Billericay parkrun is cancelled on 11 April 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Profile #2 – Linda and James Buchan

We may not be able to be together in the park, but that doesn't mean we can't still hear from some of the amazing people that make up our community.

This week Linda and James Buchan have kindly agreed to share their parkrun story. James is one of our most regular volunteers, while Linda is a dedicated and inspirational runner who has overcome setbacks to rack up a whole trophy case of race medals (and a red 50 milestone t-shirt!)

Thanks very much to Linda and James for sharing your story.


 

What are your parkrun vital statistics?
Total number of runs: 85 by Linda
Number of different parkrun events visited: 1 - just Billericay!
Number of volunteering stints: 85 by James

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Tell us about your first Billericay parkrun
Linda: I joined parkrun in the summer of 2017 given that I had signed up for a 10k race for Cancer Research. I thought that I could join a weekly 5k running event that would support my training. My first run at Lake Meadows wasn’t pretty and in true snail or turtle fashion, I was slow and crossed the finish line last. However, volunteers were quick to remind me, I wasn’t last. The last person at parkrun is always the Tail Walker.

James: Linda had been attending for a couple of weeks and she saw a request for volunteers. I signed up and for my first parkrun I was positioned at the start line. I was given one instruction, “When the runners reach the top of the hill, send them down the path. I didn’t realise we had so many talented runners and thought a lap of the park would take ages, so when this runner came sprinting up the hill after only a few minutes, I started jumping around like a loon pointing and calling out “Down the path, down the path, don’t worry about being late, you’ll soon catch-up”. He turned around and bellowed “I’M IN THE LEAD” and he was quite angry so I shut up after that.

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Are you from Billericay, how long have you lived here?
James: I’m originally from Eastwood, but due to studies and work have lived in Surrey and south London. We moved back to Essex 10 years ago and have lived in Billericay for about 6 years.

Linda: Originally from sunny Miami, Florida I often get asked why I moved to the UK? I joke, that it’s obviously for our great weather! The real reason is I wanted to travel. I joined a teacher exchange programme and came to the UK in August 2003. Initially, I was only meant to be here for two years however, I met James at a BBQ the weekend I arrived. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. James and I have been together for 17 years and will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary this summer!

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What’s each of your favourite memories from Billericay parkrun?
James: There have been quite a few special and memorable events, such as Reg’s retirement from running and the Billericay parkrun second birthday celebration. The Christmas runs are always fun too.

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Linda: As cheesy as it sounds, every event at Billericay parkrun is special to me. Picking one is difficult. Recently however, we celebrated International Women’s Day in style, as only parkrun can. I can wholeheartedly say, that the core team and the atmosphere is what motivates and inspires me. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is always supportive and never minimises your efforts!

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Linda, can you tell us a bit more about your running journey from when you started at Billericay parkrun?
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with running. It’s no wonder that it wasn’t until months after I’d attended my first event that I started attending regularly. Unfortunately, it took a silent heart attack and stroke to realise that fitness would be essential to my recovery. In May 2018 my running journey began in earnest when I was given the all clear to exercise again. Since then, Billericay parkrun has been a constant in our lives. Family and friends would certainly say I’m addicted. I’m now a proud owner of a racing medal collection (never thought I’d say that) and I continue to push myself to keep fit through running challenges.

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James, what do you enjoy most about volunteering and which is your favourite marshal point?
It’s great fun volunteering as you get to meet so many people. As for the best marshal points, the park exits are good positions, as you can find out how the runners did as they are leaving. Very often though you can tell just by their expressions!

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What do you do outside of parkrun stuff?
James: I’m a school data manager. The main duty is maintaining the student database, but I am responsible for reporting to parents, timetabling, Government returns/statistics, and advising Senior Leadership. As a hobby, I play classical guitar to a reasonable standard.

Linda: I’m a senior leader and maths teacher in a secondary school in Hackney. The hours are long and on any given day I juggle a lot. My remit focuses on safeguarding/child protection and behaviour. Whilst challenging, it is never boring and no two days are the same. Hand on heart, being an educator is the best job in the world! As you’d imagine my job doesn’t allow much time for hobbies however, I enjoy running and reading. I’m also a keen billiards player. Alas, James will no longer come along as the first and only time he managed to beat me, he promptly announced he was “retiring” and has never played a game with me since.

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What are you most looking forward to when we get back?
James: For me it will be seeing lots of familiar faces again and knowing that everyone is safe and well after this difficult time.

