Guildford parkrun #376

So Guildford it was. The pattern for some months now has been to choose a different Parkrun location every week. I usually go with my son if I can and this week it was his choice, and he decided on Guildford – because it was one of only two in the South-East beginning with G! We could have gone to Kent of course, where the other G is, but living in Hampshire that didn’t seem very sensible! The closest in the South-West were both in Gloucester so, as I said, Guildford it was.

As it turned out I couldn’t have been more pleased. The Spectrum Leisure Centre where we are advised to park was easy to find, there was plenty of free parking, good toilet facilities and the Parkrun was only just across the road - two or three minutes’ walk from the car. But it got better, because the Parkrun was in a lovely park setting on a combination of grass and tarmac paths.

It’s not the flattest course by a long way – a total elevation gain of 191 feet over two laps, and that’s 419th on the list of registered flattest UK Parkrun locations – but it’s all quite gentle, as are the descents, and I found it easier than on many flatter courses with short ‘killer’ hills. But this is one of the bigger Parkruns and although today 490 of us set off, the great thing was that whereas with many events you will have to queue at the start roughly in the order you expect to finish, not with this one. There’s plenty of room for a mass start and things just sort themselves out without undue elbow barging. And there are no bottlenecks.

Okay, so there were some slippery bits. Well, we’ve had an extraordinary amount of rain, so mud was in plentiful supply and there were places it wasn’t easy to dodge, so some of the runners finished the run in quite a state, especially the fast ones. Which is why I finished in pretty much pristine condition by comparison!

My son and I both ran today and we thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re wondering, and I don’t suppose you are, he just managed to get to the finish before I did. Only just. By 3 or 400 metres. Except I still had one more lap to complete after that. Just 461 places ahead of me. So close…

All things considered, I’d say this is an excellent venue, with variation in levels and in surface, and a picturesque parkland, making the laps seem to go by quickly – for some people quicker than others, I might add! Okay, but my excuse was that for the second week I was recovering from a leg injury and I could otherwise easily have come inside the top four (hundred!).

But for me, part of the fun travelling to Parkruns is after the run, and in Guildford you are spoiled for choice if you want a decent breakfast and a coffee in really nice surroundings.

I travel about quite a bit for Parkruns and the constant for me wherever I’ve been has been the efficient organisation, the relaxed atmosphere, and the friendliness and helpfulness of the volunteers and runners alike, and Guildford was no exception. The marshals were a great bunch, with their encouragement and enthusiasm, and they really give you a lift. And so I could not let this opportunity pass without a sincere thank you to Maddie the Run Director, to all the volunteers, and especially to the core team and to those who turn up week in, week out, just to volunteer without the chance or the ability to run. So if you are thinking of having a go, this is definitely one to start with! There are plenty of roles you can choose from if you want to run as well, both before the event and after, so you needn’t miss out. It really is fun, the instructions are simple and you’ll be back for more!

This week, among the 490 runners, assorted pushchairs and dogs, there were landmarks for Carolyn Baxter, Simon McCrohan, Matthew Duncan, Annie Williams, Rob Stokes and Cecile Boylett for their 50th Parkruns. Congratulations also to juniors Grace Farmer, William Channing and Juliette Stell for their 10th, and a special mention to Juliette for highest age grade performance of the day with a remarkable 81.34%. Other notable performances were by David Owen Williams in the VM55-59 category with a personal best of 19:07, which earned him an age grade of 78.75%. Andrea Thomas and Henk Innemee both chalked up their 150th Parkruns and Susanna Harrison (who did a fantastic job as the 24 minute pacer today finishing at 23.57) joined the 250 club, but top of the tree was Annette Shrimpton with an impressive 375! There were 21 first-ever Parkrunners today, also many who were new to Guildford and countless PBs, so a very well done to you all!

By Dennis Spencer

This week we had a 'volunteer takeover' by a group of ladies from Back on Track Running and Fitness who took on marshaling, barcode scanning, and handing out finish tokens. A huge thank you to them along with all of our other wonderful volunteers without whom parkrun couldn't happen!



Guildford parkrun #375 – Where celebrations were sparkling fairy lights!

This weeks run report by Nicky Hack!

Oliver Jones – 250 parkruns and celebrating in style!

Saturday dawned cold but sunny and we headed to Stoke Park to celebrate Oliver Jones' 250th parkrun - this had been delayed by several weeks due to England's rugby success (and then disappointment) in Japan!


After the new runners' briefing, and at nearly 8:55am we were wondering where he was? Should we slink back into the changing rooms with our gift, we shouldn’t have worried, Oliver appeared like a gazelle at the meeting point, and we lovingly handed him 3 celebratory green balloons. Oliver was so excited he set off for his 250th parkrun with myself and Jane trailing in his wake…Luckily we found each other at the end and celebrated in style with Prosecco on the ever muddy Stoke Park. Paninis and tea cakes at the Daisy Chain Café (Wey Valley Bowls club) followed; what an absolutely wonderful morning.

