***Winter Weather Checks***

As we've been well and truly hit by winter weather this week, we wanted to give you notice of our process when we have a forecast that may cause us to cancel the event. Ice being the most significant issue.

The safety of both runners and volunteers is our primary concern and all decisions will be taken accordingly.

We will take notice of the forecast and updates from Leverhulme locals on a Friday and will have volunteers checking the course by 8am on Saturday so we can make a decision as quickly as possible.

We aim to notify you of a cancellation as early as we can to prevent unnecessary journeys, but depending on the situation we may have to cancel close to the start time if conditions deteriorate.

Cancellations will be advised on our FB page https://m.facebook.com/Boltonparkrun/  and will show in RED on our homepage http://www.parkrun.org.uk/bolton/

We will have a volunteer in person to advise anyone who hasn't seen other messages and would appreciate your help in sharing information particularly if you know someone who doesn't use social media.

If a cancellation is declared it is parkrun's policy NOT to reverse that situation even if the weather conditions improve, this is to ensure there is no confusion during the process.

Please note, for safety reasons and to support with any tweaks we make to the course we may also need additional marshals on the day and would appreciate your flexibility (bring your big coat, hat and gloves in case we need you).

As ever, we ask for your patience and support and if you are in a position to support with course checks or as an extra marshal on the day please let us know by emailing boltonhelpers@parkrun.com


Festive Events

The Festive Season is almost upon us.

As usual, Bolton parkrun will be putting on an extra event on New Years Day with a 10am start time.

Look forward to seeing you all bright and breezy for the first run of 2019 :)





It's quite cold - have you noticed? It's been mentioned once or twice on the news...


Conditions aren't set to get any better so in the interest of everybody's safety there will be no Bolton parkrun on Saturday 3rd March.


Rest up, stay warm and stay safe!


14 Things Only a Bolton parkrun Run Director Can Relate To


14 Things Only a Bolton parkrun Run Director Can Relate To



SPOILER ALERT: This article contains some soppy thank you messages.


1. Checking your phone after two minutes of putting it down to see an insane number of unread Whatsapp messages isn’t unusual.

giphy (3)


2. You’ve suddenly realised after 10pm on a Friday night that you forgot to sort more than 400 finish tokens.



3. You have a socially unacceptable number of photos in your Whatsapp message history detailing the quality of and/or weather impact on tarmac paths in Leverhulme park.



4. There's nothing quite like the feeling of handling the bollard covers and hi-viz jackets when they've been sat moist for a week in a container...



5. You’ve received an email from a runner urgently instructing you to change their finish time because it’s two seconds slower than the time recorded on their Garmin.

Excuse Me


6. Swear words you didn’t know existed can be muttered when trying to put a gazebo together, with a hangover.



7. Your better half has come close, on more than one occasion, to causing actual bodily harm on account of the volume of parkrun equipment that needs to be taken home / washed / sorted / take up otherwise nice space in your home.

Find you


8. The struggle for volunteers on a Thursday night is real...



9. You accept that Rob Short’s contributions in the Whatsapp group will be intermittent and at best divisive…



10. There’s nothing like the feeling of seeing someone smash their parkrun PB.



11. You no longer believe anyone can do fancy dress better than Emma Donaldson (not even this dog dressed as a panda).



12. You’re aware of some sort of joke about Andy Patterson and cakes but you’re not really sure what it actually is or where it originated.



13. 30 hi-viz waistcoats hanging to dry on your washing line is a totally normal scene in your back garden…



14. You make a unique face when you hear the words “someone didn’t take a token”

Angry Results




Seven years of Bolton parkrun. 8,592 people have taken part. 842 people have volunteered. Unbelievable, Jeff (that’s one for the Sky Sports Soccer Saturday fans amongst you – for everyone else, Jeff’s just a lad in a suit and tie who get excitable about football news).


Some of you reading this may have been stood at the start line on that flippin’ miserable rainy February morning in 2011 for Bolton parkrun Event #1. Some of you may have taken part with us for the first time today or in the last couple of weeks (hiya!).





