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

A reflection of London 2018

A week on and reflection on the London marathon experience 2018.

Build up;

Since January I had been putting the marathon training in with the one intent of making London as my A race.

I managed to keep my running pretty consistent achieving 120-140km per week and using races as my speed sessions. Another good way of keeping sharp for me is parkrun, which not only gave me a good work out but also good opportunity to catch up with friends and discuss running in particular. To enable me to get the mileage in whilst working full time meant I had to be up and out by 5.30am before work mainly doing 11k, then straight to the gym after work for a further 15-16k. People ask do I enjoy running and the answer is yes but to be honest, I don’t really like the training but I know if I wasn’t committed and made the time then firstly, I wouldn’t be able to achieve my dream of a sub 2.30 Marathon and secondly enjoy the feeling of racing well on a Sunday.

The races were going well despite the awful cold conditions. I broke my half PB to 1.10 dead and my 20 mile time went into the 1.49 region, I also became the Oxfordshire half marathon champion a few weeks out. This was giving me great confidence in being able to achieve the sub 2.30 dream.

With things going well I then developed a niggle; some issues with the hamstring developed about 4 weeks prior to London. After seeing the physio I was advised to increase stretches and do some work to strengthen the muscles and as such, started to reduce mileage a bit sooner than I would have liked but aired on the side of caution.

The weather reports were changing daily in the week before London and I had taken the week off work in order to try and relax and rest up before Sunday. It seemed it was going to be a hot one and in the week prior I did a few runs outside in the heat with a jacket on trying to get my body used to the hot conditions.

Expo day had arrived and on the Thursday I went down with Kathryn and friend Richard to soak up some pre race atmosphere. Picked up my number and enjoyed the day picking up freebies and signing up to try and win some running holidays

In terms of nutrition I kept things usual and on the Thursday decided to try and get some more carbs inside me on the evening meals (trying to maintain a weight of 66-67kg). I started to take a few salt tablets a few days before ( thanks Andy from AM-activ with this useful tip) to which I hadn’t done before a race, but thought this may aid in running in hot conditions in a few days time. My pre race meal is not the usual runner meal but I think everyone is different and it’s important to find something that works for you. So, packet of rice followed by 4 rolls with sausages in it was and some chips on the side all finished off with my usual treat of a magnum

Race day;

The day had arrived and the nerves were kicking in. It was an early start getting up at 4.30am to get the Bearbrook coach which was leaving at 6am from Aylesbury.

Breakfast consisted of 4 slices of toast and a banana and off we went.

We arrived just before 8am and the temperature was already warm. Kathryn, Ian and I headed over to the Blue start area where we had a pre race chat of where they would be on the course then I headed into the zone. Walking through the Blue start you come to the Championship Area where the top club runners would be starting out. I was early so went into the tent and had a chat with a few other runners, obviously picking up some free Lucozade and water as you do. Matt from Runners Retreat in Marlow called to wish me good luck and to stick to the plan of the 1.13 half. It wasn’t long before I saw a fellow local runner Tom Dell who was experiencing his first London marathon. As time passed more people I knew arrived and had chats with; Elliot Hind who is on par with me in trying to achieve the sub 2.30 and Micheal Channing who also was in the remit all wishing each other the best of luck.

Everyone was concerned about the heat but I just thought forget that and stick with my plan of going out in 1.13 first half and then holding on. Kathryn had made some useful pacing bands for me, 2:26 and 2:28 - I thought on a perfect day that could be possible.

I soon met up with the legend Ty Farrer then we dropped off our bags before heading for a last toilet stop. Dan Hurst was spotted in his Secret Squirrel top and we tried to stay in the shade as long as possible then headed out to line up behind Mo and Kipchoge. I knew Ellie Loosley was racing the Mini Marathon at around this time so hoped she had done well but had no way of knowing until the end.

I tried to get as near to the front as possible but it was rammed and getting hotter with everyone cramped up. I wore my cap out the start line and after the build up music and National Anthem I threw the hat away and down to business; it was once the queen had hit the button from Windsor Castle.

The start is always crazy, getting into the areas of clear running whilst trying to get into your running rhythm as soon as possible. After abit of zig zagging across the road and passing quite a few runners I was tucked into a group.

