Run Report #205 – 30th March 2019 by Fleur Kellie


This was the first time I had ever been to a parkrun and it was a lovely warm sunny Saturday morning and Round Table (of which my dad is a member) had volunteered to help.  I was therefore also helping out!  I didn’t know what to expect having never been to a parkrun before.

As I arrived, there were plenty of volunteers and Round Tablers in high viz jackets, setting up and trying to understand their jobs, funnelling, token collecting etc..  Even at 8:30 there were some keen runners beginning to warm up before the run.

There was an attendance of around 400 people which really shows how great these events are for local communities. Some people were taking it very seriously, some were just there to have some fun and get some exercise.

When the run had started, it was a great feeling cheering the runners as they started off, the claps, the cheers, the smiles and the panting dogs were all part of it, and the run really showed to me people’s persistence and the ‘never giving up feeling’ inside all of us.  It was nice to get the occasional thank you from the runners – from those who could find the breath…!

As I said before I would encourage people to help out at a parkrun as they are a great way to meet new people or old friends, and the feeling of helping and cheering so many different people was very rewarding.  Each run needs 30-40 volunteers.

Round Table (with some help from 41 Club and Tangent) provided around 20 of those volunteers.

Market Harborough Round Table are a group of 25-40 year old men who meet up one night every 2 weeks to either have a laugh and do something fun or plan and help others in and around the town of Market Harborough.  In June we run 'It's a Knockout' at the Harborough Carnival.  In December, you'll also see our members manning the Santa sleigh, loved and cherished for years by the local community in Desborough and the customers of Sainsburys.
There are about 10 members already in Market Harborough Round Table from all walks of life.  Join us, get involved with your community & make lasting friendships.
Come along to one of our nights out to see what we are about.  Friends, Banter & the odd beer (or 2).
As long as you're a man older than 18 and younger than 45 – you can join.


Fleur Kellie (aged 12)


Run Report #202 – 9th March 2019 by Roger Pangbourne

Just a quick little Run Report for today – not even many stats!!


The day started early – a good pilot friend and I were due to fly from Leicester to Henstridge Airfield parkrun.  Last week was postponed due to low cloudbase and this morning at stupid o’clock we had to call it of again due to gusting winds (a decision that we were very happy about when we experienced these at Welland Park later in the day!)


So plan B was a ‘home’ trip to lovely Welland Park and a chance to catch up with friends all round, with of course one of the best breakfasts you’ll find at any parkrun.


A busy morning at the bowls pavilion as 50 (yes 50! – the second highest we’ve ever had) volunteers all queued up with Jo (RD in charge today) to announce their presence (loads of Duke of Edinburgh students, many of whom are near to completing their relevant awards – congrats).  A huge thank you to all the volunteers – after we only had one Marshal earlier in the week, we were bowled over by how many volunteers rallied to Jo’s cry for assistance.  Thank you all.


Jo gave a lovely briefing at the start, with everyone agreeing to a ‘deal’ with Jo to only overtake on the right, keep to the left and single file at all the narrowest parts and the bit I particularly liked:  If you start with a dog, we want you to finish with the dog (not hand it to some unsuspecting volunteer) and if you start with a child, it’s generally a good idea to finish with a child! J


A postponed parkrunner of the month medal award for Sylvia (great running recently Sylvia!) and we were off.

Sylvia protm

Due to my unexpected appearance at MH today, I wasn’t due to fill any other volunteer roles – no VI guiding or pacing, so I was ‘just’ parkrunning.  It’s a while since that happened and I was unsure whether I was just going to drift around casually or set off like a man possessed.  Well when I hear “3-2-1-parkrun!” something inside me clicks so I was off like a shot (well, and unfit, overweight shot) and settling into a pace that I knew wouldn’t last:

1stkm:  4:17 (too quick)

2ndkm: 4:26 (o.k. ish)

3rdkm: 4:25 (that surprised me)

4thkm:  4:38 (here we go!)

5thkm: 4:37 (could have pushed it a bit more, but good enough)


Later on parkrun time completed in 22:39 (not even a bingo number :( !)


On the way around I was able to observe our lovely parkrun and I couldn’t spot any ‘incidents’, so well done everyone and thank you for sticking to Jo’s ‘deal’.


