Thanks to the 235 runners who came today and supported Blickling parkrun with visitors from Newark and York to swell our numbers. On a lovely December morning there was the excitement of Christmas in the air and we had 8 pacers to help and encourage our faithful followers. Once again a very grateful thank you to all the volunteers who make the event happen each week and for responding to Sarah’s plea for help. You guys are the best. And if I may just mention 2, Jude and Inigo Patten who are regular volunteers, many thanks guys. With Christmas on the doorstep we are inviting you to dress for the occasion on Saturday 21st, our last run before Crimbo. Congratulations today for 50 runs for Leila Manners and Colin Bye and for 100 we had Steven Shaw and Jamie Campbell. Our own Bob Carter reached 200 runs so another great achievement. Well done everyone and remember those running their first today that you took your first steps towards a milestone so please keep coming back, we would love to see you again and welcome to the biggest and friendliest ‘family’ in the World. See everyone next week
251 hardy souls, many in high viz outfits, stood up and stood out in the dull, wet, gloomy morning conditions to complete Blickling Parkrun number 306.
The morning was impressively organised by Run Director Angela Butcher who beautifully orchestrated her team of volunteers, over 20 of which were from the recently formed local running club, Aylsham Runners. Setting the scene for the runners, of which there were a diverse mix of old (er) (age category 75-79) and young (age category for 10 year olds), milestones were celebrated; 13 newbies (to Parkrun) Samantha Wheatley, Deborah Worby, Alison Mawson, Mia Sullivan, Richard Wright, Rosie Osborne, Sue Smith, Freddie Mutimer, Rebecca Simpson, Mark Fuller, Ben Kirby, Harry Nicholson, Charlie Wheatley; Julie Marks and Robert Greeves for their 10th; Neil Toplis, Greg Pearson and Maddy Gomes for their 20th; Annie Brough and Kate Smith for their 25th; Wesley Burgoyne and Ursie Webber for their 50th; Grace Buchanan for her 100th; Matt Phelps and Amelia Whiting for their incredibly inspiring 225th (is that a milestone?!). Well done to these people and everyone for taking part.
Despite the less than perfect conditions, there were personal bests aplenty (32 to be precise) with John Coulson, Anita Feeney, Reuben Lee, Katharine Yuill, Evie Hannant, Eliza Schaitel, Avril Chandler, Kathryn Groom, Wendy Grimes, Angela Gidman, Annette Stratton, Helen Cassie, Anna White, Karl Myhill, Harriette Crowe, Victoria Lintin, Jonathan Denton, Roger Osborne, Suzanne Greeves, Andy Glover, Sian Brooks, Mark Taylor, Inigo Patten, Graham Allison, Cheryl Hunt, Maddy Gomes, Samuel Flowerdew, Wesley Burgoyne, Chloe Monsey, Robert Greeves, Gus White, Gav Dent all pushing through bodily boundaries.
Everyone has their own personal challenges and targets and it was wonderful to see runners with dogs, runners with pushchairs, children, club runners, first timers and everyone else crossing the finish line with a sweaty smile. Who won? Everyone of course! Those participating, those supporting, those volunteering and everyone associated with enabling Parkrun to take place should all be congratulated and called winners, but there are few individuals that should be mentioned.
Neil Adams came in first overall with an impressive 17:34; John Hudson, Charles Bowen, Tony McCallum, Oliver O’Malley, Matthew Bye, John Gay, Grenville Payne, Mick Liston and Geoff Hayward were first in their respective age groups; Grace Buchanan was the first female with Chloe Monsey, Ali Borrman, Maddy Gomes, Amii Andrews, Lily Showers, Ruth Gainsford, Phoebe Davis, Suzanne Greeves, Janine Flowerdew, Lucinda Osborne, Anna White, Jacquie Wood and Avril Chandler all coming first in their respective age groups.
Thank you to Blickling Parkrun for allowing the takeover from Aylsham Runners – everyone found it immensely rewarding. Please consider volunteering and email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The event was made possible by 28 volunteers:
Myles HAGUE • Mick LISTON • Steven HITCHAM • Linda MELTON • Heather MORTON • Donna BUTCHER • Sarah MORTER • James SCRIVENS • Noel MEEKS • Elizabeth GIBBONS • Angela BUTCHER • Trudi BRADLEY • Lauren STROUD • Linda BYGRAVE • Kate SMITH • Tanya MANNERS • Emma WATTS • Sarah LOWNDES • Jed MICHAEL • Susan LOWE • Chris BAKER • Ellen GROOM • Lynne JANES • Anne CROWE • Catherine TOWNSEND • Lucy BAKER • Natasha CARVER • Karen MCGRATH
Have a fantastic weekend and see you again soon.
