Conkers parkrun is cancelled on 2021-01-16 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

A Ramble!! Who me?

Conker non-run run report  -  January 9, 2021

I was chatting to a friend a few weeks ago about our different styles of delivering briefs. She confessed to having a ramble (but always a lovely and delightful ramble) and we agreed that my non-run run briefs are usually a series of mini rambles knitted together on a video. How could I possibly disagree about that? It has been suggested before that during the days of my pre-parkrun (the real one do you remember it) Friday rambles that it was just that, a ramble, usually with a sometimes over-positive weather forecast for the Saturday morning.


So, where am I going with this? I don’t really know except to say that I have been a tad lax in arranging for volunteers to write the non-run run report, so, here I am as the time is speeding towards midnight taking on the task myself. After all, I do let everyone know how easy it is and it is just a case of writing whatever you want.


Back in November, Jen mentioned in her briefing that it was World Hello day, this really resonated with me because when I am running at Conkers either at a parkrun, non-parkrun or just a let’s go to Conkers for a run, I make a point of saying hello or ‘morning’ to everyone I come across. It is rare for me not to get a nice response back.

Since we were locked down in March, I have taken to exploring various trails in the area that I live and continued greeting everyone I come across. This has resulted in it going from a brief hello and smile to often being obliged to stop for a chat, particularly with Richard and his dog Henry on the Jinny Trail. You see, when my wife Jan runs with me she goes even further and gets people’s names!!

There is also the shy bloke (no name yet) with piercings who has gone from a grunt and barely a look as we went by, to a full on smile in our direction (his dog is called patch).

My runs are just that, a run, I tend not to be chasing a pace or a distance; I just go out for a run. For that reason, I don’t mind when a farmer I came across on a footpath went through a detailed ten-minute recollection of how in the winter of 1981/1982 he used to get all his work done between 11.30am and 1pm as the sun always shone then.

Some people I come across on my explorations of the local area are delighted to give helpful advice. Such as the woman who appeared from nowhere to witness me crawling under an electric fence to extricate myself from a field of cattle and desperately trying not to let my bum get pinged. As I stood up, she said, “I watched you come across the field, don’t you know that there is a footpath and stile just over that hedge?” She did look a bit smug to start with but we ended up laughing about it together.

Or one guy I checked that I was on the right footpath with let me know that it goes sharply down hill. "Ooh I love a down hill" says I. "Not that one you won't" he said, laughing. I found out on Strava that the section is named 'Slippery Suicide'. Although it is helpfully just a slide down hill to the hospital.

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Jan surveys the view looking to delay going down 'Slippery Suicide'. We chose to go round it that time. :-)

The point I am getting at is that if I enjoy receiving a smile and a ‘hello’, I assume that most other people do too. If like me you are just out for a ‘run’, spread a little happiness, you can always have a little ramble about it by writing the non-run run report for that week. :-)

Have a smiley week, :-)

Roger xx


Onwards and Upwards into 2021

Conkers parkrun non-run run report - January 2, 2021

Practically every year of my thirty plus years of teaching, the head teacher of whatever school I was working in would start the New Year with an assembly that informed the children that January was named after the Roman god Janus who had two faces one looking forward and the other looking back.

On New Year’s Eve we started to gather the photos needed to make a year book of the family’s activities. We promise ourselves we will do this every year but are not very good at it, actually we are really rubbish, In fact the last one we could find was for 2011. However this year will be different; as we trawled through our phones we found ourselves, rather than focusing on the things that had not happened, realising just how much we had done. The concerts attended before lockdown, the VE day party on the drive, the fact the garden is looking better than ever with the greenhouse restored new raised beds, a pond and pergola. We may not have had a big family holiday but we spent a week completing the National Forest Way long distance footpath and with a little creative car shuttling managed to do it all and sleep in our own beds each night.

We’ve also learnt new skills and ways of doing things. We might not have met together physically as a family for Christmas but we did secret Santa on zoom with my brothers and sisters, their partners and assorted nieces and nephews all together in a way that would never have happened before.

That may sound a bit like one of those bragging round robin letters that arrive in Christmas cards but my aim is to illustrate that if you look a little deeper 2020 wasn’t quite the disaster everyone seems to say it was. Good things and bad things will have happened to us all but this is the same every year. Your impression of the past will depend on which things you focus on.

