Melton Mowbray parkrun is cancelled on 26 September 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Gordon’s parkrun nightmares – Virtual results event #27

A day of mixed feelings today. Always great to be getting people out and about, and to see all of your runs, and the amazing conversations that take place among you all as you comment on each others posts, and celebrate each others achievements. However, it is tarnished somewhat by the news that with the current trajection of the wider context, implies that our October restart date is becoming increasingly unlikely. I will commit to keeping this Virtual model going for as long as it is needed.

Another marker on today's run is that this weekend was supposed to be Equinox 24. For those who are unfamiliar with the event, Equinox 24 is an event that is held at Belvoir Castle on the third weekend of September every year since 2013. The premise is that it starts on midday on Saturday and ends at midday on Sunday. Between these times, it is down to teams, pairs or solo runners to complete as many 10k laps as they possibly can.

The link to our event? As one of the closest parkrun events to Belvoir Castle (it's either us or Belton House), every year, we get a plethora of Equinoxers treating us as a warm up event before hot-footing it over to the castle grounds to set up their tents and prepare for the main event. It brings a whole new level of buzz and celebration to the event. For future years if you get chance to have a go at Equinox 24, I cannot recommend it enough. It is all the buzz of a music festival, but with running!

Anyway... actual today... Our RD today was Gordon Pearson!!! Who guessed rightly this week? As he explained in the briefing, Gordon is a Regional Ambassador for Lincolnshire, Rutland and Nottinghamshire (as our Event Ambassador Darren is based in Rutland, that means that we will also come under his jurisdiction). Imagine that - an actual link between Melton Mowbray and Bestwood Village!

Gordon has run at Melton once out of his 296 runs at 146 different events. His average longitude/latitude is over Ferry Meadows parkrun (I am personally still gutted that Peterborough changed its name to this - it was the only P in my Alphabet attempt! I already had an F!). He has run across 3 different parkrunning countries (so he has been able to pick up that elusive Z to complete his Alphabet), and has volunteered an impressive 325 times (not including today's Virtual role). All in all, Gordon is a great ambassador for parkrun.

"Gordon is a moron. Gordon is a moron. Gordon is a moron. Gordon is a moron. Gordon is a moron."

The above is an excerpt from the lyrics to the "Jilted John" song from September 1978, and nothing whatsoever to do with this morning's RD (other than it was him that brought the song to my attention after I asked if he was ok with being identified through the Gopher image).

Today 129 of you completed the minimum of 5k (128 were able to prove it - Midwife Mel submitted a 1k Strava image and her 5k time is calculated on trust - midwives are trustworthy, yes?). We had 7 PBs (looking forward to this bit), and this is the first week where we had no First Timers whatsoever.

As a slight contradiction to the above, we have one first timer that goes by the name Ludo. barkrunning with owner Emma Downing, this is the first time I have seen Ludo named in the results (he ay have run previosuly, but this is his first run report mention, and as a result, he will feature later in the run report too!). Other barkrunners this week include regulars Bertie and Ella (The Saluki) who took to a hillier course than usual and were not fans... Bertie's person, Caroline, specifically said something about a preference for running down hills but I forget her actual words... Flynn was also out with owner Trevor, stopped 4 times and had a comedy tangle with another dog on a long lead (so not in keeping with parkrun rules).

In terms of PBs, huge congratulations to last week's RD, Matt White, Flynn's aunty Laura Wade, Paul Merrison, Kathryn Stevenson, Laura Kowalik (who ran a PB despite not recommending Prosecco and Malibu the night before - if they are PB fuel then maybe we should be recommending them... But maybe not in light of social responsibility... I don't know where we stand on this one), and Ambassador Darren Barratt (must be trying to impress his boss today). The other PB belongs to yours truly. I am running a Virtual version of Equinox 24 this weekend, and actually ran my fastest ever buggy 5k as part of my third lap! First time under 25:00 with a pushchair! #smug

Commiserations to Rachel Wade who pushed hard and thought she had got a new PB only to find that she was actually 2 seconds off...

The battle for first place was back on this week with both TH's returning to action after a week off. However, they were pipped to the post by Debbie Longley who claimed the spot of first finisher purely on the basis that hers was the first result posted on the results post. However, she said she was the first finisher of Parkrun, and thus is disqualified on the basis on spelling - you'd expect better from someone who works in education (it's a small p).* Tom Hansen THinished THirst in a time of 18:01, with Joanna Davis being first female finisher in 23:04.

Tom Wilkinson attempted our reverse course (which will soon be the normal course while we are operating under the Covid framework) and has decided that it is much harder than running up 40 Oaks (parkrun hill) twice. Tara Upton agrees that the reversal is not as easy, while Benn Sandilands states quite rightly that he both loves and hates our nurkrap course! Mr and Mrs Nina also ran the reverse course and passed no comment whatsoever.