Whether you’re old or new to parkrun, let’s make sure we shout about something loudly: this event is put on and managed entirely by volunteers (*pauses for effect…).


A great local organisation (Get Active) funded our start up costs to pay for training and our equipment (our scanners and timers have all since been replaced, but our tank of a laptop is still going strong!). Since then, every single aspect of Bolton parkrun has been coordinated solely through the efforts of volunteers who get involved for fun, to make a difference to our town, and sometimes because there’s nothing else to do…


Each Saturday morning, somewhere in the region of 20-30 people turn up to volunteer so that a free, timed, 5km run/jog/walk can take place. To all of our incredible volunteers who turn up come rain or shine, to make Bolton parkrun happen, we’ll never be able to thank you enough. Some events it rains from start to end, and you head home wondering what on earth you’re doing. Other days the sun is shining and you float home on a little cloud of happiness (with a touch of sun burn to boot…).




Mike Gregson wrote an article summarising 2017 at Bolton parkrun (read it here!), and he calls out some of the more recent regular volunteer heroes there. It would be remiss of me not to give a personal shout out to Dave Hitchen and Mick Entwistle who are nine times out of ten the first to arrive at the park to set up the course each week. These two guys embody the spirit of parkrun in their drive and commitment – having volunteered way more times than they’ve ever ran here. They typically have most of the hard work done before 8:30am every week and so smoothly, it’s very easy to take it for granted. Lads – thank you.

However, I wanted to use this article to talk more about the behind the scenes – the hi-viz curtain of mystery if you will.
I think it’d be really difficult to truly convey just how much work has to go on behind the scenes to keep the Bolton parkrun wheels turning week in, week out. That responsibility falls to a core team of nine individuals: myself and Mike Gregson act as Event Directors for Bolton parkrun, as well as occasionally acting as Run Director on Saturday mornings alongside Andy Patterson, Ann Butler, Dave Ardill, Louise Geoghegan, Rob Short and Rowan Ardill. There’s also one Emma Donaldson - Event Director of Bolton’s junior parkrun event (Sunday mornings in Queen’s Park – check it out!) and giver of moral support/much bants in our Whatsapp group.


We all typically volunteer as Run Director once every six to eight weeks, but you’ll also usually find us volunteering in another role if we’re not having a run on our “weeks off”.
For us though, most of our parkrun time starts Saturday afternoons and goes through to bed time on Fridays. We’re responsible for processing results, ensuring we’ve got enough volunteers to help out at the next event, checking the emails, keeping our social media channels up to date with engaging and fresh content, sorting the sweaty finish tokens, cleaning the sweaty finish tokens, planning club takeovers, washing and drying the hi-vis gear, fixing or replacing broken timers and scanners, managing complaints, designing alternative routes when paths get closed, emptying local supermarkets of all remaining mince pies for Christmas events, reviewing and updating the course risk assessment, printing out the non-scanning barcodes sheets, boiling our kitchen kettles 3-4 times to fill the hot drinks flasks and much more.


Our situation isn’t unique – the hundreds of parkrun events across the country will all have their own core teams who keep the lights on for their events. I’m beyond proud of our core team here at Bolton.
I’ve been involved alongside Rowan since day one of our little event. Back in the day, Row and I never had a plan of “we must recruit a team” (we never really had any plan if truth be told – we’re as surprised as you are that this thing is still going…). The team we have today has naturally evolved, with parkrun as the constant that has brought us all together. Like-minded people who enjoy parkrun and who are only a few stages away from being classified as “not quite right."


The team has grown slowly, with Dave and Andy on board within the first couple of years, followed by Rob. Emma joined not long after, before going on to start Queen’s Park juniors, then the rest of the Butler-Geoghegan-Gregson rabble stepped into the ring in the last two years.
We all manage full time careers alongside our parkrun commitments. Andy, Emma, Lou, Ann, Row and Mike somehow find the time to manage family lives too. Some weeks we’ll put almost all of our free time into parkrun. Other times we might not lift a parkrun-related finger while we focus on other commitments. We share the awesome times when we leave an event buzzing from the positivity, or we receive a message from a first-timer saying thank you. We’re an outlet to vent to one another for those occasional moments where something hasn’t gone to plan. It’s a brilliant group of people who genuinely want to help each other, and help create a happy, safe event for Bolton parkrunners to take part in.


