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A slightly misty day heralded parkrun #250 for Lullingstone parkrun! Our first outing here, we were greeted by a group of friendly volunteers, including a work colleague of mine John Moorcroft, who was one of today’s timekeepers.
An undulating course with some steep uphills, but generally fast downhills, an initial uphill section was split between an open incline, before a continuing rise into the woodland. This made way into a more open decline on a slight lower-left camber, straightening out to a more modest decline to the turnaround point, a fairly flat finish to lap one culminated in "ankle-breaking alley" where slippery roots on the right were to be avoided, before heading back towards the start for lap two. Runners, joggers and canicross runners alike comprised the 77 strong field, which included 29 first timers.
15 runners attained PB's today, with the first finisher being James Elgar in 20:04, the first female was Helen Copp in 25:00, additionally, Maria Medvedieva celebrated her 100th run.
Tourists came from as far and wide as Cornwall, York and Colchester. The results were processed promptly, with marshals on the course being very encouraging. Everyone was greeted by Hector the dog at the finish.
Thanks to all the volunteers for making the parkrun happen: Monika Thaler, John Friend, Emerson Paul, John Moorcroft, Laura Boddy, James Holmes, Chris Desmond, Amanda Rivett, Kim Chance, Grant Scandling, Tereza Francova, William Healy, Sade Aumeer, Giles James Wolfe & Jacqueline Boddy.
Thanks again for making us feel so welcome.
Ash Carden & Charlene Gower from Colchester
Lullingstone parkrun 24th August 2019
I woke up early this morning checked my suffering hamstring and then the BBC weather app, 28°C full sun all day and 20°C predicted between 9-10am. A glorious day but we were going to have to be careful because it is Lullingstone parkrun this morning, one of the toughest UK parkruns with a top 10 elevation profile.
This is Liz’s and my second visit to Lullingstone which breaks our sequence of different consecutive parkrun events. Our “longest tourism streak” on the parkrun extention will therefore remain at a nice round 50 for some time. As many have found, parkrun can not only create an obsession for 5k running but also for parkrun statistics.
Altogether 64 people got around the course one way or another, with 15 completing the parkrun for the first time and 4 of those doing their very first ever parkrun. Well done to the 9 people achieving PBs including young Joshua Hobbs who was again the first finisher and improved his time by 23secs.
It was nice to see a number of tourists including Sian Griffiths from Marple Runners who was the first participant from her club. 13 different clubs were represented. Sian also brought along 3 of the 4 ‘first ever time’ parkrunners Vicki, Joanne and Ian Lucas from Willesden. A tough course for first timers but hopefully they will have caught the bug. The other ‘first ever time’ parkrunner was Bernie Stankard who I expect was not new to running as she achieved the highest age rating of the day.
A particular well done to our friend Helen Thyer who completed her 50th parkrun today. Helens parkrun journey began with a challenge set on holiday. If Liz was brave enough to enter a cool swimming pool (not a mean feat for Liz) then a very reticent Helen would agree to completing a parkrun. Liz eventually kept her end of the bargain and Helen, with the help of Sarah Millican on the 0-5k NHS app, worked up to 5k and completed her first parkrun in May 2018. Since then Helen has participated regularly with great support from her many parkrun friends who are proud of her achievement and brought cakes to celebrate.
Lullingstone is a lovely parkrun set in the beautiful Darenth valley surprisingly close to London. A big thank you to the 14 friendly and welcoming volunteers without whom this event couldn’t happen.
Geoff Manley (A984152)
A view worth the Climb
Lullingstone parkrun – 30/3/19
Well, what a very beautiful day for a parkrun, and what an epic setting Lullingstone offers. Gorgeous views, fast downhill’s, great cake in the café, and of course a friendly and welcoming volunteer team.
We very much enjoyed the river side walk, and the Roman villa, afterwards, so a good morning out for us.
We had decided to visit as a family, so we gave one of our friends Lydia a shout – and she decided to join us, I now understand that telling someone a parkrun is ‘not flat’, is not the same as explaining it’s hilly! She was hoping for a best position finish (53 to beat, randomly assigned at Crane Park after a 59.59 run with no timer), but the good weather must have brought people out, and a busier week meant this was not to be. However 21st Female still trumps her 24th female at Crane Park – so still a good result.
There was one brand new parkrunner, Darryl DSOUZA, well done on your first run Darryl.
Lot’s of visitors though, home runs (by frequency) listed;
One previous run Bromley.
Swale Tri Club
Chiltern Church Runners
Swale Tri Club
Chiltern Church Runners
Margaret River (Australia)
Chiltern Church Runners
Andy easily trumping the rest of us for distance travelled with an Australian home run!
Personal bests – or at least course bests – for;
Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC
Orpington Road Runners
Dartford Harriers AC
Dartford Harriers AC
Chiltern Church Runners
The Event Director said at the First Timer’s briefing, he’d buy anyone who ran a personal best (compared with their home course pb) a bacon sandwich, he told us afterwards this offer hasn’t cost him anything yet!
I’ll confess now my PB came from running with my son, not my wife – but then he is quicker than both of us!
I’ll also take the chance now to say Happy Mother’s day Sue Gray – you are a great Mum, and the kids agree with me on that!
Chris DICKINSON was the most experienced parkrunner who has not yet had a mention, with 297 runs. Andrew ARCHER ran his ‘Darts Max’ 180. Louise BAKER a non official milestone of 150. Thea FRANKLIN her ‘Flake’ run – 99.
One official milestone run - Georgia CLIFTON with her Junior 10, very well done Georgia.
