Virtual parkrun #17 – The Irish Connection

I am going to start this week's run report by saying a huge Thank You to our Virtual RD, Sarah Mullis. Sarah is the RD from Dungloe parkrun in County Donegal - which is the nearest one to my parents (my mum actually has her very own "tail walker" vest!)

As a course, Dungloe is stunning. It is a three-lapper, which I know will usually turn a lot of people off, but when every corner on every lap is breath-taking scenery, it is well worth it. The whole course is on a light trail footpath (which has the occasional odd spongey bit underfoot!!??) and for the main is a flat course. It is also the place that I have recorded my highest ever finish position - I have finished 7th at Melton Mowbray, Forest Rec and Derry City but last Christmas I got 5th place (anyone else sing that to the tune of Wham!?) at Dungloe (granted, it was in a field of 16, but I was pushing Eleanor in her buggy so I'm still claiming it)! Another draw-in point for all of you potential tourists is that parkruns in Ireland start at 9.30am!!!

Speaking of tourists, the easing of lockdown has resulted in quite a few of you straying around the country and submitting your results from all over the place.  As well as regular long distance runners, Peter Shirtcliffe (South Africa) and my parents (see above), we hade Laura Wade in Buckingham, David Grimes and Jim Dziemianko (Rutland Water), Lynda Harris (Sunny Sussex), Richard Palmer (Down by the Sea???), Tony Parkinson (Norfolk and something about "n good"), Julie Walton (Yorkshire), Gwenda Williams (Beadnell - I didn't know either - It's essentially a beach somewhere near Scotland according to Google), Mark Ashmore (running some really rude - and possibly unintentional - Strava art at Rushcliffe), and Darren Barratt and Mike Freeman (Burghley House) - I am sure I have missed some out, but these are the ones who explicitly named their places in their results submissions. This is amazing to see as it simply means that 17 weeks into this distortion, we are still staying together while keeping apart.

Still on the subject of Tourists, resident celebrant (as in the type that celebrates everything, not the type that performs fake marriages - although I am sure he'd put on a pretty good show of it if asked), Daniel Moult was today to celebrate the fact that it is exactly 5 years to the day since I ran Forest Rec parkrun with him on his very first parkrun. He told me, some weeks ago, that his plan was to run Forest Rec at 9am today to mark the occasion. I remained silent on the matter but conceived the idea that I was to surprise him by being there to run his anniversary Virtual parkrun with him. I got up early this morning, got myself ready, got the baby fed and the running buggy into the car, and messaged Sarah just to make sure she was ok with everything for her run brief. As I was about to get into the car to drive the 21 miles, I suddenly thought I should message Dan to ask if he was starting his run straight after the run brief... He responded to say that he was "probably going to go at about 1ish". I decided to abort my plans and wish him well.

Daniel Moult started at 2.02pm and ran 31:31 at LONG EATON!!!!! I could have been waiting a wee while!

We had 151 parkrunners today and 17 of those recorded PBs. One big shout must go to Andrea Crellin who regular readers will recall had a weekly march towards the World Record 5k time of 12:43. Today she overcame a massive hurdle on this journey and managed to run her own fastest ever 5k. Once you can beat yourself you can start beating everyone else (DISCLAIMER: No-one is to lift this sentence from the context in which it is intended). Louise Bridgeman also claimed a huge PB (nearly 2 minutes!!!!) to claim her club's Pewter Standard time! Congrats Andrea and Louise!

Among the other PBs there were a couple of key strategies being employed which all of us will do well to include in our speed work and training plans. Matt King and Karen Slade both achieved theirs by avoiding hills (although the latter claimed that her lungs struggle to keep up with her body on flat running - for those blessed/cursed with a vivid imagination, this is a most distressing image!), while Zoe Flintoft discloses that she actually had rocket fuel this morning. I'm not a qualified nutritionist, or indeed economist, but I can imagine there are certain drawbacks to this approach - but, "if it looks like it works and it feels like it works then it works" (Snow Patrol, 2003)

Just for the purposes of clarity, and so you all understand exactly what is happening in the results when you click on them below, Karen Slade's PB is recorded as 24:36 - this is actually a typo. It is the time that she claimed but we have had a Steward's Enquiry surrounding this. Everyone's favourite/least favourite attention seeker, Mark Weston has lodged a formal complaint against Mrs Mark's submission. It is currently under review, but there is a chance that her result could be overturned and completely removed from the results if our independent panel of Westons find her guilty of "being a better runner" than Mark. This is wholly unfair and will not be tolerated #kickitoutofsport

