Run Report #211 – 11th May 2019 by Simon Hobbs

What another great Saturday morning we’ve had.  358 runners and walkers plus dogs and buggies making their way round Welland Park for anything up to an hour.  34 lovely volunteers who set up, cleared up and then many of us (apart from the RD) sat having a chat with friends and fellow parkrunners for another couple of hours.  A fine way to spend Saturday morning.


Having now been on the England Athletics Sight Loss Awareness and Guide running course with a few of my colleagues from Market Harborough parkrun, I thought this would be a good opportunity to tell other runners something more about it and how now is a good time to step forward.  I’ve paced a few times and that is rewarding in itself, but there is something extra special about the trust between the Visually Impaired (VI) runner and their guide when negotiating the three and a bit laps round Welland Park while 350 plus other runners are flying past.


We have about 20 potential Guide runners and probably a dozen of those guide regularly (with one new member joining us this morning).  There are seven VI runners / walkers, all of whose times have improved as they and their guides have become more confident.  The VI runners range in age from 17 to 70 and some prefer to walk and some keep on setting PBs. Thankfully (for me anyway) all the runners have started from walking and have gradually gained pace.  I’m not quite sure what it would be like to guide an already fast runner.  I think Roger can give us a view on that!


Guiding gives you a completely different perspective on a parkrun.  We may all think we know the turns and changes of surface and even the slopes, but imagine putting your trust in someone to communicate sufficient detail to negotiate the course for anything from 30 minutes to an hour?


The way many of the current group of Guides have learnt is through an initial practice session whereby runners are blindfolded and guided by their partner and then you swap. Both roles are equally important and enlightening.  When blindfolded, one’s other senses are heightened, but your imagination can take over unless you listen carefully to and are physically guided by your partner.  While guiding, you have to assimilate every potential hazard (bollards, changes of surface, path edging, twigs etc.) and think of the best way to either warn your partner or guide them around it (so they don’t even know it was a hazard).


This may sound daunting, but it really does mean that you consider and appreciate every step round the 5km course.  Yes, there will be potential problems (there have been falls) and that river can seem very close when the faster runners are overtaking (just ask James), but when you both pass the finish line, it makes it all worthwhile.  So much so, I signed up to attend the course and now have a Guide runners’ licence.


If you’d like to join the VI group, there is another practice session planned very soon.  Email the team at or stop and ask one of the VI pairs - preferably after parkrun!



Simon Hobbs


Run Report #210 – 4th May by George Lucas??

A long time ago

[well last Saturday actually],

in a galaxy

[hmm, it’s a park]

far, far away

[I suppose it depends upon where you live, but it’s pretty central to Market Harborough]...

It is a period of civil war

[what? - oh, people battling against their own PBs – I get it!].

Rebel spaceships

[Yes, look out for Roy’s van at the Start Corner],

striking from a hidden base

[The café’s in the middle bit – it’s quite easy to see],

have won their first victory

[it’s not a race!]

against the evil Galactic Empire

[everyone has a ‘nemisis’ they chase!].

During the battle

[let’s settle for 'parkrun' shall we?],

Rebel spies

[they’re called Marshals thank you very much]

managed to steal secret plans

[The Run Director’s briefing notes are indeed top secret]

to the Empire's ultimate weapon

[a PB?],

the Death Star

[oh wait! – a what?!],

an armoured space station

[ah! The bowls pavilion! – true, nobody has ever been able to penetrate its walls]

with enough power to destroy an entire planet

[I think they’re quite a friendly bunch in the bowls club, they just don’t wake up very early on weekends].

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents

[those pesky pacers are everywhere!],

Princess Leia

[Jo was RD last week]


[see above!]

home aboard her starship

[it’s true, she does have some shiny new wheels!],

custodian of the stolen plans

[kept securely within her waterproof flipchart]

that can save her people

[we prefer ‘parkrunners’]

and restore freedom to the galaxy

[that’s a little bit over the top, we’re just putting on a free, weekly, timed 5k walk, jog or run in the park]....


So yes, it was parkrun #210 on May the Fourth, a.k.a. ‘Star Wars Day’.  Jo was our RD, sorry, 'R2-D2' for the day and began by announcing the parkrunner of the month for April:  Lydia Hayden.  With 5 PBs in the last 2 months and a superb all-time improvement of over 21 minutes, we say a hearty congratulations.  Lydia, your medal is ready for you next time you’re at parkrun.


Several other Star Wars characters were visible in the park, including one stupid pacer wearing a dressing gown, sorry, a Jedi robe!


So onto the results:

A fine first finish from the Padawan (Jedi trainee), young Ben WOODING in a super 18:25.  In fact junior parkrunners made up 3 of our first 5 finishers on Saturday with Jacob AMIES and Hal EASTWOOD also setting impressive times.

Imogen HAYNES was our first female finisher, for the fifth time!  123 parkruns and 3 PBs this year – great running Imogen!