A few personal milestones to note: Lee Harley Hotchkiss ran his 23rd Virtual parkrun today to bring him in line with the number of actual parkruns he has done - to mark the occasion he ran a sub-23! Teresa Fowkes and Andrea Crellin both ran their second sub-30 times. Today would have been Sue Power's 100th parkrun so she properly celebrated with cake. Carl Taylor Beeby ran for a latte in town, and Zoe Flintoft found the brightness controls on her camera!

David Hall submitted his application for the position of tail walker this week as he actually tail walked a group of socially distanced walkers around the Gower Peninsula over 13.5 miles in well over 6hrs, and to David I would like to respond appropriately:

FAO: D Hall,

I would like to thank you for your application for the position of tail walker. On this occasion, however, you have been unsuccessful in your application. We would like to wish you well in the future and we are sure you will find a tail walker position that meets your needs.

S. Sharkey

Laura Seth also staked her claim on the coveted position but upon submission stated that she had already been beaten by Jenny Kent who held on to the very end to finish as our tail walker this week.

Right, I'm off to set my alarm for 5.30am to see if I can get my 5th 10k lap to be the desirable sunrise lap! Night all!!!



Classified Ads

In a selfish act, and total abuse of power, I am going to create some temporary advertising space within the run report.

I bought Emma a pair of new runners (Size 6) that were personalised with the white parkrun logo. Turns out she best fits a size 7...

Anyone want a pair of brand new ASICS Womens Gel-Contend 6 - Black/Rose Gold (Size 6) with the white parkrun logo on the back (this personalisation is the reason we can't return them).

They should be £55 but we paid £49.50 for them in the sale on Pro-Direct but will accept a reasonable offer. Message me, comment or email for more details/pictures if you're interested.

Fun Fact

Since we started in our Virtual inception, 429 different athletes have taken part in our run and by some distance, our most consistently appearing name is Zoe (this obviously does not include names that are unique in our event - for example, I am the only Shane and have completed all of the possible runs. This stat is based on the Christian names that appear more than once). Of the 81 possible runs that our three Zoe's could have completed, they have completed 77 of them.

Over these 27 weeks, we have covered a combined distance of 20595km. Inserting a couple of selected dashes into this number to make the date 2-05-95, we can have a look back to a time when at least one of our Zoe's hadn't even been born! Sir John Major was Prime Minister; Oasis, Take That and Boyzone were the top 3 in the UK pop charts, while the American's were listening to Montell Jordan telling us exactly how he does it. The number one film in the UK Box Office was Outbreak - a film about a medical disaster where a deadly virus takes over and spreads like wildire (while being amazingly underplayed by a character named Donald?!?!?!).

This is the first week we have had no human first timers (the lowest run count today is 2), and on the 2 May 1995, the second episode of Father Ted was aired. Arguably the greatest sitcom ever made (sorry Bertie and Ella TS), this episode features a scene where Ted and Dougal play a game of Crazy Golf. Across the series, other games they play include Cluedo (with no cards in the black envelope), Frustration, unfortuantely they never got to play Scrabble or Travel Scrabble, and... Ludo!

It was also the feast day of St Zoe!

(notably, if we move the dash to change the date to 20-5-95, it would have been the feast day of St Lucifer... No comment)


Apparently it is called a semianniversary!?

I've been thinking...

Every week I have made sure that we have a different special guest Run Director, and this person shall be chosen from either our immediate parkrun community, or the wider parkrun family that I have encountered on my travels/networking. Where plausible, I have tried to provide clues and hints to who the following RD will be. In last week's report, I made a reference to this week's RD painting over the cracks, and on Friday I shared a picture of a WHITE MAT. Apparently this was far too cryptic for people to guess Matt White! (Literally a type of paint, and homophonetically an actual White Mat(t)). Should I just tell you who the following one is going to be???

Ok... Next week's RD shares his whole name with an author on Business Management at Keele University, his first name with a famous sweary chef/gopher, and his surname with an academic publishing company, and with these Ferrero Rocher he is really spoiling us! Ah... what the hell... next week it is Gordon Pearson, parkrun Ambassador for Lincolnshire, Rutland and Nottinghamshire. Even with this clue, I'm guessing some people won't see it coming (they know who they are... but then again... no... no, they probably don't)!

As well as having a paint and a soft furnishing named after him, Matt  is a very familiar face around Melton Country park on a Saturday morning. Matt has completed 77 of his 85 parkruns at Melton Mowbray, but that shows nowhere near his attendance at our event. During a long stint of injury, Matt would frequently turn up on a Saturday just to cheer on the other runners and to join everyone in the cafe afterwards - it really is "all about the coffee".

Even thought the vast majority of his runs have been with us at Melton, Matt actually started parkrunning almost a year before we did, and having done 3 events in Australia, it means that his average longitude/latitude puts his "Average Event" at Tapijn in the Netherlands! His first run at Melton was on our second event and this was followed on by a string on 9 consecutive PBs, and during the Lockdown Virtual version of our event, he has run his fastest 5k since Christmas Day 2016!!!

