Clubs takeover day

Dunstable Downs parkrun

Event number 64

20th November 2021

Running Club takeover day.

This week an amazing 261 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 80 were first timers and 60 recorded new Personal Bests.

Thank you to Matt Styrka (who missed the event due to Covid -get well soon Matt ) for all your hard working in arranging for the following clubs to join us today: Luton Athletic Club, Wheathampstead Warriors, Leighton Buzzard AC, Leighton Fun Runners, Leighton Buzzard Triathlon Club, Gade Valley Harriers, Dunstable Lions Running Club, Shires Triers, Dunstable Road Runners, Redway Runners, Tring Running Club & Stopsley Striders. We hope you all had a fun morning and you will visit again soon - you may want to have your own personal club takeover day in the future (this can be arranged). We also appreciate all our participants who don't belong to a running club it was nice to see a few hands go up in the air. Now you have seen how friendly the running clubs are you might want to join one in the future.

A special mention to Sue Frewin who completed her 100th parkrun milestone today.

First man home was Simon Coombes in 18.03 and first lady was Sally Nash in 21.06 - well done to you both.

The event was made possible by 19 volunteers:

Keith STONESTREET • Verna BURGESS • Tam QUINN • Tracy CARDNO • Marcia QUINN • Andy EVANS • Jose HETHERINGTON • Judy EWART • Karen INMAN • Graham HOLLANDS • Trish OWEN • Angela HOLLANDS • Naomi FODDERING • Adam FODDERING • Tracey PALMER • Kay ISON • Clovissa PERRY • Adam FODDERING • Samantha CRAWLEY

We had a couple of tokens disappear this morning if you find one in your pocket can you please return it to us.

We need volunteers for coming weeks please email the event if you can help or better still sign up to receive our emails

Remember it's a run not a race (I might get it right one week)

Stay safe and enjoy the rest of your weekend. We look forward to seeing you next week.

Tracy (TC) x


Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Hi All,

Just to let you know that Dunstable Downs parkrun will not go ahead on Christmas day (enjoy your presents and Turkey) but will be running on New Year's Day at the usual time of 9 am.

All the best

The core team


Dunstable Downs parkrun #47 The one we almost had a century!

Well at least the weather wasn't bad, the wind speed was low, it was rain free, however the looming threat of Coronavirus may mean this is the last parkrun for a little while.

On a more happy note 99 red balloons (sorry, participants) ran jogged & walked the course, which was in better condition than it has been for months now. It was a little slippy & gloopy in places but the work the NT rangers had done has reduced our lake to a puddle. We are still not using Chute Wood currently & it is recovering, slowly.

This week we had 36 participants trying our course for the first time, that's almost a third.(maths is not my strong point!) Congratulations to two first timers; Tom HEMMINGWAY & Carla BROWN getting the first & second tokens respectfully. Hopefully everyone enjoyed it and we'll see them again.

We had five PB's this week so congratulations to; Jack BILLINGHAM, Oliver IRESON, Christopher IRESON, Rebecca WARD & Devendra PATEL. Stirling effort guys, hopefully you'll smash those times as the course improves.

We didn't have anyone new to parkrun this week, so I'll give a shout out to the most senior parkrunner (not by age but amount of runs) goes to John MATTHEWS with 469, almost thirteen years parkrunning.

As ever parkrun can't go ahead without the wonderful band of volunteers so a big round of applause in thanks to;

Claire THORNE, Adrian SUMMERSON, John COYLE, Lisa MITCHINSON, Claire (Harriett) HARMAN, Ted TURNER, Lynda HEMBURY, Judi FLITTON, Sheila TURNER, Shaun OCONNOR, Marcus MITCHINSON, regular, non runner Paul HEMBURY & three under 18's Isobel THORNE, Jake SUMMERSON & Natalie RENTON

EXCITING NEWS, hopefully we have encouraged three of our regular volunteers to become run directors which will reduce the stress on the current team. However we are always looking for more members to our team or volunteers to help each week, so please let us know if you can help by signing up to receive our volunteer e-mails or e-mail in to;

