Burgess Newsletter 39

448 parkrunners turned up on Saturday, despite the forecasted icy showers, which luckily only made their appearance after our tail walkers had finished. Phew! This is why I am always amazed by the dedication and persistence of parkrunners; whatever the weather may bring, you can always rely on the parkrun community to come out to run, jog or walk that wonderful 5K!

For me, parkrun was an accidental discovery, and I joined my first parkrun in December 2018. Many years later, a few weeks ago, I finally joined the 50th parkrun club, with nearly 80% of those runs completed at Burgess. It would have been sooner if it wasn't for lockdown, but it was almost meant to be that my 50th parkrun was right before the London Marathon – my first major marathon (albeit second marathon raced)!

The with her marathon medal

It got me thinking about how Burgess parkrun has helped me with my training all these years. Burgess parkruns weren't just parkruns; they were my easy runs, my tempo to threshold runs, my long runs, and my shakeout runs! Yes, this little 5K loop is that versatile!

The amount of weekly mileage needed when marathon training can put a lot of strain on the body, and so easy runs were beneficial; they allow your body to recover. My favourite runs during training were absolute the easy runs at parkrun! I got to run and enjoy the company of friends and other parkrunners, catching up and chit-chatting away. And who wouldn't enjoy that?

Thi and her friends at Burgess

The tempo to threshold runs were the 'comfortably hard' to 'hard' runs. The parkrun tempo to threshold runs were always so satisfying once done. Yes, it was difficult; yes, it was painful; and yes (I will admit), I was tempted every time to turn it into one of my easy runs (guilty), but it was always worth it in the end! Running alongside other parkrunners bought out the competitive side of me and pushed me harder.

PB-ing or getting close to a new PB would really boost my running confidence! Running at a more challenging and faster pace allowed me to build efficiency. It also allowed me to increase my lactate threshold (lactate causes that burning sensation in the muscles) and develop my mental strength. After all, running a marathon is as much of a mental test as it is a physical one! It was definitely much easier doing tempo to threshold runs during a parkrun than on my own!

Thi running at Burgess

Long runs were easy runs, but long. The distance was always daunting, and I would dread this every week. I learnt to tackle the long runs in 'bitesize' 5K distances. Whether it be 20K, 30K, or 35K, breaking the long runs down actually made it not seem so long… After all, a marathon is just 8 and a bit parkruns, right?

I would often do my parkrun as part of that long run, and what a difference it made! 5K goes a lot more quickly when you're running with the parkrun community. Placing the 5K in the middle of the long run also gave the run a nice 'break', making it feel shorter and more manageable!

With the marathon on a Sunday, the Saturday 'before the race' parkrun was perfect for a shakeout run! This run was simply a 'get the legs moving, loosen the muscle and nothing more' run. I had a trusty parkrun friend to keep me disciplined, i.e. not let race adrenaline get to me early! The friend kept my speed super slow and the run super relaxed. The Saturday 'before the race' parkrun is also an excellent opportunity for volunteering, which I did for my first local marathon in 2019. Being able to cheer for fellow parkrunners instead of running calmed my nerves!

All 50 parkruns have contributed in their own ways to my running and training over the years. A lot of friendships and memories have also been built! Without parkrun, I think my training would have been a lot more tedious and dull! I completed the London marathon in 3 hours 40 minutes, and parkrun helped me get there. It's definitely more than just a 5K!

Thi and friends at parkrun

Tourists, First-timers, Milestones & PBs

We had an amazing 56 tourists visiting Burgess for the first time, with Woodhouse Moor visitor Bobby INGHAM finishing third and picking up an all-time PB, because, why not? A further 25 individuals ran, walked and jogged their first-ever parkrun too! So welcome to the parkrun family, and we hope you enjoyed yourselves!

We had several significant milestones to celebrate; Sarah MURRAY with her 50th parkrun and Oliver BURRIDGE with his 100th parkrun! We also had Graham SPENCER, Tom ATKINS, Amanda SEGALOTTO, and Cleo NELSON all join the new 25th parkrun club! Well done all!