Okay so this is meant to be a (non) run report and one thing I have learnt about running is it is much better to look forward than backwards! So let’s consider what the future may hold. I am sure that at some point this year parkrun will restart and once the vaccination programme clicks in with a few tweaks will be physically very similar to what it was before covid19. So what will have changed? Well remove something that you take for granted and you learn to appreciate it more. Religion has always recognised this, hence the fasting involved in Ramadan and the giving up of a favourite food for Lent. So what have I learned about missing parkrun? Well to be honest, my main reason for doing parkrun is the free running vests, I am now well behind schedule for my 500, and with the ending of New Year doubles and Christmas being on a Saturday next year, I’m going to have to re-engage with the “joy” of dragging myself out of bed for 9:00am every Saturday morning, come rain or shine to make sure I get there before I “run out of road.” People always seem impressed with the self-discipline required to be there every Saturday but I have found it takes much more self-discipline when there is no external event to attend. It has taken me several months to rebuild a routine that means I get out regularly and that has meant finding and creating my own set of activities. It is amazing how many people you bump into if you happen to be running around Hicks lodge at 10:30 on a Wednesday or the Woodland Park early on a Saturday morning. I have also persuade one of my colleagues to be a running buddy every Sunday morning and she very kindly runs at my pace and this allows her to let off steam about work! Finally I am “lucky” enough to have a family who have grown up with parkrun, want to get out and run but feel the need to have someone with them.

Well it isn’t all about me, what about everyone else? I am sure many of you have had similar experiences and will be finding ways to build on these through the winter and into the spring. I think everyone who gets out to run or walk (I don’t believe in jogging; it is just running slower than some people and faster than others) do so for some health benefit (either physical or mental or both) and or enjoyment. Now I except the first 2km of any run feels like hell and the only pleasure is like that you get from banging your head against a wall; it’s nice when it stops, but once you’ve got what I call my running breath and you are in the rhythm there is a certain kind of simplicity that reduces all the complications of life down to the simple need to put one foot in front of the other and repeat. Like drumming and dancing rhythmic exercise produces endorphins and we have all experienced that buzz you have for the next few hours after a run and a hot shower.

So remember why you joined parkrun, make a resolution (that you can keep) to get out and run/walk more. It is not about going faster or further (unless you want it to be) there is no failure but each time you leave the house is a success. Be thankful for what you have: health, family, friends, lovely countryside, in fact anything that makes you feel good, just embrace life itself. Think about someone you know who perhaps just started to do parkrun and lost momentum during lockdown, like my running buddy, see if you can persuade them to come out with you even if that means going at a slower pace or for a shorter distance than you might normally do it might just be the incentive they need. Finally remember we will all meet together again soon and as absence makes the heart grow fonder I am sure we will all appreciate even more the joys and benefits of parkrun when we do. Happy New Year.

Joe Kirkland


Kev Clarke’s best prize of all – write a non-run run report

Christmas non-run run report No.2  - December 25, 2020

As traditional as night follows day, and that my good lady will swear at top of a trail run hill, Conkers parkrun is written in stone in many people’s diaries.

Normal routine for parkrun day. Up early to walk the dog, back for a coffee before leaving the house at 8.30 for the drive to Conkers.

Helens tradition is not to get out the car before 8.45 despite me running past the car numerous times in my warm up jog to try and encourage her to open the door.

Today Mark Nugent was waiting for me to wish me festive good wishes and hand over a prize for last weeks report quiz that I got correct. Part of the prize was to write this report and so that is the reason for my wafflings.

Camera ready I managed to get a few snaps, but today was about wishing good wishes to everyone we met and festive greeting were received back with thanks.

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The girls and Andy go for the one bent leg model's pose, while the blokes (apart from Andy) go for the line up for the free kick wall approach with varying braveness.

As we walked across the empty Waterside car park we could hear a gathering of people at the old start / finish area so I put on my non-parkrun directors Bah Humbug hat on came up with the best way to disperse the gathering masses.

Without thinking, I stood on the Roger Cobb wall and shouted 3-2-1 gooooooooo.  The startled group of runners had not heard that call since March and spontaneously started running.

It was like the good old days and hopefully won’t be many months before we see them again.

The Conkers circuit was lovely today …cold but lovely. Fancy dress was evident all around the course and as mentioned earlier the seasons greeting were exchanged by runners and dog walkers alike.

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Oh dear!! Dennis washed his nice white socks in the same wash as his Santa outfit.

There was a lovely touch when we finished when Lisa Wright was presented with a memorial to Bertie, her much loved Budgie who she sadly lost this year. Today will always be remembered for the Bertie the Budgie memorial trophy day. Although I doubt Lisa will ever give the memorial away.

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Poor Lisa was confused, not only was she trying to feed the wooden model of Bertie, she was trying to put the cake at the wrong end.

Andy Orme was handing out festive cake with his two-metre long arms as his beard continues to look more Santa like every time I see him.

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Andy claiming that the cake was home-made, unsuccessfully attempts to hide the evidence to the contrary under his arm..

We gathered for a social distanced photo in the car park before departing not to our cafes and Wetherspoons (other pubs used to be available) but to the warmth of our homes for breakfasts and presents.  (Roger put the photo in the wrong place higher up and is refusing to move it!!!).

Wishing you all a great Christmas and New Year.

