Colchester Castle parkrun #347

Our run report this week has been gifted to us by the parkrun poet. Thanks Tim!

The Poetry Dungeon – parkrun #347, 23 November 2019

I returned to Castle Park with my son Joseph, a little nervous about how he’d handle the hill. It was his 21st different event so I needn't have worried. A critical mass of 308 parkrunners assembled despite the drizzly, overcast weather. Colchester Castle seemed like the typical 'flash' parkrun with hardly anyone around at 8:45, only for an influx of athletes to digest Meera's run briefing 10 minutes later. I should have heeded her warning about the slippery nature of the paths...

Usually, my son and me couldn’t pace a corridor, but this morning we were quite sedate in the first mile, enjoying the relative comfort of the first downhill section. All seemed good in the world of Corner Cutter Gardiner and son. Approaching the turnaround with genuine hope, it was dashed as I skidded on some wet leaves and onto the damp grass, slide tackle style. The concern and encouragement of my fellow parkrunners (not my son I might add!) got me underway again, but the momentum had been lost. Streaked with dirt, I hauled my frame up the hill for the initial lung buster in the style of the Marshmallow Man.

Near the café, a lovely marshal quipped ‘oh, a poet!’ pleased that one had been released from their straitjacket! The best thing about the parkrun is passing around the Castle, before enjoying a well-earned downhill sprint. The hill on the second lap felt like the north face of the Eiger; cheered on by some of the 35 fabulous volunteers who made the parkrun possible. Soundly beaten in the sprint finish by my son, I was left to roll into the finish funnel in around 27 minutes, my stomach muscles aching like John Hurt’s in Alien. Interestingly, Sigourney Weaver’s mum, Elizabeth Inglis, was born in Colchester in 1913 before moving to Hollywood in the 1930s and starring in Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of The Thirty-Nine Steps. Herein lies the Hitchcock link to my previous run reports for Maldon Prom (#327) and Newark (#335) which had references to the famous movie director (my favourite)!

A total of 139 runners ‘beat the poet’ this morning, the wordsmith waning after the tumble. There were over 30 pbs, 13 lucky first-timers (including the wintry Lewis Snowball) and Darren Manners joined the 50 Club. Well done to all parkrun achievers!

We now enter the artistic portion of the run report. On my last visit to Castle Park, I had some haiku poems featured in the report, with the run director suggesting the creation of a Poetry Corner. I feel a Poetry Dungeon is more appropriate given the historic location and infamy of Colchester Castle’s prison! The Dungeon should be the home for good, bad and downright ugly poetry. So here is the first effort and a game for poetic parkrunners. It’s something called a renga; a sequence of three and two line poems, each linking to the one before, and then shifting to a different subject.

The Poetry Dungeon

castle hill
now I know what
made Boudica mad

running Romans
charge as a turtle-shell

downhill sprint
runners shimmy
through the gate

marshmallow man
his cadence needs work

And so the sequence has been started by Joseph (2 and 4) and me (1 and 3), with others free to add alternate three and two line haiku poems (forget the syllables!) in future.

Tim Gardiner
aka the parkrun poet
twitter: @parkrunpoetry


Colchester Castle parkrun #334

A beautiful Bank Holiday Saturday and what better way to start it than a parkrun in the very picturesque Castle Park. We welcomed 306 runners, joggers and walkers today as well as 30 splendid volunteers. Among us were 34 first timers with a good sprinkling of tourists, several of whom made a point of praising the marshals to the Run Director after the run. We could not do without our volunteers and this week Sue really struggled to fill the roster so please, please do think of volunteering occasionally and make our Volunteer Coordinator's job a little easier.
Congratulations to Ramadan Osman on being first finisher in a brilliant Personal Best time of 16:16
The latter part of August seems to be a popular time for our faster runners to achieve amazing feats (as Sue Foley and Steve Shaw have pointed out). The same weekend last year Ram ran the fastest time of the year in 16:22 and in 2016 Angus Holford ran a PB of 16:32. The very same weekend in 2015 Adrian Mussett ran 15:41 to take (and still hold) the course record. On 30 August 2014 Nicola Rogers ran 18:22 set the female course record which still holds now.
So perhaps it is not unexpected that we had 45 brilliant Personal Bests this time round! Well done everyone.
We had a few problems with the results, mostly because many of our barcodes are getting worn, particularly those we have had to replace with home made ones (when individuals do not return them to the scanners). We lost number 133 this week.
We will therefore need as soon as possible to purchase a new set so if you would like to make a contribution, you can donate to your parkrun by going to and clicking on the "MORE" tab then "ABOUT US" tab. Halfway down the page you will see the "Donate" banner, click on that and follow the instructions. You can use either Paypal or any credit or debit card.
Until next week.......