We were privileged to be joined by newly-defected-to-Virtual-America parkrunner, Tom  Hansen today who ran his own PB of 18:16 to claim our top-spot and he held onto this all day. Even when course record holder, Jason Barton submitted his run, Tom will have been overjoyed to see that JB ran a half marathon today (let's not even discuss his "first attempt in two years" time). Then just before the results were complete, Toby Heaver put forward his own PB of 18:04 to usurp his fellow TH. Unlucky Tom!

We've all been doing things a little different over lockdown, whether it is learning to play a new instrument, read more, learn a new skill, managing to keep your family alive without the help of outside agencies, eating more/less crisps. Paul Horrocks has managed to discover the secrets of Time Travel. He proudly submitted his run entitled "park-lessrun Week 18" - This is our 17th event, and his 15th time of joining in with us. I am sure that we will somehow look back on this and it will all be true somehow, but until the photo of this week's results starts to fade while a high-school band play "Johnny B. Goode" I will hold my tongue on the matter.

Mixed news from our barkrunners this week. Ella, the Saluki (I had to Google what they were - worth it!), was far more on form this week after last week's hesitation, but Flynn and Bertie have been somewhat crestfallen by very different circumstances. Flynn's below par human gave him hope of a good run by having a pain-free post-injury run in the week, but then decided to walk today to safeguard the injury ahead of an event tomorrow. Bertie, on the other hand, had a good enough run but was not prepared to feature in any photos due to a dodgy lockdown haircut that has traumatically left him with unmatching ears! There is a lesson here for the rest of us. Three months without salons may have taken it's toll, but we should still heed the wise words of Ray Stevens before accepting any old appointment:

"Well, when you get a haircut, you'd better go back home
When you get a haircut, get a barber you have known
Since you were a little bitty boy sittin' in a booster chair
'Cause you might look like Larry, Moe or Curly if a stranger cuts your hair"

The final usual point to give you is the results of our #tailwalkerchallenge. Possibly the most embarassing claim on the tail-walker position comes from core team member, Rachel Holland. She submitted her, and husband Chris' times to be considered for the tail walker role, yet finished ahead of a stonking 25 people!!! Trevor Wade and Teresa Fowkes also staked their claim on the much coveted title, but unfortunately, Trevor is Flynn's human and Flynn still wanted to push the pace a little bit so kept them well under the hour. Melton junior parkrun royalty, the Nicholls family (Kristy, Andy and Zoe - son Luke considers himself too cool to feature in the results - shame he doesn't have a say over the run report!!!) also put forward their family walk and for the most-part, they were in our tailwalker position. Unfortunately for them, my wife got back from a dog walk with her friends just before the results were completed and stole the title from under them!


EDIT: There has been an update on the tail walker challenge that I would like to start with a product review:


This review can be updated somewhat from the point of view of a Virtual running event's organiser:


It transpires that if you ever wanted to emulate Mo and do a half marathon in 59 minutes, then this is the watch for you! People looking at your watch won't even notice the entire hour that precedes your 59 minutes! On your Virtual Half, you should definitely send in a photo of your watch, and not your crystal clear Strava!!!


It appears that Rachel and Chris Holland did indeed complete the tail walker challenge in a time of 1 hr 41m 31s. Well done to them!! I, for one (like Roman numerals) am happy for them! Happy birthday Chris!


I think, in-all, this week's Virtual parkrun is nicely summed up by Matt White (the guy who invented the paint...)

"Don't eat a sausage cob shortly before you run"

Wise words, Matt. Wise words indeed.


Until next week,


Fun Fact

Humans are superior to animals when it comes to running.

Humans can outrun almost all of the animals in the world over long distances. A few exceptions include cats, rabbits, and kangaroos. Other exceptions mainly involve non-parkrunners!


Week 16 Results – 04.07.2020

It's back!!!!! parkrun has returned!!!!!!!!

Ok. Maybe we are still a long way off being able to return to the Country Park en masse every Saturday morning, but seeing the return of parkrun to New Zealand is a real beacon of hope in the truest sense. Hopefully the other 21 countries will be able to contain, control and eradicate this terrible virus now so we can all return to where we should be - together!

