Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 68 – 14 March 2020

Well, it was an odd one this morning. After two weeks of cancellations, due to endless rain and a water-logged course, we were all super-excited to be back on the Common this morning. It was lovely to see familiar faces and to once again be sticking stakes in soft ground in the surprisingly warm fresh air. Yet there was undeniably an undercurrent of uneasiness at parkrun this morning. Volunteers exchanged elbow bumps instead of hugs. People chatted a few feet apart instead of huddled together. Conversations were sobering, laced with British gallows humour. But personally, I was glad for some normality in a very abnormal week.

It was a smaller bunch than usual this morning - 89 walkers, joggers and runners took on the course including some visitors from Cardiff. The ground was soft and muddy in places, but remarkably recovered from last week's deluge.

7 people made their parkrun debuts this morning - we hope you enjoyed it and had a blast. An honourable mention goes to the brave little boy doing his first-ever parkrun - his Mum said there was zero moaning, which was almost the bigger achievement. We really hope to see you all back next time.

14 people stuck their noses up at Coronavirus and got themselves a shiny new course PB (including meeeee).

Heath Bampton crushed it as first male in 19.10 and Hannah Hare led it home for the women in 23.57.

We are hoping and planning to hold parkrun next weekend as usual. We will follow guidance from parkrun HQ, who are doing a remarkable job at being calm, thoughtful and wise in these bonkers days. Please keep an eye on our latest news page and Facebook page for updates.

Stay well, people. Elbow bumps to you all

Cathryn Ramsden


Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 67 – 22 February 2020

Wow wasn’t it cold and rainy today for event 67. The Met Office reliably informs me it was rainy, 10 degrees, with a 25MPH wind blowing up the wazoo (I’m paraphrasing them somewhat). Setting up just after 8am this morning, it felt colder, wetter, with a much stronger wind to my morning head. While running around the North part of our course, carefully placing stakes and tape in exacting locations and avoiding all the mud, we were wondering who would turn up in weather like this? Guess what… you did! To be precise: 122 of you did. One has to feel a little sorry for the 6 first time parkrunners who chose today to start their parkrun careers. It’s not always like this – honest - please come back and see us.

Incredible though it sounds, of the 122 run, jog, and walkers, 6 of you recorded personal bests. How did you manage that? You may feel uber-smug about it all weekend, possibly all week.

Today we had visitors from Chippenham, Didcot, Livingstone, and Osterley which was nice to see and, unusually, nobody from Australia.

At roughly 09:25 the sun came out, driving the rain away and warming us all a little. Anyone before Hannah Hare would have run entirely in the rain, those after had the advantage of a dry/drier finish.

This morning I was scanning and will take a leaf out of Jeremy’s book to give a view of that role by way of a short volunteering advert. After setting up the North section of the course, I headed to the start to hear Catherine’s brief RD announcement. After the mandatory things an RD has to say, Catherine set you all off, driving headlong into the wind and rain. For scanners there’s not much to do from the start until first finisher, Doug Wilkie, crossed the line 19 minutes later. We use a combination of compact laser and mobile phone app scanners. This morning I was using the mobile app and was surprised how quick and easy it was. The majority of barcodes I saw scanned immediately except for some paper versions that were soaking wet from the rain… at least I hope they were wet from the rain; some of you store your barcodes in rather odd places. When a barcode doesn't scan we send the runner to "unscannables" where Alison was waiting to capture your details on rain proofed paper. One nice thing about scanning is you get to meet people as they finish and can have a short chat about course conditions and how soggy everyone’s feeling.

We were aware of some issues with the car park this morning. After the run the core team discussed the best way(s) to ensure safety. Please look on our website news page or our Facebook page for announcements about next week’s car parking or the state of the course in general.

Have a good week



Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 66 – 15 February 2020

Never has there been so much uncertainty. Never has so much time been spent checking BBC weather reports, looking for updates on a parkrun FB page, refreshing the parkrun cancellations site, debating whether there was another parkrun close enough to be a plan B. And then, in black and white there it was. Late last night. “Dennis, the Menace can’t stop Marlborough Common parkrun”. Not entirely out of the woods yet but looking more hopeful, as across the country other parkruns continued to post their cancellations. Fortunately we were aiming for a parkrun with just one tree! And not a very big one at that.

In the event, our one hour drive through the beautiful Wiltshire countryside to the old market town of Marlborough was more than worth it. Not one single Dennis turned up, not to run, not to volunteer or even to drench us. Perhaps more breezy than usual on the Common (I’d been reliably informed that the Common attracts a refreshing breeze in all seasons) but other than a brief threat at 9am, nothing. Dennis didn’t show up.