It’s a considerable achievement to get to 250 park runs and Oliver wasn’t the only one to achieve this. A massive congratulations to Richard Duddy also – only another 250 more runs you two until the 500 t-shirt comes your way – LOLs!

Prab celebrating his 100th parkrun – with Eddie his friend!

Prab Satya was celebrating his 100th parkrun. Prab’s had a wonderful run of PBs and is one of Guildford’s regular pacers helping runners achieve PBs with times only myself and Jane can dream of. If you look closely at the photos of Prab you’ll see Eddie – helping Prab finish! Congratulations Prab on your 100th parkrun!



Waverley Harriers = C25K and supporters

Run Director Alistair also thanked the volunteers, who without their time and efforts this Run Report would just be blank! He then welcomed the Waverley Harriers Couch to 5Kers. It was great to see them all celebrating at the end of their run with their fellow club members for a ‘graduation’ ceremony. I tried to capture everyone in their ‘team plus supporters’ for a photo but their happiness was so infectious I was jumping about with them, so apologies to anyone not featured. It really is a fantastic achievement and so wonderful to see so many happy, smiley faces.


Please do offer to volunteer at parkrun, believe us you really do feel a wonderful sense of being part of a team of greatness and best of all you have a laugh. Thank you to the Core Team at Guildford and all the volunteers this week, you really are appreciated.

Have a great week everyone.

Nicky Hack & Jane Rostant.

This week 589 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 64 were first timers and 55 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 42 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 31 volunteers:

Jacqueline MERLINI • Brian O'KANE • Gavin MEGAW • Jane ROSTANT • Nicky HACK • Andrew FLANAGAN • Alastair DAY • Alastair HESLOP • Christopher KENNEDY • Katerina ROSE • Clare WILLS • Isaac WILLS • Kiera JONES • Harry CONLAN • Clara CONQUEST • Alison CURTIS • Joshua CURTIS • Paul TATLER • Neil BOOSEY • Bridget BAGNALL • Leah COX • Keith RHODES • Benjamin CURTIS • Helen ASKEW • George LUDLOW • Judith MCKNIGHT • Elaine FAGAN • Sarah ALEXANDER • Philip INGOE • Ryan BOWDLER • Leonie DAGRIPPINO


Guildford parkrun #374 – a smashing pumpkin Halloween themed event

By Caroline Sams, Guildford parkrun Run Director 


Wow – what a morning.  You know exactly of what I speak, but I will recap anyway, because it is simply such fun to relive Saturdays throughout the week!  I was totally blown away yesterday - quite literally - by both the strong winds, and the amazing efforts of our dedicated volunteers and parkrunners.  We took our Halloween theme to the next level this year, with the launch of ‘bring your own’ parkrun-themed pumpkins.  They were everywhere; out on the course, lining our very first pumpkin finish funnel, and decorating our scanning tables.  There were bats, cats, rockets, “I love parkrun,” and parkrun logo inscriptions, friendly faces, and ghosts!  Inspired.

Pumpkin finish funnel at Guildford parkrun
Pumpkin finish funnel, Guildford parkrun 26 October 2019



Whilst England were busy finding their way into the Rugby World Cup Final, a loyal 432 runners ran, jogged and walked the course, some of whom braved the gales with witches’ hats, face paints, ghoulish masks, zombie and pumpkin costumes.  There were 63 first timers and 33 new Personal Bests.  A magnificent team of 36 volunteers took to the field with pumpkin cones and spooky surprises – I believe there was a tall wolf lurking in the football field, treats on Nightingale Road and a giant hairy spider on the corner of London Road!


Halloween fancy dress run, Guildford parkrun 26 October 2019


The Running 

Back to the running.  No brainer to congratulate all of YOU who achieved the 5K distance, including Caroline Cross who joined the 100-milestone club and our very cool, calm and collected Brandon Acres, who this week qualified for a 25 volunteer T-shirt.  I must also draw attention to some frankly super-human times from a couple of local legends.  Our resident course record holder, Phil Wicks, finished first, with an impressive time of 16:21; closely followed by Paul Pollock, who is a former Irish Olympic marathon runner.  Ben Evans - wearing a Halloween mask - and a regular first finisher at Guildford (despite cancer treatment a few years ago), still came in third. Our first lady was Carolyn Baxter, who came in well under 20 minutes, with Jacqueline Penn in second and an under 10 incredibly the third female!