Stepping back from Dream-reality and into Virtual-reality, there is a lot going on this week.

I will begin by thanking our Run Director this morning. Many of you Melton regulars will be aware that Chris Limmer was a very well-known face around Melton Mowbray parkrun. He ran with us 54 times and never finished outside the top 5 in our results. In fact, he claimed the coveted P0001 finish token a whopping 37 times (a record that Toby Heaver was making great headway in reeling in prior to lockdown)!!! Even more impressively he would often volunteer as a barcode scanner, finish first, catch his breath and then scan everyone else in.

Chris' first P1 was on our second event where he was obstructed just before the line and crossed to tie the course record set the previous week, and he held this record for 4 weeks.

On event no.5, the record was broken by Jason Barton who broke the record by a whole second. This week, a far-more-sober-than-last-week Jason Barton managed to beat the previous event record by more than a second. Mr Barton managed to take a whopping 42 seconds from the previous Virtual parkrun event record by registering a 17:23 today!!!

Today 164 took part including 6 first timers. The perfect running conditions led to 31 PBs including a couple of fastest-ever-5k times from Ross Jackson and Zoe Heath.

Other PBs of note go to Zoe Flintoft who celebrates "Happy Pub Day" by removing the "u", Erika Lane who hammered a whopping 2 and a half minutes from her PB only 23 weeks after giving birth, and Mike Freeman who is still shaving time off his PB each week after his operation.

Mike Brighty has drawn to an end his 2 week run of not getting a PB and has restarted again!

And finally, let's put a spotlight on a small matter of midwifery competition.Our midwife, Mel McDonald, went out and smashed her PB early this morning before getting home and getting ready for work. She then went in to work on that runners high and guilted centre manager Andrea Dziemianko into going out and getting her own PB!

A couple of people didn't get the memo that RED January has finished. Paul Davidson completed his 100th daily run and Andrea Crellin who has just completed day 186!!!

Carl Taylor-Beeby came within 2 seconds of getting his PB. He said he was pushing it as he didn't want to miss his hair-cut appointment. With the barbers and the salons officially opening today, our spouses can all breath a sigh of relief. Mine certainly did when I arrived home from town with a fresh trim, but my baby still has no idea who I am and is terrified of her daddy-impersonator!

Under normal circumstances, Peter Shirtcliffe would have been running his 99th parkrun today. To celebrate the number, he appeared where all good 99s should be, by running 5k up and down a beach! I can only imagine that he was carrying a flake and had a finishing arch coated in red balloons!

Our barkrunners were out in force today. Bertie channelled his inner- Michael Fish and knew it was going to rain so really needed to be encouraged. Flynn's human only managed to run 1 second quicker than last week's time, but was without pain so it looks like the injury may be coming to a close and the human can be rehabilitated rather than traded in. Jeff also got a mention for the second week running! A big welcome to Labrador, Jessie and reluctant Saluki, Ella.

A big congrats to Simon Weston who completed the #tailwalkerchallenge with flying colours. Unlucky to fellow claimants Rach Cousen, and Charlotte Coltman who were both just too fast!

One of the biggest things to come out of today's comments was the great community links shining through.

"Another Saturday morning run with Mike W made it feel like a normal Saturday" (Kurt Wilson), "Great to see fellow parkrunners out this morning" (Jef Todd), "Spotted Mr J through Stathern" (Matt White), Anne Craddock was so pleased to be back running with her dad, "Lovely to see a few familiar faces this morning" (Gary Milne), "Great to see familiar faces" (Sue Power), "Lovely to see Nikola, Mark and Andrew" (Nina Snowling), Dan O'Gorman took part in a fun run with the family.

On my own run this morning, I was pleased to see Ashley Jackson, Darren Glover and Martin Taylor-Beeby, and was delighted to have the opportunity to stop and chat for a while with Debs Wilson and Vanessa Walker who were out on their runs (they have not submitted their times, but if they do then I will gladly add them in). Thinking about our own conversations this morning and all of the comments that people made along with their results, all I can see is the importance of our amazing community shining through again. As a result, I urge you that if you are out on your Virtual parkruns and you see others out doing theirs, please feel free to pause your watch and have a minute or so to just chat. The current situation has tore apart communities and we have done all we can through this Virtual event to try to hold it all together, but that is not enough to replace an actual conversation.