Thankfully 28 volunteers did. And we couldn’t be more grateful. Greeted at the edge of the Common by a car park marshal (that’s so cool) we were directed to the grassed area in the middle of the course (completely novel and rather fun) and just a few steps to the start (oh dear, I should have done a warm up). Will, Run Director, gave a very brief briefing as, for a moment there, it seemed the rain may have arrived, (though nothing came of it) and in 3, 2, 1, an intimate crowd of 112 (including the car park marshal who had managed to remove the ‘standing still’ layers and was ready with the ‘run’ layers but still laughing) were keen to get started.

I was immediately curious as to how many dogs there were (a noticeably large number) and I had to ask the question. However, no volunteer dog counter! There were dogs of every make, colour, size and shape. And we had Sky, an adorable Border Terrier, a very experienced parkdog with an impressive 22 tourist parkruns already to her name. She loves them. She loves the travelling, she loves her neck scarf, she loves the excitement, she is happy to run in the winter, summer, autumn or spring. But, it turns out she doesn’t like running in the wind. Half way round she looked longingly at a marshal in the hope she could just stay sheltered there until the finish.

Somehow the forecast of impending doom did not deter the 14 genuine first timers to parkrun (though why anyone would pick this weekend to try their first run can only be described as impressive). So an enormous well done to you all and we really hope you come back for your second.

There were also a fair number of first timers who were tourists; Catterick, Poole, Ashton Court, Salisbury. Part way round I chatted to a lady from Abingdon. Most of the Oxfordshire parkruns had fallen victim to Dennis. I think we all agreed that, Marlborough Common is pretty awesome even in this weather so we all want to come back when there isn’t an imminent storm.

The course is lovely. I sense there were quite a few upward turns. There must have been some downs but I firmly believed the ups came with the headwind. There were moments that were seriously hard work, there were corners with a serious amount of mud, but there were views and a vast expanse of sky, a feeling of space and a lot of fresh air. There were wonderfully stoic and enthusiastic marshals at points variously known as Flag, Rugby, Tree, Golf, Beacon. The flags on the golf course were almost blown sideways, we ran around the football pitch where young children were being coached and rather uniquely, we ran around our cars, parked neatly in the centre.

Since we also, variously passed runners going in the other direction, I got to see the front runners moving decidedly faster than I was, towards the finish. Simon Rawlins was first finisher in a very respectable 20.40. It was also his 154th run and his 54th birthday. Great statistics there. And Happy Birthday.

I’m guessing it was an exciting finish too as Sam Wigan was only 7 seconds behind. 3rd finisher was Matthew Wragg in 21.32.

First lady home was Lisa O’Neill in 22.45, followed by Vicky Henderson in a new course pb of 24.06. Amy Clewley was the third lady home in 24.37.

For anyone reading this who has just completed their first parkrun please don’t think this is a race or all about those at the front. Parkrun is full of statistics and you can explore the results page for all sorts of surprising facts. Lesley Green did a personal best this morning on her second ever parkrun, knocking more than 2 minutes off her time from last week. That’s seriously awesome. Lesley was one of only 3 pbs this morning (not surprising in this weather). 2 have already been mentioned, Judith Hine was the third, also doing her second run and also nearly taking 2 minutes off her time. There were other awesome stats. So, for instance, I was second in my age group. Absolutely thrilled. (Apparently there were only 2 of us in my age group). Anna (one of my travelling companions) did her 18th different location and her 147th parkrun, Sky, our parkdog did her 23rd tourist location and Jo Finch our driver and most experienced tourist of us all, earned herself a ‘top of the table’ place as the parkrunner with the most parkruns, today, making her total 280. She wasn’t wearing her wonderful green 250 milestone T-shirt, she was wearing her Southwick Country parkrun apricot Tee, but like the rest of us, all these hard earned treasures were hidden under neon running jackets to fend off the gentle gale.

This morning, many chose the opportune moment once their barcode was scanned, to get home before Dennis arrived. We however, took our chances and joined the events team at the Golf Club for hot drinks and a bit of parkrun faffing. The Golf Club did not allow dogs or muddy shoes, but did have the most amazing ladies toilets furnished with showers, an alarming number of books in a bookcase, comfortable chairs, flowers, mirrors and even pink hairdryers. What more could you want after parkrun. A day out in Marlborough that’s what.

