Run Report Event #220 by Daniel McVitie

This morning was a strange parkrun adventure as I was only travelling with my son… The joy of GCSE revision requiring only a short trip, my wife and daughter would be going to Walsall Arboretum whilst my son and I headed south to meet up with family at midday in Brentwood. As a very keen parkrun tourist, the first thing I checked was parkruns on route… We would just have to meet up parkrun fresh! (Hopefully, a quick mopping with a baby wipe will be enough)
Although parkrun starts at 9am, after playing catch the tail runner (as the last finisher was known in 2013) when we couldn't find the start we arrive early even if it does mean trying to wake a teenage boy before 6am!
Sat in the car I ran through the postcodes of parkruns we had yet to visit on route; Brentwood was a possibility… meaning post run we could enjoy a leisurely chat and café stop before finishing our journey.
So as my son snored away in the passenger's seat - so much for scintillating conversation - Google Maps navigated me down the M40 and M25.
The 1st day of June sees the meteorological start of summer and it certainly felt that way in Weald Country Park at 8:15am as only a few wisps of clouds filled the azure blue sky as we pulled into the empty car park, but the feather parkrun banner was already flying high and a finish funnel was ready for runners.
A tourist needs to make a tricky decision at a pay and display car park… How long will the visit be? How long will the visit to the café be? I don't begrudge councils charging as the fees are used to maintain and improve the park so happily put in for 4 hours. If you are a regular you can get a pass for £75 for one car - that pays for itself after only 23, 1 hour parkrun visits and even quicker if you stay longer and use the 10% off at the café as well. And you could pop and visit on other days to do a training run… 10 hill reps of Heartbreak Hill anyone?
An early arrival does mean that I do have time for taking a picture of some of the week's #HiVizHeroes that make the parkrun possible in my homemade parkrun frame and if I am lucky grabbing the Run Report Writer's role. It should also mean a decent warm up but parkrunners at Brentwood are a friendly group so the only muscles I properly warmed up before the new runners briefing were in my jaw!
The first-timers briefing was a busy affair with 18 runners new to Brentwood today, 3 of them using their barcodes for the very first time. So a huge welcome to James SYDENHAM,
Harry JAMES & Nimma PANESSAR we hope we will see you return to parkrun soon.
At the main briefing, there was a call out for any milestones runs, yet all was quiet. But scanning the results I can see that a few people join a milestone club. Jasper JAYCOCK (JM11-14) running his 10th parkrun will see a 10 white t-shirt icon after his name on the results (sorry to any adults hitting this milestone but it is only for juniors and you will have to wait patiently like East London Runners, Liam DEMPSEY until you get to 50 parkruns to earn that red icon). Hopefully, the links to order your parkrun milestone t-shirt will be activated soon and you will get to run wearing it very soon.
Unlike other milestones, there is one that is very hard to work out from the results data… V25 - The aubergine shirt. Run milestones get replaced when you reach the next level - your Red 50 becomes a black 100 and that goes to a Green 250 to a Blue 500… But the V25 runs alongside those; it recognises those that have volunteered on 25 different days - so your results show both icons. Today Tanya THERON completed her 25 stint - congratulations and thank you.
My choice, of course, this week was based on the location so before I arrived I was clueless what lay ahead; luckily I come prepared with both road and trail shoes in the car just in case. Checking the course description post run I noticed ‘Trail shoes are recommended for this event but in times of dry weather, standard trainers with a suitable grip would be sufficient’ This was very sound advice as with the recent dry weather my road shoes were fine to run in. By run I mean taking strategic walking breaks up the hills - changing pace - that’s Fartlek training!
Had I realised what the course had to offer, Brentwood wouldn’t have been chosen. I would have left for another weekend as a one hilly, one lap trail course that zigzags through large wooded sections is my wife’s favourite type of course; even more so in the beautiful warm sun. What will make it worse is that she will be proofreading my report before I e-mail it off after having run a fairly flat 3 lap tarmac city park and realise that she missed out even more!
The wide uphill start at Brentwood meant that I couldn’t blame the time it took to cross the start for my personally slow time this week - I will blame the 70m of elevation over the course instead.
