Letchworth parkrun Run Report 16-Feb-2019

This week's run report is brought to you courtesy of the letter 'B'!

  • Balmy weather! After recent weeks of ice and rain and wind, it was nice to welcome 150 runners with some calmer weather.
  • Blackpool! A visitor from Blackpool might well have been our furthest tourist on a normal week, were it not for....
  • Barcelona! Two runners visiting us from Barcelona enjoyed our hills today! bien hecho!
  • Bucking Bronco! (I'm stretching the 'B' connection here) our start was a little delayed by a horse on the route!
  • Bests! 26 runners recorded personal bests today - well done everyone.
  • Beverages! The coffee van has returned!
  • Brilliant volunteers! - it was very easy to fill the roster, and we have a bumper crop of Duke of Edinburgh award volunteers this week too.

Many thanks to all who volunteered: Paul DIXON • Liz HAMILTON • Edward WALKER • Billy MINGO • Brian FINNIGAN • Andrew BAKER • Olivia FRYER • Hannah STAPLETON • Suzy HOLDING • Lee CAINE • Karen STEPHENS • Amanda HARMAN • Jennifer ALDER • Lynda BARBATO • Larry BARBATO • Dennis ALDER • Ian HAMILTON • Peter HAWORTH • Emma CHAMBERLAIN • Jess ASHLEY • Anne PESTIAUX


A tailwalker’s tale

I am a regular runner and intermittent helper. This week I was the tail walker.

I had a bit of a slow start as I was last away from the HQ table where the box of goodies had blown off in the wind and I had to recover all the bits and pieces from the ground.

I left a 100 metre gap before I started, then met 2 walkers who were not part of our group and walked with them for a few minutes extolling the virtues of the parkrun ethos. All to no avail however and a few more minutes lost.

On then to Carnage corner , a few words of encouragement from the marshal and up the hill in the dazzling sunshine. On to the next marshal and a few more words and off to the Greenway .Runners/ walkers still in sight so all was well.

Met the last runner and he was struggling and going to leave at the half way point. Had a good chat and walk and learnt of his experiences as a regular runner and getting back to fitness. 1 down.

I had a small family group ahead and they left at the half way point. Now not a runner in site.

Had a good jog down to the Old oak corner then went with the marshal to collect the KM marker .Still no runners in site.

Up past Carnage Corner to the next marshal, still no runners in site. Back to the Greenway and a good jog all the way home without anyone in site. A good 2 minutes behind the field at that point. Then I met a delightful young lady probably aged about 5 yrs old who was marshalling with Mum. She wanted to jog down to the corner and last marshal. Who was I to decline !

As required all stories must have a happy ending, I was still first in my age category.

The Tail Walker


Event 55 – Letchworth parkrun’s first pacing event!

Having recently taken delivery of a set of blue vests for pacers, Letchworth parkrun held it's first pacing event on Saturday 9th Feb.

The winds were gusting up to 45mph, which definitely saw a lot of people stay tucked up in bed, and our hats are off to our hardy group of pacers who managed to hit their target times through gales. We had pacers for 20,23,25,26,27,30,32,35 and 40 minutes - with most of them hitting their pace times with impressive accuracy.

We had a total of 104 runners, of whom 10 were first timers and 4 recorded new Personal Bests - incredible given the strong winds which were against the runners on the uphill section!

Feedback we had on the pacing was good if conflicting. We had the pacers spaced out at the start line so that runners could start with their chosen pacer - runners really appreciated this. However, for the pacers this meant a slower start and running slightly further. One of our pacers mentioned they'd prefer to start at the front so they hit their pace immediately.

The event was made possible by a bumper crop of volunteers, including our 9 pacers:

Chris BELCHER • Paul DIXON • Liz HAMILTON • Jennie FRASER • Rachel CARLING • Brian FINNIGAN • Michael WILKINS • Suzy HOLDING • Nick HOLDING • Christine CAINE • Chris HARDIE • Laura KEMP • James PARSONS • Caroline CRAWFORD • Jennifer ALDER • Gita MALINOVSKA • Lisa SLANEY • Lynda BARBATO • Larry BARBATO • Dennis ALDER • Belinda MALINOVSKA • Amanda GREIG • Ian HAMILTON • Simon MACE • Glyn BLAKEY • John BLAKEY

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

Letchworth parkrun started on 27th January 2018. Since then 2,321 participants have completed 6,801 parkruns covering a total distance of 34,005 km, including 1,562 new Personal Bests. A total of 174 individuals have volunteered 942 times.


