It’s all happening at Bedford parkrun!

Lots going on in the next few weeks, so here's a roundup of news and events for the next few weeks.  Keep a lookout on Facebook and Twitter for reminders and details of our events!

Saturday 18th March:  Well done everyone- a chock full volunteer roster!  Please give a very special welcome to Mark Layzell from Luton parkrun, who is volunteering with us as part of his 'Capital Adventures' challenge.  That's 47 Greater London parkruns in one year for one great local charity Keech Hospice Care!  Mark's joining us for Week 37, making his 38th run at Bushey Park also his 50th parkrun.  Good luck and congratulations to Mark on his great challenge.

As part of the #parkrunfamily, we'd also like to wish our neighbour parkrun at Luton a very happy 100th parkrun.  Enjoy your celebrations, folks!

Saturday 25th March:  It's the last Saturday of the month, Pacers' Saturday, where we like to invite lots of pacers to help out other parkrunners in achieving their goals.  Can you help with providing a steady run and encouragement at a time from 20mins up to 40mins?  Get in touch via our volunteer page  or email   Remember that we run, walk or jog, so all paces are very much appreciated.  If you'd like to run, walk or jog wearing your Red Nose, then we'll enjoy seeing that!

Saturday 1st April:  Yes, we really are being April Fools this year, with a BIG celebration of our 300th parkrun at Bedford!  Well done everyone for supporting our fantastic run in Bedford Park- many of you have been running with us from the very first run on 11th June 2011, when 104 runners took to the paths. Get in touch via Facebook or Twitter if you were at our very first run; we'd love to hear from you!  More news on how we're celebrating will be posted...get ready for some fancy dress and some assistance from Dave the Mayor :-)

We're going to be joined by some Couch to 5k graduates from Transition Coaching in Biggleswade, who are celebrating with their first 'run' after their excellent training.  Give them a big cheer and a warm welcome to our parkrun- we hope they enjoy it as much as we do!

With the London Marathon coming up, some of our parkrunners are using the support of Bedford parkrun to get their training runs in.  Here are the stories of regular runners Jenny Wilson and Lisa Wright, who are both running for their charities:

Jenny Wilson ran the London Marathon last year to raise a load of money for Guide Dogs, a charity very close to her heart.  This year she's running again, this time guiding her good friend and guide dog user Emma McCrossan, who is training up to run a marathon for the very first time.  It's an amazing achievement for both of them, and they're using our April 1st parkrun to kick off their 'Laps of Encouragement' to help them build up to 22 miles (or 18 laps of Bedford Park).  We'd love it if some runners could do a lap or two (or more!) after parkrun has finished, to offer encouragement and to help Emma get a feel for running with people and obstacles round her.  Come along and cheer from the Pavilion if you're not running.  We wish Emma and Jenny lots of luck with their training- read more about this marvellous challenge  here.

Regular parkrunner Lisa Wright has been blogging her progress towards her marathon goal this year, raising an astonishing amount already for Stroke Association.   Lisa has a remarkable story to tell, being a survivor of a stroke herself in 2009.  So far she's already raised nearly £4,000, twice her target for her challenge, so we're thrilled that Lisa's running challenge is going to do so much good.  Read more about Lisa's story here.

Let us know if you're running the London Marathon this year- we're delighted to give you a mention and to offer our parkrun encouragement.  Enjoy parkrunning in the coming weeks, everyone!





Thanks from Bedford Foodbank

Dear Ian,

I am writing to thank you, and everyone at Bedford Park Run, for your recent donation to Bedford Foodbank of 76.32kg of non-perishable items.

All donations are crucial to the on-going provision of food for those in our community who are in such great need, especially at this time of year. The need for help from the Foodbank continues to increase year upon year and we now regularly feed around 500 people a month, giving them enough food for 3-4 days, or around 10 meals. Every month the amount leaving our warehouse is generally in the region of 5-6 tonnes, so we are very grateful for all donations we receive as each one is vital for the ongoing work of the Foodbank, and is greatly appreciated.

