Happy New Year from Billericay parkrun!

When we saw local parkrunner Samantha's cover of 'She Used To Be Mine' from Waitress we were reminded of some of the great memories from our event. Can't wait to be back when the time is right. Check out the video below.

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Profile #40 – Paul Hunt

Thanks to Paul for concluding our set of 40 profiles meeting some familiar faces from our event! Hope you have enjoyed them!

parkrun vital statistics
Number of runs: 132
Number of different events visited: 4 - Billericay, Chelmsford, Basildon and Mile End
Number of volunteering stints: 14

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When and where did your parkrun journey begin and what were your first impressions?
I had heard about parkrun and checked out the local one at the time - Chelmsford. I signed up and then took ages before getting around to doing my first parkrun – on the 22 Aug 2015 in a time of 35:50. The reason it took me so long to go to an event was the concerns that many a first timer has: would I be at the back, what would happen if I had to walk, do I need to be able to run to take part? But a holiday away with my cousin Amanda and her husband and fellow parkrunner Danny Piggott and their lovely son Oscar convinced me to give it a go, as we did a few runs along the beaches of Guernsey and they convinced me that the parkrun community are a friendly lot!

They were right and of course, you are never last! (Not that that really matters as it is a run not a race.) I was impressed by the organisation of Chelmsford - There were 415 people there and it was so welcoming. The First Timers briefing was nice and clear and I soon found a pace I was happy with.

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How did you hear about Billericay parkrun and how was it different to what you were used to and how was it the same?
I had been going to Chelmsford on a regular basis and then heard through the grapevine that parkrun was coming to Billericay. It might have even been announced at Chelmsford. As Billericay parkrun is within walking distance for me, I decided to make it my parkrun home!

To begin with it was smaller than I was used to, but that was a nice change as Chelmsford had got really busy. Doing several laps was also a new experience and learning how to overtake and keep to the left! And of course there was the killer hill that you had to do three times!! Chelmsford only had one killer hill so that was new. As the event was smaller and local I also knew more people so it gave the impression of being more friendly.

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What are your favourite memories from the event?
It’s really hard to pinpoint favourite memories, but a few do stick out. Running in the snow for the first time was just great and I think that was the moment I realised that I had the parkrun bug.

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Completing my 100 was great and I think it was close to Billericay’s 100 as well if not at the same time. That was great and wearing the 100 bib was a proud moment.

Helping out and volunteering is always magical, and I once decided to jog on the spot during the whole parkrun as it was bitterly cold – I managed about 4 km at that time.

I think the highlight has to be when I saw the photographer out and about and was running with my daughter Bethan. Those who know me will know that I do love a photo, so decided to do the Mo Bot. Bethan’s reaction was priceless!! Sadly I can’t find the photo!

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Here it is!

When you've volunteered at parkrun, what have you noticed that others might not realise?
No matter what level of fitness or age, the faces of the runners really do light up when they hear you clap them on, offer levels of encouragement or give them a high five!

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What memories do you have from the other parkruns you've visited?
Mile End is lovely, and takes me back to my University days – which seems like yesterday but was in fact over 23 years ago! I had a geography teachers meeting on a Saturday in London so decided to get in a parkrun beforehand. The trains were delayed so I ended up starting after everyone else and had to catch everyone up. Another friendly parkrun, and even a spot to grab a shower and a cup of tea afterwards.

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What do you do outside of parkrun stuff?
I am a geography teacher at a local secondary school and do love my subject. We visited Swanage Bay one year and took a boat trip to see Old Harry, a stack of rock caused by coastal erosion – I’m pointing it out in the photo below. Apparently asking one of my girls to take the photo was “such an embarrassment!” I really can’t think why?

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I decided to give my two daughters a little geography talk about the coastal erosion, they were very embarrassed but the people around us were fascinated and started asking me questions.

I love learning so much that I completed my doctorate in Education in January of this year at Canterbury Christ Church - 6 years after starting it. When Eleanor my daughter was asked what I had done my dissertation of 68,000 words on, she replied that “it’s about images in a geography textbook”. Thanks darling!

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I have far too many hobbies to mention here, but I do love getting the paints out and doing some watercolour or oil landscapes. I love watching Bob Ross on TV and then trying to recreate a scene. Here’s a little Christmas scene to get us in the Christmas mood.

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As a school coordinator for the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, you've seen lots of young people complete their volunteering challenge with parkrun. Why do you think parkrun lends itself so well to involving local young people in our events?
I have been involved with DofE for years and since 2012 have coordinating our school DofE unit. I think the young people that take part in the DofE find the volunteering section really difficult to complete, particularly if they want to help on a regular basis but also learn new skills along the way. That is way parkrun is so good. Students can help out once a week, and build up confidence learning new skills and put something back into the community. It really helps to build a sense of community in our young people and I know from experience that many will continue to volunteer after their DofE time has been completed.

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How have you been keeping active since March and have you completed any/many (not)parkruns?
Sadly I have found it really difficult to keep running this year. I love parkrun, the sense of community and the fact that it is on at the same time, and I find this motivates me to get out the house and run. With parkruns not happening running has not been as regular. I have done a few 5kms and am now trying to get ready for the 10Km Cancer Research Winter run on the 7th Feb – so if you see me out that day running give me a wave!

What are you most looking forward to when we come back?
Just running with others and sharing the smiles, pain of going up that hill and the beep of the scanners and you get that time.

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As we approach the end of our series of Billericay parkrun profiles, what have you learnt about our local parkrun community?

Having read the profiles I think the themes that come through loud and clear is the joy that everyone has in being part of a community event. It really does give people a reason to get out of bed and go for a run, jog or walk around the beautiful Lake Meadows. Putting my geography hat on, parkrun profiles have proved that the Park and the parkrun holds a real meaning to all those involved and makes our park a special place for so many different reasons. The Billericay parkrun community is diverse and everyone as a story to share. Perhaps we should have some parkrun memories posted around the course in the future…

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Huge thanks to Paul and everyone who has contributed to our profile series since March!

If you'd like to read more profiles, here are the others from this series:

dh linda and james The Halls
alexa 94351089_1559908744180199_2806183506374295552_o 1F7F57D0-EBA9-42A4-B738-A7813057F3B9
smiths Sinead
98185706_1583710028466737_7745896999198654464_o olly dave
rachel lucy ellen Rachel The Salakos
keith small sam lizzie_Small dadds_tn
stephenquyen_small small oscar paul sillence small
chandras_small bickerstaffssmall sonny small
oscar danny hazel pete amie small christine small]
ruth small parnabys small jan small
martin janice small paul and nicky small john small
123514664_1733142746856797_2879662136795752865_o maren ian small brownings
anthony kate west gill and mark

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 #39 – Gill & Mark Scott

parkrun statistics
Number of runs: 45 by Mark, 52 by Gill
Number of different events visited: 10
Number of volunteering stints: 38 by Mark, 2 by Gill

Mark and gill

When and where did you both find parkrun and what were your first impressions?

