parkrun 331 – 27 January 2018

Having heard the weather forecast and seen the threatening clouds as I cycled to Whin Park, it was always a question of When, not Whether the rain would come. The temperature was a remarkable 10 degrees warmer than at last week’s cold weather cancellation. Amazingly, it was dry overhead when the runners, including Stuart Ainsworth (with “voltourist” wife/timer Alison) from Huntingdon, started. But it started to pour as the runnesr queued to have their tokens and barcodes scanned.

Normally, not a problem but the combination of soggy barcodes and new, wet, untried tokens and timers - and, all right, maybe useless scanners (I was one) - meant that 21 Unknowns were shown in the final results. RD Lee Ross spent much of Saturday (and, as I type on Sunday afternoon, is still) sorting out the mess.

In this week's online “parkrun News”, I read that Bressay, in the Shetland Isles, is due to start a parkrun soon, becoming “the most northerly parkun in the UK”. Of course, this was a title that Inverness held from our start in 2011 until March 2016, when Elgin came on board. Indeed, we were the most northerly in the world until August 2014, when our title was grabbed by Saint Petersburg, Russia!

None of which will be much consolation to Lee…



A real sparkler – Inverness parkrun report #322, November 4 2017

The sight of the wood piled up ready to be ignited for Inverness's Bonfire Night celebrations at the Bught was a reminder that this week's parkrun had been transferred to Whin Park, so I headed round the corner to where the run was taking place.
The weather for the 158 participants was close to perfect for the start of November, with the sun shining brightly and creating sparkling reflections in the Whin Park pond. However, the course itself was a bit of a damp squib, with muddy patches creating tricky conditions underfoot in places, particularly at the first corner and at the start of the grassy section.
There was a real sparkler of a performance from visiting Fife AC first-timer Halina Rees, who outsprinted David Kerr of Highland Hill Runners to become only the second female to be the overall first finisher at Inverness parkrun. The previous occasion was at event #125 in January 2014 when Sarah Liebnitz took the honours. On that occasion she clocked the same time as the first male finisher and there was a repeat here with both Halina and David registering 18.56, which was a PB for David in his second parkrun.
The second female finisher (6th overall) was Rhona Grant of Highland Hill Runners in 20.01 and third (11th overall) was junior Inverness Harrier Isla Kelly in 21.22. Two more junior Inverness Harriers were the second and third male finishers (third and fourth overall), with Euan Rollo clocking 19.30 to finish third overall, five seconds ahead of Lewis Esslemont. Yet another junior Inverness Harrier, Mackenzie Stewart Brown, finished fifth overall in 19.45.
The difficult underfoot conditions meant new PBs were thin on the ground. Apart from David, five other runners had rocket power and managed to improve their times. David Garratt set a new best of 22.19, Samantha MacLeod improved her time to 25.29, Laurie Hayden broke through the 30-minute barrier to clock 29.57, Natassia Barksby took 52 seconds off her previous best with 31.25 and Alison Fraser improved to 33.01. Well done to all of them.
There were a few visitors from outwith the Highlands on Saturday. One of these, Bruce Knowles of Havering '90 Joggers, chose Inverness as the location for his landmark 100th parkrun, meaning he can now claim his black top. In addition, there were other runners from Aberdeen and Grantham. Overall there were 10 people running for the first time in Inverness, eight of whom were making their parkrun debuts. Hope to see you all back soon.
This week's volunteers were run director Wendy Dustan and her team of Myra Bee, Eileen Bee, Stewart Donald, Iona Fraser, John Gellatly, Clare Grant, Douglas Lamont, Jean Mackenzie, John MacLeod, Nicola Madej, Neil McDougall, Bernard Salmon, Billy Skinner, Ann Smart, Quentin Soldan and Alison Waudby-West. If you wish to join them in future weeks, see the future roster at and email to take a slot.