Any of you that heard the BBC Radio Leicester link on Friday will be in agreement that, not only do I have a face for radio, I also have a voice for print! It's weird because usually there is nothing more satisfying than hearing your own voice post-recording!!!!

Six whole months have passed and we are still here. Back in March, I genuinely believed that this would be a matter of a few weeks and we would be back to normal. If I had known it would be half a year and counting, there is a chance that it wouldn't have even happened. As it is, I honestly would not have changed a moment of it. I have been privileged enough to see first hand just how a community can rally around, come together, and network/forge new friendships in even the oddest of conditions. In a time and a world where people act really ugly to each other, we get to see people at their very best.

I was obviously flattered and thrilled to see similar events (based on our model) spring up at Kettering and Oswestry, as well as Perrigo (Seattle) and College Park (Washington DC), the event is being positively received at all of the different locations, but with the exception of College Park, we are getting a considerably larger field each week than the other events, and Melton Mowbray runners even go some way to making up the numbers of the other event's results (even getting a shout out in this week's Perrigo run brief). Please don't think that the sentiment here is one of oneupmanship, because it really is not. It is a reflection on just how incredible we are as a community. We have kept in touch and supported each other through the strangest sequence of events in any of our lives.

I am personally really excited for the upcoming restart at the end of October if it does happen then as announced (we will keep you updated at every step). I completely understand that some people will have reservations about the restart and their opinions are both valid and justified. To those people I would ask that they look over our event specific Covid Framework and direct any questions at all to us at If you still feel uneasy then we do understand and will be here when you deem the situation safe to return. Obviously, with the restart, this Virtual model will be shelved and saved in some random folder on my computer. However, if the restart does not happen as announced, I am in a position to keep this model running as long as we need to. We have nailed this whole "staying together while keeping apart" thing! Thank you, Melton.

On this point, I would just like to send a quick shout out to our American relatives. Today, Kerstin at Perrigo did the event's Virtual Run Brief in which she had to ask her runners to not run due to the poor air conditions across the states with the fires. It is a worrying time that anyone would need to stay inside when there isn't a wider context of a global pandemic. Doubly scary. Thoughts are with you all on that side of the pond.

Today, 130 of us made it out to cover at least 5km, including 3 first timers and 11 PBs. Can we give a huge welcome to Simon Hobbs, Laura Kowalik, and 6-yr old Erin Frake who covered the full 5k distance allegedly without whinging (a luxury I don't always get from my 30-something year old wife! - it's fine... she probably won't read this, and if she does, she'll probably agree... if she doesn't, I am very very very VERY sorry and will be out for the remainder of the day).

Craig Robinson was our first finisher today with his second sub-20 time, taking full advantage of the absence of Toby Heaver and Tom Hansen (no THirst finisher jokes this week - I can only imagine our usual first and second finishers had a THight to the deaTH - who knows?!)

This week Myself and Emma toured, by invitation, to some place called Bestwood Village. We were joined there by Mr and Mrs Nina and Mr and Mrs Karen (I barely recognised Mr Karen as he wasn't in his shirt and tie - see run brief from event 12). [It was an outdoor gathering of six people and we maintained social distancing throughout.] Reading through a lot of the results today, I was able to draw an eery number of parallels with my own run. Melanie McDonald showed determination to beat the hill while first-timer Laura said that her run nearly killed her, and that's exactly how I felt on their first hill - determined, but dying!!! Martin Taylor-Beeby admitted that he had a pee stop mid-run and had to walk the second hill. I also had a mid-run pee stop and walked their second hill. Max Leah said that he had to change his laps aboard the QE2 because "helicopters were moving around", and I... errr... I... um...

There were 11 PBs this week and some were quite spectacular. Kristy Nicholls ran her first ever sub-25 5k, while Andrea Crellin got under the half hour and Sue Power got under 32 minutes for the distance for the first time. Mike Freeman was helped to his Post-Hip-Op* PB by his daughter who, as a child, was once dragged around London watching him running various marathons. Mike's Legacy is that now his 3 children, their respective partners, and his 8 grandchildren are all regular parkrunners! It's either a legacy or a brainwashing - either way, I approve wholeheartedly. Other PB shout outs must go to: Mike Scallon, Mark Tyler, Richard Apps, Alison Sandilands, Jackie Shah, Sam Teasdale and Kathryn Stevenson.

*why is it when I say "Post-hip-op" out loud, I want to follow it with "When the crowd say Bo, Selecta"???

Lee and Melissa Harley-Hotchkiss didn't achieve PBs, but they were running over the Quantock Hills again and they took 33 seconds and 90 seconds from their previous times over the same course! While Rob Nash didn't run his Virtual PB, but did run his first sub-26 on the actual parkrun course.

Jane MacNaughton and David Brook were laying the claim for furthest away runner whilst still being in the UK (cunningly cutting out poor Peter Shirtcliffe in SA through a technicality), by running in East Neuk (it's in Scotland - which I had to check if it was still in the UK... Apparently it is!)

