Like a well-oiled machine

Conkers parkrun No. 454  -  October 12, 2019

The last time I visited Conkers was with two excited 6 and 9 year olds who are now 18 and 21 and tower over me.

As a parkrun Tourist, based in Redditch (Arrow Valley) Conkers has long been on my “to-do” list as I’d heard what a lovely friendly run it is. It seems that 49 others also had this on their list, as that’s how many first timers there were today!

We were blessed with a perfect weather window in what has been a very wet week.

I was welcomed into the fold by Roger, Run Director today, and everything was buzzing along nicely by 8.35. Then, a brief panic when a batch of tokens decided to jump out of the hands of their carer and scatter themselves all over the floor. All hands on deck as Charlotte took charge and everything was back on track, phew! After that, it was plain sailing, the event having the feel that it has done this 453 times before.

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Oops!! These things happen. Plenty of time to get them on the table for for the team to work together for sort and back onto the holder.

First Timers Briefing was expertly delivered by Kathryn and she reassured the 21 first timers that everyone was really friendly there and they had nothing to worry about.

Everyone knew what they were doing, bespoke signs scattered the course to guide people into the right place at the start and along the course and the event seemed to run with ease.

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The funnel team ready for action; a great job about to be done.

Some special mentions amongst the 524 runners and walkers today:

James Cobb ran his 390th parkrun today, the events parkrun veteran

Richard Miller and Lisa Wright ran their 299th , an arbitrary milestone approaches

Claire Smithard, Steven Walters, Nigel Davison, Katie Dennison’s ran their 99th so there could be

quite a few celebrations next week

Rebecca Wilkinson, Rob Twivey and Sadie Owen celebrated their 50th milestones, huge congratulations!

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Rebecca Wilkinson all ballooned and smiley for her 50th parkrun. x

Sally Jeyes had the highest age grade of 83.50%, wow!

Morgan Fletcher a Junior under 10 achieved his PB in 22.41, awesome young man!!

Ivanhoe Runners were the best-represented club with 32 running today.

It was lovely to talk to so many people as I scanned their barcodes, so much effort and personal achievement, I love hearing everyone’s story each week.

Today's first three lady finishers being expertly organised by young Eloise.

Well done and thank you to all of our volunteers today (it was my arbitrary 24th volunteer event cheeky humble brag), please volunteer when you can, it’s a great way to get to meet people and it feels great too!

Amy STORER • Andrea BEATY • Brian RUNAGLE • Charlotte CARR • Charlotte WRIGHT • David ASHMORE • Dawn STORER • Dennis DICKINSON • Dyanne SARGEANT • Gregg MAYLES • Harry PHIPPS • Helen PEACH • Jennifer CROSS • Joanne COLEMAN • Kathryn BRAY • Katie DENNIS • Leon SPENCE • Lisa WILLIAMS • Lorraine SHIPLEY • Mae STENSON • Mark NUGENT • Mindy ASHTON • Naomi EARL • Nigel PALING • Ollie THURBON • Robert DILWORTH • Robin THORNE • Roger COBB • Sally COLLARD • Samantha PHIPPS • Sarahjane JONES • Sharon FOX • Sophia ASHMORE • Susan MAYLES • Tony STONE • Yvonne FELTHOUSE

I hope to visit again soon, thank you for having me Conkers :-)


ps. Sometimes the event technology let's us down. This morning the event laptop had to be gently coaxed from its unresponsive mood.

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Roger keeping the hammer in his left hand and out of view prior to waking the laptop.


Birthdays and milestones

Conkers parkrun No. 453 Run Report  - October 5, 2019

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday dear parkrun….

Happy Birthday to you!

This week marked 15 years since the inaugural Bushy Park time trial event. The philosophy inspired by parkrun founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE, was to build a “playground” for the community to take part in a timed run, free of charge and free from the rules and regulations of running clubs and races. Thirteen runners attended the event on  2nd October 2004 and parkrun was born. Today, parkrun is the largest running event on the planet with 664 events.

No photo description available.

A few birthday messages from Conkers parkrun.


648 people came to Conkers this week to walk and run the course in celebration of parkrun’s 15th birthday. For 86 participants, it was especially memorable in that they managed to achieve a personal best. For a few, including myself, the event held something extra special in that it marked a personal milestone.

Reaching 250 parkruns represents an incredible achievement and a commitment to regular exercise over almost 5 years. Three of those making up the field this week achieved this amazing feat- Pauline Cooper, Stephen Lee and John Potter. I am never more grateful to see a marshall than the second time, I pass the marshal point at “Stephen’s Gate”. For me, it means that I am “over the hump”, past the half way point (2/3 in, no less). I have long pondered the origins of the name of the marshal point known as “Stephen’s Gate”. This week, I learned that it was named after Stephen Lee who ran in the first ever parkrun at Conkers and frequently manned the marshal point in the early days. Thank you Stephen!

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John Potter all decked out in his Roman numerals- very original

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Yes it was his gate!! The gate has long gone but Stephen is still going.

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For some, the celebration party started early... well done Pauline.