Colchester Castle parkrun #324

The 1st of June turned out to be a lovely warm sunny morning as runners gathered at the bandstand for their weekly parkrun. This week, parkrun UK were celebrating one year of collaboration with GP practices, and we were delighted to welcome over 34 runners, joggers and walkers from four local GP practices – Abbey Fields, Ambrose Avenue, Creffield Medical Centre, and Rowhedge & University of Essex Medical Practice for GP Pledge Day.
A total of 399 people finished with 49 of these doing their first parkrun at Colchester Castle. A big thanks to the 29 volunteers without whom we would not be able to put on a parkrun each week. Congratulations to Oliver Saunders on his 100th parkrun and Carolyn Richardson, Sue Wray, Justin Fletcher and Craig Carrington on their 50th parkrun.
This week we had to use the “Orange” now re-christened “Blue” route around the Lower Park and we will be using this quite a lot during the Summer as the Lower Park will be much in use for other events. The disadvantage of this route is that there is quite a long stretch from “Mad Gate” all the way down along the river path and back where people will be running in both directions and for two laps. The path is quite narrow in places particularly at Duncan’s Gate. We had a couple of complaints this week about lack of consideration of others. It is VERY important that you keep to the left and always run in single file along this path and respect members of the public who may also be using the path. (If you have a child with you let the child run in front of you.) Also, faster runners are asked to remember that this is a RUN not a Race, and therefore be more considerate of others who are slower. If you are held up for a few seconds, there is always another week to have a crack at your PB! One final thing......children must not be carried on shoulders during the run!
Next week there is no parkrun at Colchester Castle so please enjoy running at one of our other local parkruns. You can see the nearest listed on the “Home” page of our website.


CCPR#309. The one with the Mayor

This morning we welcomed the Mayor of Colchester, Peter Chillingworth, to Colchester Castle parkrun.   The Mayor was promoting his 5k run on 2nd March 11am at the University, to support the Mayor's charities as well as promoting fitness and wellbeing in Colchester.  We discovered he was a keen runner in the 1960s, specialising in cross country and with a mile PB of 4:23!


The sun was out early when I was setting up but cloud cover made it a chilly morning, with 457 people running, walking or jogging the course.  There were 36 first timers and 96 recorded new Personal Bests.     This is my last time Run Directing at Colchester Castle and it was a pleasure meeting some first timers who loved our event - even after they'd run up the hill 3 times,  and also seeing some of our regular runners who over the last few years have progressed so much and love their running.


We had parkrun tourists from as far as Northern Ireland, Scotland, Lancashire and even a few ventured down the A120 from Braintree.


A few milestones this week ; Jason Gunn (100), Andrew Thompson (100), Sue Cross (50) and George Sokhi (50) who also got a PB today and Mark O'Callaghan (50).

The first finisher was Mr 100, Jason Gunn, who also volunteered at the end to scan runners barcodes.  Well done Jason and thank you for also volunteering.  2nd finisher was Ramadam Osman (17:40), providing a guard of honour to Jason's achievement, well done Ramadam - you are a gentleman!  3rd finisher Thomas Adams in 18:32 from Ipswich Harriers.

First female finisher was Helen Taczynksi (19:52) from Colchester Harriers,  2nd female finisher was Colleen Williams, not only 2nd female finisher but also first parkrun!  3rd female was Colchester Harrier, Jenny Richardson (23:49)


The event was made possible by 32 volunteers:

Bryan MUNCE • Eric SHAW • Maria KERNOTT • Jason GUNN • Lisa BRIGGS • Christopher AKEHURST • Paul NEVILLE • Barry GILHEANY • Sue FOLEY • Aine MCNULTY • Niamh MCNULTY • Helen STEPHEN • Steve SHAW • Bernard FORRESTER • Claire MARTINS • Claire LAWN • Michelle CLEARE • Steven EDWARDS • Tan CLARK • Wing UNG • Annabel PORTER • Nick BARLOW • Sydney HERBERT • Lorraine LILES • Julie GILBY • Hilary POWELL • Lily GILBY • Ben SUTTON • Rob MUIR • Andrew HOLLOCK • Karen BELLERBY • Sue LUDBROOK

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Colchester Castle parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Nicola ROGERS who recorded a time of 18:22 on 30th August 2014 (event number 71).
The male record is held by Adrian MUSSETT who recorded a time of 15:41 on 22nd August 2015 (event number 123).
The Age Grade course record is held by Margaret DEASY who recorded 90.31% (18:34) on 12th April 2014 (event number 53).