Our very own Ross and Rachel barkrunners, Bertie and Ella (The Saluki) are F.R.I.E.N.D.S. again. It is still unclear what them being "ON A BREAK" actually means, and whether we have forgiven Bertie or not. Actually, this was never resolved in actual FRIENDS either, was it? Also, why was Ben written out? As Ross' son would he not want to meet his baby sister? He wasn't even mentioned after Rachel got pregnant! Also, why wasn't he at the wedding to Emily (who isn't Rachel) in London? Does Ross hate his son? Does Bertie have a disowned pup somewhere?!

Also reunited this week was Flynn and his person after a week away with Auntie Laura. I'm sure he's glad to be home, but we all saw how excited he was to be away last week and now I'm feeling a little sorry for him. We've all had post-holiday blues, right? Anyway, apparently he saw quite a few other Virtual parkrunners out and about this morning, so that would have surely taken the edge off...

Which brings us onto our review of the #tailwalkerchallenge. Match of the day is back on this evening to mark the not-as-long-as-usually-awaited return of the Premier League. I'm not much of a football fan either... but I do wonder if we could evolve the #twc into a late night review involving pundits. I think I'd be more Alan "That was rubbish" Hanson than Jermaine "You can see what he was trying, but it just didn't come off" Jenas.

Clive and Jenny Kent (who acknowledges how hard it will be to get up and to the park for 9am when parkrun does return for real) got round in a pacey 52:14 but did not attempt to enter this as a #twc entry. The first named entry was a bit of an embarassment by Ben Pickard as he powered round in 57:36. Mark Ashmore, Martin Hansen, Paul Horrocks and Maria Boyce all got round within 1:45 of each other (Paul seems to be the only non-Mar in this grouping... Maybe he is an honorary Mar for the day... We will call him Marl). Our crowned tail walker this week is Rachel Holland who blames her two-part submission on human error, but I've reviewed her watch before and we all know that it's pants! Well done Rachel.

Finally, loads of luck to Zoe Heath, Vanessa Walker and anyone else taking on the Virtual Great North Run tomorrow!


Fun Fact

Following on from last week's Mo Farah World Record fact, It seems appropriate to point out that today he won the Antrim Half Marathon today but his effort only 6 days before possibly prevented him from breaking the British record tat he had his eye on... Anyway, I just want to draw people's attention to the efforts of Ulster man Tommy Hughes. Tommy also took part in the same race and set a new World Record for the over-60s age category! He ran the 13.1 miles in 1h 11m 9s!!!!!! No stranger to breaking records, last November, the Irishman and his son Eoin (pronounced "Owen") broke the record for Father-Son aggregate marathons (they each ran a marathon and their times were added together) - they scraped UNDER 5hrs!

As for us, we have now Virtually run a cumulative total of 19,950km which is approaching 2 laps of the moon!


After 25 weeks of cancelled events, did you see the Wrath? Virtual Results #25

"I first heard about modern day slavery around 10 years ago. Until then, I thought it was something consigned to history with the Abolition of Slavery Act ,1807. I became aware that there are more slaves in the world now than at any time in history. There is a saying that what you tolerate you will never change and if this was my son or my daughter or my brother held in captivity, then I would want someone somewhere to do something about it - we are the people here, now with that power to change lives and end slavery. In ten years of fundraising I am not sure how much we have raised but I do know that through the sacrificial support and generosity of the local running community that there are people now free who would otherwise be living without the hope that we bring"

This is a direct quote from this morning's RD Andrew Wrath and the reasons behind him doing the crazy challenges that he sets himself. A selection of the challenges that I have seen him complete of the last couple of years include:

- Running five 10k runs in 5 locations across Europe in 24 hours (this was completed one Friday where he started off in Amsterdam in the wee small hours and ran other 10k's in Brussels, Paris, London, and then back home in Melton at around midnight. His daughter, Maddie joked with him that she would run at parkrun if he managed to make it there himself for 9am on the Saturday morning. He made it! She did not...)

- Climbing Kilimanjaro

- Organising a 5 parkruns in one morning event at Melton with alternating directions - the 5th was to be the 9am mass start. Around 100 people made it to the 6am kick-off and the majority stayed throughout. The 9am run had a record turnout with 274 finishers - a new course record, breaking the 262 that had stayed with us since Event #1 way back in 2015. We should have been doing the second running of this event today, but obviously we can't so we'll try again next year.

- His current challenge of running the Virtual Distance from John O'Groats (the place in Scotland - not the mad Irishman your dad knows from his local) to Land's End (the place in Cornwall - not the clothing factory in Oakham as Google Maps tried to convince me...)

To support Andrew on his quest you can visit

Andrew has run 146 parkruns in total and 137 of them have been at Melton Mowbray - In fact, his first ever parkrun anywhere was at the Melton Mowbray inaugural where the original attendance record was set. From these 146 runs, he needs just two numbers to complete his parkrun Stopwatch Bingo (I am in the same predicament), he has completed one New Year's Day Double (when they were a thing) doubling up with us and Leicester Victoria, and has achieved Silver obsessive (40+ runs in a year) twice. He has also volunteered 13 times officially, and now once virtually.