Kate LEDIN volunteered for the 50th time. Every single one of her volunteering days has been at Burgess parkrun, so we're incredibly grateful for all her support. We couldn't make the magic happen without you, Kate!

An incredible 58 parkrunners managed to achieve a PB, including our first two finishers Dale SEDDON and Jonny LANE. Amongst our other fantastic PBs are the following:

  • Rebecca OJUMU edged under 35 minutes for the first time, with a new record of 34:26 and her third consecutive PB this year.
  • Andrew NARRACOTT set himself a Burgess PB with a time of 29:59. Great work, Andrew!
  • Lydia SHACKSHAFT became a sub-25 runner for the first time at parkrun. Congratulations, Lydia!

This event would have only been possible with our 40 volunteers, so thank you, team!

See you soon,

Thi Sua TRAN

#loveparkrun #BurgessFamily


Burgess Newsletter 38

If you've run, walked, jogged or volunteered at Burgess parkrun before, chances are, you'll have already met our amazing Ugandan Crew. You can frequently spot them setting the pace at many different points in the field, encouraging parkrunners, doing a socially distanced group cool-down or having a post-parkrun coffee in the park. So when asked to name one of the many things that make Burgess parkrun special, a popular answer from our regulars is always the Ugandan Crew. They're very much at the heart of the Burgess family.

It's no surprise then that for our event, Ugandan Independence Day is a significant occasion. Last Saturday, we honoured it with some Ugandan joy, with the Ugandan Crew taking over the roster. Of course, at parkrun, everyone is welcome, so we had plenty of honorary Ugandan members from the Burgess family helping out too. In total, 39 hi-viz heroes made it happen, including our regular cheer squad from Housing Action South and Lambeth and perhaps 2021's most popular marshal, Stephanie SIU, who turned up with her giant Chinese drum.

This isn't just any parkrun. This is how we roll at Burgess parkrun.

If you couldn't make it along, or if you want to relive the magic, Tony WILSON captured the event for us in a stunning photo album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ttpmUMZn72Gyp4KZ8

We were also lucky enough to catch up with Emmanual ODONG, Alex AKOM, Phiona ACHOLA, Josephine OCAKA, Milly Grace WOKORACH, Charles AKOM, Samuel OLARA and Sydney WIDOWSON, who told us about why our annual Ugandan Independence parkrun celebration is so meaningful, and why parkrun is so important to them.

Manny, Alex, Phiona, Josephine, Milly, Charles, Sam and Sydney

Interview with the Ugandan Crew

What was it like volunteering today?

Emmanuel: It was an honour and privilege and a great experience to be Run Director, with the support of a great core team.

Manny run directing

PhionaVolunteering as a funnel manager was galvanising. Cheering and appreciating participants - an experience worth a thousand sunsets!

Alex: It was great fun being a marshal. Runners were entertained along the way as they sweated it out.

Josephine: It was so lovely to meet new runners at Burgess parkrun during the first-timers briefing and even better to barcode scan their tokens. 

SamVolunteering at Burgess is not only always an honour and a privilege; it's fun and exciting. Being a timekeeper puts you at the edge because you are always conscious of trying to get the timing and numbers right.

SydneyIt was great fun volunteering on finish tokens. Seeing so many people come together for a similar interest!

Charles: I really enjoyed doing the finish tokens too as it was nice to congratulate people once they had finished.

Volunteering in the funnel

How did today's event compare to previous Ugandan Independence Day parkruns?

Emmanuel: It was a toned-down version, but a great post-C19 start.

Phiona: Each year is different. This year's celebration post-Covid felt like a homecoming. Just having access to the outdoors when life seems to be falling apart meant so much to me.

Sydney: It was a bigger turnout compared to last time.

Josephine: Fantastic! This year's event was more chilled out and exceptional. Many family members attended this year's Ugandan Independence Day parkrun, including the new mums with the babies cheering on the course; this meant a lot to me. New friends and our Burgess family celebration together was a bonus.

Milly: It was fantastic, although the previous was better before the pandemic as people more freely and shared snacks and nice drinks.

Sam: This was a toned-down event because of Covid, but the support and excitement were present among participants, so that was nice to see.

