Melton Mowbray parkrun is cancelled on 2021-02-27 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Gary Neville? Phil Neville? No… Just Neville! – Virtual Results Week #51

"Remember last week when we had a second generation Olympian? Well, this week here's that twit* I went to school with. Enjoy!

... I'll try not to swear!" - Tom Hansen

*(I may have changed a singular letter for broadcasting purposes)

One of this week's Run Director's was Tom Hansen. As he said to me in the above quote from this week's messenger chat, we know each other from school. In fact we studied A-Level Law together. It was in Law that I was "famed" for knowing the lyrics to the Um Bongo advert from the mid 1980s!

We both did quite well with our A-Levels and Tom persued Law and now manages a firm of Conveyencers and can run sub-18 minute parkruns while I still know the words to the Um Bongo advert from the mid 1980s! Be honest, which are you more impressed by...?! I mean, c'mon! He doesn't even know the words to Mmmmbop! What sort of Hanson is he?!

Tom (A3576291) had completed a frustrating 99 parkruns (putting him on par with Zoe Heath) at the point where the cancellation came in last March. A year on and he is still waiting to finally earn that black shirt. Despite living central to two parkruns in Lincoln, he has completed 9 of his 99 runs at Melton Mowbray, and has said that he will hopefully complete his 100 in the company of his folks with two runs up our hill.

His fastest parkrun to-date has been 19:00 which was set on his last attempt at Lincoln in March 2020. Over the last 51 Virtual events, Tom has completed 43 of our runs and dropped his 5k PB down to 17:46! Over his 99 live parkruns he has ran at 6 different events and has managed to complete Groundhog Day (running 19:29 at Lincoln on consecutive weeks in September 2019).

Luckily, the other RD this morning was Neville! What. A. Star! (video here) Speaking of stars, I wonder who is going to be taking the headline slot next week. I'll be dropping clues on the Facebook page throughout the week so you can read all about it there...

Today 160 of us got out and about for our 5k plus and at least 11 were reporting their runs as part of Leigh Pick's Scavenger Hunt - organised through the Stilton Striders Running Club. Of the 160 we had a fantastic 9 PBs which have taken us over the 1000 Virtual PB mark! Helping us through this milestone was Oliver Hyde, Michael Cooke, Mark Tyler (now with his own watch!!!!), James Southerington, Chloe Madden, Nikola Dolphin-Rowland, Katie Roberts, Gemma Barton and Nicky Durrance.

Matt King ran his fastest time of this year, but also notes that he is 50 seconds from the time he was hitting 12 months ago, and asks if anyone can advise as to how he can start to reclaim that time. I am certain that loads of you can provide some positive advice, and please do so in the comments on Facebook, but as those of you who follow me on Strava will know, I know a Scottish Army Captain who would have you doing weighted hill sprints with 17Kg bergens and truck tyres being dragged on a waist strap. Luckily (genuinely - thank whichever deity you believe in!), I have bust my calf muscle at the minute, so he has a running-buddy vacancy if you're interested, Matt...

We were also welcoming two first timers to the virtual results in the guise of Simon Berg and Eileen Merrison (I believe Eileen has accompanied Paul on previous outings, but for whatever reason wasn't included in the results - this is now rectified).

Perhaps the most commented point today is that is was a tad on the warm-side compared to how it has been. Only a week ago we were plodding through the snow, while today is was 'positively tropical' as it reached the dizzy heights of TWELVE DEGREES! As much as I may be taking the preverbial here, our conditions were positively tropical compared to College Park in Washington where Colin was running with Yaktrax (snow chains for shoes) as America seems to be freezing over! David Harknett said of todays run that he is "nervous already about summer temperatures" - Me too, David, me too! Perhaps for slightly different reasons. As it stands, I am barely getting this results post out until the early hours of Sunday morning, and if you recall the hot days of last summer, I was extending the 8pm deadline to 9pm to allow for some evening runs so people weren't feeling to pressure to run through the daytime heat. Yes, we all hope, and expect that we will be back live before the thermostat reads in the 30s of the Celsius side, as opposed to the fahrenheits of last week, but we all expected to be back on by last summer too! Keep your fingers crossed everyone.

As usual, our barkrunners were out in force today. Fairweather runner, Bertie was well up for today's outing alongside his bessie Ella (The Saluki), while Flynn felt so good that when he finished his 5k, he tagged on to Sue Power starting her run and doubled his distance! Also enjoying their barkruns were Jet and Ruby.

Ruby also features in the running for this week's #tailwalkerchallenge as 12 runners went over the 60 minute mark for the much coveted title. Gareth Bradwick and Sarah Hancock got back just under 1:01 just 30 seconds ahead of Charlotte Coltman. Laura Wade got round in 1:03 while there was a minute between each of Jane Collingham (1:07), Zoe Heath (1:08), and Laura Seth and Viv Mayfield (both in 1:09). The other 4 contenders this week all finished within 48 seconds of each other. Ann Craddock made a decent attempt at the #twc in 1:15:02 but was beaten by Ruby and owner Jane MacNaughton in 1:15:49. You will probably notice that there are 47 seconds between those two times, which means that Jane and Ruby were usurped by one whole second by Paul and Eileen Merrison who take this week's #tailwalkerchallenge crown.