Colchester Castle parkrun started on 6th April 2013. Since then 10,040 participants have completed 85,280 parkruns covering a total distance of 426,400 km, including 15,423 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,326 individuals have volunteered 7,523 times.


Colchester Castle parkrun #308

A very windy morning greeted our parkrunners on Saturday though it failed to deter 420 resolute finishers including 36 running here for the very first time. Surprisingly given the conditions, 49 achieved personal bests! Well done to you all.
We again tried with timing zones at the start - though it would have helped if the RD (me) had remembered to give the marshals designated to hold them, the timing signs in advance! This type of start enables a smoother and safer start for all runners so we do encourage you to choose your start time zone accurately. In the finish funnel, the "hold your right hand out for your finish barcode " so the marshal can place it in your palm, worked very well and kept the flow going through the funnel with no holdups.
With this parkrun, we achieved the amazing total of 10,000 different parkrunners who have run Colchester Castle.
Once again our grateful thanks go to all the volunteers who made this parkrun possible. We do encourage you to volunteer occasionally - don't forget, there are quite a few volunteer positions where you can run as well and so get credit twice! Since our start in 2013, there have been 1,325 different volunteers.
Weather for next Saturday looks positively Spring like, so I expect we will see large numbers again!
Until then.....


Colchester Castle parkrun #307

We thought we might have a problem with the weather and ice on the paths for Saturday's parkrun but fortunately no snow came, and the icy patches were manageable. Though cold, 400 runners, joggers and walkers made it to the start - and finish - well done to everyone, and a special warm welcome to 31 runners whose first time it was at Colchester Castle - many of these making their first ever parkrun.
We were also able to celebrate Chris Axford's 250th parkrun and look forward to seeing him in his new tee shirt before long! Sharon Cox, Eleanor Day and Toby Fox-Hammond also celebrated their 50th parkrun, whilst junior runners Joshua Godwin, Lola-Jane Miller and Narayanan Sowrirajan achieved their 10 tee-shirt today.  We also saw a big initiative with 5 visually impaired runners with their guides enjoying our lovely parkrun - the most we have had here.   It was great to see you all enjoying our lovely parkrun.  Well done to you all!
Because of the large numbers now running at Castle Park, we tried out a couple of new things. At the start, everyone is encouraged to line up behind their predicted time signs - and whilst we know some don't like this, it does help to provide a safer parkrun and a smoother start for everyone. At the finish, runners are asked NOT to take a finish barcode, but to hold out their right hand and the barcode marshal then places the barcode in their palm. This certainly improved the flow of runners greatly. So if you weren't here last Saturday, watch out for these innovations in the coming weeks.
Look forward to seeing you all next Saturday.


CCPR#306 The one with 73 PBs and 41 first timers

At 7:30 this morning there was me, a fox and several squirrels by the bandstand.  By 9am there were 471 people running, jogging, pushing buggies and walking our 5k parkrun.   There were also 33 volunteers who are a fabulous team and make this event possible.  This included people who weren't down on the roster and just rolled their sleeves up and helped out.

I'm not sure if it was the mild, calm conditions or all the fancy new gear people got for Christmas, but there were 73 new personal bests today.

We had 41 first timers including Yvette all the way from Shetland!   We also had parkrun tourists from Aberdeen as well as a couple of visitors from Harwich Runners.

Our first finisher today also achieved a personal best, Joseph Boden in 17:41, closely followed by Jason Gunn in 17:50 and Fergus Crouch in 18:18.

First female finisher was Colchester Harrier, Laura Shewbridge in 21:27, followed by another Harrier, Eleanor Mayne who finished in 21:52 and Claire Appleby was third female finisher in a PB of 22:20.

David Ford was our runner today with the most runs, at 294, and Daphne Clark was our oldest parkrunner today, in the 80-84 age category.