Mark - I discovered parkrun just by chance when someone mentioned there was a weekly organised and timed free running event available for everyone. I was just getting into running on a more regular basis and immediately looked on the main website to see what parkruns were available. At that time, Billericay was not up and running, so I regularly travelled either to Maldon or Great Notley. My first impression was "wow", what a great idea and how friendly everyone was. That was around 2014.

Gill - I heard about parkrun through Mark and what a fantastic event it was. I was a bit nervous at first about coming along as I was not a runner, but as soon as attended, I knew this was an event for everyone.

How did you hear about Billericay parkrun?

Mark - I just happened to hear about Billericay parkrun locally soon after it started and the first time I came along, I think there were less than 200 people taking part. That number quickly increased each week.

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Mark running in his 2nd outing at Billericay in September 2017

Gill - Quite often on a Saturday Mark would come back from parkrun and tell me what a great opportunity it was to keep fit and a real community feel it and I should come and see. Eventually, I went along as well and never looked back. At first I started by walking the course and then gradually, a walk run and after a while I was able to run the whole course without stopping and my fitness has really improved.

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What are your favourite memories from the event?

Mark - My favourite memories have been to see so many first time runners come along to Billericay and then to see them return each week and gradually progress and improve their times. I also love to see whole families taking part and encouraging each other at the finish line.

Gill - It has to be the Christmas Day run. Everyone is extra excited and many runners are in Christmas fancy dress and Santa hats. It's a fantastic start to Christmas Day and a great excuse to even indulge a bit more later on! Hopefully we can look forward to that next year.
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Parkrun88

When you've volunteered at parkrun, almost all of your stints have been VI Guiding or Pacing. Please tell us what you like about these roles and how you approach the respective challenges?

Mark - I am a licenced guide runner with England Athletics and having been a runner for so long, I decided to enrol and take the course so I could act as a guide runner for visually impaired runners and offer some free time. I enjoy running so much that I would be devastated if I could not run and never forget how easy it is for fully sighted runners to just put on the trainers and go for a run.Sadly that's not possible for everyone. When I guide at a parkrun and hear afterwards from my assisted runners how this event makes them feel included and good about themselves and how much they had achieved personally, it can be so rewarding.

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As I am an ultra-runner by choice, I do a lot of weekly mileage generally so always happy to share the parkrun experience with others. I actually think parkrun is the perfect event for visually impaired runners as it creates a "run event" experience with lots of other participants, but does not come with the pressure you sometimes feel with a lot of road races and is more suited to all abilities.

More recently I have started to volunteer as a pacer knowing how this really benefits everyone chasing a particular time. It’s a great way to try and run at a specific pace and to get a feel for it and it does not matter if you can only maintain it for a short while as it all helps. It's also a food opportunity to test yourself. I do remember one week getting my pace time completely wrong and ended up having to sprint the last half lap, so I apologise if you were following me that week!

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Gill - I have volunteered a few times looking after some of the guide dogs and as a marshal. It's always great to get more involved and so easy to forget our the team at Billericay parkrun are giving up their free time every single week and we tend to think parkrun all starts at 9am, but the course needs setting up and taking down which can make for a long morning for the volunteers.

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What memories do you have from the other parkruns you've visited? The hardest? Most scenic? Most memorable?

Mark - I have run Notley Park a few times and it's a very scenic route and initially deceiving as quite flat and fast to start with. It's a two lap course and on the second lap you are suddenly confronted with a very big hill that you have to run up which can be a real challenge at such a late stage in the run. I think we both really enjoyed running the Clacton-on-Sea course. Its right on the seafront and somehow makes the run itself seem very different.

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Mark at Great Notley

Gill - Whilst Billericay is my favourite parkrun, I do also like the Maldon course and its route along the river in part. It's also quite flat so good to work on those PBs'.

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Gill at Maldon

What do you both do outside of parkrun stuff? 

Mark - I am a property lawyer working in the City, although more from home now, so for me I have found running is a great release from the stress of work. Although I only starting running to increase my general fitness, I was so taken by it, that I soon starting running greater distances and I now specialise in multi day ultra-marathons travelling to some fairly remote places around the world. I have run across the Sahara desert in the quite famous Marathon De Sable, a six day self-sufficient race and have also completed multi day races in Bhutan, Peru and the jungles of Vietnam. The training takes up a lot of my free time, but otherwise my other hobby is cooking all types of food.

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Gill - I work for a local firm of solicitors in the High Street so have a bit more free time. I do a lot of walking locally and some running with friends and enjoy my weekly yoga class. Our daughter is due to have her first child on Christmas day, so we might soon have another hobby to enjoy!

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How have you both been keeping active since March?

Mark and Gill - We have both had more free time since March as working from home has saved on Mark's commuting time into London. As a result we have been out running more together and enjoyed having the time to find new places to run and explore. It's been great to see so many other local residents running and enjoying our local neighbourhood.

What are you most looking forward to when we come back?

Mark and Gill - When parkrun does return, we are both looking forward to catching up with all the familiar faces and friends we have made through the parkrun community and enjoying that post run coffee in the local cafe. There is such a great community feel about parkrun and it will be nice to hear what others have been up to and we are quite sure that once we can return, there will be so many more local residents and parkrun visitors wanting to become involved.

As we approach the end of our series of Billericay parkrun profiles, what have you learnt about our local parkrun community?

Mark and Gill - We hope we can soon focus on returning to our weekly parkrun in 2021 as things improve in the UK and we are quite sure there will be lots of celebrations, stories to tell and plenty of cake when we can all meet again at 9am on Saturdays!

Capture

The Billericay parkrun community makes everyone so welcome. To think just a few years ago we did not have parkrun and now there is such a big and warm parkrun team and community! Everyone looks out for each other and there is always so much encouragement. It really shows how this event can bring a community together who otherwise may have remained strangers. We particularly like the fact that you can come along with your friends or family or just on your own and feel just as included, whatever your age or ability.

Huge thanks to Mark and Gill. More fantastic members of our Billericay parkrun community.

