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)

Volunteers

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

 

Parkrun 280 – 11th May 2019

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.
photo01- deckshoes
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!
photo03-micksbriefing
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 :-)
photo04-walkup
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.
photo05-starting
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!
photo07-pyramid
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.
photo09-finish
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!
photo06-turnright
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
:-) photo08-dandelionclocks
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
photo11-selfieframe
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 :-)
Kathy x

 

20th April 2019

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.

 

Blickling parkrun – 17th November 2018 – 255

Picturesque. Peaceful. Pleasant.

Three words that in my opinion describe the parkrun that is Blickling. On what was a glorious Saturday morning 285 parkrunners and 16 volunteers turned out to enjoy what was a brilliant morning for running.

Having completed numerous different parkruns around the country and ventured overseas last month it is always nice to return to my favourite parkrun in Norfolk. It delivers not only a course that has a few challenges, it is also one of the friendliest, and most certainly the prettiest, within 20 minutes of the outskirts of Norwich (other parkruns are available!) I have ran at Blickling 17 times in total and always try to volunteer with their pacing events throughout the year. It’s one that I always love coming back to.

Firstly a massive thank you to all the amazing volunteers. Without their dedication and attentiveness parkrun doesn’t happen. Thank you all - when things go well, they keep things ticking over, and when things may not go to plan they always step up and are there to help and support.

This weeks hi-viz heroes:
Christine HERRING • Claire RICHES • Diane CHALK • Elizabeth GIBBONS • Karen EVANS • Kathy WORSENCROFT • Lee ANDERTON • Lynn GREENFIELD • Neil ADAMS • Neil ANDERTON • Noel MEEKS • Rachael SIMONS • Sally BARDSLEY • Sarah HOLNESS • Tanya MANSER • Tracey ANDERTON

Now on to the running side of things...
There were 33 first timers at Blickling of which 19 were completing their first ever parkruns. A massive 20% (58 runners) achieved a new Personal Best - of which 9 were achieved by runners who were completing their second ever parkrun.

It was a good week for Tony McCallum who recorded his first ever First Finisher on his 35th run at Blickling and a new PB of 18:25 to go with it. Second finisher was claimed by Finsbury parkrun regular Michael Heaney in 18:44 with James Lillistone in 3rd place in 19.24.

First female was Memphis Symonds in 20:18 and a new PB. It was also her 8th consecutive first female at various different events. Victoria Tovell was 2nd female in 22:30 on her 126th run at Blickling. 3rd female was Beverley McLees of Ware Joggers came home in 22:34 on her first visit to Blickling parkrun.

Well done to all that continue to make Blickling such a successful and popular parkrun in the East of England.

Rob Whalen

 

Blickling parkrun 252- 27th November 2018

Well just for once the weather wasn't perfect, but considering the forecast none of us got too wet. Well done to the 167 hardy souls who turned up today, to walk, jog or run around lovely Blickling Park.
There were 25 first timers today, including 7 complete beginners, well done to Thomas, Liam, Nona, Jim, Grenville, Nigel and Jordy - we hope that you enjoyed the parkrun experience and that we'll see you again next week.
Despite the far from perfect weather there were 29 Personal Bests (PBs) today, including Kathy (who knocked 8 minutes off her previous best time), Carol (5 PBs in a row), and Trevor (3 PBs in a row and sub 22 minutes for the first time). Well done to you and the other 26.
I'm personally looking forward to next week (3rd November) when the Coltishall Jaguars take control and provide all the volunteers. There will be lots of pacers for you to use in attempting to set your own PB. The following week (10th November) we will be celebrating our 5th parkrun birthday by running the alternate, one lap, course. and would encourage parkrunners to wear red.
See you next week.
DON'T FORGET - IF IT'S SATURDAY, IT'S PARKRUN DAY.

 

Bloickling parkrun # 234 – 18th August 2018

Well,it's cooled down a little and made it more bearable to slog your way around the park at Blickling. 236 of us took the opportunity to run, jog, walk, push prams and doggy run/walk around the alternate course today. Having measured the course yesterday it looks like I miscalculated and as a result it was probably just over a 100 metres short. Sorry about that, I'll amend it to make sure that it is accurate the next time that we use the alternate course.
Having said which there were 34 PBs and varying from seconds to minutes better than previously run - well done to all of you. There were also 31 first timers to Blickling Parkrun, of whom 8 were brand new to parkrun - Liam, Jonathan, Sonia, Terry, Jennie, Charlie, Carol and Louisa we hope that you enjoyed the experience and that we'll see you at parkrun again.
Just a reminder that next week's event is cancelled because of the Aylsham Show, so enjoy the opportunity to do a bit of parkrun tourism and we'll see you in a couple of weeks.
Remember - IF IT'S SATURDAY IT'S PARKRUN DAY

