Burgess parkrun is cancelled on 2020-10-31 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Burgess Newsletter 25

Everyone has a parkrun origin story and well, here's mine. I first joined Burgess parkrun as an antidote to the work hard, play harder lifestyle of my twenties. Agreeing to meet a friend in the park at 8.55am on a Saturday meant I had to drag myself out of bed. It stopped me from wasting the day, no matter how long the working hours that week were or how epic the party was the night before!

Looking back, that was five years ago, and my big nights out are much less frequent these days. However, the significance of parkrun in my life has just continued to grow at an exponential rate since then.

Fiona running

Through volunteering, I have made a brilliant group of friends who have been there for me through all sorts of ups and downs. From reaching for that elusive PB, to overcoming periods of injury, finding a like-minded group to have fun mid-week training sessions with, to having a close local network that looked out for each other during lockdown, parkrun has really given me so much. I've even had physio massages, assistance building furniture, help with my local charity events, career advice and celebrations for England’s (short-lived) wins during the 2018 World Cup. My parkrun journey has been so much more than just a run in the park.

Fiona volunteering at parkrun

What I really love about parkrun is how it is there for you in all stages of life, no matter who you are or what life is throwing at you. As a young child, you can get involved in junior parkrun, then as a teen, parkrun is an excellent opportunity for getting fit, training for school cross country or having your first taste of community volunteering. As an adult, it can be whatever you want or need it to be - an excellent hangover cure in your twenties, a PB-builder in your thirties, a fun power walk during pregnancy and post-partum, or a bonding activity for young families. It can be a sociable way to stay involved in the community during illness or injury through volunteering, a way to keep healthy in older age, an opportunity to meet new people and make friends when you move to a new area. There really is something for everyone!

Alice and Fiona

Whilst I've missed parkrun a lot during the pandemic, I've been very grateful for the Burgess segment competition, where a group of us individually run a different segment in the park each week and compete on Strava to see who gets the best time. It's given me something to focus on, got me out of the house (again), this time exploring new areas of the park, and it's meant we've kept that strong sense of community, which has always been so great at Burgess. It was also wonderful bumping into members of the parkrun family on daily exercise runs during lockdown - that really lifted my spirits during such a strange, unsettling time.

I can't wait to get back to it when parkrun unpauses, which I hear may be sooner than many of us dared to hope! In the meantime, do stay safe, everyone.

Until the next time,

#loveparkrun #BurgessFamily #parkrunfamily


Burgess Newsletter 24

We've been trying to explore more of London over lockdown in a bid to avoid overwhelming our park with hundreds of runners assembling at the same time and potentially making other park users feel uncomfortable about sharing the space with us. We're really grateful to everyone who has avoiding running our course at 9am on a Saturday morning and who has therefore helped contribute to Burgess Park remaining a little piece of calm for people local to SE5. However, no matter what day or time you've chosen to do your (not)parkrun, if you've been to Burgess at any point this summer, you will have undoubtedly noticed all the rubbish that has appeared on an increasingly frequent basis.

We might have have been on pause, and some of us might not even have set foot in Burgess Park for several months, but there's been no let up for the Friends of Burgess Park. Whilst we've been away, they have been workingly tirelessly to clean up our park, not just by campaigning for stronger measures against antisocial behaviour, but by physically removing the rubbish itself when needed. We're very thankful for all their ongoing efforts to make sure we have a beautiful park to come back to when our event starts up again, and some of the Friends have been kind enough to tell us a bit more about what they've been up to, and how we can get involved.

If you've been missing volunteering in Burgess Park, and it's getting a bit silly standing and clapping in your living room rather than marshalling parkrunners, fret not, the Friends have a volunteering fix for you that doesn't require any prior experience or skills. Feel free to wear your favourite milestone, apricot or CONTRA running top and to borrow some hi-viz when you turn up. Guaranteed to bring back fond memories...

Jayne and Carol picking litter

Tackling rubbish behaviour

Over the summer, you will have seen lots of photos of rubbish left in open spaces across the country, and Burgess Park unfortunately has not been an exception. Parks have never been so popular or so needed, but for our gardeners it has just meant large mountains of rubbish to deal with every morning, before they can start tending to the park itself.

With many people complaining about the rubbish, Friends of Burgess Park set up a regular weekly litter pick session, and expanded this to a second weekly session by popular demand. We are so grateful for the fantastic help received from the local community so far, including volunteers from Southwark GoodGym, Lambeth GoodGym, Burgess parkrun, Burgess juniors and Kennington juniors.