Linda: I am really looking forward to the day that parkrun starts up again! Most importantly because I want to reconnect with friends and know that they are all well and safe. I’ve missed everyone and the atmosphere that only Billericay parkrun has. I’m sure that all the runners, like me, will also be looking forward to the opportunity to chase their personal milestones.

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What’s the best thing about parkrun and what would you say to someone thinking about coming along for the first time?
James: The best thing about parkrun is how friendly everyone is. I’m so grateful for the support everyone has given to Linda after her illness; it’s had such a positive impact on her recovery. As for a message to anyone thinking of coming along…just sign-up and turn-up. You’ll meet loads of friendly people and get fitter at the same time.

Linda: Everything about parkrun is amazing! Corny but true! If someone had told me, I’d look forward to a run at 9am every Saturday morning, I would’ve told them they’re crazy. For anyone considering coming along for the first time I say, “do it – you won’t regret it!” Everyone at parkrun is very welcoming – we’re one big extended family. Whether you run, jog or walk, if you join Billericay parkrun, the Tail Walkers and I will be your personal cheerleaders. Hope to see you there!

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Thank you so much to Linda and James for all their support of Billericay parkrun! If you'd like to read more, here are the other profiles from this series so far:

- Profile #1: David Hayday

If there's someone you'd like to nominate - an individual, a couple or a whole family - do let us know at billericay@parkrun.com!


The Billericay core team are:

David Hayday : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Dave Sweet : Maggie Topliss : Alexa Joel

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericay@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? Try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericay@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

“barcode”

If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE

 

Profile #1 – David Hayday

Well, we're still suspended, but that doesn't mean we can't hear from some of the amazing people that make up our community. We’re going to publish a brief profile on some familiar members of our fantastic parkrun community - so even though we can't see each other in the park, we can still deliver a bit of parkrun to you each week.

First up is our Event Director David Hayday.

If there's someone you'd like to nominate - an individual, a couple or a whole family - do let us know at billericay@parkrun.com!


 

What are your parkrun vital statistics?
Total number of runs: 103
Number of different parkrun events: 10
Number of volunteering stints: 250

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Tell us about your first parkrun
My first parkrun was at Chelmsford Central. In the summer of 2013, I took part in the ‘Back to the Stadium’ 10k in the Olympic Park and was looking around for a way to run more regularly. That's when I stumbled across parkrun. As an occasional runner, I instantly fell in love with the fact that everyone was genuinely welcome.

When did you discover Billericay parkrun?
Haha. Well, having volunteered at Chelmsford for a while and helped to set up Brentwood parkrun, I got involved in a Facebook conversation about how great it’d be for Billericay to have its own event. That was back in 2016 which, in time, led to Catherine Sunderland and I approaching the Council. So the journey began, with our event going live on 24 June 2017.

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How many times have you run at Billericay and what’s your PB?
Probably not as often as I should, but 50 times. Billericay PB 26:23. All time PB 26:05 at Victoria Dock parkrun.

What’s your favourite volunteer role?
That’s so difficult. I like all the roles, but probably photographer and barcode scanner are my absolute favourites. It’s also brilliant when you’re Run Director, when the weather’s nice and things are going well. In those circumstances you actually don’t have much to do and you can just stand back and watch it all unfold – that’s such a lovely feeling.

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What’s your favourite memory from Billericay parkrun?
That’s an impossible question, it’s like choosing your favourite child - harder even. Over our 144 events, there’s been so many. Getting started at event #1, our first birthday, our trip to Barry Island (were we mad?), Reg's running retirement and our trip to Bushy parkrun have been just a few.

However, many of my fondest memories are often much smaller things. Seeing how chuffed nervous first timers are after they’ve completed their run and seeing them come back time and again. Seeing families, couples, parents with children making parkrun a part of their weekly routine and having parkrun tourists come up to me after an event to say how friendly, encouraging and well organised the event is. That really makes it all worthwhile.

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How long have you lived here and what do you do when not doing parkrun stuff?
‘Team Hayday’ moved to Billericay almost 30 years ago and we’ve loved it ever since. During the week, I work for DWP and since COVID-19 has hit, I’ve been helping to set up a Shielding Service for the most medically vulnerable in society. Fair to say, it’s been busy! Along with my better half, Jackie, I’ve got two grown sons – and a gorgeous one-year old grandson, Arlo, who I can’t wait to see again in the flesh – video calls are all very well, but I want a cuddle!

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Name one thing that’s different for you since Billericay parkrun started?
Having lived in Billericay for a long time, I now know so many more lovely people than I ever did before. Rarely do I go into town without bumping into one of our Billericay parkrun family.  That’s such a joy, even if it’s just a case of exchanging a nod and wry smile. Thank you Billericay.