One of our parkrun Ambassadors was visiting today (Mark), so after collecting my finish token I trot across the field to run the final lap with him – he’s on a good run of form at the moment, so I ‘encourage’ (if that’s the correct word?) him around the last 300m. Later on a time of 25:22 is confirmed – result! – an MH PB for him by 22 seconds and his quickest parkrun time since 2015 – well done Mark!


After scanning, I wander down the straight helping ensure all the other parkrunners who have finished are still keeping left to the left so as not to block anyone still running.  I decide to pick on someone else to ‘encourage’ their finish.  From 450m out, Allyson duly creates a 20 second gap from the position she was in – well done Allyson, there’s more in the tank!


As the winds blow in a shower-and-a-half, it’s time to start helping tidy up the kit ready for next week and soon I find myself sat outside the café having breakfast with Mark in the sunshine!  We pass the time contemplating how parkrun does amazing things for so many people, before stepping inside for some obligatory cake and check in with Jo and Clive who are finishing off today’s results.


So there we go.  Another little Run Report dashed off.  There are plenty of gaps in the volunteer roster for the Run Report Writer role – one of the few volunteer roles that can be done whilst also parkrunning the course.  If you have a story to share and would like to have a go for this role, just let us know and we’d love to hear from you in future.


For now, well done to all 387 parkrunners and 50 volunteers who all made today happen.  Congratulations to Mark and the other 60 of you who recorded PBs today – great stuff.  We welcomed 24 first timers, of whom 8 were completely new to parkrun.  We hope you return again and again and grow to love parkrun as we all do.


Have a great week everyone.



Roger Pangbourne


Run Report #198 – 9th February 2019 by Roger Pangbourne


I didn’t used to know anyone who was blind.

Or even anyone with any kind of what you would call a ‘visual impairment’.  But I still remember my first Run Director meeting when Brian (our original Event Director) raised the topic of ‘PROVE’ (parkrun; Running or Volunteering for Everyone) and whether anyone wanted to help investigate some training as a Visually Impaired (VI) Guide.

I’ve thought about it and I don’t really know why guiding a blind or visually impaired runner interested me, but it did.  Perhaps it was fascination.  Perhaps it was admiration.  Perhaps it was because I was used to pacing and this seemed something else new to try? It certainly wasn’t any thought that it could be such a rewarding activity.

Roll forward around 15 months and this weekend I was guiding for the 10th time.  In that time I’ve guided 4 different VI parkrunners, some completely blind and others with different visual impairments.  Three of these are now regulars at MH (Wiki, Vanessa and Jan) and the other was Haseeb, the blindfold ironman triathlon world record holder (thankfully he was coming back after an injury when we ran together as Haseeb is quiiiiick!).  2 of those 10 guiding experiences have been with First Timers (Haseeb and Jan) and I’ve hopefully had a hand in 4 PBs (Wiki x 2, Vanessa and Jan) – certainly more PBs than I’ve achieved on my own of late!!

Now pacing is rewarding and the thanks that those who finish just before or just after you is wonderful – all I’ve usually done is shouted at people (maybe not at them!) all the way around the course, but VI guiding is something else…

Guiding has delivered probably my most emotional parkrun experience:  I was guiding young Jan for her first parkrun experience.  Jan is in the ‘VW 65-69’ age category and following her instructions, we were fast-walking around the course.  It was our last lap and on the return from the Turnaround Trees I asked if she fancied a little jog.  We jogged for around 50 metres above the river stretch.  We returned to a walking pace before saying ‘hi’ to Austin again and Jan said to me:  “That’s the first time I’ve run … since school.”  !!!  Wow! It makes me well-up every time I tell the story.  We also jogged down the finish straight that day on our way to a time of 56:38.

Today should have been Jan’s 10th parkrun, but she had forgotten her barcode!  After a little period of illness Jan had once again given me the instruction to only walk, but this time we probably managed 6 or 7 jogs before finishing in 55:25.  A way off Jan’s current PB of 46:21, but she was delighted to still be quicker than her first outing – even if she won’t receive the run credit for today.  (#DFYB!)