Your stand in non-run director at your Christmas Day non- parkrun.

Kev Clarke x


A Christmas day non-parkrun ode to us all.

Conkers parkrun Christmas non-run Run Report - December 25, 2020

By Sophie-Anne Pickett your non-run run report writer extraordinaire and her Mummy Sally-Anne Rigby-Eyre (I think she should become a volunteer).

If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we runners are a resilient bunch, we have a real sense of community that have pulled together more than ever this year. It’s been a difficult year for many reasons, we have dealt with working from home, home schooling, self-isolation, shielding, catching that nasty virus and we have lost loved ones. Our Christmas morning parkrun will be very different from last year. We won’t be congregating in our hundreds, welcoming our partners from Rosliston, tourists from near and far and celebrating PBs with mince pies. We will however walk or run together in spirit in our best festive attire.

My Mum wrote us a little poem, a poem for all of the parkrunners and a dedication to those that are no longer with us. I hope you like it.

‘Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the parks

There wasn’t a sound of singing or of harps.


And all of the runners

Lay cosy in bed.

Dreaming of run shoes

In orange, blue or red.


Then suddenly a stamping of feet

Caused such a clatter.

Woke runners one and all

Rushing to see what is the matter.


And there of the tracks,

The parks and the roads.

Come angels of runners

Pulling Santa's Christmas loads.


And the runners not forgotten

With reindeer and sleigh.

Showed runners virtual parkrun

Still happened on Christmas day.


We here at Conkers are one big running family.

And as a family we share,

Love and blessings for Christmas,

And throughout the new year.


Merry Christmas you lovely lot!

Sophie-Anne and Sally-Anne xxx


Should I go out clubbing??

Conkers parkrun non-run run report - December 19, 2020

Most of the time, I go out running on my own.

It may be just 5K at lunchtime, whilst working from home during these strange times.

Other days, I venture out and feel like going a bit further, perhaps 10K or on the (very) odd occasion 13M.

There are plenty of pros and cons.

Pros - run at your own pace, choose a route that you like and also stop whenever you like. Even if you have to walk a bit - nobody will ever know!

Cons - running on your own can be a bit lonely, and just sometimes I would like to run with somebody else. Nobody in particular just somebody, anybody in fact!

This year has been a struggle for obvious reasons.

So every now and again, I think perhaps I should join a club.

Joining a club - oh that sounds very formal.

Surely that means you have to:

  • Be a ‘runner’

  • Be able to run fast

  • Be able to cover a set distance in a certain time

  • Be of a certain age

  • Attend regular sessions, train, record all your activities, not eat too much, stay off the booze, etc.

Well that is the problem.

I am not a ‘runner’. I am sometimes slow, often turn back If I am feeling tired or not in the mood. I am getting on a bit and I only run when I get time.

(Unless I am training for an event, usually a Half Marathon, as this seems to be my chosen distance. Far enough to test the stamina but not too far to finish me off - hopefully!)

So which club shall I join:

Charnwood Athletic Club - that sounds very posh and a tad sporty. I have no idea where it is, I suppose I could Google it. But hang on - there is a chap at Conkers who regularly finishes in 18 mins’ish. Oh no - that is way out of my league (despite the fact that he is a similar age to me).

Ivanhoe Runners - that sounds a bit better, not too sporty, but again I haven’t got a clue where they are based. OK, everyone knows that it is in Ashby.

Vegan Runners - Nah, that's not going to work. I like my bacon butties and Sunday Roast far too much. In fact I am already salivating at the thought of Turkey on Christmas Day.

South Derbyshire Road Runners (SDRR) - Hmmm I don’t live in South Derbyshire and I sometimes run off road. But hang on there are quite a few of them, easily spotted by their yellow vests. Not sure a vest is appropriate for someone of my age.

Swad Joggers - This ever growing group of friendly people can be seen all over Swadlincote in their orange tops.

Overseal Running Club (ORC) - I do have a work colleague who is in this club. But again I don’t live in Overseal!

Hatton Darts - that conjures up an image of sprinters and the faster folk. I couldn’t possibly associate with this group.

So as you can see, there are many options, but which club shall I join?

Wait a minute, what am I doing?

Silly me - I am already in a club, The biggest running club in the world - parkrun.

My home venue is Conkers parkrun.

It’s a weekly event, I can turn up whenever I want. I can run fast, jog slowly and even walk if I want too (not that I ever do).

There are no membership forms, no subscriptions, no vests, etc.

Most weeks the turnout is 500+, sometimes almost 1000!

So I am already in a club - the parkrun club. Brilliant.

And the best bit, is that I can run with whoever I like, without having to ask them!

Oh - I do miss parkrun.

I can’t wait for it to start again.


PS - There is a prize if you can guess who I am? Just forward your answers to Roger (and the answer isn't Roger) :-)


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