This post isn’t intended to blow our own trumpets, or intended to be a glorified self-congratulatory piece - honest. I simply want to share some insight into what happens behind the scenes, and show some of the personality that I think makes our team so special, and the Bolton parkrun experience so unique. Without character and personality, it's just another run where people turn up, some run, some volunteer, we all go home and repeat again the following week like a machine.
None of us do this for praise or to be in the limelight - and believe me, after you’ve done your fair share of volunteering at events over winter months, trying not to cry in the cold or rain, you know ‘limelight’ isn’t coming anywhere into play… We never talk about trying to get noticed by people or in local press, and we don’t really care how many likes we get on the Bolton parkrun Facebook page.


Something intangible sits within each of us that’s simply a desire to build and maintain an environment that helps people in so many different ways. Getting fitter, socialising, recovering from injury, coming to watch a friend or family member be awesome at what they do, or banking time towards a Duke of Edinburgh award.


We rarely see each other all in the same place, so a couple of weeks ago when we had to last cancel, we seized the opportunity to all meet up for breakfast and celebrate Louise’s milestone birthday (21 again!). This is the first photo together we’ve ever had:



Guys – thank you for making (most of) my experience of Bolton parkrun what it has been, currently is and no doubt will be. You’re wonderful friends and I count myself lucky to be able to enjoy this ride with you.







Lostock AC Takeover Event


So, next Saturday, 13th January 2018, Bolton parkrun will see its first club takeover of the year, as Lostock AC take the helm for the first time.


For those of you new to this game, takeovers involve a group, typically a local running club, helping out with various volunteer roles, running in their club colours, and providing information about who they are and what they do.


The takeover was the brainchild of club member and parkrunner, Andy Laycock. We caught up with Andy to find out more about the club…


Event 303-82


Hola! Who are you?
My name is Andy Laycock I'm just a regular full member of the club and have been for over five years now.

Lostock AC - what’s occurrin?

The club’s official name is Lostock Athletics Club, but this is usually abbreviated to Lostock AC. The club was founded in the early 80s by a group of British Aerospace employees at the Lostock site (close to Middlebrook retail park). They initially got together to run the Bolton Marathon, but found themselves founding the club as a result.


We currently have 75 members. We meet at Horwich Leisure centre on Wednesday nights at 7:00pm and hold meetings and optional post run recovery drinks in the conservative club over the road. We normally meet from 6:45pm onwards.


Through winter we usually alternate weekly between a steady road run and some kind of effort session, making use of the wonderfully undulating terrain we are surrounded by. We also have a couple of track sessions.


During the lighter summer nights we tend to head out towards Rivington for some flat trail running or the occasional lung busting ascent of the Pike.


There are always a few hardy fell runners who head out into the wilderness year round who would welcome suitably equipped and hardy newcomers. Advice is freely given.



Christmas social run    

Who can join the club?

All abilities are welcome and catered for. All sessions have easier alternatives: we usually have at least two ability groups, and nobody gets left behind. Anyone thinking of joining is invited to come along to a few Wednesday night training sessions or just for a chat.


Full membership runs from January and is £25/year. We also have student membership and social membership. Speak to any one and they will point you to the membership secretary.



Fell runner Mark Shuttleworth in action.


Do you host any races?
The club hosts the Lostock 6, a well-established six mile road race, which is now in its 36th year. This year the Lostock 6 takes place on Sunday 25th February at 10am, starting near the Barnstormers pub in Lostock.


We also host the Henderson's End fell race in June. This year’s race is set to be on Thursday 7th June at 7pm.



Ladies cross country (the men couldn't manage to get together for a photo…)


What’s your favourite thing about Lostock AC?