Anyway... Did anyone guess the clues that Andrew would be our RD this week? In last week's run report I suggested that our RD would have to have committed a deadly sin (Wrath) to need to report from the International Space Station, there was the sharing of his record-breaking video mid-week, and the Athletics Weekly cover was shared not because he has links with Mo Farah, but because Athletics Weekly has changed its logo simply to AW (Andrew's initials). Not the smoothest set of clues, but hopefully next week's can help to paint over the cracks.

Alan Thompson is not sure how he managed to run the 5 parkruns last year while Rob Mee ran a 5 parkrun distance in honour of what we should have been doing this morning. It was a bit chilly this morning according to Sue Tower so perhaps it was perfect conditions for a 5-in-1 event.

Sorry... Sue Power!

Today 131 runners submitted their results including 3 first timers. Please make Lisa McNeill, Stephen Mark and Isabel Harris feel very welcome to our event. There were also an impressive 12 PBs including Tom Hansen who took a second from main rival Toby Heaver's personal best to finish first in 17:55, and Melissa Harley Hotchkiss who managed to break the 29 minute barrier for the first time ever (despite being gutted that Strava rounded up her seconds from 28:54 to 28:55). Other plaudits must go to Joanna Davis, Mark Tyler, Oliver Hyde, 100%er Rob Nash, Tony Parkinson, Mark Smith, Jane Martin, Jackie Shah and Rachel Holland.

Another personal best was run by the hooman of regular barkrunner Flynn today too - but not that one. Flynn had deserted Trev to visit aunty Laura and he seemed VERY happy about it (worth seeing the video of him in our results comments). He guided aunty Laura to her PB of 25:02. Bertie was also out and apparently he is quite the paleontologist, gets confused with names and has very white teeth. I am unsure if he has ever regretted wearing leather pants, or if a lookalike robbed an off-license last year but I think we have a canine Ross Gellar in our midsts! OH... MY... GOD... [insert Janice Cackle here]

The kids have been back at school for a week now, and already Star Pupil award must go to Carl Taylor-Beeby. He walked 3.2 miles and instead of leaving it for me to calculate his 5k time, he correctly worked it out himself and managed to show his working in full. His method was sound, but was arguably not the most efficient way to get around the problem under exam conditions - there were a few shortcuts that he could have taken around unit conversion etc. Either way, he has earned a house point for making a positive contribution in class and has been asked to green pen his method to show where he could have worked smarter.

Regular Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrunners Mr and Mrs Karen were touring today... IN MELTON! Mr and Mrs Nina were their hosts as they ran the regular course before having a cuppa with the mother-(not)in-law(yet). Other actual tourists include Dan O'Gorman who ran from Whitby to Sandsend (not the seaside castle factory in Oakham), and the infamous Pickard-Moult gang who celebrated World Beard Day around everyone's favourite PB course at Rushcliffe. Also touring was Lynda Harris who ran the Worcester City Half Marathon near Loxwood in sunny Sussex - which is only a stone's throw away from Crawley's famous Hazelwick School - a school that started off the life journey of Gareth Southgate (even if waistcoats are not part of their uniform), Romesh Ranganathan (who attended school there as a pupil, came back as a maths teacher, became head of Sixth Form and then left to go into comedy), BBC Sports Presenter Dan Walker, Grammy Award winning composer Phillip Lawson, and...



... Chico!!!!!! (You have to wonder if the school motto was emblazened with the phrase "Vos may adepto phreneticis si tuleritis et vita tam grave"*)

* Translates to: "You may get delirious if you take life so serious"

Anyway... What time is it?

Ah yes! It's #tailwalkerchallenge time!

Paul Horrocks took it easier today as it is officially one of his rest days and he is building up to the Virtual London Marathon in just 4 weeks time (more to follow on this) - he finished just inside the hour. Melanie McDonald walked her parkrun as part of a much larger event, as part of a 22 mile walk! Her average pace sets her 5k time at 1:08:09. The Giblett family outing got them all in at 1hr 20m which is an admirable time for our tail walkers. However, the much coveted role of tailwalker, carrying with it the responsibility of getting everyone back safely, has been tarnished. Our tail walkers this morning were clearly not paying attention to their responsibilities. The 5k of Karen Matthias and Matt White interrupted their 5k by taking time out to book tickets to the Lindisfarne Priory, having tea and biscuits at Holy Island Castle and an ice cream!

Huge congratulations go to Bob Frake who celebrated our 25th event by doing the Virtual Catterick Paras 10 TAB - a 10 mile run with 1000ft of elevation carrying a 35Lb Bergen and wearing boots and trousers! I can't help but feeling that there is some sort of twist on the old adage that there is no bad weather, just poor clothing choices that could be applied here.

