Latest News from Marlborough Common parkrun

Save a link to our news page so you're always up to date.

Coming up

Next Saturday October 26th there will be parkrun as usual.

Anti-clockwise extension

We're going to continue running the anti-clockwise (reverse) course beyond the original end date of 21st September. It seems to work well having the finish close to the car park - more of us hang around to chat and cheer, and it's easier to manage the event. We will consider moving back to clockwise when the weather gets colder (and wetter) to gain the shelter of the trees along Frees Avenue. We will keep you posted!

What's been happening

On Saturday, 28th September, we celebrated our first anniversary. There was fancy dress and, of course, cake. We collected words from everyone for the run report. Eddy and James took loads of photos. And afterwards, Michael Reynolds told us the story of how we got here at our celebration volunteers' lunch.

You can find the latest run report here.

Ian Cook, a visually impaired runner, came to run our course.

Other things

All the photos are here.

Like us on Facebook here.

We have several items of lost property. So if you think you may have left something behind, please ask one of the volunteers next Saturday, or email


Christmas 2019 and New Year’s Day 2020

Marlborough Common parkrun will be taking place as usual on the Saturdays through Christmas and the New year period.

However, there will not be an extra event on Christmas Day, nor on New Year's Day.


Mop Fairs 2019 – Temporary Course

We have had to change the course to allow space for Mop Fair vehicle on the Free's Avenue side of the Common.

The modified course is shown on the plan below. It consists of a loop on the lower field (yellow line) followed by THREE anti-clockwise laps of the upper part of the Common (blue line), followed by a short section to the finish (red line).


At the end of each lap you will come back to the big tree, where you will see signs as in the photo below. After the first and second laps you go round the left sign to start the next lap. After your third lap you turn right and head for the finish. You just have to remember to count the laps!

Photo 02-10-2019, 17 33 40


Our First Anniversary

This is an edited version of the talk Michael Reynolds gave at our first anniversary volunteers' lunch. For those that don't know, Michael is the reason we have a parkrun in Marlborough. Here he tells the story of how our parkrun came into being, and gives some highlights of our first year. Thank you Michael!

Welcome. Thank you all for coming today. Thank you all for supporting parkrun so well by your volunteering in the past year, and helping to make Marlborough Common parkrun such a success. And special thanks to Clare and Jeremy who have organised this splendid lunch to celebrate our first anniversary.

Our core team have very kindly given me this opportunity to say a few words. I got hooked on parkrun in 2013 at Lydiard Park, and being retired I was lucky enough to have the time to explore the possibility of starting a Marlborough parkrun. I started poring over maps sometime around 2016, and in January 2017 I met our ever willing ambassador Stuart Henderson, who is here today, and we ran round possible courses at West Woods and Savernake Forest, and also had a scout round Littlecote House, which we decided not to pursue. What about the Common, you might ask? And indeed people had from time to time said to me "have you thought about the Common", and I'd dismiss the question - “it’s too small, and it's grass, I can't see it working”.

Anyway the upshot was that we asked for permission for a parkrun at both Savernake Forest and at West Woods, but neither venue was able to grant us permission. Parking was a specific concern at West Woods. At the time this seemed to be a big setback, but in the end it has almost certainly worked out for the best.

The next thing that happened was that I fell off my bike and broke my collar bone, which was painful, but otherwise had a surprisingly good outcome. I had to give up cycling for a while, so would often take a bus out into the countryside so I could enjoy a walk back to Marlborough. Some days I would take the 42 bus to East Kennet. From there I would walk back across Fyfield Down, and then along the Gallops to the Rockley Road; can you see where this is going? - yes, the way home was over the Common. After doing this a few times I started to realise the Common would be a rather good venue for a parkrun, probably far better than the other venues I’d considered!

I was still a bit concerned about it being grass, but Stuart assured me that grass is OK. I went along with that, but deep down I never really believed it, and it took me until May this year before I felt relaxed about us being a grass parkrun - now I think grass is great, it’s kind on old joints, and you can fall on it and generally not hurt yourself. It’s interesting that when parkrun’s founder visited us at our 3rd event he spoke very positively about the fact that we are a grass parkrun (I must be careful not to mention his name, as it is one of the answers in the quiz!).