Your Strava won't implode if your moving time does not collate with your elapsed time. We should not be so precious over our times that we forego real conversation.

Thank you everyone for another week.


P.S. Tom Hansen is much slower without biscuits! And Hannah Pole, who described her run as "'Orrible" made processing far more 'orrible for me by sticking today's run on last week's results post!


Fun Fact

Today is 4th July. A date that will be celebrated the world over for a multitude of reasons. In the UK it is the greatest easing of lockdown so far (please still stay safe and keep to distancing guidelines wherever possible), in New Zealand it is obviously the much awaited return of parkrun. And, perhaps most famously, in the USA it is independence day. On this latter point, I am going to use this week's fun fact to pick on one person in particular:

Zoe Heath ran her parkrun today in a Shepshed running vest and a pair of stars and stripes leggings - thus breaking the US Flag Code -

The Flag Code states that it should not be used for any advertising purpose, and should not be embroidered or printed on any material for temporary use. It should also never be part of a costume or sports uniform, or used as "wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery".

Zoe has broken Chaper 33 Code 700 under Title 18 of the United States Code and therefore can be fined, imprisoned for not more than a year, or both.

Luckily for Zoe, this law (which still officially stands) was deemed unconstitutional in the Supreme Court in 1990. I can only assume she knew this otherwise she wouldn't have risked it...


Virtual parkrun #15


From a numerical point of view, today's run pleases me. We had a slightly depleted number (possibly down to the number of (not)parkruns being registered, probably down to the threatened thunderstorms that became a couple of heavy rain bursts), but it pleases me still. For event number 15 (multiples of 5 - always nice to work with) we had 20 PBs (another nice number), 6 first timers (bringing our total number of runners ever to 395) from a field of 149 runners (although this is actually one shy of a nice rounded number, it does bring our number of runs since we started to 2500, and our total distance covered to 12500km!)

We also have 35 (nice round number) runners who have completed all 15 Virtuals so far!

Today's Run Director was Emma Herd. Emma's first ever parkrun was actually at Melton Mowbray back in October 2015 (Event Number 39) and since then she has completed 110 parkruns and was the Co-Event Director of Rutland Water along with Darren Barratt (who virtually Run Directed at our 9th Event back in May - "Good morning and welcome to Rutlan...Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun"). As always, the RD gets given loads of thanks in the results submissions for giving us our weekly pep talks and getting us out of the door each and every Saturday, although this week there was a different star of the show... Millie the dog! Emma told us that Millie is totally blind and loves running so she is her kind of "Guide Human"!!!! There has been loads of love for Millie among our community today (I especially loved the bit where Emma told her to sit, so she jumped and was called a good girl! Maybe it's the diluted geordie accent that confused her)!

On that note, it probably makes sense to talk about our barkrunners now. Flynn has officially proclaimed that if he is to ever run a PB again then what he needs is a new human - the one he's got is most unsatisfactory. Bertie was not enjoying the rain showers so decided to develop a limp on one leg and had to be carried home where he made a miraculous recovery. Jeff was just happy to be out by the looks of it! Meanwhile, human runner James Brown has tried to blame the heat for his slightly slower run, and the fact that his dog ate his trainers. I don't know if James knows that I'm a teacher and I genuinely don't fall for that one (often).

As well as all of the thanks that we get aimed at myself (aw shucks!) and the respective RD, it is worth giving Richard Palmer a mention here. He posted his result (a very respectable time compared with his own PB) with the comment "Thanks Shane and Grant" - I don't know if he watched last week's briefing by mistake or he thinks Emma looks like Grant Bridgeman but... No... I actually don't know how to finish that point. You're welcome, Richard.

Last week we had a bit of a mad battle going on for the tailwalking position, which has this week led Jane MacNaughton on to coining the hashtag #tailwalkerchallenge. If you recall we had a runner doing an hour and a half, then two popped up doing over two hours, and a final claiming over 3 hours but no evidence of distance travelled. Well it seems that the ridiculousness that came with the Summer Solstice put an end to the tailwalker claims. This week we had a new battle - who could start their run the earliest?!