And it’s goodbye from them – Inverness parkrun report #310, August 12, 2017

On the day that athletics bade farewell to Usain Bolt and to Mo Farah on the track, there was a certain symmetry to the fact that Inverness parkrun also said goodbye to two of its stalwarts. Mike and Val Gage were running their final parkrun in Inverness prior to heading for their new life Down Under. As run director Gary Reid noted in the pre-run briefing, Mike and Val had taken part in the first Inverness parkrun and between them they have run it 225 times. But they're not quitting parkrun – Mike highlighted afterwards that there are two parkruns within 5 minutes of their daughter's home in Melbourne and their longer term plan is to buy a motorhome and try and get around all 250 Australian events. I'm sure everyone at Inverness parkrun wishes Mike and Val all the best in this exciting new chapter in their lives.
The farewell to Mike and Val was only one facet which made Saturday's run truly memorable. Jenny Bannerman had been thinking beforehand about heading over to our neighbours at Elgin, but she would have been very glad that she ended up running in Inverness as she managed to annihilate the women's course record. She took 47 seconds off Sarah Liebnitz's previous best to set a new record of 17.21, which earned her second place overall. Very well done to Jenny, who now holds the female records both at Inverness and Elgin.
Jenny's performance meant she was one of the top six athletes who all managed to set new PBs. First over the line was East Sutherland AC runner Blair Mackay, who took an impressive 48 seconds off his previous best to get under 17 minutes for the first time, finishing in 16.52. Second male and third overall was junior Luke Williams who shaved 25 seconds off his existing PB, clocking 17.26. This was just a second ahead of fourth placed Matthew Alexander, who improved his best time by 45 seconds. Rounding off the top six were junior runners Lucas Cairns and and Rudi Paul, who set new bests by 16 and 2 seconds respectively. Another junior, Rhian Purves of Gosforth AC, was second female and 13th overall in 19.51 while third female and 24th overall was Anna MacArthur in 21.18.
The new PBs for the top six meant they were among 37 runners (including yours truly) who set new Inverness personal bests. One of these was especially noteworthy, as Navamany Lerway shaved 12 seconds off her previous best and was also marking her accession into the 50 parkrun club, thus earning her red T-shirt. However, the continuing national problems with the delivery of milestone T-shirts, which event director Paul Crowe highlighted before the run, mean it could be a while before she gets to wear it. Other runners who celebrated milestone occasions were visiting junior Oscar Jones, who was also running his 50th senior parkrun (plus 4 junior events), and yet another junior, Matthew Black, who completed his 10th run to earn his white T-shirt.
One other performance worthy of mention came from Ronald Grant, father of regular Inverness participant and frequent run director Gillian Grant, who ran his second parkrun in the VM80-84 category and achieved a very respectable age grading of 60.8%.
The fine and warm conditions, combined with several visitors holidaying in the area, helped attract a healthy turnout of 182 runners on Saturday. There were 37 people running for the first time at Inverness, of whom 11 made their parkrun debuts. Among the visitors were runners from Cirencester, Abingdon, Ellon, Lyme Park in Cheshire, Forest of Dean, Carlisle, Leicestershire, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, London, Glasgow, Manchester and Widnes.
This week's volunteers who helped make parkrun happen were Ruth Alexander, Marcus Konoso, Kirstie Macdonald, Ross Macdonald, Diana Mackenzie, Phil Masterson, Blair Mcara, Neil Parish, Gary Reid, Bernard Salmon, Alex. Sutherland and Freya Waudby-West. To help in future weeks, see and email to take a slot.


parkrun report #238 19.3.16

Inverness parkrun #238 19th March

We talk about ’ moving the goalposts’ , but I think this must be the first time that a finish line has been moved during an event.

As he finished his first lap of today’s remodelled parkrun, Billy Skinner, no doubt looking at his smart phone and judging his pace, told the finish marshals that the lap seemed a bit short. As a result the finish funnel was moved several metres to try and remedy this. Images appear in one’s mind of runners chasing after a finishing line which was moving quicker than they were.
Anyway a total of 130 people managed to catch the finishing line. Because there has been a lot of wear to the grass where the run has been, the decision has been made to move the line of the run to allow grass to recover. This meant that the muddy sections and the slippery tree routes were avoided. This new course is much drier and consequently there were a lot of PBs today. There are really too many people to name, but congratulations to them all.