To Will and Clare and all the amazing volunteer team, thank you. You went above and beyond to ensure we could all run. We really look forward to seeing you again soon.

IMG_8443IMG_8444Alison Bremner


Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 65 – 8th February 2020

Hello. And welcome to the first in a new series on the marshal points of Marlborough Common parkrun. This week, we take a look at Tree.

Tree is on the lower part of the course, half way along the lower section that runs along the road. It’s the place where, heading out from the start, you carry straight on towards the left-hander of Port. And where, after coming back down the inclined flat section, you turn right to head back towards the start. Or the finish if you’re coming down for the second time.

This marshal point is named after the very large tree that has grown, ever so conveniently, at this precise point of the course. Now I’m not great on types of trees, so I’ll leave it for the aboriculturalists among you to fill that in. (Is it even possible to tell when they’re naked of leaves?) My level is more, well it’s kind of grey-brown, big, barky and has branches, so it must be a tree.

Tree is one of the oldest marshal points on our course, and has been with us since the very beginning. We used to turn left at it in the old days, to head up the hill, before we reversed the course. And it’s a lovely place to marshal. You have the excitement of two way traffic. And lots of lovely fresh faces to say morning to - at least on the first lap, anyway. And if there’s a gap with no-one passing, then there’s always the tree to talk to. Oh, ok, so only me? Anyway, in the summer, there’s also the cool shade of the leaves, and in the winter a tiny bit of shelter from the wind.

The more awake of you may have noticed the marshal at Tree earlier on the course at Flag (it’s by the flag, so we called it Flag). No, we don’t have pairs of twins, the marshal starts at Flag and after a little while legs it (ambles casually) across to Tree. We do this so you have a nice smiley face for encouragement round that first loop of the flag. And someone to aim at if you’re at the front.

Don’t forget that if you like the sound of the Tree experience, then just come and volunteer and you can give Tree a try for yourself.

That’s nearly it for this week. Tune in again soon for… Slab.

But before I go, I must mention the 152 of you who walked, jogged or even ran this morning so that I could enjoy Tree. Selfless, all of you. Today you included 22 first timers (welcome!) and 31 PBs (well done!). And of course we must thank the 24 wonderful other volunteers, who missed out on Tree, but did other important stuff to make our parkrun happen.

Jeremy Foot



Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 64 – 1st February 2020

As mentioned on Friday, a long January is finally behind us (although a potential bumper 7 parkrun month awaits us Jan '21!). February welcomed us with distinctly average morning, weather wise at least - for Marlborough Common parkrun #64! Average by no means being a bad thing after the damp winter we've had so far - dry, not too cold, not too windy (windy enough you could certainly feel it turning into the hill however!). A total of 158 of you decided to get out of bed this Saturday morning and join us - a distinctly non-average thing to be doing, so very well done to all!

We had 28 people who came and ran at Marlborough Common for the first time, including 13 people completing the first ever parkrun - welcome! I would also like to congratulate the 5 people who came back for their "difficult 2nd album" parkrun. Glad you enjoyed it so much the first time that you returned! Visitors came from such exotic corners of the world as Reading, Coventry and Oxfordshire! I am planning on proudly representing Marlborough next week at Tokoinranta parkrun, Helsinki!

There were 18 runners who achieved course PBs this morning - by no means an easy feat on the still damp course, many congratulations! Doug Wilkie came home as first male finisher in 17:56, followed by a very impressive first ever parkrun for Cameron Heyring (JM15-17) - 19:07! Our first female finisher was Sarah Lucas in 22:54, followed by Amy Clewley in 23:55!

We also had 28 fabulous hi-viz heroes who came out this morning and gave their time so that the event could be put on for everyone! Nothing happens without our volunteer help, so many thanks goes out to everyone who helped today. I echo the comments from last week. I really enjoy it, and the core team are as delighted to have new faces helping out as they are supportive in assisting with explaining a new role. I highly recommend it as you will only get warm smiles and positivity, from both the core team and all your fellow runners!

A special mention also to the golf club this week who allowed us to sneak a homemade cake up with our coffee and chips! They are very accommodating and please do come on future weeks for a post run coffee with the team!

Well done once more to all those who walk, jogged, ran or volunteered at the common. Another weekend started of the best way, I hope everyone reading enjoys the rest of it!

Back again same time next week!

