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.


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!!


The one with the helicopter (KGVPF parkrun 22, 1 Feb 2020)

KGVPF parkrun event 22 started much the same as any other. As Run Director, I turned up just before 0800, the same time as Sue, one of a group of four doing setup. With slight warmer temperatures and less rain, the course was looking in pretty good nick. Sue managed to pick up a full bag of rubbish as she went round, as she or others do most weeks.

A lday with a plastic bag full of rubbish

At about 0830 most of the rest of the volunteers had arrived and I was handing out lanyards and discussing the ‘B+’ course we were running today. As we are more-or-less on the flight path into Gloucestershire Airport, Staverton , I didn’t think much when we heard a helicopter overhead. But then it got louder and it was clear it was looking to land in KGV. And it did – right on our course. As I continued to sort out the volunteers, several headed over to find out more. It turned out to be a Gloucestershire Air Ambulance and they expected to be there for 1-2 hours.

A green air ambulance helicopter landed on grass

I quickly created the new role of ‘helicopter marshal’, and asked core team member and regular RD Nat to supervise work on a route around the ambulance. We couldn’t wait 2 hours to run, so as long as the helicopter didn’t move, we could run around it. If it did need to take off when we were running, I felt we’d have to cancel at that point as we couldn’t have people trying to run past the turning blades, but it might be we could get finished before then.

At about 0855, we got an update that they expected to leave in the next 10-15 minutes. So I did an extra long run brief (those who know me would know that is no difficulty for me!).

Crowd of runners listening to the run brief

We had visitors from Bristol and Poland – and possibly elsewhere, but no one wanted to pipe up after Poland. Core team member and regular RD David Davey was running his 50th, and Beth Stranks was running her 100th – an opportunity to get out our crown, which impressively Beth kept on all the way round.

Runner wearing plastic crownA woman runner cheering wearing a plastic crown

This got us close to 0910 and the helicopter still hadn’t left, so we suggested folks got re-warmed up, or had a cup of tea, and that we meet back at 0920. At 0917 the helicopter took off and we could get ready to go. We don’t know what accident or injury had brought the Air Ambulance to KGV, and all of us in the team are sending our best wishes to the unknown patient and their family.

Helicopter taking off with runners in the foreground

After that, other than tidying up yet more dogs’ mess (thanks to Cheltenham Borough Council park rangers for the doggy bag!), it was plain sailing.

Dog poo just picked off ground in green plastic bag

This week 78 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 23 were first timers and 19 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 11 different clubs took part.

The result processing was the most straight forward I’ve ever had: all the tokens came back, only one person didn’t have a barcode, and the full results and a complete event history can be found on the King George V Playing Field parkrun Results Page. This is only possible down to the great team at KGVPF and today we had 22 fantastic, flexible and responsive volunteers who made my life as RD very easy:

Duncan MOUNSOR • Natalie GREENING • Suzanne HILLS • Erin DAVIES • Ewan ROSS • Sharon HADAD • Heidi MUNDINANO • Shon DOUGLAS • Thomas CHAMPION • Sue MONAGHAN • Simon WOOD • Cheryl RODHAM • Matt POLSON • Karen BENNETT • Robert BARKER • Mat BENFIELD • Forrest WHEELER • Liz TRINDER • Nina ADAMSON • Jake RODHAM • Toby WATINE • Sarah CLARK

After the run, Saracens sold a record number of cups of tea and coffee, probably not unrelated to the fact that the KGVPF core team had a meeting in the Sarries’ clubhouse! Thanks again to Sally and others from Sarries for providing delicious cakes, warm drinks and a great location for park-faffing after the event. In our meeting, among other things, we planned various upcoming events, including:

  • Our first pacer week, 15 Feb (though we’ll be seeking to fill the main roster before filling any pacer positions). We plan to hold these on 3rd Saturday of each month, to complement Cheltenham who have their pacer weeks on 1st Saturdays. Many thanks to Just A Little Bit for donating our pacer bibs.
  • 29 Feb leap year day - fancy dress “What might you have been wearing in 1992”, the last time the 29 Feb fell on a Saturday
  • 7 March – a female takeover for International Women’s Day (with an a male takeover for International Men’s Day later in the year)
  • 14 March – St Patrick’s Day – dress in green

And to finish, a bit of geekery, as various parkrun stats counters ticked over this week. Since we started, on 14th September 2019, we have now had over 1000 participants (1,018) running a total distance over 10,000km (10,040), with over 200 PBs (216) and over 500 volunteer occasions (514). Thank you all and see you soon!