On a weekly basis, I receive results before the run brief has gone out. Richard Holmes is regularly out before 5.30am and today was no different - with his Strava result, showing his PB equaling time, was timestamped at 5.12am! John Kerr was even earlier with being out shortly after 4am!!! However, this week's ridiculous battle was won hands-down by former course record holder Jason Barton. Jason (the final result to be submitted on the usual thread) started his run at 00:44 this morning. He is a Liverppol fan and after a night of celebrating (4 ciders and 2 champers) decided to go for a run. The real irony is that he'll never walk alone, but he'll certainly be the only one out running!

Taking full advantage of Mr B's inebriated state, Tom Hansen (who once said he was going to permanently tour at a different Virtual event so he didn't keep getting thrashed by Jay) ran an impressive 18.57 to be our first finisher. He posted this time along with the words "Too many biscuits". As a direct result, I am going to be FAST tomorrow!!!!! I've just finished a pack of Chocolate Hobnobs and am deciding whether it is Custard Creams or Bourbons next (not Garibaldis - I can't eat them without trying to impersonate Gary Barlow - "that was ab....sollll....oooooooooot....lyyyy......................!)

Karen Slade and some other fella ran "Nottingham's Two Peaks parkrun challenge" by completing Gedling and a different parkrun, and then each chose which result to submit to us. Karen chose Gedling as it was a quicker time for her, while Mr Karen chose the other one because it has a beastly wood or something...

Of the 20 PBs out there, a special congrats has to go to Debbie Longley who ran under 30 minutes for the first time in 6 years of running! Well done! This may have been helped by Mark Preston successfully pacing 30 minutes with a time of 29.58 (he may not have helped being miles away, but in the ethos of this being one community and one event, it definitely did help!)

No Groundhog Days to report today, but both Mark Smith and Laurence Worn ran within 1 second of their times from last week.

From our 6 First Timers, a huge welcome to Laura Seth. Laura actually was our Virtual RD back in week 4 but she has been out injured until now. And she obviously ran around with fellow debutant Lynda Harris who, frankly, has no excuse for not joining us before now!

Big shout outs to Nicola and Tony Worn who were this week's tail walkers. Tony is unable to run at the minute due to a shoulder injury so he did a slow meander cross country (over stiles and the likes). Meanwhhile I also did a slow meander cross country (over stiles and the like - not as easy when pushing a one-year old in a running buggy) and then got home to give myself a shoulder injury!!!

So, for another week I will leave you now with a quote from one of our Junior Event core team, Kristy Nicholls:

"Never have I ever run 15 parkruns in a row until virtual parkrun came along. Never have I ever gone sub 26 for a parkrun until virtual parkrun came along. Never have I ever run up the second hill (a different one to 40 oaks but still a hill!) before until, yep you guessed it, virtual parkrun came long.  So much to be thankful for."



As you will all know, today is National Pineapple Day - as celebrated by Daniel Moult's parkrun theme for the day. He claims to hate pineapple on pizza but from his post he still thinks pineapples should be hot! (Please look through our results thread for his submission - I'm not going to be peddling that kind of material). Anyway... in honour of this great day, let's revisit those numbers from the start of the report. In 15 Virtual parkrun events, 395 people have covered a combined distance of 12,500km!!!

Well, Daniel will be pleased to hear that 12,500km is not far over the exact distance a pineapple would travel from Costa Rica (where 75% of Europe's pineapple imports are from) to Melton Mowbray if it went via Fiumicino International Airport in Rome, drove down to Naples which is Italy's most famous Pizzeria, and then drove home via the chunnel! This is surely statistical evidence that Pineapples belong on pizzas!!


Summer Solstice – Virtual parkrun #14

Good evening everyone. How much longer has your day been made to feel by people telling you it is the longest day?

Well, it is the longest day, and luckily, being the longest day means that you have slightly more day with which to read this report. A lot to feed back on today so get yourself a drink and somewhere comfy to sit. Ensure that your computer/phone/tablet is placed in an ergonomically suitable place, and the brightness is set to minimise glare.

When I was at university, we were told explicitly not to quote wikipedia as a reliable source. As it can be altered by anyone who has a sign in (achieved through a simple registration process), the information there can be used as a guide, but can need fact checking from time to time. Today we were able to find definitive proof of this unreliability.

"Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury." - This is a lie. We have today seen evidence that it is actually located in Nether Broughton. A fact that the entire Nicholls family can provide testament for after a socially distant collective run today.

Amanda English also managed to take a decent tourist snap of the lesser known brickhenge monolith

A lot of people running their Virtual parkrun today as part of a Virtual 10k race. A big well done to Jason Barton, Alan Thompson and Robert Mee for running the Barrow Runners Honesty 10k (the latter achieving an all-time 10k PB), and Mike Williams, Jonty Giblett and Mark Preston for taking part in the St Albans Virtual 10k.

Today 165 of you took  to the streets, trails and parkland to complete your 5k+ and we scored a respectable 29 PBs. Matt King made a discovery that running times are quicker on courses with no hills - a notion that was successfully peer-reviewed by Amy Taylor who ran the elusive sub-30 on a flat course.

If anyone knows Stuart Baty, can you please let him know that he is in the results in position 60 having achieved a PB of his very own.

Paul Merrison achieved a Groundhog Day result by exactly matching the PB he ran only last week. Also matching PBs were Tony Parkinson and Birthday Girl - Zoe Flintoft.


Some exciting news may be on its way from Karen Slade. Today she took to the trails to recce a route for a new parkrun(!!!). Unfortunately, she only shared a picture of her watch so no idea where the newest member of the family will spring up.

Huge congrats to First timers and recent C25k graduates - Sarah Pritchard and Ssj Brown (unfortunately Ssj's Strava shot did not show time and/or pace so I have awarded the coveted 59:59 for now. To be amended if I get an update - UPDATED). And congratulations to Chris Genes for managing to run his first Vp in 4 weeks after recovering from injury, and Lennon McKenzie who has been in chronic pain since last August but today ran his fastest time in a year and looks to be moving back towards his own best time (and still took time to post on our results to congratulate every person who managed to get out today)!

An open-armed welcome to Lee Harley-Hotchkiss who returned from his announced retirement the other week (he wasn't in the results last week, I thought he had actually hung up his shoes!)

Rob Mason posted his result for his Solstice Virtual parkrub. I was not sure if this was some sort of parody event, and all I can insist upon is that you do not Google that term. I can never have my computer repaired in a mainstream shop now...

Another shout out to our usual barkrunners Flynn (slow walk today due to an injured human), and Bertie the Spaniel who did not get a mention this week, but made sure his photos were all over Strava. Also, a big welcome to Arthur who joined the list of "Good boys" today.

Last week I posted about what I considered to be the ethos of parkrun, and the importance of being able to continue with our Virtual event alongside the new centralised (not) parkrun event. Alongside the usual thanks (which is gratefully received), a few comments today summed up parts of what I was saying, and I would like to share them with you:

  • This is such a motivator (Mike Freeman, running his own PB today)
  • I nearly forgot to run as I didn't realise it was Saturday. Made sure I got out (Melanie McDonald)
  • 52 weeks ago I did my first parkrun... I was not sure I would clock up a second being unable to walk for 3 days! Here we are in a strange 2020 but I've ran every Saturday (Carl Taylor-Beeby)
  • Best way to start the day followed by a zoom tea with the buddies (Sharon Mee)

Just by hosting this Virtual event, we are keeping parkrunday sacred and motivating people to get out and try whereas they might not otherwise. This is amazing to hear. Thank you everybody.

Finally to let you know of a couple of big races that took place within todays parkrun. The race to be our first finisher was certainly on with our first 4 runners all finishing under 19 minutes! And, a big race (as ever) to be our tailwalker:

Trevor Wade was the aforementioned human being walked by Flynn the dog and he got round in a "slow walk" of 1:10:59. This would be a good contender for this week's tail walker (a concept that Flynn has questioned - having a tail and walking everywhere with it). However, John Cousen was able to upload his 5k Strava showing him to have taken 2:02:44 to cover the distance on a course that looks like a toddlers drawing of a hedge - it turns out he was walking behind a mower for much of it and was literally clocking himself gardening - still managed 5k though! Then Katie Roberts swans in with her 5k completed in 02:27:38 - there was no story behind this one, but she definitely picks up our tail walker Virtual credit for this week. (David Brook staked a claim for upwards of 3 hours laying slabs but could not evidence the distance, and regular tailwalker Charlotte Coltman did not quite make the distance so instead offered to meet us all in the cafe where she will sort tokens and buy the teas!)