The start felt good and I could feel I was running well and if anything going too well and found myself running through 5k in 16.45 - to quick really but Matt had said mile 3 was downhill so I continued on. I saw Ian at 2.5 mile and picked up a drink and some gels. At every water stop I was picking up water, drinking some and throwing the rest over my head and shoulders in an attempt to try and keep me as cool as possible. I could spot many people in the crowd early on and waved where I could especially to the Team Bex supporters; you can't miss those pink t-shirts! I saw Kathryn next at 9k and she handed me a drink and gel which I used straight away. 10k soon approached and went through in 34.04 which again was faster than I wanted to be fair.

The heat was pounding down now and I was regularly taking salt tablets and drinking water at every opportunity. The support at London is always incredible and in some areas so loud it was uplifting and probably encouraging me to run that bit faster. The miles were now being ticked off but I took a conscious decision to slightly slow the pace before getting to half way as I didn’t want to end up like I was finishing my first marathon at Brighton only 1 year ago.

London Bridge arrived and I went through in 1.13.19 which was pretty much bang on what I wanted. I soon again saw Ian at 14miles and took on more drink and gels.

I saw Kathryn at 25k and took another drink and gel on board in trying to keep my body topped up. Kathryn shouted I was a head of time and to be careful, think I had her worried at this point. I was pretty soaked all over and any other salt tablets I had in my pocket had dissolved in my pocket but I knew Kathryn had a bag I could collect at the 20 mile point.

It was now tough going and was having to really dig in. 20 mile arrived and last time I would see Kathryn and pre race I said to her to tell me to pick it up so I heard her shout ‘don’t you f**k this up’ not sure she meant to say that but gave me a chuckle in side!

To my surprise I was still passing some runners and went past the legend Steve Way and was soon approaching a tunnel where I could see runner number 4 ahead of me (later found it was the Ethiopian Guye Adola that went through half way leading the front pack). Now every mile seemed to take an age and felt like I was running really slow. I was glancing at my watch and some KM’s looked slow but the next that came was back into the 3.33 per km area which gave me hope.

I knew now about 22 miles in this was the toughest race of my life and I really wanted to walk but I was still on for the sub 2.30 time. I can’t remember where the showers were on the course but I went through a few as well as the fire brigade hosing people down with water. Paul Loosley I knew was at the 23 mile point but I missed him and to be honest I wanted to stay on the shortest course possible following the blue line on the road.

Soon after I heard someone shouting me to my left hand side it was Mike (Kathryn’s brother) and he held out some water which I grabbed and just threw it over me as I was now over heating and desperate to see mile 25. The mile finally came and to my surprise I was still passing a few people but I was running on what felt like fumes.

Where was the finish? I came to around 41k and glimpsed the time I had to do 1k in 4 minutes for any chance of achieving sub 2.30.

600 meters to go I could hear loud shouts of support although I couldn’t acknowledge them as I was so tired and needed to continue to concentrate on one foot in front of the other. It was Kathryn's family all going mental & cheering me on and they were managing to get the rest of the crowd who didn’t know me to do the same, what amazing support and I didn’t want to let anyone down.

385 yards to go I turned the corner onto The Mall and could see the finish and the clock which was ticking in the 2.29’s. I knew this was my opportunity and gave it my all and crossed the line in 2.29.42!

I didn’t stop running after the line as could feel the cramp in my legs starting. This gave a few Marshall’s a smile wondering how was I still running.

The feeling inside was immense as the dream of many runners is a sub 2.30 and I had achieved it in what was brutally hot conditions.

I half walked/jogged through to get my medal everyone saying well done. I spoke to a few runners around me and remember one saying I looked like I was running strong at the end even though I didn’t feel it. I asked what his PB was and he said 2.24 but the heat was killing everyone, which surprised him I had actually PB’d!

After a slow, I mean very slow walk to my bag collection I came out to the open to meet Kathryn who came running over with a massive smile saying I had done it. I couldn’t fully celebrate as was in pain and needed to keep walking but I was beyond happy and proud to have made all those tracking me proud of my achievement. I still managed a mini photo shoot with Getty images whilst trying to recover.