Teresa Fowkes' run was not up to her usual pace because she was stopping to tell passers by that she became a grandma in the early hours of this morning as her daughter gave birth to a baby boy. I'm sure you will all join me in sending our wishes to mother and child, and congratulations to Teresa herself for whatever she did a whole generation ago that led to this sequence of events.

Good luck to Graham Foster doing the Normanby 10k tomorrow. Louise Bridgeman smashed her club's 10k Pewter standard time by over a minute, Zoe Flintoft's run was not helped by last night's wine, and David Hall ran late to console himself after a poor Tigers result. I am just disappointed that he didn't run 31-40...

Point of Reflection

One of the things I am most proud of with regards to this Virtual event is that it is providing people with motivation to make sure they get out each and every Saturday. Rob Mason submitted his result along with the words "Saturday morning motivation", and Kristy Nicholls admitted that she was really struggling to motivate herself today but the knowledge that she had done every one [sic] so far was what got her out there.

Last week I wrote extensively in the run report that people need to remove that little voice of doubt and step up to whatever challenge they think they cannot complete.

WELL THAT WAS RIDICULOUSLY STUPID ADVICE!!! Following this, I decided that I was nowhere near the level of fitness that I used to expect of myself so set myself the challenge of running every day in September (having never successfully completed a RED month) and to make sure I did get out and do some running I found a charity place into the Virtual London Marathon in just 4 weeks time!!!!! From this point onwards, no-one should ever listen to me, no matter how supportive and encouraging I am being! I'm clearly an imbecile.

Poor Andrea Crellin walked 5k this morning, then ran her 5k parkrun, and then ran a further 10 miles this afternoon in preparation for the same event. I am a bad bad person (a bad bad person who currently cannot run 10k without breaks - only another 20 miles to find in 4 weeks)!


Fun Facts

My facts this week all refer back to the Athletics Weekly cover that I shared on Friday as a teaser to Andrew's identity. The September 12, 2019 issue celebrated the fact that Mo had won the Great North Run Half Marathon for the 6th time in a personal record time of 59:07. Well, the September 5th, 2020 issue of this run report is also a celebration of Sir Mo. Last night he ran the first World Record of his career by running 21,330m in an hour. This broke the previous world record (set by Haille Gebrselassie) by 45m. Covering 13.25 miles in an hour means running an average of 4m32s per mile!

Haille is unlikely to be supportive of Mo taking his record after the two of them had a bust-up in 2019 after Mo had personal belongings stolen from Gebrselassie's hotel in 2019 on March 23rd (exactly one year before the UK went into lockdown and Virtual parkrun became a thing - this is the only link between fun facts and our event this week).

In 2015, the Great Run Company purchased Athletics Weekly and now oversee its publication.

Athletics Weekly itself began as a lie! The first issue, simply called "Athletics," was published in December 1945 after being "invented" by Jimmy Green in his bungalow bedroom in Kent. Post-war rationing rules actually banned the launch of new publications so he wrote a foreword for his magazine which talked about the "resumption of this paper", and he called the first issue "Vol II No. 1" just so it didn't look new! The paper was such a success that in 1950 it switched from being a monthly publication to a weekly one and "AW" was born (not Andrew). To cope with the growth to a weekly paper, he doubled his staffing by employing a typist!!!


One briefing from South Africa and it’s overcast! Week 24 results

A wonderfully detailed and informative run brief from Virtual regular, Peter Shirtcliffe this morning. Peter was a Melton regular until he emigrated to South Africa (rumour has it that he cut the corner on Nina's Hill and fled to avoid being caught).

Peter has run 84 parkruns and 30 of them were here in Melton before he emigrated. The over 54 events are unevenly spread over 14 other events including his home run in Durban (North Beach parkrun). His only other UK run was Rushcliffe so it is always a relief not to see Bestwood brought up again... He did mention Nottingham Road parkrun in South Africa - a lovely little link to our home town - and it is a bit of a statistical oddity in SA because a lot of their runs have literally thousands of runners - Nottingham Road's latest run (14.3.2020) had a total of 27 finishers and has an average turn out of just 47 runners. By comparison, North Beach has an average of 1,129 finishers and had 1,401 last time! As he stated, it holds the second largest attendance in the world with 2,527 finishers on 20th January 2018. This is only beaten by Bushy Park with 2,545 on Christmas morning last year! In fact, Bushy has only been over 2,000 runners twice in its history (the last two consecutive Christmas mornings) while North Beach has got over this milestone an impressive 18 times!

A couple of memories of South Africa were shared. Ian Scotland fondly remembers parkrunning with Peter there, while Jeff Todd remembers being put back together by a vet after falling off a horse! Apparently he still has the scars. I genuinely feel that this needs a little more context! Why didn't he see a human doctor? Is he neuter... No. Perhaps it doesn't need context. He was reassembled by a vet. It was the making of a great anecdote that needs to contain no details whatsoever!