If you'd like to read more profiles, here are the others from this series so far:

dh linda and james The Halls
alexa 94351089_1559908744180199_2806183506374295552_o 1F7F57D0-EBA9-42A4-B738-A7813057F3B9
smiths Sinead
98185706_1583710028466737_7745896999198654464_o olly dave
rachel lucy ellen Rachel The Salakos
keith small sam lizzie_Small dadds_tn
stephenquyen_small small oscar paul sillence small
chandras_small bickerstaffssmall sonny small
oscar danny hazel pete amie small christine small]
ruth small parnabys small jan small
martin janice small paul and nicky small john small
123514664_1733142746856797_2879662136795752865_o maren ian small brownings
anthony kate west

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 #38 – Kate West

parkrun statistics
Number of runs: 67
Number of different events visited: 5
Number of volunteering stints: 10

Parkrun 2

How did you find out about Billericay parkrun and come along for the first time?

I first found Chelmsford parkrun a few years ago when my eldest daughter Isabel wanted to get a bit fitter and raise some money for charity. She got sponsored to work her way up to a 5k run using Couch to 5k and we did Chelmsford parkrun as her 5k run. I did really enjoy that and we went back a few times, but I do love a weekend lie in so it wasn't all that regular! Once I heard there was a parkrun in Lake Meadows though I had no excuse as I live about ten mins walk away.

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What are your favourite memories from the event?

So many! parkrun in the snow - so different to run in the snow and I was in the top 50 or so runners (because not many people were daft enough to come out!) - only time that is going to happen!

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Also my 50th run which was very special because it was on the run day dedicated to our lovely running friend Kevin. My PB run was great - how I ever managed under 27 minutes is beyond me (I think it was mostly because David Dadds is such a brilliant pacer!).

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I also really enjoyed sharing the parkrun experience with my youngest daughter Jenny who did her volunteering for the Bronze DoE at Billericay although we've still not managed to get her to actually run!

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What have you missed most since we have been suspended?

The community and camaraderie - it's such a feel good way to start your weekend. I've also missed the physical challenge and discipline of getting up and getting out there and the endorphins that follow!

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What do you enjoy about volunteering at parkrun?

I generally marshal when I volunteer as I enjoy the interaction with the runners as they go past. I especially love the children running with their parents where you can see the child powering away and the parent thinking how am I ever going to keep up for 5k!. All the different reactions you get when marshalling are fantastic from the slightly embarrassed smile to the full on chat. I also like being part of the parkrun family and feeling that I'm doing my little bit to enable parkrun to carry on.

Parkrun 2

What other parkruns have you visited and were they different from Billericay?

As I've said Chelmsford, but also a couple 'oop north' (where I'm originally from). All I can say is that the northern definition of a hill is very different and it makes the park cafe hill seem like a slight incline! I don't think I've ever been to another parkrun as friendly as ours but I may be slightly biased!

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Barnsley parkrun

What do you do outside of parkrun stuff?

I have lots of different hats! I'm lucky enough to be a mum of two girls who are 19 and 16 now (when did that happen?!?) and my lovely husband and I have been together since school. The bulk of my family are still oop north which has been super hard with COVID as my mum has Alzheimers and we've only been able to see them once since March when we would normally go up every 6-8 weeks. I have two jobs - a part time office admin role and I'm also a fitness instructor (but I haven't actually been running classes since COVID started). I love immersive theatre where you can dress up and experience the show rather than just sit and watch it (don't ask I can bore you with it for hours!) and I'm partial to a nice piece of cake!!!

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As a fitness instructor, do you have any home workouts / tips for people to keep fit over the winter?

There is a vast amount of free fitness content on YouTube so there is definitely something out there for everyone! I have a Facebook page for my classes (Get in Shape with Kate) and during COVID I've put a few of my own workout videos on there as well as signposting loads of other workouts and useful info. Personally I found my fitness slipped during the first lockdown as I wasn't teaching my classes and I got out of the running habit as of course Striders and parkrun couldn't happen (I much prefer running in company).

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My saviour has been finding a home workout buddy in my 19 year old daughter Isabel - we did Joe Wicks in the summer and have since found another fitness programme on YouTube to keep improving our fitness. We have even worked out together online (using a website called Scener where you can watch videos and talk at the same time) since she has gone back to Uni in Leeds. I'd recommend a workout buddy - it makes it fun and keeps you accountable - and with the magic of the internet it can be a fantastic way of staying in touch with friends and family and getting fit too! It's also really important for fitness and also just for general wellbeing to try and get out in the fresh air every day - I've been doing Couch to 5k again since September and I've really enjoyed getting out at lunchtimes when I'm working from home.

How did you find being part of the Billericay Striders beginners group and then joining the club?

Keith's beginners group was a great way to get to know people at Striders and lots of fun too. I'd been wanting to join Striders for ages but was too nervous to go on my own so being part of the group was a fantastic way to start. I always feel that the expectation when I do anything exercise related is that as I'm a fitness instructor I'm super fit and will find it easy but that really isn't the case!! Running is a very different type of fitness from the classes I teach so the beginners group was a really good way to build up my running stamina.

The support of Striders and their free training sessions have helped to get me to the finish in a few races - most memorably my second half marathon at Colchester Zoo which me and my lovely running buddy Rich ran (or swum?) in the pouring rain! I love being a part of Striders and am working my way back to running fitness now with Couch to 5k with the hope that I will be fit enough to start back once the COVID restrictions hopefully start to lift for good in spring.

Parkrun 3

What are you most looking forward to when we come back?

Seeing my parkrun friends again and just getting back to some kind of normal after the weirdest year ever!

Parkrun 1
Thanks very much to Kate! If you'd like to read more profiles, here are the others from this series so far:

dh linda and james The Halls
alexa 94351089_1559908744180199_2806183506374295552_o 1F7F57D0-EBA9-42A4-B738-A7813057F3B9
smiths Sinead
98185706_1583710028466737_7745896999198654464_o olly dave
rachel lucy ellen Rachel The Salakos
keith small sam lizzie_Small dadds_tn
stephenquyen_small small oscar paul sillence small
chandras_small bickerstaffssmall sonny small
oscar danny hazel pete amie small christine small]
ruth small parnabys small jan small
martin janice small paul and nicky small john small
123514664_1733142746856797_2879662136795752865_o maren ian small brownings
anthony

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 #37 – Anthony Moore

parkrun statistics
Number of runs: 148
Number of different events visited: 30
Number of volunteering stints: 12

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How did you get started with running and join the Billericay Striders?
​I didn’t start running until later in life (42) and it was on New Year's Day 2013. I’d decided I wanted to lose some Christmas excess. I hadn’t ran since I had been at school. I think I managed about 20 minutes. I kept at it though, slowly building up my endurance and it wasn’t long before I was hooked and it was only in April that year I ran my first race, yes a half marathon, the East London Half for the Tessa Sanderson Foundation.

