Event #115 – 27th May 2017

So, May 27th was a big day at the forest, not just for Georgia & I, who after tying the knot at a church locally then returned to the forest to spend the evening amongst friends & family. The core team also had a special day, with this being the biggest, silliest parkrun ever to be held at the forest. I decided that it was only fair that they told their stories........


So Saturday's parkrun saw something very special at the Forest. Not only Chris and Georgia's wedding but a chance for grown men to dress up as brides. Looking like extras from Frozen, or in my case, a street walker from a 1980's film. Not since the Great Gibbon Escape from Billy Smart's circus or Priscilla Queen of the Desert bus took a wrong turning and ended up at the Forest have the dog walkers been subjected to such a sight. Unfortunately the emergency services couldn't make it in time to help all of the dog walkers. Some have already been released from the Princess Alexandra Hospital but for others it will take a bit longer. Some will not recover fully and will be seen walking round the Forest like extras from The Walking Dead, which to be fair will not be much of a change. This was mainly due to seeing Darren Womack's nipples peeking over the top of his dress like cartoon character Chad looking over the wall. Wot no Bra!


Once upon a Hatfield Forest parkrun there was a special day being celebrated. The event director (or the King of HF parkrun) was marrying his love. They called upon their advisers (some questionable people) for ideas of how to celebrate their special day. A Wedding themed run was decided and a message to the kingdom through the magical message delivery service (facebook) was it made known that on the 27th May 2017 all citizens may dress up in white to make the occasion even more special. So on that morning grown men dressed up in their most magnificent gowns with their running shoes on. Travelling individuals with their trusty steeds (okay dogs but steeds sounds so much better) gave confused looks and some even collapsed at the sight of the men in their dresses. No one took notice as we laughed and joyously celebrated the big event. A poem was read and we all duckweed (it rhymes okay) to the start line. The run was run by runners and the volunteers held down the fort at the finish. Dressed in white, it rained, what could have gone wrong? But that could not turn down the high spirits of the parkrun citizens and we all cleared up at the end with the help of a full grown tiger. Wished Chris and Georgia good luck in their future and left the kingdom for the week.
To Chris and Georgia, Congratulations again!

And they all lived a happily ever after. The end


There were brides, a groom, brides, best men, brides, a vicar, brides, Elvis Presley, brides and even a random tiger that turned out for the parkrun event of the year! Did I mention that there were brides!?! From arriving at the front gate, to car parking, to timekeeping all you could really see were brides! Tourists and first timers no doubt had quite a shock and must have wondered what on earth they had signed up for! They perhaps thought that they had been cast in a filming of ‘The Runaway Bride – part 2 – the Forest Edition’. And as for the poor cows, their usual Saturday grazing disrupted by 350 runners that looked nothing like the usual Saturday runners that descend on the forest. We’re really not sure if they will let us get away with it or will make an extra effort to move our signage next week in the name of payback!

Michelle once more (apparently this is a famous song?)

It's a beautiful day
We're looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna run with you.

Is it the look in your eyes,
Or is it your running shoes?
Who cares baby,
I think I wanna run with you.

Well I know this little forest in Essex we can go oh oh oh,
No one will know oh oh oh,
Oh, come on, girl.
Who cares if we're fast or slow got a pocket full of tokens we can blow oh oh oh,
the blast of a horn,
And it’s go go, go, go-go.

Don't say no, no, no, no-no;
Just say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah;
And we'll go, go, go, go-go.
If you're warmed up, like I'm warmed up.

Cause it's a beautiful day
We're looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna run with you.

Is it the look in your eyes,
Or is it your running shoes?
Who cares baby,
I think I wanna run with you.

I'll go get a ring let the cows sing like moo,
So what you wanna do?
Let's just run girl.

If we wake up and you wanna walk, that's cool.
No, I won't blame you;
It was fun, girl.

Don't say no, no, no, no-no;
Just say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah;
And we'll go, go, go, go-go.
If you're warmed up, like I'm warmed up.

Cause it's a beautiful day,
We're looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna run with you.

Is it the look in your eyes,
Or is it your running shoes?
Who cares baby,
I think I wanna run with you.

Just say I doooooo-ooo uhu,
Run with me right now baby,
Run with me right now baby, baby.

Oh, it's a beautiful day,
We're looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna run with you.

Is it the look in your eyes,
Or is it your running shoes?
Who cares baby,
I think I wanna run with you.