Happy parkrunning




Dunstable Downs parkrun #46 The One Where It Was International Women’s Day



You get all sorts at parkrun - The stretch before the start and race off at Mo Farah speed brigade, the beefy jockstrapers, The ladies (and odd chap) in bright coloured leggings and of course the often seen Middle Aged Man In Lycra (The MAMIL). Now I fall firmly in that camp after a recent birthday taking me ever closer to the big 5-0. I usually turn up, run as fast as I can, get grumpy if some youngster goes by me and once finished spend the best part of the week analysing how it had all gone, however today I decided on a different approach - I’d turn up and walk the course and actually take stock of the surroundings and take the time to thank the volunteers along the way.
In doing this today made me realise just what a treat Dunstable Downs parkrun actually is - the course is beautiful - the views across the countryside especially the church on the hill in Edlesborough, Ivinghoe Beacon and the Glider Club are a treat, it was nice to actually have some time to take it all in. Dunstable Downs is also unique for another reason as is one of very few local courses thats a single lap - I must say I prefer this sort of course instead of going round and round the same laps. Dunstable Downs is an absolute joy and one I’d highly recommend, its certainly at the top of the list of Beds parkrun for me.

Today 67 fearless runners and walkers joined in the fun - 4 Personal bests were registered with 15 first timers - Darren was first finisher in a very speedy 21:17, whilst Bryony the first lady in 24.26. There was good running from 2 youngsters in the JM 11-14 category with Henry and Josh both finishing strongly well inside the top 10! Our Top Junior Girl was Seren - well done to them all - top running!!

Finally a massive thanks to the volunteers, without them, none of us MAMIL’s, Jockstrappers, Wannabe Mo Farah’s, Spangly Leggings or Speedy Youngsters would have the opportunity to see the sights or run our own parkrun in our own time - well done to all who make it happen.


Simon - A 45+ yr old running MAMIL and parkrun fan (find me on Strava)


Dunstable Downs parkrun #45 The One Where It Was Our 1st Birthday

Or should I have called it "The One With The Cake" or "The One With The Marquee In The Way" or "The One Where We Had To Come Up With A Last Minute Plan Because The Woods Were Closed At 7:30 On Saturday Morning Because Of The Wind!"
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However it was a beautiful morning on the Downs apart from the wind and the rain! In fairness we should have cancelled but we couldn't on our birthday!

122 loonies (participants) came to run jog or walk the course, and we even had five people participating in their very first parkrun, so welcome to the fold to;
Nigel CLAYTON, Stefan BENNETT, Richard OSBORNE, Russell BENNETT & Margaret JONES, we hoped you enjoyed yourselves and this is the first of many. Unbelievably we had some PB's so congratulations to;
Paul ELLIS, Claudia SELINA, Claire THOMAS, Claire SMITH, Christine Teresa ROBERTS & Ellie SMITH.

The enforced route change took us out on to the Icknield Way, skirting round Chute Wood. I was worried that it would come up short of 5k but I checked with a few of the participants and it seemed to be just over so that was good. Despite everyone missing running etc in the woods I think we'll avoid them for now to give them time to recover

We had a couple of fallers, I saw some bloodied knees, hopefully the guys who fell are ok, no lasting injuries.

Milestones this week, we had two 50's and a would be 50, if you hadn't forgotten your barcode previously Hannah WHIFFEN! Anyway congratulations & welcome to the red tee shirt club to;

This weeks run was made possible by 16 fabulous volunteers who make DD parkrun possible so a massive thanks to;

I will end with a couple of extra thank you's;
To the people who stayed behind to help us celebrate with cake.
The National Trust team that provided such a lovely cake
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Rebecca HEMMANT-LOW for giving us a card & a bottle of wine.
And of course the faithful team which make up the core of the volunteers.




Dunstable Downs parkrun #44 The One the day before the winds got up to 71mph!