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I was thrilled to just complete it in 1.53 and to meet Tessa herself. I carried on running by myself into 2014 and ran my 1st marathon, Loch Ness that year. I was happy with my 3.48 finish and in May 2015 I got a place at the London Marathon and to me, disappointingly ran 3.48 again, it was then I decided I needed some help. The next day I looked up my two nearest running clubs, Thrift Green Trotters (now Brentwood Running Club) and Billericay Striders. I emailed them both but only Billericay replied. I went along to a few sessions, enjoyed them and thought they’d improve me (which they have, last year I got a London marathon GFA time) and became a member.

It’s a very friendly club, with all standard of runners, good coaches and good social too. I’m also a member of the Vegan Runners UK running club.

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How did you hear about parkrun and start coming to Billericay parkrun?
I heard about parkrun from someone at the club and my first one was Basildon in 2015. I wasn’t gripped though and it was probably a couple of years later when my shorter distance improved I got really hooked.

I started running them every week and a couple of years ago I ran about 43 out of the 55 you can do in a year. I knew about Billericay starting a while before it did because people from the Striders were involved. I ran the first one and have since ran there 38 times, the most out of the 148 I’ve done.

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You've volunteered lots of times at the event as a sighted guide for visually impaired athletes. How did you become interested in being a VI Guide and what do you enjoy about that role?
I started guide running 4 years ago when a friend of mine who is blind told me his regular guide runner was unable to run with him for a while. He was training for a half marathon so I didn’t hesitate to say I’d step in.

We went for a run in the streets tethered together and I was nervous, their life in your hands. I’ve since learnt that guiding around a park is far easier than on the streets where there are far more hazards.

After guiding my friend a couple of times, I decided it was in both our interests to sign up for the England Athletics Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running Workshop. It was only a few hours but helped me learn a lot more. We tried out different glasses that let us see what it was like to have different types of sight loss, not everyone is totally blind, some could be misty or tunnel vision.

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The main questions I ask now if I’m guiding someone new are, what is your sight like, have you any other medical conditions I need to know about, which side of me do you want to run on (don’t assume for them) and how fast do you want to go.

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Billericay parkrun a while ago had a lot of sight loss and visually impaired runners attending and one young man I guided who was a very good runner before losing his sight, ran exceptionally quick, about 23 minutes, real bravery and faith to go that quick. I talk the whole way round, I describe wherever we are on the run, the pace, time and always checking they’re ok, along with everything in front of them. The thing I enjoy most about guiding is giving back something to help someone else enjoy running.

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What have been your favourite memories from Billericay parkrun?
I enjoyed the last New Year's Day when a few of us ran Billericay then ran to Chelmsford parkrun to do the double.

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I also enjoy the yearly parkrun tourism trip Billericay do, I couldn’t make Barry Island but I did go to Bushy and this November I think was meant to be the Severn Bridge parkrun which I would have attended. (Editor: Hopefully next year!)

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I liked guiding there and how Billericay was at the forefront for introducing more sight loss and visually impaired runners to parkrun, I hope this will return. I just enjoy going there because I know I will see plenty of people I know there from the Striders and it is a chance to catch up.

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What are the most memorable races you've done?
Last year I did the Berlin Marathon and went with a sports company called 2.09 events, this is owned by Mike Gratton, former London marathon winner in 1983 who won it in a time of 2.09. He came on the trip and it was a pleasure to spend an evening in his company after the marathon just chatting about running and his career.

The Melbourne half marathon was good because the finish was inside the 100,000 capacity MGM cricket ground. I also enjoyed running for the Striders in a relay competition that finished on the track inside the London Stadium.

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I’ve grown to enjoy cross country through representing my club and last year running the South of England Cross Country Championships at the Parliament Hill, the iconic home of it was a great experience, hilly and very muddy.

The Grizzly down in Devon was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done, 20 miles of hills, sand, cliffs but I loved it and can’t wait to do it again, the Striders take a good 20 runners down there every year and it’s a good week-end away. I did the British 10k dressed as a tiger with Michaela Strachan and lots of others. I love doing Santa runs every year too.

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Lastly the 24 hour Spitfire Scramble relay race in Hornchurch, I’ve ran this the last 3 years, the last two I organised Strider teams. This year we would have had 3 teams of 8 and it’s a fun week-end of camping and mixing with lots of other teams along with a superb relay race. Perhaps Billericay parkrun could organise a team or two when things are back to normal?

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You've visited a lot of different parkruns. Which ones stand out?
I love visiting new parkruns and have been to 30 so far. I often go to new parkruns with a few friends from the club and we make a social of it, have a coffee and cake after, if you do Colchester parkrun, right next door you can do a 3 mile run that is a nice piece of Elephant Strava, we did that too.

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I’ve been to the biggest Bushy twice but also the smallest in London, Pymmes, at one time it was getting under 40 runners. I’ve also visited the 3 of the fastest courses in the country, Dulwich, Hackney & Victoria Dock, I can tell you Dulwich is super quick. If you’re after a tough one then Lullingstone in Kent was 7th hardest. The only one outside England I’ve been to is Malahide in Dublin, a beautiful setting in Castle grounds.

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What do you do outside of parkrun?
I worked in insurance for 18 years and I left to pursue my passion for horticulture. I work on a beautiful 27 acre private estate with hundreds of plant species and wildlife.

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My other big passions are conservation and animal welfare and being a vegan sits alongside all of these.

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I’ve been a West Ham fan all my life and had a season ticket for 29 years, my first live game was in 1981 against Brighton and a certain Paul Allen was playing, the same Paul Allen who is now a member of the Striders and a regular at Billericay parkrun!

I love visiting new countries and have been lucky to have visited some fantastic places but my favourite is Italy and in particular Tuscany where my mum’s side of the family are from and I got married there in Lucca.

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What are you most looking forward to when parkrun comes back?
I’m looking forward to running two more parkrun to get to 150 and then pushing on and getting to the magical 250 along with visiting lots more parkruns and getting Saturday’s back to park life.

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Thanks very much to Anthony! If you'd like to read more profiles, here are the others from this series so far:

dh linda and james The Halls
alexa 94351089_1559908744180199_2806183506374295552_o 1F7F57D0-EBA9-42A4-B738-A7813057F3B9
smiths Sinead
98185706_1583710028466737_7745896999198654464_o olly dave
rachel lucy ellen Rachel The Salakos
keith small sam lizzie_Small dadds_tn
stephenquyen_small small oscar paul sillence small
chandras_small bickerstaffssmall sonny small
oscar danny hazel pete amie small christine small]
ruth small parnabys small jan small
martin janice small paul and nicky small john small
123514664_1733142746856797_2879662136795752865_o maren ian small brownings

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 #36 – Team Browning

This week's profile comes from 'Team Browning'.  Tom, Shona, James and a brief appearance from Patrick, Billericay regulars, and for Tom and James, tantalisingly sitting on 98 parkruns respectively.

