‘Voluntourism’ the Daniel Mullin way

On Saturday 23rd July, Daniel Mullin whose home parkrun is Aylesbury parkrun, came to visit Highbury Fields both as a tourist and a parkrunner. Here is his story.

Saturday morning began with warm temperatures from early on. I left my home in Aylesbury at 7am to travel to London, as I was due to assist with course set up as part of my 'voluntouring'. After a tricky patch finding parking nearby, I made it to the start of the course to begin my funnel assembly duties with co-Event Director John Roback. John epitomises the selflessness shown by some registered parkrunners, having volunteered over 270 times and never having run a parkrun! This is a fantastic attitude and shows someone who is really giving back to his local community.

The highest age grade athletes this week in the male and female categories were Jonny Forsyth in the VM 50-54 category with a stunning 16.45 and an 88.06%; Annie Arnold in the SW 20-24 category ran an extremely impressive 17.45 to claim an 83.38% status.

The first token was claimed by Seyfu Jamaal who clocked a blistering 14.55, just 5 seconds off the all time course record (set just a few weeks ago in 14.50!)

There were no less than 20 first timers. Welcome to parkrun to you all and hopefully you will return.

The most decorated athletes were Stephen O'Sullivan and Carol Moran who both reached 373 runs today.

428 athletes ran, jogged or walked the course in glorious sunshine and warm early morning temperatures. This is a nice event. 5 laps of the same half of the park may not be for the adventurous, but nonetheless a good one to do for even pacing! Just allow plenty of time to park if travelling a distance.

The event could not have happened without the following team of volunteers:  Lindsay MCDERMOTT • Jim DICKSON • Alex CHASE • Peter BROWN • Deborah ROBACK • Andrew MCGEARY • John ROBACK • David MACNAMARA • Lauren GRAHAM • Jennifer GLASSFORD • Lorna STEVENSON • Ruby SAMUELS • Lizzy POLLOTT • Julian OYESIKU • Norman PANG • Conny OYESIKU • Alexander TSIRIGOTIS • Minnie RINVOLUCRI • Andrea LEARY • Joe COOPER • Abhishek LAHOTI • Beatrice REGAN • Sofia RODRIGUEZ • Lauren LAHOTI • Daniel MULLIN



Celebrating 350 parkruns the Lizzy Muggeridge way


Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.

Lately I’ve been trying to run all the Greater London parkruns (11 to go!), but this week I wanted to stay local for my 350th. 253 of those have been at Highbury Fields and there’s no place like home. I love the 5 laps because I find it the most sociable of courses. When I get lapped (or double-lapped!), or if I lap others, we can cheer each other on and get a boost. And marshals have a great vantage point to see participants multiple times (so what are you waiting for? Get some of that volunteer action!). Talking of volunteers, here are this week’s stars on their way to a snazzy new volunteer milestone T-shirt:

Paul KELLAND • Ernestas JEGOROVAS • Alex CHASE • Deborah ROBACK • Joanne HISLOP • John ROBACK • David MACNAMARA • Jennifer GLASSFORD • Eleanor YOUNG • Jerome BOUGHTON MILLS • Lucy HUGHES • Zoe ADJEY • Ruby SAMUELS • Lauren MACASKILL • Melanie ARMSTRONG • Hannah BUTLER • Steven MUNROE • Amy BUSH • Chloe CASSIDY • Laila MCCARRON • Briana WILSEY • Petros RUSSOM

It looked like there were a lot of people at the first timers’ welcome today and the stats tell me that there were 55 of you who experienced the 5 laps of the fields for the first time today, which is amazing! And around half of those did their first ever parkrun! Thank you for joining us! 47 people also ran Highbury Fields parkrun faster than they’ve ever run it before!

39 parkrunners didn’t have their barcode scanned though - remember you can access your barcode easily now from the link in any of your parkrun results emails where you can print it off or you can even get it scanned from a phone screen now.

Lastly, if you think my 350 parkruns is impressive, today also saw one of Highbury Fields parkrun’s original founders, David Mason, run his 400th parkrun - congratulations! Milestones were also reached by Jon Hatchett, Lloyd Pritchard & Eleanor Mitton (25), Ben Murdoch (50) & Bruno Manteigas (100).

