# Event 32 The one with CAKE!

Evening All

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This week's theme was cake because who doesn't love cake? Cake for runners is the norm, a must, a god given right to indulge in after a run. I love a bit of socialising, a natter over a cuppa and some cake is always a winner- it brings people together.

Well done to Steve Buckle who finished first and with a shiny new PB with 17 minutes and 13 seconds! Also his 100th park run!  Congratulations!

First lady who finished  this week, Claire Piggins with 25 minutes 01 seconds. Well done.

Plenty of milestones shining on the results, well done to all.

Thank you who came to run, jog or walk Houghton Hall- more refreshing with the introduction of some blustery wind yet still humid and HOT. 178 of you lovely people joined us- 23 were first timers!! Which is lovely to hear- we'll see you again next week we hope!

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Two special announcements this week, our very own core Houghton Hall team milestones;

Jeannette and Martin 50 parkruns

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Hannah 25 volunteers- she kindly gave "25" numbered balloons out to our marshals this morning to hold.

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Our 19 hero's in the form of our volunteers this week are;

Dave MORGAN • Jeannette EAMES • Martin COWLEY • Matthew BARNETT • Claire THOMAS • Shelah SURGEY • Sharon HAWKINS • Alison HUNT • Claire BELMAR • Robert LEE • Samantha HINTON • Adam LANGFORD • Annalisa FITZGERALD • Dewi MORGAN • Ann BATES • Steve CROSSLEY • Hannah BAILEY • Denise MEEHAN • Paul HINTON

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Houghton Hall parkrun Results Page.

I nearly had to delay results until later in the day- as the pesky laptop wanted to do an update!! Luckily a bit of opening and closing delayed this update :0

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Next week, sees the return of the Pacers. If you wish to pace, please message us via the Houghton Hall Parkrun facebook page.

No tokens lost this week - happy days. :)

Thanks again, see you next time!

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Event #17 – The one that was as nice as Nice

Ok so it wasn’t quite as nice as Nice but it was the warmest event we’ve had.

It was the first event I’ve been RD at where it wasn’t freezing, raining or more often both. It looks like sunscreen is going to be standard issue for the finish area in the summer!

With Marathon season underway we thought we might have a lower turnout but obviously the sunshine inspired people to give us a try as we had 31 first timers in our 167 participants. We had tourists from Manchester and I spotted a Buckingham parkrun top too.

For the first time in a while we had a photographer and massive thanks to Dave for avoiding the flying bugs to take over 450 fab photos of you all – he seems to be a master of capturing those sought after flying feet! You can check them out here.

Now for the regular stats:
• 1 missing token – finish token 128 has gone walkabout
• 167 Finishers
• 31 new to Houghton Hall event
• 9 new to parkrun
• 44 PBs (a massive 26% of all finishers!)
• 12 members of the 100 club and 1 of the 250 club
• 14 clubs represented
• 1,139 Houghton Hall parkrunners have now covered 14,425km
• Age categories from under 10 to 70-74 (proving parkrun’s broad appeal)
• 49% female / 51% male (again showing how inclusive parkrun is)
• 12 unknown runners

A massive thanks to all the volunteers that made it another successful event:
Adrian SHOTBOLT • Dave MORGAN • Rebecca SHOTBOLT • Benjamin WARREN • Ian SAGE • Shelah SURGEY • Sharon ROBERTS • Neil CURRANT • Endre CZIRBESZ • Grace O'BRIEN • Tom FIELD • Deborah SOUTH • Annalisa FITZGERALD • Rebecca FITZGERALD • Sue COX • Hannah BAILEY


Event #14- The one that ALMOST got away!

Hip Hip Hooray! No Snow this week- a dreary start with a little drizzle, however, the proof was in the pudding with a hearty 128 of you coming out to don your trainers!

Below are a few stats for you;

Event Number 14:

128 participants

18 Volunteers :)

35 PBs

36 first timers!