What are you most looking forward to when we get back?
That’s an easier question. Two things. Seeing everyone safe, well and happy. The normal 3.8 lap course!

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Thank you to David for being our first victim. Until next time!


 

The Billericay core team are:
David Hayday : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Dave Sweet : Maggie Topliss : Alexa Joel

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericay@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? Try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericay@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

“barcode”

If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE

 

Billericay parkrun #144 – 14 March 2020

We suspected Saturday might be our last event for a while, so we really made the most of it.

Last week seems a whole world away, and you’ll have seen that all UK parkruns and junior parkruns have been added to the list of COVID-19 related cancellations until at least the end of March – meaning that for the first time in 15 years, there won’t be a parkrun anywhere in the world on Saturday and no junior parkruns on Sunday ☹

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All of us at Billericay parkrun will really miss seeing everyone each week and having parkrun as part of our weekly routine. That being said, we have loads of plans to keep our Facebook active with different things so keep watching out there!

Although it’s important we stay active through all this, please don’t organise any 'alternative' group runs or turn up on Saturday anyway as that would defeat the purpose of our suspension. No one wants parkrun to be cancelled, least of all us, but it’s paramount we listen to government advice to keep everyone safe and to maintain the goodwill we have with the rest of the Billericay community.

To keep track of parkrun Head Office’s coronavirus updates, which apply to all events, please visit the dedicated webpage at www.parkrun.com/news/2020/03/12/covid-19/


 

Back to happier times, and Saturday’s parkrun was definitely happy.

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On our 5 lap course, we saw 38 brilliant new PBs set.

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We also saw two truly out-of-this-world 5k performances from Nina and Elizabeth who exterminated all 5 ascents of the hill in full fancy dress. Well done to both of you :)

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We welcomed 17 first timers – 9 of them doing their first parkrun and 8 of them tourists visiting for the first time including from Preston in Lancashire and Southend. Hope you felt really welcome at our event and enjoyed seeing spring begin to bloom in the park!

And thanks so much to the 32 fantastic volunteers who made it all possible.

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We also celebrated four brilliant milestones. Congratulations to Christopher on 10 runs and Jo Huxley and Catherine Ross on 50 runs each – hope you all receive your new t-shirts in the post soon!

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The fourth milestone achiever was unofficial, and won’t get a t-shirt… but he did get his face (badly) photoshopped onto a card! Well done to our Event Director, David, who celebrated his 250th volunteering stint on Saturday. We dusted off our calculator and found that a grand total of 81,233 finishes were recorded across the 250 parkrun events David has volunteered at since 2013 – representing a total distance equivalent to the distance between the Earth and the Moon. That’s quite something – so thanks David from all of us.

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To celebrate this glamorous achievement, David will be cleaning the mud off of all our signs while we are off.


 

For many of us, parkrun is that one time in the week where the stresses of the week melt away, where we can catch up with friends and appreciate the outdoors - and it’s a pocket of niceness in a world that can often feel ever more divided, judgmental and unkind.

It will be hard for that to be taken away, but we are all in the same boat and we will be back sooner or later - hopefully on our 3.8 lap course too.

Stay healthy, stay happy and we’ll see you when we see you. And feel free to email us any time at billericay@parkrun.com with any suggestions for our Facebook page or if you just fancy a chat.

Hopefully we can return to normal soon.

Rachel
Billericay parkrun core team

The Billericay core team are:
David Hayday : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Dave Sweet : Maggie Topliss : Alexa Joel

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericay@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? Try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericay@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

“barcode”

If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE

 

Billericay parkrun #143 – 7 March 2020

We might still be on our 5 lap course, but what a difference the event is without the gales and rain ! We almost doubled last week’s participation as 346 of you ran, jogged, walked the course, supported by 26 volunteers. The sun even made a brief appearance !

Thank you for all your support in making our temporary course work, not only taking care coming into the finish funnel but also avoiding walking back along the path thus averting any collisions with those still going round. Thanks to Rachel Forrest who was on hand as marshal at the finish area to ensure you didn’t slide into the finish funnel. And many thanks to all the other marshals around the course, who provided the encouragement for an impressive 39 of you to reach PBs, so well done ! Thank you to Paul Sillence who was on hand to photograph you all in action !

We welcomed 40 first timers, many of whom heard Poppy Brooks and Dave Sweet at the first timers briefing.

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This week we celebrated International Women’s Day parkrun, and had a great turn out - we had an almost even split of male and female participants at Billericay parkrun, which is fabulous to see.
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The selfie frame was very popular, thank you to Jack Dadds and mum Lauren Dadds for providing us with such a fabulous section of selfie photos !

