Great Lines parkrun, Medway is cancelled on 26 September 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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 


#325 Saturday 22nd February 2020 – why I lover Great Lines parkrun

There are many among you who will have seen my lumbering form as I sprint towards the finish of the 5km run that we all succeed in completing Saturday after Saturday.

I am definitely not what is described as the running kind and definitely not born to run, in fact before two years ago the idea of getting up every Saturday (well OK not every Saturday) to run 5km would have been the most distant thing from my mind, but here I am writing the run report for a parkrun in the heart of Gillingham having recently completed my 50th parkrun! (I have now done 54)

Saturday morning came to early as it always does and I venture up Bluebell Hill to join with my friends as we get ready to run Great Lines parkrun. I always try and arrive around 8:45 so that I can have a little chat, say “hi” to a few people and be ready to listen as ever to the wonderful Run directors briefing (Thank you Nigel for this mornings).

Some of you may believe that you do not need to listen to something that you have heard week on week, however, it is always great to listen to the names of those celebrating their parkrun anniversaries, this week we had Michael Harvey and Heather Pakingson celebrating their 100th, Graeme Rouse and Emma Marker doing there 50th (Well done to you all) and you never know what they will tell you about the conditions of the course. So please take a minute to stand right there to listen to the briefing from a man with white hair.

Anyway back to the report. After the brilliant briefing we get ready to run and ready to run through the jungle that is Great Lines, well that is what it feels like at times when you get pushed to the side on the first corner. Those of us on that side, dodge the overhanging branches and continue to run around the football field.

It is then that we start to run to the hills or in this case the Alps (an overused name for the hill up to the monument). This morning was windy not quite Storm Dennis or Ciara but still pretty grim. And it was really going up the Alps towards the monument that you began to feel it.

So having marched up the hill we wind our way around the coat hanger been blown sideways as we make the loop and finally with an unusual tail wind we run back down the hill. It is usually at this point that Darrell Harman will shout something encouraging at me, at least I think it’s encouraging!

(Apparently, it is an unwritten rule of run reports in 2020 that we must mention the tall white haired man at least once!) and with the tail wind it keeps you running and as such you feel like you could run for your life. It is usually at this point when you remember that you have to do the whole thing again!

One of the many things I like about parkrun is the camaraderie and the support that we get as runners from not only each other but also from the many volunteers who come out each week to stand in the wind, rain and hopefully soon the sunshine to encourage, cajole and sometimes insult the runners as the run/walk round the course.

Two of my favourites on the course are of course Mick with his own corner and Roger on the corner. They always say hello (usually on the second lap because the field is thinner) and quite regularly (Roger) hurl abuse at me as I try to keep going on the course.

I love it and without them the run would be dull and boring so thank you all once again for volunteering.

As we hit the hill again I feel like I am running on empty but keep going to make sure I complete this run today. Eventually we return to the downhill finish with Richard at his junction telling us all “Its down hill from here” and “nearly there” but most importantly “KEEP RIGHT”! And there we go coming down the finish towards the line when I feel the inside voice telling me run boy run.

It is with that runners high that I sprint to the finish line to just finish over 39 minutes. For most of you that seems slow but for the lad at the back I will take it any day. I may have run like hell but feel like I have run the world. So along with the 417 finishers, the 26 first timers (it will not be your last just do not leave it 2 years like I did) and the 29 PB’s. You are all amazing.

I look forward then to the after party which takes place not too far away. With Bacon and Liver to console my body for having run that 5km. I know I am not a true middle distance runner but I am proud to be a part of the community at Great Lines parkrun and do my best to be there every Saturday and I am ready to say I RUN!

See you all next week when we will run this town once more (but apparently in reverse!).

*** New from the office***

There were lots of pictures taken at the event, they can be viewed here:

Alastair Middlemist – Run Report Writer


Run Report 15th February 2020 – by Alex

Conditions were intensely windy as Storm Dennis was heralded and for safety the gazebo was not erected so it would not be seen gusting over the Medway and the Isle of Grain in the direction of Canvey Island. 

At times, the volunteers by the finish line were knocked backwards by sudden gusts hurtling down the Lines. This could involve a splash of rain for good measure, discomforting our faces and on ground already sodden underfoot.

