Leamington parkrun Event number 435; 3rd August 2019

Leamington parkrun Event number 435

For those approaching the assembly area from the Newbold Terrace East direction, with purpose and optimism for a parkrun time to be proud of, we were greeted today by the shiny, newly laid black tarmac road surface and footpaths on the stretch from the Leisure Centre. This will bring welcome road safety benefits to parkrunners. Credit to Warwick DC for scheduling this improvement.

539 Runners!

539 runners!

Taking into account that many families have embarked on summer vacation already, way in excess of 500 runners, was a great turnout this morning.

Drumming up enthusiasm to be a volunteer for parkrun is, I sense, a candidate for a shortlist of ‘worst-job-in-the world’. IMG_4640Not everyone can ‘sell’ this opportunity (although Simon Perkin somehow manages to make this look easy, consistently).

I am relative newcomer, and am tending towards adopting a parkrun Volunteer one-in-ten approach: for every 10 parkruns, I should offer myself up as a volunteer. When school term begins in September, I may reach my first milestone of 50 parkruns, so my conscience prods me to raise my volunteer tally to 5 or above before the end of this month.

Today, I volunteered twice – barcode scanner, and run report writer. A bit random, as a pairing, but fun, nonetheless.

Courageous Prioritisation

Courageous prioritising!

Every parkrun brings with it a plethora of people stories, many of which, as a runner, one doesn’t have time to digest. This week, the pick of the bunch are an imminent bridegroom

running on the morning of his wedding day (courageous prioritising), a runner dragging a "Happy Birthday Martin" helium balloon round the course, a recovering heart attack patient, returning to his first parkrun, after recuperation, and Welsh visitors to Leamington Spa, perhaps encountering for the first time, the challenging hill climb during the 2nd kilometre of our parkrun course.

Good to see, also, the continual rise in the number of parkrunners bringing their own drinks containers. Single use plastic cups are being phased out for post-run re-hydration, so now is a good moment to plan for this contribution to reducing plastic waste originating at our Saturday morning events.

Happy Birthday Martin!

Happy Birthday Martin (21, again, again, again)!

I confess to have heard of, only very recently, the parkrun Volunteer Mobile Phone App, which delivers new technical solutions to two key tasks – timekeeping and barcode scanning. Nonetheless, today, and via the mobile phone, barcode scanning was prevalent amongst the 8 barcode scanner volunteers, all but eliminating post-run queuing.   Moreover, of the three stopwatches on the finishing line, two failed, but the new parkrun Volunteer mobile phone stopwatch, functionality discreetly saved the day.

One or two folk expressed concern and doubt about whether the new technology would or could record both their parkrun number and their finishing position, with such speed, but each were quickly and sympathetically reassured.parkrun Volunteer App!

And so to the finishing runners. From my vantage point, as each reached us, some catching their breath, and others looking as fresh as a daisy, it had been more humid on the run course than perhaps was apparent. ‘Muggy’ was the commonly held opinion of runners arriving with their barcode wristbands and their finishing line tags.

Congratulations to all parkrun participants this morning. Dual-Task volunteering at parkrun is a good way of maintaining a 10:1 Run/Volunteer ratio. Not entirely convinced with the pairing I opted for this morning. All the same, I strongly recommend it.

This week 539 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 61 were first timers and 60 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 44 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 42 volunteers - extra thanks to those in bold who volunteered for the first time and to Mark Ehlinger for this report and photographs:

Stephanie LUNN • Kevin BASKERVILLE • Michael O'RILEY • Mrs DOYLE • Marti DHESI • Adam CROFTS • Paul RUTTER • Tim HURRELL • Brian WARREN • Sean WARREN • Amanda MALES • Lloyd HARRIMAN • William FOSTER • Stephen TRAYNOR • Kevin MCKEEVER • Jeremy POPE • Matthew SANDERSON • Stephen GALLAGHER • Eleanor NABNEY • Morgan NABNEY • Portia NABNEY • Steph ZOKA • Satty SINGH X • Catherine TAYLOR • Simon ODLING • Joseph MCCULLAGH • Richard DONNACHIE • Oliver ODLING • Mark EHLINGER • Steve TAYLOR • Jill COATES • Meredith LAING • Paul ELWELL • Margaret WEBSTER • Meena LEKHI • Ilona STEPHENSON • Jamie FINNEGAN • Peter BARFIELD • Freya LAING • Sommer STEPHENSON • Rohan MADAN • Jay MADAN

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Leamington parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by Matthew ARMSTRONG who recorded a time of 15:22 on 6th October 2012 (event number 77).
The female record is held by Charlotte TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:09 on 23rd February 2013 (event number 97).
The Age Grade course record is held by Monica WILLIAMSON who recorded 94.26% (19:44) on 29th September 2018 (event number 391).