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We had a range of milestones this week, congratulations to Caitlin Blyth and Katie Smith for reaching their 10 junior milestones, to John Hancox and David Porter on their 50 milestones and to Alan Porter on his 100 milestone. Thank you for the cake !!

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Many thanks to all our volunteers who supported the event. You might have read about the troubles with one of our stop watches, fortunately we received a replacement on time for this week, and Joe Andreetti and Arnaud Salako were on hand to record your times.

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Whilst we celebrated International Women's Day parkrun, I didn't want to overlook all our male friends and relatives, so here are a selection of photos to round off the run report !

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February might be over but unfortunately the ground is still wet, and the rain keeps coming, so we will be staying on our 5 lap course for a while.

Next week, over to Sam Hill who is your Run Director.

Have a great week and see you all next Saturday !

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Maggie
Run Director

The Billericay core team are:
David Hayday : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Dave Sweet : Maggie Topliss : Alexa Joel

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericay@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? Try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericay@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

“barcode”

If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE

 

Billericay parkrun #142 – 29 February 2020

This week I'm sure lots of you were very aptly leaping over the many puddles that currently make up Lake Meadows! Today's parkrun was the first ever leap day parkrun, and there won't be another one until 2048!

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We are really having a tough time of it weather wise at the moment and this morning was no exception. Although the wind did die down the non stop rain, and at some points hail, meant the conditions were far from ideal. Amazingly 14 of you achieved new pb's, you must have been trying to get out the rain as soon as possible!

Despite the poor weather we still saw lots of smiles this morning..

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As David has previously said we have no intention of sticking with the 5 lap, path only course, but whilst the park is so waterlogged we are extending our commitment to the five lapper for a further two weeks irrespective of what happens with the weather. We will hopefully be back on our 3.8 lap course soon!

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At one point this morning we had more volunteers than runners so I was pleased to see that we did eventually end up with 178 runners, joggers and walkers who braved the appalling conditions. We also welcomed 17 first timers and a tourist from Portsmouth. We hope you all enjoyed our event as much as you could in the circumstances and hope you will return on a much more pleasant and drier occasion!

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A trio of milestones this morning. Oscar Farley finally came forward to celebrate his 50 parkruns (it was actually his 52nd today) along with junior Olivia Bysouth who completed her 10th, and Elaine McSweeney who completed her century! Well done all.

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Thanks to this weeks hi viz heroes who truly were heroes this morning, they were all in high spirits cheering and encouraging you around the course even though they were absolutely drenched by the end.

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Alexa JOEL • Bethan HUNT • Chay HATCH • Danny PIGGOTT • Dave SWEET • David STANLEY • Howard WEBB • Ian BARTEN • Jack DADDS • James BUCHAN • Joe ANDREETTI • Julie DAVIES • Kathryn JOEL • Katie SMITH • Lauren DADDS • Lucy WEBB • Matthew BENNETT • Mia DADDS • Mike WHEATLEY • Oscar PIGGOTT • Paul NICHOLS • Pawel GORA • Penny FORD • Poppy BROOKS • Rachel FORREST • Rachel VARNAM • Stephen PAGE • Trevor LINAHAN • Victor BURLEY

A huge thank you from me for supporting us. Thankfully Dave has kindly taken our hi viz vests home to dry so you won't be expected to wear a soggy vest next week!

Please keep an eye on our Volunteer Roster and do consider having a go at one of the many roles on offer. It really is such a fun and rewarding experience and makes a huge difference to our event. Check out the roster here and simply email billericay@parkrun.com with your details and when you'd like to volunteer.

Some sad news coming next and I am sorry to report that our poorly stopwatch Gavin did not recover from open watch surgery last week. RIP Gavin. Thankfully Stacey is in full health and was on top form this morning to record all your times to perfect accuracy!

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Our next pacer event is on Saturday 21 March 2020 if you would like to be paced to a particular time we will do our best to accommodate and find someone to target that time, just email billericay@parkrun.com. Similarly if you would like to be a pacer please get in touch.

Next week is International Women's Day and along with many other parkruns around the world we will be showing our support by encouraging as many women and girls as possible to participate as runners, joggers, walkers, spectators and volunteers. Whether it's your 1st or 101st parkrun we would love to see you at the event to celebrate!

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Maggie is your Run Director next week, in hopefully much drier conditions.

Until next time...

RD

Alexa :)
Run Director

The Billericay core team are:
David Hayday : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Dave Sweet : Maggie Topliss : Alexa Joel

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericay@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? Try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericay@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

“barcode”

If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE

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