So in late 2017 I approached the Town Clerk, Shelley Parker, who responded enthusiastically to the proposal for a Marlborough parkrun, and she arranged for Stuart and I to meet with Grounds Team Manager Nigel Weatherly. He was also very positive about the possibility of parkrun on the Common, but wanted to be sure that the grass would hold up - so he visited Stonehouse parkrun’s 4-lap grass course round a sports field, and was suitably impressed. Soon afterwards the Town Council gave us permission to start Marlborough Common parkrun. Special mention here for our other ambassador Vicky, now Mrs Stuart Henderson - congratulations! - who did an excellent presentation for us which resulted in us being awarded a Town Council grant to help with our setup costs. We never looked back after that!

Our core team met for the first time in June last year, and after a lot of planning and training over the summer, and with much no-nonsense help from Stuart and Vicky, we were ready for our trial event on 15th September last year, and our inaugural on the 22nd.

I’m not going to say a lot about the past year. It’s kind of gone according to plan. We said we’d stage a weekly parkrun and we did. And lots of people came to enjoy it. And we know that for many of us it has been an enormously positive experience. And gradually we are together building a lovely parkrun community, making new friends, doing physical exercise in the open air, and almost above all knowing that every Saturday morning there’s something really special to look forward to.

There’ve been lots of highlights in the past year - the inaugural of course, the visit of parkrun’s founder (mustn’t say his name), being featured on the “With me now” podcast, the Christmas event in fancy dress so well orchestrated by Cat, and the satisfaction of surviving some very wet and windy winter Saturday mornings. But for me there is one day that stands out - the first anti-clockwise event on 4th May. The weather was good, there was an air of expectation, and I think many of us enjoyed the smooth downhill run beside the avenue of horse chestnuts, and the finish in the middle of the field. James Kellar took some great photos that day which showed how lucky we are to have such a splendid venue - with its unusual airy position and extensive views.

I don’t know where we are going with the anti-clockwise run - we’ll see how we get on in the next few weeks and at some point will have to decide whether to make it our usual direction. And we await with bated breath the next announcement from our own resident stats geek Craig Poxon as to whether the anticlockwise course is faster then the clockwise one!

Before I finish I must mention and thank our committed and talented core team who have worked tirelessly this past year to make it all happen. And to all of you, our volunteers - thank you again for all you have done; we have rarely had any difficulty getting enough volunteers, and amazingly have averaged 23 volunteers each week.

What next ? We have no great plans, just more of the same. Saturday morning parkrun is already part of the rhythm of our lives and we hope it will continue to be so for a very long time to come.


parkrun during the Mop Fairs, 5th & 12th October

We are in discussion with the Town Council about the possibility of holding parkrun on the two Mop Fair Saturdays: 5th and 12th October.

We were cancelled on both Saturdays last year, but we are optimistic about being able to have parkrun on both days this year. However, it is not certain and we are still awaiting confirmation.

There will be a number of Mop Fair vehicles on the Common, so if we are able to run on the Mop Fair Saturdays it will very likely be on a modified course as we will not have access to the whole of the lower field of the Common.

We will provide more details nearer the time.

Please check the website or Facebook page, where we will keep you up to date. We will also mention it in our run briefings on 21st and 28th September.


A guided tourist – A visually impaired runner at Marlborough Common parkrun

I love Marlborough and I love parkrun. So Marlborough Common parkrun was always going to be a swipe right as soon as I heard about it. Wiltshire has given the world puzzling prehistoric remains , 6X and lardy cake. The world has given back parkrun. It’s a fair deal.

I ran with many of you around the Marlborough Common parkrun on Saturday. Could there be a better day to do it? I had contacted Marlborough Common parkrun run directors a few weeks’ ago and they asked lots of good questions about how guiding worked and were wonderfully enthusiastic and supportive for me running. I was found a lovely guide Will Sandison. And then just turned up, met with Will and ran.

