Double century for Buckingham parkrun

This weekend we celebrate our 200th parkrun in Buckingham, a landmark reached in a little under four years. Elsewhere in the sporting world, double centuries are as rate as hens’ teeth; three darts will only get you 180; on the green baize 147 is the maximum you can pot and the worst ever drubbing in a British Rugby match was handed out to Holyhead who lost 181-0 in a Welsh league game a few years ago. The only recognised professional sporting events to have racked up the double century are the four flat racing classics, but these are mere babes compared to the daddy of them all, the Antient Scorton Silver Arrow archery contest which has been held in North Yorkshire since 1673. In 140 years of test cricket, 164 English batsmen have scored centuries but only 35 have gone on to make a double.

The 200 metres on both the track and in the pool has been the preferred distance for some of the truly greats of the sporting world. The current track world records are held by two of the icons of the sport, Usain Bolt and Florence (Flo-Jo) Griffiths-Joyner. In the pool the freestyle record has been held by the original Tarzan - Johnny Weissmuller as well as Mark Spitz, Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps. The women’s roll of honour is just as impressive including Lorraine Crapp (who clearly wasn’t), Dawn Frazer and the current record holder Federica Pellegrini. If you exceed 200lbs in the boxing ring you are officially a heavyweight, and if you failed to survive a 200 mile stage whilst repairing your own bike in early Tours De France you were considered officially a lightweight.

The first £200,000 footballer was World Cup winner Martin Peters when he signed for Tottenham from West Ham in 1970. Clearly times have changed - not only would Tottenham never go near a transfer record now, but a bog-standard Premiership footballer (and probably the Man City cleaners)  are on £200k per week.

Anyway, enough of the wider sporting world, what have we achieved in our first two hundred events?  Well in clocking up 176,000 km our runners could have circumnavigated the globe four times over, or to put it another way travel half way to the moon - not bad for 30 odd minutes of exercise on a Saturday morning. Around 20 of our regular runners have completed their own personal century, enough to take them all the way to Paris. Leading the way are Jonathan Fox who has run a staggering 169 times, and Angela Dyke with an impressive 138 appearances. When you consider that both our top male and female runners have each also volunteered over 30 times, there can hardly have been a Saturday over the past four years when they haven’t lined up at the skate park. Talking of volunteers, our two stalwarts Tony Metcalfe and Dave Hastings-Barnes (together with their four-legged friends) are both well past the century mark and well on the way to their own doubles.

Over the past four years our field has included runners aged from 4 to 77, coming from both near and far. If you live in the MK18 1 postcode area then you and 702 other running neighbours have registered. The top club in terms of appearances is (unsurprisingly) Buckingham and Stowe RC, whose runners have clocked up over 5500 appearances. Jennifer McBain leads the way with the most first finishes with 47, closely followed by Mark Palser with 44. Not many of us will ever come home first, but every Saturday we can see how we compare against our own personal best. One way in which this can be shown is in the age grade percentage - each week many of our runners score exceptionally highly on this grading, with one of our regulars Pauline Lucas near the top of our all time list.

Whether your personal target is to turn up more regularly, beat your personal best or encourage a new friend or family member to join us we look forward to growing together over our next 200 events and perhaps getting all the way to the moon.

Ian Barham January 2018


Timers, barcodes and results

Having applied a fix to last Saturday's results I thought some of you might be interested to know the process that leads to you getting your text/email with your time.

As you all know when you finish your run the person with the stopwatch presses the button to record your time and another person gives you a numbered token with its own barcode. You then go to the person with the scanner and they record your personal number and your finish number using the barcodes.

Once everyone has finished we tidy up and head for the ice cream café. Having got our drink we make use of the free wifi to upload the files from the stopwatch and the scanner. A clever bit of software then glues them together and hey presto we have a set of results! We usually see lines in green (a named runner with a time) and yellow (an unknown runner) which means that all seems to have gone well and we can submit the results to the main server. Hopefully you then get a result with your name in the correct position with the correct time.