Since our first VI guiding trials with blindfolded parkrunners, we have now welcomed 8 different VI runners and have a wonderful team of VI Guides.  Some have attended official training events (there’s an excellent ‘Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running Workshop’ run by England Athletics) or we have trained many of our own local parkrunners.  Essentially once you have donned a blindfold yourself and run a few laps around Welland Park with a VI Guide, you are very well prepared to be a VI Guide yourself.  A number of our regular RDs are also trained VI guides so can answer any queries people may have and the VI Guide team is currently led by Jo Raine.

VI Guiding now, compared to my first time at MH is a wonderful thing.  Not only for all of the stuff I’ve mentioned above, but also because you wonderful parkrunners know only to overtake us on the right-hand side and it’s great when we hear a shout out of ‘passing on the right’ or something similar when you’re overtaking (we’re often too busy nattering to hear you coming otherwise!).  Market Harborough parkrun has truly embraced VI running and we thank all of you for helping make this happen.

My VI workshop was also attended by a blind runner called Netty.  She told us that she used to be casual runner and when she lost her sight, the biggest thing she missed was running.  So finding some people with whom she could run and act as VI Guides was life-changing for her.  I’d add it can not only be so rewarding for VI runners, but also for the VI Guides.

If you’re interested in joining our team of VI Guides, we’d love to hear from you – just pop us a note on Facebook, an email or come and chat to us at parkrun one day.

I now know several blind people and others who are visually impaired.  My life is warmer and fuller as a result.


Roger Pangbourne



Run Report #197 – 2nd February 2019 by Nicola Mirams

This run report threatened to be the shortest in parkrun history as icy weather meant a 7.30am course inspection had to take place, with the possibility of the parkrun being cancelled. Kudos to the core team who braved the cold conditions (it was 0C outside, with a ‘feels like’ temperature of -5C) to proudly declare that parkrun #197 was going ahead, in beautiful sunshine.

I headed to Welland Park early and spoke to some of the other volunteers for the first time. I am new to the area so I am slowly getting to know people. I chatted to Liz, who I had admired from afar for her cookie monster running leggings and festive trainers. She told me about an event she is taking place where participants get rewarded with chocolate depending on how far they run. Sounds like my kind of event! I also spoke to Alice – a friend of the family who I’d not seen for several years – and her guide.

I’d persuaded a friend to try the parkrun for the first time so we headed to the start line together for the usual announcements. Among the achievements this week was a gentleman volunteering for the 100th time (our very own RD - Kenny!!) – wow!!   In the first Harborough parkrun I’d run in January someone had come from Israel to take part – this time our most intrepid runner came from the wilds of Northampton!

We counted down to the start and it felt good to get moving and to start to defrost. Despite the weather and lures of a cup of tea in bed, 323 runners had turned up, with the marshals as usual providing great motivation and enthusiasm. A highlight of my lap is always a hi-five with Austin as you come back from along the river. As someone who is around the 30 minute mark, I inevitably get lapped by the faster runners.  I am giving it my all but they are something else - inspiring. During my lap two a man called Stewart ran past on his third lap – the lady in front and I encouraged him to find his second wind as he zoomed towards the finish.

I first encountered parkruns in 2013, when I ran the Braunstone parkrun three times. Six years later on the first Saturday in January I was sitting in the Commons car park just after 9am when I saw hundreds of runners – they just kept coming. I was cheering them on from the car. I knew it probably was the parkrun and then publicly said on the Facebook group I’d come the next week. I was nervous but I was so glad I did as I have been there every week since. It’s now become my priority on a Saturday. In that time I’ve gone from finishing 289th on 12 January 2019 to finishing 222nd on 2 February 2019, and I have cut my time down from 31:17 to 29:42. I’m unable to come next week and I’m already feeling sad about it.

My other target is to look happy in the parkrun photos. Currently the only parkrun photo is attached - I promise I was enjoying it more than I look! A fun fact is that in my first fun run for charity I dressed as a flamingo (it’s come out several times since then) - see second photo . Maybe it’ll grace a parkrun! Say hi if you see me.

I have also discovered that lots of Nicola’s do the Market Harborough parkrun. Having only encountered a couple in my life, there are often several on the results list and two on the core team!

The thing I love most about the parkrun aside from the friendly atmosphere is how good I feel after: on top of the world, with my mind and body nourished. What an amazing thing to have done before 9.30am on a Saturday. I don’t get this feeling running on my own so I relish every moment of it. I love reading so after the parkrun I always go to Market Harborough library, select my books for the week, and head home to read them alongside a cup of tea.