Have a great weekend everyone and don't forget to sign up to volunteer at Highbury Fields parkrun some time soon.



Highbury Fields Forever – David Barnett’s thoughts on reaching his 250 milestone

Screenshot 2022-04-02 at 20.28.50As someone who’s recently completed all 59 London parkruns, I’m often asked “which was your favourite?” My answer is usually “it depends”. For views, Hampstead Heath and Ally Pally take some beating. If you want a fast one, Dulwich or Hackney (before they rerouted it across the grass). If you want to arrive by cable car and see the location where Derek Jarman filmed the video for Ask by The Smiths, Victoria Dock is your best bet.

But pressed for a definitive answer in a recent podcast by a fellow parkrun evangelist I eventually plumped for Highbury Fields. While it’s only recently become my nearest parkrun it’s the one I’ve run by far the most times – 60 at the latest count. Why is that?

Well there’s the beautiful location – Islington’s largest greenest space flanked by picturesque Georgian terraces. There’s the fact that unlikely Jack the Ripper suspect Walter Sickert lived in one corner, while Hugh Grant said a rude word in a house in another in the opening scene of Four Weddings & A Funeral. Maybe it’s the image of a young Malcolm McLaren being talent spotted by an Arsenal juniors scout in the 1950s during a kickabout before his anarchic tendencies got him promptly booted out. Or perhaps the zen-like state of inner calm that comes from running five and a bit laps up and down a hilly but not too hilly field.

But really, it’s the people. The regular runners and volunteers are a genuinely lovely bunch and almost an extended family. So when it came to a location for my quarter of a thousandth parkrun there was only ever one contender.

Happily, following a seeming April Fool’s Day prank from Mother Nature in the form of a blizzard of snow on Friday, Saturday morning heralded a glorious spring day, the air crisp and clean, the sky cobalt blue, the trees blossoming, You get the idea. What I’m saying is, it was the perfect day to join 334 other parkrunners and run round and round and round and round and round (and a bit) around Highbury Fields.

There were a whopping 76 first timers – almost a quarter of the field – and no fewer than 44 PBs, including first-placed relative newbie Joe Walker, completing the course in 16:27 on his 33rd parkrun. The first female was one of those 76 first-timers, all the way from New Zealand, Sarah Riceman smashed the 20 minute barrier in her first UK parkrun with a time of 19:58.

Joining the 25 Club were Stephen Nguyn, Mark Colautti, Philip Looker and Jon Dance-Groom. Niall Power notched up his 50th parkrun. Sam Collins hit a century. As for my humble self, I finally qualified for the coveted green t-shirt after a two-year pandemic-induced delay and a shiny new Highbury PB to add a bit of speedy icing on the achievement cake of smugness. Barring any further unexpected global or personal disasters I’ll see you in 2027 for the blue one.

Three hearty cheers to this week’s volunteers:

Anna EDWARDS-STUART  •  Ben CLARKE-JANSSEN  •  Bruno MANTEIGAS  •  Chloe CASSIDY  •  Colleen KRENZER  •  Dana SHOCKMAN  •  Daniel JOHNS  •  David BARNETT  •  David RANK  •  Deborah ROBACK  •  Ernestas JEGOROVAS  •  Gabriella HEATH  •  Gail DAVISON  •  Jennifer GLASSFORD  •  John ROBACK  •  Laila MCCARRON  •  Lauren GRAHAM  •  Lizzy POLLOTT  •  Luke FRANKLIN  •  Olivia DESBOROUGH  •  Paul KELLAND  •  Robyn POTTER  •  Ruby SAMUELS  •  Simon PAGE  •  Steven MUNROE  •  Tristan CASSIDY




We are sorry to say that the decision has been made to cancel this week's parkrun at Highbury Fields due to storm damage and the need for a thorough clean-up before the course can be safely used.

If you're planning on travelling to another local parkrun, please check their social pages as a number of events in and around London are cancelled this week as well.

We hope to see you back on Highbury Fields soon. Stay safe.




Tourist’s View Run Report, 18th December 2021

Highbury Fields parkrun event #463. Guest Writer Karen Cole, Havant parkrun


When we arrived at the start line, a cheery band of volunteers were massing and being briefed as to their duties which lifted our spirits as they do each parkrun morning.