Fun Fact

The majority of stones in Stonehenge were dragged 180 miles from the PreseliHills in Wales, with the larger ones coming from the Marlborough Downs. The combined distance from Presili and Marlborough Downs to the henge equate to 66 parkruns! The remaining 99 parkruns from today's results will pretty much make up the distance from Melton Country Park to the henge and back!

Stonehenge is laid out primarily in a circle. We all know that pi is an important number when working with circles. The stones are simply piled the way that they are because Mr Henge was trying to do some sums and didn't have a pen. He was simply trying to write the symbol for pi!

Maybe wikipedia isn't the only thing on the internet that needs factchecking...



Virtual Results for event #13

An exciting week in the world of parkrun this week; thirteen weeks into a lockdown of events and with no clear indication that parkrun will be safe to return anywhere but possibly New Zealand (still no concrete announcement though), parkrun HQ have announced "(not) parkrun"

The premise of (not) parkrun is to create an official approach to enabling all events and parkrunners to engage in a kind of Virtual event - while not all parkruns are hosting them. However, it is very different to Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun, and the plan is certainly to have the two running side by side. There are currently no plans on my part to stop doing what we are doing each week until we are parkrunning for real. I thought I should use this run brief to explain the differences between the two events, touch on the similarities, and explain why I will continue to host this Virtual model and help other event teams in setting up their own versions.

What is (not) parkrun?

The easy answer is that it is not parkrun. Runners are able to log their own runs (up to one a day - every day), and at the end of the week, the system will automatically choose your fastest 5k (regardless of which day you ran it on) and it will be included in a set of results (which will include results emails to participants too).

What are the similarities between MM Virtual parkrun and (not) parkrun?

The similarities are really quite clear. You all go and run your own 5k, on a course of your choosing, and time yourselves. You are required to submit your time (albeit via different means), and you will feature in a results table at the end of the week.

The aim of both events is to encourage and motivate people to get out and to create and maintain a sense of community among parkrunners who are missing their fix. Neither count towards your overall run or volunteer credits as they are not, or (not) parkruns.

What are the key differences?

Again, I hope these are quite clear. With the Virtual event, we do ask that runs take place on a Saturday (concessions to this have been made for NHS workers and their families who struggle to get out around work shifts and childcare). We are heavily (but not exclusively) Facebook based whereas (not) parkrun's results are submitted through a specially designed website and results are emailed out. For obvious reasons, we do not have access to the technical capabilities nor the personal data to be able to email results out.

So why do both???

(not) parkrun is the official parkrun event launched by parkrun HQ, and so it is only right that all parkrun events should get behind it and support the initiative. It has not escaped my attention that certain people may not have the opportunity to run at the weekend for a multitude of reasons, and for them (not) parkrun will be a much better fix than our Virtual event. We are fully supportive of the HQ approach here as it provides for those who cannot access a Virtual event, while not limiting what events that are already hosting

However, the reason for continuing to do both is that there are key areas that I feel are lacking in the official model that we can and will continue to provide.

For those of you that have chatted to me about Virtual parkrun, seen the BBC video, heard the radio interview, or seen the With Me Now podcast you will have noticed that I have a new catchphrase "keeping the conversation going". For me, that is what Virtual parkrun has been about for the past 13 weeks. The beauty of parkrun is that it is NOT about running. "It is all about the coffee" (Paul Sinton-Hewitt). Veteraned runners would run without parkrun. People wanting to shift a couple of pounds would run without parkrun. Families looking to do a fitness based activity would run without parkrun. However, the community, the conversations, the friendships, the plans, the togetherness, the feeling that you are at home even when you are touring, the regularity and the reliability of the event would not happen without parkrun.

We have so many people that rely on parkrun for their sense of community and inclusion - imagine having that ripped away from you at a time when the world is scary enough already! For this, I felt that the conversation was pivotal, not only to our event for when we return, but for people's figurative and literal survival in the meantime.

Being so heavily Facebook based means that as results are posted on there, people are able to talk and chat about each other's runs, people are able to arrange post-parkrun coffees over Zoom, and track each other's progress - the same way that they would be able to at the real event.