13 members of running clubs represented

Thank you to Clare Littlewood, our hearing interpreter.

Congratulations to Peter Jones, Joni Snell who ran her 10th parkrun and also to our very own Houghton Hall parkrun director, Jeanette for their milestones this week. It is lovely to see, via the results pages all of the milestones being achieved. Well done.

Reaching out to all you wannabe volunteers! Please feel free to opt-into the volunteer emails via the Houghton Hall parkrun page. Have a look at our future roster, and have a go at a role, all abilities welcome! Once again I would like to say a special thanks to our volunteers who give up a few hours on a Saturday. You are truly AWESOME.


Lots of healthy good 'ole competition amongst fellow runners this morning and great support from the crowd. Thank you to the two kind gentlemen who helped fold up the baggage drop tarpaulin when we were packing up to head back to the café.

Running in walking boots is not ideal, I tested this difficult experience after realising we were about to loose token number 80 by a lovely lady power walking from the finish area. If you choose not to finish a park run, this is absolutely fine, however, please do not pass through the finish funnel or take a token.

On to next week, where perhaps, you might just bump into a white and fluffy character on your 2 and a half laps of Houghton hall! Come join us for your Easter Houghton Hall parkrun.

Have an eggs-cellent week!

Regards your Houghton Hall parkrun team








Event #13 – Another chilly but welcoming one

Before we start just a note to say Finish Token 45 has gone walkies and we would appreciate it’s safe return.

So Saturday saw a visit from The Beast from the East’s younger sibling with ‘feels like’ temperatures of a less than balmy -9!

drr snowy prDespite that 114 of you still pulled on your hero pants and came along to take part. This included 9 graduates from the Run Together Houghton Regis Couch to 5k group; if you can make it out in this weather you can make it out in any weather. Massive congratulations and we really hope that you will become regular visitors. run together HR

We also had a group from Access Bedford, a group that works with people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. Claire Littlewood came again to provide sign language support (and put in a fab sprint finish!). We hope you felt very welcome with us; it would be lovely to see you again (I definitely recognised a couple of people from the last visit).

Our volunteers were fantastic turning out in the conditions and both keeping everyone safe as well as providing entertainment on the way round (especially ‘crazy Hannah’ in the woods ;-)). We want to give belated congratulations to Sharon Hawkins on reaching her 25th volunteer milestone.

As you know parkrun is completely free for all; most funding comes from parkrun HQ and it the result of sponsorship (such as Vitality) and covers the basic. A very kind person is the first ever donor direct to Houghton Hall parkrun and without embarrassing them we really would like to say a big thank you. These donations help us with some of the little extra costs that make a parkrun event even better. If you would like to find out more just click here http://www.parkrun.org.uk/houghtonhall/aboutus/

Now for some of our regular stats:

  • 114 runners
  • 23 new to Houghton Hall event
  • 28 PBs
  • 13 members of the 100 club
  • 12 clubs represented
  • Age categories from under 10 to 65-69!
  • 48% female / 52% male (which is pretty representative of the UK as a whole)
  • 7 unknown runners

If you fancy being a Hi-Viz hero then check out our roster

You can volunteer by emailing us at houghtonhallhelpers@parkrun.com



Event #9 – Now we know the sign language for freezing

One of the key parts of the parkrun ethos is inclusivity and today Houghton Hall parkrun welcomed Claire Littlewood, as sign language support. It was a rather chilly morning so she taught us all the sign for freezing! A big thank you to Claire for coming along and helping us make sure Houghton Hall is a parkrun for all.


We had a couple of milestones to celebrate as well with Ian Sage reaching his 100th run.  Claire Thomas and Sharon Roberts carrying out their 25th volunteering events - thank you so much for all the support ladies x.

We welcomed 169 of you, including 53 new people to enjoy our wonderful course. 9 of those were attending parkrun for the same time – so it’s great to see word of our event is spreading. It’s not hard to see why with 54 runners (and walkers) getting PBs, we are gaining a reputation for being quick course as well as a super friendly one.