Nicola Mirams


Run Report #196 – 26th January 2019 by Patricia Morris

Another great parkrun, a little warmer with no rain, ideal running conditions.

We have a three lap course winding around the perimeter/edge of Welland Park with the River Welland flowing through it. The course is challenging as it is narrow with a lot of runners, 384 this week, especially challenging for the visually impaired runners and their guides.

What’s good about parkrun is it gets reluctant runners like myself to take part. There is always fantastic encouragement from the volunteers and other runners. You don’t need to worry about being left behind or coming last as you have the support of the tail walkers.

I first heard about parkrun from my daughter Beth who started parkrun at university. She got her dad to take part in the Harborough parkrun when she come home during the holidays. I stayed at home as I was never very good at running at school.

My parkrun journey started December 2015 when Beth signed me up for Christmas day. I said I would only do the one, 104 parkruns later and I’ve definitely got the parkrun bug! I also love to volunteer and have earned my 25 volunteering shirt. You can still take part in parkrun if you cannot run, like I did while recovering from knee surgery. I helped by marshaling until I was able to walk slowly round the course.

Today, I walked parkrun, still recovering, and I came 12th in my age category, there was probably only 12 in VW 55-59, if anyone would like to check!

I have made some great friends along the way and it’s great to catch up in the cafe after parkrun. parkrun isn’t just about running, it’s the social and community atmosphere that make it feel like a family.

Many thanks and appreciation to all 38 of the core team and volunteers who made Market Harborough parkrun #196 possible this week.

Patricia Morris


Run Report #193 – 5th January 2019 by Roger Pangbourne

A Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to the first Run Report of 2019.

After last week’s bumper-filled stats edition, a somewhat slimmer Run Report this weekend!  But any statistician cannot ignore when a record is set, so let’s start off with that:  On Saturday, with a chill in the air, but no signs of any rain or snow, a record attendance of 415 parkrunners completed Market Harborough parkrun.

It’s nearly a full year since the previous attendance record was set:  The first weekend of 2018 didn’t quite set a record (361), but the second weekend did at 394.  This record stayed in place throughout 2018, the second and third highest attendances being in May (381) and June (378).  So 415 is a great way to start 2019 and we look forward to many similar sized attendances through the year.  Here’s a little chart of our record attendances at MH parkrun:

Attendance records


Starting with event number 1 (111).  After dropping to the lowest ever attendance for event 2 (92), we then had 5 record attendances in a row, growing from 118 to 179.  A month later, saw the 200 mark exceeded for the first time (203 in July 2015) and then a break until January 2016 (209).  April 2016 saw the record broken twice, once at the start of the month (227) and then on the 4thSaturday of April, MH parkrun’s first birthday (a massive 295).  The first weekend of 2017 was the next record (342), nudged up in March to 375.  Then came the above mentioned 394 in January 2018, which stayed on until this past weekend.  So the big question is:  Will 415 be our attendance record for the rest of 2019 and if not, how many weeks until this is broken again?!

Records apart, we welcomed 39 First Timers to MH parkrun this weekend, 23 of whom were completely new to parkrun.  And we congratulated 48 parkrunners achieving PBs to start 2019 in fine style.

Up front, it was a close battle between Steve TURVEY and David STAFF all the way around.  Steve kept trying to drop David, but David determinedly stuck on and then kicked on past Steve in the last km, picking up his 4th ever First Finisher at MH, this one by some 10 seconds.

First junior through the finish was Ben WOODING, 7thoverall in a cracking 19:34.  First Female Finisher was Erin BILLINGTON, setting a PB at 21:04.

Congratulations again to Anne DAWKINS for her 50 parkrun milestone – please be patient with the T-shirt order Anne! :)

Otherwise congratulations to Julie LAKE who became our record breaker yesterday in position 395 and our Tail Walkers in positions 414 and 415 – along with all the team of 37 volunteers.  We couldn’t do it without you, so thank you once again.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and week ahead and here’s an idea:  Why don’t we all do it all over again next week?!

Happy parkrunning.


Roger Pangbourne


Run Report #192 – 29th December 2018 by Roger Pangbourne

Well that was 2018 folks, another year over and new one just about to begin.  So pop the kettle on, grab something nice to nibble and huddle up for a (largely statistical!) review of 2018 at Market Harborough parkrun!