Understandably, this slowed down even the fastest of runners – there were 19 Personal Bests but of these only two were under 25 minutes and only four under 30 minutes.  Of those 19 PBs, 15 of the runners are less than 20 events into their parkrun careers (and 13 less than ten events) when it is relatively easier to set new time records, with scope for improvement, becoming fitter, seeking new targets, etc. 

Our top recorded timer, Chris Rampling, came in at 18 minutes, 25 seconds – I say ‘top recorded’ as there was someone 17 seconds faster than him but he was quite visible in cutting corners, including a great chunk near the finish zone on the first lap – we debated whether he liked being a grass runner but even considering this, it gave him an unfair advantage over Chris and he was struck from the records as ‘unknown’ when he finished first.  Chris was no doubt affected by the wind as well as others because, in his last race two weeks ago, he did finish first and over half a minute faster than today. Nevertheless, he was 52 seconds ahead of the next placing, Sean Barwick (19:17).

Still, despite the conditions, 435 runners turned out for event number 324 – a reasonably sized number, though it never looks that big as you see them between the first and second corner.  The finish funnel zone became quite skid-like in terms of mud but thankfully no-one slid over – though one vomited twice on finishing; remember, ultimately this is a fun run and few will get the great footballer Zinedine Zidane reference.  Stripping out the unknowns, our fastest ten runners were:

  1. Chris Rampling
  2. Sean Barwick
  3. Brian Jr Kotelo
  4. Michal Bastrzyk
  5. Jordan Chambers
  6. Adam Featherstone
  7. Alun Rodgers
  8. Dan Fotheringham
  9. Clayton Barrett
  10. Abdulrahman Jimoh

There were 44 volunteers involved in making this event happen, including Richard and Henry Townsend, bringing up the tail at just over an hour.  There were cakes and doughnuts on the finish line. Including unknowns, 50th place was timed at 24:30, 100th place at 26:30, 150th place at 28:28, 200th place at 30:26, 250th place at 32:34, 300th place at 34:40, 350th place at 37:50 and 400th place at 44.42.

Alex Plumb - Run Report Writter


#323 – Run Report 8th February 2020 by Nigel Read

The calm before the storm!!!
A pleasant morning for a run, 493 runners today. A number of regulars were at the final Kent League cross country of the season at Norman Park near Bromley with Alan Rogers picking up the M50 bronze medal.
With the impending storm Ciara there were numerous runs sensibly cancelled on Sunday, some of those allowed participants to run the distance privately and claim their medal so parkrun became part of a much longer run.
I thrashed around a single lap in half my PB time, not noticing the reported multiple dog droppings but the oil slick on the path opposite the gazebo was well marked. With plenty of time to get ready for finish tokens with Carol a don one of the smart new volunteer jackets, are they pink or fuchsia?
Carol takes the first set of 100 numbers, I wait ready with 101 to 200, which just fit in one hand, swapping with each set of 100. Luckily it’s not too cold for fingers. It’s my 222nd day volunteering at Great Lines, 91 purely volunteering rest I could run too counting as both. Almost everyone behaved in the funnel and tokens remained in step with the watches, with the vigilance of funnel managers and time keepers. Things got quite exciting when a Bushy park style side by side queue was started when runners started backing up.
A brief explanation how it works:
Imagine the queue is right back to the finish end where the timekeepers are, assume “Meghan” has just fitted in and “Harry” is following. Harry is asked to go past the queue starting a second parallel queue just outside the ropes but wait at the token end until Meghan gets her token, with all those following Harry forming the second queue. Bushy, expecting this would have another line of rope to keep everyone in order, we weren’t so there is an imaginary line with Dan pulling his imaginary hair out.
Bushy would give a large marker card to indicate where queues break, we use a human marker, say “Andrew” (today that was his name) who marks the head of the resumed main queue, which empties as the second queue builds, catching up with Meghan or waiting at now empty main funnel until Harry’s is nearly finished. Indicating the runner “Archie” waiting patiently behind who has been redirected into the main queue after finishing finishing behind “Kate”. When the “outer” queue is depleted as the last person in that queue, Kate, receives her token, remaining tokens are given out as normal resuming with Archie. Bushy would swap over again, once is enough for us, at the moment. Alles Klar!
Despite no headaches for the results processor, (a scanner went temporarily AWOL, but was found where it should have been) there were technical issues at pr HQ and there were delays getting results out and the web results page, it happens sometimes.
Four years ago, run #123 I wrote a run report some of which might be worth repeating, with a few tweaks:
Some things you might not know:
How it all works. The series of times from one of the two stopwatches is downloaded to the results computer. (2 of 4 timers if we exceed 495 runners, the timer capacity). Each of the scanners is similarly downloaded, this time, pairs of barcodes, the runners barcode and the finish token barcode, scanned in that order and matched to the position sequence of times, so we know who finished where and when, hence it's important to collect a token if you enter the finish funnel, even if you forgot your barcode, everyone going in the funnel will be timed, don’t go anywhere near the mouth of the funnel if you are not finishing, don't duck under the rope but do stay in the correct order to get the correct time and for every one finishing behind you.
Don't run in twice or after only one lap! Don’t overtake runners after passing the finish, don’t let children or your granny enter the funnel with you if they have just been spectating. It works brilliantly and gets results out super fast if everyone does what they are supposed to. All explained in the first timers briefing and the funnel manager is there to remind runners who are perhaps suffering from sprint induced hypoxia! Any duplicates tokens or runners prevent filing the results until resolved.
Since writing this an app called virtual volunteer has been introduced which can either time or scan using a smart phone, you may have seen Dee scanning with it, emailing a file to be downloaded to the results computer, apparently this is quite easy and avoids supplying expensive watches and scanners which all have their problems, one day the time keepers might get a gazebo to protect them, or their phones, from the weather, more or less where the report started
There were 14 first timers, 12 first time tourists at Great Lines, Lisa Rushton completed her 200th parkrun here, four, including Zoe Pemberton will do the same imminently but she wants to keep it quiet, Clayton quietly completed 150, 3 hit the 100 mark, 5 can now claim their red shirt and two juniors completed their 10th.
See you Saturday
Nigel Read - Run Report Writer 