 

Blickling parkrun #240 – 21st July 2018

Another Saturday and another parkrun day, lovely to see all 223 of you enjoying the sunshine as you walked, jogged and ran around the course. 30 first timers her today, amongst whom was Sarah (Cambridge Triathlon Club) who chose to visit us on her 297th parkrun - what took you so long! Another visitor was Robbie, normally resident at Ormskirk, who visited us for the second time and knocked 16 minutes off his PB - although he was tailwalker last time! Other PB notables were; Craig and Luke, who are very close to breaking 20 minutes; I particularly liked the run of young Finley Manners who got Mum Tanya to a PB. Well done to Amelia, who ran her 10th parkrun today and Roger on his 100th.
Just a couple of parish notices, as a reminder: parkruns on 11th and 25th August are cancelled because of the Aylsham Show and the Proms. We will be running the alternate, one lap route on 18th August and Reepham Runners have filling all the volunteer slots that day. Finally, as from August the National Trust have asked us to encourage parkrunners to park in the alternate car park from August onwards and we will be putting out signs to indicate this.

 

Blickling parkrun #235 – 16th June 2018

We continue to have problems with parkrunners entering the finish funnel incorrectly. Some simple rules; 1. Only enter the finish tunnel if you have completed the 5K course. 2. Only enter the finish tunnel once. 3. If you enter the finish funnel you MUST take a finish token. At Saturday's parkrun two people entered the finish tunnel having only completed three quarters of a lap - this caused me more than three hours of extra work to try and sort out the results. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE just obey these simple rules and you will make life much easier for your lovely volunteers.
Anyway, back to the actual parkrun. Another glorious day in our lovely park, which 257 of you took advantage of. These included 45 first timers at Blickling Parkrun, 13 of whom were complete beginners. Welcome to; Tim, Hannah, Leah and Steve Burt, Rebecca, Sarah, Sophie, Tanya, Anna, Kate, Ben and Sian - we hope to see you again next week.
36 PBs were recorded, including Sam and Ryan, the first two parkrunners over the line in 16.44 and 1647 respectively. My friend David Butler equalled his PB - it's there for the taking David!
I look forward to seeing you all next week and don't forget - IF IT'S SATURDAY, IT'S PARKRUN DAY.

 

Blickling parkrun #220 – 24th February 2018

Blickling parkrun Well, another glorious day in the history of Blickling parkrun, with 205 parkrunners turning out on a bright, but breezy, day to run, jog and walk around our beautiful parkland setting. Firstly, I must say a big than you to Run Director, Neil Anderton and the Dereham Runners AC crew who took over all the volunteer slots today. I think that you will all agree that they did a cracking job.Welcome to our first timers today, Elizabeth, Emma, Brian, another Elizabeth, Adele, Mark, Steven, Abigail and Ian. We hope that you enjoyed the experience and come back again next week. Lots of PBs today, in fact 34 of them. Congratulations in particular go to Nigel Smith who got a PB of 23.59 today at his 99th parkrun and also to Alan Butterworth in 24.02 on his 120th parkrun. It was a close run thing for a couple of my friends today; Sally Bardsley was just one second behind her PB and Helene Hagon was only three seconds away from beating her best. I claim all the credit because I'm convinced that they were chasing me. It won't be long before it'll be the other way round. Don't forget, IF IT'S SATURDAY, IT'S PARKRUN DAY. Best wishes from Mick Liston

 

Blickling parkrun #216 – 27th January 2018

A personal milestone reached for me today after completing my 100th parkrun. Congratulations also go to Rebecca and Max Westmoreland who both finished their 100th parkruns - I hope that you enjoyed your balloon! Once again we were blessed with another glorious day and 246 of you took the opportunity to run, jog and walk around our lovely course. There were 14 first timers today, amongst whom was Gordon Lindsay, who I managed to chat with before his run - he looked like he might have actually enjoyed the run when I saw him at the finish. I hope that you took my advice to leave some gas in the tank so that you can get a PB next week Gordon. Welcome also to first timers at Blickling, Katie and Darren who were visiting from their home parkrun at Wimpole.

I have made a video of my run today and will publish it as soon as I have done some suitable editing. James Anderton was present today taking photographs so you will probably be able to see yourself in all your athletic glory very soon. Lovely to see you all today and we look forward to seeing you all again next week. Remember, 'If it's Saturday it's parkrun day'.

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