I feel as though I am making the same point each week so forgive me if this is sounding repetitive now, but the whole purpose of these Virtual parkruns is to keep the conversation going and keeping our community together. The positive by-product of that is that we are encourafging people to get out and remain active in a time where it is so difficult to maintain that focus, and today we have had a whole bunch of comments with words to that effect. I shan't name names in this part but one runner has stated quite clearly that they would have just given up a long time ago if it were not for this Virtual series of events. Another runner messaged me privately to see if I would still accept their submission after a monumental GPS failure that left them much shorter than the required 5k - even though they had clearly covered more distance - and they were worried about messing up their 100% record (of course I accepted it - I actually had a GPS fail myself and wasn't messing up my own record after walking 5k on a busted calf...). Finally another runner simply submitted their result with the words "Thanks for the motivation - much needed at the moment". Again, we are getting through this together, and staying together while staying apart.


A clear lack of Fun Fact

I have to admit that I am wimping out a little bit with the fun fact this week. It is already fairly late on Saturday evening and I am being interviewed on Radio Leicester's breakfast show tomorrow (Sunday - technically later today). So I am not going to the usual extremes. Instead I thought you'd all appreciate if I transcribed this...

"Way down deep in the middle of the Congo, a hippo took an apricot, a guava and a mango, he stuck it with the others and he danced a dainty tango... The rhino said, "I know, we'll call it Um Bongo
Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they drink it in the Congo
The python picked the passionfruit, the marmoset the mandarin. The parrot painted packets that the whole caboodle landed in. So when it comes to sun and fun, and goodness in the jungle, they all prefer the sunny, funny one they call Um Bongo."

Actually - while I was typing that out, I noticed that if you get the number of Virtual parkrun PBs we have now had and add it to the number of events that it has taken for us to get there, the number of runners so far in our Virtual events, the number of live events that we have had,and the number of runners in todays results, you get the following:

1003 + 51 + 497 + 277 + 160 = 1988

1988 was the year that Um Bongo was first released in Portugal and the above song was haunting the playgrounds of the UK - 15 years before it haunted my Law Class!

Today's RD, Tom has finished first in Melton Mowbray's Virtual parkrun 20 times - the exact number of year's Um Bongo was on sale for (1983 - 2003) before they changed their formula, dropped the sugar content, cut the carton size, and disappeared from most shelves in our shops.

There you go... Turns out I couldn't help myself...


What’s the quote from “Costner’s Field of Dreams”? – Results for Virtual Melton parkrun FIVE-OH!

"If you build it, they will come"

I asked and she said yes. It wasn't quite a Herculian effort to secure today's RD, but how good was it seeing an actual Olympic hero virtually visiting our event?! Eilish McColgan, daughter of Olympic Medalist Liz McColgan, represented team GB at both London 2012 and Rio 2016 as well as numerous European and World Championships in the interim years. As mentioned, her 5,000m PB is 14:46.17 which she ran in 2019 in Doha - beating her own Scottish women's record (this is also 13 seconds quicker than her mum's PB from 1995!).

Usually this part of the report is a discussion around the RD of the day and their link to parkrun, the badges they have collected on running challenges, and the milestones they have conquered. Well, considering Eilish's link to parkrun is restricted purely to this morning's video, we are it! So... I could just use this space to say about how great we are (but I suppose we can lay aside the parkrun snobbery/oneupmanship when the badges she has collected in terms of running challenges take on the form of medals made from precious metals, titles and records...)

In fact a few of us today took on the 14:46 challenge - Ian Wells managed to run just shy of 3k in that time, while I nearly managed 1 lap of our usual course at the country park (it was icy and I had the buggy with me...). Mike Freeman was also layering on the excuses for his time. Had these excuses not had reason to exist, I am fairly sure we could all have given her a run for her money... (my own personal 5k PB [from 2014!!!!] is only 1:45 slower than hers*).

*per mile - ahem

Before I actually start going on about how great we are, I'd just like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to Paul Beeton who submitted his time with the message "Thanks Shane and Liz" #awkward #notalreadylivinginhershadow

Anyway...we've hit the big 5-0!

 "I dug out my old red parkrun 50 t shirt for the occasion. Never thought it would be used to mark another milestone!" - Alan Thompson

Amanda English also located her well-earned red shirt while Paul Ward did some top work personalising his apricot (by holding up a laminated piece of paper that said "50 virtuals" in front of it).

As I've said numerous times before, I never dreamed that we would still be doing this now. Being a secondary school teacher, I remember early last March being asked t prepare two weeks' worth of work for my classes in case we do get locked down - as a result, I imagined any outage from parkrun would be no more than a couple of weeks and that this would be a somewhat onerous, short-term undertaking. I was genuinely surprised when we saw event number 10 coming around in the middle of May 2020 so reaching the half century was utterly beyond the realms of imagination. Week 35's RD, Jane Collingham submitted her result today calling it "surreal" and that's a pretty apt term for where we are right now. But here we are, and I wouldn't have changed a thing about it (apart from maybe that joke I made about us being able to run to Barnard Castle and back way back on event number 9. That has led to 40 weeks of trying to pick out, discover, and (to an extent) manufacture fun facts that are largely based on number patterns born of sheer coincidence - or are they?