Loads of comments about the amazing pictures that Peter shared with his Results post today. Paul Ward even went as far to say they reminded him of Cotgrave Country Park! Having been to Cotgrave Country Park I can confirm that there is a spectrum of Wildlife roaming the straits near the old mine... Peter was obviously our furthest away Run Director today which inspired John Kerr to say how he can't wait for next week's run brief live from the International Space Station!!! Can you imagine which of the seven deadly sins would have you exiled to there?!

As for this week's run, in a week where Joe Biden was accused of nepotism in a conference featuring six speakers with the same surname, I am taking my stand as Event Dictator to make a short feature of my wife, Emma Sharkey.

Today, Emma completed a Virtual Half Marathon - the Sheepy Shuffle. I designed the course for her (which is why she's probably not going to speak to me for a few days) but she went out and ran it. Many of our regular field will have completed numerous half marathons, so what's special about this? Emma has not ran over 5 miles since February (and that was the mudfest that was the Belvoir Challenge so not loads of running was done that day either), and before that it was June 2018!!! Some would say that she is following the Sharkey tradition of doing runs that you haven't bothered to train for(?!) but my hope is that others will take from this inspiration. Was Emma in a position to be able to run a full half marathon? No. Definitely not. Was she determined to finish it no matter what? Absolutely! I am so proud of her for pushing through today.

A quote that often comes back to me was from an online forum that Ben Pickard picked up on ahead of our Ultra Marathon:

"I'm so in awe of all you ultra runners. I don't know how you do it. I suppose it's just mind over matter!"

To which, came the response,

"No. It is heart over mind. [In endurance events] your mind is your worst enemy!"

This is something really really lovely that I have been privileged enough to witness over the 24 weeks we have been doing the Virtual Events - people pushing themselves further than they ever thought they could do. At the back of your mind will always be a niggly little whiny voice telling you that you can't achieve something, but time and time again I have been able to observe people shut that voice up and show grit and steel to overcome whatever hurdles are in their way. If you've decided that you are going to complete a run streak, a half marathon, a marathon, a multi-stage endurance event - you will do it! It may not be pretty or fast, but it will be completed - and in this new world we are constantly reassessing what we mean by "achievement". Make yourself proud, it's just heart over mind!

Speaking of great achievements, Matt King's run today made him up to 100km ran in four consecutive months and managed to break the 23 minute barrier for the 5k for the first time ever! Joining him with PBs were first female finisher Joanna Davis, Craig Robinson, Mike Brighty, John Martin, Mike Scallon, Rob Nash (also running his fastest 5k ever), Mark Smith, Tony Parkinson, Tony Worn (who has matched his MM parkrun PB but doesn't know how), Viv Mayfield ( who knocked yet another minute from her time), and Zoe Flintoft. In her result submission, Zoe commented that she made a big mistake in planning some of her route to be cross-country after all this rain - this obviously wasn't that much of an obstacle as she still ran her fastest 5k in the Virtual series (and 1m 9s faster than her fastest actual Melton parkrun PB) as part of a 10k run!!! I don't know if it was Peter's talk about running with actual wildlife around you (anyone fancy the big five marathon? No?) or the mention of Cannibal's Cave parkrun that spurred people on, but huge well done to the 12 of you!

On the flipside to these inspirational pieces you also get people like Grant Bridgeman! Grant didn't have his quickest run today but it's ok he had a (catalogue of) excuse(s). A slight injury, a little bit rainy, a bit tired, Jupiter was ascending in the house of eucalyptus plants, and Earth was rotating slightly faster in the wrong direction (despite the science showing that Earth's rotation is actually slowing over time - Woohoo! More hours in the day, at last!) Therefore, Grant is the proud recipient of this week's paragraph of shame (probably not going to be a regular feature unless the whinging cranks up a bit).

Now then, barkrunners! Flynn has been out with his friend Willow for a change of scenery and apparently all of the sniff stops were completely different!!! As this is a family event, I shan't delve further into that comment.

Bertie was happy that we understood that he and Ella (the Saluki) were ON A BREAK - meaning that he could see other dogs, but Ella doesn't agree, wondering if he even knows what being on a break means! For some strange reason I have a growing hatred to any dogs out there named Chloe (the hot girl from the Xerox place) - but can't quite say why...*

*If we are to continue making a Ross/Rachel comparison with Bertie and Ella (TS) I think we need to see if there are any other similarities. We know that Rachel has fantastic hair, and so does Ella, but Ross is a paleontologist - Does Bertie even like bones??? And what is Bill's personality like? Does he share food?

Melanie McDonald was midwifing at 8am so got up early and spent 35 minutes debating whether or not she could be bothered to go out for a run. She actually ran 28:30 so she could have been home and showered before she actually got out at 6.50am.

Quite a few runners taking part in the Leicestershire Road Running League this week so good work everyone there. Not loads of people explicitly claiming to be touring far and wide though - Martin and Carl Taylor-Beeby were in Pegwell Bay, Kent, while Chris Genes (who hasn't yet set up his Garson???) did an out-and-back in Morton in Marsh.