Other milestones achieved this week were:

150- Adam Furner, Tony Wardle

100- Richard Trevelyan, Gary White

50- Kathryn Bray, Amanda McDowall (who also achieved a PB), Maureen Roberts, Monica Bullock, Louie Plant, Alison Allford

10- Ellis Charles

As mentioned above, I reached my 50 milestone this week. 48 of those have been run at Conkers. parkrun has become an incredibly important part of my weekly routine since my first run at Conkers on 14th April 2018. A few months earlier, I had embarked on a somewhat accidental journey to fitness, joining a Couch 2 5K programme through work that cumulated in running the parkrun. Quite simply, parkrun has changed my life for the better. I have made some amazing friends, am 6 stone lighter and have shaved over 12 minutes off my personal best time. When I don’t run at parkrun, I volunteer. What I love most about parkrun is the amazing sense of community. At parkrun everyone is welcomed. It is inclusive and friendly. This was remarked upon by my non parkrun family and friends who turned up to cheer me over the line to celebrate my 50th. I n the words of Rose Kennedy the mother of John F Kennedy: “Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments”. parkrun has certainly given me plenty of moments since I first became involved in it.

Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE must be feeling very proud of what he has created 15 years on as I and countless others feel proud to be a part of it each week. There is no better way to be involved in it than to volunteer, so I would like to give a big shout out to the 39 volunteers who made the event possible this week:

James COBB • Laura GRAVES • Christopher John MASON • Laurence KINGSCOTT • Madeleine PICKERING • Richard MILLER • Jennifer CROSS • Gayle WRIGHT • Pauline COOPER • Colin SHARP • Mary SHARP • Yvonne FELTHOUSE • James JACK • Ollie THURBON • Keith BARON • Dyanne SARGEANT • Kathryn BRAY • Robin THORNE • Rebecca MOULT • Amy BROOKES • Harry PHIPPS • David ASHMORE • Nicola TREWIN • Chris TREWIN • Elliot WOOLLEY • Ellie EVANS • Chris GAIR • Sophie GAIR • Charlotte READ • Bria CALVERT • Sophia ASHMORE • Monica BULLOCK • Sarahjane JONES • Naomi EARL • Richard SMITH • Lorraine RICKARDS • Fraser CRICHTON • Joanne COLEMAN • Mandy BLANEY

Kathryn x

Note from Roger: This is run report writer Kathryn, I think it is a great photo capturing Conkers parkrun so have sneaked it in.

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Christmas 2019 & New Year 2020

As is always our tradition, we will be open for a Christmas Day parkrun at 9:00am. It is a fabulous start to the Christmas Day celebrations for families. Each year we have lots of children join us making for a fantastic atmosphere. We must also be aware that for some (and I hope not), it might be the only time they get to speak someone on that day.

We hope to have parking arrangements sorted out soon as we did last year.

On New Years Day we will also be open for a 9:00am parkrun, which will allow time for those who want to, to do the 'New Year Double'', after Conkers taking in another parkrun at one of our neighbouring parkruns like Rosliston or Markeaton.

More news as we get closer to the date, but if you want to volunteer on either of those days, it is not too soon to put your name down.



The Joy of Birthdays

Conkers parkrun Event number 452   -   28th September 2019

A question for you regular parkrunners: have you realised yet how great it is to

have a birthday now that you’re a parkrunner? When you were a normal person, getting

older was frankly nothing to celebrate and milestone birthdays were generally

dreaded. Now that you are a parkrunner, parkrun rewards you every 5 years by moving

you into a higher age category where, as one of the youngest in that category, you

stand a chance of smashing your older rivals’ times. Not only that but parkrun

gives you the added bonus of an improved WAVA “score”.


WAVA apparently used to stand for “World Association of Veteran Athletes” with

“veteran” meaning 35 and over (It’s now called “World Masters Athletics” by the

way). Essentially your WAVA or Age Graded Score shows how you are

performing taking your age and gender into account.

This week’s WAVAs are interesting:

Highest was Rich Miller (83.44%) – 3rd man

Next was Judith Brand (78.40%) – 3 th woman

Then Mark Harriott (78.18%) – 8th man

Then Chris Baxter (77.6%) – number one

And Lucy McDermott (74.75%) – 2nd woman

This means that the very best that Conkers had to offer this week is a lovely mix of

age groups and of genders. So the next time you are disappointed with your time,

don’t look at it in isolation; consider how you’re doing against your peers.

At this point I would just like to add a disclaimer – before parkrun director does –

that parkrun is NOT a competitive event. It is NOT a race. Times do not matter.

None of us would DREAM of being competitive in any way shape or form at

parkrun. EVER.

Moving on….

Delighted to see that we had 50 newcomers including 17 brand new to parkrun, this week. FIFTY, It comes to something when we have to start considering using the megaphone in order to brief  all the newcomers. I do hope every single one of them enjoyed it and that every single one of them returns.

At the other end of the scale, we had a whole bunch of people reaching milestones

this week:

Guy Mitchell did his 10th parkrun in 29:07 and earned himself a PB in the process.

