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


Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 47 – 28th September 2019

mcparkrun first anniversary words

We’ve been celebrating Marlborough Common parkrun’s first birthday this weekend, and so it seemed fitting to hand this week’s run report over to you, our runners, walkers, volunteers, core team members, parkrun ambassadors, and everyone who has made our event what it is.

On 22 September 2018 a nervous group of volunteers faced an expectant crowd, everyone new to our Marlborough event, and many new to parkrun completely. We probably weren’t giving much thought to where we would all be a year later. The core team only wanted an incident-free event and an accurate set of results. The participants were probably wondering how the morning would shape up, and whether they might return for week two.

One year on we can see how far we have come. We’ve been asking you all to describe what Marlborough Common parkrun now means for you. We hope you enjoy the result.


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.


Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 46 – 21st September 2019

Another glorious sunny morning, another parkrun to look forward to.

For those of us in the organising team it is a delight, when the weather is fine like today, to be out early on the Common setting out the course, and enjoying the sunshine and the lovely views. We've recently made quite a lot of changes to the way we mark the course - to make it easier and quicker to set up - and today it went really well and everything was ready well before 9 am!

We were very pleased to welcome eight new parkrunners doing their very first parkrun (we do hope you enjoyed the experience and will come back again soon), and 12 others parkrunning at Marlborough Common for the first time. Those visiting us included parkrunners from London, Havant, Farnham, Chippenham, Hungerford, and our nearest parkrun neighbours Swindon.

Many congratulations all 93 of you who completed the course today, and to the 15 who recorded Personal Bests. And many thanks to the 22 volunteers who were directing and encouraging us so enthusiastically out on the course, or timekeeping or handing out tokens or scanning at the finish area.

A significant innovation today was the introduction of scanning using the parkrun "volunteer app" - and I expect about half of you experienced this change. The app uses a mobile phone's camera to scan barcodes and tokens and has many benefits over the traditional scanners - in particular it displays the numbers that have been scanned so there is positive confirmation that the scan has worked; also the app works much better in bright sunlight. Many other parkruns are now doing all their scanning using the app and that is the way we expect to go. Our thanks to core team member Mary Heath who researched and practised this new technique and made it work very successfully today!


Marlborough Common parkrun started just a year ago, on Saturday 22nd September 2018. Next Saturday 28th September, being also the fourth Saturday in September, becomes our parkrun anniversary, and we are looking forward to celebrating our first very enjoyable year of parkrunning on Marlborough Common. Do come in fancy dress if you would like to, or with parkrun milestone or volunteer T-shirts, or parkrun Apricot - or come just as you are!


Lastly, please note that we are still waiting for confirmation from the Town Council as to whether we will be able to have parkrun on the two Mop Fair Saturdays (5th and 12th October). We are optimistic that we will be able to operate a modified course, whilst still providing sufficient separate parking space for Mop Fair vehicles. We will announce on Facebook and on our website as soon as there is a decision, hopefully in the coming week.

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible next week, 28th September, on our 1st Anniversary!

Michael Reynolds


Marlborough Common parkrun – Event 45 – 14th September 2019

After a two week break, Marlborough Common parkrun returned for its first event of September. The reason for the fortnight off being Gifford's Circus had been in town, taking residency on the common.

There were no clowns on the common this weekend however. Instead 23 volunteers arrived extra early to don the high-vis and prepare another flawless parkrun. Carpark marshals directed runners and walkers to a safe place to park as the crowd began to gather. Cathryn Ramsden gave a perfect first timers briefing to 41 first timers at the common. Of these were 11 running their very first parkrun ever, and 30 tourists hailing from Swindon, Bath Skyline, Cumbria, Falmouth, Thurrock, Chippenham. We welcomed quite a few runners from our neighbours Swindon parkrun who were cancelled this morning due to Lydiard Park hosting the Prospect Hospice Run the Rainbow event ( We had representatives from 18 different running clubs - with Pewsey Vale bringing the most runners with 6. We hope you all enjoyed your parkrun here at Marlborough.

With the first timers briefing complete, it was time for the run directors briefing. At 9am, everybody gathered at the start line where Pete Moody gave the briefing. We had two milestones to celebrate this morning. Colin Sainsbury and Paul Ireson both hit that 50 milestone today. They will both be rewarded with their very own red 50 t-shirt to wear in their future runs. Colin even brought cake to share the celebrations with everyone!

With the briefing complete, there was a quick check with timekeepers before the 3, 2, 1, go countdown and everyone was off!

Weather conditions were perfect this morning, not a cloud in the sky and the sun shining down on the common. Among today’s 128 runners, 26 loved the conditions so much they got themselves new PBs. Huge congratulations to you all.

Only 7 “unknowns” were recorded on the day, which equates to less than 6% of the field. Whilst a very small number, it is a shame that these 7 participants do not get an official time. Hopefully everyone will remember to register and bring their barcode next week. Whether they brought their barcode or not, everyone was cheered on by todays fantastic marshals. All parkruns have their supportive teams but Marlborough definitely has one of the friendliest! Great support from everyone and greatly appreciated from all runners. It was all smiles as everyone was cheered on over the finish line to the reward of that incredible cake. After the tail walkers (and dogs) crossed the line, the volunteer team packed the kit away after another successful run. Even after an extended break, the team effort makes the event run like clockwork.

There will be no long wait until the next event this time, as all of the fantastic volunteers will be back next Saturday morning to host another wonderful edition of Marlborough Common parkrun. Have a great weekend everybody!

This weeks volunteer list:

Alison LEIGHFIELD • Alister MACNAUGHT • Angela FRY • Cathryn RAMSDEN • Charlie FRY • Clare KELLAR • Darren NEWMAN • Deborah CLARKE • Deborah HARDOON • Eddy BAMBER • Fiona CHINNECK • Fiona HADDRELL • Fiona WYCHERLEY • Henry FRY • Jeremy FOOT • Karen TATAM • Mary HEATH • Michael REYNOLDS • Pete MOODY • Rachael BOONHAM • Rachel WATSON • Sue TULLOH • Wendy JACKSON

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Marlborough Common parkrun Results Page.
The Marlborough Common attendance record is 202, set on the 20th April 2019.
The female record is held by Holly RUSH with a time of 19:45 on 25th May 2019 (event number 32).
The male record is held by Simon NOTT with a time of 16:03 on 1st June 2019 (event number 33).
The Age Grade course record is held by Cath WHEELER with a grading of 83.35% (22:19) on 13th April 2019 (event number 26).
Marlborough Common parkrun started on 22nd September 2018. Since then 1,993 participants have completed 6,050 parkruns covering a total distance of 30,250 km, including 1,387 new Personal Bests. A total of 179 individuals have volunteered 1,028 times.

(Note: The Annual Marlborough Mop Fair is in town on October 5th & 12th. We are working behind the scenes to try and find the best way to proceed in regards to holding parkrun on these dates. Please keep and eye out in the news section of our website and on Facebook. As soon as we know whether parkrun will be on will let everybody know)

Eddy Bamber