On the subject of speed, we had a new course record this morning from Robert Barnes in an impressive 17:14 – wow.

A massive thank you to all the volunteers that gave up their time to ensure everyone would stay safe, get their results and most importantly have fun. Without you there would be no parkrun! If you would like to support us by volunteering then please drop us an email at houghtonhallhelpers@parkrun.com. You can see the roster for the next few weeks here: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/houghtonhall/futureroster/

We look forward to seeing you all next week


The One with all the 50s!

3rd February 2018 Houghton Hall Park Run Event #8

The one all about the 50’s

A wet start, with promises of clear skies at 0900. By the time my walk around of the route had been completed, the rain drops were but a drizzle. A first for me in the role of Run Director, am sure the first of many now I have broken the camel’s back! Thanks to Jeannette for taking me through the motions and guiding me today.

Token Number 171 is starting to be quite infamous with the loss and return off this token the week before. Would you believe, today we had exactly 171 runners.
A mix of feelings being in charge, however, a sense of feeling like a bit of a spare part once the run had begun and I was standing at the finish watching team awesome get on with their specific roles.

Special milestones were the theme of the day with Johanna on her 50th parkrun and Adam and Jake on their 50th volunteer. No fewer than 20 of you had 50th milestones, what a great achievement- well done everyone!


Thumbs up to the heroes that are the lovely volunteers, I had today. I watched them all at work in their roles. Confident in the knowledge that a good job was being delivered from each and every one. Hats off to you guys.
Claire BELMAR, Jeannette EAMES, Tom FIELD, Sharon HAWKINS, Alison HUNT, Hayley KEEBLE, Jake LANGFORD, Adam LANGFORD, Robert LEE, Tracy MAHON, Dan MICOLA, Mel NTAMBALIKA, Christopher QUELCH, Shelah SURGEY, Bryn THOMAS, and Jonathan VENNING and Martin Cowley

A strong start!

Johanna on her 50th park run this morning with her daughter Delilah aged 8 who got a fab PB of 36 minutes and 55 seconds a new PB.


Luke, our happy go lucky little boy wonder. 2048px-8840

Adam and his son Jake on their 50th volunteer today. Adam and Jake had no less than 3 roles today! Pre run event set up, first time briefing and last runner tail runner. Adam is also rather nifty with IT too was on hand when I was loading the results as with Jeannette the event director for Houghton Hall parkrun.

Ben and Richard look on, as Jose gives it some!


Despite the rain and a bit of mud we were packing up and heading for tea and results processing at 10am. A great event number 8. Well done parkrunners! Always an amazing sight and so many friendly faces facing their own personal challenges.

We’ll see you next week. Please check out the event photos on Flickr and if you fancy volunteering please visit; http://www.parkrun.org.uk/houghtonhall/volunteer/

Have a good week, happy training!

Your RD for 3rd Feb

Claire x


#Event 7 – One in a million

Over the past few weeks we’ve told you about the finish tokens that were going walkabout and in particular number 171 which had gone missing three times.  My resident mathematician has calculated that this is an almost one-in-a-million chance we that we kept losing the same one. So imagine our surprise when today a miracle happened – we got ALL the missing 171s back!

I’ve done some research into why number 171 might be so special (other than being to old London dialling code).  Apparently, it combines a desire for a new period in life and the desire for a successful & contented life – which I think it a pretty good description of parkrun.  So make sure this good feeling can be felt by future runners by making sure you give the token back!

So enough with the mystical number stuff – who did we host this week:

-          196 runners

-          55 who were new to Houghton Hall

-          13 who did their first ever park run

-          6 who have done over 100

-          1 who has done over 200

-          72 fantastic Personal Bests!