But first, it is a Run Report, so let’s hear about event number 192 from Saturday:


Jo was up the RD stepladder and overall a silky-smooth event ensued.  Thank you to our wonderful 34 volunteers who made the event happen.  It was a windy at first 9 degrees and the dry skies brought out 353 people to run, jog and walk the course.

We welcomed a large number of First Timers (36) – of whom 19 were tourists and 17 were completely new to parkrun (obviously feeling the effects of too much Christmas chocolate!).  We hope to see you again and again through 2019.

Despite the headwind into the Bowls Pavilion straight, 45 of you managed new PBs – congrats to you all.  Particular congratulations to the PBs from:

  • David STAFF, who knocked 5 seconds off his PB to record a fantastic 17:50 on his 114thparkrun (110that MH), but was pipped to be the first finisher by one second by Benjamin HAINES, a tourist from Burnham and Highbridge.  That must have been an exciting finish sprint!
  • Paul GRANGER, another PB after 135 parkruns (all at MH) – great to be still hitting PBs after so many parkruns!
  • Patsy WILSON and Wiki SOLLY, both of whom recorded PBs on their 50thmilestone PBs – Well done!

Otherwise on the day, up front was a good three-way tussle with David and Benjamin mentioned above and young Adam BARBER.  From what I saw Adam did much of the hard work towing the other two around for most of the 5k until wisdom took over and David and Benjamin fought in out for First Finisher.

The top 10 all finished under 20 minutes; you have to run under 25 minutes now if you want to appear in the top 100; around 29 minutes may see you into the top 200 and depending on the turnout, around 35 minutes will see you into the top 300.  Everyone completed this weekend’s parkrun in under an hour and the kit was soon stashed away, with thanks again to the volunteers who help with this essential end of event task.

In the café, much talk about the previous fabulous Christmas Day event and the forthcoming ‘New Year’s Day Double’.  Market Harborough parkrun chooses to participate in the Christmas Day event, but not the NYD event, meaning there are plenty of tourist opportunities for those wishing to try out a couple of new parkrun courses.  But we’ll hopefully see you back in the New Year on 5thJanuary for event number 193!


Now, what about that 2018 review?...


Well due to some bad weather in the first couple of months and an August Food Fair in the park, we had 2 fewer events than in 2017.

2018 RR1


But overall you wonderful parkrunners completed 1,200 (7.7%) more parkruns this year than last.

2018 RR2


There were 201 more unique parkrunners to Market Harborough in 2018 (+7.3%)

2018 RR3


Here is a little table showing our most frequent parkrunners through 2018:

2018 RR4 Most Frequent


And a fabulous 264 more total volunteers (+16.0%)

2018 RR5


Provided by 62 more unique volunteers through the year (+17.9%)

2018 RR6


We love our volunteers and thank them for helping deliver this wonderful event every week – a special ‘heart’ to all those who have volunteered on at least 10 occasions this year:

2018 RR7 Heart


Combining parkruns completed with volunteering credits, gives us some interesting stats on who has attended the most consecutive events in 2018.

2018 RR8 Consecutive


We still had plenty of PBs, although the more events parkrunners complete, the more difficult it becomes to reach out for PBs, so we did see a drop in the overall number of PBs (-7.8%):

2018 RR9


And here’s the roll of honour for the most PBs in 2018:

2018 RR10 PB


We had a few fewer First Timers in 2018 – still plenty each week to fully occupy our First Timers Briefing volunteer, but overall down 119 (-7.3%)

2018 RR11


All of this meant we had a great average of 334 parkrunners at each event (up 36 +12.1%), supported by an average of 38 volunteers (up 6 +18.8%):

2018 RR12

2018 RR13


You may be aware that parkrun HQ have a stated aim to gradually increase the average time at parkrun each year.  This isn’t as odd as it sounds.  As many PBs continue to be recorded, we also continue to reach out to the community and welcome more and more people to participate in a safe, free, weekly timed 5k walk, jog or run.  This inclusivity is great to see nationwide and Market Harborough has continued to support this trend, this year increasing our average time by 35 seconds:

2018 RR14


That said, there have been some great time improvements this year, take a look through this little lot! (minimum of 5 completed parkruns in 2018 to qualify for this table):

2018 RR15 Time


Some of our Age Grade % records have also been beaten this year – here are the top 2018 performances, shown in amber if they set a new MH record in 2018:

2018 RR16 Age


On our website the top 1,000 Age Grade performances are shown  (   To qualify for this list, you’ll currently have to achieve an Age Grade rating of around 66%.  To give you an idea, these are the approximate times for each Age Grade category you’ll have to hit to make this list:

2018 RR17 Age target


There is also an overall ‘Fastest 500’ list ( Those quickies up front now need to beat 20:39 to appear on that list!


