Ellon parkrun # 15 – 27/02/2016

The run

This week there were 47 runners, of whom 10 were first timers and 20 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 8 different athletics clubs took part.  There was 1 dog, 1 baby, and 8 volunteers.

There was a little bit of snow lingering but thankfully no ice so it appears plenty of people managed to push the pace and grab a PB. Hopefully we are past the worst of the cold weather and maybe we will get a nice streak of runs all the way now till next winter.

Automated external defibrillators ('Defibs')

We wanted to make runners aware that that are currently two defibrillators near to our route. There is one at Ellon Meadows Sports Centre and one at the Buchan Hotel. In the event of an emergency your first action should always be to call emergency services.

Map - Defib locations

Soggy barcodes

If you parkrun in Scotland then you will of course expect to get rained on regularly. Soggy paper barcodes are a nightmare to scan and so if you want to save yourself and the volunteer team some hassle then why not grab some waterproof plastic barcodes? You can get a set of 3 for just over £4 (delivery included). Not a bad option if you do not have access to a laminator.

Pack of 3 plastic barcodeshttp://www.parkrun-barcode.org.uk/parkrun-barcode-tag-3-pack-pr3.aspx

See you soon, Steven

Many thanks to this week's heroes

Claire GORDON  •  Craig WILSON  •  Fiona MCCALMAN  •  Gillian ARCHIBALD  •  James WHITE  •  Louise TULLOCH  •  Royston WALKER  •  Steven GARDEN


Ellon parkrun # 13 – 06/02/2016

The run

This week there were 56 runners, of whom 16 were first timers and 16 recorded new personal Bests. Representatives of 10 different athletics clubs took part.

We had five runners flying Fraserburgh RC club colours which was good to see.  We also heard of a new local running club that is just getting started: Newburgh Dunes RC.  Keep an eye out for that one.


James and Martin locking antlers on the return leg.

We have a few photos from today courtesy of Greg Bruce.  See them at the link below.


Unfortunately we had an incident today where an unleashed dog belonging to a member of the public chased and bit a number of runners.  There were no serious injuries reported but it is always disappointing to hear of a dog owner not in control of their animal.  If you are ever involved in such an incident please let the Run Director know and report it to the police if appropriate.


Most of you who have seen me run directing before will probably already have guessed that I do not like drawn-out run briefings.  However, I did take some time today to talk about volunteering and the fact that at the moment we are struggling to meet our needs and are surviving largely because of a small number of stalwarts who are helping repeatedly.

A parkrun only becomes sustainable when the local community takes ownership of it.  At Ellon it only takes five helpers to stage and time the event each week: Marshal, Timekeeper, Tokens, Barcode scanner and Run Director (these are what we call the 'essential' roles).  If you exclude the Run Director then that's only four slots each week making for a little over 200 slots per year.  Even if you only volunteer once per year that is still a very welcome contribution that puts a dent in our yearly quota.

Additionally, there are a number of roles you can perform and still run.  Help with course setup and takedown is very much appreciated, as is help with the New Runners briefing and Tailrunning.

The volunteer rota can be found under the "Volunteers" tab on the Ellon parkrun homepage, which is right beside the "Results" tab.  Simply email ellonhelpers@parkrun.com with the date you'd like to help and any role preferences (feel free to let us know if there is a role you do not want to do).  It helps us a lot if you also include your barcode number so we can find you on the system.  You can volunteer several months in advance (the rota only displays a few weeks in advance but it doesn't stop us putting you into the system).


Today's finish funnel team.  Shout-out to Lynn who was marshaling in the park!

The Run Director team

Volunteering as Run Director is obviously a bit more involved than other roles but it is essential that we expand the team for the health of the event.  I'd like to aim for a team of six in the first instance.  Run Directors typically receive much more training than in the other volunteer roles and usually shadow another RD before taking the plunge, and are normally accompanied by an experienced RD on their first go.

Many potential RDs are put off by the thought of public speaking.  Please don't be.  This is a very common aversion and the pre-run briefing can be delegated to someone else where necessary.  Other potentials are put off by the fear that they might mess up the results.  Again please don't be.  I've had a number of self-confessed technophobes come forward and learn that results processing is not as complicated as they feared it would be.

Run Directing is a very rewarding experience and although parkrun is always a team effort, it is great feeling to be the one to hit the "submit" button on the laptop and publish the morning's results.