Leamington parkrun started on 23rd April 2011. Since then 16,881 participants have completed 145,730 parkruns covering a total distance of 728,650 km, including 23,636 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,643 individuals have volunteered 10,494 times.


Leamington Parkrun #433 is a touch of brass

parkrun is a free, weekly event that has become something of a phenomenon. Josh Layton joined the runners, and their faithful companions, in Leamington Spa.

With a youthful brass band, intermittent sunshine and a rather competitive cocker spaniel, Leamington parkrun had the feel of a village fete with added nylon.

Royal Spa Brass’s youth sections, with a few more experienced hands thrown in, even got a few hands clapping with a rendition of Uptown Funk as a crowd of 466 runners limbered up outside a sports pavilion at Newbold Comyn in Leamington Spa.

Dave Chantrey’s run briefing included a message to be nice to other runners – following a report of some “so not cool” pushing on a previous week – and an effort to reduce plastic cups in the café by encouraging runners to bring their own receptacles from August 31.

The run director also dropped some factoids about the number 433 – apparently a prime number and the maximum score in the defunct game show Fifteen to One.


Cocker spaniel Clara fresh from the run

With the milestoners having collected their bibs, a ritual of every Leamington parkrun, we were off.


Milestones are marked at each run

The free, timed, weekly event is a 5k circuit of the currently unused Newbold Comyn golf course. Walk, run or let a dog do (some) of the work – it’s open to all, every Saturday.

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Upbeat affair: Royal Spa Brass’s youth sections gave the parkun installment a festival feel

It climbs a fairly brutal hill onto a tree-lined path that loops round the abandoned green before winding up on playing fields that make an ideal sprint finish.

But times, and rankings, seemed to have drifted off with trumpet notes by the end.


Marking the day: Ben and mum Amanda after the run on his 15th birthday

Ben ran on his 15th birthday along with mum Amanda.

Ben, who has 104 parkruns to his name, said: “It was fun, it was a nice run, I tried a slow one."

“The best thing about parkrun is the community aspect  – and beating mum.”

Ben, who has also volunteered 34 times, added that he planned to spend the day playing Xbox.

Mum Amanda registered her 154th run on the morning having first taken part in 2013, and was pipped to the finish by her son.

“You meet lots of lovely people and make some fantastic new friends,” she said.

“It feels like a wonderful community.”

Dog runner James Deeks ran strapped to cocker spaniel Clara – believed to be first dog home in a time of 22:43.

“I always like to run with her, she’s got more energy than me,” he said.

Bonny Landsborough was also among the runners dodging “passive aggressive vegetation” on the course. The keen allotment gardener, 61, has gone from walking three years ago to gain muscle strength to regular parkruns and her first 10k event earlier this year at the Regency Run, also in Leamington Spa.

“It was a good run, it was hard work as always,” said Bonny.

“It’s just a lovely atmosphere. Two people on the allotment told me to come and you meet lots of lovely new people and feel great after it. It keeps me fit and active…and it’s good for my brain too.”

Cafe stalwart Kate Jackson, known affectionately as Mrs Doyle, was keeping the refreshments, cakes and dog biscuits flowing – as she has done for the past eight years.


Job done: A roster of volunteers – including Mrs Doyle (centre) – keep Leamington parkrun alive

Like all the volunteers, she gives up her time for free – and it’s the thirsty parkrunners grabbing water, tea and squash who make it worthwhile.

“I love it, everyone is amazing and everyone is friendly,” she said.

“I’ve watched it grow from a hundred runners to five or six hundred most Saturdays.


Final straight: runners come home at Leamington Parkun

“There is one chap who had never run before February when he went to Ireland, and he has carried on here. You also have plenty of little kids.

“Every month we support a charity – this month’s it’s the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

“It’s absolutely marvelous.”

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The start line as more than 400 runners prepare to exert themselves around the golf course

As the runners sloped off in the sunshine, the brass band kept playing.

Led by Emily Stewart-White, the musicians included Royal Spa Brass’s Brass Roots and Buddin’ Brass youth development sections. First place was said to have been wearing a green top, but had long disappeared by the time she leafed over to a Glen Miller number.

It was a day when community spirit led the field.