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parkrun vital statistics
Number of parkruns: 98 by Tom, 98 by James, 44 by Patrick and 109 by Shona. No one's quite sure what number Tizzy the dog is on, but she insists it's more than anyone else in the family - woof, woof !

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Number of events visited: 6
Number of volunteering stints: 10 by Shona, 6 by James and 1 by Tom.

So Tom, how did you first hear about parkrun and how did your first run compare with your expectations?

My Mum made my brother Patrick and I go to Basildon in 2014 when I was 12. It was much harder than I thought it would be.

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Tom's 2nd parkrun in September 2014

ED: Well it might have been harder than expected, but you've come on leaps and bounds since then improving by over 10 minutes from the above run at Basildon. That's a brilliant progress.

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What are your favourite memories from Billericay parkrun?

James Christmas Day parkruns; cant quite believe so many people turn out for them and what a great atmosphere.

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Shona -Getting my 100th park run and the few occasions when all four of us (five including Tizzy) have run.

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Tom - Pacer days when you can see people really pushing for a new PB.

How frustrating has it been to be stuck on 98 parkruns - Tom & James - and does Shona flaunt her 100 Milestone tee around the house?

Tom - It hadn’t crossed my mind, and no. I’m bad at keeping track of my runs, but thank you for the reminder!

James - Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating, and yes, she does. :-)

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When you've volunteered at parkrun, what has surprised you or you hadn't appreciated ?

James- I’m always amazed at how much effort the core team put in every week to making it such an enjoyable event for so many. Very selfless; I prefer running it.

Shona - It’s always really heart warming to see so many people putting in so much effort.

Tom - I'm always amazed by just how many people turn out

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Tom, can you share a little about your boxing exploits. When did you start, what's been the highlights so far and what are your boxing ambitions ?

I started boxing in 2016, when I was 14., and winning an ABA National title has been the highlight. Things have been put on hold because of Covid, but my dream is to box for England and turn professional.

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What are your hobbies and interests outside of running?

James - we love to walk our dog Tizzy

Shona - I’ve been volunteering with Billericay Community Cinema for the last couple of years. Like parkrun, it’s great to be involved in something that adds to life in Billericay and I’ve made some great friends in the process.

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Anyone interested in volunteering can contact BCC via the Facebook page and we'll put them on our mailing list \ contact them when we get up and running again post COVID.

Tom - boxing training and work doesn’t leave time for much else, but I like to chill out and watch films.

You've all attended a smattering of other parkruns away from Billericay. Which have been most memorable?

We all ran the Tamar Trails parkrun in Cornwall, which, whilst beautiful finished with an incredibly steep hill - that was pretty memorable!

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How have you been keeping active and motivated during the past 9 months?

Shona & James - we’ve continued to run - socially distanced, of course. The highlight has been running the Essex Way (82 miles from Epping to Harwich) over the course of nine Sundays between August and November.

Tom - I’ve been working and doing home work outs and runs. I’ve been able to get to the boxing gym to train outside of lockdown, but unfortunately, haven’t been able to spar. I have to save that for at home with my brother!

What are you most looking forward to when we get back?

Shona - catching up with friends and a post run Cappuccino :-)

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James - finally, qualifying for my 100 milestone t-shirt!

Tom - seeing how much of a difference having all that time off makes.

ED: I huge shout out to Team Browning, especially Tizzy for having completed the most runs in the family.  Let's not forget Patrick who completes the group and is also homing in on his own parkrun milestone - just six more runs to go before his half-century milestone :-)

unnamed

If you'd like to read more profiles, here are the others from this series so far:

dh linda and james The Halls
alexa 94351089_1559908744180199_2806183506374295552_o 1F7F57D0-EBA9-42A4-B738-A7813057F3B9
smiths Sinead
98185706_1583710028466737_7745896999198654464_o olly dave
rachel lucy ellen Rachel The Salakos
keith small sam lizzie_Small dadds_tn
stephenquyen_small small oscar paul sillence small
chandras_small bickerstaffssmall sonny small
oscar danny hazel pete amie small christine small]
ruth small parnabys small jan small
martin janice small paul and nicky small john small
123514664_1733142746856797_2879662136795752865_o maren ian small

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 #35 – Maren and Ian

parkrun statistics
Number of runs: 65 by Maren, 83 by Ian
Number of different events visited: 6
Number of volunteering stints: 42 by Maren, 32 by Ian

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How did you first hear about parkrun and start coming along?
Maren: Early in 2018 I decided to join a gym in an attempt to get a little bit fitter and, soon after, I came across a listing for Billericay parkrun in the Resident magazine. I was still harbouring a deep-seated fear of running from my school days when my ex-military PE teacher did his utmost to ensure that only the sporty kids enjoyed his lessons. Sadly, I wasn’t one of those, so getting shouted at during cross-country was my worst nightmare. So it was with no real expectation of enjoyment that I went up to the park that fateful morning.

After 3.8 laps of alternating sprints and walks, I was surprised at how much I had enjoyed it. The enthusiasm of the marshals and everyone around me was just infectious. I told Ian all about it and he came along the following week. The rest, as they say, is history.

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What are your favourite memories from the event?
Maren: Doing my 25th volunteering stint! Somehow it was more special to me than getting to 50 runs. (And the purple shirt suits me better than the red, given that I always look like a boiled lobster anyway when I run.) Apart from that, I always particularly enjoy the dressing up events, although sadly my repertoire of costumes is limited to a pineapple suit that I wear for marshalling at the junior parkrun (for a fruity power boost!), so I mostly just benefit from other people’s dedication to fancy dress.

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My favourite event, however, was one inspired by a little local boy who had to have a bone marrow transplant, as I felt that it really brought out the community spirit that is at the heart of parkrun, with lots of people reading the information on display and many signing up for the bone marrow donor register.

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Maren, you had a pretty bad injury recently. What was the process like to come back from that?
Maren: In May 2019, after a very satisfying run of 5 PBs over 7 weeks, I had one of those silly freak accidents that you think really don’t happen... until they do. I was on a rope swing in the forest during a family outing and when the rope snapped and I came down on my sitting bones I broke a vertebra in my lower back. Luckily Ian was with me to call an ambulance, so after some indescribable pain I ended up in Basildon Hospital for a week of MRI and CT scans and lots and lots of boredom. It was during that week when I was (mentally) climbing the walls because I was stuck on my back and not allowed to move that I decided I was going to get back to running come what may! In fact I signed up to do the Billericay 10k race (due to take place 5 months later) while I was still in hospital!