Every single result is welcomed warm-heartedly because it is another person that is starting their weekend off in the right way and keeping active, so it is irrelevant how many runs you have done or how early/late you started, but at a milestone of 50, it is probably an opportunity to give a quick name check to the 30 of us who have managed to submit a result for all 50 - and therefore would have earned their "Gold Obsessive" badge on Running Challenges. Even when parkrun events were really going ahead, it is not always easy to commit to being there every week - I have missed my fair share of Saturday mornings over the past 5 years, but with the abstract nothingness of living in limbo, this Virtual series has provided a constant for people to build their weeks around somewhat.

Kristy Nicholls and Daughter Zoe both hit the Virtual 50 mark today despite Kristy taking 4 years to complete her first actual 50, and Zoe still not quite there (currently sat on 47) despite her first being in June 2015. Viv Mayfield also reached her half-century of Virtuals this morning while it took her a full year to get her V25 shirt (before she started taking on the course itself). I could easily write a little something about all of our Virtual 50's, but in the unusual interest of brevity, I will just give a quick name-check to them below. Well done everyone of you - it's been a huge commitment:

Alan Thompson, Amanda English, Bob Frake, Carl Taylor-Beeby, Caroline Webb, Dan Giblett, Darren Barratt, Darren Wheatley, Jef Todd, Jenny Kent, John Kerr, Jonty Giblett, Kristy Nicholls, Marie Gray, Mike Brighty, Mike Scallon, Nina Snowling, Og Ster, Paul Beeton, Paul Ward, Rich Gray, Rob Beeton, Rob Mason, Rob Nash, Rosalind D Heatlie, myself, Tony Worn, Tracey Unwin, Viv Mayfield, Zoe Heath and Zoe Nicholls.

Massive thanks to Jeanette Hodgkinson and the wonderful girls at Sugar Shamrocks for the wonderful 50 cake that was on offer to runners at the Country Park Cafe today. Apparently Rob Mee told wife Sharon that she wasn't allowed any as she hasn't done all 50. A quick conversation with Sharon this morning about whether or not the Christmas day run counted (it did) revealed that she has run 48 of the virtuals - I think she can have cake for that.

An even quicker look at my spreadsheet highlights that she has only done 47 (missing Christmas Day, week 27 (19th September) and event 4 (11th April). For that, I think she owes us cake!

David Brook asked an interesting question along with his results. Am I going to mark the 1 year celebration at event 52 or 53? This is a toughie to which I have a very straightforward answer - Neither! Our "first birthday" will be Event 55 (our first Virtual run was on the 3rd Saturday in March, and so that is the weekend we will have our "birthday" on - hopefully we will have some better news on the horizon by then).

Another thing which may have inadvertently passed you by, is that it was a touch on the cold side today... I can't recall anyone specifically mentioning it along with their submissions - oh wait! Yes (one such example was Darren Barratt highlighting that his weather app said the temperature was -3 but "feels like" -9!!!! We won't talk about Peter Shirtcliffe who took a dip in the Indian Ocean after his run because they are in the middle of their summer in South Africa!). The conditions were pretty horrific today which is why it is even more impressive that 138 of us got out to cover at least 5k, albeit in slightly longer than 14:46. As well as the number of people who got out, David Harknett, Daniel Moult and Gemma Barton even managed to hit a new PB, and Mrs S actually managed to equal hers! David admits that parkrun itself is not a race, but he actively races against himself which is pretty tiring (especially hard as you cannot see your main competitor at any point in that race due to the space-time continuum - or something like that...).

A very warm welcome to our solitary first timer today: Knut Heinemaan-Wooster who comes from, as the name might suggest, continental Syston.

barkrunners were out in force again today, with Bertie and Ella (The Saluki) happily getting on with their runs while their owners warned each other about rogue fruit. Flynn fully engaged his "four-paw drive" to cope with the conditions, but was still like Bambi on Ice. Jet took on her BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRarkrun as a cautionary walk, getting round in exactly an hour, while Maisie also covered the distance with some trepidation in 1:05:27.

It seems that quite a few of us made the decision to walk today rather than risk the icy conditions questioning the integrity of our limbs, and so the #tailwalkerchallenge was once again hotly (really-coldly) contested. 11 runners finished over 50 minutes but still came in ahead of Jet, while between our two barkwalkers, were another 5 contenders for the #twc. Penny Robinson was also on the hour mark with Zoe Heath and Grant & Louise Bridgeman coming in just ahead of Theresa Coltman at 1:02. After Maisie got back in we had regular tail walker, Charlotte Coltman in 1:06, just beating Jenny & Clive Kent in 1:07, and Anne Craddock in 1:09. Onto the more serious contenders now... Nina Snowling and Simon Weston got back in 1:13 just beating David Hall in 1:14 (although David disputes his own time as he didn't stop his watch for the 10 minutes while he had a coffee and a chat). Luckily, there is no need for a steward's enquiry, as Ian Bickle managed to get us all back safely in 1:17!