Alex: It was a low-key one, but nonetheless still full of Ugandan Joy.

Charles: I thought today's event was the best one to date. The turnout was great, and the vibes were amazing.

Why is it so important to mark Ugandan Independence Day?

Phiona: "Lest we forget, history is a constant reminder of our past" - therefore celebrating Uganda's independence brings to life and reminds us of our past experiences as a nation. It gives us hope for a glorious, unknown future. 

Sydney: It's the very reason why Uganda exists. A celebration for breaking free.

Emmanuel: Symbolising and memoirs of freedom.

Alex: It is a day of freedom and self-determination - worth celebrating.

Milly: It is important to mark the independence day because it's the day Uganda gained independence, enabling the benefiting nations to build self-confidence, realise their full potential and lead a life of dignity and fulfilment.

Sam: For Burgess, this has become part of our calendar event in the year thanks to Chris RAVENEY and Laura WHELPTON. Participants at Burgess are always encouraged to let the core team, including the Run Directors, know of their ideas. We encourage runners to wear the Ugandan colours (black, yellow and red).  

Josephine: It's so important to celebrate progress, a chance to reflect on the 59 years of independence and also an opportunity to look towards the future. Ugandan communities at home and abroad have their festivities with traditional dance and food, which we have tried to bring to Burgess parkrun.

Celebrating Ugandan Independence Day

What does it mean to you to be a part of the Ugandan Crew?

EmmanuelTo represent Uganda and be of purpose and service to the Ugandan community in the UK, friends, well-wishers and importantly, the Burgess parkrun community where it all started...

Charles: I'm very proud to be a part of the Ugandan Crew. We show unity and I feel we're an inspiration to other cultures. 

Alex: The symbol of unity for a cause; we strive to encourage community integration and participation in general health and wellbeing activities.

Phiona: It is home!

Josephine: Togetherness! At Burgess, we have a lot of honorary Ugandan Crew members; just check out the t-shirts on the day.

Milly: Celebrating independence with people all over the world was amazing.

Sam: It is brilliant because we have become mini-celebs across the parkrun community across the world. It is the community spirit at Burgess that gave birth to us, so it is something to be proud of, a Burgess achievement.

Sydney: Means everything. Culture, commitment and family runs through us daily.

Post-parkrun celebrations

What is your favourite thing about parkrun?

Milly: It's very important that the community gets together and socialises, and parkrun is good for their mental and physical health. 

Charles: Meeting new people each week would be my favourite thing about parkrun.

EmmanuelSocialising, setting achievable goals, competing with myself.

Alex: Bringing out the crawling, walking, running, sprinting or volunteering abilities in oneself, plus the mixing and mingling with different people.

Sydney: The community. We are all there for the same reason, which is health-related.

Phiona: Togetherness and love. 

Josephine: A welcoming, supportive, inclusive community where everyone celebrates together. Catching up with family and friends, hugs, exercise, coffee and laughter. Total bliss!

Sam: The struggle to get up early every Saturday morning, and then the excitement of having completed a 5k among friends. So not only the physical exercise but challenging the mind too.

Teach us a useful parkrun phrase or two in Swahili.

EmmanuelKimbia kesho - run tomorrow.

Alex: Endeleya paka misho - go go go to the finish.

Phiona: Maisha ni mapambano - life is a struggle. All the more reason we need parkrun, so we can do life together. 

Josephine: Thank you for coming - asante kwa kuja. Till next year - hadi mwaka ujao.

Milly: Kila la kheri means good luck. Karibu means welcome.

Sam: Jambo – Hello. Habari - How are you. Asante - thank you. Akuna matata - no problem/all is well.

Sydney: Sherehe - celebrations.

PBs and Tourists

We were visited by 65 first-time tourists and also welcomed another 31 people doing their first ever 5K parkrun. We might have set expectations slightly high for what a normal parkrun day looks like, but we hope our 96 people who were new to Burgess really enjoyed themselves!