Once I got home, I had to wear a back brace in order to be able to be upright as the spine was not allowed to bear any weight. It took a long time to build up the strength in the surrounding muscles and ligaments to be able to do normal things like going to the local shop, and even then I had to lie down after every stretch of being upright.

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Ian was still going to parkrun, as were some other friends, and I was itching to at least say hello as I was feeling lonely at home. I was a most impatient patient... After about 4 weeks I finally managed to walk as far as the park, sat on a bench to rest my back, and cheered my friends on as they ran past. It wasn’t as good as being part of it and running, but it was definitely the next best thing, so the following week and every week after for the next 2 months I signed up to volunteer and cheer all the runners on as they chased their next PB or jogged or walked along on their individual Saturday morning quest.

By the time I started running again at the end of August, still with the back brace for protection 3 months after the original injury, I felt like I was better known than a spotted dog! Lots of people I didn’t even know asked me how my back was when they overtook me.

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And I did manage to do the Billericay 10k at the start of November, my first ever 10k!

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One of Andrew Kenyon's great photos of the Billericay 10k

What are your favourite parkrun events you've visited and how was it to run parkrun in Germany?
Maren: Out of the two of us, Ian is the one with touring ambitions, whereas I am more than happy just to roll out of bed, walk up to Lake Meadows and run with people I know/recognise. Strangely, both Ian and I think our favourite non-Billericay parkrun was actually Hadleigh, even though it is VERY hilly. The scenery is pretty and we really enjoyed the challenge.

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The punishing chicanes at Hadleigh parkrun

Ian’s done a number of nearby parkruns, mainly the fast ones to get a good time... I haven’t really done much touring, but we do go to parkrun when we are on holiday and there is one nearby. (Although we aren’t at the stage – yet – where we choose holiday destinations based on whether they have a parkrun... That’s probably just a matter of time, though.)

We did a teeny tiny parkrun in Germany on our way back from skiing in Austria. Having left the ski resort at 5am we got to a random car park in the middle of nowhere in good time for Grüner Weg parkrun near Stuttgart. The core team and volunteers essentially seemed to consist of the founder family, who used to live in South Africa and had imported the idea of parkrun to their new home in Germany and who greeted us warmly with a handshake and lots of questions for their unexpected, first ever international tourists. Satisfyingly, Ian managed to come 8th , and I came 14th overall and the 4th woman, which will never happen again unless I find myself a parkrun with even fewer than 22 runners!

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Grüner Weg parkrun

What have been your favourite volunteering roles at Billericay parkrun and Lake Meadows junior parkrun?
Maren: Ian likes to try new roles and has done all sorts, but he particularly enjoys the challenge of being a pacer and getting the timing just right for everyone running with him. I have to admit I am a bit scared of the responsibility especially of timekeeping I but really enjoy cheering people on, so I like to stick to my strengths and marshal.

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I remember how the marshals made me feel welcome on my first tentative parkrun, and that’s how I want to make everyone feel as they run, jog, or walk past me. I especially enjoy marshalling at junior parkrun as I think it is great if the little ones want to be active like that, and the really tiny ones are just so cute when they toddle past.

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How have you found the experience of joining a running club?
Maren: Joining the Billericay Striders was almost accidental. I had seen an advert for their 10-week Beginners & Improvers course run by Keith Walker and decided to try that to improve my parkrun time. At that time I was still walking parts of the course (mainly the hill, oh the hill!!) and thought that I needed help to get beyond that. And Keith certainly pushed us to get better!

But mainly, I met an amazing bunch of people, who were ever so nice and welcoming and who I really enjoyed meeting up with every Thursday for Keith’s session. I’d just started a new job at a local school and was most amazed to realise that one of my fellow runners was in fact my colleague Carla, who became my running buddy as our times were almost perfectly matched and she is utterly lovely to run and chat with.

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How have you kept your running up over lockdown?
When lockdown hit, Ian’s first exercise was a ‘back garden parkrun'. I didn’t fancy the thought of 130 laps of our garden so when the “exercise allowance” was announced we started 5k runs every other day and we also did lots of walking and a bit of cycling as well as Joe Wicks occasionally.

When the Covid rules were relaxed some of our Beginners group gradually started meeting up informally and by now this has developed into getting together 3 to 4 times per week for runs of between 5 and 12km, splitting into groups of 6 when numbers require.

I sometimes joke that my Beginners group is essentially what my social life consists of these days. It is just so lovely to run with such nice people, and although we started out as more or less vague acquaintances in June I feel that I have a really nice group of friends by now. Once Keith runs his next Beginners & Improvers sessions, whenever that may be, Covid allowing, I really couldn’t recommend it more. (Sorry for the plug...)

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What do you do outside of parkrun stuff?
Maren: Ian is a Business Analyst, working from home at the moment, but trying to squeeze in exercise when he can. I am self-employed as a translator and proof-reader, but as I never know when the next job might come in I also work at a local school as a teaching assistant. The upside of this is a nice regular income whilst the downside is that some months I am working flat out every evening. Needless to say I still go running then.

I love reading, but never quite seem to find enough time... That’s on my list of New Year’s Resolutions, definitely.

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Your knowledge of Billericay parkrun was unsurpassed in our 3rd birthday quiz and you won a handmade Billericay parkrun bear! Can you give us an update on how the parkrun bear is doing in his new home?
Maren: To be honest, Ian is a supreme champion at finding out stuff online, so most of the laurels need to rest with him. parkrun bear is enjoying pride of place on a bookshelf in the dining room and looks most pleased that there are no toddlers in the household trying to chomp on him. My teenage daughter thinks he is cute but wasn’t nearly as excited about the new addition to the family as Ian and I were.

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What are you most looking forward to about parkrun coming back?
Maren: We can’t wait to meet everyone again and to run in company. Ian is much better at running by himself than me, but I personally can’t seem to motivate myself to run very fast on our not-parkruns.

I think I really need someone to chase down and someone to try to stay ahead of, and running with our little group of friends now we are just too spread out for me to do that. I am also looking forward to volunteering again and to cheering everyone on, big people on Saturdays and little people on Sundays!

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Ian and I tend to have the monopoly on sorting tokens after parkrun in the cafe with a hot chocolate. I find it strangely satisfying and we have our system all worked out to make it a speedy production line process. Sorry if you have been trying to get a look in there as I tend to sign us up for every token-sorting slot weeks in advance. Just feel free to cross us out if you feel like sorting tokens, it’s fine, we won’t take it personally ;)

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Thanks very much to Maren and Ian!