Sylvie and Chris

Litter picks take place every Monday morning from 7.30am to 9.30am and every Thursday evening from 6.30pm to 8pm. Both weekly sessions organised by the Friends of Burgess Park will continue until the end of September.

Our first session took place on 20th July and between 12 and 20 people have come along each time, with an incredible 50 people having done 92 volunteering litter-picking sessions. Some people have come to lots of sessions and others just to one or two, but every hour you can spare really does help. It's amazing what we can accomplish when everyone pitches in. Together we've picked up bags and bags of rubbish and just as importantly, loads of the little stuff that often gets missed; bottle tops, cigarette ends, shiny metallic balloon confetti and broken plastic cutlery.

Friends of Burgess Park provide litter picking tools, gloves and bags to enable you to volunteer safely, or you can bring your own if you prefer. We'd love to see more of you come along - we meet near the finish line for Burgess juniors, at the benches opposite Chumleigh Gardens. The assembly point is the same on both Monday mornings and Thursday evenings, and you're welcome to just turn up if you're free.

Chumleigh Gardens

Our regular litter pick helps support the ever hardworking park gardeners after the weekend and makes our park a friendlier and safer home for wildlife. By getting more people from our local community involved and campaigning for stronger messaging from Southwark Council about the unacceptability of leaving rubbish behind, we hope to make a difference.

If you have any questions about joining one of our litter picking sessions or have any suggestions of your own for how we can reduce litter, do please get in touch at friendsofburgesspark@gmail.com.

Take care,


#BurgessPark #TeamZeroWaste #FriendsofBurgessPark


Burgess Newsletter 23

Over the last month, small groups of Burgess parkrunners have been ticking off street challenges and even running 'together' from different locations using the wonders of video calling to make this possible. With our event still on pause, our parkrunners have been getting increasingly creative in their ways of keeping the family together, which we absolutely love.

The same determination holds true over in Germany, where our friends at our sister event Hasenheide (affectionately known as "Burgess in Berlin") have also been finding opportunities to run together, whilst staying safe and maintaining social distancing. It just goes to show the enduring legacy of those Saturday mornings together.

Tidings from Burgess in Berlin...

Every year, a large number of runners gear up on the weekend following 13th August to run 100 miles around former West Berlin - to be precise, along the former Berlin Wall. Why? Because, on 13th August 1961 the Berlin Wall went up. Since 2011, runners have been remembering in this way those who died trying to cross it, and every year, the run is dedicated to one particular victim whose portrait then also features on the finisher medal.

Some run the whole distance on their own, others form relay teams of two, four and 10 to cover the distance. At Hasenheide parkrun, we have a number of regulars who have taken part in the Mauerweglauf or the 100 Meilen Berlin (100 Miles Berlin), as it is also known, in the past, and who had also registered a relay this year.

Hasenheide parkrunners cheering their friends

This year, of course, everything is different, and when the run was cancelled some time in spring, there was, understandably, much disappointment. Out of this disappointment, however, arose an idea - maybe they could ask their parkrun friends to see, if enough people might be found for a Hasenheide parkrun relay. A relay also meant that social distancing rules could be observed whilst doing something together.

So, messages went out to check who might be up for it and what distance they would be happy to run. Thoughts then turned to how the relay might be best planned. It was not just a question of finding enough people, changeover points needed to be, as much as possible, close to public transport.

Normally, there are 26 refreshment points with snacks and drinks along the way, which also serve as official changeover points for the relay teams. This year, there could not be any. Also, no one was to run in the dark. It was, therefore, decided that two teams would start off at the same time, but in opposite directions, and that each runner would be accompanied by someone on a bicycle to carry drinks and snacks and to generally make sure everybody was safe. Ideally, there were also a few people on standby as possible substitutes. This turned out to be a very good idea, as a number of people injured themselves and had to pull out. Last but not least, no race is complete without a finisher medal, so a special medal was designed and prepared for everybody.

To assist each runner, a clever spreadsheet was created stating the changeover points, distances (which ranged from 5km to 25km) and the approximate expected pace for each runner, so everybody knew when he or she needed to be in position. This would then also be updated during the run.