97 parkrunners bagged themselves an impressive PB, including the first three finishers (well done Jake HERRERA, Chris LOUDON and Tim POWELL!) and Chanielle ABDULLIE-Stewart, who knocked off an incredible 16:18 on her second-ever parkrun. Special congratulations to Jake for not only finishing first but being our first parkrunner to dance his way out of the funnel. He certainly wasn't the last to do so on Saturday, there was a definite party mood in the air!


Congratulations to Betty LAIKA who had an extra reason to celebrate, by joining the R50 club! She was in good company, with Fiona FOREMAN and Emily SIMPSON also running their 50th parkrun event. Well done, ladies - terrific work!

Betty setting a new PB

Krishna MOTHA, Miles ADAMS and Sebastian FLASCK joined the new R25 club. Well done!

Finally, another shiny milestone to celebrate was Rita SAMMONS joining the V25 club. She's racked up all 25 volunteering days at Burgess parkrun, so we're especially grateful for all of your love and support, Rita!

With all of the terrific milestones lately, we've had a few queries from people asking how they can get hold of a parkrun tee to celebrate. You just need to log into the parkrun website (link here: https://www.parkrun.com/signin/) and look at your milestone progress in your profile. You'll then be able to get a special order link.

If you don't remember your parkrun password (or indeed, if you've never set one up, which is common) - akuna matata. You can reset it using the email address you use to get your parkrun results every week.

Hope to see you all again at Burgess parkrun very soon.

Asante kwa kuja,

Emmanual ODONG, Alex AKOM, Phiona ACHOLA, Josephine OCAKA, Milly Grace WOKORACH, Charles AKOM, Samuel OLARA and Sydney WIDOWSON

#UgandanIndependenceDay #UgandanJoy #BurgessFamily


Burgess Newsletter 37

We've always clung steadfast to the belief that we have some of the best volunteers in the world at Burgess parkrun, but some of the hi-viz heroes out on the course were extra special last Saturday. From Joyce LAPURA cheering you on to Chris WATT timing you as you came through the funnel and Callan COUGHLAN scanning your barcodes - so many people were mentally preparing to run a marathon the day after. And don't forget about our epic unofficial cheer squad - we also had volunteers like Shveta SHAH get up early at the weekend again to encourage the Burgess family keep going.

And this isn't even a complete list, so full of inspirational humans was the roster. Plus, some of our runners - already with a marathon to their names! - transformed into volunteers the day after, like Nick SUTCLIFFE. Blimey, Burgess, you've made us all even prouder than usual.

Another two of our hi-viz heroes who ran the London Marathon last weekend were Zoe LEE and Dan McVEIGH, who took part in the virtual and in-person marathons, respectively. With so much going on last weekend, you might have missed at least some of the action, so Dan and Zoe recount what happened for you on Sunday.

8 and a bit (not)parkruns - Zoe's virtual marathon story

The Virtual London Marathon's hashtag #WeRunTogether was perfect. At 2:30 am, several of us converged at the entrance of Burgess Park. You know, pretty much where we meet every Saturday for parkrun. After months of sharing stories of training runs and sharing the odd training run itself (when restrictions allowed), we were at the start line of our marathon. The different groups started on their own adventures. 

I ran with the lovely Petra EGAN. We ran through the almost empty streets of London, only really seeing other runners and those working on getting the last things in place for the mass event. 

Petra and Zoe running a marathon

We ran past many of London's iconic sites from Buckingham Palace, along the river and down to Cutty Sark, stopping to take what were probably too many photos. London really is enchanting at night!

Some of the virtual marathon views

As dawn approached, we found we had the urban foxes as our companions and had a group of swans flying beside us. Even nature was willing us to keep running. 

We eventually returned home to Burgess, and we saw many of our parkrun friends there. It was the boost I needed to finish those final kms; Petra was still going strong. 

As we finished, many of those we had seen at the start returned too. Just in time to volunteer at junior parkrun, because, obviously, what else would you do after finishing a marathon?

After a change of clothes and something to eat, I went with Sylvie BESSE to cheer on some of our parkrun family who were lucky enough to be running the live event. 

An enjoyable but very exhausting day shared with the parkrun family. 