The parkrun fairies were kind to us today as well and managed to keep the rain clouds away whilst we ran, though it was still a warm one. This saw many of us quickly shedding outer layers and gloves as we went on our way.

Thank you to Lizzie for the new runner’s briefing, where new runners were warmly welcomed and introduced to the course layout at Highbury Fields. This 5 lapper course follows the perimeter around Highbury Fields, affording us 5 opportunities to see its features and thank the marshals. This type of course also provided lots of opportunities for the faster runners to receive and indeed give encouragement as they whipped past us slower mortals on their way ahead of us! At the park area for the young or indeed young at heart, there is also the opportunity to burn off some of that extra energy.


Today, tourists from Germany, Sweden, Bristol (initially heard as Brazil, haha!), Lullingstone and Havant (Portsmouth) were using Highbury Fields as their tourist venue. There were a couple of seasoned tourists today as well, who were wearing their Cow Cowells which allowed the perfect opportunity to catch up on where we had been over the last couple of weeks and where we were heading off to in the next coming weeks.

Michael, our RD for the day, gave a big thank you to the other volunteers, who had given up their time to ensure that we were able to run this morning. There were certainly a cheery band of marshals out and about around the course all supporting by giving encouragement and clapping. Don't forget if you are unable to run, have a race coming up or are just generally a good egg, then volunteering is a great way to give back to the Highbury Fields parkrun community. Head over to the Highbury Fields parkrun website for details of the next few weeks roster and sign up for a position that suits you; you get to wear a pink hi-vis jacket, what more incentive do you want? A special well done to Michael who was RD for the first time today - good job!

The trick when working towards your milestones is #DFYB - Don’t Forget Your Barcode they all count towards those milestone tees. First timers, as mentioned above, are always warmly welcomed and are on the start of their parkrun journey and working towards their first milestones. That’s the great thing about parkrun isn’t it, that each person has their own individual journey to talk and share about. Just like Matt Brand (25), Lois Gallagher (25), Gabriela Daniels (25), Katja Lamping (50) & David Renton (100) who all completed milestone parkruns today. Well done and hope your t-shirts arrive soon. 13 finishers out of 180 forgot or didn’t have their barcodes today though, which means no barcode-no result, were you one of them? Especially pertinent though is to also remember to hand in your finish token, as each parkrun needs them all back for next week as they unfortunately are not a souvenir, medal or indeed your own version of Bingo!

There were a fair few people staying at the finish to cheer in their fellow runners. This easy and relaxed finish allowed the perfect opportunity to catch up on how all of our runs had gone and what we thought of the course. Then we went back to The Barn cafe on Holloway Road for the apres parkrun, with refreshing drink options and a chance to purchase hot and cold food options to go with them which helped warm us back up again. I can certainly recommend the hot chocolate too!

Thank you again Highbury Fields parkrun, for getting our weekend off to a great start. Look forward to seeing you all again.

Karen Cole (Havant parkrun).



Special Edition Run Report, 23rd October 2021

Former Event Director Martin Black, now a parkrun Ambassador and an active parkrunner when circumstances allow, very kindly wrote a Run Report for us after yesterday's event.

Saturday saw my first running return to parkrun since International Women's Day in March 2020. I made it back to Highbury Fields on its first event following Lockdown in July to carry out my favourite volunteering role of barcode scanning. But due to family care issues that have arisen in the past year, yesterday was the first opportunity to actually run at a parkrun event. And a joyous occasion it was. Taking full advantage of the new course I finally bettered my PB set in May 2013. But that wasn't the reason for my joy. No that was from catching up with so many members of the parkrun community that I had barely seen the past 20 months. Unfortunately I couldn't spend as much time chatting as I would like and certainly no post parkrun coffee. Since turning up at Highbury Fields in December 2011, it has been the community spirit that has kept me coming back to parkrun. The friends I have made here over the years have been very important to me and have been even more so the past 20 months.

The spur to organise things so I could attend was to celebrate Kathryn Donkersley's 250th parkrun. A milestone, like so many others, delayed by more than year. Kath, as well as a regular at Highbury Fields, is a stalwart at juniors at Highbury Fields and Caledonian Park. During lockdown Kath created the Cally-Camden (not) parkrun route. She started running it on her own but as rules allowed more than 2 dozen of us would run it at some point over the following 12 months.


