you can’t. You might feel frustrated about an injury or illness that has hampered your training, but we can have little or no control over many of the random life events that get in the way. We can focus on getting there on time and on what we have achieved so far. Sometimes just slowing your breathing and counting your breath can help calm you down.

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    Sometimes it can help to take yourself away from the buzzing crowds for a little warm up/calm down. Sometimes it can help to confide in someone how you feel or exchange some words with someone about something completely different, like the weather. You might find that they feel just the same. Or that saying something out loud helps to distract you. parkrun is the perfect place to practice managing running related anxiety and parkrunners are always ready to support and help their fellow runners.

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    Next Saturday will be great because some people will choose to watch large men running around a big square of grass, but we will be doing it for ourselves (albeit without any egg shaped balls to chase). See you there.



    Basingstoke parkrun event #610, 19th October 2019; Run Report by Lynn Brastock

    491 runners completed this week’s parkrun, on a beautiful, bright, sunny and warmish October morning. 15 were new to parkrun and another 15 were visiting us from other parkruns around the country; welcome to you all and I hope you enjoyed your run and will return again soon. A tremendous 70 people got themselves a shiny new PB; congratulations to you all. Our milestone runners this week were Pietro Ferizolla doing his 10th junior run and Rhiannon Perryment doing her 50th run. An unofficial 150 milestone goes to Emma Roberts. Also Annie Winfield-Shearer volunteered at her 25th event. Congratulations to each one of you also!


    My title for today’s report comes from listening to a Dad encouraging his lad to complete the whole 5k this morning (albeit part of his encouragement didn’t sit well with me - getting the lad to cut the corner at the lamp post)! This to me was wrong in so many ways, but it was that which alerted me to what he was doing i.e. giving encouragement, which I loved! As they continued around the course I could tell that “Dad” was making the run/walk fun for the lad; words like “We’ll just run to the lady in grey, and then we can take a break.” and similar words were lovely to hear. Just last week a lady said to a friend of mine, “Can I keep running with you? I don’t want to walk at all this week.” This was encouragement for both parties and indeed they both ran all the way round together. Think about how you can encourage others at parkrun; your friends, family, other people who run at a similar time to you each week (who until you went to parkrun, you had never even met)! My own encouragement for getting a little faster, comes from trying to catch Ken Thake each week, and in turn his encouragement to run faster comes from trying to stay ahead of me (he succeeds most weeks)!


    Also in the wider world, whilst you may never be fast enough to beat what was Paula Radcliffe’s 16 year old world record; Brigid Kosgei was encouraged by her friends, family, coach and did just that. How her times apply to running 5k at a parkrun has been worked out by our own statistician Matt Pillinger. Here are his findings:

    After Eliud Kipchoge ran a World’s best* marathon time last Saturday, Brigid Kosgei broke the Women’s World Record, which was set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003, finishing in 2:14:04. So, following on from last week’s 1:59:40 in parkrun terms, here is 2:14:04 on the same basis
    Brigid averaged 3:11 per KM, so 15:53 for a parkrun, but running 8.4 parkruns back to back
    Only 2 parkruns in Britain have a faster women’s course record (Cardiff, Charlotte Arter – 15:50 & Long Eaton, Jessica Piasecki – 15:53)
    The 8.4 fastest women’s UK parkrun PB’s total 2:15:00 – so those 9 speedy women running back to back would have been beaten by 1 person!
    Last week’s Basingstoke first female finisher was Lisa Hale in 20:50, a hypothetical Brigid ghost running last Saturday would have finished when Lisa had covered 3.8km – so just past the playground at the top of the park.

    *The difference between a World best and a World record is that a World record is set under conditions that don’t qualify it as a World record – so for Eliud Kipchoge he ‘broke the rules’ as follows – it wasn’t in an official race, the pacers were rotating and fluids were provided from moving bikes rather than him taking them from tables. Interesting, Paula’s 2003 WR was revised to a World best in 2007, as Paula ran with male pacemakers, which were banned for Women’s WR attempts subsequently – which is why in big marathons the elite women set off before the elite men – to prevent the men giving them a deliberate or inadvertent tow.

    Thank you Matt!


    Hopefully the Basingstoke leaderboard below will encourage you to continue with your attendance at parkrun and the benefits it provides.

    Basingstoke parkrun Home Runners - Most Runs Leaderboard (Top 25 as at 19th October 2019)

    Here is the latest update on the Basingstoke parkrun leaderboard. These 25 parkrunners have a
    combined total of 10,789 runs completed at many different events across the UK and overseas.

    parkrun list of most runs

    Thank you Malcolm Brown.


    And big, big thanks go to all the volunteers, today and every week from the core team who give up many hours each week to make sure that you have a safe, fun, timed run and those who give up a run to man the equipment and marshal points. Have you volunteered yet? You’ll be encouraged to know that most, if not all, volunteers love the time they spend manning the timers, scanners, handing out tokens, keeping the finish funnel moving and encouraging the runners as they marshal the corners - and helping to set out and collect in the markers means you can still run! Please contact to get your name down on the volunteer list; you’ll not regret it. If you volunteer once every 17 runs, we may never have to put a call out for volunteers at the last minute ever again!

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    And lastly a mention to the people that finished first today Tom Harding in 17:24 followed by Kieran Ruffle in 18:09 and Hari Bakham in 18:41. Alison James was first lady in 22:09 with Anna Melville with a PB of 23:06 and Melanie Todd in 24:24 following. The last people over the line were the tail walkers. Oh! Another volunteer opportunity right there…

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