Run Report for Event 53 – 26th January 2019


Over the last three year I have constantly strayed from my home parkrun of Coventry. As long as I have that joyous slip of paper, my athlete's barcode, I can rock up at parks all over the world on a Saturday at 9am (nb times vary in different countries) and enjoy a fabulous free 5km run in good company. All parkrun asks is #DFYB (Don't forget your barcode!)

Letchworth was a parkrun surprise for me this morning. After the last two weeks of alphabet hunting 'I' - Isobel Trail and a 'J' – Jersey Farm and being ultra organised and even getting on the roster in advance to write the run report, normality returned. A total lack of planning, much to the disgust of my wife and daughter!

So upon waking I picked a parkrun based on how long it would take to wake up a sleeping wife and teenage daughter based on an estimated google maps travel time with an arrival at around 8:20. Like a plane spotter, after seeing different types of aircraft, I have been collecting different parkrun venues in sets – East and West Midland Regions :D, Alphabetter (Only Y and Z left with plans afoot) I have moved to collecting parkruns in my childhood county – Hertfordshire. I am aiming to be a 'King of Herts!' So from my the list of 4 left I randomly selected Letchworth.

One of the stresses of a perpetual parkrun tourist is being late for the start... and having to chase down and overtake a tail walker. Having done it once I never want a repeat of that so I always plan to arrive before 8:20. This means that there is always time to find the start from the carpark.

Today was going to be a day of stress as, for the first time in 132 venues, the traffic caused issues... The M1 came to a dead stop at Junction 14! Slowly the arrival time ticked up closer and closer to 9... As we sat my wife and daughter googled nearer alternatives – But having run so many close to home I had already run them... I didn't want a repeat. Luckily as the estimated 8:47 arrival time popped up the traffic cleared as quickly as it arrived so I decided to risk it and stick with my initial decision.

Following the postcode for parking we arrived exactly on time but the course page on the website said, 'Small carpark.' It didn't lie... it was full. So dropping my wife and daughter I drove to park and then jogged over just in time.

Last year my New Year's Resolution was to write the run report for every event I visited, after writing 43 from 44... I said I wasn't writing any more but after having checked the roster to ensure the run was on I had seen a space and habits form over time so I asked if I could do the report. BOOM. Hence this week you have the rambling report of a daft parkrun tourist. After volunteering as run report writer, I popped over to hear Dennis ALDER give the first timers' briefing to describe the course – however I need not have worried as a course bake was on the table. We had turned up on the birthday run... My spidey senses must have been working over time when I picked Letchworth as I love cake. That is probably why the cake map was completed with model runners based on my physique - jelly babies!

Dennis had a busy job at the first timers' briefing as 23 first time tourists arrived (maybe they like cake as much as I do!) and 12 brand new parkrunners. So a huge welcome to:- Tom POWELL, Julie KEYMER, Nick KEYMER, Kirsten MORLEY, Glyn HOLT, Alfie LAWRENCE, Heidi CAMERON, John BRIANT, Nikki HART, Lucy ALLARD, Parveen DHANDA, Shanika TROTMAN, Ivan HOLM, Tara BELCHER & Victoria PHILLIPS. Whilst I can't promise cake at the end of every parkrun you attend in future I can guarantee a friendly welcome from all. So I hope you enjoyed your run, jog or walk (or combination of them all) and I hope that you will return to use your barcode again at a parkrun shortly.

Despite the course being familiar to most today it would be a little different for all as for the birthday it had been reversed! So 187 runners passed the restrictive gates to make their way to the start... or is that normally the finish?

It wasn't long before the cry of go and massed beeping of running watches signalled the start to the parkrun.

Letchworth parkrun isn't totally a parkrun; it is part farmrun as the course loops round farm fields and gravel / stone paths. As the course description had advised trail shoes when wet, as the course could be muddy I wore mine to give me extra grip.

However they failed!

As the compacted gravel/earth bridal way gave over to grass path, like Bambi on ice I took a slip! One tumble and a commando roll and I was back up on my feet - just facing the wrong way! But once this minor error was corrected I started to run again. A few close by runners checked I was okay – a little muddy but unscathed we all continued our parkrun – gently downhill towards Carnage Corner!