A big thank you also goes to our volunteers, especially given how cold it was out there this week.  It’s their support that means we can continue to have a successful event.  Please do consider getting involved in this side of parkrun – there are roles to suit everyone and you will get all the support you need to feel confident performing your role.  Next week is looking a bit light and later weeks even more so.  Just drop us a line at houghtonhallhelpers@parkrun.com to sign up to help.


Event#6 – The one where we could have learnt from the cosmonauts

Saturday morning was our first really wet event at Houghton Hall but 211 people still got out of bed and came along to take part.

Houghton Hall is still proving popular with those new to parkrun with 18 joining us for their first ever parkrun; alongside 17,221 new starters across the world! Well done to those that came along for that difficult second parkrun – you’ll be hooked now.

It’s rumoured that in the 1960s NASA spent millions developing a pen that would work in space whilst the Russian cosmonauts just used a pencil.  We learnt that ball point pens and wet paper are not a good match either so it looks like we’ll need to invest in some rain protection for the clipboards.  We’ve booked better weather for next week.

We did unfortunately lose some more finish tokens again this week, if you took one home by accient please do bring it back to us. We aren’t sure what is so special about 171 but it’s now missing for a 3rd time so we are especially keen to get this

We don’t want to sound bossy but we do have a couple of requests for future events:

  • Please leave bags in the car as it’s quite heavy to move them all over to the finish
  • Please keep off the path before the start so as not to block it for other park users
  • Please try and be as quiet as possible for the RD briefing – you might have heard it before but someone else might not :-)

So, if you’ve been to us before then please come back and see us again, if you haven’t then come and see how much fun it is.

We are still in need of some more volunteers for this Saturday.  If you are able to help out it would be greatly appreciated, just send us an email to houghtonhallhelpers@parkrun.com letting us know which of the available roles you would like to do and we’ll get you added.

The roster is here : http://www.parkrun.org.uk/houghtonhall/futureroster/


Event #4 The one with all the PBs

Our super organised parkrun team arranged for a nice dry, bright day for event 4 but somehow ‘not freezing’ seemed to get missed from the order. A walk of the course identified a couple of icy patches where puddles had frozen so the setup crew did their best to break them up and highlight them for the runners.

The first timers briefing was again a big crowd; Adam explained how parkrun worked and an introduction to our course.

Then it was time for my debut as RD!  I tentatively climbed up onto the bench (at 5’2” I needed all the help I could get in the height department) and called for quiet.  Thanks for being so obliging and well behaved.

Formalities out of the way we made the small walk to the start and on a 3,2,1,Go the runners were off (twitching at their watches as the countdown went on). By the time we had carried all the bags, coats etc. over to the finish the front runners were already coming past!

Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018They all seemed to be enjoying the fast, flat course (although one of our Tring tourists would only give us flat-ish :-0) and before we knew it the first finisher, Alan Barry from Stopsley Striders  was charging up the funnel (or tunnel as it was called by one of the team) in an impressive 18:10. In total there were  54 PBs! - 11 of which were for people on only their second parkrun :-)

The timers kept clicking and the tokens kept being handed out (so many we had to open Box 2!) as we watched the numbers go up to an amazing 195!  This allowed for some fun as runner 180 crossed the line and the timers called out the number check.

Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018

We had a great range of people running and walking around the lovely park course, it was especially lovely to see families getting active together. The ages ranged from the under 10s to the over 70s - really proving that parkrun is for all.  There were 20 people doing parkrun for their very first time and we hope they loved it and will be back again soon.

Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018

Houghton Hall parkrun 6.1.2018

We had a few tourists (and tourist dogs) including quite a group from Wimpole Estate.  In total there were 101 runners at Houghton Hall for the first time and representatives from 22 different clubs were there – word of Houghton Hall is spreading!

Last but absolutely by no means least I want to thank the volunteers that made the event possible.  Even though we are a new event the team worked really well together and made my RD debut an enjoyable experience – I hope they made your run (or walk) as much fun.