Lauren Stroud, Aylsham Runners
Don’t Lose Your Head! – Blickling parkrun #294, 31 August 2019
A long drive from Gorleston, including a sun swept Acle Straight, led me to Blickling Hall. My visit formed part of a long tourist streak which has seen me run 39 different events in a row. I have just two more parkruns to perambulate to complete Tour-folk (16 events), having recently finished Suff-ok (11 events). I’ve also ticked off the National Rushed challenge for NT events in Norfolk (the mountainous Sheringham is the other one).
Today, we had 314 athletes run, jog or walk the route, supported by 21 magnificent volunteers. A total of 112 people beat the poet (time 27:04), who faded like Anne Boleyn’s headless ghost. Milestones were many: Dave Thomas, Vince Keen, Emma Lee and Emily Keen all joined the 50 Club, while Felix Pagan, Sally Bardsley and Jen Armstrong completed their 100th runs. A special mention to Jonah Life, the U11 runner who celebrated his 200th run with a quick time of 23:08. He’s definitely a runner to watch out for in the future. Mick Liston celebrated his 70th birthday, bringing along tasty cakes for all. Archie Liston recorded 50:00 on crutches and got the biggest cheer at the finish, a top effort. And now, a Blickling parkrun poem:
the great pyramid
look left in Great Wood, she said
there’ll be a marshal, he said,
up the hill, through the gate
pass the distant watchtower
turn sharp right -
you’ve got two chances
first time, I see nothing
between oak and chestnut,
a speckled wood butterfly
flushed from the stony track,
a grasshopper in bracken
taunts me on the downhill charge
second time, I’m prepared
knobbled oak, check
speckled wood, check
between the trees
there it is……
a pink portaloo
After an unsuccessful effort at spotting the mausoleum pyramid during the run, I decided to do a post parkrun saunter around the butterfly trail. Retracing my steps up the hill and into Great Wood, I found the mausoleum pyramid in a bracken-fringed glade, from where several common green grasshoppers broadcast their ticking courtship songs. This grasshopper is far from abundant in parts of Norfolk despite its name, preferring old grassland that hasn’t been ploughed or sprayed, a rare habitat where arable farming predominates. I’ve heard it singing before at nearby Heydon Hall, a place my father knew well as a boy growing up in Saxthorpe during World War II. He also loved Blickling Hall, with its connections to the tragic Boleyn who may have been born there, plentiful paintings and long library.
I also spotted a small heath butterfly, a UK ‘priority’ species due to its decline. When running, we sometimes don’t realise the wealth of wildlife that can be found alongside the route. The star of the pyramid stage was a common lizard, complete with a luckless grasshopper in its mouth. Traipsing back to the car, I reflected on a fantastic morning. The parkrun is very well organised, the community friendly, and the rolling parkland scenery takes your breath away. I’ll be back!
Tim Gardiner aka the parkrun poet (twitter: @timgardiner3)
Alastair HOWE • Angela BUTCHER • Angela PLEASANTS • Billy LIFE • Diane CHALK • Diane LAIN • Emma BLAKE • Emma PENFOLD • Hetty LIFE • Inigo PATTEN • Jonah LIFE • Lee ANDERTON • Mick LISTON • Neil ANDERTON • Sam WELLER • Sarah GRAND • Sarah LANCHBURY • Stewart LIFE • Tim GARDINER • Tim MCCLEAN • Victoria TOVELL
Good morning Blickling and greetings from Luton!
My local parkrun is Luton Wardown, but I am lucky enough to visit Norfolk from time to time. I first did Blickling parkrun back in October last year and I fell in love with it. I spent the whole day and left at about 5 p.m. when it was dark - getting value out of my fiver for parking! I loved it so much I rushed home, told my partner about it and brought him with me next time... and on that day we joined the National Trust for repeat visits to ensue. This Saturday, 11 May 2019, was my fifth parkrun at Blickling. Here's my take on your beautiful venue.
Parkrun tourists often ask each other what shoes they should wear. It's never an issue for me as I only have one type of trainers - but my first time at Blickling I was so focused on how to find my way there on my own, I forgot to pack them! I managed to find some deck shoes that were totally flat and very thin soled and picked my way gingerly round the course in those. It was the 250th event and I was just a face in the crowd, but still - next time I was there, several people remembered me and we had a laugh about my footwear. That's pretty special - to be recognised and greeted after just one visit! Thank you Blickling for making me feel so welcome.
Blicking is so different from home. Luton Wardown is one of those town centre parkruns where you run multiple times round the lake of a municipal park. Great community atmosphere and the most encouraging, clappingest, shoutiest volunteers you'll ever meet - but maybe unremarkable in terms of landscape. Blickling on the other hand, a National Trust stately home with eye poppingly beautiful open parkland. Stunning. I guess you knew that already
But a warning to tourists: get there early!
At Luton, the briefing may start at 9, with a short walk to the start and away at about 10 past. No such slacking at Blickling! The briefing starts early (bang on 0850), so ideally get there for 8:30, to allow time to queue for the parking meters and walk to the briefing point near the parkland entrance.