Dunstable Downs parkrun

Event number 44 - Run report, plus the view from a tourist! 8th February 2020

On a chilly, breezy, muddy and overcast spring morning, 79 people ran, jogged and walked the course. Of these, 27 were first timers to Dunstable Downs (including me!), of which 6 of these were doing their first ever parkrun. Not doing their first parkrun was Paul FREYNE with an impressive 555 parkruns in total! 12 participants recorded new Personal Bests, with representatives of 17 different clubs taking part. Well done to all involved!

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

Dunstable Downs parkrun today was my 22nd different parkrun venue. I live up in Stockport (Greater Manchester area) but was in the area visiting family this weekend, so took the opportunity to do a spot of parkrun tourism as part of a longer training run. It's amazing that although the concept of parkrun is the same wherever you go, you get so much variability between courses depending on the location. I have to say that Dunstable Downs is one of the most interesting and fun courses I've done on my travels - a proper undulating cross-country adventure with some fantastic views of the surrounding countryside, and a nice challenge too (in a good way - don't let this put you off if you're reading this trying to decide whether to come or not!).

As always, the thing that makes parkrun so great is the friendly supportive atmosphere. Please remember that parkrun is only possible because of all the amazing volunteers. If you haven't volunteered before please consider supporting your local event, especially if you're a regular participant. Thank you to the 18 people involved today:

Daniel MULLIN • Gary SIDGWICK • John COYLE • Lisa MITCHINSON • Marcus MITCHINSON • Lynda HEMBURY • Harriett (Claire) HARMAN • Paul HEMBURY • Claire THORNE • Trish OWEN • Jake SUMMERSON • Nathan MULLIN • Annabel MULLIN • Vanathy SIVAKUMAR (Who also reached her 50th parkrun milestone!)• Lucy GATFIELD • Bill CRANE • Jon DANIELS • Laura MCNULTY

Hope to see you all again soon the next time I'm down this way!

Gary Sidgwick

Davenport Runners

The female record is held by Rosie MCNABOLA who recorded a time of 19:29 on 6th July 2019 (event number 19).

The male record is held by Jamie BRYANT who recorded a time of 17:12 on 7th December 2019 (event number 39).

The Age Grade course record is held by Lynda HEMBURY who recorded 90.28% (22:07) on 31st August 2019 (event number 26).

Dunstable Downs parkrun started on 23rd February 2019. Since then 2,457 participants have completed 4,728 parkruns covering a total distance of 23,640 km, including 705 new Personal Bests. A total of 175 individuals have volunteered 688 times.


International Women’s Day 7 March 2020

Along with Sport England's "This Girl Can" campaign, parkrun will be celebrating International Women's Day on Saturday 7th March 2020.

We'd love it if you could spread the word and encourage more women to come and join us, why not bring a female friend or relative to come along for their first parkrun.

Run, jog, walk or volunteer everyone is welcome at parkrun and remember to join us for a cuppa and a chat afterwards in the National Trust cafe.

See you there!


Dunstable Downs parkrun#43 The One Where Dorothy was convinced that she & Toto were no longer in Kansas

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It was another mild but blustery day on the Downs (a slight understatement on the blustery bit!!)

64 brave parkrunners turned out to sample our course change, of which four were completely new to parkrun so welcome, Abby FLETCHER, Jeremy Roberts, Devendra PATEL & Kruti PATEL. I hope you weren't put off by our challenging course & we'll see you again soon. Remember this is no longer Saturday it's parkrunday!

We have eliminated going through the boggiest part of Chute Wood until it's dried out, so a little extra stress on me to make sure no one got lost! Fortunately all went well and we didn't lose anyone this week!