8 and a bit parkruns - Dan's marathon story

When I found out I had a place in the London Marathon back in September 2019, I didn't expect to wait over two years to get to the start line. None of us anticipated the cancellation of the marathon or so many other staples of the nation's sporting and cultural calendar. With the backdrop of the last 18 months, it felt even more special to be lining up in Greenwich Park this year.

Although Covid mitigations had led to some changes to the pre-race and starting procedures, once we were underway, the marathon felt wonderfully normal... by which I mean an incredible, joyous and inspiring event. At times it was pretty emotional to be part of - at Cutty Sark, where the first mass crowds are encountered; at arguably the most iconic part of the course as we crossed Tower Bridge; and as we came out of the Blackfriars underpass at 24 miles. It's one of the few areas of silence on the course, which made encountering the din of the crowd accompanied by pumping music at the exit to the tunnel almost like leaving the solitude and isolation of lockdown to emerge into the joy and togetherness that beginning our return to normality has brought.

Dan running at the marathon

It's been reported that there were fewer spectators than usual on the day, but it certainly didn't feel that way with crowds lining the streets for the vast majority of the route. I spotted some Burgess regulars as I ran, with a special shout out due to Sylvie BESSE and Zoe LEE, who had to work extremely hard to get me to notice them at 23 miles when I really needed the boost of a recognisable face.

I started to volunteer rather than run at Burgess as I wanted to focus my weekend runs on building to the marathon distance. Still, an unexpected bonus has been getting to know many people who make our parkrun so welcoming and friendly. It's been lovely sharing training highs and lows with other Burgess regulars in the build-up to the race, and getting so much support and encouragement. So while I intend to start running again on some Saturdays, I certainly won't be giving up the high-viz entirely.

As for the run, it all went pretty much to plan to the 20-mile mark, and despite a fairly brutal last 6 miles, I finished in 3:51:47 for a 6 minute PB. In many ways, it was the perfect result – satisfaction from training efforts being rewarded by a new best time. Yet, enough struggles over the final few miles to be left thinking what might have been, and thoughts already turning to how to shave a few more seconds off next time! Most of all, though, it felt like a celebration of being together again, and it was an absolute privilege to be part of.

Tourists, milestones and first-timers

Unsurprisingly for the parkrun before the London Marathon, we had a bumper turnout, with 447 participants, of whom 90 were visiting Burgess for the first time. This included Genevieve BLANCH all the way from Wangaratta parkrun in Australia, Laura BATHGATE from Falkirk, Susan HUTCHISON from St Andrews, Paul BANNISTER from Pennington Flash and Royston CRANDLEY from Frimley Lodge.

A further 12 people ran, walked and jogged at their first-ever parkrun. Welcome, welcome! What a wonderful day to join the parkrun family.

We had one significant milestone to celebrate, with Michael CHEUNG joining the 50 club. He marked the occasion with a brand new PB too, so well done, Michael!

If you haven't spotted already, the 25 club we promised is now live on the website. Everyone who has run, walked or jogged at 25 parkruns is now eligible to buy a special t-shirt in the same beautiful aubergine colour as the V25 club. Congratulations to our latest members of the 25 club, Sarah HANLEY, Simon DIETZ, William STRUTT, Richard JOHNSTONE, Tim BROWN and Corrine WHITE.

Many thanks and congratulations again to everyone who made Burgess parkrun possible last Saturday - and to everyone who was a part of the London Marathon too, we look forward to hearing your stories next time we see you. We know we've missed loads, so if you'd like to tell us all about your running adventures at parkrun and beyond, please get in touch at burgess@parkrun.com, and we'd love to feature you in another newsletter. It's always incredibly inspiring to see where parkrun can take you - from 5km to 26.2 miles. Ooh, you're all brilliant, brilliant people!

See you soon,

Shona C BARKER, Zoe LEE and Dan McVEIGH

#loveparkrun #LondonMarathon #WeRunTogether #parkruntourism #marathonstories #milestoneclubs #50club #25club #BurgessFamily


Burgess Newsletter 36

We might not have been able to celebrate in quite the usual way, but thanks so much to everyone who turned up to our birthday parkrun. We are now officially nine years old - can you believe it? We'll be in double digits next year!