Fast forward a few weeks, and after a lot of planning and re-planning by Achim, the big day finally arrived. At 8am on 15th August, the first runners and their bike support set off from Nordbahnhof. Impressively, the first runners all arrived on the dot at their changeover points. Each time, a photograph was sent to the group along with a "the next runner is setting off now" message. It turned out to be an incredibly hot day, which was especially hard for those running later in the day and the two guys on the bike. As Andy put it afterwards: "some people were heroic in their efforts."

Berlin runner and support crew

The team running clockwise arrived at Griebnitzsee, aka the finish, at around 4pm, having completed approximately 71km. The team running anticlockwise arrived some 2 hours later after having covered approximately 91 km. A colleague of Achim had kindly agreed to provide cold drinks at the finish, when she heard about the relay plan. Since lockdown restrictions had been sufficiently loosened, it was possible to host a picnic. Everyone, who could make it, came out to wait together for the last two runners, have some food and above all, have a badly needed catchup. For many in the group, it was the first time since early March that they had seen each other in person. It felt a little bit like Hasenheide parkrun again and brought home just how much parkrun is missed, not just as a sporting event, but rather as a social event, where we can meet up and make new friends. We all hope that it will be safe enough soon for parkrun to come back.

This relay was a great team effort and success. Not only did it bring friends together again who had not been able to meet for a long time, it also meant that runners could remember the victims of the Berlin Wall even though the pandemic meant that the usual official run could not take place.

One of the finishers

More information about the official Mauerweglauf can be found here: https://www.100meilen.de/?lang=en

Achim's report about the Hasenheide relay (in German) can be found here: https://www.parkrun.com.de/hasenheide/news/2020/08/16/hasenheide-parkrun-lauft-den-mauerweg/

If you are thinking of entering the Mauerweglauf next year, rather fittingly, registration starts at 6.57pm sharp on 9th November. I don't think I'll need to explain why that date and time...

Until the next time,

#liebeparkrun #loveparkrun #BurgessFamily #BurgessInBerlin #BerlinWall #BerlinerMauer


Burgess Newsletter 22

After far too many days of uncomfortably hot, sticky weather, it finally rained at the weekend. I'm not ashamed to admit I was this close to doing a rain dance out of sheer desperation...  Thankfully, though, the sky opened before it came to that. As soon as I heard the rain hitting the ground, I bolted outdoors to visit Burgess. I clearly wasn't the only person delighted by the cooler weather, with the rainy Saturday the most popular day for a (not)parkrun last week.

Waddling through the park gleefully, whilst there were fewer runners than usual, there were plenty of ducks and other waterfowl enjoying the rain as much as me. If you're curious about the many different birds that call Burgess home, the Friends of Burgess Park have helpfully prepared an information sheet that you can either download and view on your phone, or print off and take with you on your travels: http://www.friendsofburgesspark.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/WATERFOWL-ID.pdf

The Egyptian geese, for example, you may well recognise as the birds who frequently occupy the paths at the bottom of the lake on a Saturday or Sunday morning. There are times before 9am when we're never quite sure if they're going to give way to other park users or stubbornly form a course hazard... Without any people to pick a fight with, they were mainly pottering around by the lake itself and staying surprisingly quiet. Maybe I've misjudged them and the noise is usually intended as a friendly attempt at marshalling our parkrunners, and with few people out in the downpour, there was no need for it.

Egyptian geese

If you don't feel like going for a run, but do want to get a bit of exercise, Burgess Park is absolutely glorious in the rain, and it's nice to spend a few calm, quiet moments just appreciating the beauty of the outdoor space. Having set a record for the slowest Burgess (not)parkrun, you'll need to find a way of interrupting your stroll anyway, if you'd like to try to take that crown...

(not)parkrun 9 - latest results

Many people have developed new habits during lockdown, and Burgess parkrunner Sebastian LAWRENCE seems to have acquired the remarkable habit of consistently finishing first. For the ninth - yes, ninth - week in a row, Seb logged our fastest (not)parkrun time. With an impressive age grading of 76.11% and a time of 16:57, he was only six seconds off his (not)parkrun PB. Great work!