The event was made possible by 33 volunteers:
Eric SHAW • Georgina GRAYSTON • Sean DUFFETT • Jason GUNN • Paul NEVILLE • Barry GILHEANY • Elysia KINGDON-JOLLY • Niamh MCNULTY • Jane MCNULTY • Slem MARTIN • Steve SHAW • Richard FIFIELD • Cathryn FIFIELD • Jon Mo HEWITT • Katherine BURKE • Claire LAWN • Thomas DICKER • Jane SWEETING • Michelle CLEARE • Oliver CARGILL • Tan CLARK • Stephen BUXTON • Tammy ARISTODIMOU • Sydney HERBERT • Liam WINTERS • Jen MCELROY • Maria TAYLOR • Tricia PAVEY • Carl HILL • Karen BELLERBY • Anna GOLUBOVIC • Lynne KING • Sue LUDBROOK

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Colchester Castle parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Nicola ROGERS who recorded a time of 18:22 on 30th August 2014 (event number 71). The male record is held by Adrian MUSSETT who recorded a time of 15:41 on 22nd August 2015 (event number 123). The Age Grade course record is held by Margaret DEASY who recorded 90.31% (18:34) on 12th April 2014 (event number 53).

Colchester Castle parkrun started on 6th April 2013. Since then 9,937 participants have completed 84,003 parkruns covering a total distance of 420,015 km, including 15,237 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,317 individuals have volunteered 7,422 times.


CCPR #299 – the Fancy Dress Party! & CCPR #300 – It’s CHRISTMAS!

As Colchester Castle parkrun passes a milestone, 300 runs, I am dedicating this run report to those who passed milestones while under my watch as run-director.

My two runs as your director were quite something. Not only did I get to dress up as part of our pre-christmas fancy dress party, but I also had the pleasure of setting off a record-breaking Christmas day run with over 300 of you completing the course. Two mini-milestones for me.

However, some of you had far greater achievements; without further ado we celebrate those who completed their 50th run:

Sally Phipps and John Fuller hit 50 at our fancy dress party on Saturday. With M Percival; Simon Colclough; Becky Day; and Colin Powell following suit on on Christmas day!

We put our hands together for someone who hit the big 100 on Christmas day: Rob Blackman!

And massive congratulations to Qingxu Dou who joined the elusive 250 club on Saturday: WOW!

I know that seeing others reach milestones inspires me to look towards my own and think about my goals. I hope that this is true of all of you as well.

Whilst we’re feeling inspired, maybe now is the time to be setting those big goals for 2019… are you on 30 something parkruns: this year can you hit that 50? Have you only ever ran at Colchester, maybe target a number of new parkrun venues over the year? Or is it time to really think about shaving seconds off of that personal best?

One goal I will of course promote is that of reaching your volunteer milestone. Did you know that after 25 times volunteering you are eligible to claim the purple t-shirt? A goal for Colchester Castle parkrun is to get through every week in 2019 without having to beg for volunteers: but this is one that we need your help to achieve! Perhaps if everyone was trying to get their v25 t-shirt we would hit that goal. Remember we (and all parkruns) cannot keep going without volunteers.

On that note, many thanks to all of the volunteers, both at our fancy dress party on 22nd December; and on Christmas day.
Shout out to: Alexander Sales; Ben Plummer; Chris Exley; Deborah Hollidge; Katie Dove; Kevin Sheath; Liam Winters; Madison Filer-Sinclair; Paul Hollide; Ria Forsyth; Robin Oakley; Rosie Youngs; Simon Ford; Sue Foley; Clare Hawkins; Niamh McNulty; Jane McNulty; Bernard Forrester; Stephen Walsh; Daniel Eriksson; Tracey Chapman; Roy Dove; Amy Dove; Jason Skelton; Teresa Higgins; Roger Newnham; Janes Dove; Annabel Porter; Matt Cayford; Trevor Gilby; Julie Gilby; David Merriday; Eric Shaw; Dave Gee; Catherine Johnson; Anna Golubovic; Bruce Emerson; and Christopher Akehurst.

Finally some stats from our Christmas day run (which was a record breaking Christmas for Colchester Castle by the way!): 31 of you recorded new personal bests (well done!) and a whopping 30 first timers completed the course. In total we had 347 runners from over 40 different running clubs.

Well done to you all!


CCPR#298 “The cold one”

It was a fresh morning at Colchester Castle park this morning, but that wasn't enough to put off 252 people who turned up and ran, jogged and walked the course.  We had 10 brave souls who were first timers and 30 powerhouses who went out there today and recorded new Personal Bests.

A special  mention to Daphne Clark in the 80-84 age category who recorded a PB today!  Also to Hilary Powell and Shelley Spencer who both achieved their 50th parkrun.  Well done to Georgina Grayston who hit 150 today - brilliant!

Our first finisher today was Barry Stoddart in a time of 18:08, closely followed by Fergus Crouch in 18:17 and Aaron Graves in 18:29.

