Run Report Event #218

by Grainne Hallahan

Saturday saw the 218th Parkrun at Weald Park in Brentwood- and it was a sunny one too. After a week of rain, the weather turned, and at 9 am briefing started with blue skies. 164 runners came out to complete the 5k course, returning to its original route after a brief intercession using the ‘Bluebell Big Dipper’ route.


For those that don’t know Weald Park, it is a 700 year old park and the parkrun is considered to be one of the toughest in the South East. The course is a single lap, ending with ‘Heartbreak Hill’ for your final kilometre. It’s a gorgeous run that passes the lake, through the woods, and occasionally you’ll spot a deer on your way around.

Stuart Gray was this week’s run director and gave a good briefing, welcoming parkrun tourists from South Australia, and Southend. And then we got started.

Despite the rain of the previous week, the course had dried out and it wasn’t too muddy underfoot. I was running with fellow Brentwood Running Club member Vicki who was helping me try and get my elusive sub 30 that I’d been hoping to get this year. This meant it was less a chatty run for me, and more deep breaths and the occasional groan, as I pushed myself up those hills following Vicki’s instructions to ‘now pump those arms’.

The weather started to change, and clouds began to gather- a few rain spots started, and then a downpour. Our lucky sun had gone, and the run finished in the pouring rain.

The hard work and Vicki’s patience paid off, and I got over the line at 28:48- absolutely elated and completely exhausted.

First man home was Andrew LUCK with a new PB of 18:37, taking a whole minute off his previous time. Rebecca LUCK was the first woman home with another new PB of 24:20, also taking a minute off from her previous PB. It was clearly the week for PBs with 30 runners going home with new personal bests. 24 runners came to Brentwood for the first time this week, and of those 14 were completing their first Parkrun ever- it was a great turnout with a lovely atmosphere, and great to see so many people coming together for a run on a Saturday morning.

The running clubs of Essex were well represented this week too, with runners from Brentwood Running ClubTri Sport EppingWeald Park Warriors, Woodford Green AC, Basildon Athletics, Harold Wood Running ClubSpringfield Striders Track Club, Thurrock Harriers, Havering '90 Joggers and Little Baddow Running & Walking Club "Little Baddow Ridge Runners".

Tanya took some lovely photos and has made some videos that you can find on the Brentwood Parkrun Facebook page.

The whole event couldn’t be put on without its volunteers: Si ADAMS, John BARKER, Claire BURKE, Mark COOPER, Michelle COOPER, Gergana DANBY, Tom DAVIES, Stuart GRAY, Virginija JANAVICIUS, Tina LEUNG, Gerald MOUNTSTEVENS, Nicola REES, Scott REEVE, Tracey RUSZ, Dean SANDELLS, Thomas SMITH, Katy SODEAU, Elaine SWAILES, Tanya THERON, Natalie WIDDOWS. If you haven’t signed up to volunteer- then do!


All change at Brentwood parkrun

Last weekend, the 30th March, Brentwood parkrun said thanks and wished good luck to Event Director and founder Leigh Norris, who is moving on to fresh challenges.

It was in 2014 Leigh Norris invited Steve Danby to work with him to establish Brentwood’s Parkrun course in South Weald park.  Setup for the event started in June 2013. On December 6th2014, having recruited a Core Team, Leigh managed the first ever Brentwood Parkrun and became its Event Director.

That first event saw 137 runners take part, and attendances have grown over the years with the highest attendance of 225runners earlier this year.  Brentwood Parkrun now attracts many local residents regularly to the park every Saturday morning at 9 am for a free, friendly, timed, 5k run for everyone over the age of four, with children under 11 accompanied by an adult. As well as local park runners the beautiful trail course is very popular and attracts tourist park runners from all over the country.In214 events to date, over 4500 different runners and walkers have participated in our event!

Leigh’s involvement also saw the launch of Brentwood Junior Parkrun, with Peter Blacklock as Event Director,, which is a 2k run in South Weald park on Sunday mornings at 9am for children aged between 4yrs and 16yrs.

Leigh and his core teams have supported a number of other community activities including Brentwood Foodbank collections, the Duke Of Edinburgh Award Scheme that has seen over 10 young people complete Gold, Silver and Bronze awards; a number of Cancer Research Race For Life events and Leigh obtained funding for and then presented a Defibrillator to Weald Country Park for the benefit of all park users. Leigh has also installed marker signs to permanently mark out the main route and a new winter route to take in the most attractive areas of the park. Plans are in motion to install a new information board to highlight the parkrun events at the park.

Leigh was the driving force in those early days, responsible for fundraising and organising everything needed to run a successful parkrun event, but now he has decided to hand over the reigns of Event Director to his successor, Simon Adams, who has stepped up from being  a member of the Brentwood Parkrun core team for many years.

For his last event on March 30th, Leigh briefed the runners and volunteers and also ran the course in the park he loves so much. Steve Danby on behalf of the core team and the many runners offered thanks and a presentation to Leigh, who was clearly very proud of the success of the event and he wished the remaining core team all the best for the future. Leigh also made special thanks to the wonderful runners and volunteers that he has come to know over 5 years, without whom there wouldn’t be an event.

If you’d like to know more about Brentwood parkrun and how you can take part for free, visit you can register to be a part of the friendly parkrun community.  To find out about other local parkruns, some of which have fewer hills, visit

And you don’t have to be a runner as parkrun as you can jog and walk and also volunteer to help make events run smoothly, and all those who are happy to be marshals, timekeepers, barcode scanners and many other roles are welcomed.  Brentwood parkrun has been lucky to have many teenagers volunteering as part of their achievement of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.

Event #214 Part 1 - Leighs Farewell as ED

Event #214 Part 2 - Leigh's Farewell as ED

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