Gordon Lennox was the first to finish. He still maintains that he is not fully fit, so watch out when he is. His time was 16.26 which boggles the mind. First female was Megan Keith in an impressive time of 20.17. This was a PB for her, well done. A young, talented runner who must have much more to come.

Other noteworthy achievements were Morag Murray who completed her 200th parkrun. Only Billy has done more Inverness parkruns, and as he said to me he needs to ‘get a life.’ Anyway well done Morag. Roddie Main completed his 50th run. Well done to him too. John Day also completed his 165th parkrun, a week after completing the most southerly parkrun in the world in Dunedin, New Zealand. Is Inverness the most northerly? Alas no longer – St Petersburg taking this title.

Thanks of course to all the volunteers, Claire Acheson Elaine Barrie, Paul Crowe, Derek Fraser, Annelise Glew, Fiona Gordon, Rhona Grant, Liz Gray, Alec Keith, Caroline Marwick, Billy Skinner, Howard Swindells, Rhiannon Tinsley and David Waudby-West. If you haven’t volunteered for a while check with the roster for the next few weeks. Your parkrun needs you.

Finally a big thank you to all the organisers and supporters of the ceilidh last weekend. It raised over £500, most of which will go to the Lucky2behere charity who supplied our defibrillator.

Howard Swindells


20th June Inverness parkrun 199

The Summer Solstice weekend allows all local runners an indulgence of choice when it comes to events to sign up to. The Highland Cross, the Nairnshire Challenge, 10 under the Ben to name only a few. Indeed some runners enter more than one of these events, such as Inverness Parkrun regular Gordon Lennox who completed the Cross in 2nd place on Saturday, and was 1st past the post in Nairn on Sunday (despite a puncture on the bike leg). Well done to that man!

In Gordon’s absence Inverness parkrun 199 was wide open to those who battle for first finisher. Luke Taylor took this honour and crossed the line in a time of 17:47 – a new PB. This was obviously a training run for the next day as Luke went on to finish 2nd in the challenge that is Nairnshire. Inverness parkrun doing more than it’s bit in providing the necessary training for outside events.

Despite the competition from other ‘distractions’ there were exactly 100 finishers in Saturday morning 5k trip around Bught Park. Some future Cross or Nairnshire stars on show as many of the junior runners ran well – 50% of the top 10 under the age of 18. Ben Sharpe (JM10) got under the 20 minutes target for the first time in 19m 51s, paced around the last lap by Ross Cairns whose own son Lucas finished in 19m 47s. Another 6 J10 runners completed the course on Saturday, a big shout out to the following à

Ben Webster                     26m 51s

Imogen McDougall          28m 34s (=PB)

Victor Atkinson                 29m 41s (1st timer)

Owen Webster                 33m 13s (1st timer)

Alasdair Robb                    37m 15s (PB)

Magnus Atkinson             45m 50s (1st timer)


A further 10 under 18s took part on Saturday, with 2 achieving PBs. Encouraging more young-uns to parkrun on a Saturday morning can only be a good thing.

I have also noticed that parkrun attracts families to do things together. It is customary (and an unwritten rule) to allow the younger ones to finish ahead of the more mature ones! Graeme Webster allowed his 2 sons Ben and Owen the honours on Saturday; Julie Robb stood aside to let Alasdair cross the line first; and Mike Atkinson allowed Magnus to finish in 99th rather than 100th. However, there are exceptions to the rule!! ‘Elder’, ‘Older’, ‘Big’ sister Susan Richardson was too competitive to allow (slightly) younger sister Elaine past on the finishing sprint!! Boo!

Next week is a big milestone for Inverness parkrun. It is the 200th running of the event. I am sure that Director Paul will be expecting ALL signed up parkrunners to make an appearance. Remember to tell everyone to pass on the word. The aim will be to surpass the 207 runners who took part in the 100th event back in July 2013. And how many of the current runners were involved in run nr1 on 3rd September 2011? Surprisingly not Billy Skinner who will be notching up run number 194 next time around, (only missing 6 runs in 4yrs!). On Saturday past we had 3 runners who had surpassed the 200 milestone – Alyson Hogarth Laydon (232) from The SeafRUNt Smilers in Sunderland (bit of a tongue twister!!!!), Irene Miller (255) from Pitreavie AAC in Fife, and Laurence Leask (271) who usually plies his trade at Cramond in Edinburgh - a must run parkrun for anyone targeting a PB.