If you'd like to read more profiles, here are the others from this series so far:

dh linda and james The Halls
alexa 94351089_1559908744180199_2806183506374295552_o 1F7F57D0-EBA9-42A4-B738-A7813057F3B9
smiths Sinead
98185706_1583710028466737_7745896999198654464_o olly dave
rachel lucy ellen Rachel The Salakos
keith small sam lizzie_Small dadds_tn
stephenquyen_small small oscar paul sillence small
chandras_small bickerstaffssmall sonny small
oscar danny hazel pete amie small christine small]
ruth small parnabys small jan small
martin janice small paul and nicky small john small
123514664_1733142746856797_2879662136795752865_o

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 #34 – Kathy Scourfield

parkrun vital statistics
Number of parkruns: 54
Number of different events visited: 4 - Billericay, Chelmsford, Bushy and Seaton
Number of volunteering stints: 17

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Kathy marshalling and looking after Lizzie the guide dog

You did your first parkrun in 2015 but didn't come along regularly until Billericay started up. How did you first get into running and hear about Billericay parkrun?
I started running on and off about 15 years ago to be able to take part in the Race for Life 5Ks.

Then my sister-in-law got involved and suggested we step up to a Cancer Research 10K and then after that she suggested the Brentwood Half Marathon. I trained on my own for all of these but then found my motivation was waning – so plucked up the courage to go along to Billericay Striders. This was in the days before Keith Walker had started the beginners’ group – so it was a bit daunting at the time. But since then I’ve not looked back. Best thing I ever did. I’ve met so many good friends and done so many amazing things!

I’d heard of parkrun a few years before it came to Billericay, and had dipped my toe in the water at Chelmsford. But didn’t really catch the parkrun bug until it arrived on my doorstep. I came along a few weeks after the first one and was soon a parkrun convert.

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How did you get into volunteering at parkrun and what have been your favourite roles?
I started doing the odd volunteering stint because I wanted to give something back and feel like I was doing my bit. I tend to volunteer mostly on the Saturday before I am doing a longer race on the Sunday. It fits in quite nicely and you don’t feel like you are missing out on parkrun that weekend. And it’s also been invaluable when I’ve had a running injury that I’ve had to nurse for a few weeks – I can still feel a part of the running community even though I can’t run.

I’ve not done many of the positions – mainly marshalling which I really enjoy – cheering everybody on and seeing all the different types of runners that turn up every week.

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Being the very first 'Goose Marshal' at Lake Meadows junior parkrun event #1

You are heavily involved in the Striders as Membership Secretary so are the very first person many people come into contact with when joining! What would you say to someone thinking about joining the club but not sure if it's for them?
I’d say come along and give it a go. You can come along for a few weeks to try us out and see if it’s for you before you have to join officially. And we’ve now got the beginners’ group which is a very friendly way to break yourself in. Lots of us remember what it was like to turn up on your own for those first few weeks – so we try to be as welcoming and encouraging as possible. No one gets left behind on a run – there is always someone to run with.

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How has Billericay Striders been coping with the lockdown and what activities are continuing?
Once lockdown started to ease a bit during the summer we resumed our Tuesday night training sessions.  These were taking place on the sports field at Billericay School in a Covid secure environment.  We had at least 4 coaches at each session and you had to book on to the sessions via Eventbrite so that we could control the numbers attending. We also ran our regular Thursday social runs in groups of 6 people, via Facebook.

That's on hold now we've gone into a second lockdown but hopefully we will be able to come back soon.

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Striders at parkrun (long before Covid!)

What are your favourite memories from Billericay parkrun?
I do love the ones with a dressing up opportunity! I always walk to parkrun and my daughter is horrified that I walk through Billericay dressed up in various weird and wonderful costumes!

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The Christmas morning one always feels pretty special. And Reg Foster’s last parkrun was one I won’t forget in a hurry. And I even loved the very early start to run Bushy parkrun in the pouring rain with the rest of the Billericay crew last year. And absolutely loved my 50th earlier this year.

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How have you been keeping active and motivated during lockdown?
To be honest I stayed a bit too motivated during lockdown and overdid it a bit! I loved putting the headphones on and going off-road for an hour or two – exploring new routes on my own. I think it kept me sane during the weeks of total lockdown. But I have suffered since – I upped my number of runs per week and my mileage, didn’t do any strength work – all the things you shouldn’t do. And I picked up an injury. Fortunately it wasn’t one that stopped me running all together – I just needed to be a bit sensible for a while and do my physio rehab work. So I’m now pretty much back to where I was pre-lockdown.

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What do you do outside of parkrun stuff?
I have two grown up children – one living at home at the moment and the other in her last year at university. My husband joins me at parkrun most Saturdays – it’s the only exercise he does – but I think it’s the draw of the bacon sarnie in the café afterwards that motivates him rather than the run. And we have two very energetic Springer Spaniels who need lots of walking. I do occasionally run with them - but Harry is now nearly 10 so is slowing down quite a bit and Finn is only 18 months old so wants to run much faster than me at the moment.

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I work for a London borough as a Reader Development Librarian – most of my job is all about getting children into reading. I have classes of children come to see me and tell them all about using the library and get to read all my favourite stories to them. It’s not a bad job! I’m working from home at the moment, looking after our social media and trying to come up with all sorts of interesting virtual events to entertain our customers.

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Kathy and Darren

As a running librarian, do you have any books you could recommend to us that you've been reading over lockdown? (or just favourite books!!)
As you can imagine I’ve read a lot of books this year! The ones that stand out for me are - “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins, “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood, “Queenie” by Candice Carty-Williams, “The Cactus” by Sarah Haywood, “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones and “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo.

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Favourite books of all time – “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen and “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte.

What are you most looking forward to about parkrun starting back up again?
I can’t wait for parkrun to start up again. I’ve really missed it. It’s just such a great start to the weekend – puts you in a good mood and really sets you up for the weekend. Also can’t wait to see everyone again! Saturday mornings aren’t the same at the moment.

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Thanks very much to Kathy!

If you'd like to read more profiles, here are the others from this series so far:

dh linda and james The Halls
alexa 94351089_1559908744180199_2806183506374295552_o 1F7F57D0-EBA9-42A4-B738-A7813057F3B9
smiths Sinead
98185706_1583710028466737_7745896999198654464_o olly dave
rachel lucy ellen Rachel The Salakos
keith small sam lizzie_Small dadds_tn
stephenquyen_small small oscar paul sillence small
chandras_small bickerstaffssmall sonny small
oscar danny hazel pete amie small christine small]
ruth small parnabys small jan small
martin janice small paul and nicky small john small

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 #33 – John Cockcroft

This week's profile comes from Dr John Cockcroft, the third local GP for us to feature (along with Femi and Liz!)