Also reaching milestones this week were Jeff Eaton (50), Roisin MCKEON, Mark Benjamin JACKSON, Paul GOODSTADT, Frances AMBLER, Shiobain O'CONNOR (25). Yes 25 is now a milestone and qualifies for a purple t-shirt! Log on to your profile to see your milestone progress and t-shirts that you can order (you will find a link to your profile at the bottom of your results or volunteer thank you emails).

As always a huge thank you to this week's volunteers:

Melanie ARMSTRONG, Ben BOND, Amna BUSHRA, Alex CHASE, John EVESON, Luke FRANKLIN, Michael GRAY, Lucas GRELA, Stephen HEY, Thomas HILL, Sean HODGES, Alice KANU, Colleen KRENZER, Paul MAKIN, Ella MARSHALL, Joseph OLIVE, Julian OYESIKU, Chris PEACOCK, Lizzy POLLOTT, Adrienne QUARTLY, David RANK, Deborah ROBACK, John ROBACK, Theresa WHITE, Emma WRIGHT

volsIt's wonderful to see so many new volunteers (as well as long standing ones!). I'm biased of course as I'm more likely to be seen in hi-viz than in running kit at parkrun. There is so much to gained from volunteering that I would entreat everyone to give it a go. It should be seen as a positive act and not giving up a run/walk. Of course if you are not able to volunteer at parkrun then that's fine, there is certainly no obligation to do so. I would recommend listening to Jaz Banger (Head of HR & Volunteer Management at parkrun) in the 8th October Free Weekly Timed podcast to get some more positive messages on volunteering which you can find here

I hope to see you all soon,

Martin Black


Highbury Fields parkrunner profile – Lizzy Muggeridge


Lizzy Muggeridge has notched up 314 parkruns since she first started parkrunning in January 2010. She is also a former Highbury Fields parkrun Event Director, has volunteered 266 times at 164 events and has been featured in Runners World. Here's her story.

When & where did you start parkrunning?

I spectated at the very first Finsbury Park parkrun on October 31st 2009, as my friend Claire was running. It was another couple of months before I ran at a parkrun myself, on January 2nd 2010, again at Finsbury Park.

What prompted you to join parkrun?

Claire got me to go along to start with, but it took a while for me to get going myself as I’m not really a morning person!

What did you think after your first parkrun?

I fell over going up the icy hill in Finsbury Park, so it wasn’t the greatest experience! I didn’t go again for another 3 and a half months!

What’s your most memorable parkrun?

There really are so many! The first that comes to mind is when I got my all-time PB of 23:54 at Highbury Fields on December 12th 2015. I never dreamed I could ever run that fast and I hadn’t even planned it that day. And it got me in a Runner’s World article too! Other notable mentions are my 250th parkrun, timed to coincide with Stephen Hey's 250th parkrun and Martin Black's last day as Event Director.

Also memorable are all the anniversary runs and a couple of times when my running club, Mornington Chasers, staged volunteer takeovers - stressful to plan but so rewarding when it all came together.

What do you like most about parkrun?

I love the community, both at my home parkrun (Highbury Fields of course) and when I go somewhere where I don't know anyone. Everyone is so welcoming! And the fact that it’s free and accessible to everyone is so great too.


Volunteering at parkrun - your thoughts?

Speaking from my experience as an Event Director, I know that without volunteers there would be no parkrun! Volunteering is a great way to meet people, it’s very rewarding and it gives a totally different perspective from running.


How are you coping without parkrun?

I was disappointed at first, since I’d been planning to try and run 50 parkruns in a year and do a bit more parkrun tourism in 2020. But now I’ve got used to my Saturday morning lie-ins so it will be tough to give those up again. But I’m looking forward to parkrun coming back. I’ve done a few (not)parkruns but it’s not the same!


Highbury Fields parkrunner profile – Meseret Grela

Our featured parkrunner this week is Meseret Grela. Since she made her parkrun debut in August 2012, Meseret has run at 113 events, 94 of which have been at Highbury Fields. She set her very impressive parkrun PB in 2017 at a speedy 20:26 but remains terribly modest about her running prowess. Here she tells us about what parkrun means to her.