Finally on the stats report (are you still awake?!) we have had plenty of milestones achieved and announced each week at the RD briefings. It’s a little difficult to extract this data, but I reckon we have had:

  • 31 junior 10 milestones achieved (white T-shirt) – congratulations those below:

2018 RR18 jnr10

  • 137 50 milestones achieved (red T-shirt)
  • 43 100 milestones achieved (black T-shirt)
  • And 22 V25 volunteer milestones achieved (aubergine T-shirt) – congratulations to those below:

2018 RR19 V25


Well I think that about wraps up the statistical review of 2018.  Looking at other happenings through the year, we had:

  • Ice, a flood and a food fair leading to 3 cancellations.
  • A record turnout (394) on the second event of the year.
  • A first first finisher who was female (Chloe FINLAY in March with 18:58).
  • A new female Course Record in July (17:36).
  • A few fallers, but thankfully nothing too serious - thank you to everyone who helps out anyone who is ever in any trouble at parkrun.
  • An amazing response to our fundraising appeal – thank you again, allowing us to supplement the first aid supplies, buy radios, pacer bibs and a few other essentials that keep the wheels turning.
  • A record number of volunteers at an event in December (51).
  • We’ve had a hen do, a few parkrun romances (I won’t embarrass anyone by mentioning names), a few weddings are due in 2019 and we’ve had a few babies and returning mums.


What a year!  On behalf of the whole Core Team, it has been our pleasure to look after the wonderful thing that is Market Harborough parkrun.


Happy New Year to one and all.



Roger Pangbourne


Run Report #191 – 25th December 2018 by Louise Dicicco

I really look forward to parkrun every Saturday, and even more so when there is an extra run on Christmas Day.  What better way to start the festivities than to meet up in Welland Park for a run / jog / walk with your friends and like-minded people.  There was a sea of Santa Hats and other festive costumes today.  This was my third time for running at parkrun on Christmas Day, and over the last four years, the numbers attending on Christmas Day have gradually increased, while at the same time the average numbers attending each year have also increased:


Year Average Weekly Attendance Attendance on Christmas Day
2015 144 124
2016 210 151
2017 298 184
2018 334 325


LD RR pic

Today, there were 325 who joined the parkrun, supported by 26 wonderful volunteers.


The most popular runner's name today was Andrew / Andy (11 in total) - this brings us to our first milestone - Andrew Shrive - congratulations on completing your 50th run.  Also joining the 50 club were Becki Shiers-Clarke, Chris Burleigh, Debbie Brown and Kate Flexi.  Rekha Kamat completed her 100th parkrun and Sean McAuliffe completed his 200th parkrun.  Well done to you all.


There were 35 first-timers at Market Harborough parkrun today, and of those, 10 were completely new to parkrun - a perfect day to start your parkrun journey.


My parkrun journey started in May 2015 - I've now completed 158 at Market Harborough, and 161 in total.  If I'm not running then it's usually due to volunteering, holiday or because of illness (although thankfully that's not very often!)


Where will your parkrun journey take you to in 2019 and beyond?  My plan is to complete my 200th parkrun by the end of next year, complete a few more tourist runs to tick some new parkruns off the 'parkrun Alphabet', try and get the last three numbers in 'parkrun seconds bingo' - apparently it would take a runner 281 runs to ensure they have a finish time for every second, so I could be trying to complete my bingo card for a while yet!


Whatever your parkrun goals are, I hope you achieve them.



Louise Dicicco


Run Report #190 – 22nd December 2018 by Haylea Smith

Saturday morning brought some lovely running weather (if a bit damp underfoot!) and I, along with 342 like-minded people, made the weekly pilgrimage to Welland Park for parkrun.  The event was supported by 51 volunteers including 18 pacers – as ever, enormous thanks to these hi- viz heroes without whom parkrun couldn't happen.

