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) :-)



I’m dreaming of a RED Christmas

parkrun Non-Run Run   -    Report 12 December 2020

Have you ever found yourself in the position of not being able to comfortably complete a 5K any more? Yeah, that was me this year.  To be honest, the last couple of years have been pretty crappy for me from a running perspective.  Injury, illness,  dark nights and damp days sapping my motivation  seem to all have come hot on the heels of one another.  The longer it went on, the harder I found it until I'd gotten to the point where even completing 5k was a challenge. So there I was at the start of lockdown really at a loss how to get back to running.

First of all, I decided just to man-up and get on with it and determined to get in 3 x 5k every week even if there was a lot of walking in there.  But of course you know how it is; you don't feel like a "real" runner if you take walk breaks so I battered my poor body trying to make it do stuff it so didn't want to.  Eventually my rheumatoid arthritis flared up to the point where I just couldn't run.  So I had to have a re-think.

In the course of a conversation with a running friend, I was bemoaning the fact that I could no longer turn out the miles and that everything just felt sooooo hard.  RF suggested that I rein it back and run much shorter distances (maybe as low as a mile) at much easier paces until I got to the point where it was starting to feel better.  Again, my "real" runner brain felt that this was a cop out and that I wouldn't get any sense of achievement from that.

Then I had my brainwave.

I decided to run EVERY DAY.

One mile.

Every Day.

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Mo lowers her binoculars to her eyes to see how far one mile is. Unfortunately, she appears to have left them at home.


I had never run more than three consecutive days in my life before and I thought it would be impossible for me, but no.  My goal was to do just one week of running a mile a day.  It had been so long since I'd hit any kind of running goal so that when I managed this, I was Over The Moon.  Next challenge was to see if I could run every day in a month: yep, I managed RED (Run Every Day) September!  I was about to give up at this point but by now it had become addictive and with October coming up I decided to christen it Hunt for RED October and cracked on through that month too.  In actual fact the only thing that stopped my RED streak was being laid low by a virus during November (not stupid COVID, another stupid virus).  At the point at which I stopped I had managed 77 days continuously running a mile!


I found that hitting a goal like this really invigorated my love for running and I started to add on little 10 minute speed or hill sessions.  My pace started to pick up and I was able to run 5K non-stop without too much trouble.


The lesson here for me is that there is more than one way to develop your running and we're not all capable of knocking out a marathon before breakfast.  The important thing for me was having a goal and achieving that goal.  I can heartily recommend it.


So as I head into 2021, my first goal is to get to 100 continuous days and I've now started back post-virus.  Listen out for the yell of delight when I make it (I typed "if" there at first) some time in early March.

Happy running - however you manage it!





I’ll just help out a couple of times, that’s all I thought I would do…

Conkers parkrun non-run run report  -  December 5, 2020

Where to start...

Running friends had mentioned parkrun and 'Conkers' but I had no idea what it was all about, then one day one of them shared a Facebook post calling out for volunteers way back in December 2016.

I figured I could help out, once or twice maybe so I replied, next thing I know I have a message from a bloke called Roger asking if I could sign up through parkrun to make it simpler for the volunteer coordinator. I almost didn't, because I didn't think I would be doing it very often, ninety-five park runs later...

Not being a runner, I felt like a real fish out of water surrounded by all these runny people, and even the not so runny. The idea of me encouraging them; “how on earth could I encourage them”?

Gradually I got the knack of egging people on towards the finish, it took many, many Saturdays before I stopped feeling a bit silly doing it though, especially for the fast runners. These days I will shout encouragement at pretty much anyone!

I remember not wanting to marshal until I'd tail-walked because I didn't know the course, and no, running the course to learn it was not an option!  It took a few weeks before I managed to get a slot but eventually I did and I've spent most of my Saturday mornings out on the course since.

I never dreamt that a one-off volunteering session would become such a regular part of my life, heck it has even managed to get a slot on my C.V. along with Leicestershire Search and Rescue, which I am equally passionate about.