The parkrun after the parkrun before – no 18, Sat 4 Jan

Much as we loved New Year’s Day, with three times our average numbers, after an autumn/winter of what at times felt like almost unending rain, we worried whether it would damage our beloved KGV. 

Luckily we’d had a good dry spell ahead of NY and by Thursday 2 Jan most of the course already seemed better than at some other times in 2019. 

Then the skies opened overnight. When RD Piotr visited KGV early on Friday, he was in two minds if we could go ahead - the area round the bottom of the fenced football field (aka Trinders Turn or concrete block) was v soggy and slippy. EDs Matt and Hamish visited late morning - lovely winter sun and wind had dried much of the rain, but Trinders still looked bad. We’d previously discussed in the core team about skipping this area, but how to do it without losing distance?

After some discussion we came up with Course B:

A map route of KGV showing the original route in blue and the changes in red

This skipped Trinders and thus the worst mud, and also allowed us to turn up both banks at different points, giving those areas more time to recover. Practice runs of the proposed new route late night Friday and early morning Saturday pre-parkrun allowed last minute tweaking to ensure length. 

Our other worry was volunteers. We’d been so focussed on 28 Dec and NYD that on Wednesday evening we only had 5 names on the volunteer roster. Fantastic work from our community, responding to Facebook and email, and many of the core team stepping in, meant the roster was full by Friday. Thanks to the 21 who helped:


And how did it go?

Those volunteers allowed 72 parkrunners to take part. We had two first timers: Rob Parker and Amy Loveys - welcome to the parkrun family! No official milestones, though Catherine Daly did her 200th with us today.

Just ahead of regular tail walker Bob was Marilyn Miller, doing her third parkrun and first at KGV. Christmas Day at Cheltenham parkrun was Marilyn’s second ever parkrun and when she heard about us she decided to come along. It was great to chat to Marilyn afterwards and we’d love to see more folks visit from Cheltenham. And you’d get to try the cakes like we did, with Sarries clubhouse back open again after a short Christmas break.

First finisher was Matt Polson, our co-ED, finally achieving this ambition at the event he helped set up. He came in at 19:57. First female was Kayla Garland in 24:23.  

Finally, a couple of notes from New Year’s Day. 

We picked up two items of clothing left behind. One top was collected today (and thanks for taking the time to volunteer as a marshal, Laura, as you picked it up). We still have one. So if you’ve lost something, get in touch, describe what it was, and we can work out a way to return it. 

And then something for the stattos. The parkrun HQ team have put together a table of New Year's Day Double events and a map of how people moved between New Year’s Day events. We had 367 finishers. 245 went down the road to Cheltenham. 76 went to Gloucester City. 12 to Stratford Park, Stroud. And one each to Chippenham and Forest of Dean. That means only 41 people ran at KGV and nowhere else, including a significant number of those who went on to volunteer at Cheltenham.



Triple whammy – KGV 1 Jan 2020 (no. 17)

New Year’s Day is an unusual day in parkrun world. It is now the only day each year that you can officially take part in two events. And with parkrun HQ allowing events to start every half hour between 0830 and 1100, there were hundreds of combinations to choose from, across the UK and beyond.

Large crowd or runners waving at the camera

So how many people were going to come to King George V Playing Field? Our average before today was 78.8 runners each week. Our record turnout, at our third event, was 118 runners. We were starting at 0900 – early for those still coping with the effects of the night before. But we had the attraction of being well placed for a double with our good friends at Cheltenham parkrun, less than 5k away, plus being just a short drive to Gloucester City, and a few others a bit further away.

It had been clear all week that this was going to be a big one – our Facebook page had many more new ‘likes’ this week. But how big?

Among the first to arrive was KGV regular runner and volunteer, Mat Benfield – setting up the course and achieving his 25th volunteering, and then running his 100th parkrun. Also turning up early, just after 8am, and lending a hand were Ian Thompson and uber tourist Paul Fielding – all the way from Basingstoke this morning, with Paul looking to run his 483rd and 484th different parkrun locations (out of a total by the end of the day of 508 parkrun).

They were just the start. More and more people arrived, first a trickle and then waves. At one point, the queue for the two Saracens changing room toilets went out the door and round the block – I was worried we were going to have to postpone the start to allow everyone to spend a penny. A bit of a wobble in the planning did cause a slight pause, but we were bailed out in the nick of time by Cheltenham – thanks especially to the Run Director, Mike Jarvis.

We had visitors from all over the country – many of the local running clubs were represented, and we had visitors from Hull, Huddersfield and beyond. We even had at least one tourist from Hasenheide parkrun in Berlin, Germany.