A huge welcome back to Paula Osbourne completing her first Virtual run since 9th May.

Paul Biggadyke put forward what he called a "poor attempt at tail walking - Must try harder"! As a teacher under current (ever-blooming-changing) guidelines, I am immensely grateful when students are able to mark their own work and suggest improvements. Six people finished after Paul, all brought home by another Paul. Mr P Horrocks saw us all back in 01:10:34.

Finally, Dan Moult's celebration this week is International Day Against Nuclear Tests! This is something that I find myself struggling to accept. Nuclear materials exist - FACT! I would prefer the people trained in handling/containing them to have passed all of their nuclear tests! If we get rid of nuclear tests then we'll end of with Steve and Baz from t'Half Moon flogging bucket loads of Plutonium down t'Market on Tuesdays (except they'll call it "Plutowneeam"). When is International Make Nuclear Tests Compulsory Day?


Fun Fact

Last week's run report finished with my supposing how easily people could match their distance and pace, and what the fastest parameter of that may be (World record paces would not allow anyone to match pace and distance for much under 4.3 miles). Well today's parkrun run brief was brought to you from South Africa - home of the Springboks.

To start with, this is nothing to do with the national Rugby Union team - but the medium sized antelope whose name derives from "jump goat", first described by German Zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmerman in 1780. Over 5k, the springbok can almost exactly match their DISTANCE with their TIME! Hitting 88km/h, they would cover 3.1 miles in and impressive 3:24!!!!

If we now turn our attention to the Rugby team, the current world champions are one of the most successful teams in Rugby - having only lost 5 World Cup games ever, but one of those was deemed the biggest upset in Rugby History (BBC) - in 2015 they were beaten 32-34 by a Japan team featuring winger Kenki Fukuoka. Fukuoka shares his name with a city in his native homeland that is 9,322km from Melton Mowbray - Over the last 24 weeks, we have run a cumulative 18,645km between us. This means that, in relay, we could travel from Melton Country Park to Fukuoka and back again almost exactly!


Melton Mowbray parkrun update August 2020

As many of you may have seen elsewhere, parkrun Global recently published their overall framework for the future return to events.  At this point, the focus is on 'how' and we don't yet know 'when' (or even when we'll be able to say 'when'...).  That said, we've been spending time working through that framework to consider how it would apply at Melton Mowbray parkrun and are now in a position to share it with you.

Hopefully you are aware of the global parkrun updates that are published weekly (this week's update can be found here).  As these show, there is lots of work going on in the background.  In particular, the focus of the plan to return is to protect the spirit of parkrun, and prioritise the safety of all those who come into contact with our events. At the same time, parkrun have developed understanding of the risks of returning such that we can appropriately balance those against the benefits.

The big decisions (including the 'when' question) are being made by parkrun centrally, including through dialogue with government departments and public health bodies across a number of countries.  The consistent agreement is that the public health benefits of parkrun are significant, whilst the risk in terms of virus transmission is relatively small.  parkrun have also commissioned a review of the scientific evidence around virus transmission in outdoor settings, which is expected to conclude shortly.

As mentioned above, the global framework is completed and published, with all parties continuing to review to ensure it is as good as can be for when the time comes to return.  A series of FAQs have also been published, and these will continue to be regularly updated.

The core team at Melton, led by Shane as Event Director, have been reviewing the framework and FAQs, and developing our plan for how we will put all this into practice at Melton Mowbray parkrun.  The team have all reviewed, and debated where appropriate, the details and our current plan is linked below.  As ever, we are open to constructive feedback if, having read the framework, FAQs and our own document, you have any.

Covid 19 framework for Melton Mowbray parkrun - Final Draft

The main changes you will see when participating in, or volunteering at, Melton Mowbray parkrun are as follows:

  • Movement of the main area to congregate before the event moved to the large grass area (behind the mound) to create space;
  • Course to be in reverse (as per Xmas and New Year Day runs) in order to relieve the bottleneck on the bridge;
  • Pre-event briefing near start line (which will be on the grass), and kept to 2 minutes to reduce risk of spending time in close proximity and enable a prompt start at 9am;
  • Participants requested to seed themselves appropriately in order to reduce clumping of runners early on, or the need for overtaking;
  • Volunteers to use own mobile devices for timing and scanning (updated free app will be available ahead of the restart to support this in as user friendly a way as possible);
  • No high-fiving, spitting or any other non-essential contact;
  • Finish line similarly to be moved into the grass area to create more space, together with more people scanning, spaced out across the area;
  • Results to be processed at home, rather than using the cafe for unofficial gatherings as we previously did (and would hope to do again in the future).

In the meantime, if you are interested in hearing more about the development of the plan, the last few episodes of the Free Weekly Timed podcast are worth a listen - hearing it straight from the mouth of Tom Williams, parkrun Global COO.

Hopefully we'll see you all soon.


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