The Barcode 

Week on week, we hear again and again that ‘parkrun is a brilliant and wonderful community event,’ etc, etc; but I won't avoid underlining this cliché, because the intrinsic spirit of the parkrun "movement" is - really and truly - precisely what I want to applaud.  It is without reasonable doubt, the epitome of the hashtag (bear with me) “winning at life.”  We will see you in two weeks’ time at Guildford on the 9th November.  Wherever you end up going next week, please (for the sake of the volunteers and Run Directors), do not forget your barcode.  I will leave you with this brilliant image of a perfect pumpkin symbolising this mantra, by Simon Ritchie, one of our junior parkrun Run Directors.  Make it break the internet!  Have a good fortnight all.

"Don't forget your barcode" pumpkin, by Simon Ritchie

"Don't forget your barcode" pumpkin, by Simon Ritchie, 26 October 2019




Guildford parkrun #373: “Super Saturday”

Well it had been dubbed “Super Saturday” by the press and down at Stoke Park it certainly was as we gathered for parkrun and pacer week! 436 people came along to enjoy the Brexit and rugby free zone! After all the rain we have had recently it was lovely to see the sun shining and a bright blue rep 1

You could feel the excitement of pacer week in the air and there was a big round of applause for all the pacers as well as the usual name check for all of the volunteers. A massive 42 volunteers were involved in making this event happen – so a big ‘Thank You’ to all.
Here are 2 of the pacers ready to go:run rep 2

The pacers obviously worked their magic because 44 people recorded new personal bests. This was particularly impressive taking into account the muddy conditions and the added ‘dog-leg’ on the final approach to the finish funnel. It was great to see additional marshal posts out on the muddy sections of the course to make sure everyone got around safely. The additional encouragement was fantastic!
Congratulations to Barry on his 50th parkrun and Laurie on his 100th. Laurie celebrated his milestone run by volunteering as a pacer. Brandon did his 25th volunteering stint so thank you and well done.
Runners ready to face the mud:run rep 3

A reminder that next week is our Halloween special so please feel free to dress up if you would like to.
See you all next week

Sarah Warr

The event was made possible by 42 volunteers:

Bill WILD • Jo MERLINI • Neill EBERS • Brian O'KANE • Anne CONNELL • Mary NIXON • Mike HARROLD • Prab SATYA • Paul STEADMAN • Ian KENYON • Laurie BANTIN • Alastair DAY • Alastair HESLOP • Emma HAWKINS • Helen PRONGER • Matthew BAYLIS • Rennie CHADWICK • Alan INCE • Clare WILLS • Isaac WILLS • Kiera JONES • Harry CONLAN • Joshua CURTIS • Maddie HESLOP • Richard TOTTY • Emily RASTRICK • Alexandra OLIVER • Katherine PORTMAN • Wayne SMITH • Julian FLETCHER • Sarah WARR • Benjamin CURTIS • Alena STEADMAN • Hyder ROOHANI • Judith MCKNIGHT • Nicholas GOLDMAN • Brandon ACRES • Maria STRONG • Sarah ALEXANDER • Ben GREEN • Ryan BOWDLER • Leonie DAGRIPPINO


Guildford parkrun #372 : slippery when wet

Saturday is a day beginning with 'p', like every other Saturday, 'p' for parkrun.

The day didn't awake very joyful and the little showers were the antechamber of an unwilling rain at Stoke Park, but thankfully these were only a few drops that allowed us, volunteers, to open another event for our runners. It was going to be the 372th event, and curiously, adding them together you will get 12, as today was the 12th day in the month!


By half past eight, runners were showing up, more than expected with a day like today but parkrun is contagious, it's great, a community gatherer and, overall, a social event were locals and visitors from Alice Holt, Queen Elizabeth and Medina I O.W. made their way to the meeting point, even a couple that wanted to run before getting married later on. Best wishes from all the volunteers at Guildford parkrun!

There were no pacers today and the surface was quite muddy and slippery so the initial thought was that the numbers were going to be low, both in number of runners and in finish times.
After the first timers briefing was delivered, it was time for the run director to make his speech. Today we had a junior 10, two 50s and a 100 milestones and 19 first timers, which is always wonderful. Welcome to the parkrun family!


Three, two, one... Go! and the crowd of runners - from children to adults, on their own or with a dog or a pushchair - made their start, two full laps around the beautiful and open wide Stoke Park.


The time keeper was telling aloud the runners timings as they passed by the beginning of the second lap.


Even when the clouds hold, the humidity from yesterday's showers made the course a bit slippery and by the time the runners passed through the finish line, more than one runner found themselves having to stand up from the wet ground. Luckily nothing else of importance other than some mud in their skin and clothing.


Runners and volunteers reunited as a whole by the end: runners looking to scan their barcodes, runners talking with others, volunteers and finishers cheering up those close to go through the finish line where the time keepers registered their times before been given the token by the end of the funnel under the strict supervision of the funnel manager.

At the end, some runners made their way to the cafe located at the bowls club for far from the park whilst others took their way.

A wonderful event, as always.

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