Two other supplemental pieces to note - Mike Williams was able to warn me about the icy conditions on the course as I turned up for only my second run at the park since last March. It turns out he was able to give me such forewarning with some authority as he safely completed 3 miles of his run - unfortunately for Mike, 5k is actually 3.1 miles and it is during this final tenth that he chose to face-plant the country park! Meanwhile, on a more positive note, Mark Weston managed to run his first sub-30 since he destroyed his knee last October running a marathon he hadn't trained for.

Onwards we go...


Fun Fact

It seems only fair to base this week's fun fact around the number 50. So here goes (at this point in time, I still have no knowledge of what is going to follow - time to start researching):

Gold is the traditional metal of a 50th anniversary, and this seems quite appropriate with this morning's RD. Eilish has won at least one Gold medal at the British Championships every year since 2012 except for 2015 (did not compete) and 2016 (won Silver in the 5000m). She wont the 3000m steeplechase three years running from 2012 - 2014, won the indoor 3000m in 2017 and 2018 before winning the 5000m in 2019. All in all, she has won 24 gold medals across various middle-distance disciplines and at various levels. Her 5k PB is unassailable for any of us mere mortals, so if we look at her 10,000m PB of 31:16, we can make a beautiful comparison to our event. Not only is it still quicker than our average 5k time over the whole 50 weeks (32:49), it is also the exact time that I ran my 5k buggy run in today!

Gold is so malleable that a single gram of it can be hammered into a sheet measuring 1 square metre. This means that if we take the average foot width as being rounded to 100mm (it is actually 102mm), then 500g of gold could be shaped to cover a full 5k course with a width sufficient enough to account for footfall. However, at current prices, this would cost you £20,875 based on the kilo price of £41,750. In fact, if we took this number and subtracted our total amount of PBs over our Virtual existence (994) then we get 40,756 which is our total number of runs that have taken place at Melton Mowbray parkrun (only counting from the real event).

In fact, gold is typically not weighed in kilos, but in Troy Ounces. A Troy Ounce is equivilent to 31.105g which is eerily close in appearance to Eilish's 10,000m time (31:16.7) (the missing 6.2 hundredths could be the number of miles covered!)

Weirdly, if you add our number of Virtual runs to-date (7114) to the number of real-event PBs (6786) you get 13,900. 13,900 days ago was 25th January 1983 - just 48hrs (nearly 50) preceding the day that Spandau Ballet released their "Communication" single before True and Gold made it big later that year. Since its release in the August (Au being the symbol for Gold) that year, "Gold" has gone on to sell/stream in advance of 400,000 copies - officially (and ironically) giving it "Gold" Certification.

During the London 2012 Olympics (Eilish's first Olympic outing), Christian O'Connell on Absolute Radio's breakfast show vowed that the station would play the hit song every time Team GB won a gold medal. They managed to play it 29 times.

If we add our magic number of 50 to this 29, we get 79 - the atomic number of Gold!

Weirdly, this 50 + 29 = 79 comes up one more time. 50 and 29 are the atomic numbers of Tin and Copper. Tin and Copper are the key components of Bronze - the other medal Eilish won at the British championships in 2019 to go with her Gold!


Funny little cubby all stuffed with fluff – Virtual Event #49

"People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day!"  - Winnie the Pooh

The above quote, originally penned by Alan Alexander Milne seems amazingly fitting these days. Days of endless nothingness yet unending hope for future possibilities. David Brook said (along with his slightly late submission... ahem...) that he appreciated me giving you all something more uplifting than the papers to read over your tea and toast on a Sunday morning, well, what is more uplifting than Winnie the Pooh Quotes?

From a Hundred Acres to 40 Oaks, this theme is largely inspired by this morning's RD and A. A. Milne's non-descendant (he's missing an A!) A. Milne. I'm sure you will all agree that Ashley did a sterling job this morning taking on the baton of Run Director and did it by delivering a fantastic parkrun poem written especially for us. Now we have had the run brief delivered through the means of poetry and song, I am just awaiting whoever does it through the means of interpretive dance.

Ashley (A3100998) Milne (I may have just found the missing A!!!!) has completed 62 parkruns and all but one of them has been at Melton Mowbray, such is his commitment to our hill. The one time he went AWOL was a New Year's Day run at Rutland Water and it was not part of a double so I can only assume he slept in and took advantage of their 10.30 start.

"I think we dream so we don't have to be apart for so long. If we're in each other's dreams, we can be together all the time." - Winnie the Pooh

Today 169 of us ran together, apart and completed a run, walk or jog covering at least 5k. We had three first timers join us, and regulars at Melton may be surprised to hear the identity of at least two of them. Michael Cooke and Nikola Dolphin-Rowland have been putting off joining us until we were being organised by a BBC acknowledged, Melton Active Champion (#humblebrag) and decided that week 49 was the time to start. Interestingly, Nikola actually ran the exact same time as our other first timer, Chloe Madden.