Georgia (the bride)

So it appears that being a parkrun bride is not dissimilar to being a parkrun RD. So at 7am on Saturday morning I found myself at the Forest, not to set up a parkrun but to set up a wedding marquee, complete with finish funnel, route maps and a hovering ED (sorry, future husband) – so really not that different at all. However on emerging from the marquee at something or other past 8 it truly was a wonderous sight to behold, brides, brides everywhere. I could try to be funny here, and take the mickey, as is my normal propensity to do, but in this case it would be misplaced. This week’s parkrun was amazing, and a little overwhelming. From the core team and their sheer excitement for us (and the male members disturbing excitement for dressing up as brides), to friends from all over the country (regular park runners, those who had trained to reach 5k and those who’d registered just to volunteer that day), to our regulars who had embraced the concept and thrown themselves whole heartedly into the day, to those who came knowing nothing and we’re very bemused but just went with the flow. It truly was the best morning, showing both the journey Hatfield Forest parkrun has taken and my own journey as part of it. From turning up at the first event knowing a handful of people, a stressed, single mum who was looking for somewhere to belong, to just over two years later celebrating my wedding day as part of a supportive, friendly, loving community that my husband (yes husband) was fundamental in creating, surrounded by people I love. As a new chapter starts I want to thank everyone who has been part of our journey to this point…you are all amazing and you all rock, but Chris Holt you rock the most!!!!


parkrun is also renowned for its community spirit and inclusive attitude and this was tested to the fore on several occasions around the course. The sight of "regularly" dressed runners shouting words of encouragement to struggling 6 foot plus chaps in bridal gowns must have been a sight to behold - especially when witnessed by several baffled dog walkers.

On the subject of dog walkers it will probably be added to the main briefing at the start of future parkruns that if running whilst in possession of a bodice or bustle you should slow down near dogs, much like a car driver near a horse, if the reaction of one particular Jack Russell to a runner in a pink number is anything to go by.

If there is one thing that our little parkrun community in a small corner Essex should be proud of is the fantastic spirit, sense of humour and community. This came out in spades on Saturday, not just the silliness of fancy dress but the sense of camaraderie across all the runners and it's interesting that to an outsider what could look at first sight like utter madness turned out to be the most welcoming and fun parkrun in 115 goes.

Number 116 may look a bit grey and drab by comparison but that welcome, sense of fun and supporting community will still be there.

Richard (guest Run Director)

Attendance record. Thank you to all my volunteers. Attendance record. I was knocked out at the amazing community feel your event has. Also maybe mention my new attendance record.

In fact, two attendance records held at two different events, is that a first?

Attendance record

Chris (the groom)

So I started volunteering at Great Notley parkrun because I'd reached my early 30's, university mates were starting to disperse around the country, I didn't want to get to my 40's down to two friends & not much love for either of them (a purely hypothetical situation, I like my friends). I felt that getting more involved in parkrun, after tourism & getting to 50 would open up my world a bit to some like minded people.

Then, within a couple of weeks of volunteering, I reached out to the forest as I also wanted a closer parkrun so that I could have a lie in (bringing more running opportunities to the community was a distant second to the desire to stay in bed).

By the time the event went live in March 2015, I was starting to recover from a dark place in life & found myself standing in front of 178 people at event #1. The day was overwhelming, you prepare course maps & marshal lanyards, you don't prepare for the sheer volume of people that want to interact with you.

And yet over that first summer of parkrun it was clear that a community was building. The core team expanded, contracted & expanded further as more people wanted to buy into the event.

We've grown as an event & as a community. Strangers became acquaintances, that became friends, that became a family, that, in the case of Georgia became my wife (I should point out we've been together since the autumn of 2015, this wasn't some kind of shotgun wedding arranged during the new runner's briefing). We've been on quite the parkrun adventure ever since, but there is still nothing that beats coming home to Hatfield Forest & spending time with our friends.

parkrun isn't about that time you record, or the number of runs you've completed, it is about having somewhere in the world where you can escape to on a Saturday morning (or Sunday as a junior). It's your community if you're alone on Christmas Day, your silly adventure on New Year's Day, it's a venue where you can start to run, re-discover a passion for running, a place where all walkers, joggers & runners belong, irrespective of club colours, age or ability.

Event 115 was something that I'll treasure forever, I got to spend my wedding day with my extended family, 400 of them once you include the volunteers. I don't know everyone by name anymore & it still overwhelms me, but thank you for creating a community that we can all be proud of.

