Harrow Lodge parkrun is cancelled on 2021-05-15 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Probably the best parkrun report for today in the world

Harrow Lodge parkrun number 363     28th March 2020

Today’s run set a number of records. In view of the Coronavirus situation it was only allowed by express permission of Right Hon John Cleese MP, CDM & bar, the Minister of Silly Walks and was in recognition that this is the nearest day to April 1st. The Event Director had decreed that the course should be run in reverse and also that it should be on a handicap basis. Any runners with a time of 29:59 or less on any parkrun would also need to run backwards.

We had a number of visitors today including the back four of West Ham United. This was unusual because they don’t normally all turn up on the same day. It was interesting that they all wore the same shirt number which was 17 and undertook a very strange warm up routine that was orchestrated by David Moyes in which they ran about, constantly changing directions and shouting “Karen says 18 is no good.”  Most bizarre.

The course had dried out quite a lot with many parts of the course only 2-3 inches deep in mud. There was a good turn-out and as normal we saw just a few more runners than at Bushy Park.

The start was interesting to say the least. Joaquin Polo put his shirt on back to front and tried to suggest that meant that he didn’t need to run backwards. The pre-race briefing took a bit longer than normal as the West Ham lads didn’t understand what running backwards was, it needed John Rozee to show a video on his phone from Stamford Bridge. Eventually at a couple of minutes past 9 we were away. Another problem occurred at the first turning point where the marshal was Liz “bucket lady” Preston. She had been self-isolating indoors for the past 2 weeks and hadn’t been able to collect anything for “First Steps”. This created some serious withdrawal symptoms for her and never one to miss an opportunity she had produced a board saying “This way AFTER you have MADE a contribution”. Nobody was brave enough to try and rush past Liz so for most it was back to the start to get some cash.

Not everybody however was unprepared as our eventual winners, three runners from a club called “Queens Angels”, splashed the cash before going on to splash the mud. Having rounded the first turn point they were heard to say “it’s a marathon not a sprint” as they headed off, largely on their own, past the lake.

As they ran alongside the stream in a fairly muddy section one of the marshal’s had got into trouble in the mud and was standing on one leg with the other leg “bootless” and looking as if she was about to fall over. Despite the three runners being in the lead they stopped to help her and then were on their way with a cheery “that’s what we do”. They did pass another marshal midway round the course who was not bootless but legless after 2 weeks of self-isolation at home. Your secret is safe with me, Mel.

The marshals on the finish funnel were watching the three Queens Angels runners sprint toward the finish and were taking bets on who would be first but in another first for Harrow Lodge there was a triple dead heat. M Seacole, F Nightingale and P Aramedic went over the line together.

The West Ham runners finished in 18th, 20th, 22nd and 24th and as they crossed the line they were shouting “social distancing means 2 metres apart” which did however allow runners in between. As the players queued to register their time a lady had to be escorted away from the marshal’s table where she was trying to stop the players handing over their tokens and shouting “null and void”.

First visitor over the line was Eliud Kipchoge as he had to stop several times over the course as his Nike Vaporfly shoes were sucked off by the mud. The course at Harrow Lodge is a bit like life, in difficult times it is always a bit of a leveller. This was particularly bad around the new leisure centre where the contractors had planted an extensive border of spaghetti plants. Normally these take up a lot of water but it does not appear to have happened here.

There was only one personal best this week. Keith Bates [AKA Another Keith] managed to come in at 29:59 which is his first time under 30 minutes. [Note from proof reader. You running a time like this may mean people will think that this report is a complete work of fiction]

The team from Queens Angels were asked at the end how they were the only people running with money. They admitted that like many people they had seen the sign beforehand but unlike others they had understood what the sign meant and had taken time to prepare.

As normal there was cake at the end of the run but in another first there was also some loaves and fishes. When all of the runners had taken what they wanted there seemed to be loads left over and so Liz Preston stood up to the plate, in every sense, and agreed to take the left overs for First Steps. She also said that on average all runners had contributed a fiver a head to First Steps which was great because like most charities they had suffered a serious drop in income whilst also having to meet greater need.