Finishing just 26 seconds ahead of Michael were a pair of his trainers on the feet of Rachel Wade on her way to a PB as our 3rd placed female today. Rachel, a recent customer to Michael's sports shop recommends that you buy a pair of trainers from Michael as he puts magic dust in them (I suppose we all need ways to supplement our incomes these days, and if you happen to have a sports shop to use as a front then...)*

*I've just checked, that is absolutely not what Rachel was suggesting. She ran a PB and put it down to the new trainers recently purchased from the fantastic Melton Sports at the top of King Street - currently offering delivery - follow their page on Facebook. 

Also on their way to a PB, and keeping pace with those very same trainers was Mark Tyler. Pam Smith took an impressive 42 seconds from her previous best, and Daniel Moult wiped 34 seconds from his to mark Rick Astley's 55th birthday (another week's fun fact may have suggested that Dan bettered his time by 1 second for each of Rick's 24 singles, and another 1 for each of hhis 12 studio albums - with a second removed for each country in which "Never gonna give you up" was released but failed to get to number 1 (Ireland and Switzerland).

Joining the list of PBs was Mark Smith, Jenson Drage, Graham Keast, John Martin, Mark Ashmore, Wayne Hackett, and this week's first female finisher, Nicola Taylor. It is believed that Robin Giddings also got a three second PB (44:59) but I am not entirely sure if that is what his watch says or not...


 It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, ‘What about lunch?’” - Winnie the Pooh

This quote is quite possibly the mantra of all of our brkrunners who were again out in force today. After I accused Bertie of being reluctant last week, today he saw the lack of rain or snow and a glimmer of sunshine as an opportunity not to be missed, and was sat waiting by the door to head out on his barkrun with Ella (The Saluki). Flynn also took advantage of the ideal conditions this morning to come within 6 seconds of his PB but needed a bit of a lie down afterwards. Annabelle was also mere seconds away from her barkrun PB, Maisie guided her injured person around their course (Tom W has a torn minuscus - hope the recovery goes well, Tom), and Nicola Willoughby also took her pooch out.

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” - Winnie the Pooh

Over the course of this year, as I mentioned last week, I have significantly increased my mileage out there. This year, I have ran 165 miles (including my planned 15 on Sunday). It turns out that I am still a whopping 100 miles behind Chris Genes on his virtual Land's End to John O'Groats challenge! Kristy Nicholls inadvertantly ran a new Half Marathon PB today, and Sharon Mee ran the furthest she has ran in about 2 years. Paul Merrison had a nice steady one today and managed to get his vaccination this afternoon!

From my own run, I rediscovered the superhuman ability that running with someone can have as opposed to running alone. I was doing my customary Saturday buggy run with the little lady and happened to catch up with Mark Preston just outside the front gates to Holwell Works. We were both running up past Welby Church which I know for a fact I would have walked in reality - and I told him this. As it turns out, we ran together up the hill and when we ran past Tam and Steph Nicol I didn't feel as if I could slow to a walk then so onwards the buggy went. Luckily at the top, Mark turned left towards Asfordby Valley and I had a well-earned stand-around after turning right. It was a moment to remember the effects of us all running together and how, ultimately, that is what we are all waiting for. It has been so long since we did it, but we are closer than we have been to returning.

Rivers know this: There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” - Winnie the Pooh

And while we are talking about those who aren't hurrying, it brings us nicely onto our #tailwalkerchallenge. Eight contenders took over the 60 minute mark this week. Nina and Simon were a little over the hour thanks to their selfie-breaks, followed by Zoe Heath, Laura Wade and Tom Wilkinson. Richard Angrave clocked his 5k while delivering the Melton Messenger magazine but still came in ahead of Laura Seth. However, not for the first time, Rachel Holland takes the crown on a family walk in 1:17:21.


Fun Fact

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” - Winnie the Pooh

Everyone's favourite silly old bear was originally called Edward and was the bear belonging to A. A. Milne's son, Christopher Robin Milne. The stuffed bear was renamed after a Canadian black bear used as a US military mascot during World War I (the bear was called Winnie - after Winipeg). The Pooh affix comes from the name that Christopher Robin gave to a swan. Not only do we have our own A. A3100998 Milne at Melton, but we have plenty of swans which I am sure I have referred to as Poohs at various times due to their uncomfrtable proximity to our course...

The fictional setting of Hundred Acre Wood was based on Five Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest - only a short jog away from the start line of East Grinstead parkrun.

The World of Pooh won the coveted Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 - another link to Melton is that at our birthday run in 2020, I dressed as the Mad Hatter and read a reworked version of the Jabberwocky (a poem by Lewis Carroll) as my run brief - interestingly, I actually found the subtitle cards that Liz Parkinson worked so brilliantly earlier today! In fact, Liz handled the subtitles to my Funnelducky poem, while dressed as Tigger!!!

Milne actually hated the success of Winnie the Pooh as he liked writing for a variety of different audiences and had enjoyed success as a playwright prior to Winnie's creation. He was now typecast into being a children's author. As a result of the books and their success, the real Christopher Robin accused his dad of exploiting his childhood and they became estranged. To mark Winnie's 80th anniversary, he became one of 17 fictional characters who have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. These last few have no link to our parkrun, they're just pretty cool facts.

"Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing: of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering" - Winnie the Pooh


The one that travelled long-distance – Virtual Results Event #48 30.01.2021

Dealing immediately with the elephant in the room, a massive thank you to whomever was so kind to nominate me for a Melton Active Championship recognition award and the BBC East Midlands Today feature celebrating people who have made a difference. As I stated in my facebook post, I am deeply humbled to be nominated for these and simply endeavour to keep our community together and keep people active over this strangest of times. The BBC announcement put a lot of stress on the fact that I had helped to set up virtual events oversees, so I thought I would do a little focus on distance this week.

This morning's parkrun run brief was brought to you by Ellen Harrison, the co-Event Director of Henley Woods, Oswestry parkrun.Although not the furthest virtual event from us (I think Perrigo has that one sewn up at 4688 miles or 7544 km), Oswestry is still a cool 125 miles (201km) away from Melton Mowbray. Ellen contacted me a few weeks into lockdown 1.0 and set up Henley Woods Virtual parkrun back in the first week of June 2020 (today is event 35 for them).

As an event they had been going around 15 months before the cancellation of events and average around 104 runners per week. Our very own Laura Seth has run the course and says it is a nice challenging one, while Paul Beeton intends to tour their as it is close to his parents'. I also intend to tour there for a couple of reasons - firstly, they have set up a Virtual event using their version of our model, and secondly because Henley Woods parkrun, OsWESTry will count towards the compass club badge on challenges!

Ellen (A703493) has completed 46 parkruns across 8 different events. Her own course was the 6th different venue that she had run at so she had a good understanding of what parkrun was all about before setting up Henley Woods. She has also amassed a whopping 119 volunteer credits.

Another long distance fact to include here is a quick update on Eddie Izzard's marathon challenge that was mentioned last week. Eddie is setting out to run 31 dreadmill marathons in 31 days in January, and performing 31 live stand-up shows in 31 different European cities (virtually, of course). Throughout these runs, to keep her mind active,she is being joined via the power of the internet by a whole host of special celebrity guests to simply have a chat and the whole thing is being streamed on her Twitter feed (available here). Today's guests were Terry Gilliam, Richard Hammond, Rosie Jones, Sir Lenny Henry (no spoilers), and Sir Michael Palin!!! Over the course of the 30 marathons so far, Eddie has lost three toe nails (all of the others are painted beautifully as you would expect) and broken a tooth! Tomorrow is the last day so to mark it, Eddie is running a double marathon! 52 miles starting at midday.

I have massively upped my running since Christmas and I am now running in the region of 30-35 miles a week, and I am on track to run over 200km in January (assuming I do 10k on Sunday). Eddie is averaging 183 miles a week and tomorrow's double will bring her to 838.4 miles (1350km) for the month!!! This is almost the same as our entire field of Virtual parkrunners has covered over two events!

Today, 144 of us got out and about, covering a cumulative distance of 720km (a return trip to Dumfries would just fall short of this). We had 3 new starters so a huge welcome to Ben Jones, Rachel Garside, and this morning's RD, Ellen Harrison.

We had 5 runners achieving new personal bests today including Mrs Sharkey who ran a sub-30 for only the second time in a few years. Lee "The" Boddy took nearly 20 seconds from his best time while Stuart Bartram took nearly 3 minutes from his best Virtual time. Mia Scotland and Kelly Bartram also ran a new PB with the latter commenting on the fact that it was "definitely windy out there today".

It was unclear at the start of the day if the wind was caused by atmospheric pressure and the movement of a warm front across the jet stream(???) or if it was just the residual effects of last night's onion rings (Andrew Wrath). Whichever was the cause, the wind stayed throughout and loads of us commented on the conditions. Kristy Nicholls enraged many dead physicists as she ran her distance run quicker than she had ever done before - "Isn't there some law about power and speed and wind or something?". Lynda Harris recalls parts of her run where the wind was the unstoppable force and she was the immovable object as her legs were definitely moving, but she was not. Regular first finishers, Joanna Davis and Tom Hansen both commented on how much they did not enjoy their runs this morning because of the conditions. I planned a 5 mile countryside run, but only a mile in I knew I had to rethink my route (who knew a running buggy with a rain cover on would be such an effective sail???), prompting Rachel Wade to submit her results while referring to me by my assumed full title "Sir Shane Baltic Wind Face."

It appears that the wind wasn't the only thing that hampered people's runs today. David Harknett claims to have lost 30 seconds worth of energy by shouting at the kids before his run, while Darren Barratt's watch threw a fit, Andrea Crellin had a shoelace disaster, Jim Dziemianko had a headtorch fail and Jackie Howarth brilliantly emailed me to say "here is my result for today", but failed to attach a result or give any indication as to a time (she is showing in the results with the same time as she achieved last time until she provides any update).

Today would have been our assumed twin-event of Bestwood's 4th birthday run. Dr Karen has been Run Director for the previous 3 and obviously couldn't fulfil that position today so still headed back to the course to complete her Virtual parkrun. Paula Osborne finally ordered her 100 shirt this week and received it in time for today's run, having actually earned it back in August 2019, and Daniel Moult celebrated National Croissant Day with a new watch (as is customary).