Once we had met up with Ian it was homeward bound on the free train home. Travelling back I had many messages on my phone and one saying I had come 25th! I couldn’t believe it that was insane and I thought I definitely had earn’t that dominos pizza and ice cream I would be having as soon as I got in.

On reflection I’m over the moon with the time and result. Maybe on a perfect day a 2.27/2.28 was possible but I didn’t care I had achieved the sub 2.30 after only a year of marathon running and in the hottest London marathon ever.

Ellie I soon found out had also had a great run in the Mini Marathon and thoroughly enjoyed her experience. I doubt either of us or those close to us will forget the London marathon of 2018.

David Hudson


Huntingdon parkrun is 7

Good morning Huntingdon parkrunners


Today, the 13th of April would have been our 7th anniversary which would have been celebrated on the 11th with run number 357. Instead, we are wondering when it will be safe to get back into the water park for event 354 to finally take place.

Over the past year we have had many challenges at attempting to keep parkrun on, the vast majority being weather related. From unusually high winds in summer to flooding and its associated mud through the winter. Unusually though we have not suffered from ice! This has led to us using a number of different routes, from standard winter route (SWR), standard summer route (SSR), to SWR ditch start, SWR ditch and orchard, SWR ditch and trolls, SWR reverse, to a one off special summer and of course the slightly more unplanned 5 lap leap years day special. We have yet to check our GPS devices to see what the total is, but are thankful that Hinchingbrooke Park allow us to continue to use different route options in the knowledge that we are trying to minimise damage to the park in any one area. Below is an approximation of all the different parts of the park we have used this year.


Over the coming weeks spring will be springing and the park will green up beautifully. With that will be the various trees going through their blossom phases. Our weekly park picture would have brought you the cherry, hawthorn, willow, blackthorn, chestnut and any number of other trees that catch our eye during setup. We are yet to see how the swans are doing, they had started nesting on the ornamental lake in March so, if successful, we may find cygnets this year.

The past year in numbers:

There have been 46 parkruns at Huntingdon in the past year with an average attendance of 331 runners. Our largest attendance of the year was 453 runners on 1/6/19 with smallest attendance on 2/11/19 of 218 runners.

For the numbers people among us, the 218 is only 6 less than the largest attendance in our first year (224), our average attendance in the past year is 4 higher per run than the previous year (327), 6 of 10 of the best attended runs were this year however, it appears that we were not on target to get our highest annual attendance and we were left hanging at 15246 runs completed, 2087 runs short of last year.

Not to forget our fantastic volunteers, we have had 1428 volunteer roles filled (some will have been runners and multiple instances by the same person) with a minimum of 22 and maximum of 39 people providing assistance to us all. We thank you all in supporting us and ensuring the run can take place each week.

I am sure you will have heard the enthusiastic Good Morning from Henry after the start, the quieter congratulations from Len at the crossroads (zig-zag) or Elaines encouragements up the mighty hill with clapping, cheering, cowbells and various other forms of noise being generated by many of our marshalls to give us all a positive feeling as we go through our own private torture.


We have also had some firsts this year.

We had the first time ever in over 6 years where rain fell the entire morning, that’s not a bit before during or just after, it was the entire time parkrun was happening.

And, we had the first time a cancellation has taken place at 8:50 due to sections of the course being flooded and the inability to see the path edges.


Special Events:

During the year we have seen a number of special runs take place, these are runs where an external group is supporting us, often through volunteering to raise awareness of what they do, a national celebration or just something we like to do at Huntingdon.

There has been:

A St Ivo sponsored run/walk

Star Wars Day

Everyone Health Awareness

parkrun Practices – where our local GP practices came to understand how parkrun can help with social prescribing

Running Down Dementia

Living Sport Volunteer Takeover

Hinchingbrooke Parks 30th Anniversary

Battle of Britain memorial supported by Wyton Area Voluntary Band (Band on the Run)

BRJ Run and Tri Takeover

CGL Mental health awareness

The Godmanchester Foodbank collection

The Christmas jumpers and fancy dress days

The Christmas Day get out while you can run

The New Years Day Double with the support of our adjacent parkruns.