Last year, I set myself the challenge to try and write a run report for every parkrun I visited; just like regular parkrunning habits form, so I keep writing. Writing the run reports forms a record of my parkrun travels and prolongs the parkrun fun beyond the café and allows me to properly thank all the volunteer heroes in hi-viz who make these events possible. Whilst I do try and thank them as I run, on an undulating course like Brentwood at points I barely can barely manage a wheeze at some marshals and if you don’t understand BSL you might think I am blowing you a kiss as I huff and puff past. So Si ADAMS, Peter BARRETT, Peter BLACKLOCK, Steve DANBY, Gergana DANBY, Frank DANINO, Philippa DANINO, Clara FOSSEY, Lucas FOSSEY, John HOLLAND, Deborah KNIGHTBRIDGE, Tina LEUNG, Connie LLOYD-MACKAY, Scott REEVE, Gill SAUNDERS, Thomas SMITH, Stephen SMITH, Tanya THERON, Teresa USCATEGUI, Jane UWINS, Mike WARD & Fraser WELLS – many thanks.
As today’s Run Director, John HOLLAND mentioned in the main briefing parkruns rely on volunteers to make them happen. If you fancy being the person clapping and encouraging others around the course, pressing that stopwatch every time one crosses the line, handing out finish tokens or scannings we would love to have you. Don’t worry if you have never done it before there is always someone that will teach you what to do, you don’t even have to be a runner - maybe you have a none runner at home who would like to help. So please look on the roster for gaps or just e-mail in to - brentwoodhelpers@parkrun.com and you too could be a #HiVizHero for an hour. If every runner volunteered a few times a year the roster would always be full.
Turning to enjoy the downhill element of Heartbreak Hill, the whole field of runners was spread out, mostly before me. Had it not been for a post parkrun chat about number patterns of attended events it would have been the last I saw of Billericay Striders RC’s, Crispian BLOOMFIELD (VM40-44), as he disappeared into the woods to start the loop as he finished in a blisteringly fast new PB time of 16:58 to take the first finishers token 2½ minutes ahead of 2nd place!. That would be impressive in itself but this was Crispian’s 100th first finish at parkrun!
In 33rd place over the line, Brentwood Running Club’s Lisa JAMES (VW40-44) finished in a new PB of 24:21 and was first lady this week. Wo,w superb running.
It seemed it was a good day for PBs this week - as well as our first lady and man over the line, 33 other parkrunners set a new PB! So a huge well done to :- Adam HAVIS, Andrew ROSAM, Anthony MOORE, Ben THOMAS, Cathal TREACY, Charlotte DAVIS, Charlotte WHARF, Chika MUORAH, Dave REDMAN, Elizabeth THOMPSON, Elliot TAYLOR, Evie KNIGHT, Garry OFFIELD, George THOMPSON, Gill CASH, Jacob KNIGHTBRIDGE, James PLUMB, Jennie OHALLORAN, Jenny BARRETT, Jessica LINNECAR, Julie DEFRIES, Julie LAVENDER, Katie NEGUS, Lauren REEVE, Lisa SMITH, Maia India BARRETT, Mary LLOYD ,Naomi HOLLAND, Roy HENDLEY, Scott BUSH, Stuart MORRIS, Vikki CARTER & William MASTERS
Disappointingly, although the course description notes ‘it is quite common to see numerous forms of wildlife including deer whilst in the park’ I noticed none - I guess a large group of parkrunners charging around would have put off many animals from making an appearance - although post run a lovely peacock wondered past.
Normally after I have finished my run and have collected my finisher's token I head back on course to run in with the last member of my family, but with the heat and the idea of having to run (in all honesty - walk) the last hill again I collapsed under the shade of a tree and waited for my son to cross the line. Well as he keeps telling me - he is 13 so can run parkrun on his own!
The post parkrun café trip has become as much a part of the tourism adventure as the run, having a coffee and chat with other runners and the team as the results get processed and the tokens fully sorted and ready for next week. If you haven’t stayed for a post-run drink yet give it a try.
Thank you to everyone at Brentwood parkrun for being so welcoming to my son and; we had a great time at your parkrun.
Happy parkrunning.
Daniel Connolly
As always a full set of today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Brentwood parkrun Results Page.

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