‘Thank you parkrun’!

Conkers non-run run report   -   November 21, 2020

I volunteered to write this week’s Non parkrun run report then realised that I’d forgotten the format and the basic rules. Roger kindly reminded me that almost anything goes, just write what you like...so here we go.

A mostly serious and somewhat light hearted review of my parkrun story to date.

Now I know that some of you have already switched off, but please read on, the best bits are at the end. Trust me!

Almost 5 years to the day, I attended my first parkrun. My daughter Laura was just starting her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. After much deliberation and a bit of pointing in the right direction she chose parkrun as her activity. It was local, free to enter - a ‘no brainer’ (Naively I’d assumed my wife was going to take Laura to parkrun. How wrong could I be?).

It was a cold, wet and windy December day in 2015 when we both turned up at Darley Park. 2 laps of the park, including a long slow climb and a muddy off road section.

It was definitely a shock for both of us! For me especially; at that time I only ran for 2 reasons.

1) to get to the bar, or 2) to get to the boys room.

The following week my daughter was still nursing blisters, so I had 2 choices. To stay in bed or go to parkrun.

Obviously being on ‘dad duty’ I had to do the right thing and lead by example. Off I went again, the weather was even worse than the week before. Bizarrely I enjoyed the parkrun, proud to record a PB. Yay!

Over the weeks, months and years that followed, my daughter Laura finished the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme - Bronze, Silver & Gold. parkrun was at the centre of the activity and volunteering sections.

At the same time my son Steven had also completed his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award with parkrun playing a large part.

Darley parkrun had stopped due to damage to the park and grounds.

Eventually Markeaton became the new venue. However by this time Conkers parkrun had become our home venue.

Steven was the sportier of the two siblings. To my delight he actually finished 1st at Conkers with a time of 17.54 or thereabouts, despite being in the JM11 -14 age group. Sadly once he had proved his point, he decided that parkrun was ‘not for him’.

Like most teenagers, Laura started a Saturday job, her parkrun days were over too.

Anyway enough about the kids!

I was hooked. I kept on parkrunning every week, improving health and fitness and thus my times.

Soon parkrun was not enough, so I signed up for my first Half Marathon (Derby 2018). The challenge was set, the sense of achievement very satisfying.

The running challenges continued over the following years. Family holidays, weekends away - all involved parkrun, half marathons, etc.

For Christmas 2018 - I gave my wife a parkrun barcode of course. (What else could you give the lady who has everything?). She was not amused, the barcode went into ‘that underwear’ drawer, never to be seen again!

Autumn 2019 brought a new challenge, the Starlight Relay Series. Team Bonkers from Conkers?. Dennis Dickinson was our team captain. Sally and Adrienne Collard and myself completing the line-up. Running in the dark was a new experience but together we had some fun.

Fast forward to 2020. I set out to achieve great things. A long list of running objectives. Of course parkrun was at the centre of the list.

250 T-shirt (213 and still waiting)

100 Volunteers (83 and still waiting)

UK parkrun Tourist Club member - 20 different venues (I achieved this a week before Lockdown 1 - Hooray!)

1st in my age group (finally recorded this at Sutton Coldfield parkrun)

Inaugural parkrun (completed at Beacon parkrun)

In March our team got together again to take part in the Burghley 7M Race. It was a super event followed by Brunch at the Wetherspoons in Stamford.

 Image may contain: 6 people, including Mark Nugent, Dennis Dickinson and Adrienne Jane, people standing, outdoor and nature

(left - right. Me, Sally, Dennis, Adrienne and two team guests - Teresa & Roger)


2 weeks later somebody pressed the PAUSE button and Lockdown 1 started.

Image may contain: Mark Nugent, close-up and indoor

Lockdown Hair!

I carried on running 5k on Saturday mornings, determined to stay fit and healthy.

However I didn’t realise that people were continuing to run, as part of the non-parkrun run format. I missed 5-6 weeks but soon joined in the non- parkrun running fun.

Image may contain: Mark Nugent, standing, text that says "Bennetts m"

I was surprised to receive a Virtual Pink T-shirt (not quite my colour) after 12 runs and thrilled to receive my Virtual Medal after 26 runs. That bling slowed me down a bit!

More recently I discovered that the none parkrun-run briefs and the non- parkrun run reports have continued through the lockdown and summer. I spent a few hours musing through the videos, reports and keeping abreast of the Conkers community and the various activities.

Thank you! To Roger, Nic and the Conkers Core Team for everything you have done for the community to date.

Thank you! To everyone that has written a non-parkrun run report.

Thank you! To Lyndsey for the fancy dress photos.

The day the girls went as Roger was really funny. That made me chuckle.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, outdoor and nature

Today I returned to Conkers for the first time since March after Dennis asked me to run with him (socially distanced of course). We ran the new route and met lots of regulars on the way.

It was the perfect opportunity to say a very big ‘Thank You’ to Dennis for starting and maintaining the Non-parkrun none results thingy wotsit; keeping us all on track and motivated to carry on running. His personal contribution to the community, and to the physical health and mental wellbeing of us all is really appreciated and highly commendable. Great job Dennis!

For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow

For he's a jolly good fellow (pause), and so say all of us

And so say all of us, and so say all of us

For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow

For he's a jolly good fellow (pause), and so say all of us!

Image may contain: plant, bridge and outdoor

With the news of a vaccine it appears that there is light at the end of the Conkers tunnel - see you at the other end!

Keep on running and stay safe.

Mark Nugent