It was fabulous to see so many people donning a hat to participate in the 'Bunnetrun' ... it gave many of us an opportunity to bring out the festive headwear!  It's hard to believe that Christmas is only a copy of days away and, as we crossed the start line on Saturday there were only 9 days of 2018 left.  This time of year always makes me reflect on the year's events, so in addition to my usual mental running commentary (I love running!  I hate running!  Why do I do this to myself?  What would I do without this?  Have I really only done one lap so far? etc. etc.)  I spent some time thinking about my parkrun 'journey'.

My first parkrun was at Harborough in July 2017.  I remember how terrified I was as I arrived. I'd had an absolute aversion to exercise my whole life and arrived at the park overweight, unfit, convinced that everyone would laugh and stare and certain that I would come last – you will never know how happy I was when I learnt about the tail walkers!  This weekend was my 52nd parkrun; I've run at 9 different parkruns across three continents including Boston USA, San Francisco and Phillip Island, Australia (that one is a little hot in January and it's where I learnt what 'undulating' means when it comes to running i.e. flippin' hilly).

Every parkrun I have attended has the same characteristics: a warm welcome, friendly non-judgemental people who don't care how big, small, fast or slow I am and an atmosphere of support and encouragement.  parkrun helped me to realise that if you put on a pair of trainers and give it a go you are 'a runner' and you don't have to wait to achieve a certain pace or distance to earn that title; that realisation gave me the confidence to go and try other events.  In the past 18 months I've participated in many 'races' including 5Ks, 10Ks and Half Marathons.  January 10th to 13th I'll be in Orlando taking part in the Dopey Challenge as part of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  The Dopey Challenge is 5K, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon run over four consecutive days – I won't be fast, and it won't be pretty but I'm really looking forward to it!

No matter where I run, coming back to Market Harborough parkrun feels like coming back home.  The routine is the same every week (including my non-runner husband always being the first customer in the café, although he's a bit gutted as when I first started he would have time for a full fry up and a second cuppa ... now it's a pain au chocolate), the familiar smiling faces, the awesome marshals (who doesn't love a high five from Austin?!) and the beautiful environment that we are fortunate enough to run in.  It's always amazing to see new people join the parkrun family and watch their journey as their confidence and fitness grows.

As well as a time for reflection on the past, it's a time to think of goals for the coming year.... my parkrun goal for 2019 is to give more back to our fantastic community by volunteering more, as so many regular volunteers are frequently giving up the opportunity to run. What's yours?


Haylea Smith


Run Report #188 – 8th December 2018 by Amanda Sawford

Apologies for the delay in getting this written; it was a busy weekend with preparations for my eldest son’s 18th birthday later this week, busking with the Scout and Guide band, Christmas shopping and 2 visits to the Market Harborough parkrun course, the second being for the Santa Run.

And the Santa Run 3 years ago is what kick-started my running career. When my sons’ Explorer Scout Leader suggested the group signed up for the run to fundraise for local charities, my son and I entered the run, and, both non-runners embarked on the Couch to 5K programme together. I say ‘together’, but there wasn’t much running side by side as very soon as I was being left for dust. On completion of the 9 week programme I did my first parkrun, followed by the Santa Run a week later and continued as a regular parkrunner. My son returned to his Saturday morning lie-ins.

Soon I was hooked on the buzz of running and of the community and camaraderie that is parkrun. Each milestone or volunteer opportunity a goal to meet a sense of satisfaction on which I thrive. Since then I am proud to say I have earned my black ‘100’ and purple ‘25’ t-shirts and am now regularly joined by my husband, 2 sons and dog Luna.

So this week I completed Market Harborough’s parkrun number 188 along with 264 other runners, run/walkers and walkers. Some of us (including myself and my son on his debut at 23 minutes) were pacers helping others towards their own goals. Some got a Personal Best. Some were just glad to make it to the end. Many other parkrun volunteers fulfilled their varied roles to enable the event to happen for us runners.

parkrun has made me fitter, friendlier and more fulfilled - what has it done for you?

Whatever your parkrun history, celebrate where you are and what you have achieved.


Amanda Sawford

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