With an increase in 102 people running, walking, jogging and wheeling around the course, we made Elliott Line's infamous stats for the sharpest increase in attendance. A bit of a leap for the more cautious 2021 turnouts but relatively typical for 2019 (oh, the nostalgia). It's great to see confidence levels rising as we work hard to keep you all safe and keep you all parkrunning.

The flowers at the start of Burgess parkrun

Tourists and First-timers

We were delighted to see 29 people make their way around a 5K course for the first time. We also had two first-time volunteers join us - a big welcome to the parkrun family to Veronica Yescenia GUAMAN OCHOA and welcome back to Miriam FINE, after a four-year parkrun hiatus. We're thrilled you all joined us on Saturday!

We had 75 first-time tourists, up from 36 the previous week. Most of our tourists were pretty local, with 43 coming from other London events, including 15 from nearby cancelled Southwark. However, we did have some tourists from further afield, including Gary WICKSTED from Edinburgh, Craig SKIDMORE from Cardiff and Mike STEEL from Lonehill in Johannesburg. We hope you all enjoyed your visit to Burgess and that you had a safe journey home!


Gisela HOPPE ran her 100th parkrun, setting a speedy new Burgess PB for herself of 21:21. With just one previous jaunt to Brockwell, it's safe to say Burgess is home for Vik CHAUDHURI, who completed his 99th Burgess and 100th parkrun. Congratulations, both of you!

Also sharing a milestone event, both Thi Sua TRAN and Caspian DENNIS celebrated their 50th parkrun. Way to go!

It's been a while since we had a junior 10 milestone to mark, but Burgess juniors regular Jamie Upin DATTANI completed his 10th parkrun with us. Congratulations, Jamie! It was also his fastest ever 5K with a time of 36:09.

Last but not least, we had one other brilliant significant milestone to shout about. Many congratulations - and many thanks - to legendary marshal Michael WELSH, who volunteered in Burgess Park for the 50th time. We have a lot of competition at Burgess for the biggest smile, and Michael is definitely in the running - you may well recognise him as one of the marshals who helps you dig deep when you need some cheer to keep those legs moving.

The starting line on 25 September 2021


We witnessed a record-breaking 73 PBs - our biggest crop of PBs for 2021 so far. Some of these remarkable achievements are as follows:

  • Marcela ROJAS returned for her second parkrun and knocked nearly 7 minutes off her time with a new PB of 40:48. Terrific work, Marcela!
  • Mabinty SESAY edged under 35 minutes for the first time with a PB of 34:48. Mabinty has now completed three parkruns with us and got faster every time, which is super impressive.
  • The incredible Jayne OGOL, who is a regular on the Burgess juniors and Burgess parkrun rosters, ran her 50th Burgess with a Burgess PB and all-time parkrun PB of 33:02. We salute you, Jayne, for all you do and all you run!
  • Eleanor STRUTT comfortably broke 30 minutes with a new PB of 29:02 and her second PB of the year. Great job, Eleanor.
  • Junior parkrunner extraordinaire Katharina HOPPE returned for the first time in two years to set a brand new PB of 21:12 and an all-time 5K parkrun record for herself.
  • Robert EVESON set himself a new PB of 16:25, and his second-fastest parkrun PB of all time. It just goes to show that even 378 events in, there's always scope to surprise yourself!

Southwark Slam Update - Week Four, Burgess

As well as being our birthday, it was the final week of the Southwark Slam, with the Southwark Slammers returning home. Here's this month's final postcard from Sylvie BESSE:

Burgess postcard

Saturday was our last Southwark Slam leg and Burgess parkrun's 9th anniversary.

Sean, Andrew, Aislin, Geoffrey, Zoe and I all met up at the starting line, along with 467 runners. It was the largest parkrun that we had seen since we started our Southwark Slam.

The other Slammers and I were all very excited to be back home with our Burgess family. And it didn't disappoint.