Thanks to all the volunteers;
Michael BODDY, Chris DESMOND, Chris DICKINSON, Jason DOWN, Lilah HERBERT, James HOLMES, Elizabeth HUNT, Elizabeth MCARDLE, Andrew MEAD, Stephanie TAME, Jacob TAME, Richard TAME, Monika THALER, Giles James WOLFE
Nice to chat to Chris DICKINSONas the Tailwalker should really get the last mention – thanks for seeing Sue & Marie around. As a fellow tourist do keep an eye out for us at other events!
Thank you to Ian Gregory A173387 for this great run report form last weeks extremely busy parkrun-
This morning saw us, The Three Amigos, take an 82-mile north-east trip from Portsmouth to the dizzy heights of Lullingstone, Kent, the eighth hilliest parkrun course (according to the Jegmar elevation rankings). I’ve done a decent amount of parkrun tourism with fellow obsessive enthusiast, Dave ROBBINS and it was the first time our running buddy Michael SENNETT had joined us.
It was a much milder morning than ones we’d been experiencing throughout the week, although once we’d arrived, we all opted to do our warm-up with our running jackets on. It’s a course where it’s quite difficult to fit in my usual half-mile warm-up, unless you’ve become accustomed to the steep slopes here or you’re somewhat masochistic.
Lullingstone Country Park is just a stone’s throw away from the start of the parkrun, located halfway up the hill… this introduction to the area leads me on to some history about the area we were running in today.
The park area has had settlements there from as early as the Stone Age, though I expect their parkruns back then were based on running away from cave bears and woolly rhinoceros. Evidence has also been found of settlements and records of two farmsteads dating back to the Iron Age, as far as 20AD, Lulling’s tun meaning Lulling’s farm. During the Medieval period, the Country Park was part of a large estate and deer park which became a valuable hunting area. It resulted in the landscape becoming full of mature trees, some of which the parkrun route goes through, Lower Beechen Wood.
The site has a huge collection of ancient trees, with over 300 veteran oak, beech, ash, hornbeam and sweet chestnut, some of which are estimated to be 800 years old.
On to more recent history now… in 1933 some of the land that originally formed the park was sold off to cover debts of the estate, the 200-acre area around Lullingstone Castle being retained. The site is still owned by the Hart Dyke family, who have a history in Lullingstone which dates back 600 years. Some six years later, the Ministry of Defence used the land, placing dummy aircraft in the dry valley behind Lullingstone Park Farm to avert the enemy’s attention from nearby Biggin Hill. In some cases, aircraft were set alight during air raids to replicate direct hits; evidence still remains of bomb craters in and around the park.
Back to today’s run! All three of us were the first to experience a parkrun Mob Match. This is where clubs use parkrun as a place to meet and compete against each other; today there were four local clubs all competing for the local crown. From what I could gather from today’s Run Director, Giles James WOLFE, it wouldn’t be a case of who finished first, more a case of how each club performed as a whole - more about that later. All I can say is, it was conducted excellently and probably helped me put more effort into my run.
The parkrun itself is mainly run on grass, with a woodland carpet of leaves and other woodlandy stuff. I also seem to recall a small section of stony trail towards the finish line. Very little of it is flat, and even the flat parts are mostly on a camber, so it’s a constantly demanding course, both for the body and the mind. That said, two fifths of the course is downhill, so if you’re a lover of downhill running, like myself, you’ll be welcoming those kilometres with open arms! I must be a masochistic parkrunner at the moment, especially as I’ve completed Alice Holt (277ft), Cuerden Valley (345ft), Queen Elizabeth (376ft), Lullingstone (407ft) in the last twelve months and am heading to Bevendean Down, the sixth hilliest course, this-coming Saturday.
Despite the course being so hilly, there were some excellent times today, though fast times were to be expected with the Mob Match taking place. The four clubs taking part were Central Park Athletics, Dartford Harriers AC, Dartford Road Runners and SLGR Dartford Running Club.
First male finisher was Alex CAMERON of Dartford Harriers AC in an amazing 17:34, with first female finisher Cas WRIGHT, also of Dartford Harriers AC, in an equally impressive 20:07 and setting herself a new PB in the process.
There was only one official milestone runner today, Rob O’HALLORAN, a first timer from Central Park Athletics, celebrating his 100th parkrun, so a massive well done to him. Stephen BURGESS from SLGR completed his 150th parkrun and bagged a PB while doing so along with Rachel BIGNELL of Dartford Road Runners who completed her 200th parkrun… not official milestones but still very worthy of a special mention.
Out of the 254 participants who ran, jogged or walked the course today, a colossal 106 were first timers to this course, two of which were taking part in their first ever parkrun (seriously, there are much easier courses to start off at!) Out of the remaining 148 people who had run this course before, a staggering 58 managed to gain themselves a new PB. Representatives from 18 different running clubs took part, the largest contingencies being from the four Mob Match clubs mentioned earlier… 35 from Central Park Athletics, 31 from Dartford Harriers AC, 68 from Dartford Road Runners and 30 from SLGR. The best 20 results from each club determined the winner.
Other notable finish times today include runners who finished on exact minute times, Denise ROSE in 26:00, Brian BORRETT and Megan DAVIS bang on 28:00 and Carolyn CORP in 39:00. There were three runners finishing in aesthetically pleasing times… Antony HYLTON in 21:21, Christopher ARCHER in 23:23 and Maria ASHLEE in 32:32. Finally, there were two palindromic finish times… Paul DAWES in 21:12 and Marc POWELL in 24:42.
I want to praise every single marshal and volunteer out on the course today, they did a pristine job of making sure everyone completed their run safely and with unequivocal encouragement, I loved every minute of it. After the three of us had finished, we headed down to the café for a spot of breakfast and a drink before heading off back home, all having thoroughly enjoyed today’s road trip.