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


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.


King George V Playing Field parkrun #5

Many thanks to Jane Woolley for this week's run report.  If you're planning to run and feel like writing the run report, just get in touch with us:

Run report 12th October 2019: the one with the LARGE pieces of cake.

(To be fair we only go places with cake for afters!)


Well we were forecast a downpour but had to settle for damp drizzle followed by Lemon drizzle....  ;-)


102 people turned out for the 5th KGVPF parkrun. Some of the 56 first timers may have come to collect a K or a 5 for their various parkrun challenges.  Me? We like trying different courses and we chose here on account of there being a bit of mud, a few kicker hills and CAKE. Did I mention there is cake afterwards in the Saracens?


Of the 56 first timers, we welcomed Jo McCleave and the Marston family to the parkrun family as this was their very first parkrun, we hope you come back! We also saw tourists from as far as Kingsway, Walsall, Bexley, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Fife.


We had 2 people celebrating their 50th parkrun this week - well done to Ian Froment and Ian Smith (with a new PB)


Anyway onto the course.....

It's a great route, weaving in and out of the various pitches, down a few slippy slopes (mentioned in the briefing) and of course up a couple of kicker hills (Not mentioned. But luckily we were prepared!) ....... 3 times around the course and then back towards the start into the funnel.


All the course was supported by very friendly and enthusiastic marshals. Special mention to my "volunteer of the week" - the young lad, Jake, at the bottom of one of the hills - he was really encouraging and supportive to everyone.


Then it was off to get the barcodes scanned and the 100m dash - well, bit of a saunter - to the clubhouse for coffee and CAKE. Yes, the lovely people at the clubhouse make various cakes each week and it was a lovely atmosphere in there afterwards with many parkrunners enjoying post-parkun chat. We will be back! Not just because we live here. :-)


So the numbers for the stattos out there:

102 runners

56 first timers to KGVPF

4 first timers to parkrun

9 PBs

27 High vis heroes volunteering; a big thank you to:

Malc SMITH • Dave MAYO • Iris MAYO • Soph MAYO • Tony OWEN • Shon DOUGLAS • Freya JOHNSON • Sue MONAGHAN • Cheryl RODHAM • Deborah GAYNOR • Jane WOOLLEY • Karen BENNETT • Helen MCGUIRE • Mat BENFIELD • David DAVEY • Hamish ADAMSON • Liz TRINDER • Nina ADAMSON • Chris DADDOW • Jake RODHAM • Mairead ADAMSON • Charlotte MAYNE • Joshua RIMELL • Shiona ADAMSON • Alison ROUND • Ian ADAMSON • Keanu MORGAN

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



Run Report, Event Number 4

This week's run report comes from Run Director on the day, David Davey - here's his lyrical take on Sat 5th Oct 2019:

First time as parkrun director, hoping that well it would go

Prepared for everything just in case there was rain or even some snow

As it turned out, it was fine, I needn’t have worried

Everyone there wanted to help so my concerns were soon buried

We had a 10 year old and a man of 80 who was full of youth

We had people of all creeds, colours and shapes to boot

You see events like this bring out people who do

People who care less about themselves and more about you


And here is the more prosaic output of the parkrun HQ computer:

This week 100 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 42 were first timers and 27 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 16 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 25 volunteers:

Dave MAYO • Iris MAYO • Natalie GREENING • Julian WEST • Prashanth Kumar SRIPATHI • Soph MAYO • Roy BURLAND • Sharon HADAD • Shon DOUGLAS • Freya JOHNSON • Karla CLEVERLEY • Matt POLSON • Karen BENNETT • Beverley NOLAN • Helen MCGUIRE • Piotr MICHALSKI • Mat BENFIELD • Forrest WHEELER • David DAVEY • Hamish ADAMSON • Liz TRINDER • Charlotte MAYNE • Kavyashree PARKALA • Ian ADAMSON • Keanu MORGAN

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 278 participants have completed 410 parkruns covering a total distance of 2,050 km, including 49 new Personal Bests. A total of 61 individuals have volunteered 113 times.


King George V Playing Field Run Report #3

(Today's run report has been written by Sharon Fox, visiting from Redditch.  Thanks Sharon and take it away...)

The one with the Cheeky Bumps x 3

Announced by RD Matt as “the parkrun with the longest name”, event number 3 at King George V Playing Field (now known as KGVPF to reduce word count!) gave us beautiful autumnal sunshine, showers and strong headwinds.

My first time here and a regular Tourist, I’d planned to visit KGVPF for a 3 on my Wilson Index* and just because I’d heard there was awesome cake in the Rugby Club afterwards.
Locals John and Lisa kindly guided me from the carpark for the brief walk to the start- I love that I can go anywhere in the country and there’s always a friendly fellow parkrunner who you chat away to as if you’ve known for ages. Toilets are right next to the start and people left bags, jackets etc here too [Ed. - at the owner's risk; KGVPF take no responsibility for these items.  Sorry!].