Not sure when the next parkrun will be, but in the meantime, stay safe and be confident that when we do run the course will be drier.

Another Keith.

PS. The pandemic is taking an enormous toll of those people dying from the virus and also an enormous economic cost. What is probably going to be a bigger issue in the medium and long is the effect on people’s mental health as they self-isolate and distance from other humans. Many people are on their own in flats with little access to outside space or cooped up with children who can’t [or won’t] understand the situation or in relationships that in practice may only be workable if the partners do not see each other for large parts of the day. Parkrun would normally provide this social interaction.

Now we have nothing.

But we only have nothing if we accept the situation. Over seven hundred thousand individuals have already volunteered to assist the NHS and this is still rising. Lots of individuals are doing their bit and in the parkrun family that is what we must all do. Becoming involved WILL help your mental wellbeing and it needn’t being anything large. Give people you know a phone call just to chat and ask if everything is OK, is there anything that you want? Put a note through a neighbour’s door [or several doors] and introduce yourself. This may be just what they needed as they were inching closer to some desperate action. Social distancing means that we cannot hug but a psychological hug by means of a phone call will be almost as good. Look out for each other and be assured that we will get through this and we will get through it better together. Stay safe.


Report Number 362 14th March 2020

Today’s run was significantly affected by concerns over the Coronavirus issue. Numbers were down to just 105 runners but every cloud has a silver lining. Many long-standing Harrow Lodge parkrunners are now able to claim a top 100 finish and moreover in muddy conditions.

First home this week was Robin Smith in a time of 18:50. That is 4 weeks in a row of first place finishes for Robin. He has managed three in a row on several occasions before but I believe that this is the first time for 4 consecutive first places. Well Done. First visitor home was Ben Tremain in 4th place from Eltham at 22:47 running in the JM15-17 category.   The first woman home was Emily Dixon in the JW15-17 category and a regular at Harrow Lodge.

A number of the family groupings who ran their first parkrun last week returned this week. Tony Warner achieved a top 10 placing in 9th with a personal best of 24:34 in his second parkrun. He obviously read last week’s report where I suggested he needed to add some sprints to the training schedule as this week he beat Rosie Warner who came in 3 places back at 24:46 also in a PB. We need to watch how this match is going to unfold over the rest of the year. My money is on Rosie. Thomas Richardson JM11-14 and Cheryl Richardson VW40-44 returned this week once again both achieving a PB. Thomas took almost 4½ minutes off his time and Cheryl took 3½ minutes off. As last week Thomas beat Cheryl. Frank McCloskey and Ian Mellows both VM50-54 dragged each other around and also achieved PB’s in the same time of 27:19.

In total we had 16 first timers on this course of whom 8 were new to parkrun with the other 8 being “tourists”, A “newbie” family group this week was Sophie Herbert JW11-14 who stepped up this from the junior parkrun and brought Jamie Herbert VM35-39 along too. Both finished together in 34:21 As I have said before parkrun is not competitive but I do not expect this “togetherness” to last for many more runs. Let’s watch this space! The other newcomer was Rosa Toci in the in the JW11-14 category who joined Ruby Johnson JW11-14 who had run for the first-time last week. GO THE GIRLS. Edward Stores ran for the first time in the SM30-34 and finished in a very creditable 15th place in a time of 25:07. Not much further back was David Decosta VM40-44 in a time of 25:45. Our visitors came from other parts of Essex and adjacent counties and also from Australia. Jayne Hensley swapped the Diamond Creek parkrun near Melbourne and gave Harrow Lodge a whirl along with 3 of her Aussie friends. Their trainers all looked very new at the start but I am not sure that the shop will take them back if you use the “we only wore them once” excuse so you may as well come back next week. Well done to all and welcome to Harrow Lodge parkrun

To provide an age-related level playing field each runner is give an age related % score. The age adjusted winner of this weeks run is Linda Smith who runs in the VW 65-69 age group and who achieved an age adjusted percentage of 76.05%. Second was Robin Smith VM35-39 and third was Rosie Warner JW11-14. This does not augur well for Tony Warner who was 18 places behind Rosie on the age-related basis.