This week it was Mick who was at the helm as Run Director (RD). Just a quick note: Please everyone, keep quiet and listen to the briefing. The RD has important information we all need to know, and it's hard to hear if people are chatting. There's plenty of time for that on the way to the start
I enjoy the long but beautiful walk to the start (it's only 500 metres Kathy!), because by the start line, you're already halfway up the hill! At 9 a.m. Mick rang the bell and we were off. I love that he continued to ring it while we all passed, as a cheery encouragement to our run.
I'll be honest: I'm slow and although I love it, I find parkrun hard. This week I stumbled round in just under 42 minutes. But another thing I love about Blickling is it's in sections, so it's never far from a change of setting, and the one-and-a-half laps bring enough repetition to make the second time through each part feel quicker. Past the friendly marshals at the gate (saying hello of course), another push and then the uphill is over and we're turning into a lovely wooded stretch. Once emerged, past Alistair's marshal point and for me the most interesting part of the course. It may just seem like a grassy meadow but look over your left shoulder - the famous Blickling Mausoleum!
More woods and fields including a field of dandelion clocks - cos we all have a great 'time' at parkrun
And arriving at the glorious downhill section where we see the finish... It's usually about here that the first finishers are lapping me.
Passing by to complete the circuit, only this time we have to run the full length of the hill we walked up before... lucky there are the lovely marshals still there at the gate and a very welcome high-five from a junior marshal. Thank you!
And just as my poor legs are giving out, my spirits lift: the joy of seeing bluebells and my favourite tree in the park (this gnarled old oak) gets me to the top. From there it's just a matter of repeat - until that final headlong gallop through the funnel with a bursting heart and a huge grin on my face that I made it round without walking
I hope this captures a little of what I love about Blickling. It's just wonderful!
Congratulations to the 293 participants who ran, walked, jeffed or jogged it this week. There were 28 first-timers and 62 people achieved a PB, including first finisher James Lillistone who led the field at 18:53. Well done everyone!
Finally, a huge thank you to Mick and to all the wonderful volunteers who made this event happen: Neil ADAMS, Lee ANDERTON, Emma BLAKE, Carol BYE, Jonathan BYE, Matthew BYE, Diane CHALK, Ness DENT, Charlotte ENNALS, Linda HOMER, Alastair HOWE, Rosemary JACKSON, Andrew JOHNSON, Diane LAIN, Jason LAWSON, Stewart LIFE, Hetty LIFE, Jonah LIFE, Billy LIFE, Mick LISTON, Noel MEEKS, Diane Susan RENSHAW, Claire RICHES, Julian SMITH, Victoria TOVELL, Jenni VAN REE, Amelia WHITING
Thank you Blickling for a fabulous parkrun and your warm hospitality. See you very soon I hope. And if you're ever in Bedfordshire, do factor in a Saturday morning for Luton Wardown parkrun. We'd love to return the welcome
What could be better, on a lovely sunny Saturday morning, than to run, jog or walk around our beautiful parkun course at Blickling. Apart from doing the First Timers' Brief and putting out a few route signs, I had the opportunity to join 373 of you on your many different sorts of parkrun journey on Saturday.
The event starts, as usual, at the bottom of 'the hill that becomes a mountain'. Anyone who has run that slope the two times required will know exactly what I mean by that. I have learnt over the years that to have a good run it's best to take it easy up that slope, as you run (no pun intended) the risk of deadening your legs with lactate. So off we headed, all ages, all different sizes, but with one purpose - to enjoy the parkrun experience.
I wasn't expecting much out of my run as I had had problems with injury over the last few weeks and wasn't at my best, but what the hell. Even taking it easy up the hill I was struggling by the time it flattened out and headed towards the Mausoleum. Attempting to practice what I preach, I tried to get my breathing in sync with my pacing, relax my shoulders and concentrating on the rhythm of my running. It did help that the course flattens out for a fair distance until the downhill slope towards the finish.
Pushing on past the start on the 'second lap' I dug deep and tried to keep to my planned pace, I was trying to keep to 8 minute miles, to get round in about 25 minutes. I dropped about 10 seconds off that pace, but was content enough with that. What was really pleasing at this stage of the run was that, whether I was being overtaken, or passing a parkrunner, words of encouragement both ways were often and sincere. I just love the parkrun family.
Passing the last marshal, never forgetting to say thank you for their volunteering, I kept on driving forward before letting gravity do its work on the final downhill slope to the welcoming finish funnel. Many parkrunners tell me, and I agree with them, that the best bit of the parkrun experience is meeting up everybody just after the finish and just chatting about how things have gone.
Whether you've whizzed around in sub 18 minutes, or jeffed* (jeffing is a combination of walking/jogging/running invented by a bloke called Jeff) the course in 45+ minutes, what you have all achieved is getting around a 5 kilometre course by your best efforts. I recall the great Sir Mo, when congratulated on a recent marathon success, saying that he was amazed that some runners had managed to keep going for up to 6 hours, whilst he had spent a little over two hours doing the same thing. For me it puts it all into perspective.