See you next week :-D


Event #1 The Inaugural Run

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

12 marshals marshalling
11 directors directing
Ten juniors a jumping
Nine ladies squatting
Eight men a chatting
Seven first timers a briefed
Six scanners a scanning
Five PBs
Four timers keeping
Three Santa hats
Two tail walkers
And a buggy in a pinch point!

An astonishing 142 (yes, really!) parkrunners headed in force to Houghton Hall Park, Houghton Regis, for the very first official parkrun at Houghton Hall on the 23rd December! Run Director Adam Langford created a calm yet wonderfully jolly environment from start to finish with everything going according to plan, if he was a bit overwhelmed, you wouldn’t have known! There were turkey hats, fancy dress, high hopes, excitement all round and one buggy-dog runner!

20171223 Houghton Hall parkrun Event #1

The whole set up was smooth and orderly, everyone knew what they were doing from the runners to the 22 volunteers, bar few parkrun newbies but they had soon been rounded up, welcomed with open arms and given their first-timers briefing by Jeanette Eames, on this brisk, foggy morning.

For those who didn’t come for our first event, and those who are trying to find a PB course, look no more! A recent lottery funded boost gave this stunning park a lovely visitors centre, climbing frames for the children and stunningly kept gardens to the rear of the park and upgraded parking.

This two and a half lap course feels shorter than it is, starting from mid-way up the park under a canopy of trees. As you set off, you pass some climbing equipment, you’re then led out the park and meet with a six meter incline towards the back end of the course. No drama, until you meet it for the last time! Back in into the second pinch point, its flat again until you loop back, consisting of mud, gravel and tarmac paths, there’s no ‘ideal’ footwear, especially when it’s wet! Coming back through the top end of the park you pass the finish funnel for the first time, probably dropping off your jacket as you go! The tarmac path brings you through a shelter of trees, and towards the visitors center at the front of the park. Diverted then through the mud and/or gravel path be sure to duck and jump under tree branches and over the roots, it makes for a challenging but extra fun addition to the course, of approximately 800 meters over two laps. You exit the wooded area, not far from where you went in, almost wondering how you did so many meters in there as you fly through and make a sharp right to see where you started the course and repeat, going past the finish funnel a second time and then for the third time, sprinting to the finish you leave that greatly loved safety-blanket of grip from the gravel path for the slightly slippery, unnerving grass counterpart to receive your finish token with lots of applause and motivational love given at the end and throughout the course from all our wonderful hi-vis heroes.

There was just short of two minutes between the first male and female finishers. Jed Noblett came in as the first finisher with an incredible sprint finish almost cartoon-like spinning others as he came flying down the funnel in a very respectable 17 minutes and 38 seconds. Our first female finisher came soon after our second and third males with an equally respectable time of 19 minutes and 36 seconds. Another astonishing achievement was made by Margaret Dewinter snatching up the Age Grade record of 82.89% with a time of 24 minutes and 50 seconds. Our fastest and youngest finisher in the JM10 category, with a total parkrun experience of an astounding one run (haha!) was Samuel James in 23 minutes and 28 seconds, narrowly shadowed by Jake Langford and then Oliver Coombes. Our finisher with the most parkrun experience was Dave Thomas, clocking his 428th run in 30 minutes and 37 seconds.

Lastly, I would just like to give a humongous thanks and applaud to Tam Quinn for making this whole thing possible, the whole core team for coming together and getting set up so quickly. To all the volunteers, runners, those who took part in our trial giving us some important feedback, you’re all amazing.

I think I speak on behalf of everyone involved in saying it was a truly tremendous event, run impeccably well and we’re all so pleased that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves (including getting a testimony from a tourist saying how well the event was run and what a beautiful course!) So congratulations to everyone and see you all again next week!

20171223 Houghton Hall parkrun Event #1

By Gwynneth Gordon
Pictures @ https://www.flickr.com/groups/houghtonhall-parkrun/

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