Some more Vital Stats to mull over,

12% of the finishers were appearing as 1st timers.

14% whippets achieved a new PB.

43% ‘devotees’ had secured a red50, black100, gold250, or white10 t-shirt.

83% speedsters achieving an age grade of greater than 50%

4% of the more obsessed runner linked to STRAVA

2% dads pushing pushchairs or prams with small people in




Easter Saturday parkrun 4 April 2015

Welcome to the 115 runners who turned out for the Easter Saturday Inverness parkrun and ran round the very muddy fields to be rewarded with an Easter egg.   There were a number of visitors running for a variety of clubs including Aberdeen University, BRJ Run and Tri (Huntington), Kirkintilloch Olympians, Lichfield RC, North Belfast Harriers, Smiley Pacers and Stornoway R & AC.

Of note, Rudi Paul ran his 50th parkrun and set a new PB of 19.53. There were 23 first timers and 11 PBs, this must be evidence that spring has eventually sprung!   First male to cross the line was Paul Miller in 17.01 and first female was Mary Mackintosh in 19.03. Many of you will know that once you get the parkrun running bug there is no stopping some people; Morag MacPherson returned after a four week break with the excuse of giving birth and ran 27.25. Well done to you all.

Today's volunteers seamlessly counted, scanned, funnelled and paced the parkrunners all overseen by our cheerful parkrun Director, Averil. The volunteers were Charles, Douglas, Gary, John D, John M, Mike, Paul, Phil, and Val. Thank you.

Finally, Inverness parkrun wishes to build a shed to keep the equipment near to the course but doesn't have enough finance. If anyone would like to give a donation please go to the Inverness parkrun website and give what you can.



parkrun 180 7th February 2015

The snowcapped hills overlooking Loch Ness and the temperature gauge hovering just above zero welcomed the very good field of 104 finishers, of whom 18 were First Timers (including Lucy Rigg of Ealing  Eagles, training for the London Marathon - I wonder if she’ll remember this scene as she sets off from Greenwich Park). Despite the slithery conditions, 10 ran PBs. Mind you, the going was improved by the sawdust from the felled tree that had obstructed us for the last few weeks.

One of our runners, Robbie, announced his early departure from the run in spectacular fashion; having just completed the first lap, his fire brigade pager went off and he sprinted for his car and drove off, blue light flashing. A little more steadily, our 3 pacers were remarkably accurate, one (Gary Reid) hitting the exact pace demanded by his schedule for the Inverness half marathon in a few weeks’ time. So, pacing can be of mutual benefit…

Thanks to everyone who replied to my “quick survey”. There were 34 responses, which I take as pretty representative. I’ve analysed them, excluding those comments that relate to all parkruns, not just Inverness (free, no pre-registration, coffee, fast online results). The responses mirror many in the book, “parkrun, much more than just a run in the park”, published in December 2014 and available from Amazon (£11.38 or £7.99 for the Kindle version). My analysis showed that:

a)      56% come from less than 5 miles distance, 44% from further afield

b)      a remarkable 76% said that we were “friendly” and 25% added, “encouraging”

c)      to the question “what don’t you like about it.” 59% said “nothing”

d)     24% didn’t particularly like the course and virtually the same number (26%) thought that the course was one of the attractions!

e)      The most consistent “additional” suggestion was that we should try to get more slower runners.

A fascinating exercise. Thanks for your responses, in view of which, we’ll try to “keep up the good work”, as many of you said.

We’ve been delighted that Gillian Grant and Gary Reid have agreed to join us as Run Directors. At the moment, they’re getting the “behind-the-scenes” training and are gradually taking a more prominent part in the organisation. Shortly, I’m sure that they’ll join the RD rota, so we’ll be seeing, and hearing, more of them.



Inverness parkrun 176 – 10th January 2015

The weather at 9.30am on a Saturday morning is of more than passing interest to parkrunners. This weekend’s storm force winds were therefore expected to provide for an interesting run.