Our tail-walkers today were Rob Rennell and Rob Dalton-Morris – a regular sight together at parkruns around the county and indeed races further afield, with Rob D-M a visually impaired (VI) guide for Rob R. Just ahead of them, great to see Gemma Perry doing her 57th run, and Emilia, Paul and Dylan Johnson, completing 15, 34 and 38 parkruns respectively, making Emilia and Dylan both members of the Junior 10 parkruns club.

A visually impaired runner with a guide runner ahead of him - Rob Rennell led by Rob Dalton-Norris

First finisher today was Alex Lee, a mere 3 seconds off our course record, set at our second event by today’s second finisher, James Bingham, both of Cheltenham Harriers. First female was Helen Knight, from CLC Striders, setting a new female course record of 21:01 – well done Helen!

And so, how big was today’s event? Overall, we had a total of 376 finishers – more than triple our previous record. While 259 of those had not run at KGV before, James Warnock-Love was our only complete parkrun novice, with Duncan Forrester, Aaron Prewer, Athena Mansell and Annie Martin all completing their second. At the other end of the table, Paul Fielding was our only 500 club member, with Trevor Clark and Joyce Morrison from just down the road in Pershore on their 413th and 409th respectively.

And finally, thank you to today’s volunteers. They all coped brilliantly with the extra numbers, with a number of visitors chipping in to help out. The high-viz heroes were:

Paul FIELDING • Ian THOMPSON • Mike JARVIS • Andrew BRIAN • Ross GREENING • Natalie GREENING • Julian WEST • Robert DALTON-MORRIS • Prashanth Kumar SRIPATHI • Philip ABBEY • Shon DOUGLAS • Sue MONAGHAN • Nicola JERMAN • Karen BENNETT • Rob RENNELL • Helen MCGUIRE • Robert BARKER • Piotr MICHALSKI • Abigail MICHALSKA • Mat BENFIELD • Forrest WHEELER • Hamish ADAMSON • Penny LEWIS • Annie ADAMSON • Nina ADAMSON • Charlotte MAYNE • Shiona ADAMSON • Paul HODGKINSON

Run director and two other volunteers with a runner coming through the end of the funnel

PS In the excitement, I forgot to get everyone singing my new parkrun New Year’s song. Maybe next year!

PPS Some minor edits for clarity, and added in photos.


In a class of their own… KGVPF parkrun #16, 28/12/19

As a primary school teacher I couldn’t fail to notice the similarities between running a class and being Run Director at parkrun today.

Always mindful of Health and Safety (gone mad some would say), I walked the course on Friday to ensure those entrusted to my care would have a safe passage.  Having decided it was sloshy but safe we were good to go.

A splendid morning greeted me as I set about my business.  Pre-event helpers got going and the first of the marshals arrived early (previously known as Teacher’s pet).  My trainee teacher Jake (1 of our super D of E students) took on the role of First Timer’s briefing.

I gathered the class for morning register, they were very attentive and well behaved.  Then we were ready for the off.  It was great to see the class gliding across the park, the sun even came out.

As is always the case, a pupil arrived very late, 20 minutes to be exact.  He set off, determined to catch the tail walker, which he did.  He might have been late, but he showed great prowess and deserved a gold star.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching my pupils storm home, some will have seen an improvement in their performance, others will have just enjoyed the experience.  What isn’t in doubt is the effort shown by every pupil, what us teachers are always looking for.

So class of 28/12 you performed well, exceeding the National Curriculum expectations and I look forward to our next lesson.

Natalie Greening


Dashing through the….mud – KGV event #15

21st December 2019

Good King Wenceslas may have looked out when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even but, after a week of rain, Good King George V looked out when the mud was all about, deep and wet and uneven!

This week saw the first 'take over' of the KGV parkrun by a local running club. The Almost Athletes provided 24 of the 26 volunteers this week and the same number of runners from the club joined in and ran as well.

KGVPF parkrun (2)

The rain put paid to many people's ambitions for a fast time, so a huge congratulations to Stephen Sharrock who was the only person to run a PB this week. Congratulations also to David Tomlin and Angela Parfitt both of whom were the first finishers on their first outings at KGV respectively.

As always, the wonderful Saracens rugby club supported the event putting on mulled wine and mince pies for everyone to enjoy post-run. We managed to run them dry of mulled wine which we're quite proud of!

KGVPF parkrun (1)

A huge thanks must also go to Rob Hume who was photographer on the day. All of his photographs can be found here.

We want to wish all our runners, supporters and volunteers a very Happy Christmas. Thank you for helping us get up and running this year and we look forward to many more parkrundays, starting from December the 28th when we'll see you next (did we mention we still have spaces on our roster?!)