Last 3 months we have helped 1117 people, of which 378 were children.

So we thank you, once again, for your support.

Kind regards,


News, news, news!

Lots of things to remember at this time of year, so here's a summary of what's going on in the coming weeks.

Pictures for Bedford parkrun website
parkrun HQ have been in touch - they are collecting pics from each parkrun, for a site relaunch next year. Bedford can submit *one* picture that best reflects our run. See
for further info. If you've got a great Bedford parkrun pic, remember to submit it by December 16th.  We'll be choosing a favourite to submit by January 6th.  Get snapping!

Social  Event
In case you’ve not heard about it already, we have a social at The Pavilion on Monday December 12th, starting at 7.30pm. Food is £12.50 per head, if you’re interested. Some of you may not be able to make that date, but if you can come along, send an email to the Bedford office to let us know.   There will be a group meeting in the upper Robinson Pool car park at 7.15pm so if you're arriving on your own, there'll be a group to walk through the park.   Hope to see you there!

Foodbank collection
We are planning  a foodbank collection on December 17th.  We did a great job last time, thanks to everyone who donated.  Here are the items currently on the ‘urgent’ list:

Junior parkrun
The tester event for junior parkrun is on December 18th at 9am, in Jubilee Park (south of the Oasis ‘pyramid’ pool). It’s a 2k run, for age 14 and under, and it’s barcode based.



A picture for Bedford

We've been asked by parkrun HQ to come up with a photograph that sums up our parkrun. It'll be used on the website, to give visitors a flavour of what to expect when they run with us. So we thought it'd be grand to open up the floor to all of you. Send us your favourite photo (or get snapping, if you haven't got one) by December 16th, and the core volunteer team will choose their favourite. There are some guidelines below - and plenty of room to be creative. Email your favourite pic to us at with the subject "parkrun pic". Thanks!

The Photograph should be:

1. Colourful and vibrant.

2. Fun and engaging showing the breadth of abilities and diversity of those participating at our events, inspiring others to participate.

3. Capturing the true stories and celebration shared on parkrunday.

4. A mix of close-up, mid and long range (See below for guidance).

5. Reassuring and honest. We want to remove all the barriers to participation and any anxieties to new or prospective parkrunners.

Some example shots (your photo could be):

1. Group photos.

2. People walking, jogging, running in groups.

3. People smiling and talking.

4. People pushing buggies.

5. People walking or running with dogs on short leads.

6. Diversity of participants (multi-cultural and multi-age)

7. The finish line and PB celebrations (but not only faster runners).

8. Volunteers on the course and also the first-timers and pre-run briefing before an event.

9. Volunteers timekeeping, scanning, handing out finish position tokens and Run Directing etc all smiling, chatting, having fun!

10. Family shots: parents running within arms length of young children, all smiling having fun

11. Try to capture the breadth of participants, from fit younger runners to the not so fit runners or first timers and older generations.

12. Close up detail including parkrun apparel (milestone or apricot t-shirts), textures and detail from the course (paths/landscapes/ trainers in the mud etc) and any run technology such as watches and barcode scanners.


Runner Etiquette

These rules are intended to keep every parkrunner safe. We don’t mind whether you’re fast or slow. We just want you all to come back smiling next week.

Lining Up At The Start

• If you’re in any doubt, we recommend starting at the back until you’re accustomed to our busy start line.

• If you’re not trying to beat your best time, starting at the back helps us avoid congestion.

• Ask the people around you what time they’re aiming for. If it’s vastly different to your own goals, one of you is probably in the wrong place.

On The Course

• Give way to members of the public. Our reputation and continuing use of the park depends on it.

• If you choose to wear headphones, please make sure you can hear what’s going on around you.

Passing And Being Passed

• Your time is not as important as the safety of our runners.

