Basingstoke parkrun goes on tour

Basingstoke parkrun #644 – 2nd October 2021 – Run report by Peter Chiverton.

Because of Covid, Basingstoke parkrun has missed out on celebrating TWO birthdays – we should have been celebrating our twelfth birthday parkrun on 4th July 2020 and our thirteenth on 3rd July this year. So Basingstoke parkrun is now a teenager. But parkrun as a whole is well into its teenage years. And 2nd October is a special day of the year for parkrun because it was on 2nd October 2004, SEVENTEEN years ago that thirteen runners lined up at Bushy Park, for the first Bushy Park Time Trial, the event that started off parkrun.

parkrun #1 Bushy
The first thirteen parkrunners at Bushy Park Time Trial

It means that today around 200,000 people will be out this Saturday to run, jog, walk or volunteer at their local free timed 5k parkrun, not just in the UK, but in many other countries around the world. To mark the anniversary of the start of parkrun, the first Saturday in October is known as International parkrun Day (IpD).

So how to celebrate the birthday of parkrun? Some may have decided to visit a different parkrun to their own – in 2019 I visited the birthplace of parkrun, Bushy Park, to celebrate its (then) fifteenth birthday. Some may decide to parkrun at their home event, for me being Basingstoke. But Basingstoke parkrun itself celebrated IpD by going on tour! As Sunday 3rd October is the day of the Basingstoke Half Marathon and 10k, our normal home of War Memorial Park was in the process of being turned into race HQ, so Basingstoke parkrun took a trip of about a mile and a half across to its second home of Crabtree Plantation. We are very privileged to have this alternative home to use when War Memorial Park is not available – including today’s parkrun, on fifty one occasions out of our six hundred and forty four events we have come to Crabtree.


The attendance at Crabtree tends to be lower – it seems that some people avoid running parkrun there. Sometimes this is because they are running the Basingstoke Half Marathon or 10k (or this year the London Marathon) the next day and have decided not to overdo things. Sometimes they decide That Hill is just too much to contemplate. Some therefore decide to volunteer instead. If you are one of those hallowed volunteers, whatever the reason for you volunteering today, thank you for giving your time to allow your fellow runners/ joggers/ walkers to complete their parkrun today. Special thanks to Grant Hodgson our “remote marshal” today who was in War Memorial Park to reroute parkrunners who hadn’t realised about today's course change.


Tales of the unexpected

For those of you who are fairly new to parkrun, you may be able to remember specific different things about all the events you have attended. For those (like me) who have attended a few more, it can become harder to differentiate the parkruns you attend each week. But two things happened for me this week that I have never experienced at parkrun before.
The first was while I was car park marshal in the A30 car park and a car pulled in, but the car park was full. A couple got out and we told them there was no room but they said they just needed to stop for a few minutes – upon which they opened the boot of their car, which contained a basket. They opened the basket and it contained a dozen white pigeons which flew around as a group above the trees before heading away. The couple told me the pigeons were doing a training flight back to Reading. I know we say parkrun is “a run not a race” but presumably they were doing “a flight not a race”.

The second thing happened while I was completing my second lap of the park, and was when I discovered that I was running with the High Sheriff of Hampshire, Phillip Sykes. We didn’t have time or the breath for me to find out what a High Sheriff of Hampshire does while panting our way up Crabtree Hill for the second time, but he did tell me he had started parkrunning following encouragement from his children, and has done 38 so far, all of which have been at Basingstoke. I have since found out that the High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year and the role normally focuses on supporting crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and the voluntary sector (which of course includes parkrun).


So what happened in today’s parkrun?

(I’ve waited a long time to write those words – my last run report at Basingstoke parkrun was in February 2020 :-)).