Despite the course being tougher we still had SIX pb's today so congratulations to; Nicholas TRIGG, Steven BILLINGHAM, Karina WELLS, Jack BILLINGHAM, Malcolm CROFT & Dean FENNESSEY

We also had a milestone this week with Jeremy CURTIS reaching 50. Congratulations and welcome to the 50 club

Finally I'd like to thank all the volunteers who gave up their run so you could today. So a massive thank you to; Mark SQUIRE, Sheila SQUIRE, Lisa MITCHINSON, Marcus MITCHINSON, Lynda HEMBURY, Paul HEMBURY, Claire THORNE, Kate SHEARD, Jake SUMMERSON, Naomi MEALY, Isobel THORNE, Ian KOSKY, Bill CRANE, Michael BRABENEC, Jo BAKER & Lorna CUBBAGE

If you feel at all guilty that so many of us volunteer week in week out to put on this event please e-mail in at and offer your services, even better join the team and have a go at RD ing, we really need some more permanent help, and we are nice (honestly)



Route Change

Great News; This week we've had discussions with the NT rangers and agreed a slight change in the course to prevent further damage to Chute Woods. This will be temporary until we're over the rainy season. Please make sure you attend the run briefings which start at 8:50, there will be important information regarding the change & we don't want you getting lost! See you tomorrow #DFYB


Dunstable Downs parkrun #42

In Douglas ADAMS’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy “42” was the answer to life the universe and everything. And so….

In the beginning parkrun was created.
This has made a lot of people very happy and been widely regarded as a good move.

On January the 25th 2020 atop a remote escarpment of chalk downs on an insignificant blue-green planet in the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy, an extraordinary event took place. A cluster of bright, smiling, lycra clad, carbon-based life forms converged to enjoy the 42nd Dunstable Downs parkrun.

Many had been ready to enjoy this the week before too but the meadows were wetter than a Sqornshellous swamp and so, sensibly, the event was cancelled. :-(

But, this week, the lakes had subsided to a mere "not too much standing water" and we were on!

Barcode: ✔, Trail shoes: ✔, Shorts ✔, Running top ✔, Towel ✔

Let's go...

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The hilltop setting of Dunstable Downs, with it's big sky and 2001 Space Odyssey like structures did have a Sci-Fi sort of feel to it this morning.

Mostly harmless

Dunstable Downs is a glorious location for a parkrun, even on a grey day. It has the added bonus of a cafe within arms reach of the start and finish (more on that later).

80 parkrunners arrived to enjoy the view and the elongated 5k lap along the top of the downs. Of these 4 (that we know of - because 9 finishers were barcodeless alas) were completing their first parkrun ever. Well done to Joshua FENNESSEY, Malcolm CROFT, Dean FENNESSEY and Ella PAGE-WAKE, we hope you enjoyed it and come back again soon.

There were also 37 visitors, disappointingly none were from Alpha Centuri but Solihull and Guildford were still respectable distances to travel from. Several visitors mentioned that they were "escaping" from the huge numbers now attracted to other parkuns not so far away, and enjoyed the smaller numbers on the downs. I quick bash of the calculator shows that only 29 there had actually ran Dunstable Downs before.

I was also visiting DD parkrun for the first time, at least officially. I took part in the test event but haven't made it back since. I loved it. Great location, great course, fantastic facilities and a wonderful team (and more on them later too).

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RD Marcus MITCHINSON delivered the pre-run briefing with infinite majesty and calm.

Life the universe and everything

RD Marcus MITCHINSON gathered everyone on the start line. It was a bit nippy, not really cold, but everyone was keen to be off. "Three, two, one....." For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after an instant or so, nothing continued to happen. "Did I say 'go' yet?" asked Marcus and then added "GO" quickly. And we did. Over a slightly rough downhill section, onto a short stretch of tarred path (slippy with old trail shoes!) and then looping back and onto grass and tracks for most of the remainder. It's like a really enjoyable Cross Country run. The course is very well marked and dotted with encouraging marshals. Winding through woods, meandering through sheep pastures, past a bowl of petunias (oddly) and then the mud.

Eskimos have over two hundred different words for snow, without which their conversation would probably be very monotonous. We should have the same for mud. Clag, ooze, mire, silt, sludge and muck were insufficiently descriptive. in conversation afterwards we agreed the best tactic is to go straight and go fast. Trying to pick a route invites face planting.

I really enjoyed it but it was hard work.

Not everyone was of the same opinion. I overheard: "The first 1000 metres were the worst, and the second thousand metres, they were the worst too. The third thousand metres I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline." But maybe I just imagined that!!