Matt was just as friendly and welcomed me and invited me to join the team afterwards in the Rugby Club for that amazing cake. Cake was mentioned again in the brief and was now setting expectations high.

At the start I chatted to fellow Tourist Saffy Walton who was also there for her number 3 which always makes me feel slightly less of a parkrun geek. Apparently there were no milestones to celebrate but the results show otherwise! First female home, Jo Fifield completed her 50 th parkrun in style in 22.01. Kept that quiet Jo!

Rex Toop ran his 443 rd parkrun and there were 6 new parkrunners, Tom Seaton, Josh Finch, Jim Stuart, Hannah Cooper, Tracy Souter and Rose Hyde. Virginia Pawlyn achieved an age grade of 84.70% in the 75-79 age group which I believe is a new course record, amazing! Well done to you all!

Other tourists had come from France, Frimley Park, Redditch (me), Worcester and of course Gloucester and Cheltenham.

The run itself was 3 laps of the playing fields with lovely views over the hills and some surprisingly short but steep mini hills. When you know what’s coming in the 3 rd lap it becomes mind over matter, especially with a killer headwind on the one straight! Friendly Marshalls cheered us on though, just what you need at that point.

There was plenty of chat from runners around me about tomorrow’s Cheltenham Half and “taking it easy today” so I hope that you all saved something for tomorrow when the weather is supposed to be a bit more challenging!

I found KGVPF to be really friendly with a welcoming atmosphere and would highly recommend. The only downside to my experience was having to rush off to meet a friend and so I haven’t yet experienced the awesome, soon to become legendary, cake, a great excuse to return I think.

Thanks to all today’s volunteers, we couldn’t do it without you;
Alison HUME • Beverley NOLAN • Dave MAYO • David DAVEY • David EDWARDS • Duncan MOUNSOR • Erin DAVIES • Forrest WHEELER • Freya JOHNSON • Gethin HOSFORD • Helen MCGUIRE • Iris MAYO • Jack HELLIAR • Joshua RIMELL • Karen BENNETT • Liz POLSON • Liz TRINDER • Lorraine TAYLOR • Mat BENFIELD • Matt POLSON • Naomi HADAD • Natalie GREENING • Neil TRING • Nick LEDWOLD • Prashanth Kumar SRIPATHI • Rachel FARGHER • Rob HUME • Sharon FOX • Sharon HADAD • Shon DOUGLAS • Soph MAYO • William J HELLIAR

* Wilson Index is an unofficial parkrun challenge where parkrun “tourists” attend events with a specific event number, today’s KGVPF was number 3.


KGVPF run report Event 2 – to the tune of “They’re changing guards at Buckingham Palace”

They're running in laps at KGV field

The cake at the finish greatly appealed.

Freya is setting out all of the stakes,

"Brilliantly done - there are no mistakes," said RD


They're running in laps at KGV field

The cake at the finish greatly appealed.

"Rebecca's doing her 50th run,

"And her 25th go at voluntary fun," said RD


They're running in laps at KGV field

The cake at the finish greatly appealed.

Briefing is done, 1-2-3 go!

"parkrun is great, you're never too slow," said RD


They're running in laps at KGV field

The cake at the finish greatly appealed.

16:42 was James Bingham's time

"That's a new record, just look at him fly!" said RD


They're running in laps at KGV field

The cake at the finish greatly appealed.

107 crossed over the line

"With 23 volunteers who made it all fine," said RD


They're running in laps at KGV field

The cake at the finish greatly appealed.

"Do you think that Prash sorted all of the places?"

"I'm sure he has, see such happy faces," said RD


They're running in laps at KGV field

The cake at the finish greatly appealed.

The marshals have gone, the cones have too

"What makes parkun? Why, all of you!" said RD


(With apologies to AA Milne - here's the original "Changing Guards at Buckingham Palace".)

Full details:


Event number 2
21st September 2019

This week 107 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 80 were first timers and 8 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 12 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 23 volunteers:

Andrea HARDY • James CLAY • John KING • Prashanth Kumar SRIPATHI • Neil TRING • Alix KING • Shon DOUGLAS • Freya JOHNSON • Rebecca WALKLATE • Sue MONAGHAN • Matt POLSON • Karen BENNETT • Beverley NOLAN • Helen MCGUIRE • Mat BENFIELD • David DAVEY • Hamish ADAMSON • Nina ADAMSON • Lorraine TAYLOR • Mairead ADAMSON • Gethin HOSFORD • Kavyashree PARKALA • Ian ADAMSON

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

The female record is held by Helena YOUDE who recorded a time of 21:48 on 14th September 2019 (event number 1).
The male record is held by James BINGHAM who recorded a time of 16:42 on 21st September 2019 (event number 2).
The Age Grade course record is held by James BINGHAM who recorded 82.34% (16:42) on 21st September 2019 (event number 2).