This week 70 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 19 were first timers and 1 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 10 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 26 volunteers:

Mark WREFORD-BUSH • Dave MAYO • Alison HUME • Rob HUME • Iris MAYO • David CHITTOCK • Thomas WOOD • Claire GALLAGHER • Thomas CHAMPION • Charlie ATHERTON • Karla CLEVERLEY • Rachael NOLAN • Cheryl RODHAM • Matt POLSON • Beverley NOLAN • Rob RENNELL • Julie AVERISS • Mark STOJANOV • Helena YOUDE • Mat BENFIELD • David DAVEY • Hamish ADAMSON • Penny LEWIS • Liz TRINDER • Jane RUSSELL • Jake RODHAM

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the King George V Playing Field parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by James BINGHAM who recorded a time of 16:42 on 21st September 2019 (event number 2).
The female record is held by Jennifer MCBAIN who recorded a time of 21:09 on 5th October 2019 (event number 4).
The Age Grade course record is held by Virginia PAWLYN who recorded 84.70% (30:50) on 28th September 2019 (event number 3).

King George V Playing Field parkrun started on 14th September 2019. Since then 632 participants have completed 1,202 parkruns covering a total distance of 6,010 km, including 120 new Personal Bests. A total of 122 individuals have volunteered 359 times.


Run report – 14 Dec 2019 – no. 14

Tourist Karl Johnson has written this week's report - thanks Karl!  If you're a tourist - or indeed a regular or first timer - and you're reading this and you'd like to write a future report, please just get in touch.

So, this morning started a bit like this - woke up looked out the window - rain!!

Original plan was to head to Evesham but unfortunately for them I didn’t have a car....

So, a quick ring round a few local taxi companies led me to your beautiful parkrun.

(Although Gloucester North parkrun was across there road - I had already run that in 2017)


I have never been so cold on all my life - raining when I arrived, quickly said hello to the volunteers and dashed for cover.


parkrun is a small world - only bumped into regular tourist Mike Kimber.... we have crossed paths a few times so nice to have a catch up but sad to learn about his injury! Keep it up mate you will be back in no time!

A group of about a dozen people by the KGVPF sign in high viz, looking quite cold

So, did I ever mention I hate running on grass, especially in road shows... just so happens that was today’s combination.

Dave kicked off the first timer brief with cheer (even if it was minus 1 and raining, haha) RD delivered the pre run brief and we were off....


The title of the parkrun is very accurate... one small out section then three laps around the playing fields with a few small downhill and a few small uphill sections.... covering three levels of the fields - defo a cross country run! Trail shoes are a must if the weather has been bad....

View across KGVPF, with grey clouds and damp grass

This week 42 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 19 were first timers and 1 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 14 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 17 volunteers:


Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the King George V Playing Field parkrun Results Page.

Just again to thank the volunteers today who had to endure such poor weather conditions - without you we wouldn’t have parkrun so I thank you sincerely.


Really welcoming atmosphere as always

Happy parkrunning in your first year of formation

A man in an apricot parkrun shirt standing next to the purple KGVPF sign

Until we meet again

Don’t forget your barcode


Karl Johnson

Pontypridd parkrun



KGVPF no 13 – 7 Dec 2019

It was a calm, mild and still morning for parkrun number 13.There a noticeable sense of disappointment amongst some, that the weather wasn’t a bit harsher probably so that the post run sense of achievement could be more deeply felt.


The good news however was that the mud didn’t let the side down and provided the necessary extra challenge, as if running 5k isn’t enough. Anyway there were 70 muddy satisfied punters at the end of the run.


This week we honoured Liz Trinder for her dedication to marshalling at the remote concrete block corner by rebranding it in her honour to ‘Trinder’s Turn’ or simply ‘Trinders’. Liz is a top lady and it’s great to have her with us. Liz has been there, rain, hail ,snow, global climate catastrophe, Brexit, Katie Price going bankrupt, no matter what the crisis is, Liz takes it in her stride. By the way Liz, you are allowed to do other duties (or even have a rest), if you fancy a bit of a change of sceneryJ.


James Raynor clocked up 50 parkruns, good effort James and Cheryl Rodham is now at 48 so closing in on the half century.


Thanks again to all of our tip top volunteers.

Andrea HARDY • Dave MAYO • Iris MAYO • Richard James ROSS • Natalie GREENING • Ewan ROSS • Claire GALLAGHER • Thomas CHAMPION • Karen BENNETT • Helen MCGUIRE • Trudie HOOK • Robert BARKER • Isabel ALONSO • Mat BENFIELD • David DAVEY • Hamish ADAMSON • Liz TRINDER • Nick LEDWOLD • Jake RODHAM • Alison ROUND • Keanu MORGAN


⇐ Newer Posts in Category