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The brilliant Finish Line team in action with timers Claire and Richard. Someone missed an opportunity to equip Marvin with a hi-viz jacket though.

So long and thanks for all the stats

In Douglas ADAMS' book he introduced the idea of an "improbability drive" - basically it allows you to travel at improbable speeds. We might just have seen evidence of this, as I marvel at how anyone can get round that course in less than 22 minutes.

Tom FERGUSON and Andy EAKINS (both visitors) managed to do just that. Respect. Missing out by just one second, but gaining an impressive PB along the way, was regular Dunstable Downs junior runner Joshua HAMPSON WALLACE. Well done.

The first female finishers were Lynda HEMBURY, Niki RAINE and Abi GOOCH (the latter two were both running DD for the first time). Taking good-ol’ age adjustments into account Lynda had the highest (at 86.69% - another improbable result!) followed by heroic efforts from Mark ELLINGHAM and David WALLACE. There were no official milestones completed but kudos to Linsey MAYNARD who completed her 50th different parkrun location (and her 186th run overall).

Linsey was joined by a group from Ricky Running Sisters - and it was great to see them altogether.

Colin DINWOODIE was the most runniest runner, competing his 464th event. He’s well on track for his hooloovoo coloured T-shirt when he reaches 500 later this year. Splendid.

As noted earlier only 29 had ran DD previously. Amazingly 8 of these recorded PBs. So special congratulations to Sophie POWELL, Clare KLEANTHOUS, Kate SHEARD, Joshua HAMPSON WALLACE, Simon ROBINSON, Gary DONOVAN, Ian KOSKY #73 and Richard LIPSCOMBE.


Spookily 42 was the average age of all those who took part. (And, no, I didn’t make that up).

Sadly no one finished in the 42nd minute (plenty in 41 and 43).

Special mentions go to Scot BYFORD who finish with a beautifully symmetrical time of 24:42.

Ian SHORTHOUSE, visiting from Crystal Palace, was the 42nd finisher (he’s also done 426 parkrun) and so earns a special mention.

I looked in vain for anyone called Arthur. There was no one with the surname Dent or Prefect. There were certainly no Trillians or Zarniwoops.

Well done to Linsey MAYNARD on completing her "Half Cowell" (i.e. 50th different parkrun)

The restaurant at the end of the car park

One of the things I enjoy most about parkrun is having a chat in the cafe afterwards. Dunstable Downs is blessed by having a great place to chill right alongside the finish funnel.

Sadly it's not called Milliways but "Chilterns Gateway" has the word gateway in it and so scores half a point.

It's a great spot and from its large windows you get a real sense of the changing seasons.

This morning I had to dash off early...but I'll make a point of staying after my next visit later this year.

Isobel and her "useless" assistant Paul - doing a great job on barcode scanning.

And another thing

As noted earlier only 29 of the 80 parkunners had completed a Dunstable Downs parkrun before and so it is all the more remarkable that they'd mustered just short of half that number as volunteers.

I have to say that it was an especially friendly and cheerful team (something I've heard often before about Dunstable Downs).

So a huge thank you to Lisa MITCHINSON • Marcus MITCHINSON • Harriett (Claire) HARMAN • Ken DOUGLAS • Paul HEMBURY • Chris SHEEN • Claire THORNE • Trish OWEN • Richard EVANS • Jake SUMMERSON • Michael PEMBERTON • Sylvia PEMBERTON • Isobel THORNE • Bill CRANE • Laura MCNULTY. They all have hearts of gold.

Here's a link to Dunstable Downs's future volunteer roster.

We encourage all parkrunners to volunteer a few times a year. If you can help on any future date, or would like to find out more about our volunteer and helper roles, please email us at Several of Dunstable's helpers have never completed a parkrun (or plan to do one!) they just enjoy and get a lot from the experience. Perhaps you know someone who'd get something from helping. Again email if so.

Thanks to everyone - parkrunners and volunteers alike - for another great parkrun morning

Ken Douglas

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