When & where did you start parkrunning?
I first joined parkrun on August 18th 2012 at Highbury Fields.

What prompted you to join parkrun?

I really enjoyed running beforehand and observed a few parkruns in the past. I saw a sense of community and friendliness during and after the events and I wanted to be part of it. So I thought why not enquire and join. From then on, I have been a part of it.

What did you think after your first parkrun?

My first parkrun was extremely exciting; it was nice to have a sense of competition as well as enjoyment. It really pushed me to try my best. I met two of my friends Jessica and Jonathan on my first run and we have had friendly rivalries from time to time ever since!

What was your most memorable parkrun?

My most memorable parkrun was my 100th. It was great to run it alongside Jen Glassford who was also completing her 100th. We also had a lot of support from her children Ruby and Felix, as well as my sons, Joseph, Lucas and Nathan. It was great to finally reach the milestone and earn the t-shirt!


 What do you like most about parkrun?

I love the fact that there is always someone there to chat to, whether it’s before or after the running. The conversation is about encouragement, personal PBs, training and many other things. It is also great to see new faces every week, and to see parkrun grow. Not only this, but also the fact that the parkrun team of volunteers invites you to the post-run catch-up/coffee location each week which is so uplifting.


 Volunteering at parkrun - your thoughts?

Volunteering at parkrun is great. It is well organised and it’s nice to give back to those who helped at the start. It’s heart-warming to see new runners and it’s a time to really cheer on those trying to break their PBs.


How are you coping without parkrun?
I’m missing it so much! I can’t wait for it to return and I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces again.


Highbury Fields parkrunner profile – Lorna Stevenson


Introducing the co-Event Director of one of our neighbouring parkruns, Lorna Stevenson of Finsbury Park fame. As well as being fully committed to the smooth running of a rapidly growing parkrun, Lorna has managed to squeeze in some parkrun tourism here and there (including junior parkrun with her nephew), and, more recently, can be found volunteering at one of the Covid Vaccination Centres in Hackney (which by sheer coincidence is just a stone's throw away from the fabulous West Reservoir where she swims whatever the weather).

When & where did you start parkrunning?

My first parkrun was 16/05/2015 at glorious Finsbury Park.

What prompted you to join parkrun?

I had done the classic mid-20s (okay, maybe late 20s) move to London and realised that it's actually quite a big place! I had friends scattered across the city but realised that unless I wanted to spend my life on the tube I'd need to make an effort to get to know people near me. I knew I wanted to put down roots around Finsbury Park, so parkrun attracted me as a community event where I might get to know my neighbours.

What did you think after your first parkrun?

I wish I could remember! Probably that I was too hot, since I've got Scottish blood that doesn't like running in temperatures over double figures.

What’s your most memorable parkrun?

So many! I was very fortunate that my mum and my sister were able to come down and run my 100th parkrun with me at Finsbury Park, which was awesome. We were also really pleased to be able to throw a proper party for Finsbury Park's 10th birthday, with cake, party poppers and an appearance from Paul Sinton-Hewitt himself.

In terms of one-off events, Cambridge the day before ex-Finny P Event Director Diane's wedding.

New Earswick (near York) when I'd got up at 5.00am the day after my MSc exams finished to get a train early enough to meet an old uni friend for parkrun before continuing on to see my sister (you could smell the cheap prosecco sweat from the end of the funnel!)

Seaford Beach where I was the only member of the tri-club willing to get up pre-breakfast to get a bus to parkrun and then ran home over Seven Sisters.

Christmas Day at Fort William which is now a 'Stevenson Family Takeover Tradition' (always fun to do the first-timers briefing as Run Director having never formally run the course yourself!).

My nephew's first junior parkrun and the brass band on Christmas Day, both at Huddersfield.

And of course, Highbury Fields, particularly my first parkrun back after I broke my neck in a small bouncy-castle incident. No photos were taken (I was very hot) but I sometimes wonder how many other people have completed a parkrun in a full neck-brace!

Tourism collage

What do you like most about parkrun?