I have run my local parkrun in London many times and can tell you some differences. In London our paths are smooth and fast. Your paths are a bit up and down but the feeling of grass under your shoes whilst you run is sublime. In Marlborough I heard bees buzzing. In London I can smell the corners where people have been using tobacco alternatives. But the main difference is in age. In London I am one of the oldest and all the youngsters speed off past me at the start. in Marlborough I am not one of the oldest and all the oldies sped off past me at the start.

Will gave me a commentary on what was happening around the Common as we ran. That’s’ the road, that’s the golf course, that’s people playing with Frisbees that’s a lorry full of pigeons and that’s the fast people miles ahead coming back the other way.

Thank you all for being so friendly to me . If you are in London for a Saturday come to my local parkrun in Gladstone Park and say hello. Don’t go to the nearby Hampstead Heath parkrun as that’s far too hilly.

Ian Cooke


Anti-clockwise summer runs

You may remember our reverse running experiment from a few weeks back. Just for fun we switched from our normal clockwise direction to put on a one-off anti-clockwise special at the beginning of May. The good news (for all who enjoyed it at least) is that anti-clockwise runs are back for the summer!

Feedback from the first time showed a marginal preference for the reverse route, although there wasn’t much in it! So, as it seems that our parkrunners are up for the idea of something different, we will be starting our anti-clockwise summer on 6 July. It will run until 21 September, at which point we’ll change back to the original clockwise route in time for our first birthday run on 28 September.

As before, look out for slightly different signage, marshals where you might not be expecting them, and a newly positioned finish funnel just after the swing turn. It worked beautifully before and, with the help of our brilliant volunteers, we hope it will again. So, 9 chances to try out the new direction and see what PB potential it offers. Or just take in the views from a new perspective, and enjoy running down the rugby pitch rather than slogging up it!



Marlborough Common parkrun – Photos by month and event

This is a list of all our photo pages by month and event. Please note that we don't always have a photographer, so there isn't a page for every event.

October 2019 5 October
Event 48
September 2019 14 September
Event 45
1st anniversary
28 September

Event 47
Anniversary lunch
28 September
June 2019 1 June
Event 33
May 2019 4 May
Event 29
11 May
Event 30
April 2019 27 April
Event 28
March 2019 16 March
Event 22
February 2019 23 February
Event 19
December 2018  22 December
Event 11
September 2018  22 September
Event 1


parkrun pledge day 1st June 2019

We’re looking forward to doing our bit here in Marlborough to support GP parkrun pledge day on 1 June. We’ll be welcoming staff from Great Bedwyn Surgery and St James Surgery in Devizes, as they join in our parkrun and encourage their patients to do the same.

Here’s what they have to say about what parkrun means to them and their practices.

Dr Angela Paddon, Great Bedwyn Surgery
Through parkrun I became motivated to lose weight and have rediscovered the enjoyment I used to experience when I ran at university. As I lost weight and became fitter by running regularly at parkrun and on Saturday mornings my times improved. The personal satisfaction was immense when I ran the course in under 30 minutes. parkrun is encouraging the practice staff to become fitter and healthier and it is lovely to see them and their families running and walking the course. I also really enjoying having a chat with the staff, their families and with friends after the run at the golf club. It is also wonderful to see so many people registered at our practice running.

Dr Judith Jackson, St James Surgery, Devizes
St James is a lovely friendly GP surgery in Devizes. We work hard to encourage healthy lifestyles for people in our primary care team team and our patients. When we read about the RCGP initiative to get people participating in the park run we thought it was a great idea to set a good example and take part. Our group is definitely mixed ability - Catherine , senior nurse is an experienced runner of marathons, Martin is a military doctor as well as a GP, and is in regular training, and Judith also GP, is more of a jogger than a runner, but all of us are looking forward to having a good parkrun on June 1st.


WhatsApp Image 2019-05-31 at 10.14.05


Next Saturday’s parkrun is back on! (25th May)

The funfair that was planned to be on the common next weekend has been cancelled. Which means we are un-cancelled. So we will have parkrun as usual on 25th May.

See you on the common 9am Saturday!

Photo 20-05-2019, 16 35 42 (2)


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