Thank you to the amazing 40 volunteers who made parkrun #210 happen.  There was quite some excitement in the funnel towards the end of parkrun as the number of parkrunners clocked up.  With our record of 439 set in March, when 430 was passed, we wondered if a record was about to be set!

431, 432, 433, 434, that ties the second highest turnout … then 435, 436, 437 and 438.  One short of a record, but another fine turnout from everyone.


Within those 438 were an impressive 86 new PBs and 47 first timers, of whom 25 were tourists and 22 were completely new to parkrun – welcome one and all.


With lightsabers safely stowed away for another year, it was time to wrap up parkrun #210 and look forward to event #211.

Until then remember:

The Force will be with you.  Always.



George Lucas


(with a little help from Roger Pangbourne)




Run Report #208 – 20th April by Liz Almond

Off we went to burn some calories before all the Easter chocolate on this absolutely glorious, warm and sunny Easter Saturday. I heard some had their hot cross buns before they started, yum!

parkrun#208 saw 397 runners and 38 volunteers. Thank-you for the much needed lovely high 5s from our volunteers. Bunny ears were spotted and our sunny park run saw some tourists from as far away as South Africa and closer to home Lancashire.
A PB for Adam Barber crossing the finish line first,well done. 76 runners got PBs. Reaching their 100th parkruns were Matthew Taylor, Daniel Taylor and Lee Whitehill. Sarah Conway doing brilliantly brought parkrun 208 to a close with the tail walkers Patricia Morris and Anne knights and we had 51 first timers.
We're about to have lots of first timers on Easter Sunday. A brand new junior parkrun in Desborough for 4 - 14 year olds and every Sunday after that from 9am. A first for Desborough then we celebrate a very special event the week after.....
Market Harborough parkrun turns 4 years old!!!!!!
So exciting and thrilling that we get to be a part of that special day. Bring cake, the more home-made the better.
Life has changed for the better for me in a year. When they say running can change your life it certainly can. Barring injury i wont stop running. In May I'll be celebrating my 50th parkrun.
I first ran when i was a teenager after leaving school and loved it but after getting married hubby and i dipped into it over the years not really taking it seriously. So April 2018 i took the plunge and decided to give it a go AGAIN, with friends encouragement. It led to making new friends from parkrun, entering races, becoming part of the parkrun community and i can run 10 miles almost comfortably. I've volunteered and rather than watching from the sidelines hubby's volunteered. He's volunteered 35 times. Even the dog's volunteered,she's a good tail walker.Brings her own tail.
I didn't start parkrun until June 2018. I always wanted to do it but wasn't confident enough until my lovely friend Julie Swinn encouraged me. I haven't looked back,wish i'd done it earlier. There's nothing stopping you from encouraging your friends and maybe family members to give it a go. Who needs a lie in on a Saturday anyway!
Paul Sinton Hewitt, the founder of parkrun had only 13 amateur runners for his very first parkrun. Who knew 15 years later there would be over 1 million runners and over 500 parkruns who come together every Saturday morning.
Paul built us a playground so that anyone could come and take part, all ages, all abilities with no terms and conditions and even better for FREE! The Queen made him a CBE in her 2014 birthday honours list for his ‘services to grass roots sports participation’. Well deserved.
No one need feel excluded and you'll never be last. Spare a thought for the back markers and give them a cheer and plenty of room to finish, after all it's their run too. Help your friend(s) over the line but remember not to cross it twice!
We're so lucky to have a parkrun at Welland Park where we can run or walk each Saturday morning all managed by our excellent group of volunteers. Thank-you run directors who set up and keep us in order each week. Thank-you Michael Brown,this weeks run director.
I love how friendships flourish at park run, people encourage you, it leads to other things such as signing up for races, cycling events, swim events. You get stronger, your time improves, you might have a goal in mind, you might even lose some weight and you become more confident. People come out of their shells and are happy to try new things like volunteering at parkrun. It's easy to help out for a hour then enjoy a coffee in the cafe afterwards.
Where would we be without a bit of cake or a bacon sarnie at the cafe after a good run or to get a coffee before you volunteer on a cold day. Meeting up with friends discussing stats, races, injuries or just being happy you got round. We've got it all at Welland Park. A superb cafe, a place for our dogs to run round, a play area for children as well as Sundays junior parkrun. Please remember we do have to share the park with those who don't participate in parkrun so give them plenty of room. I know myself i've been in the zone and nearly crashed into one particular lady with her shopping trolley!
I just love how parkrun has a great community spirit. I see so many smiling faces before and after. A few nervous ones too who soon relax and enjoy themselves. I hear stories of people saying why didn't they do it sooner like me and records broken each week when they get a PB. Plus lots of sweaty runners glistening in the sunshine and it's not even summer!
If you have something to say then why not be a parkrun report writer and tell us your story.
A very Happy Easter everyone.I'm off to volunteer at Desboroughs junior parkrun.
Good luck to all those from our parkrun heading to London to run the London Marathon on the 28th April.
Next weekend come celebrate Market Harborough parkruns 4th birthday, can't wait to be part of the next 4 years. Oh and bring CAKE!