Congratulations if you've made it this far, from this point is a normal(ish) run report

The run

This week 354 of you run, jogged and walked round the forest, making it a new attendance record at the forest. 52 were first timers and 44 recorded new PB's.

Male placings:
James BOSHER (SM25-29) of Grange Farm and Dunmow Runners, was first over the line in 17:56 - 23rd time in 42 appearances. James was the fastest bride at the forest!
Mark SPILLER (SM30-34) of Bishops Stortford RC, was second over the line in 18:12 - has been first to finish on 9 previous occasions.
Richard HYNES (VM35-39) of Harlow RC, was third over the line in 18:33.

Female placings:
Fiona HALLS (VW40-44) of Saffron Striders RC, was first (13th overall) over the line in 20:52 - third time in 6 appearances.
Em WARRINGTON (SW20-24) (Unattached) was second (57th overall) over the line in 23:41.
Laura MATTHEWS (VW35-39) (Unattached) was third (60th overall) over the line in 23:48.

The three highest age grades were recorded by:
June BRENNAN (VW60-64) – 79.00% for the time 24:55 (81st overall).
Janet HOWES (VW65-69) – 78.75% for the time 27:22 (144th overall).
Fiona HALLS (VW40-44) – 74.84% for the time 20:52 (13th overall).

The volunteers.

Your parkrun only thrives because of the volunteers who give up some of their time on a Saturday morning & throughout the week. If you're yet to try your hand at volunteering, please consider helping us on a forthcoming parkrunday. We have many roles that can still be combined with running, meaning you can earn volunteering credit alongside your run. These roles are: Barcode Scanning (for sub 22 minute runners), Tail Runner, Token Sorting, Pre Event Setup, Post Event Close Down, Car Parking, New Runners Briefing.

If you can volunteer for this Saturday or future weeks, please drop us an email at hatfieldforesthelpers@parkrun.com

A big thank you to the 42 volunteers who made this event possible.

Adam LANG • Ali BELL • Andrea EDWARDS • Andrew ARNOLD • Brian OWEN • Burak SEZGIN • Chantel JEFFERY • Chris CHEW • Chris HOLT • Claire CADZOW • Clare HARROP • Danny BEAZLEY • Darren BARKER • Elly BARRALL • Francesca PALMER • Georgia HOLT • Grace CADZOW • Hamish ARNOLD • Heather DAY • Iwona ANTOLIK • James BOSHER • Janos ORSOS • Jason HASTY • Joe MILKOWSKI • Kevin CLARK • Kevin WATSON • Kimberley KELLS • Kira BEAZLEY • Laura MATTHEWS • Melanie WATSON • Michael ELDRED • Michelle HASTY • Olivia BERESFORD • Patricia POOLE • Philip CHAPLIN • Rachael ANDERSON • Richard JEFFERY • Richard KELLS • Richard SANDFORD • Robert LOUGHRIDGE • Rosemary NUGENT • Scott NUGENT • Serena BERESFORD • Stefan MILKOWSKI • Steve SAUNDERS • Theresa BURKE • Woody HUDSON • Zoe BEAZLEY


Well done to the following who all join the 10 club

Fletcher BUSHNELL, Madeleine PIRON, William GIBSON

50 Club:

Andrea EDWARDS, Brian OWEN

Health & Safety

A very quick note on Health & Safety. On Saturday there was at least one instance of an adult carrying a child through the finish funnel on their shoulders. Every participant needs to complete the parkrun under their own steam (or within a buggy, baby wrap for those too small to participate). Carrying a child at any point on our course is not advised & not behaviour we want to see repeated at the forest.

Not only is this a safety concern, it also creates confusion around the finish funnel for our timekeeping and finish token volunteers as to whether they should be handing out one of two tokens, recording one or two times on the stopwatches.

So please, enjoy parkrun, enjoy the forest, but respect the parkrun code & make life easy for our volunteers.

Special Event Course

On two of the next three Saturdays the EBA are holding events in Elgin's car park & the northern part of the forest. This means that we will be parking cars on the grass surrounding the Shell House car park, plus we'll be utilising our special event course for the next three weeks.

Please pay attention during the run briefing, to marshals & on course signage if you are unfamiliar with this rarely used course.

Remember! Please check our Facebook or Twitter feeds for any last minute changes.


Event Director

Hatfield Forest parkrun core team:

Run Directors; Chris, Steve, Jason, Mark, Susan, Georgia, David & Rachael
Volunteer Coordinators; Ellen, Luke, Oliver, Grace, Christopher, Michelle, Francesca & Darren