Finally, as always, thanks to the volunteers without their efforts there would be no parkrun.

P.S. This MAY be the last parkrun for a few weeks as the parkrun organisation await information from the government with regard to whether outdoor sporting events can go ahead. There appears to be a likelihood that events over 500 people will be banned. Harrow Lodge parkrun has never achieved this number however the decision to go ahead will be made for all parkruns in the country. If we remain open and most others in the vicinity close we could then be swamped with visitors. It will therefore be a case of “one out, all out”. Up to date information can be found as a red banner at the top of the Harrow Lodge parkrun website. This is normally updated at 8am each weekday morning.

My mother was prone to say “a bit of fresh air is better medicine than anything from the doctor”. This was however in the 1950’s and things have moved on a bit since although I remain a great fan of fresh air. However, when we are able to run remember that if you have any symptoms then for the sake of your fellow runners please self-isolate and do not run.

If the parkrun does go ahead next week remember that roadworks will be in place in Abbs Cross Road so that you cannot access the park from the Hornchurch end. Parking is available at the sports centre or access Abbs Cross Road from the Elm Park direction.

See you next time.

Another Keith.



Harrow Lodge parkrun report number 361

Today was International Women’s’ Day and the course was awash with purple. A bright sunny start for 149 runners facing up to a course that was still suffering from the rain over the past few days/months. It’s Harrow Lodge and winter so there will be always be mud it just depends where and how deep.

I wrote in last week’s report that I was unwilling to publicize the top ten placing of John Rozee our esteemed Event Director. I must however publicize his exceptional IT skills as over only a few days he has managed to remember all of the passwords required to publish the parkrun report.  WELL DONE JOHN. It would be churlish for me to report that he did NOT achieve a top 10 finish this week.  Watch this space for more top 10 news in the coming weeks.

First home this week was Robin Smith in a time of 19:02. That is 3 weeks in a row of first place finishes for Robin. Well Done. First visitor home was James Toynton in 3rd place at 21:14 just 12 seconds behind the local “lad” Antonio Pecoraro from Havering 90 Joggers in the VM55-59 category.  The first woman home was a visitor, Bo Pasztor in 23:08. Not bad at all as she ran in the JW15-17 category. It was obviously a family outing for the Pasztor’s as brother Hunor came in 20th in the JM15-17 with Sophie in 28th place and Napsugar 45th both in the JW 11-14 category. Bradley Duke [JM11-14] came in a very creditable 4th place in a time of 22:20 which is his best positioning to date. Ben Holland also JM11-14 achieved a top ten finish and a PB in a time of 23:50.

In total we had 32 first timers on this course of whom 8 were new to parkrun. 6 of the newbies were female so perhaps International Women’s day worked. Hopefully you will now be basking in a glow of physical self-satisfaction and you will understand that parkrun is not competitive but it is friendly. Please come back soon. I did promise in last week’s report that conditions will be better this week. I lied, but I do promise that it won’t get much worse and that eventually it will get better.

There were a number of family newbie groups, Rosie Warner JW11-14 dragged out Tony Warner to run their first ever parkrun and she beat him by 3 seconds. Tony you are letting the VM45-49 side down! Perhaps you should try putting a few sprints into the training schedule but also remember that she is going to get faster while you are getting older and slower. Another family newbie group was Thomas Richardson JM11-14 who ran with Cheryl Richardson VW40-44. Once again the youngster beat the old ‘un. Libby Gore JW11-14 ran with Nicola Gore VW40-44 and Libby romped away in the final stretch. Looks like a bit of a pattern here.

I put out a challenge to Peter Sass in last week’s report. He had run a PB in the very wet conditions and I queried whether he would be back for this week. Well he DID come back and indeed ran another PB. Well done also to nine others who also ran PBs’. Included amongst these is Raymond Akuaku who is adopting the slow and steady approach to time reduction as he shaved a full 1second off his previous PB time.