However, there is a rare occasion when we see one or more red lines and we have to apply an educated guess in order to eliminate the red and submit the results. Sometimes the guess makes little difference to times and no one notices but occasionally (like Saturday) times are significantly out and runners contact us.

In this situation there is no quick fix. It takes time to look at the comments and the results in order to try to tease out where the problem arose. Sometimes it is impossible to locate it and the results have to stand.

All this takes time and remember............ we are all volunteers. We have lives beyond parkrun and so things take time. I personally do not look at the email inbox until Sunday night in order that I can deal with any queries about results in one go.

Happy parkrunning



Christmas 2016

I bring glad tidings!

Not only can you run with us on Christmas Eve but you can do it again on Christmas Day. Usual start time of 9 am so you will still have plenty of time to cook the lunch


New Year’s Day at Buckingham

Why not start 2017 as you mean to go on with a run/jog/stagger around Bourton Meadow with like minded people?

With a start time of 10.30 am you can even have a lie-in or perhaps you might like to do a 'parkrun double' by running at another event first.  This is the only day of the year when you can record 2 events towards your run total!

Obviously we wouldn't be able to do this without some fabulous volunteers so do let us know if you want to help out.



New Year’s Day

We will NOT be running a New Year's Day parkrun this year  - however, we are running as usual on Saturday January 2nd so feel free to enjoy your hangover at your leisure on the Friday, and run like the wind on Saturday! We look forward to another fabulous year at parkrun in 2016!! See you all then!


Christmas day parkrun at Buckingham

Good tidings at Buckingham! Following the success of last year's fabulous festive run, we are going to hold a Christmas Day parkrun again for all our runners! Santa hats and suits encouraged (but not obligatory) and whoever brings chocolates for the volunteer team will run at least 5 PBs in 2016* There will also be our usual Saturday run at 9am on Boxing Day - 2 parkruns in 2 days - what's not to love??!

* conditions apply....possibly involving quite a lot of training and hard work....results cannot be guaranteed :-)


The Annual Points Competition

As the awards were given out on Saturday I found myself wondering how many of those present understood how the points competition works or indeed whether they knew it existed in the first place. So here is a bit of an explanation.

Initially the points system was designed to encourage running but it was later extended to include volunteers. This was to make it possible for those who want to run every week of the year to not be disadvantaged when they volunteered and to encourage people to volunteer at least 3 times a year.

Runners are divided by genders and points awarded based on their finishing position. The maximum of 100 points go to the first male and female runners, 99 to second and so on down the list. If there are over 100 male or female runners then everyone from position 100 downwards gets 1 point. The fastest runners may not accumulate the most points unless they are loyal to one event as each event has it's own competition.

Volunteers are rewarded with 100 points up to 3 times a year. If they volunteer and run on the same (e.g. event set up) they only get one set of points, 100 points the first 3 times but run points after that.

The points year starts on the anniversary week and runs until the week before the next anniversary.


Birthday Celebrations

What a morning, the sun shone and ice cream was served. We had a record turnout for our anniversary event and fittingly Andy Inchley led home a field of 217 in a time of 17.29. For those of you that don’t know, Andy was very helpful in getting our course approved last year and in providing the backing of AVDC for the new event, he even led the volunteer team at our inaugural. First lady home for the 6th time was Sarah Rendell in 19.40, a great run from Sarah in matching her achievement is being the fastest female in our debut event. In perfect running conditions a whopping 50 people including our brilliant photographer Chris Scadden recorded PB’s, see the link to some of his fantastic shots from yesterday FabPhotos


It is always pleasing to see new faces joining us and 18 people enjoyed the parkrun experience for the first time today, welcome to the fold and we hope to see you next week.


Ahead of today’s run awards were presented to some of our most regular volunteers and to the winners of our points competitions. The points award is for the most consistent  runners over the past year. The men's award was awarded to Jonathan “the flying” Fox who has completed the Buckingham course a whopping 49 times and volunteered 3 more whilst the women's award was won by Debbie “does marathons” Morris who has either run or volunteered a 45 brilliant times. As the French would say chapeau to both of our winners – could you follow in their (well-worn trainer) footsteps this time next year?