Ludo had a really nice chatty paced barkrun today while everyone else seemed a bit put out by it. Bertie wasn't keen about the thought of getting out in the sleet this morning, and after the past few weeks it seems that he used to be our Ross, but is now the most reluctant runner in our field! It's always a bit awkward/rubbish when your running partner is in a bit of a mood, so our thoughts go out to Ella (The Saluki). And Flynn had to have a go at tail walking because his owner is* a pain in the neck!


Flynn and his folk got round in 1:26:44, thus putting in a more realistic bid for the #tailwalkerchallenge than Theresa, Coltman (1:10:14), Zoe Heath (1:10:42) or Sue Power (1:10:56). However, these were all trumped by Laura and Freddie Seth who walked as slow as it is possible to walk to cover 5k in 1:54:32.

I did promise you this report would focus on distance, and there is one result missing from the previous paragraph. Charlotte Coltman completed her 5k-ish in 1:19:00. I say it is 5k-ish because her Strava was seemingly, and understandably ineffective. If you recall many weeks ago, Max Leah was completing his 5ks on board of the QE2 and "actually" travelled in the region of 20 miles each 5k. Well, our very own Judith Chalmers went one better and completed her 5k (6562 steps) on board a plane during a 12.5 hour freight flight from China (carrying PPE among other things). The "5k" route took her 1hr 19, but in that time she "actually" travelled the 700 miles from Vologda in Russia to the Baltic Sea between Estonia and Stockholm.

It is known that I regularly amend people's longer runs to account for a pro-rata 5k time so that our runners are not missing out on their longer runs. Today's first finisher finished 5k in 18:40 (Distance travelled/Speed). If we applied the same two principals to Charlotte in the absence of reliable GPS data, then she actually completed her 5k distance in 21 seconds!

Today's 720km took a total time of 3 days, 8hrs and 2 minutes and 9 seconds - a total distance that Charlotte covered in 47 minutes!.


Fun Fact

The report started off by saying how the BBC coverage put emphasis on the fact that we helped set up events around the world, so I thought I would look at the distances involved here.

We began our Virtual existence on the very first Saturday where there wasn't a real parkrun for us to go to back in March. Since then, we have seen four other events spring up using our model. Kettering and Henley Woods, Oswestry on this side of the Atlantic, and Perrigo and College Park over the pond.

If we added together the distance from Melton to Kettering, Melton to Henley Woods, Melton to Perrigo and then on to College Park we get 12,289km which is almost the diameter of the Earth!

More impressively, since we started our Virtual Melton Mowbray existence, we have covered a combined distance of 34035km. This is 85% of the distance around the equator!


It’s a little bit funny… – Week 47 Results

Prior to the outbreak of Coronavirus in the very early stages of 2020 (realistically, late 2019), parkrun existed at 1845 different venues in 20 different countries across the world. It is most prominent here in the UK with 704 live events having registered at least one run, but there are also runs in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Russia, Poland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark, USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Norway and Finland. Well this morning's RD has run a parkrun in every single one of them!

Keith Bennett (A289788) has run 218 parkruns across 109 different events around the world, and checked in with us from Cape Pembroke Lighthouse parkrun in the Falkland Islands (where he is serving with the Army, and where parkrun is actually happening right now!) Quite a few of you commented to say how lovely it was to catch a short glimpse of a real parkrun in a world where it is easy to forget that parkrun really happened. Keith's first parkrun was up in Bradford in June 2012, and his challenges page has so many badges on it that it looks like the episode list from a Hey Duggee boxset! Unsurprisingly he has achieved the tourist badge (20+ events), the Cowell (100+ events), the Alphabet, Pirates (7 c's and an r), Stayin Alive (3b's and 3g's), the Full Ponty (running at Pontefract, Pontypridd, Pontypool and Pont y Bala), the Bushy Park pilgrimage, Christmas Day (x7), New Years Day Doubles (x7), Groundhog Day (x2) (running the exact same time at consecutive runs at the same venue), All-Weather Runner (completing runs in every month), Name Badge (running enough different events that their initials spell out their full name), Bronze Obsessive (30+ parkruns in a calendar year), Silver Obsessive (40+ parkruns in a calendar year), and has completed 7 different volunteer roles over 15 different occasions. And, most importantly, he HAS run at Melton Mowbray (we were his 13th event in Februrary 2015 - our live event #5 - the day that our current Virtual course record holder, Jason Barton took the actual course record which he held for a whole 7 days).

Huge thanks to Keith for agreeing to be our RD this morning. His brief was very warmly received by you all, although he did face the criticism that there weren't enough penguins! I suppose it all comes down to priorities... he showed us an actual parkrun - but no penguins!

Fun Fact

Hitting you slightly earlier than usual this week, our fun fact comes from something that I have been following all month and wanted to make people aware of going into the last week of the month. Stand-up comedian, actor, writer, political activist, icon and all-round legend Eddie Izzard is off on her marathon running again.

