#355 Saturday 4th September 2021

The Autumn that began at the start of July continued its pattern of Geography Field Trip weather yesterday, today and most likely tomorrow, with overcast clouds prepared to unload their sodden bulks on to the poor folk below.

It wasn’t peak Geography Field Trip weather as that would involve accompanying blustery winds and freezing temperatures to numb fingers holding clipboards. Small mercies perhaps but talking of holding clipboards, Ricardo expressed his distaste at being made ‘moist’ (always a great one for a quote, Ricardo) by the persistent and insistent drizzle. Some runners might enjoy as cooling them down from their run. Nutters!

At least the grassed section were not so wet as to feature in the Paul Simon song, ‘Slip Sliding Away’. The solitary permitted hour of sunshine always seems to arrive in the afternoon and did so again today.

Perhaps the downbeat wetness deterred people, perhaps parents making the most of the last weekend of the summer holidays for some schools; but numbers were down significantly and visibly, a mere 296. Normally, it’s around the 350 mark. The Run Director did not need to have ‘Quiet Please’ signs held up as he spoke, so small, spaced apart and peaceable were the assembled runners.

We were swelled with tourists from what is the new normal in tourism – Harlow, Bromley, Colchester, Crawley (and, further afield, Sheffield). And we were told that this was Ricardo’s 300th time as a volunteer. The man’s a legend and when he did run, it was barefoot. I know that there are T-shirts for doing volunteering 25 times but just as for the runners, there should be milestone T-shirts for the volunteers, without whom parkrun could not take place. With the reduced number of runners, we were not far short of one volunteer for each ten runners.

Whether one runs with the knees or with the thighs (for the latter think twerking in perpetual motion), as one gets deeper into the course on the second lap, there are those ahead who you know that you’re in a position to overtake. It is unclear though if you are natural speed is faster than theirs or if your deceleration is not as precipitous as their own. Some runners have their second wind and some save their best for the final knockings of a race, but I think with Everest, most people will have had the stuffing knocked out of them after the second ascent. At base camp, it is easy to thank the marshal posted there but the marshal sensibly posted halfway up, is rather harder to verbally express gratitude as one’s lungs snatch at whatever oxygen makes it past the lactic acid. Nevertheless, 296 people scaled Everest not once but twice (and would only need oxygen once past the finish line), all in less than a hour – take that, Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary!

The fastest finisher, Chris Rampling, in my Run Report from 21st August, decided to take it easy this week, coming in over a minute and 20 seconds slower (still finishing in the top five). At the top of the leaderboard this week is Anthony Webb, a first timer putting everyone else in the shade, with 17 minutes, 19 seconds. Usually, a list of the quickest speedsters is dominated by men, but Laura Day from Sheffield stormed the field to take second place with 18.15. Shout-out to Nicola Lilley finishing in 9th place too.

The top ten Flashes were:
1. Anthony Webb
2. Laura Day
3. Neill Wright
4. Sean Barwick
5. Chris Rampling
6. Adam Featherstone
7. Barry Royden
8. Gareth Williams
9. Nicola Lilley
10. Sean Rodwell

We are very grateful to the volunteers who made this event happen:

Alison Baker, Paul Barry, Sharon Boyle, Carrie Broom, Neville Broom, Bruce Byers, Penny Cadman, Teresa Cambell, Polly Clayton, Barefootricardo D’Ash, Carol Davis, Foluke Gabriel, Jon Goodall, Dan Gower-Smith, Robert Greenwood, Karl Grimble, Paul Heywood, Paul Johnston, Isabel King, Alan Le Grys, John Lean, Roger Ernest Lodge, Andrew Lunnon, Elena Mutter-Child, Alex Plumb, Cathy Rahmanzadeh, Rosie Regan, Wendy Regan, June Rodwell, Chris Rowlands, Ross Sandy, David Sharpley, Mick Smith, Vanessa Vander, Philip Wallace, Marcus Ward, Andy Willing and Karen Willing.

Alex Plumb
Run Report Writer


#333 Saturday 21st August 2021

All the threes, the 333rd parkrun at Great Lines, Medway, enjoyed Goldilocks conditions, in contrast to the doom-laden predictions of later in the day that never came to fruition. It was neither too hot nor too cold, not too blustery nor too still. Ambient temperature with a mere hint of a breeze to cool down sweating bodies.

But what are the ideal conditions without participants? To have 352 runners today was a good turnout, despite people away on holidays or assisting other runs (e.g. Ricardo) and the continued tumult of the pandemic keeping some people away.