Thank you to Andy Fraser for donating some standing poles and chain for the finish funnel.  We are still looking for cash donations so that we can get some new signs made up.  Donate via the following link.


Many thanks to this week's heroes

Andrew CRUICKSHANK  •  Andrew MCNEILL  •  James WHITE  •  Jeananne SENIOR  •  Louise TULLOCH  •  Lynn JAMIESON  •  Steven GARDEN



Ythan flooding 8/1/16

The river Ythan reached a record high at around 0500h on the 8th of January 2016.  Many riverside properties had to be evacuated and suffered flood damage.  Needless to say parkrun was cancelled.  You can see some photographs of the river at the link below, taken on Friday morning around 0900h.




Ellon parkrun # 7 – 05/12/2015

The run

This week there were 51 runners, of whom 21 were first timers and 7 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 11 different athletics clubs took part.

The conditions were probably the best we have had since the inaugural.  Many parkruns were cancelled in Southern Scotland and Northern England due to flooding and/or severe weather but this far North we seemed to escape.

We had some tourists from Falkirk/Edinburgh and although the tourism may have been an unplanned result of the Forth road bridge closure, we hope you guys managed to enjoy the run and got to take your minds off the travel woes for at least a short time.

Ellon parkrun over Christmas and New Year

Ellon parkrun will NOT be holding runs on Christmas Day or New Year's Day.  Aberdeen and Hazlehead WILL be holding runs on Christmas Day, and on New Year's day they are co-ordinating the 'New Year's Day double' with staggered start times.

Ellon parkrun WILL be going ahead at the usual time on Boxing Day and the 2nd of January.


We had an unusually high number of 'unscannables' today.  The policy is to manually record an unscannable barcode since the parkrunner went to the effort to bring it along but please be aware that this process increases the volunteer time that it takes to record your result by an order of magnitude.

If you aware that your barcode does not scan please throw it away and print a replacement and/or order a robust plastic one from our official provider ERS at http://www.parkrun-barcode.org.uk.  (parkrun is free and always will be; ERS barcodes will never be mandated, they simply offer added convenience to parkrunners and volunteer teams).

Many thanks to this week's heroes

Andrew FRASER  •  Fiona FRASER  •  Fiona MCCALMAN  •  Jeananne SENIOR  •  John HOLDING  •  Lynn JAMIESON  •  Rose GALBRAITH  •  Shona WEBSTER  •  Vanessa BLACK


Ellon parkrun # 6 – 28/11/2015

It was very nippy at Ellon this morning and it was really nice to see the runners give the volunteers a louder than usual thank-you cheer knowing that they would be standing in one place and braving the conditions to make the run happen.

This week there were 58 runners, of whom 25 were first timers and 16 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 6 different athletics clubs took part.  Jonathan CORDINER, came within seconds of equalling or bettering the current men's course record.  There is always another week.

We had a mass visit from Jogscotland Bridge of Don, who were great fun and are clearly an extremely sociable and supportive running group.  Please visit us again soon.

I'm currently building up the Run Director team for Ellon and the document below may be of interest to those curious about the role.  It lists essentially everything that is involved with putting on the Ellon event each week and it fits on two sides of A4.


After 3+ years with parkrun I've found that it is very common for potential Run Directors to be put off mostly by the thought of doing the pre-run briefing and/or the results processing more than the responsibility to health and safety aspects.  Please note that both of those duties can be delegated (the H&S duties cannot).  Any questions about Run Directing please just come and talk to me, I'm there most weeks.  I promise not to badger you if you decide that it isn't for you!



Ellon parkrun # 5 – 14/11/2015

It was a bit chilly and windy but we had a dry morning for once at Ellon parkrun.  We had 47 runners this week including 17 first-timers, and 15 returning runners scoring PBs.  A special mention goes to Elaine MAN who drove all the way from Glasgow in the morning just to visit us.  Elaine has completed every parkrun in Scotland!

Andy Fraser took the Run Director reins today and I'm very grateful.  This gave me the opportunity to do my 1st official run at Ellon and simultaneously join the 100 parkrun club.

A reminder that Ellon creche are doing a trial run on the 21st of November.  Please spread the word if you know any parents who would like to take advantage of the creche to allow them to get a run in (or just a few hours peace!).  There is also family fun to be had at the Ellon Primary School Santa Fun Run on the 28th of November.  Entries close on Friday the 20th.

There was a delay in publishing the results due to technical problems with the central results system.  This affected all UK events.  Ellon's results were published early evening.


