Unofficial parkrun Poet’s Run Report for 31st August 2019

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
watchtower, check
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