Celebrating 50 parkruns this week were Amy Kindon, Julie Ward-Rotherham,

Susan Manship and Gervase Lancaster.

One lone centurion this week – Steven Haywood. Last and definitely not least was Kassia Gardner celebrating her 300th run this week on her birthday and getting herself a PB present; how delightful.

Would like to mention in closing that wonderful group of ”5K Your Way”

ambassadors who were at parkrun this week to welcome anyone touched by

cancer. You’ll see them in their blue T-shirts out in force at the last parkrun of

every month. If you want to know more, go to or ask a

member of the parkrun core team who’ll be happy to help.

5K your way Ambassadors at Conkers parkrun with Lewis.

This week’s parkrun was brought to you by 38 awesome volunteers. Thank you

from all of us:

John Frederick POTTER • Janet POTTER • Nikki Aka Tigger REEVES • Robert


Jennifer CROSS • Gayle WRIGHT • Dean NILAND • Jane REYNOLDS • Nicola

BRIGGS • James JACK • Alison ALLFORD • Maureen DANVERS (little old

me)• Tony STONE • Robin THORNE • Iris STURDY • Andrea ALLEN • Clare


PEACH • Louise GUDGEON • David ASHMORE • Katie DENNIS • Christopher

ALLEN • Sophia ASHMORE • Matt CHAPMAN • Andrew BOOTH • Sarahjane

JONES • Naomi EARL • Lorraine RICKARDS • Fraser CRICHTON • Ellis


Our volunteers are always totally prepared. Matt has heard that there may be an Australian visitor.

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Andrew quite rightly takes the view that being a marshal doesn't mean you can't  still be a style icon

Happy running week, all.

Mo xx

Tis I. Next time you see me dashing round taking random pics, it will be reasonable to surmise that I am writing the run report that week. x


Anyone seen Lisa?

Conkers run report No. 451 - September 21, 2019

What a beautiful day for a parkrun…

Having decided to volunteer for the run report on Lisa’s birthday, I thought I’d make it all about Lisa Wright…..except she then decided to go to Sherwood Pines parkrun so I quickly changed my mind.

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Lisa is clearly in the doghouse for not being at Conkers when my report was going to be dedicated to her. 

It was a lovely sunny morning for our 584 runners, walkers, joggers and 36 marshals at Conkers, led by our 'Iron lady' run director, Fiona Betts. Our field included 45 first timers including 19 trying parkrun for the first time, 32 different running clubs and 80 of our runners setting new PBs. Interestingly as well, we had 45 unknowns, forgetting those pesky barcodes.

With the help of a loudspeaker, and chair Fizz (Run Director Fiona) welcomed us all and explained keeping to the right for part of the course. We applauded those achieving milestones today, these were:

50 parkruns – Leena Mistry on her first visit to Conkers.

250 parkruns – Mary Sharp (thanks for the great home-made biscuits at the end…..) I certainly was one of those parkrunners who went back for second helpings! 221 of Mary’s parkruns have been at Conkers so by my maths that’s 1,105 kilometres, 685 miles round our Conkers trails.

Also reaching 250 parkruns was Dave Hobbs, Dave has run 224 of his parkruns at Conkers, for the rest, they are mainly based around his holiday destinations. It was a double celebration for the Hobbs family as Becca was first lady back.

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Mary Sharp taking the inside corner to get back before all her lovely biscuits had gone.

On to the parkrun, this was sunny but not too hot, our discussions on the way round agreed that is was a perfect day for a parkrun.

First to finish was James Cassidy (17.11,) followed by Kristian Edwards and Rob Eaton and on to the ladies, first female Becca Hobbs (20.56) followed by Faith Tipper (22:21) and third female me! Unintentional honest.

Thanks again to all our volunteers, without who our beloved parkrun would not happen: David ASHMORE, Sophia ASHMORE, Ivy BECKITT, David BECKITT, Hannah BECKITT, Fiona BETTS, Sarah BOWEN, Kathryn BRAY, Amy BUNCE, Charlotte CARR, Sandy CHURCHWARD, Joanne COLEMAN, Jennifer CROSS, Barbara CULVER, Linda Kay DAKIN, Mat DAVIES, Stew DICKSON, Naomi EARL, Andy HAWTIN, Lyndsey HILL, David HUGHES, Anne HUGHES, Philip HUGHES, James JACK, Claire MCARTHUR, Rebecca MOULT, Mark NUGENT, Samantha PHIPPS, Harry PHIPPS, Tony STONE, Robin THORNE, Ollie THURBON, Steven WALTERS, Dave WATTS, Lisa WILLIAMS, Charlotte WRIGHT,

Final mentions, but by no means the least, our own regular Conkers run director James Cobb ran today after completing Ironman Wales last week, along with the birthday girl, Lisa Wright. Very well done to them both, we’re in absolute awe of anyone who can exercise for 14 plus hours and remain sane! Fantastic achievement.

Looking forward to next weekend already! Have a fab rest of the weekend everyone

Becky x

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