The best thing the club offers is a friendly welcome and busy social scene. This includes a family summer club camp in the Lakes, several club events such as a treasure hunt, duathlon and handicapped road, trail and fell races and even the odd night out.


We have a keen fell and road section and have a fell championship and a road championship to encourage entry into mainly local races. We also enter South East Lancs cross country series in the winter.


Within the last couple of years we’ve also started a triathlon section so we also have cycle and swim sessions.



Way of the roses cycle trip


Event Cancellation – 30th December 2017

Due to ice on the course, we've taken the decision to cancel Saturday's run (30th December 2017) on safety grounds.


The next event (weather permitting) will be our new year's day run, starting at 10am!


Christmas and New Year Events 2017


Christmas and New Year Plans - 2017


We've got our heads together and decided what events we're going to be staging over the festive period.


Event 298-33


As many of you may be aware, parkrun teams can stage extra events on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, in addition to their usual Saturday morning events.


Events on those days can be started slightly later than normal to allow runners a slight lie in, and (for New Year's Day only) allow runners the option to take part in multiple parkruns on the same day.


Event 298-24


As per our usual tradition for the last nearly seven years we've been on the block, we have decided that Bolton parkrun will NOT be staging an event on Christmas Day. But, fear not, we WILL be putting an extra event on, on New Year's Day! Start time will be 10:00am (can we get a 'woop woop?!').


Event 298-40


This means you can get your Bolton parkrun fix on the following dates over the festive period (all 9am starts unless stated otherwise)


  • Saturday 23rd Dec (festive fancy dress special!)

  • Saturday 30th Dec

  • Monday 1st Jan (10am start time)


Event 298-29


To find out what other parkruns across the entire country are doing on Christmas and New Year's Day, zip on over to the parkrun Christmas Compendium page!


Got any questions for the Bolton parkrun team? We'd love to hear from you! You can reach us on Facebook, Twitter, or good old fashioned email (BoltonOffice@parkrun.com).


Event 298-10


Peace, y'all.


The Bolton parkrun Team


2016 In Numbers


2016 In Numbers


Event 256-269


Another year done and dusted! With nothing better to do with my time, I thought I’d pull together another annual summary of Bolton parkrun in numbers. I’ll put a massive caveat at the start of this article: the following stats and fact are the end product of one guy bumbling his way through Microsoft Excel and several websites. Please go easy on me if there are any glaring errors!


Event 294-5


**EDIT**: This should have been posted much sooner but we had a lot more admin to do than originally planned while sorting out the two back to back cancellations on Jan 7th and 14!


Event 299-60



283 different individuals volunteered here in 2016. Collectively, they delivered 1,363 volunteer efforts over the year. The average number of volunteers per event was 26.


Event 293-2


Our highest volunteer turnout for the year was at Event #265 on 7th May: Burnden Road Runners leading by example to bolster our numbers to 43 volunteers for the day. This was six more volunteers than the original record set on 7th February 2015.


Event 265-3


Siobhan Pimlott has the accolade of having volunteered the most times, mostly in a pre-event set up role as she stormed through the year without missing a single event. The 2016 volunteer top ten (on appearances alone) stands as follows:


Volunteer Table


Other notable mentions/awesome high fives are due to Mark Butler (26 appearances), Malcolm Pittock (26), Emma Donaldson (26), Louise Geoghegan (24), Jeff Pendlebury (22), Abbie Gregson (22), Paul Duke (21), Bill Hargreaves (19), Leanne Evans (19) and Dave Allen (18).


Event 300-3


It’s easy to draw up an arbitrary list of volunteer names based solely on count of appearances (it also saves massively on the word count if you don’t name drop 283 people individually!), but really the same amount of thanks is due to ALL volunteers whether you volunteered once or 52 times.


Event 267-8


Bolton parkrun is managed ENTIRELY by volunteers. Whether it’s a marshal dishing out a high five, the person who sends your results off to the interwebs, or this idiot spending several hours of a bank holiday to write a boring article. Without volunteers, there’d be no event.