So, hands up, whose thinking all of these were only in the past year? When we looked through the list, it felt like some were much longer ago.

A majority of these have not been Core team led, they occur because others realise the reach parkrun has into the larger community around the greater Huntingdon area and the positive effects it has for both physical and mental wellbeing

For some of us, we try to plan months in advance. Be this the transition between winter and summer routes, initiating plans for new year or having events booked in far enough advance, one of the things we were watching for was our 500th run, the flooding over Christmas 2019 put us at risk and C19 just ruined us. What were you planning/hoping for…the 500 milestone event WAS on target for Christmas Day 2022 or New Years Day 2023. Instead, we may get lucky and have the 400th event on our 8th birthday but who knows for now.

Future Runs:

As yet, we do not have a start date of when we can return to parkrun, this of course will be met with much anticipation. To celebrate, it will simply be ‘Best effort, be more parkrun’, wear your favourite club top be it parkrun or from another sport, use your tutu or giant sunglasses that will put a smile on peoples faces, do the full inflatable fancy dress or just be in your normal comfortable kit, but do just come and enjoy what we hope will be a sunny morning with friends with a spot of exercise thrown in.

When we do eventually restart, you may see a few faces like Charles’ below, this will be trying to remember what is happening, what everyone is supposed to be doing and whose bringing the cake


Charles and Stuart would like to take this opportunity to thank the rest of the core team for their continued support and you the wider parkrun community for being what Huntingdon is.

Lastly, regardless of when we restart, out first week will be on the winter standard route, this is to make our admin a little simpler and it will allow you all to get a comparative time to see what good your lone training has done for you.

Happy self-isolating



Suspension of parkruns Globally

Dear Huntingdon parkrunners,

I am sure my now you will have heard that all parkruns globally have been cancelled. Although the cancellation states 'until at least the end of March' we should prepare for the likelihood of there being no parkruns for the foreseeable future as things nationally are changing almost hourly.

Some of you may also be aware that Hinchingbrooke Country Park is now closed apart from essential site maintenance. In line with current Government guidelines, HDC is discouraging mass gatherings including parkrun until the end of April. Please do not turn up at the Park on Saturday at 9 am to do a freedom run! Also observe guidance on social distancing so, if you are exercising outside, avoid running in larger groups. The Park will remain open to the public but will be unmanned for the majority of the time and all facilities including the toilets will be closed. Please take care if you are there as the usual safety cover from the rangers will not be in attendance.

We have an amazing parkrun community and many of use have made true friends simply by turning up for a run! It is important that in the weeks ahead we all look out for each other and we will be continuing to manage the Facebook page and parkrun emails to maintain the link to the community.

The coming weeks and months will be testing for us all but parkrun will return at some stage in the future. We will maintain regular contact with you all, if you are not opted in for emails on your profile, please consider signing up to ensure you get the latest information going forward.

Please stay safe everyone. Our thoughts and thanks go out to our friends in the emergency services, the NHS, social work, education, retail and distribution and other key occupations for keeping us safe and supplied. Look out for each other, your family and friends and your elderly and vulnerable neighbours.

Huntingdon parkrun will bounce back in true style when it is safe to do so ready to celebrate our belated 7th birthday.


The Huntingdon parkrun Core Team

Message from Paul Sinton-Hewitt


Huntingdon parkrun #353 – the one that was nearly back to normal

In recent weeks, we have tentatively inspected the Huntingdon parkrun course each Friday to determine if it would be possible to put on a safe event on parkrunday. Many regulars may have noticed that we have modified the route on a number of occasions to allow the event to go ahead whilst avoiding floods, mud and excessive waterlogging.

This week, the sun shone and the rain stopped. Alconbury Brook was finally dropping in level and the Ornamental Lake retreated to show the School Path albeit leaving a bit of mud. Most importantly however was the significant drying on the Meadow near the café which allowed us to return to our normal briefing and start places. Henry’s Swamp is still impassable so we used the ditch but apart from that we were almost back to our version of normal.