Many thanks to this week's heroes

Andrew FRASER  •  Callum SMITH  •  Claire GORDON  •  Fiona MCCALMAN  •  James MORTIMER  •  John HOLDING  •  Richard MASSON  •  Rose GALBRAITH  •  Steven GORDON  •  Vanessa BLACK


Ellon parkrun # 4 – 07/11/2015

The run

Many of you will already have guessed that the run appears to have come up short in distance this morning. I had to revise the route last minute due to vehicles moving around on paths where they were not expected to be. Guesswork was required to try to get the distance correct, and clearly the human eye is not as accurate as a surveyor's wheel. Results have been published for now but will very likely be revised tomorrow.  Watch this space.

UPDATE:  A revised set of results has been published.  Everyone's time has been increased by a percentage to account for the missing distance. This prevents problems with course and age-grade records, PBs and the points table. It should be fairly representative of what you would have run today on the normal route, albeit slightly conservative i.e. you probably would have been a little quicker.  If you would prefer to simply have today's result removed then just let us know at ellonoffice@parkrun.com

Keeping you guys safe is the important thing and I hope you enjoyed the run regardless!


I'm very keen that you guys see Ellon parkrun as 'your' event as that is exactly what it is. Please do come and get involved in the volunteering side.  The smaller parkruns are great for getting to know people and for community spirit in general.  You will never be asked to do a role if you are not comfortable with it and you should feel free to let us know if there are any roles you prefer or prefer not to do.  Simply email us at ellonhelpers@parkrun.com.



Upcoming events

Peterhead 10k - Sunday 8th November

Fraserburgh Half marathon - Sunday 15th November

Ellon Santa Fun Run - Saturday 28th November


Ellon parkrun # 3 – 31/10/2015

The run

Thankfully we were spared the torrential rain from last week. The ground was still wet however and although the autumn colours make for pleasant views, wet leaves do not make for very good traction. That and a strong headwind in places contributed no doubt to the spiritual moment that many runners seemed to experience as they crossed the finish line.

We welcomed 15 runners taking on their very first parkrun ever and it was great seeing so many new faces.  Both the female and male course records were nudged down this morning by Claire Barrie and David Langan respectively.  Our age-graded record remains intact, held by George McPherson.

Possible cancellation 7th November

The Round Table bonfire night takes place next Saturday evening and preparations start first thing in the morning. The bonfire building isn't an issue but the fireworks set-up is and I am checking to see when work is due to start. A cancellation or otherwise will be announced during the week on this news page and linked on social media.

Coffee bar

The campus is typically very busy on Saturday mornings and the catering manager has kindly agreed to open up the seating area in the college part of the building for a trial period. Post-run tea/coffee is a great part of the parkrun experience so please do come and join us if you have time.


I had a few enquiries with regards to volunteering today. It makes it easier to coordinate if you volunteer by sending an email to ellonhelpers@parkrun.com. However, you can also approach the Run Director on the day and give them your name and the date you would like to help.

Even if you can only volunteer occasionally your input is still very valuable. Every occasion you help out is an occasion someone else gets to go and enjoy the run.

I am especially keen to build Ellon's Run Director team. It bears some responsibility but is certainly not difficult and definitely rewarding. The two tasks that really seem to put people off - the pre-run briefing and the results processing - can actually be delegated if they cause too much concern. The Run Director's most important task is getting all the runners round safely, which is a relatively straight-forward matter of ticking off the morning's to-do list.

Ythan Cycle Club Youth Training

Another quick reminder that Ythan Cycle Club hold their youth training on Saturday mornings. Please do not park in the rear car park as even when stationary your car may pose a hazard to the kids on the cycling circuit. The gates are locked between 0930-1130h to ensure there is no vehicle movement.

We have permission to park by the side of the road.

See you soon!


Many thanks to this week's heroes

Alan MURRAY  •  Claire GORDON  •  Corine JACK  •  Donna J BAIN  •  Fiona MCCALMAN  •  Gillian ARCHIBALD  •  John HOLDING  •  Lynn JAMIESON  •  Steven GARDEN



Ellon parkrun # 2 – 24/10/2015

Well done to everyone who turned out for today's parkrun in what were pretty miserable conditions. We had 32 finishers total including at least 15 first-timers. All of whom I'm sure are grateful to our 9 volunteers standing around in the rain making the run happen.