I remember two occasions when I'd had truly awful things take place in the week, and I really did not want to face hundreds of people first thing on a Saturday.  But letting everyone down at the last minute is not something I could do lightly so I dragged myself in and felt better for it. The runners calling out 'morning marshal' as I walked to my marshal point and the thank you's once underway all helped, more than any of you could ever imagine - thank you.

I remember being surrounded by Santa's and scary ghosts and ghouls, being given a chocolate carrot at Easter, a T-Rex sharing a tub of mince pies last Christmas and a little boy giving me a daisy at Bridge Turn.  I love complimenting outfits and telling youngsters that they are just amazing as they square up to Cheeky Hill.  I have had the pleasure of watching deer, and buzzards on the hunt, and hundreds of good mornings, all while on my first coffee of the day.

When I was out of action last year after an operation on my knee. I couldn't get to Conkers and I was soon going stir crazy. I could see Jen and Roger asking for volunteers and I couldn't step up, hopping does not really count!  Then the relief when my physio gave me the nod to stand around with a stopwatch, as long as I was careful. Jen put a call out for me this time, volunteer in need of a chauffeur!! Two lovely ladies stepped up and I was back where I started, time keeping with Tony Stone, except I was propped up against a tree out of the flow of runners now.

My goodness our numbers have grown from when I first held a stopwatch!

Now we are all coping with a very unusual year, all in our own ways; some are key workers who haven't stopped, others have been furloughed or have had to work from their dining table, some sadly we have lost but not forgotten.  I know I am looking forward to parkrun easing back in to being part of my weekend routine again. Until then I will settle for spotting runners in Conkers shirts when I am out and about, and I might take a wander round the course this weekend.  Take care everyone, I'm rubbish with names but I really do miss you guys!

Lisa x


The beginning but not the end 

Conkers parkrun non-run run report   -   November 28th, 2020

Everybody's parkrun story starts somewhere. Mine was 4th August 2012, when I was going through a rubbish time in my life. I had just given up alcohol and gambling which had given me so many problems in my life, and eight years later I've stuck to it and will never start again.

I was feeling a bit lost and wondering what to do with my life, I was never really a runner, I was a bit tubby but still liked a run around the block now and then. Well a neighbour asked me if I had heard of Conkers parkrun a free weekly run at 9am every week. So I decided to give it a go, thinking I would probably do it once and never again! So on that sunny Saturday morning I ran it, I hadn't a clue where the course was going and managed to run up a hill called ‘Cheeky’ and down a lovely stretch along a canal supported along the way by Conkers Marshall's. As I ran down the hill and under the bridge, I was tired but pleased with myself, as I came 30th out of 198 runners.

In the early days of Conkers when we went off and ran seven parkruns in one day to celebrate the longest day - probably around  June 2012 or 13.

Afterwards I picked up my finishing token without being quite sure what to do with it until I was told to get it scanned. Someone then told me there was a cafe at the Waterside Centre and I fancied a coffee. I went in nervously as I didn't know anyone, and sat outside in the car park, until I don't know who it was, said I should go inside and meet people, I am really glad that person told me that. I went in and I slightly knew Lisa Wright, she introduced me to other people and I was hooked. Over the coming weeks, I became a regular and met some fantastic people who I now consider life-long friends. Sadly one of those Ray Mortlock passed away this week, he was a true gent and it was a privilege to call him a friend; my condolences go out to his wife Julie. I wouldn't have met them without parkrun.

Image may contain: 8 people, including Sally Jeyes, Roger Cobb, Andy Orme and Ian Archer, people standing, outdoor and nature

How things have changed are Conkers since my first parkrun in 2012 - There are now many more  with 250* to their name.

I was chuffed to bits when the core team knew my name after a few weeks and now have so many memories of fancy dress runs, my first TR24 parkrun when we thought 416 was a big attendance. Other special days were Christmas day parkruns in a Santa suit with mince pies with mate's after and the New Year’s Day double run. I never used to get up before noon!! St Patrick's Day we reversed the course with everyone in green, and one of the highlights the Halloween parkrun with all the scary and wonderful outfits’ .There are so many great and happy memories to write down really.

