Hilly Fields parkrun is cancelled on 2021-03-06 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Charting the ups and downs and a flour at Hilly Fields #392

Whilst not consciously trying to visit all London parkruns (to become LonDone), the tame volunteer and I are enjoying visiting friends, family and parkruns around the city.

Following a back injury, my preference is for a not many lap course with even camber, a range of speeds including walkers (!), marshals understanding the concept of micro conversations (I’ll explain in a sec) and something fun to look at. Hilly Fields was to be my first attempt at a predominantly non tarmac parkrun in the UK since September.

My cousins live about half a mile away, if that, so following a curry in Ladywell and a late night, we managed one of those rare things for tourists – a sleep in. Arriving before 0830, we met Stephen, the RD of the day and got signed in and had a chat. Then I had a chat with (Graeme) doing first timers briefing before attending that brief and walking to the start. Of the 72 parkrunners at Hilly Fields for the first time, there were 35 new runners or just under 8% of the attendees at their first parkrun. That is super fantastic, well done everyone. Well done also to the 59 who ran the course faster than before – great job.

Injuries suck – but from my recent and not very scientific experience – I had my best parkrun in ages due to the sheer friendliness of everyone. I have lost any shame in walking up hills (though I did have a go the third lap on the big hill to run part of the hill) and I smiled, trotted, walked, gasped, smelled the pine needles, slithered in the mud and smiled again around the three laps. I didn’t even mind getting lapped on the big hill the first time. A delight to watch athletic bodies doing their stuff. I didn’t quite understand the route to start with but understood “big hill x3 run to finish” and it all worked. When injured, the micro conversations that marshals provide “looking fine” “have you seen the kite” “third time? Turn right” make what can be a difficult experience enjoyable. It’s not just about the “looking strong” or “come on you can run this bit”. I am truly grateful that I can still walk – but the tiny part of my competitive brain that likes a finish with a flourish is grumpy that what was achievable is now an effort. A genuine enormous thank you to every marshal – you were amazing and I had the sense that I could have completed the course with much less speed and still you would
have cheered me.

And having finished with half a flourish, which I’m now calling “a flour”, I stayed near the finish funnel and cheered the rest of the run in. Did your parkrun end with a flour or a flourish today? I’m pretty sure that a flour finish totally justifies cake or pancakes. It’s definitely a thing. To the clubs: this is the best bit and a big field meant a number of awards.

Well done to the new member of the most exclusive Junior 10 club. Luke OVERETT SOMNIER, wear your tshirt with pride and around every parkrunning adult who found parkrun later in life. Well done to brand new 100 club members Lorna MEINS and Ricky BOYCE and to one of our original runners, John Barron, who joined the 250 club. Even more specially than the running clubs, congratulations to Layla MATHERS and
Stephen CORRY who joined the purple volunteer 25 times club. May your tshirt links go live quickly.

We didn’t get time to have a coffee in the café but walked back to breakfast full of the buzz of an amazing morning. Thank you EVERYONE.

Pippa White, Queen Elizabeth


Christmas and New Year

We are planning to hold our usual Christmas and New Year's parkruns again this year. As in previous years the New Year's Day run will be at 10 am which gives you the chance for a lie in after the night before or maybe a parkrun double with Peckham Rye or Beckenham if you haven't over indulged!


Run Report, Event #356

It's amazing how many people will turn up on a cold, windy and slightly drizzly morning, to run around our challenging 5k course. Today we welcomed 308 finishers! A very big thank you to our fifteen volunteers, who definitely felt the cold as we cheered, timed, handed out and scanned tokens and tail walked - if this is something you would like to try, please let us know, we love welcoming new volunteers into the fold!

Top Team!

Top Team!


Out of those 308 finishers, 39 were joining us for the very first time and a whopping 40 people managed to achieve a personal best time - wow! We had some runners at very different stages of their parkrun journey, with Nigel joining us for his first ever event. He was encouraged and supported by regular runner, Monica and kept motivated by tail walker Emer - really well done Nigel!



Marking a different milestone was Chris, who was completing his 100th parkrun! He has run 69 of those with us, so is a loyal Hilly Fields runner, but also enjoys some tourism, having visited 14 different parkruns in total, with Belfast Victoria and Ormeau being the furthest afield.

100 parkruns!

100 parkruns!

We were also joined today by a couple of tourists from Fulham parkrun, one on her 40+ different parkrun and one running her 69th different event (sorry, I didn't make a note of your names)! We hope you enjoyed our course, it must come in the top ten out of all those runs, surely? :)

Those of you who come regularly will know that we like to hang out in the cafe after the run, processing the results, catching up and sorting through the tokens. This morning we found that five of the tokens were missing, five! It's important to take a token at the end of the finish funnel, but if you don't have your barcode please hand the token in to one of the barcode scanners - we need to reuse them each week.