Event 276-384


Whilst we have a core team of people to help make key decisions for the event, Bolton parkrun is a community event, for the community, run by the community. If you haven’t volunteered here yet, and have at least a couple of hours free on one 2017 Saturday morning, I can’t recommend getting involved enough.


Event 265-354


You can do as little or as much as you want, from pre or post-event set up/close down, to helping during the event as a marshal or finish line bod, or supporting us with results processing or keeping our website and social media sites up to date with interesting content.




Even outside of the event management, we’d LOVE to hear you views any time about what you think is working well, or what could be done to make the event better.


Event 265-7


If you’d like to take the plunge, or simply to find out more, just let us know! You can speak to the run director at any of our events (the one in the blue hi-viz!), via our Facebook or Twitter pages, or via the almost old-fashioned medium of email to BoltonOffice@parkrun.com.


Event 289-1



2016 started with Event #248 on 2nd January (a day after a cancelled event that should have taken place on New Year’s Day, but for Jack Frost getting the better of us!), with an unknown runner first over the line (classic).


Event 276-22


The year ended with Event #300 on New Year’s Eve, with Helen Smithers closing off proceedings in position 227.


2016 Weekly Participation


In 2016 we hosted 52 events – the most we’ve ever staged in a single calendar year. 2,562 (ish) different people ran, jogged or walked our course a total of 14,138 times! 2,238 new personal bests were achieved, and 146 athletics clubs were represented.


2016 Monthly Participation


The average turnout of runners per event was 273 – that’s up by four from 2015. The below graphs show the weekly and monthly attendance figures. Monthly attendances peaked in April and July, when both months saw a total of 1,421 participants each.


Event 265-348


The below graph shows how 2016’s monthly tallies compare with the previous five full calendar years:


Monthly Participation Over Years


Not to be outdone by a record volunteer attendance, we saw a record number of participants on 12th March, when 384 of you rocked up! This was followed by our second highest ever turnout of 353 runners on 16th April.


Event 294-32


The average time it took someone to run 5k around Leverhulme Park was 29:13. That’s up 21 seconds from 2015’s average. The quickest time of the year was 16:18 (say what?!) set by Jonathan Kay on 19th March. That was 10 seconds faster than 2015’s fastest time, also set by Mr Kay.


Event 298-12


Almost 61% of the turnout was male, 39% female.
Whose mug could we not get enough of in 2016? Well, Siobhan Pimlott gets full marks for attending 100% of the events that a runner could possibly have joined us at – 52 in all! The rest of the appearance leader board looks like this:


Run Appearances



Runners in the VM50-54 age group were the best represented (8.3% of all those who attended) – you silver foxes you. They were closely followed by lads ten years their younger (WM40-44) with 7.8%. Here’s how the top ten most represented age categories looked:


Age Grading Reps


For our junior runners, it was the JM11-14 group that was best represented, accounting for roughly 4% of attendees. Here’s how the junior age groups shaped up:


Junior Age Grading Reps


Maureen Laney (VW60-64) scored the year’s highest age grading, when she ran home in a time of 22:52 on 12th November, to set a score of 87.32%. Angela Oldham (also VW60-64) scored the second highest age grading of the year with 86.94% on 7th May.


Event 256-241


Thereafter, Lesley Fisher (VW55-59) takes the plaudits as the year’s most consistently high age grade achiever, scoring her highest age grading of 84.17%, and accounting for seven of the year’s top ten age gradings! Paul Freary (VM45-49) scored the highest age grading for the blokes, with an 81.94% effort on 25th June.


Age Gradings



Those PBs. An incredible feeling when you get your results email with the good news: but more often than not so, so hard to achieve. Mark Jackson (Burnden Road Runners) and Gary Larke were rewarded for turning out regularly (44 and 38 parkruns at Bolton respectively, with a whopping 15 new PBs each.


Event 276-47


Susan Tobin stormed it for the ladies with 11 new PBs from 29 runs, improving by 8 minutes 19 seconds in the process. Other notable PB mentions go to:


PB Table


Local running groups are and continue to be an amazing way for runners to get fitter and have a laugh! We’re spoilt rotten with some amazing clubs right on our own doorstep around Bolton.