Dave crowd

*For more information about parkrun click here or visit the Leamington Parkrun Facebook group

This week 466 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 49 were first timers and 45 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 34 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 49 volunteers:

Mrs DOYLE • Trevor ROTHWELL • Jane PERKIN • Simon PERKIN • Tim DOWN • Martin CABLE • Joshua LAYTON • Anthony CLAYDON • Richard WALKER • Alexander CRAIG • Amanda PARSONS • Melanie Joan BEASLEY • Michelle HUTTON • Lynn WARD • James WARREN • Amanda MALES • Eloise PHILLIPS • Duncan ROBERTSON • Stephen TRAYNOR • Julie WALSH • Jill CHRISTLEY • Ian JAMIE • Joe CHANTREY • Emma CHANTREY • David CHANTREY • Jeremy POPE • Florencia BREA • Patrick JAMES • Martin PAXTON • Eleanor NABNEY • Morgan NABNEY • Portia NABNEY • Steph ZOKA • Catherine TAYLOR • Mandy BARNETT • Anita LENNEIS • Alex BEAN • Anne LOVE • Annie BRYAN • Richard DONNACHIE • Helen VENN • Jill COATES • Paul ELWELL • Margaret WEBSTER • Judith POLLACCO • Vicki HARDING • Emma Jane BROWN • Zoe SCANNELL • Helen WARRILOW

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Leamington parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by Matthew ARMSTRONG who recorded a time of 15:22 on 6th October 2012 (event number 77).
The female record is held by Charlotte TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:09 on 23rd February 2013 (event number 97).
The Age Grade course record is held by Monica WILLIAMSON who recorded 94.26% (19:44) on 29th September 2018 (event number 391).

Leamington parkrun started on 23rd April 2011. Since then 16,774 participants have completed 144,741 parkruns covering a total distance of 723,705 km, including 23,528 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,630 individuals have volunteered 10,411 times.



Plastic FREE Leamington parkrun

“One Small Step / One Giant Leap

We’re all aware by now of the damage that plastic is causing to the environment and so we at Leamington parkrun have decided that we need to play our part in helping to mitigatthis.

We’re letting you know that, in the near future, we will no longer be supplying cups at Leamington parkrun. This will apply from the 31 August parkrun.  We’re giving advance notice for the benefit of those small number of parkrunners who sometimes forget to bring their bottles, mugs, cups and other drinking vessels, so they have time to get used to the change.

We shall continue to use plastic cups for the next few weeks, until our existing supply is used up. After that, for just a few weeks we will be issuing paper cups. However, starting from 31 August we will no longer be supplying cups of any type. (Even paper cups have a carbon footprint.From that date, it’s down to all of you to bring your own bottles and cups, etc., or… well there isn’t an “or”. As with bar codes where the rule is “no bar code, no time”, with drinking receptacles the mantra will be “no bottle, no drink”.

Just to clarify, parkrun has no obligation to provide drinks – most parkruns don’t provide drinking facilities – and so it’s up to you to provide your own means of hydration and re-hydration. We’re lucky that we have facilities at Leamington to enable this. Again, just to emphasise, most parkruns don’t. Therefore, not only do parkrunners have to bring their own bottles at these locations, they have to bring their own water!

We’re sure you’ll all support this initiative. After all, what can be more important than saving the planet? Planet Earth is our only home so we need to look after it – for ourselves and, perhaps even more importantly, for future generations. There is no Planet B!

On the subject of planets, it was 50 years ago today (20 July) that a human being landed on the moon and uttered the immortal words: “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” So, fifty years on, we are proud to announce our own version: One small contribution to saving the planet, one giant leap for Leamington parkrun. Not very catchy, we’ll be the first to admit, but hopefully it will do.

One of our environment advocates, Richard Barr, will be in the kitchen area on our launch date (geddit?) of 31 August to help Mrs Doyle supply water (and hot drinks) to those who have brought their own mugs, cups and bottles, and to help with any queries you may have concerning this initiative, as well as to receive your comments and compliments! You shouldn’t have any problem recognising Richard, he’ll be dressed up in an astronaut suit. Or maybe not.

On Saturday 31st August ‘Plastic Free Warwick & Leamington’ will be joining us too. Just another way that Leamington parkrun is trying to support the community.

Thanks for your support.

The Core Team


Leamington parkrun from a different view!

Writing the report, whilst not running, has allowed me another insight at Leamington parkrun. This week I got to feel the anticipation of the first runners arriving, feeling nervous about how I would get on scanning with the parkrun Volunteer app, saw the first aid book get two entries (grazed and very sore knees from what I saw) and grabbed a tea from Mrs Doyle before a runner had finished. It was also great to applaud the first finishers, something I don’t normally do nor witness!