As soon as we wished each other a good parkrun (something that we have been doing for the last 4 weeks); we were encouraged by a great team of volunteers. We were saying hello to so many friends that there was no time to think about chasing a PB; we were there just to embrace the warmth of our family.

Aqasa and Shveta were also with us in spirit and ran a (not) parkrun as soon as they landed - well, as soon as they got home - putting on their parkrun tee shirts and logging a 5K so that they could finish their Southwark Slam.

We all caught up at the end of the run to share our experiences. Sean, Andrew and Aislin went to get a coffee and Geoffrey and I went to the Hackney 5K.

I personally enjoyed the Southwark Slam experience and spending my Saturday morning with such a great bunch of people.

The 2021 Southwark slam class salute you.

The Southwark Slammers return home

Next Time

We are celebrating 17 years of parkrun on Saturday - yes, it's been that long since PSH and his pals first went for a little run in the park over in Bushy! We hope to see you at Burgess, but if you can't make it for whatever reason, please feel free to mark the occasion with some cake at home!

See you all soon,

Shona C BARKER and Sylvie BESSE

#loveparkrun #BurgessFamily #BurgessBirthday #SouthwarkSlam


Burgess Newsletter 35

Whether you were running, walking, jogging or volunteering, Event 390 was a deceptively warm parkrun day. Whilst 371 of you were out of the course, trying not to melt, the Southwark Slam continued over at Dulwich in person - and elsewhere for that matter, due to some (not)parkrun wizardry.

In this Burgess Newsletter, Sylvie BESSE reports back on all the latest from Dulwich, and I have all the celebrations from Burgess for you. With it being my first Burgess parkrun back in person (yes, really!), I've also written a little something for those within the parkrun family who haven't come back home yet. Just because you haven't been back in the park with us lately doesn't mean we've forgotten about you.

Milestones and PBs

Sreelekha SARKAR, Joachim KOYA and Paska OLARA all ran their 25th parkrun. In the time taken to reach that milestone, Sreelekha has picked up 5 different letters for the alphabet challenge, Joachim has run exclusively at Burgess, picking up a whopping 7 PBs, and Paska has volunteered an incredible 49 times. Some truly brilliant feats of parkrunning from all three of them, and here's to your next 25 parkruns!

Will MESHER and Katy THORPE both joined the 50 milestone club. Will started parkrunning in 2018, and Katy in 2013, so they've both been waiting a while for their red shirts. A significant milestone to show off their running journey, but also their perseverance! Well done, both of you!

As well milestones to cheer, we had some fabulous PBs. Amongst them were the following:

  • Maiyee WONG returned for bite two of the cherry, knocking off over 5 minutes with a new PB of 35:45. Way to go, Maiyee!
  • Ebony BOOTH ran her seventh parkrun with us, bagging her fifth PB and knocking off nearly 9 minutes since she started parkrunning this year. Her new best of 30:24 is super impressive, showing a huge improvement in two months.
  • 250 club member David CARR picked a second consecutive PB of 21:40 on his 87th run at Burgess. Wait for a PB, and two will come along at once!
  • Despite the heat, it was a speedy day for many. We celebrated 10 PBs at under 20 minutes, with Ian PANKHURT achieving a new PB of 20:00 on the nose. Top work, everyone!

The finish line

Southwark Slam Update - Week Three, Dulwich

The Southwark Slam continued, with our bold parkrunners venturing to Dulwich for the third week away. Sylvie BESSE has written this week's postcard, telling us all about it.

Postcard from Dulwich

Not only did the sun come out on Saturday in Dulwich Park, but so did 449 runners, including plenty of Southwark Slammers. Andrew, Aislin, Petra, Susan, Chris, Geoffrey, Sean, Zoe and I were all present for Event 432, with Aqasa and Shveta doing a Dulwich (not)parkrun instead (at a crazy time before catching a plane, that's dedication for you).

Dulwich Park is tucked between Peckham Park in Southwark and Brockwell Park in Lambeth, covering a staggering 29 hectares and packed with historic features. The parkrun is a clockwise 3 lap-course in the middle of the park. This Saturday, there was a sea of red Dulwich Runners tee shirts, as the club runners were all meeting up at parkrun as part of their championship. It was a rather impressive gathering to behold.