Leading the volunteers back one Conkers parkrun some time ago.

Was thinking about parkrun the other day and what it meant to me. I love the run every week even though my PB days have long gone; it even made me join a local running club


I might have mentioned to people in passing about what I really love about parkrun, it is the people; it just brightens up my life. It's the social side sitting in the café afterwards and chatting to my mates about who went off too quick and blew up after a mile, who got a PB and celebrating someone's personal achievement, whether it be a milestone run or a birthday with cake to eat. In fact, I look forward to the café more than the run some weeks!

One of the first pacing events at Conkers - who can name all six?

So, that was my parkrun beginning. I'm so glad that person made me go into the café, thank you whoever you are, I owe you.


parkrun will start again, don't know when it will be, but we will laugh again on the start line and will share cake and chat in the café afterwards, it certainly isn't the end of parkrun


See you all soon

Andy x


‘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.

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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!

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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



The new normal 8 months on  

Conkers parkrun non run report  -  November 14, 2020

Can you quite believe that it’s been 8 months since we all gathered in our numbers under the canopy of trees nattering away over the dogs that barked excitedly waiting for that precious sound of THREE, TWO, ONE?!

A lot has changed over the past 8 months, we left parkrun at the turn of winter through to spring and now we’re heading back into winter, our personal lives have changed, the way we work has changed, the way in which we socialise has changed and the way in which we take part in parkrunday (previously known as Saturday) has changed but one thing that has stayed the same and will never change is our Conkers parkrun community, the support and love this family has for one another has been a lifeline for many during these past 8 months and I am sure it will continue to do so.

So let’s take a look at how our parkrunday (previously known as Saturday) look like today. We may not gather in our numbers together but we certainly still turn out in our numbers, either for a solo 5k or for a 5k with one other person. We don’t all run at 9am anymore, some of us don’t even make it out until gone evening time but whatever time and whatever place we lace up our running shoes, pull on our favourite parkrun tee and head out for our 5k parkrun. Our routes have certainly changed, some of us run at Conkers, frontwards, backwards, new route, old route and some of us choose a 5k route from our doorstep, and others like to tour local areas and find different routes every week, although I haven’t seen any isolation garden parkruns on Strava for a while. I really believe that Conkers parkrun updates, run briefs and run reports has kept our spirits high and our motivation strong.

My parkrun day went a little bit like this… I woke up around 7:30ish, made myself two crumpets and a coffee and went back to bed for a little while watching tiktoks. About 9:45 I laced up my pink Nikes, pulled on my Conkers parkruns apricot tee (these are available to purchase from the parkrun website and can be personalised with your local parkrun name) I selected my running playlist and off I went! I regretted wearing a base layer as soon as I got going, always dress for the 2nd mile not the 1st! My parkrun route is a fairly flat course with just a couple of uphill sections, I start off on Brunel way and I head down to Swadlincote lane before hitting Hearthcote road, uphill to end is the first Eugh hill but it’s over quickly, kind of like cheeky hill but without the friendly marshals. Then you hit the Sainsburys shuffle segment, this segment is about a mile long and is ever so slightly downhill which is great if you’re looking for a 1 mile PB but I must warn you running past the rainbow waste centre can be very unpleasant, it stinks and its hot and if its windy you’re likely to get a mouthful of crap! My advice… run quick! After the Sainsburys shuffle you’re nearly there, just up Cadley Hill road and back onto Swadlincote lane and Brunel way and boom! 5k done already! My time this week was 30:15.  What I love about this route is that you are almost always guaranteed to bump into another runner, I love giving a friendly wave or a nod to a fellow runner, it always gives me a boost to keep on going and I hope it does the same for them. So if you fancy giving a different 5k route a go for your non parkrun I’d give this fairly fast and flat course a go, hopefully you’ll like it.

So you lovely lot, until we meet again under the canopy of trees at Conkers I wish you all happy running. I am really hopeful that early next spring we’ll be there again in our numbers, doing what we love to do.

Sophie-Anne xx

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