Event 265-1


Burnden Road Runners counted home the most appearances throughout the year - 1,682 in total. They were followed by Bolton United Harriers & AC (538 appearances) and Darwen Dashers RC (339 appearances).




We were delighted to host running club Takeover Days for the first ever time, where local clubs turned up in force to volunteer, wear their club colours, and provide information about their clubs to you all! Big thanks to Radcliffe AC, Darwen Dashers and Burnden Road Runners.


Event 253-4


OK. That’s yer lot. If you got this far, thanks for reading!


Here’s to a cracking 2017.



Ali M

Bolton parkrun Event Director


Alternative Course for January 14th


Alternative Course on January 14th


Bolton parkrun Alternate


So here it is, our alternative route to run while Cruella is out of action! The council are putting in new drainage and resurfacing the road there, which means that hill (the one up from the steps in the wood) is out of action until at least next week.


The start and end of the course remain pretty much identical, starting and ending on the running track. The start line will be on the track, close to the Leverhulme park centre. Running clockwise round the track as usual, you will complete two laps of the track instead of one.


You’ll then exit the track to run past and down behind the football pitches, as you would normally.


When you reach the end of that path (where shouty Dave normally stands!) instead of turning right you’ll swing a left and run UP Cinder Hill, towards the running track. At the top, you’ll turn right and run towards Cruella. It’s SUPER important that you keep right from here on.


When you reach the tarmac crossroads you’ll keep running straight on, with your back to the running track. When you reach a gate you’ll take a left and run twice around the large grass space there. It’s a tarmac path down one side (a cycling track specifically, so PLEASE watch out and make way for cyclists), and grass on the other three sides. We tested this in the rain and whilst it may be muddy, the surface is generally very good. For this reason though we would recommend off road or trail shoes if you have them.


Once you’ve ran that loop around the field TWICE, you’ll run back onto the tarmac path and from there, follow the ‘usual’ route home: back towards the running track, down Cinder Hill, up behind the football pitches and take a left to run the out and back section.


Coming back to the track you will enter through the gate and turn right as normal. Here you will complete almost a full lap of the running track, finishing your run almost back by the gate. Timers, tokens and scanners will all be positioned there


We’ve worked hard to measure and assess this course so that we don’t have to cancel the event two weeks running. Whilst the tourism can be good for the soul, we also want to save you having to put in extra miles to get your usual parkrun fix!


This has all been sorted by volunteers, and on the day, we ask that you continue your usual form of treating volunteers like heroes, particularly with patience, as we make sure everything is just right.


This course may be a little faster than usual, given the distinct absence of running twice up Cruella and a longer amount of time on the track. That said, it is a longer route and there are two loops on a field which may even it out a little. IF you, your partner, your children, your parents, your friend, that person you’ve seen a few times but can’t ever remember their name are MAD keen on your PB history, you should play this course carefully. When we revert back to the normal course, you might not want to find yourself in a position where you could never beat that PB ever again!


We would strongly advise against runners taking part with a buggy. We hate to be party poopers but because of the surface of the grass loop, and the tight room for passing one another, a buggy would present a risk to the wellbeing of other parkrunners or park users. Sorry guys.


That said, if you’re in it for the fresh air, the community spirit and mingling with fellow like-minded crazy people who CHOOSE to be out of bed at that time on a Saturday, you’ll be welcome as ever.


All of this is great news, but AS EVER: please keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook or Twitter pages on Saturday morning, in case we have to cancel for bad weather!


See you on Saturday.


The Bolton parkrun Team



Jan 7th - Event Cancelled


Due to construction work taking palce in the park, tomorrow morning's event has been cancelled.


Please spread the word to any friends or family you knew were planning to attend.


This is a great opportunity for you to undertake some tourism at a local event. On our doorstep we have Heaton Park, Worsley Woods, Haigh Woodland and Pennington Flash to name but a few! Please note, Witton parkrun near Blackburn is also cancelled, so don't go there!


We'll keep you posted as soon as we know when the course is back in action.




The Bolton parkrun Team

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