Ciaran Considine


Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 63 – 25th January 2020

The post from the parkrun team on Friday was “tomorrow is going to be a cracking day for a parkrun! Grey, overcast, cool and NO wind! Come and run your socks off!”.  I am sure NO wind was mis-selling and I am considering a complaint to trading standards about it being a “cracking day for a parkrun” but nevertheless the sales pitch worked and despite it being a grey and damp Saturday morning 167 of you turned up and completed Marlborough parkrun, including 21 first timers. Apparently 19th of January is Quitter's Day (the day when most people give up New Year's resolutions) so well done for pushing through for those that had do parkrun/more exercise as your New Year’s resolution. Visitors this week were from not so far afield….Lydiard. Apologies if there were more that I missed.

I found it tough going on Saturday morning and my usual unofficial pacers, people I desperately try and keep up with on good days, lost me about 300m into the first lap, ho hum happy to accept it was not going to be a PB day – and note to self to get out and run more mid week. Our regular volunteers Charlie, Angela and Sue were missed but we still had a fabulous team of 25 volunteers. To everyone that volunteers for Marlborough parkrun, I hope you realise how grateful we all are for enabling this event to happen – I always try and remember to shout out ‘thank you Marshal’ every time I pass a volunteer but it always feels inadequate vs the gratitude I feel towards you all (including grandma and my kids who were at Rugby this week – nothing like a little high five to keep you motivated). If you have never volunteered I highly recommend it, I really enjoy it – almost as much as running.

31 of you had a cracking run and clocked a PB – well done! First male in was Michael Stone on 19.24 followed by Simon Rawlins in 20.09 – although Simon came in first on age grading. For the females Amy Clewley was first in at 24.12 followed by Georgie Bevan with a new PB at 24.26 – congratulations both. Gina Cooke obtained the highest female age grading and a PB, great work!

What else is there to say, well done to everyone who got out of bed, got yourself organised and showed up, that’s always the hardest part. What you achieve once you get to the common and the starter horn goes is all upside – some days you will feel fabulous and other days it is more of a chore but every time we should just be grateful and happy to be there. Keep up the great work everyone.

Erica Stuart


Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 62 – 18th January 2020

It was the most beautiful morning of 2020. Bitterly cold, but the brightest sunshine that we'd seen for weeks. The grass on the Common was stiff with frost, and my feet made a crunching sound as I walked, which was most satisfying. After weeks of grey skies and rain, this was an absolute delight. The deep freeze had hardened the mud, making running conditions much better. It was a cracking day for a parkrun.

People gathered, exclaiming at the cold but with big grins on faces. Will had a big crowd for his first-timers briefing (32 new people ran at Marlborough Common this morning, including 16 people new to parkrun altogether). We had visitors from Portsmouth, Swindon, Blandford Forum and Preston. We walked over to the start, Michael gave us a thorough briefing and we were off.

I was tail walker this morning, although, to the dismay of some very young volunteers, I didn't have a tail. However, I gained a tail quickly, as a friend of mine came to walk along with me with the lovely Pippin, her miniature schnauzer who had fun smelling things and greeting other dogs all the way around. It was a glorious morning for a walk. The runners looked pretty happy as well. The volunteers were surprisingly upbeat, given that they were stood around in the bitter cold so probably much chillier than we were. We had several brand new volunteers this week and we're really grateful to them.

In total, 156 people walked, jogged or ran parkrun on the Common this morning. Doug Wilkie was first man home, with Sarah Lucas as first woman. Caroline Bowyer celebrated her 50th parkrun milestone.

As was my duty, I crossed the line last and got my barcode scanned by one of the two lovely new Duke of Edinburgh regular volunteers. They were brimming with enthusiasm about the joys of barcode scanning, nothing like a laser to make a teenager happy. And we quickly packed up and headed to the warmth of the Golf Club for coffee, chips and results processing. Another great morning on the Common.

Cat Ramsden

WhatsApp Image 2020-01-18 at 15.38.06



Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 61 – 11th January 2020

A very changeable morning up on the Common for the second Marlborough Common parkrun of 2020. It seems the weather did not put off all the "new year, new me" people, who made resolutions to be healthier/fitter individuals, as 191 of you ran, jogged or walked around the wind-swept course, battling to avoid the rain.

On a more serious note, it's great to see such an impressive turnout for the second week running. We were only 12 people short of an attendance record! 37 lucky people were experiencing Marlborough Common parkrun for the first time this morning, which is great to see and hopefully, they enjoyed it enough they won't hesitate to return. 20 people were doing their first ever parkrun and hopefully, they are now all parkrun lifers! A good way to start the year, so we look forward to welcoming you back in future weeks, to hopefully beat the times set today and enjoy some (fingers crossed) nicer weather. Despite the wind, making some parts of the course challenging, and the light rain, making vision difficult for those of us wearing glasses, 19 people managed to bag themselves a shiny pb. Very impressive!