It was great to see 283 participants supported so eagerly and enthusiastically by 33 hi-viz heroes. We celebrated birthdays with Peter Morris and Jacquie Shields who also completed her 100 parkrun. Joining Jacquie for his 100th milestone was Nigel Maggs. The biggest cheer was for Alex Mitton (JM15-17) who completed his 250 parkrun - well done Alex. John Butcher from Ware Joggers completed in 39:58 in the VM85-89 category – what a fantastic effort.

We had no first timers but were joined by tourists from Milton Keynes, Gunpowder, Panshanger, Ellenbrooke Fields, Pocket, Corby, Market Harborough, Kettering, Cambridge and Bingley. Thanks to you all for joining us, we hope you enjoyed our event and look forward to welcome you back again soon.


It was also a special day for RD Alison who was able to run today for the first time in 12 years with the help of her new leg support. Not only is Alison one of our RDs, she is Co-ED at Jubilee juniors and one of the Cambridgeshire parkrun Ambassadors supporting events across the county. She setup Jubilee juniors and Riverside juniors in St Neots and is in the final stages of getting West End juniors in March, Ely juniors and Cambourne juniors up and running. She has also volunteered on over 360 separate parkrun days – thank you Alison for all you do for the parkrun community.


You may not be aware that each week the course is set-up and checked for safety by two members or the Core Team, Co-ED Charles and Alice E. Alice is taking time away to travel (hopefully) so we are looking for volunteers to help with setting up. It’s a volunteering role that also lets you run, so double credits! If you are able to help and arrive just that bit earlier for a productive warm up, please let us know via Facebook or email

After taking precautions re-Coronovirus with the finish tokens it was disappointing that one of our tokens was missing. After extensive searches and interrogations of likely suspects, the culprit was revealed. None other than the Token Magpie (aka RD Paul Harris) who had it in his pocket all the time – thanks Paul!


Finally, the position regarding Coronovirus is changing by the hour as I am sure you all appreciate. We will do our best to keep going as long as the advice from parkrun HQ and the Government will permit. Until then please take the following precautions:

  1. Avoid hand touching including high-fives. Do air waves or nudge elbows instead.
  2. Wash hands regularly especially before using the café.
  3. If you are in or if you care for someone in an ’at-risk’ group, please consider very carefully before participating or volunteering at parkrun.
  4. Avoid putting finish token in your mouth when looking for your barcode.IMG_0102
  5. Finally, if you must spit while running, please be considerate and find a bush or off-route area to avoid hitting other participants.

Hopefully we will be back for Huntingdon #354 next week but please watch our News feed and Facebook page for the latest position. If you are not opted in for emails, please consider this and change your parkrun profile accordingly. This is the best method for getting parkrun related information to the Huntingdon parkrun family.


Huntingdon parkrun #352 – #IWD parkrun – the one that was purple!


Today at Huntingdon parkrun we celebrated International Women’s Day #IWDparkrun by having as many people wear purple as possible. As well as celebrating International Women’s Day it also felt like ‘Having water and mud up to your ankles day’ because, despite our week of leaving areas of the park alone it was still quite muddy around the ornamental lake, with mud literally up to some people's ankles.

walker 2


We had 305 runners today and 5 milestones (one didn’t have a bib for the occasion however). Well done to Jamie Bowen, Kevin Drew and Natasha Hookham who all ran their 100th and (Sarah Hookham (Natasha's Mum) who completed her 50th.  Annette Newton an her 200th  and hit was also her Birthday.  We also celebrated a birthday with Mary Miller one of our newest members of the Huntingdon parkrun volunteer family.

vols 2Hookham

In terms of new runners there were five and we had visitors from St Neots (Pocket), Bingley (Yorkshire) and even visitors from Poland! We hope you enjoyed our run in the park!! We also need to thank our volunteers who we need to support parkrun (put yourself down on the volunteers' board for the coming weeks!) and to Katherine Ireson who was our Run Director for today - its was her Birthday yesterday! Thanks to all of you!

vols 1RD

Written by:

Ed Horsfall, 14

Here are some other memories from #IWDparkrun 2020

Dawn LargedebsduffrachelwakemanTGC 6TGC 5TGC 4TGC 3TGC 1sarahwalker 1walker 3walker 5




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