Next Saturday we may well have another bumper turnout, word on the street is that a large contingent from Milton Keynes are planning  a pilgrimage along the A421 to the hallowed grounds of Bourton Park. As Deputy Mayor of Buckingham Paul Hirons so rightly said ahead of starting this weeks run, we may not have a premier league football team but we certainly have a premier league park  – here, here!


Happy Birthday Buckingham

Next Saturday Buckingham parkrun will celebrate its first anniversary, and what a first year it has been. We set off on a beautiful sunny day last May with a mixture of over 180 tourists and local first timers licking the Bourton Park lollipop for the first time, the following week in monsoon conditions we were down to 50 hardy souls and thought that would be the benchmark for our regular turnout.

Slowly our numbers began to creep up, initially edging towards 100 and in recent weeks regularly knocking on the door of 200. On the way we celebrated Christmas (initially in October) and then again on the big day itself, over 200 people including our first Olympian welcomed in the New Year and who will forget our daffodil run.

As our numbers grew, so did the community spirit of our parkrun family. Our course has been completed by 1511 people including everyone from babies of a few months old (admittedly in a buggy and not under their own steam – but wouldn’t that have been a newsworthy story!), via children as young as 4 up to people well into their eighth decade. Some of our runners have slipped on their trainers for the first time in years, joggers and shufflers  have become genuine runners, others have achieved challenges unimaginable 12 months ago; running the first lollipop, the whole parkrun course, 10k’s, half-marathons, marathons, ultras, even getting out of bed before 9a.m. on a Saturday! Our local running clubs have seen their numbers rocket and there is a noticeable increase in the number of people pounding the streets and trails around Buckingham every day.

Anyone who saw the first episode of Peter Kay’s “Car Share” will have been reminded of the I Ran the World phenomenon of the 1980’s. Seeing his bulging and faded  vintage vest I was prompted to see if we had indeed ran the world over the past 12 months. Checking that fail-safe font of all knowledge (Wikipedia) I saw that the circumference of the globe is 40,000km and that over the past year our collective legs have carried us within 5,000 miles of that milestone. Given our current rate of progress, I venture  we may get there by  the beginning of June.

So what does the next year hold and how high can our running community grow. Who knows, and in many ways it doesn’t really matter, what is important is that firm foundations have been laid for a fantastic free weekly activity for the town and surrounding area. We have recently been given the green light for a weekly 2k junior parkrun on a Sunday morning, so hopefully a new batch of young athletes can have as much fun as we all have this year.

In this quick roundup of our first year, I have been conscious of not singling out any individuals as it is the collective effort, of the core event team, volunteers and runners that has helped Buckingham parkrun flourish.  There is, however, one exception that I would like to make, as without him we would not have got off the starting blocks.  Glen Turner is a volunteer regional ambassador for parkrun and was the driving force in establishing our event last year, over the past 12 months he has been a constant and valued support for the event team whilst also helping over 20 other locations across the region. For this unflinching support, we thank you.

And so next Saturday we turn one, our friends from the Ice Cream Café will be bringing their mobile cart down to the skate park: bring some money, bring your friends and family, bring a cow bell! Hopefully we will see many of you, and remember DFYBC (work it out!)


Buckingham Statto


Has spring finally arrived?

Last week we had clear skies but a biting wind. Today the wind was still frisky and the skies were grey but the temperature had hauled itself into double figures! Our runners are beginning to shed their winter layers and hopefully we will be into shorts and t-shirts soon.

We had 145 runners this morning of whom 16 were new to parkrun and another 11 new to Buckingham. There were 3 dogs running (and swimming) as well as our doggy marshall at the start of The Loop.

First back (for the 17th time) was Mark Palser in a time of 18:06, followed by Tom West in 18:20 and David Hook in 18:29.

First lady home (11th place) was Emily Bowen in a time of 20:57, next lady (20th place) was Emily West in 22:32 and our third lady back (21st place) was Victoria Broadbent in 22:35.

30 runners recorded personal bests - that's 21% of the field :-)

Easter Saturday next week and there may be a little treat at the finish.

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