• Remember that not everyone has the same level of experience.

• Give courteous notice if you wish, but don’t assume you’ve been heard or understood.

• Don’t make a gap where there isn’t one. Slow down if you can’t get by.

• If your parkrun time is >25 minutes, there’s a good chance you will be passed.

• Don’t run more than two abreast.

• Keep left where possible, so that runners can pass on the right.

At The Café

• If you’re finishing, stay on the right.

• If you’ve got more laps to do, stay on the left.

At The Finish

• Stay in order and keep moving until you’ve collected your token.

• Don’t cross the finish line twice (if you go back to help a friend).

• Congratulate the person you spoke to at the start on a great run.



Hi everyone!

On the evening of Saturday October 22nd, we're planning to have a parkrun social at The Pavilion. There'll be a meal (approx £10/head), and the chance to chat with the core team about our lovely run. To register your interest, drop us a line (


Ian Williams (Event Director)


Nicey Parkers

Hi folks,

As you've undoubtedly seen, there are ongoing building works at Robinson Pool - these are scheduled to go on until August.

One of the side-effects of this is that the car park adjoining the swimming pool gets very full on Saturday mornings. The council have very politely asked whether us parkrun folk can avoid using the 'lower' car park, so that leisure centre users get a fair chance to park. The 'upper' car park is designated for general park use, so that's less of an issue.

We have a great relationship with Bedford Council, and so it would be appreciated if you could try to abide by this. Hopefully, most of you are within walking / cycling distance of the park - and a gentle trot to get you there is a great warm up for 5k.

For those of you that need to drive, if you could spread out a bit more, using some of the on-street parking in the area, that'd be great. There are dozens of side-streets nearby. And as always, please be friendly and courteous to other park users and local residents.

Thanks as always for your continuing epicness. On Saturday, we managed a record attendance, and it won't be long before we are 400 strong. The bigger our run becomes, the more important it is that we are thoughtful about our lovely venue and the other people that use it.

Have a great week,
Ian Williams (Event Director)


A message from Dave Hodgson

"I can tell you that this council has no plans at all to charge for the use of the parkrun. It brings huge benefits and as far as I can tell is very well-run by you and your team of volunteers."

Thanks Dave :-)


Finish token order in Run #245 19 March 2016

Hello parkrunners

Just to let you know that some of our finishing tokens must've had a party prior to this morning's run, as they ended up in the wrong order, leaving us with the hangover feeling as we're trying to sort it out! :-(

If you've timed yourself on a tracker and you think your time is incorrect, please do let us know and we'll try to get that sorted as quickly as we can.

Thanks to those who have been in touch to let us know correct times already- we'll do what we can.

If you are any good at taming drunken finishing tokens and can keep them behaving well, please do add your name to the volunteer roster :-)

Thanks for your patience, everyone!


How is a run report like writing a 6th novel? Read on to find out!

Bedford parkrun  Event number 243
5th March 2016

It's all about the numbers...
A bit like writing a 6th novel, writing a run report about the same event becomes more and more of a challenge. Not only is it a challenge for anyone willing to invest the time in reading it, to not have to see the same content over and over again, but for the author to make it interesting enough for those people to think that time wasn’t wasted is perplexing.
This week didn’t present much material in the way of the weather to report on. There were no difficult conditions for runners to face or unforeseen blizzards for the marshals to stand out in. I don’t even recall seeing a dog or junior runner stray more than a foot away from its owner to generate news of a trip hazard! Instead, we had English pleasantness. As the conditions were not enough to put people off, maybe some have chosen to give up parkrun for Lent, as this week there were 243 runners compared to recent record weeks of well over 300.

First and foremost congratulations must go to Leo Grigby (JM11-14) for completing his 10th parkrun and joining Club 10 and to James Adams (VM35-39) and Richard Symmonds (VM45-49) for reaching their fiftieth and joining Club 50. We hope you claim your shirts soon from Tribesports and enjoy wearing them with pride.