Dulwich Runners

We cheered on Chris and waved off Geoffrey as he set off on an extra 5km to finish his 32km training for the London Marathon. Then, we wandered off to Dulwich cafe, where Andrew had bagged a great table in the shade, a perfect place for drinks, sharing stories, and taking the UK life test (we passed).

I managed a new PB; Zoe and Sean were first-timers.

As Geoffrey put it, we are back home next week, and we all knew what he meant. We will be at Burgess parkrun next week, and we can't wait to see our Burgess family. We have missed you!

See you all soon to celebrate Burgess parkrun's anniversary.

Some of the Southwark Slammers at Dulwich

To Everyone Who Hasn't Returned Yet

Lockdown coincided with some Very Bad Things and marked the darkest period of my life to date. I know I'm not unique in saying that - a lot of you have had different but equally awful experiences. Some of you have even gone through far worse, and I applaud you for just hanging on in there. Seriously, great effort.

But it's important to remember that just like with parkrun, none of us are competing against each other for how rough a year we've had. We're all just trying to make it around the course in our own way, and we're trying to feel a bit better about ourselves as we keep trying to up our game each week.

What surprised me was how being on your own for so long really does chip away at you. It does so in such an insidious way that you don't quite realise how much confidence you've lost until it's almost fully depleted. So for me, coming back to parkrun was incredibly hard, and I say that as one of the core team who absolutely loves this event, heart and soul. You can know in your very bones that Burgess parkrun is something extraordinary, yet still not feel comfortable being around so many other park users.

So, what helped me find my way back home?

  1. Admit how you're feeling. We have a brilliant community. Lean on your fellow parkrunners. Some of them might have started running, walking, jogging and volunteering again as many as two months ago, but that doesn't mean they haven't been where you are now. Acknowledging your negative feelings can actually take some of their power away. A problem shared is a problem halved - talk to another parkrunner, and it halves again. You can see how quickly it begins to feel small enough to feel manageable.
  2. Try volunteering at a junior parkrun. Junior parkrun attendances have always been lower, and most junior events have seen a similar decline in numbers to the Saturday events. Turn up on a Sunday, and you'll see all the familiar hi-viz vests, other equipment and general cheer, but scaled down. If you're looking for a suggestion on how to ease yourself back into the parkrun world, we happen to have a junior parkrun in Burgess Park itself, and you can get in touch with the junior parkrun core team at burgessjuniors@parkrun.com. If you'd like to volunteer on a quieter day with lower numbers, they'd love to help you get your groove back!
  3. Let the Run Directors know what you're comfortable with. If you want to give volunteering a go again, but there are some roles that you don't feel comfortable doing anymore, just say. If you're willing to give us the gift of your time, we'll make sure we give you a task that you're happy doing. Don't be afraid to draw some boundaries - you can always expand them later. I can vouch first-hand for how understanding the other Run Directors are - I wouldn't have come back without their support!
  4. Don't run if you don't want to. Just as you don't have to volunteer if you don't want to, you don't have to run if you don't want to either. You might not be up to running again, especially if you're recovering from Covid, or you might have decided you don't really enjoy it all that much anymore. Doesn't mean you have to stop being a part of the parkrun magic - join us on the roster instead. Whether you run, walk, jog, volunteer or do a combination of those things - you're still as much of a parkrunner as the next person with a barcode.

Hope to see as many of you as possible for our birthday on Saturday. We won't be able to celebrate in the way we usually do, but if you're up for it, we'll be able to spend Saturday morning in the park together. And that's something glorious in itself.

If you're not ready yet - that's totally OK. Burgess parkrun is for you you to take at your pace, and we'll be here when you want to come back.

Speaking of homecomings, we're very excited to see the return of the Southwark Slammers as they complete the final week of their challenge - from Southwark to Peckham Rye to Dulwich and back to Burgess - they'll have travelled around the whole borough.

See you at the start line?

Take care,

#loveparkrun #BurgessFamily #parkrun #SouthwarkSlam #homecoming #Covid19 #parkruntourism

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