Team Token

Team Token

parkrun Practices

In the past year, over 800 different events have partnered with their local GP surgery as a parkrun Practice. This means that staff at the practice will signpost patients towards parkrun and junior parkrun, encouraging them to take part either as a volunteer, or joining in as a walker or runner. This social prescribing is a great way to encourage increased activity and reduce isolation. We are delighted to share the news that we are now partnered with Hilly Fields Medical Centre, who are situated just at the edge of the park. On Saturday June 1st we will welcome staff along to experience the event for themselves and, if you work as a healthcare professional, or know someone who does, why not share this pledge? Alongside this partnership I will be leading a walking group, meeting each Tuesday morning at 10.30 outside the surgery, for a chatty walk around Hilly Fields - feel free to come along or to tell friends and neighbours, who might benefit from some fresh air and exercise in friendly company.

Quite a few of today's volunteers were resting their legs ahead of tomorrow's Crystal Palace Triathlon. It's a lovely local event and great fun to watch, as it takes place completely within the park. Best of luck to all of those taking part, swim, ride and run strong!

Adele :)


Run Report, Event #348

It was so windy up at the top of the hill this morning, that I had to add a bungee to the sign on the tree!


A bit of wind wasn't going to stop play today though, with a number of milestones to celebrate. I was very pleased to have sign language support for this morning's pre-run briefing - the first time we have done this - thank you to Sarah, who did so well to keep up with my waffling! If you are able to sign and would like to take on this role in future, please let us know, we want to make Hilly Fields parkrun welcoming to everyone. Today's event was made possible with the help of seventeen volunteers, who worked very hard to stay upright, as Storm Gareth whipped around!


Today was one for celebration on an epic scale, with three 'unofficial' milestones being run by Sarah and Andrea, who ticked off their 200th parkruns and Tien, reaching an impressive 300th run! Our official milestones, to be rewarded with a lovely t-shirt, were by Manpreet, reaching his 100th and Lisa, who celebrated her 250th parkrun. Amazing!

Manpreet has run 20 of his 100 at Hilly Fields, with a lot of tourism around the country. His local parkrun is now Hackney Marshes, so how lovely that he and the family joined us to celebrate at Hilly Fields.


Lisa started her running with us in our first year, when she was awarded 'parkrunner of the month'. Over those years, she has knocked a whopping eight minutes off her 5k time and last week bagged herself a PB at the Big Half! Not only is Lisa working hard on her own running, but she is Event Director at our Hilly Fields junior parkrun, encouraging and supporting our junior runners on their active journey.


Anyone who has ever been to Hilly Fields during one of our celebrations will know how much we like to share treats and today was no exception, with all sorts of lovely post-run/volunteering snacks to enjoy!




There was one cake in particular that caught everyone's attention, a beautiful '250 t-shirt' created by Heather, using her much-loved chocolate and Guinness recipe.


Today's run was completed by 315 participants, 44 of whom were first-timers! Some of those were visiting from other areas and one person I spoke to had chosen to do his first ever parkrun with us, having travelled from Newcastle for the weekend! Our Saturday morning wouldn't be complete without a post-event chat and coffee (and cake), while the results were processed. I'm sure you'll agree that these look like some very happy parkrunners!


Next week we will be back for more, hopefully with less wind, so keep your barcode handy and keep those legs limber for another uplifting event.

Adele x


Run report for 2 February

Not our normal run report (which we accept are rare) but a lovely report on last Saturday's run from Alan who was visiting from Eastbourne:-

Thank you Hilly Fields

Travelling up from Eastbourne to visit our daughter we were expecting to attend Catford parkrun - but icy paths meant that we turned up to hear the disappointing news that the event had been cancelled. On no! - what no parkrun? Well, credit to my daughter, alternative plans were hastily put together and by 9.00 we were attending the first timers briefing at nearby Hilly Fields parkrun.

As always, huge credit and thanks to the volunteers who had turned up early and made sure the course was safe - mainly adjustments to direct people off of paths onto the grass to avoid icy patches. So not only did we have hills we also ran mainly on grass - a very different experience to the tarmac paths of Eastbourne's very flat course. Plus, as the name suggests, Hilly Fields involves hills - a long slow incline as well as a shorter, but much steeper, uphill - and you do each of these three times! Quite a shock for soft seasiders, where an ornamental bridge represents a category one climb!

Everything was as you would expect at parkrun - friendly, fun and just a great way to start the weekend. But given the circumstances, the volunteers were even more amazing than usual, not jut making sure we were safe but also providing huge encouragement all around the course, especially at the start of the hills. Also, big thanks to Stephen Robson, as Run Director, who had been checking the course during the week and was clearly at the park very early on the Saturday making the necessary adjustments to the course. He was also very clear regards the conditions and the focus on safety as the priority issue - no PBs please and just be sensible. And it was his birthday as well!

Thank you again Hilly Fields parkrun and we look forward to running up that hill again soon!

Alan O'Connor
Eastbourne parkrun

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