King George V Playing Field parkrun started on 14th September 2019. Since then 162 participants have completed 192 parkruns covering a total distance of 960 km, including 8 new Personal Bests. A total of 41 individuals have volunteered 56 times.


KGVPF parkrun inaugural run report – 14 Sept 2019

Remember the non-scanner sheet –print it.  And the Run Director’s briefing.  Ok, got it.  Draw the grid on the white board for volunteers.  What’s the time? 2:35am. Sigh, that’s too early to get up and get started.  Turn over, try to get back to sleep.  What did I need to print again?  What if too many people turn up?  Time: 3:15am.  What if too few people turn up?

Gah, what’s that noise?

Oh, the alarm – 6:30am.  I feel like I’ve not slept.  I’ve been thinking about this day on and off for about a year.  What seemed like a unlikely possibility slowly became a distinct likelihood, then a near certainty.  And now it’s here: the inaugural King George V Playing Field parkrun.

I eat breakfast while drawing a map on the back of the whiteboard – probably not the most crucial thing to do, but the course fitted nicely around my bowl of cereal.  I pack the additional stakes, radios, mini cones, and a few other bits and pieces into a large rucksack.  The trial run last week, on 7 Sept, went well – it showed what worked, and where we needed to adjust (hence extra stakes for more signs).

A breakfast bowl in the middle of section a rough drawing of the King George V Playing Field parkrun route

"I eat breakfast while drawing a map on the back of the whiteboard – probably not the most crucial thing to do, but the course fitted nicely around my bowl of cereal."

But five friendly runners at the trial would definitely be small compared to today.  How small?  Our nearest neighbour, Cheltenham parkrun, normally gets over five HUNDRED.  We’d kept the news of KGVPF parkrun quiet because we really didn’t want them all descending on us on the first day.

I needn’t have worried.  When I arrived at 7:45 (ish) we had plenty of setter uppers.  We got the course done earlier than at the trial.  We had plenty of marshals.  Richard Knightley, our lead bike rider, got a puncture but still sorted it quickly enough to have time to do a quick ride round the course and get in position to lead everyone out.  And the sun shone on a beautiful Indian summer morning.

In total, we had 33 fantastic hi-viz heroes to deliver the KGVPF inaugural:

Malc SMITH • Laura SMITH • James CLAY • Lisa KING • Alison HUME • Rob HUME • Natalie GREENING • Julian WEST • Michelle BALCHIN • Matthew BEVAN • Prashanth Kumar SRIPATHI • Caroline MARSH • Katie BEVAN • Lucy BEVAN • Claire GALLAGHER • Neil TRING • Alix KING • Shon DOUGLAS • Freya JOHNSON • Sue MONAGHAN • Karen BENNETT • Helen MCGUIRE • Piotr MICHALSKI • Richard KNIGHTLEY • Hamish ADAMSON • Liz TRINDER • Annie ADAMSON • Nina ADAMSON • Lorraine TAYLOR • Mairead ADAMSON • Kavyashree PARKALA • Margaret ROBSON • Ian ADAMSON

And a perfectly formed 85 parkrunners turned up and ran, walked and jogged the course.  First finisher was Rob Green in 16:54, first woman home was Helena Youde in 21:48, and our age grade record is 81.79% by Crispin Allen (18:02, VM50-54).  We had four brand new parkrunners (shout out to Glen, George, Alison and Hayley), one person doing that tricky second run (well done Nina), and then, at the other end, we had nine runners who had each done over 250 parkruns.  We had no milestones this week, not even anything particularly arbitrary to announce.

A big thank you to the Gloucestershire County Council ‘Building Our Communities’ fund and Cheltenham Borough Homes for providing our funding.  Thanks to the Cheltenham parks team, particularly Wayne, Hannah and Adam, for being so supportive.  Sarries RFC have been brilliant, from giving us space for our kit to providing the best cake in the known universe to fuel results processing and other post-parkrun faffing.  Finally, I’d like to say a particular thank you to RD on the day, Claire, who made it all look so straight forward, and our Ambassadors, Michelle and Malc, for supporting us every step of the way.

It’s been a lot of fun helping get KGVPF parkrun off the ground.  As the book says, parkrun is MUCH more than just a run in the park, and building happier, healthier communities is something that the core team is very much looking forward to being part of.  Bring on run #2…

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