After my early tumble on the flat I was nervous as the slope got a little steeper and muddier. I tried to trim off speed but I obviously lack the skill to do this effectively; however a kind grab and redirect from a superb #HiVizHero and I was back off up the farm track to dodge puddles. Okay, I may have splashed in a few but that was just to get rid of some mud!

Then a turn back up the recreation ground, along the tree line path to do it all again!

I was ready for a second bite of the cake now the mud had dried on my hands. I thought I was more cautious as I turned back down onto the grass track however I clearly wasn't as somehow I ended up on the floor again – I would have realised that the cake map wasn't chocolate for taste but to represent the slippery mud! I slipped over getting up thankfully I didn't quite require the offers of help from the runners who stopped and marshal who came over.

As I was happily rolling in the mud for the second time on the run, North Herts RRC's Paul JACKSON(VM40-44) must have been charging over the line in 18:54 to become first finisher this week. And as I was heading towards Carnage Corner for the second time, Carnethy Hill RC's Rachel NEWSTEAD (SW30-34) crossed the line in 7th overall in 20:44 to be the first female finisher. Impressive running!

Determined not to plunge into the hedge or require marshal assistance as I tried to trim speed – however my legs had other ideas of which way to go. Somehow I styled it out and managed to stay on my feet, cheerly recognised by a runner who passed me. You have to love how supportive parkrunners are to each other. I did ask if he hoped I had slipped for comedy value but was told, 'No I was cheering you on to stay upright!'

My initial reason for trying to write the weekly report wasn't to keep a record of my travels but to offer thanks to the #HiVizHeroes that made today's run possible. Like many I do try and do this as I run but going off too fast, sneaky inclines having to concentrate to stay on my feet means that at times this week I was panting badly and barely managed a to grunt a thanks to any marshal on course. So my report is a huge THANK YOU to: - Dennis ALDER, Jennifer ALDER, Andrew BAKER, Lynda BARBATO, Larry BARBATO, Lee CAINE, Izzy COLLETT, Caroline CRAWFORD, Daisy DONCASTER, Mark EDWARDS, Ruth EDWARDS, Ian HAMILTON, Liz HAMILTON, Amanda HARMAN, Laura KEMP, Peter MALES, Ann-Marie MANNING, Billy MINGO & Derek OLDHAM on behalf of all the runners as without you parkrun just couldn't happen. As with parkruns around the country if you fancy giving scanning a go, fancy being the time keeper, marshalling and encouraging others or are happy to help out in any role please look on the roster and e-mail - letchworthhelpers@parkrun.com

Puffing and panting up the last hill (at a walk!) I was soon enough on the tree lined path with the finish funnel was in sight. I am not sure why or even where it came from but I even managed a little sprint finish to cross the line just ahead of two other runners.

While I waited for the rest of the family to finish I contemplated if the course would have been easier or harder when run the 'correct'? normal way around. Checking the results 14 runners set new PB but of these 9 are in the early stages of their parkrun careers, having only run a few parkruns so hopefully by attending every week they can and as the course dries out this week's PB will only last a short while. The three other runners ran similar times to what they normally do so maybe the lure of making sure they got the pick of the wonderful cakes on offer spurred them on a few seconds faster? So well done to:- Moira MORLEY, Sean MORLEY, Alastair PENMAN, Dan NAISH, Michael OVER, Barney BRIANT, Enfys BRADFORD, David JORDAN, Kelly WALKER, Christopher BURD, Luke THOMPSON, Lucy HURLEY, Michael FLETCHER & Jillian BOYS. Enjoy that PB feeling and I hope you celebrated with some cake.

As probably can be seen from my report I was desperate for a slice of the beautiful homemade chocolate cake treat but with hands coated in mud I had to wait. I wasn't worried about eating mud myself (I imagine I had after my tumble already) but I didn't want others to have to have added mud. So until my daughter had finished so she could cut and feed me a chunk, I chatted to other runners (mainly about being so muddy!)

Thank you to everyone at Letchworth for being so welcoming. Happy parkrunning.

Ohh and for the record the cake was delicious, well worth the mud bath.

Daniel Connolly


New Year

We will be holding a New Year's Day parkrun. Our friends at Stevenage will be holding theirs at 10.30 so we will start at our usual time of 9.00. Many of you have told us you intend to run both Letchworth and Stevenage so the start will be at 9.00 sharp. We look forward to seeing you all - particularly regulars from Stevenage. Wear your Trail Shoes to experience Carnage Corner to advantage.

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