Since the resumption from the pandemic, the course design has been rearranged, notably the gradients that people enjoyed on the way down but suffered on the way up. That was known as ‘over the Alps’ to regular park runners but now descending further into the valley hosting Chatham, the punishing ascent is now ‘climbing Everest’, though if we were to be geographically consistent, I would say ‘climbing the Matterhorn’ (a far more treacherous piece of mountain real estate than Mont Blanc yet it is not an Eiger Sanction) – the people pushing baby buggies really feeling – and verbally expressing – their lactate build-up. Other course corrections are more anodyne.

My last report was back in the ‘before times’, on 15th February 2020 and the person finishing first then was Chris Rampling, clocking in at 18 minutes, 25 seconds. Without a challenging wind as on that bitter February morning, he was much faster here, crossing the finish line at 17 minutes, 37 seconds, over a minute ahead of second place taken by Noel Lyons (who had the best age grading at 81.53%, having two decades on Chris and just edging out 4th place Gareth Williams who was recorded at 80.45%).

The top ten speedsters were:
1. Chris Rampling
2. Noel Lyons
3. Adam Featherstone
4. Gareth Williams
5. Phillip Wakelin
6. Barry Royden
7. Unknown
8. Alun Rodgers
9. Stephen Turpie
10. Andy James

The fastest woman was Ella Zellaby, with a time of 22.44, though a shout-out to second-placed woman Vanessa Vander, completing her 250th parkrun. Excluding the tourists (always welcome), there were 57 Personal Bests/First timers.

There was a full house of volunteers this week, every position filled. Well done to all the volunteers, for whom parkrun would be impossible without.

Alex Plumb
Run Report Writer


Saturday 7th August 2021 Run Report by Andrew Burgess

It’s over 18 months since I last donned the black and white vest of a parkrun run director (and that was at Maidstone), so I was a little nervous coming back to the role with the new COVID arrangements in place. However, we have such a great team of volunteers at Great Lines, that I need not have been worried. When I arrived at twenty past eight, the course was set up and we were awaiting the arrival of the last few volunteers.

The last year and a half have been tough for all of us, but it has made those occasions when I have bumped into familiar faces from Great Lines all the more special – whether by the lake at Capstone Park, in the granola aisle at Sainsbury’s, celebrating completion of the virtual London marathon at Rochester Castle or just on the roads near where I live. I must admit to having run the old course a handful of times on my own as well, so I’m looking forward to having a go at the new version sometime in the future. I’ve already seen one person on Facebook commenting on how we’ve now added Mount Everest into the course to go with the Alps. Perhaps it’s also significant that the majority of the twenty people who set new PBs this week were doing their second parkrun? We also welcomed thirty-three new runners to Great Lines. Most were doing their first ever parkrun, although we did have tourists from Bexley and Liverpool as well.

One of the COVID changes to parkrun is that we don’t call out the names of those reaching parkrun milestones before the event. This can often result in a fair amount of looking around to see whether the named people are present or not (although a cheer is always a guide that the person is there), but with the results to hand, I can now say well done to the following for their own personal achievements:

Edward and Isobel Morris, Lewis Irvine – 10

Jonathan Brind – 250

I’ve already said how great our volunteers are, and I’m sure you would all like to join me in thanking June Rodwell for her services to Great Lines parkrun. When I first started, she was always the marshal tucked away behind the monument. More recently, she has been the person responsible for noting down names and numbers when either the parkrun or the runners’ barcodes haven’t scanned properly. This week, she notched up her 250th volunteering stint at Great Lines (I believe she has actually done the course once or twice, too).

I cannot finish my run report without mentioning the weather. When I arrived, it was just spitting with rain. By the end, we had half a dozen volunteers sheltering from the downpour under the gazebo they were supposed to be taking down. A huge thank you to them for giving me the tough job of taking several folders over to warm welcome in the Falcon Café for results processing, while they completed the packing away in some of the heaviest rain I have seen at Great Lines in a long time.

Andrew Burgess
Run Reporter


Great Lines parkrun supports local projects for Christmas 2020!

Following the amazing support last year for Great Lines parkrun foodbank and present collection we would like to support a local project again this Christmas.

The collection/drop off will be different this year but we believe that we can still offer a drop off in a COVID secure way.

We will be hosting the drop on SATURDAY 12th December 9am – 10am at Great Lines park in the meeting/start area. If you are unable to make this date and a friend or family member is unable to deliver your donation for you please contact us by email and we will do all we can support you.

The Salvation Army needs your help to make Christmas special for children, families and others who have little or nothing under the tree on Christmas morning.

All new, unwrapped toys and gifts are welcome and will be distributed in your community in time for Christmas.