Thanks John and all the NHS professionals at Billericay for all their hard work to keep us well, especially this year.

parkrun statistics
Number of parkruns: 46
Number of events visited: 4
Number of volunteering stints: 3

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How did you first find out about parkrun and start running at Billericay?
My friend Paul Hunt at Christ Church, Billericay was already a seasoned parkrunner at Basildon before Billericay started its own parkrun, and he used to encourage me to join in. When the Billericay event started I really lost my last excuse for not joining in! I had been running about a mile every morning for a year or so before, and thought I was about ready to take on the extra distance.

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What do you enjoy most about Saturday mornings at parkrun?
I’m always interested in where the ‘tourists’ have travelled from, whether it’s Basildon or Brisbane. The running itself I usually enjoy for the first lap, then the second and third can feel like a bit of a slog before deciding whether I have anything more left for the last lap. I like meeting medical colleagues especially, and Femi Salako has been a great personality to look out for.

Sometimes if I’m feeling fit I’ll try to keep up with someone that I know is a bit faster, like Simon Tolaini, but I’ve never managed to catch him yet!

After the run, I enjoy the gentle jog back to my house followed by a shower and a snack, after which it’s usually time to catch up with the results. I’m not super-competitive, but I do like to feel that I’ve run a decent time for me, and to look for the other people in my age group especially.

2017-12-24 23.27.19

For those thinking about taking up parkrun once we get back, what would you say are the main benefits?
In parkrun you can never be last, and the tail walkers make sure that no-one is left behind.

More importantly, there is a sense of belonging to a group of people who have come out together on a Saturday morning to enjoy the fresh air and explore their own physical limits; a chance to meet old friends and new people. I’ve never found that running helped me to lose much weight, it just improves my appetite! But I enjoy feeling stronger and my knees are never better than when I’ve been running regularly.

Whether or not you are able to run, you can still support this event and be part of the community by volunteering for one of the many, many tasks that need to be done every week.

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Since running more regularly, you’ve taken on some brilliant races and challenges. What have been the highlights?
My first marathon in May 2019, at Brighlingsea: four laps around the huge country park there and a medal with Darth Vader on it ‘May the fourth be with you’ (geddit?) A little over five hours, and a time I have never improved on so far.

My second marathon in France, the Marathon de la Baie du Mont St Michel was amazing, mainly because of the support of my wonderful daughter Julia, and the lovely mini-break that we managed to plan around the race.

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Joining Billericay Striders has encouraged me to get more involved in running locally, including the Brentwood and Havering half-marathons, and I have enjoyed both running and marshalling the Billericay 10k, which is without doubt the finest race in the county.

2019-10-06 11.55.38
2018-11-04 13.12.18 2019-05-28 08.32.15
Havering Half Marathon and Billericay 10k and Marathon de la Baie medals

Finally, last year Julia and I took on the Race to the Stones: 100km over two days from Lewknor (you know, that bit on the titles of the Vicar of Dibley) to Avebury in Wiltshire (where the stones are), along the Chilterns and the Thames and across the Berkshire Downs. The second morning has to be the toughest thing I have ever made myself do.

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What are your favourite memories from Billericay parkrun?
My favourite events have been those with family and friends. My sister Sophie came over from Brisbane and ran with us, and my best man Hervey Vaughan-Williams from Mtubatuba, South Africa last Autumn. I enjoy the parkruns that have involved fancy dress, and I especially enjoyed the two people dressed as daleks and the Tyrannosaurus rex that terrorised poor David Hayday.

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What do you do outside of parkrun?
I’ve been a GP in Billericay for twenty-eight years. My two children have grown up and moved away, but we keep in close touch. My wife Carol has recently been ordained in the Church of England, so I have been trying to support her in that role: learning to play the guitar, leading the choir at St Peter and St Paul’s Church Grays, and sewing the odd bit of fancy dress on a seventy-year old hand-cranked sewing machine (it’s not right good, and there’s been a fair bit of un-picking to be done).

I used to fly an aeroplane, but I sold my share in it at the end of 2017 and I think that particular chapter may have ended. Flying is wonderful, but it does take a lot of time and mental energy, not to mention the expense! I have certainly been running a lot more since I stopped.

2020-03-26 14.07.11 2018-08-16 12.18.39

How has the Covid-19 time been for you as a healthcare professional?
Initially quite worrying as some of my colleagues and contemporaries were very ill and a few died. We had to find a way to carry on working whilst keeping a safe distance between patients. Our practice has never closed, but all of our consultations are ‘triaged’ by a doctor or nurse practitioner on the phone in the first instance, and only a minority ultimately need to be seen face- to-face.

The lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) in General Practice was a worry at first, and we see patients with a higher risk of Covid in a dedicated “respiratory hub” in Basildon that can meet all the infection control requirements. As a natural extrovert, I miss the personal patient contact, but at least I have been privileged to be able to go into work and meet my colleagues every day since March.

The clapping was quite flattering at first, but then I realised that it wasn’t really for us. My son Jack has been working throughout as a trainee anaesthetist in intensive care units in Stoke-on-Trent and in Kent, and those people are the real heroes of this pandemic.

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This is a very difficult time for many of us. What would you say are the best ways to stay physically and mentally healthy?
Regarding physical health: find some sort of physical exercise that you enjoy, and exercise hard for at least half an hour at least three times a week. Avoid smoking like the plague: it kills more people a year than ever Covid-19 did. Consume alcohol in moderation if you enjoy it, but never in order to relieve anxiety or stress.

For mental health, work hard on your relationships with those around you and especially those you love. Try to set yourself reasonable targets and be ready to give yourself a pat on the back rather than being overly self-critical. Be patient with yourself and others: recognise that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither can most problems be solved by short cuts. Physical and mental health are not really separate, and what impacts on one most often affects the other.

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What are you most looking forward to when we get back?
Just seeing everybody! I love finding that gap in the second lap just behind someone who has the same pace as me and then pushing the envelope in the third and fourth lap. Rob Deacon, I’m coming for you! (don’t be too worried). I look forward to seeing the organisers and regular volunteers again, and I look forward to my next volunteering week and seeing every face come round the course. Finally I love cheering the faster runners as they come past having lapped me (Go, Alexa!)

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Thanks very much to John!

If you'd like to read more profiles, here are the others from this series so far:

dh linda and james The Halls
alexa 94351089_1559908744180199_2806183506374295552_o 1F7F57D0-EBA9-42A4-B738-A7813057F3B9
smiths Sinead
98185706_1583710028466737_7745896999198654464_o olly dave
rachel lucy ellen Rachel The Salakos
keith small sam lizzie_Small dadds_tn
stephenquyen_small small oscar paul sillence small
chandras_small bickerstaffssmall sonny small
oscar danny hazel pete amie small christine small]
ruth small parnabys small jan small
martin janice small paul and nicky small

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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