Seb (not)parkrunning

Four of our parkrunners managed to set new PBs for themselves:

  • Adele HILL set a (not)parkrun PB of 33:30 and an all-time PB for herself, smashing a personal record last set at Burgess back in 2018. Congratulations, Adele!
  • Sylvie BESSE also set herself a new record of 28:58, which isn't just a (not)parkrun PB but an all-time PB. Well done, Sylvie on beating a record first set in the third week of (not)parkrun and your first ever sub-29 time! If you'd like to know the secret to Sylvie's success, it's got to be this special Burgess warm-up... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_F6iXH1Lqc Go on, give it a go before your run, walk or jog next time.
  • Challenging Seb for most consistent performance, Claire OXLADE kept up her unbroken (not)parkrun PB streak with a new best time of 21:06. She's taken part in eight out of nine weeks so far, and got faster every single week!
  • Edging under 45 minutes for the first time, Robin BLAKE set himself a new record of 44:37. Robin's progress is particularly inspiring given he's only started parkrunning during lockdown. You're amazing, Robin.

Familiar Burgess faces Abigail HALLET, Andrew J M TEDDER and Phil OAKES made their (not)parkrun debut, logging one run each. We also welcomed Lucy Patricia OLMOS CABALLERO to (not)parkrun, and she deserves a special mention for the sheer enthusiasm she's shown so far. Lucy managed to rack up a total of seven runs in her first week of (not)parkrunning, which is not far off the total number of actual parkruns she's ever completed and just absolutely legendary. Top work, Lucy, we love your style!

With 23 parkrunners taking part, we were just pipped by Southwark for most participants. However, there's always the following week... and wouldn't it be nice to get a course attendance record for week 10?

Covid framework - update

We know how keen many of you are to return to parkrun, and since the last Burgess Newsletter, HQ have published list of FAQs on the new Covid Framework. You can read them here: https://volunteer.parkrun.com/principles/open-with-covid-19-management-system-2

We hope some of the questions being answered help reassure you, and we look forward to eventually running, walking, jogging and volunteering again when it's safe to do so. In the meantime, don't forget to keep sending your Burgess stories into burgess@parkrun.com. We always love to hear what you've been getting up to!

Until the next time,


#loveparkrun #notparkrun #BurgessFamily


Burgess Newsletter 21

With temperatures having soared over the weekend to horrifying heights not seen since the likes of 2003, I've found myself feeling heavily nostalgic about rainy day parkruns. Torrential rain may not be the most popular of parkrun weather conditions, but I'll gladly take rain over snow (the risk of compacted ice often leads to an outright cancellation) or scorching weather (too hot for dogs, so no barkrunners to say hello to - booo).

A wet day at Burgess

Surprisingly for an event in England, we don't often start at our traditional time of 9ish with the skies opening - it doesn't typically start chucking it down until at least 10am on the days that it does rain. (I can only assume because of the sheer volume of requests made to the parkrun weather fairy by people who aren't me.) However, occasionally, we do get a properly wet and rainy parkrun, such as Event 347, which was quite possibly our soggiest parkrun in 2019, and the event that attracted the fewest parkrunners that year, with an attendance of only 219 participants running, walking and jogging. It seems most of Burgess disagrees with me, and you all prefer the sunshine...

We had 30 unknowns that day, quite possibly because some of our runners legged it home as quickly as they could in a desperate bid to warm up, but also perhaps because some of their barcodes looked like this...

This used to be a barcode

(Dear reader, if you present us with what used to be a perfectly valid barcode, we will of course always magically ensure you get your result. I will say though, that remains the sorriest and soggiest barcode I've ever seen!)

I might be the only person wishing for the return of the rainy parkrun, but this weekend, there undoubtedly have been a lot of people wishing for any parkrun to resume and wondering when that might be, following the publication of the Covid-19 framework and the recent Free Weekly Timed podcast episode, How parkrun will return. The answer from your core team is still, 'we miss you all dearly, but your guess is as good as ours.'

If you have any musings on the framework and what the implications might be, the hosts of official parkrun podcast Free Weekly Timed are holding a Q&A session with parkrun COO Tom WILLIAMS, and you can send in questions in advance of the next show here: http://www.freeweeklytimed.com/contact-us/ It's a great opportunity to put your queries to someone who knows a lot more than we do!

In the meantime, keep the stories coming (we love hearing from you!), keep representing Burgess in the weekly (not)parkruns and The Great BIG parkrun Quiz, and remember, no matter how long we have to wait to see you all in person again, even if you don't feel comfortable coming back immediately, we're still one big Burgess family. As anyone who has ever moved away from London will tell you, you don't have to turn up in person to remain a part of our community. Whatever happens, whenever it happens, we're still there for you.

Stay safe,


#loveparkrun #BurgessFamily #Covid19

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