The regular circuit around Bught Park avoided becoming a steeplechase, thanks to the efforts of the reconnaissance team, who temporarily swapped their lycra for lumberjack shirts, in order to deal with the debris of a fallen tree in the path of the run route and to set up a detour. Several regular parkrunners were later heard deliberating about whether the slight detour would require a remeasure of the course to ensure it was still 5k, although I’m not sure who might have been saving up their PB for a stormy parkrun! In any event, the set up team had expertly ensured the course was 5k exactly.

The tempestuous wind didn't seem to deter the 58 runners who turned out, although early on, it looked like there might be more volunteers than runners! By 9.30am though, a plethora of runners had gathered and not even the hail shower just before the off, saw any deserters heading for their cars.

This week’s head boy was Alex Keith in 19:29; with head girl and parkrun debutante, Diana MacDonald in 22:51. Particular mention must go to the 5 first timers who decided that the weather warning provided the ideal conditions for their parkrun debut. Very well done for braving the conditions, folks. It is usually much more enjoyable (honest!)

This week’s key numbers were as follows:
• 5 first timers
• 4 unknowns (no barcode, no time, no exceptions!)
• 3 hardy ladies aged over 55
• 2 hardy juniors aged under 14
• 1 chilly degree celsius
• (Unsurprisingly) 0 new PBs!

A big thank you to the nine volunteers who, as always, helped the event run smoothly and once thawed out, would have been basking in the glow of their good deed for the day. You can too, by contacting to put your name down for a future roster.

Same time, same place next week.



Inverness parkrun # 174

The final parkrun of 2014 saw 80 runners gather for the 174th parkrun. With the wind out of puff and the ground semi-frozen, the conditions were actually surprisingly good for running despite the cold. If anything the frozen ground was a great deal easier to run on than the roads and pavements, which were a challenge for those who turned up whether by foot or car. 14 runners took advantage of the calm conditions to record new personal bests. There were a good number of runners who also ran the Turkey Trot in Nairn the day before.

Leading the way up front for the men was Gordon Lennox in 16:48, with a new parkrun face to Inverness, Alexander Hamilton from Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC in 2nd, while ultra-marathon running specialist Ryan McKenzie following up his Turkey Trot PB the day before with a new PB of 18.02.

Mary MacIntosh followed up her very good Trot time with a 20:10 to lead the woman’s field home, Caroline Marwick and Anna Macarthur rounding off the top three spots while Alex Sutherland’s 20:25 saw him easily come in first place in the age-graded positions at 83.67%.

Hugh Marwick ends the year on 99 runs not out and is set to begin 2015 in fine style with a cool parkrun century and I’m sure there will be quite a few more to celebrate in the coming months.

Unfortunately the local drinks station (or should that be cake station?) was closed and it certainly felt odd to me just driving straight home, but hopefully normal services will be resumed next week! [Editor's note: the regular Cafe is closed, but Bite Bistro in the Leisure Centre might be open.]

As always your parkrun relies on willing volunteers and this week’s honourable mentions go to Tim, Billy, Patrick, Paul D, Joan, Sara, Alasdair, Charles, Paul C and Roddie. So from all of us at Inverness parkrun, we wish you all a very happy new year and may your runs be fun and injury free. See you in 2015!



parkrun 142 – 17 May

Excellent conditions brought out a strong field, almost one-third of whom returned PBs. These included Scott Kennedy, 1st runner home, who had made the 66 mile trip from the West Coast, Jen Lornie, who must have thought that she'd plateaued, having made 8 PBs in 9 starts this year and all 3 Beveridge girls. A couple from Edinburgh discovered one of the other features of the Inverness course, "It's all on grass!", they said, delightedly. Other courses may be faster but the Bught Park is kinder on the joints.
Next week's attendance may be depleted, as a bunch/gaggle/giggle of our female parkrunners go to Liverpool for the marathon/half marathon etc., the idea originating from one, whose ambition was to run the marathon (and to make a Beatles pilgrimage) "When I'm 64". The postponement of last year's race simply whetted the appetite. We wish them well.


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