Suggested Gift List for Children and Young People

Every child deserves a new gift at Christmas. We are sorry to say that we are unable to take used or second hand items for the Christmas Present Appeal.

Ideas for all ages!

• 0-3 years: dolls, teddy bears, cot mobiles, baby clothes, bath toys, CDs of suitable music and nursery rhymes, puzzles, bath toys, chunky puzzles, Peppa Pig toys, first books, including soft books

• 3-5: dolls and action figures, cars, lorries, DVDs and CDs (music and nursery rhymes), colouring sets, pencils, crayons, books, puzzles

• 5-9: educational games & toys, stationery (colouring sets, pencils, crayons, school sets), CDs & family friendly DVDs, books, puzzles, wordsearch, crosswords

• 9-12: games and toys, stationery, CDs, DVDs, books, T-Shirts, hair accessories, gloves, scarves, hats

• 13-16: CDs, DVDs, books, make-up and toiletries (please try to ensure non-allergic ingredients if possible), gloves, scarves, hats, T-Shirts, hair accessories

Give a gift and light up a life!

The foodbank suggestions, but all items are welcome:

Fruit juices - UHT/Longlife milk * Dried powered milk * Packet desserts * TIinned pudding * coffee (small packets)* Instant mash * Sugar (500G) * Washing power (SMALL) * Deodorants * Toiletries * Nappies * Tin foods * Cat/Dog food * Cat/Dog biscuits * CAT/Dog treats * Cat/Dog toys

Please share with your friends and family this opportunity is open to everyone who wishes to donate and together we can make a brighter and healthier Medway.

Let's make this Christmas special for the whole of Medway.

If you have any questions please speak to Dan or Gary, Joint Event Directors or email Greatlines@parkrun.com

Thank you in advance for you kind donations and support.

Merry Christmas From Great Lines parkrun


Great Lines parkrun – Saturday 29th February 2020 #326 Leap Year Day!

Another week and another storm! This week it was the turn of Storm Jorgie. As we made our way to the parkrun, we couldn’t believe the weather! Hail, rain, wind and that was all before it had even started! This week was a special one, we would be running the course in reverse because of the special leap year day. The next time a parkrun would be on a leap year day would be 2048!

It was also an extra special parkrun for us (Fay and Helen). We were running our 50th parkrun and had planned especially to do it on the leap year day in our red parkrun capes! We did not, however, realise how bad the weather would be. Despite this, 385 people still participated, as well, of course, as the amazing volunteers who keep us all going every week.

Running it in reverse meant avoiding the very boggy alps at the start and going straight for the hill. As we made our way up the hill, the wind was even worse! It didn’t stop people from cheering each other on and smiling even with the rain fiercely beating down. Running straight on instead of turning right towards the memorial suddenly became a little easier as it was all downhill - our favourite kind of route! Round the coat hanger bend, encouraged by two very encouraging, brave marshals and continuing on a straight run to the memorial corner, not daring to look left at the view over Chatham as the wind whipped our capes! A quick jog up the hill next to the monument and it was just seconds before we could hear Sue and her music, which lifts us every week! Turn left and down the hill, remembering to smile when we saw the lovely photographer, who, like all the other marshals was by now wet and bedraggled but still doing a great job! Down to the bottom of the hill, turn left onto the football field, straight up onto the alps then down into deep mud where Mick was directing us to a safer route to run on. Turn right at the next corner, on the path and back up the hill from the very bottom.

The second lap was muddier and wetter but this certainly didn’t stop anyone from giving up. How could you with so much support and enthusiasm from all around you? The final section was through the mud, into the funnel and instead of a ‘high five’ this week, we received a hug from the marshal, it was at this point that we could both feel the emotion coming. We had done it!

As well as running the route backwards, the other difference this week was that it was hard to recognise familiar faces, normally there is a blaze of orange and black (Medway Fit), bright green (Medway Runners) and an array of apricot and milestone tshirts. Today most runners were in waterproofs and hats but we could still hear them shouting words of encouragement to each other and it is this that makes us love Parkrun.

We enjoyed running the route backwards but missed the sprint at the end, this is our favourite bit (that and a cuppa at the Falcon afterwards!). We think everyone deserves recognition for this particular run, the runners and marshals who took over Great Lines in such horrendous conditions smashed it. Well done everyone.

We started our running journey with Medway Fit, completing their Couch25K course with Zoe Pemberton and Karen Adley in 2017. It is an amazing running club and we would like to say thank you to everyone for their support.

parkrun has become part of our week and we would recommend it to everyone! Just do it! No PB this week … well there’s always next week!

Fay and Helen - Run Report Writers 

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