The weather conditions were grey and gloomy, eventually just starting to rain, and presumably that together with the upcoming events of Sunday and our move to Crabtree, meant a greatly reduced total of 222 people completed a parkrun at Crabtree today. That is the lowest number of attendees since the first run in March 2018 when there was significant snow due to the Beast from the East. Kudos to the 8 who were completing their first parkrun anywhere today – I think if you come to War Memorial Park next time you should find things easier, perhaps giving you a great chance of a PB. Huge congratulations then to the 24 who managed a Basingstoke parkrun PB today on what in my opinion is our tougher course. Unfortunately the website does not differentiate between which course was run each week, but fear not – events 53, 56, 102, 107, 111, 124, 156, 158, 161, 173, 178, 211, 214, 217, 218, 220, 230, 266, 272, 284, 318, 320, 326, 338, 342, 375, 378, 380, 382, 392, 429, 430, 433, 434, 435, 436, 442, 446, 483, 486, 488, 496, 500, 537, 538, 539, 542, 555, 595 and 608 (as well as today’s) were run at Crabtree so you can work out your Crabtree PB if you wish.
We welcomed 11 first time visitors to Basingstoke parkrun also; we hope you enjoyed your time with us and we hope to see you parkrunning with us again soon.


First finisher for the men was Tom Harding in 17m19s, while first finisher for the women was Sarah Dawson (17th overall on parkrun’s 17th birthday, and with a PB too!). Best age grade of the day went to Cath Wheeler at 88.58%.

Well done to the two T shirt milestone achievers today - Will Coles and Dean Turner both completed their 50th parkruns today and will be able to wear a red 50 shirt soon. Also congratulations to the following who reached unofficial milestones today: Graham Arnott did his 150th parkrun, Dave Hope ran his 300th and Nicholas Mitchell completed his 350th.


A huge thank you to today’s volunteer contingent for making our only Crabtree parkrun of 2021 happen: take a bow James BATE, Jessica BATE, Sally BLANC, Andrew BRACE, Finlay BRACE, Harrison BRACE, Michal BURSAK, Cami CAMERON, Joanna CHIVERTON, Peter CHIVERTON, Nicola DALE, Lynda DAY, Chris ENGLAND, Peter EVANS, Louise GIRLE, Avi GOVIND, Luxmi GOVIND, Lisa HEDDERLY, Tony HEELEY, Geoff HERRON, Stella HERRON, Dave HOPE, Denise HOPE, Alison Rachel JONES, Pemba LAMA, Sara LEE, Ben LONDESBROUGH, Rob LUCAS, Katy MACKLIN, John MANNION, Bruce NEWLANDS, Amanda OXLADE, Richard PICKARD, Nathan PITSCH, Sam PURNELL, Lauren ROSE, Tilbikram SAMBAHANGPHE, Shreya SINGH, Tom STECKIW, Steven STUBBINGS, Chris TOWNLEY, Jacqui TOWNLEY, Douglas VAUGHAN, Samuel VAUGHAN, Vivianne WALTERS, Rebecca WILLIS and Brian WORTH.

To join them in a future week go to to see the vacancies, and email your choice to You can do this either for the next week, or for some weeks ahead so you can choose the role you want to try. There will always be assistance available from the team on the day to help you know what to do, and lots of thanks on the day from your fellow parkrunners.



One volunteer role you might consider having a go at is writing a run report! For some years there has been a rota in place of regular writers but we’re always looking for different viewpoints – I love the variety of styles and content choices of our writers – so do let us know either if you would be interested to find out more about joining the rota or if you fancy having a one off go at writing a report. There is lots of information easily available to help put a report together without too much effort. You can also volunteer in this way while still completing a run/ jog/ walk if you wish. And you can provide enjoyment to people who (like you) make time to read our run reports. So if you enjoy writing and would like to be involved in the team, even to write one report, drop an email to – we are just putting together the rota for the next few months so now would be a great time to let us know if you would like to have a go.

And finally:
Best wishes to everyone doing Basingstoke Half Marathon or 10k, London Marathon or other race tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you in your race T shirts at next week's parkrun.

And finally finally:
Don’t forget for next week's parkrun we are back in War Memorial Park!