Things went a little awry today and reportedly we had six runners take the path that goes through the middle of the park instead of the path that goes around the outside. I think this was due to a truncated run brief (trying to spare the runners standing in the rain), and an honest mistake. Thankfully someone who knew the route corrected the rest of the field. I have added 34 seconds to the first six recorded times to allow those runners to still get their run credit and to reduce the chances of those runners having set a PB that is out of reach (34 seconds is approximately the time it would take to cover the extra distance at 17:40 pace).

It is possible things still aren't quite right. If any of the runners who took the wrong path want more time added to their result, or if there are any other queries please just get in touch at ellonoffice@parkrun.com.

We are still in the early days and I'm sure you'll understand that as Event Director I'm keen both to make the route safe, enjoyable and easy to follow for the runners and to minimise the burden placed on the volunteers with the number of marshal positions and the amount of signage that needs to go out. However, I think we'll increase signage in Gordon Park for the next month or two until we've captured most of the people who will visit Ellon and the route becomes well known.

We had a lot of soggy barcodes today and a few forgotten ones too. Manually recording and entering results is very time-consuming so please consider waterproofing your barcode somehow, or perhaps consider investing in one of the approved plastic or wristband barcodes from ERS. These really help out the parkrun volunteers and the effort required of them.


parkrun wristband from ERS

Happy running!

Many thanks to this week's heroes

Andrew FRASER  •  April BOATRIGHT  •  Fiona MCCALMAN  •  Gillian ARCHIBALD  •  John HOLDING  •  Lisa WALKER  •  Richard SYKES  •  Rose GALBRAITH  •  Steven GARDEN



Ellon parkrun # 1 – 17/10/2015

The Inaugural Run

It was Ellon parkrun's inaugural on Saturday the 17th of October. It was a little bit chilly, as you might expect being the UK's second most Northerly parkrun. The runners were great though and gave the runners' briefing their full attention despite the nip in the air.

I'd like to acknowledge again the following contributions: Formartine Area Committee (Aberdeenshire Council) for the startup funding; the Aberdeenshire Council staff in the Ellon office for their enthusiasm and support for the event; Elaine Omand the local parkrun ambassador for her valuable time and knowledge. Not mentioned on the day I'd also like to acknowledge the staff at Ellon Academy Community Campus and The Meadows Sports Centre for their support.

The volunteer team on the day all did great and it was good to see their praises being sung by the runners on social media.

We had 98 runners and 11 volunteers. We welcomed parkrunners from Aberdeen, Belfast Victoria, Camperdown, Hazlehead, Pollok, Pontypool (Wales) and Strathclyde, and even a resident of Washington DC! There was also a contingent from Fraserburgh RC proudly showing their colours, a handful of Metro Aberdeen and a good few members of Jogscotland. I'm also pleased to see that there were plenty with their home run set to Ellon, some of whom will no doubt become our most regular runners and volunteers.

"Hands up if you're freezin' and want me to shut up so you can run?"


Our inaugural fell during the school holidays so there were no parking issues but please be aware that there are swimming lessons, football coaching and youth cycle coaching on throughout the year that makes parking at the campus very limited. There are a number of public car spaces at the graveyard on Castle Road and a few by the new bridge that could be useful for those driving from the North. We also have permission to park on one side of the access road. Locals are encouraged to walk/run/cycle to the campus wherever possible.  Those coming from further afield are encouraged to car-share, especially those from running clubs on social media.


We have all the essential equipment we need but there are a few items that would make things easier for the volunteers. It would be nice if someone could donate a small folding table that could belong to the event. If you can help please email ellonoffice@parkrun.com. Ellon parkrun is free and always will be, but if you do want to make a donation towards kit that is 'nice to have' this can be done via the link below. Please note that cash donations cannot be accepted by volunteer teams.



One of the things I love about parkrun is that it provides the opportunity to get involved and become a part of the local community. Smaller parkruns especially are great for getting to know people. I'm keen that everyone sees volunteering as the enjoyable and rewarding activity that it truly is than the chore that it is often perceived to be. Get some running and volunteering in and I promise you'll be happier for it.

See you soon.

Steven, Event Director - Ellon parkrun

Many thanks to this week's heroes

April BOATRIGHT  •  Craig WILSON  •  Donna J BAIN  •  Fiona MCCALMAN  •  Jeananne SENIOR  •  John HOLDING  •  Lisa WALKER  •  Niall WEBSTER  •  Rose GALBRAITH  •  Steven GARDEN  •  Vanessa BLACK

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