Great Lines parkrun – Saturday 1st February 2020 #322

I woke up & got myself ready for parkrun #322, my parkrun (283) I arrived at Marlborough Road with plenty of time. I sat in the car & read the paper, just relaxing. I eventually got out of the car & braved the element’s, it was blowy what a surprise. I went & spoke to people who were there, mainly the volunteers & what an incredible lot they are (if we did not have them we would not have parkrun).

I was now ready for the run, Nigel was Run Director & gave us the spill. We all walked to the start said a few pleasantries to people I knew & off we went, I am known to start fast & I did. I said thank you to Carrie on the first corner & then the same to Mick ( it would be different on the second time ), I then went up the football field & round to Roger’s corner, he shouted out well done son so I always reply thanks Dad, I then run up the Alps, a lot of runners going past me but saying morning.

When we get up to the corner for the Memorial Richard would always give the runners encouragement, I then run past the memorial & down the slope where more Volunteers are, they cheer us on & we go along the path which today was windy, we turn again & the volunteers cheer us on with their musical instruments. I go up the slope & then turn downwards, despite the wind I am getting hot so as I run down the Alps I take my Coat off & chuck it down near the finishing line, by here are the volunteers waiting for the fast ones to finish but in the mean time cheer us on.

I look at my watch & think I need to up the pace if I want a good time. I go down towards Carrie again & she shouts encouragement at us, then I get to Mick (a stalwart of parkrun & a great bloke ) but he always says the worst thing to me how are you doing of which I reply Bleep Bleep. I continue up the football field & when I get to the 3k marker I look at my watch & sense that I am on for a good time.

I go past Roger & then ascend the Alps for the second time. I survive this & turn towards the memorial, I am now feeling it but know there is not long to go, I go down the slope turn & run along the path this time having a look at Chatham, then I hear the instruments again & turn up the little slope & now I am on way to the finish, I pass Richard who for once doesn’t moan at me , must be in his good books.

The finish line is close & I try & do my Usain Bolt impression as I pass a few runners, I finish & when in the funnel Phil Wallace shakes my hand. I then get my token & get it scanned in. Another run done & now to encourage all the other runners coming in. I walk up the path to meet my friend Alister Middlemist & then run in with encouraging him to beat his target, I see him afterwards & he did. When we have had a chat we then go & have a deserved breakfast at the Falcon where we all talk about our runs. I would also like to say please have a go at doing the run report it’s not that hard to do & it would be really appreciated by everyone, come & see me if you have any questions.

P.S I have to apologize that I did not mention my best friend at parkrun Andrew Burgess

 Darrell Harman - Run Report Writer 

⇐ Newer Posts