Secondly we are very grateful to the volunteers who made this event happen: Rosie BAILEY, Samantha BLOOMER, Julia CHESTERS, Toby CHINN, Andy COLE, Anne FRETWELL, Lorraine FUSSEY, Felix HANKE, Noel JONES, Andy KERR, Nick PARSONS, Les POTTS, Maria RUTGERS, Nicola TARRANT, Clare WARREN.
For those of you that have not quite made the step but are keen to join the volunteer throng, just drop an email to and all your wishes will come true.

Now, let's focus on some good old stats to bail me out of this report writing dilemma;
really good news this week was that only 11 runners didn't have a barcode on completing their runs. This is the lowest number we have seen in a while so the reminders of DFYB seem to be paying dividends.

22 Runners were in Bedford for the first time this week, and of those 9 were completing their first ever parkrun. We hope you all enjoyed the experience and will be back to parkrun and Bedford in particular very soon. In addition to that, 39 runners recorded new personal best times this week. That’s 16% of finishers running their best ever time.

This week saw some new faces in the first finisher spots with Genci PEPAJ (VM35-39) of Redway Runners, coming home first over the line in 17:18 in his first appearance.
Luke BARTISHEL (SM30-34) (Unattached) was second (third overall) over the line in 18:59 and Tom ROBERTS (SM25-29) of Bedford & County AC, was third (4th overall) over the line in 19:29. These results didn’t impact the current standing in the Men's annual points competition:

Lee BAILEY (Unattached) 2440 pts.
Rob PERRY (Unattached) 2155 pts.
Peter DEARDON (Unattached) 1911 pts.

Claire HALLISSEY (SW30-34) of Bristol and West AC, was first female finisher and second overall over the line in 18:54 in her first appearance.
Katie BAILEY (VW35-39) (Unattached) was second (25th overall) over the line in 22:09, although Katie has been first to finish on 8 previous occasions.
Helen SEARS (SW25-29) of Bedford Harriers AC, was third (44th overall) over the line in 23:40 and has been first to finish on 3 previous occasions.
Current standing in the Women's annual points competition:

Katie BAILEY (Unattached) 3425 pts.
Joanna KNOX-WEERASINGHE (Bedford Harriers AC) 2944 pts.
Anne FRETWELL (Unattached) 2204 pts.

The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Claire HALLISSEY (SW30-34) was graded 78.48% for the time 18:54 (second overall).
Genci PEPAJ (VM35-39) was graded 78.32% for the time 17:18 (first overall).
Thomas DEARDON (JM10) was graded 77.75% for the time 20:18 (6th overall).

Here's hoping for a heatwave next week to give me some red hot news to work with, but in the meantime, please don’t forget that on Saturday March 26th we will be having a collection for Bedford Foodbank. It's pretty simple - just have a look at the list below, and if you can, bring along a few items on the day, to drop them off before your run:

Tooth Brushes
Tooth paste
Long-Life Fruit Juice
Chicken Meat in a Tin
Pasta Sauce
Shower Gel
Washing Up Liquid
Feminine Hygiene Products
Long-Life Sponge Puddings
I know that not all of our parkrunners will read this - so please share it with all your friends. Let's hope that we can help lots of people in our home town.

Bedford parkrun started on 11th June 2011, and since then 6,689 different runners, including participants from 382 athletics clubs, have completed 44,583 runs covering a total distance of 222,915 km, and there have been 9,581 new Personal Bests.
The female record is held by Sonia SAMUELS who ran in a time of 00:17:42 on 2011-12-17 (event number 28).
The male record is held by Neilson HALL who ran in a time of 00:14:49 on 2012-09-08 (event number 68).
The Age Grade course record is held by Scarlett GRANT-JONES who recorded a 92.12% run (22:26) on 7th November 2015 (event number 226).
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Bedford parkrun Results Page.