In 2009, raising money for Comic Relief, Eddie ran 43 marathons in 51 days around the UK (she actually stayed at the Quorn Country Hotel ahead of one of her runs, and left around 30 minutes before I arrived there for a friend's wedding!! I did manage to see the ice cream van that was carrying his support crew, emblazened with the words "Eddie Iz Running"). The amazing thing here is that Eddie went from being a complete non-runner to the starting line on day one in just 5 weeks!!! Also, the final marathon was completed in almost half the time of the first!

Following on from this feat, in 2016 she ran what was called the Mandela Marathons (27 marathons in 27 days - to represent the 27 years Mandela was imprisoned - around South Africa. Starting day one at Mandela's birthplace in Mvezo, and ending day 27 on the steps at the Union Buildings in Pretoria where he had been elected). And then in February 2020 (just before the world shut down) she ran 29 marathons in 29 days across 28 different capital cities in Europe (where the history comes from).

Well now, she is at it again. During the first month of 2021, Eddie Iz Running once more. This time it is 31 marathons in 31 days with each one being followed by a live stand-up gig showcasing a best-of from her stellar stand-up career. Obviously, there are caveats on this to keep it in line with global pandemic restrictions, and therefore each marathon is being run on a treadmill, and each stand-up gig is presented virtually. As someone who has run one treadmill marathon, I cannot begin to tell you the mental fatigue that comes with the monotony of it - it is so much more difficult than running an actual marathon! She is doing this to raise money for a selection of charities operating under the "Make Humanity Great" umbrella title. You can find out more about her undertaking on the following link (

The Actual Report

Eddie was once quoted as saying "Danger could be my middle name, but it's John!". The unfortunate thing about this fact is that "John" gives the wrong initial - as today, many of us found ourselves running through an Eddie B.L.Izzard! I was out doing my buggy run with Eleanor and we took a mid-run selfie (yes, I have become THAT person!?) in absolutely dry conditions near the top of Welby Church hill - half way to Ab Kettleby (only 1.2 miles up the road), I had to stop to put the cover over the buggy as I could barely see where we were going, and actual snow was settling ON MY HEAD!

I wasn't the only one caught out in it as Laura Seth actually uploaded a video of it on her run submission that fully captures how brutal it was. First female finisher, Joanna Davis ran her last 2k in the "sudden snowstorm" (having already been stopped by a flock of sheep), Lee Harley-Hotchkiss attempted a XC run through the blizzard, Liz Taylor was also caught out in it, while the Frake's completed this week's #tailwalkerchallenge with some snow-based family fun. Either way, if we actually had a collective finish line, we would be able to stand there seeing each one in saying "This one is wet, this one is wet. This one's wet. They are all... this one is wet..."

Our barkrunners also encountered the conditions with Flynn wishing he hadn't been peeled away from his spot by the radiator to go out in it, while Ella (The Saluki) reminds us all that she is a desert breed, and therefore not accustomed to such conditions. Bertie, an English Cocker Spaniel has no such excuses but still didn't seem keen. Harley actually got out for two runs today (that rule only applies to hoomans - I checked), and Bubble was dragged up the infamous Tofts Hill and would be forgiven for thinking they were going on a polar exploration!

"Cats have got a scam going on - you buy the food, they eat the food, they go away. That's the deal!"

In all, 152 of us managed to get out and about today, with one first timer (welcome to Andy Robinson). If you "like your runners like you like your P - COVERED IN B'S" then you are in luck. Today we had 5 Personal Best times. Heading them up with consecutive PBs is first finisher Tom Hansen who ran out all alone today in 17:46 (over 2 minutes ahead of second place). Robert Craig was next back in his fastest Virtual time of 20:46. Katie Keast beat her previous time in 32:34, and Mia Scotland hit 42:01.

Our Washington Correspondent, Colin Phillips completed his "runniest run" in months to get round in 22:26 - obviously feeling a bit better following a local (to him) political event that has happened over the past week. Well, as a result, my usual correlation of randomly assigned numbers has been somewhat done for me this week. Along with the inauguration of #46, we have Viv Mayfield who has completed 15 parkruns and 31 volunteers (46 in total) who has now done 47 virtuals. We also have Andy Nicholls completing his Virtual parkrun #46 on the day he turns 46 (I know! I thought he was 17 too!) I wonder if he had the choice of cake or death. Meanwhile his daughter, Zoe, has done all 47 Virtual runs matching her 47 actual parkruns!

D-Lo managed to beat the Godfather of Soul in the results purely because she took an extra mile's worth of steps over the same distance, while Mike Brighty discovered a way to manage the much sought after negative splits - by walking out and running back (still counts). Darren Barratt needs new knees, while Mark Weston finally managed to use his after breaking them as he managed a run/walk around our twin event of Bestwood. Worn's Tony and Laurence clearly ran together as they finished only 6 seconds and 6 miles apart!

Until next week, take care.



Reflecting further on this morning's RD and location, Eddie Izzard may say that the Falkland Islands are a British territory that we took with a cunning use of flags, and would also point out that "There's not much makeup in the army, is there? They only have that night-time look and that's a bit slapdash!"

"I want to live until I die. Nothing more, nothing less."

(if a lot of this report makes no sense to you (specifically the italics) then you shoud probably check out Eddie Izzard's back-catalogue of stand up shows.

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