King George V Playing Field parkrun is cancelled on 4 April 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Processing a strange day – all parkruns cancelled

I went out for a run in the rain.

My feet took me to KGV. It was twilight and damp, with only the reflections of street lights to keep me company.

20200318 KGV sign in the rain

I ran through the park. I tried to process what was going on. I thought about how I’d miss parkrun, and the community we’d built in a few short months. The feeling of expectation on the start line. The positivity as people came through the funnel. The cake, coffee and chat afterwards.

But as I ran and the evening darkened, I noticed the birds still singing. For them, this was just another early spring evening. The seasons will turn. We don’t know what the future will hold, and undoubtedly some tough times first. But summer will come and, like summer and the leaves on the trees, our community will return in time.

20200318 K from KGV sign in the rain

Till then, stay safe, go for a run/walk/jog (not with others and not at KGV at 9am on a Sat), and look after yourselves and each other.

 

The Winter’s Tail – run report 26 after 6 months of running at KGVPF

On Sat 14 March, we had a celebration of St Patrick's Day, with an Irish RD and some great outfits.

A man, woman and a child, in Irish themed outfits Two women with green Irish themed accessories

We had a new course record, with Amber Watson the first woman to break the 20 minute mark at KGV, coming in at 19:59 - brilliant work Amber!  And a young lad, Richie Stuart, achieved membership of the '10 club' today, having done 10 runs in the 'Junior' category - all of them at KGV, and even better got a PB today of 28:25.  Unfortunately, we also had a nasty fall on the course, and we are sending our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Today was 6 months to the day since we started KGV on 14 Sept 2019.  Our tail walker for many of the 26 events during those months, Bob, has put together this longer term run report, looking at KGV from many angles.

The Winter's Tail

Please forgive the title. I had been toying with The Madness of King George and Tails of the Unexpected, so I hope you’ll agree it was the best of a bad bunch.

Tail walking and car park stints through the course of our first winter have given me lots of time to observe and consider our surroundings at a more relaxed pace. These are a few of the characteristics of the KGV course that I’ve come to recognise and appreciate:

1 King George V himself. Our very own slice of royal patronage, he was a diligent monarch and stalwart figurehead through the First World War. Legend has it that his last words were “bugger Bognor”. Nevertheless thanks to him they got to add “Regis” to their title, and we got our playing field - established in his memory, along with 470 others throughout the UK.
A wall plaque commemorating King George V

2 The hills. Fantastic views of the Cotswold escarpment. Topped off with magnificent sunrises on those frosty January mornings.

3 The birdlife. Whilst we’re in a built up area, the park itself and surrounding gardens do provide some very decent habitat. My informal KGV twitcher list is up to 23 (house sparrows, robins, wrens, great tits, blue tits, long tailed tits, goldfinches, chaffinches, blackbirds, song thrushes, redwings, herring gulls, black headed gulls, lesser black-backed gulls, pied wagtails, magpies, crows, jays, starlings, dunnocks, wood pigeons, collared doves and great spotted woodpeckers!).
A large tree in winter

4 The vista. Such is the panoramic nature of the KGV course you can see the majority of the other runners for the majority of the time. A dramatically serpentine sight to behold on New Year’s Day.

5 Our fellow locals. Very nice to have got on to nodding terms and beyond with the other regular park users, feel we’re getting a lot of support from them now. In addition passers by at the main entrance are being curious, complimentary and supportive of the event on run mornings.
A straight road running between green gates and brick gate posts with plaques

6 The rewilding! Good to see us being involved in the planting of the new trees within the park, looking forward to them maturing over the years. That older copse the other side of the rugby pitch from the start line is coming along very nicely too.

7 The inclines. Just right. Enough to provide a bit of a challenge for the fell runners amongst us. Not enough to daunt the rest of us mere mortals.
A bench against a background of green grass, saplings and blue sky

8 The weather. Tons of the stuff. In countless shapes and sizes. One minute it’s a gentle, sunlit jog in the park. The next it’s like you’re on some wilderness endurance run.

9 The grass. Having been running on tarmac I wasn’t sure I’d take to the KGV softer going, but I’ve come to love it (so much easier on my football-and-squash-battered knees!). Mind you hats off to those hardy souls who come and run the course barefoot.....

10 The peace and quiet. Remarkably free of traffic noise (and fumes). Just the occasional plane coming in to land at Staverton, but even that’s just an excuse to get an eyeful of that big KGV sky.
Another wall plaque from other side of the gate

So All’s Well That Ends Well and that was the tale of the winter through the eyes of The Winter’s Tail. Happy parkrunning from this Man for All Seasons and may KGV always put a spring in your step too.
Metal sculpture of the letters K, G and V

 

The sisters are doing it for themselves… KGV parkrun #25

On the eve of International Women’s Day, KGVPF parkrun was run entirely by a group of lovely ladies.  Our youngest gorgeous girl was 7 and the oldest was a sprightly 81.

A number of volunteers, some in yellow high viz vests, others in 'This Girl Can' t-shirts

They supported a speedy bunch of 79 runners who enjoyed a much improved running surface.  We were delighted to be able to run this week and the park has clearly benefitted from a short respite.  It was lovely to see the young lads able to enjoy their football again too.

It was great to have Nicky Harverson from Active Gloucestershire along to champion the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign.  They are trying to encourage girls to take up physical activity and have some exciting ideas to support girls locally.

In addition, Helen McGuire, a member of the KGV parkrun core team was asked to speak with BBC Gloucestershire Radio this morning.  Helen had been involved with parkrun set up, took the call and then got stuck in with time-keeping – talk about multi-tasking!!  We were also serenaded at the finish by some huge female anthems.

So, a huge thank you to the 24 amazing ladies who made the 25th KGV parkrun a very organised and thoroughly enjoyable morning.

 

Cancelled – Sat 22 Feb – but litter pick still on

While we managed to run through Storm Dennis, the extra rain and thus mud has meant the Council park rangers have asked us to cancel this coming Saturday, 22 Feb.  The litter pick is still on at 10am, so please do come along and support that.

 

litter pick

 

99 runners but Storm Dennis ain’t one (KGVPF run 24)

As the week went on, conversations within the core team turned to Storm Dennis and if it would be safe for us to go ahead with parkrun number 24 at KGVPF.  I started checking the parkrun cancellation policy, and I must have searched “Cheltenham weather” a million times.  I even googled what a yellow weather warning was, pleased to see that in Gloucestershire’s warnings were not starting until 10am, and thoughts of “well, if everyone runs quick enough....we’ll be packing up by then” started to come.  As we heard notifications of parkruns being cancelled around Gloucestershire, I was getting worried I was going to be seen as reckless and rogue if I gave the go ahead on the morning.

 

But when I addressed the crowd of runners in my briefing and declared we will be parkrunning into Storm Dennis, the roar and cheers from you all confirmed I made the right decision.  I made it clear to you all if that any point I was worried about peoples safety i’d be calling my marshals in, but luckily the weather was kind to us.  At the finish line people were smiling, legs covered in mud, saying how much fun (and hard work) the run was today.  A huge thanks to my volunteers for braving the wind, and for the speediest post event close down ever.  And an even bigger thanks to 5 hardy pacers who helped us with KGVPF’s first pacing event.  And as always, to Saracens RFC for hosting a café after, I’ve never seen it so busy!!

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