Run Report #207 – 13th April 2019 by Stuart Beard – the man with the blue hair!

Standing in the middle of the start ‘crowd’ in Welland Park, I am as likely as most of you to claim that I’m ‘not a real runner’, using my solid frame and mediocre times as testimony. However, like many of you my current running journey is both fuelled by and anchored by the parkrun, and the people that I have met at the parkrun. For the past 18 months, I have been taking parkrun and running in general a little more seriously, and can see my friends doing the same. Naturally, pb’s have fallen along the way but interestingly, there has been a definite trend of parkrunners graduating from 5k to 10k, but then not stopping there, “if I can do 10k, maybe a half marathon” for some “if I can do a half marathon, I can do a marathon”.  Almost everyone has a marathon in them, given the right training and a heap of determination!

April is a key month for Half Marathons and Marathons. Last week I ran the Manchester Marathon with Leanne Shrive (her 1st), who started running at parkrun. This week Simon and Molly run their 1st and 2nd Half marathons they started running at parkrun. In 2 weeks Wiki, Paul and my running buddy Simon Poynton run London, guess how their running journey started…?

There will be many more of you taking the challenge of a parkrun 5k further, and that’s brilliant and good luck to you. For those who a weekly parkrun is quite enough of a challenge, thank you very much; I salute you too. Despite our protestations we are all runners in our own way!

Back to this week. After a very composed pre-run briefing from Heather, 375 runners enjoyed bright but cool conditions, obviously conducive to fast times as 66 of us recorded Pb’s, including Adam Barber our first finisher. We had 39 first timers and 38 wonderful volunteers. Our 207th parkrun was a great event, just like the previous 206

Stuart Beard (with blue hair)


Run Report #206 – 6th April 2019 by Jo Hemmings

parkrun Report – Event 206

parkrun number 206; what a lovely morning for a three-lap (!) run, jog or walk around Welland Park.  I was the 25-minute pacer this morning and loved every minute; it is such a joy to participate in parkrun as a runner and volunteer.  Well done and thank you to all 399 Market Harborough parkrunners and the 33 volunteers who made today’s run so enjoyable.

Through parkrun, my family and I have built lasting friendships and have spent our happiest times.  I now cannot imagine not turning-up to Welland Park at 9am on a rainy/sunny/windy/frosty/snowy Saturday morning!  I love participating in parkrun (be it running or volunteering) immensely, but it is running with my two young boys in their very-old-and-quite-tatty-with-a-dodgy-suspension-and-usually-a-flat(ish)-tyre double pushchair that I enjoy the most, and I would like to thank all of you runners, joggers, walkers and volunteers for making Market Harborough parkrun such a welcoming and inclusive event. It is a privilege to be able to run with my sons, and in my run report, I wanted to try to capture what parkrun means to me.

Thank you all (and a big thank you to the team at the Park Café for supplying us with copious amounts of coffee after the stresses of pushing two small boys three times around Welland Park in their pushchair!!)


Mummy?! Are we parkrunning today…?

Yes! Now where’s your left welly?

And please stop throwing the ball at the telly.

8:30!  Come on!  Coats on you two!

But Mummy?!  I need another poo…!

We’re out! Hooray! (a bit close to the wire)

Mummy?! Yes love?  We’ve got a flat tyre!

We made it, we’re here, my family and I,

I turn to the runner next to me, smile, say hi.

The weather’s perfect; neither too cold nor too muggy

And we’re raring to go with the double-buggy.

The atmosphere is friendly and it’s warm and it’s happy,

I relax (and then my youngest fills his nappy…)

We’re off! The heavy pushchair is hard to master

But I’m soon in my stride, ‘Faster Mummy! Faster!’

I pass smiling marshals and I revel in my luck

That we’re part of this parkrun, ‘MUMMY!!! DUCK!!’

I acknowledge the duck and shout an obligatory, ‘QUACK!’

As we glide past the Welland and start the loop back.

We hi-five Austin and give Grandad Jim a smile,

Are we nearly there yet??! No! We’ve only done a mile!

Kids! Wellies back on and please just have a rest

I’m trying to get my parkrun Double-Buggy Personal Best!

But the youngest’s bottom lip goes out and his brother starts to scream

Something about Roy’s café and a mini-milk ice-cream…

Lap three, I’m tired and my legs (and will!) are slowing,

But a lovely runner encourages me and it’s enough to keep me going.

I pant my way to the finish and am met with cheerful faces

Reminding me that parkrun is the friendliest of places,

An all-inclusive club, where it’s safe and free to have fun

And all you need to do is walk, jog or run.

Jo Hemmings

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