You always meet friendly folk and this week Mike, who is a regular at Slough, was running with Naomi in a pram, see my picture. Naomi looked happy enough at the start and was asleep at the end, Mike did mention the hill was a bit more than he was expecting. Welcome to Leamington Mike and Naomi. I’ve never run with a pram nor a dog, maybe one day. 

As always thanks to all volunteers, your time and effort is appreciated. Please do add yourself to the register to volunteer. It is not onerous and everyone has a smile. 

Using the parkrun Volunteer phone app was easy. Once you have the app, follow the prompts and start scanning. Always runner first then token, I scanned nearly 45 runners, it is super rapid. Once you have finished the prompts send your results to the Run Director, really simple. It does speed things up for sure. 

A quick reminder that the parking wardens will ticket parkrun cars parked on the pavement on the Radford Road. If the car park is full then you will need to park elsewhere. OK let’s park the parking now. Here are the results from this week.

Written by Martin Brown (yes, this is also a volunteer position to write the run report)



Leamington Pride parkrun

So, Leamington parkrun number 431 and what a one to remember! Friday night the plea went out from the core team to help us support the teaming with Warwickshire Pride with a cacophony of colour and what a support it was!


From the young to the old there was so much colour about it literally looked like somebody had raided the local paint shop, stolen a few dozen tins of paint and stood on the run directors table and thrown them all over. Quite the sight and really very moving to think that our small corner of England could show with such clarity that we whole-heartedly supported the teaming with Warwickshire Pride. Also a little thought-provoking that even in 2019 there still isn’t such full acceptance of everybody’s diversities that we still needed to make a point of it. However, make a point of it we truly did and thanks to all who embraced the challenge. 


As I ran (ok stumbled, the heat was getting the better of me) around the course and saw the diversity of people who parkrun I am forever grateful how inclusive and tolerant the parkrun family are. We are neither judgemental nor scathing; the young, the old (I estimate the age gap between youngest and oldest was at least 69 years!) the quick, the slow (first finisher was over 3 times faster than the last finisher), the fit and the not-so fit, people from all walks of life, religions and races are all welcomed with open arms. I am so proud to be part of this family and saddened that Dan still needed to remind everybody how truly tolerant we have to become. 
On a happier note we were sent off by the ever marvellous Spa Brass, which is always a pleasure, although I suspect they might come more often because of the lovely Mrs Doyle’s cafe and cakes!


On to the milestones: Sharron Brady and Mark Reeve made this one their 50th parkrun


and brothers Tony and Chris McGovern completed their 200th, in the true spirit of brotherliness they crossed the line at the exact same time!


Sandrine completed her volunteer stint for the DoE and she will be much missed. Looking forward to some more new recruits to the volunteer team!



And here are the stats:

This week 652 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 119 were first timers and 124 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 51 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 43 volunteers:

Tessa LUKEHURST • Sharon LITTERICK • Susie TAWNEY • Kevin BASKERVILLE • Mrs DOYLE • Marti DHESI • Trevor ROTHWELL • Steven KNOWLES • Robert EGAN • Mike BEARD • Michelle HUTTON • Stephen EVANS • Mick BENNETT • Ethan BEARD • Jamie HANNA • Sandrine WIGHAM • Steven TAYLOR • Stephen TRAYNOR • David WOO • Bill LILLY • Jane OLIVER • Hannah MILLIGAN • Jeremy POPE • Amy HARTILL • Florencia BREA • Lizzie ROURKE • Gaia TWIGGER • Eleanor NABNEY • Wilfred EVANS • Jan BUCKLEY • Anita LENNEIS • Joshua BRAITHWAITE • Richard DONNACHIE • Neil HALSEY • Duncan MILLIGAN • Jill COATES • Kharaiti Ram LEKHI • Meena LEKHI • Claire BELKADI • Zoe SCANNELL • Louis WYATT • Rohan MADAN • Jay MADAN

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Leamington parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by Matthew ARMSTRONG who recorded a time of 15:22 on 6th October 2012 (event number 77).
The female record is held by Charlotte TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:09 on 23rd February 2013 (event number 97).
The Age Grade course record is held by Monica WILLIAMSON who recorded 94.26% (19:44) on 29th September 2018 (event number 391).

Leamington parkrun started on 23rd April 2011. Since then 16,662 participants have completed 143,737 parkruns covering a total distance of 718,685 km, including 23,421 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,618 individuals have volunteered 10,317 times.