First female finisher was Laura Shewbridge 19:47.  Amy Dove (21:56) was second female finisher and third female finisher was Jordi Moat in 22:12.

We struggle every week to get volunteers, make it your aim to volunteer.   Some volunteer posts you can do and run in the same event like pre-event set-up and post event close down.   We simply cannot hold the event with our fantastic volunteers, so in the coming weeks put yourself forward and give it a try.

This week we had 28 volunteers making hi-vis look great;

Eric SHAW • Sue WRAY • James RUSSELL • Mark HOY • Simon FORD • Malkiat SINGH • Jason GUNN • Dave REDMAN • Paul NEVILLE • Shelley SPENCER • Paul HART • Aine MCNULTY • Jane MCNULTY • Helen BOYD • Daniel WHYMARK • Niamh MCNULTY • Mandy NEWMAN • Edward CAMPBELL • Wing UNG • Katie DOVE • Katie WHYMARK • Yvonne SCOTT • Joanne WEBB • David MERRIDAY • Joanne LEWIS • Kayleigh SCOTT • Maria TAYLOR • Anna GOLUBOVIC

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Colchester Castle parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Nicola ROGERS who recorded a time of 18:22 on 30th August 2014 (event number 71).
The male record is held by Adrian MUSSETT who recorded a time of 15:41 on 22nd August 2015 (event number 123).
The Age Grade course record is held by Margaret DEASY who recorded 90.31% (18:34) on 12th April 2014 (event number 53).

Colchester Castle parkrun started on 6th April 2013. Since then 9,613 participants have completed 80,513 parkruns covering a total distance of 402,565 km, including 14,814 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,287 individuals have volunteered 7,192 times.


CCPR#297 : Run report

The early morning breeze died down, the low winter sun emerged, shining gloriously on the bandstand to give us a dry and sunny Colchester Castle parkrun.


It was a large turnout today with 448 people running, jogging and walking the course.   We had 31 were first timers and 59 recorded new Personal Bests.  We also welcomed parkrun tourists from as far afield as Australia, Derbyshire and even Wales!


Our scanners did really well today with the high volume of runners and the distraction of lots of cake just by them.


The first finisher today was Thomas Palmer of Colchester Harriers in a PB of 17:31.  Closely chased in by fellow Harrier Jason Gunn in 17:34.  Angus Holford was third finisher in 17:55.


First female finisher was Lucy Cowlin of Sudbury Joggers in 21:13, followed by Goodgym's Ella Jeffries in 21:45.  Third female finisher this week was Eleanor Mayne from Colchester Harriers in a time of 21:52.


Each week we need volunteers to make our parkrun safe, give you a timed result and if we are lucky, take your photo.  We need volunteers so please sign up.  Our run today was made possible by 34 volunteers:

Eric SHAW • Maria KERNOTT • Malkiat SINGH • Christopher AKEHURST • Paul NEVILLE • Shelley SPENCER • Sue FOLEY • Lisa KINGDON • Elysia KINGDON-JOLLY • Aine MCNULTY • Niamh MCNULTY • Steve SHAW • Andy THOMPSON • Bernard FORRESTER • Blake KINGDON-JOLLY • Tracey CHAPMAN • Dawn LIU • Geraldine SPRINGETT • Theresa HIGGINS • Michelle CLEARE • Mandy NEWMAN • Madison FILER-SINCLAIR • Tan CLARK • Edward CAMPBELL • David WATERMAN • Thomas HERBERT • Sydney HERBERT • Liam WINTERS • Vanessa CRANNIS • Linda MOLYNEUX • David MERRIDAY • Bailey ELLIOTT • Daisy WEST • Anna GOLUBOVIC


Today our thoughts at Colchester parkrun are very much with Gem Edgar and her family.  As runners, we line up each week on the start line, not necessarily knowing the person next to us, behind or in front, not knowing what job they do,  are they well or are they suffering.  We all run for our own reasons and today we are united as runners, parkrunners to wish Gem and her family our support at this time.



Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Colchester Castle parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Nicola ROGERS who recorded a time of 18:22 on 30th August 2014 (event number 71).
The male record is held by Adrian MUSSETT who recorded a time of 15:41 on 22nd August 2015 (event number 123).
The Age Grade course record is held by Margaret DEASY who recorded 90.31% (18:34) on 12th April 2014 (event number 53).


Colchester Castle parkrun started on 6th April 2013. Since then 9,603 participants have completed 80,261 parkruns covering a total distance of 401,305 km, including 14,784 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,285 individuals have volunteered 7,164 times.

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