The people! My 'meet the neighbours' goal has been firmly achieved. My parents (who live in a small village in the Highlands) find it amazing that I can pop to the shops and bump into several friends on the way. So many of these are parkrunners and you've never known true friendship like people being willing to come over to your house at 7.00am to try and walk a birthday balloon arch to the park (strongly not recommended, I still have nightmares about the balloon arch!)

Volunteering at parkrun - your thoughts?

As Event Director, my life would be impossible without volunteers, from the people who jump on scanning when they can see we've got a big queue to the Run Directors that have spent hours sat with me and my co-Event Director, Andrew trying to work out the best way to overcome the various logistical challenges that a growing event presents.

For me, volunteering was the key to getting to know more people at parkrun. I recognised a few faces after some runs, but it was only through volunteering that I got to properly chat and get to know people. Again, the broken neck was actually a big help - I had an eight week run of volunteering most weeks and a pretty memorable look. For that reason, it's really important to me to try and maintain a great experience for volunteers as Finsbury Park grows. With turnouts sometimes over 800 the stress can sometimes show, particularly for our fabulous timing and tokens teams, but I always try to get round and have a chat (and normally offer some cake) to say thanks.

Volunteering collage

How are you coping without parkrun?

Both the Finsbury Park co-Event Directors have taken the opportunity of parkrun's 'off-season' to buy (separately!) our first flats near Finsbury Park - something almost as stressful as waking up on Saturday morning to find there's a sinkhole on the route.

Over winter I definitely found I missed parkrun more - all my races were cancelled, there were no Wednesday night beer runs or Thursday night guide runs and no parkrun. I was really struggling to motivate myself to run. James Tavener, one of the Finsbury Park Run Directors runs a brilliant (but hard, quite a few of the other teams have been on Only Connect!) online quiz that gave us a little bit of parkrun sociability every week and then for exercise I decided to give myself a bit of a break from running and break out the home Zumba, HIIT and Box Fit classes. I'm not sure how much our downstairs neighbours appreciated it, but it provided a much needed break and I've now got my running mojo back. Also, if you've spoken to me for more than 30 seconds you'll know my first love is swimming. I've been spending a lot of time hanging out at West Reservoir, often bumping into parkrun friends, old and new.

Any other thoughts?

The question on everyone's lips at the moment - when is parkrun coming back? At Finsbury Park, we're working towards parkrun's national re-start date of June 5th but we know from previous experience that the current situation makes forward planning tricky. We're waiting to see what the situation looks like closer to the time before making any solid plans.


Highbury Fields parkrunner profile – Jonathan Pegg

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One of the reasons we are so pleased to profile Jonathan Pegg is that he always manages to appear in the finishing area at Highbury Fields just when he's needed most. It's like he has a sixth sense that we need an extra barcode scanner or finishing funnel marshal and suddenly there he is. Usually wearing a running shirt customised for the occasion.

Volunteering at Highbury Fields and other parkruns at 44 events (45 volunteering tasks) hasn't stopped Jonathan from also completing a massive 451 parkruns, making a lot of parkrun friends along the way.

When & where did you start parkrunning?

My first parkrun was at Banstead Woods parkrun number 99 on 11th April 2009.

What prompted you to join parkrun?

I saw the results for Banstead Woods parkrun printed in the local paper and thought I would like to do this.

What did you think after your first parkrun?

I absolutely loved it and went back to Banstead the following 2 weeks, had a couple of weeks off, then went back again on 30th May.

What’s your most memorable parkrun?

My most memorable parkrun to date has been my 250th at Banstead Woods.

What do you like most about parkrun?

I like the fact that parkrun is for the many not the few. Looking at my photos, they tell this story so well; groups of happy, smiling parkrunners united by something that appeals to us all.


Volunteering at parkrun - your thoughts?

I never realised how much enjoyment you can get and give by volunteering at parkrun until I tried it. Editor’s note: we have certainly appreciated Jonathan's appearances on Highbury Fields barcode scanning or finishing funnel marshalling after finishing his own parkrun, for which we are always so grateful.

How are you coping without parkrun?

In the absence of parkrun I am going out visiting different parks in my local area every weekend and sometimes during the week, to get my own unique parkrun experience.

Any other thoughts?

It is so good that parks have stayed open during the pandemic so that the general public still have somewhere to go in their spare time, to breathe fresh air and exercise.

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