Belated congratulations for Patrick Coleman who completed his 100th parkrun last week.

We welcomed a number of visitors this week from Milton Keynes and also a group from Thurrock Nomads who all turned out in retro running gear. As if the mud wanst enough you have to make it more difficult. It is good to know that the tradition of the Great British Nutter is alive and well.

As I have mentioned parkrun is not competitive. It is a race that we all start at the same time and finish consecutively and this week we had 11 year olds are running alongside people in the 70-75 age range. To provide an age-related level playing field each runner is give an age related % score. The age adjusted winner of this weeks run is Linda Smith who runs in the VW 65-69 age group and who achieved an age adjusted percentage of 75.68%.

We are all running against the clock but some of us are running against the calendar. Parkrun is a wonderful way of ensuring that we are able to push against old father time, or on International Women’s Day should that be old mother time? Keep running [or walking] but always keep pushing.

Historically there have been lots of excellent photos of the Harrow Lodge parkrun but nothing for some time. Come on you photographers lets show those who are not sure about running what a good time they are missing out on.

Finally, as always, thanks to the volunteers without their efforts there would be no parkrun.

See you next week.


Another Keith.




Harrow Lodge parkrun number 360 29th February 2020

A number of firsts today. The first run that has ever been run on February 29th. The first run that has been held immediately after a rainstorm of biblical proportions and my first parkrun report.

When I volunteered to write the report John Rozee our esteemed Event Director mentioned that I could write whatever I wanted but then mentioned, twice, that he had just made a top 10 finish. I think that this would be an abuse of his position to give him this level of publicity so I have decided not to mention it.

We had 102 intrepid runners plus 21 volunteers who braved the mud, rain and wind of Harrow Lodge. The decision was made to run the course backwards presumably to keep the marshals on their toes in terms of knowing where to stand and which direction to point in whilst also holding an umbrella that was being blown inside out in the wind.  On behalf of the marshals our thanks to the “management” for ensuring that we don’t get bored doing the same old thing week after week.

First home this week was Robin Smith in a time of 19:32 and special mention to Shane Hart finishing second in a time of 20:28 and being in the male 11-14 category. The first woman home was Karen Cook in 19th place in a time of 27:44. Despite the conditions there were 5 individuals Tracey Plane, Joy French, Nadine Holland, Jen Bull and Annie Wright who ran Harrow Lodge for the first time. Please come back and run again in the future as next time I promise it will be better conditions.

Amazingly in these conditions there were a number of people who recorded personal bests. Peter Sass ran his first ever parkrun last week and then came back this week and took nearly 2 minutes off his time. This was a great achievement but a greater test will be, will he come back next week? No pressure there Peter! Other PB’s were recorded by Daniel Maskell and Jack Hetterley the latter running in the JM10 category. Well done to all of the youngsters.

Finally back to the volunteers. Every week means 20-25 individuals give up their time [or the opportunity to run themselves] to allow the run to go on. Without these people the run wouldn’t happen. If you haven’t volunteered yet then why not give it a go?

Next week is International Women’s day so let’s have a good turnout from everyone and you can show your support by wearing purple.

Another Keith.


International Women’s Day #IWD parkrun – Sat 7th March 2020

We are delighted to be supporting parkrun’s celebration of International Women’s Day, also supported by This Girl Can – which you may have seen on social media.

Of course everyone is welcome at parkrun – always!

But the figures and research show that women are less likely to take part in parkrun. Despite the fact that females make 54% of registrations, they are less likely than men to take part in parkrun and to continue participating. International Women’s Day #IWD parkrun is a fantastic opportunity to encourage more women and girls to participate.

There are many barriers that hold people back – as #ThisGirlCan has been highlighting.

So we invite you all to come along on 7th March 2020 for a parkrun celebrating female participation. Please do talk to the women and girls that you know about how great parkrun is, support them to overcome any worries that they have and come along and have fun.

We meet afterwards in the excellent cafe, Lakeview Palace for a friendly cuppa/ breakfast/ chat.

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