There were only a few visitors this week, coming from Sheffield and North Wales, to name a few. We hope you enjoyed our course and will return again, at some point in the future.

First home for the ladies, was Kate Eperon, not bad for a first visit, followed swiftly by Amy Clewley and snapping on their heels, was Hannah Hare. First home for the men, was Robert Ashton, setting himself a new personal best. Well done to Robert. He was closely followed by Michael Stone and Simon Rawlins, who completed his 150th run today. Also completing an unofficial milestone, of 400 parkruns, was Kevin Wheeler, an impressive achievement. No official milestones this week, but there are a number of people who look to be close, so hopefully there will be plenty to celebrate in the coming weeks, especially if like me, one of your goals for 2020, is to reach the next parkrun milestone!

Anyway, enough from us for now.... We hope you enjoyed your morning and look forward to seeing you all back on the Common over the next few weeks.

Liz and Charlie from Harrogate.


Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 60 – 4th January 2020

For the first Marlborough Common parkrun of 2020, a fantastic 177 people ran, jogged or walked their way round the course, which was unexpectedly good under foot – thanks in no small part to little tweaks here and there by the ever vigilant core team to avoid the worst of the mud. Sadly, none of these tweaks reduced the length of the hill, which gives the Marlborough Common parkrun much of its "character". The tweaks did however make the course look even more like a high heeled shoe on Strava, and we hope the core team will continue their artistic endeavour on this front.

19 people undertook their first ever parkrun, and hopefully they will all be back. There were also 17 PBs to kick off the New Year. Thanks as ever to the 28 volunteers. Marlborough Common really does have an amazing group of volunteers, and I would highly recommend giving it a go if you haven’t already – everyone looks great in High Viz!

Congratulations also go to Amy Clewley, who completed her 50th parkrun, all at Marlborough Common, and in contrast, Caroline Marsh who was running her 100th different parkrun (and 285th in total!).

From my perspective, I came with a full complement of Wootton Rivers parkrunners. As a group, the moto “Run in the morning … before your brain figures out what your body is doing” has been adopted, and in the car up, there was the normal enthusiastic parkrun discussion, which features two main themes – how much would a shoe cleaner like the one at the golf course cost and how much everyone is looking forward to the after-run coffee. It is fair to say, our group has a mixed level of enthusiasm for running, but a universal love of our Marlborough Common parkrun mornings. It kicks the weekend off with friends, exercise and clean shoes.

Amanda Giles


Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 59 – 28th December 2019

A dark, dull and somewhat dank morning for the 59th edition of Marlborough Common parkrun - but at least it wasn't raining and there was little wind. We had cancelled the event a week ago because the ground was so wet, and it was good to be getting going again. The three setup teams set out on their now familiar routes, and the course was soon all marked out and ready. Other volunteers arrived, donned high-vis, and prepared for their roles - with some marshals dispersing to far corners of the course.

Our grateful thanks to all our volunteers; we had marshals at nine marshal points and all the volunteers we needed at the finish. Our happy experience at Marlborough is that generally enough volunteers usually come forward each week to enable us to run the event - so thank you all, and please keep volunteering - it’s good fun and rewarding too to have a part in making the event happen!

We gathered just before 9 am at the Start for Run Director Cat’s enthusiastic briefing, and with a chance to admire a splendid and unusual Father Christmas costume - see photo below - sorry we are not sure who was wearing it, but if you email in we’ll add a credit to this report! Then “3-2-1 Go!” and you were off - always a good sight to see.

The grass was a little damp, and muddy in places; care was needed at the corners, but everyone managed to negotiate the course without incident. Eight were doing their very first parkrun - welcome to the parkrun family! - and we also welcomed a further 16 parkrunners doing their first parkrun at Marlborough Common. And well done to the eleven who managed a PB on a day when conditions were hardly ideal.

Afterwards about a dozen of us retired to the warmth and comfort of the Golf Club for hot drinks and snacks. Catherine did the results, David and Petina sorted the tokens, and the rest of us enjoyed a wind-down and chat.

The week ahead is looking a lot drier, so we will hope the course continues to dry out, and we’ll look forward to seeing you next Saturday for the first Marlborough Common parkrun of 2020.

Michael Reynolds


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