I take so much heart each week from the fact that I can sometimes look at my phone on a Saturday and see 31 FB notifications. Usually 1 of them is "138 people have commented on Melton Mowbray parkrun's post" (the results being submitted) while the other 30 are usually "soandso has replied to thingamajig's comment on Melton Mowbray parkrun's post". The conversations are taking place.

I also feel it is important to keep going as we are keeping one day a week sacred. We know that Saturday is just what parkrunday used to be called. Who else found that when we were allowed to exercise just once per day, we all made a concerted effort to get out each and every day - but as soon as we were allowed unlimited exercise, the mindset shifted to "I'll go tomorow"? Keeping to a set parkrunday motivates people to get out. It is their one day per week when they know for certain that they will get out. Everything in between is just a bonus.

The new (not) parkrun will use automated technology which will massively speed up the process of results processing for a huge amount of people - whereas me sitting in front of an Excel spreadsheet manually inputting times that I have calculated based on average pace will clearly take a lot longer. I have been approached by people offering to help me set up a Google Form that will fully automate the process by people submitting their own data and I would just need to run a report at the end of it all. I have politely declined all of these offers as the whole point is keeping the conversation going. Automating a system removes the humanity of it. I will gladly invest time into this process as I believe fully that it is the right thing to do. So, while I fully support (not) parkrun (and I really really do!), I will not be allowing it to replace what we have here.


This week we had 168 runners, 8 first timers and 30 PBs. Although 18% is our lowest PB return to date (possibly due to the weather), those who did report a PB absolutely smashed it, with many saying that it was their fastest 5k ever (not just in the Virtual series). Massive shout out to Robert Mee, James Brown, Tara Upton, Sue Power and Karen Grace who all ran an overall 5k PB! (I did want to make a joke here saying that I bet James was Feelin' Good about his time - still debating doing it... I bet he's never heard it before... No. No, I won't. I'll get up offa that thing and leave it.)

A big shout out to this week's barkrunners - Regulars Bertie the Spaniel, who loved running in the sunshine, and Flynn who did not want to mess up is new do (as in hair-do, not dog-do). And a big welcome to barkrunner Jeff who has probably ran with us before, just hasn't been explicitly mentioned.

Massive congratulations to John Kerr who holds the current course record for number of flies spat out and adhered to face/neck (4 and 50ish).

Rebecca Forrester who stopped her watch at 3.01 miles instead of 3.1 and then politely asked if my calculator would run the missing 145m for her (it did, and as a human/calculator relay, she achieved a PB!)

And David Brook who controversially achieved his Virtual Groundhog Day badge by running 21:15 on two consecutive weeks, and the third time he has ran this time overall.

Zoe Flintoft had to do repeat laps of her parkrun course after losing her house key. She claims she found it easily as she knew where she had dropped it, but had to run a "few" extra laps to get it instead of just going straight to it(???). Either she did not know where she had lost it, or she forgot that when you find something you can stop looking for it!

Jackie Shah had a technological nightmare, ran 5k and did not have a time to show for it. To be fair to her, I hope nobody objects if I were to include her in the results and award her last week's time as a kind of unofficial unofficial Virtual Groundhog Day. If anyone does object then lockdown has not been kind to you.

Dr Jane MacNaughton's review of her own run was "can only improve from here". You can tell that she is still in the mindset of marking dissertations as her self-critique here is very similar to her comments about my fun fact last week!?

A big thank you to Laura Wade for volunteering to be our tail walker, and then failing to be our tail walker because Carl Mills and Marie Kennedy made sure we all got back safely instead. Regular tailwalker, Charlotte Coltman was not able to get out today as she has moved house. Hope it has all gone ok Charlotte, and wishing you lots of happiness in your new home.

Thank you as always guys,



Fun Fact

Today is the Queen's official birthday. She is the only person on the planet whose birthday ALWAYS falls on parkrunday!

If you add together all of the digits in today's date (8-digit format), then you get 14 - 14 is the number of Virtual parkruns that we should have had if you were to ask Prof. Neil Ferguson (Former scientific advisor to No.10)!


Virtual parkrun #12 – 06.06.2020

Another week has come and gone and we are still no nearer to knowing when we will be back at parkrun for real. Fortunately, we have our Virtual existence that new people are finding each week (hello to our 6 first timers - including Pia Burkal who had a "nice run in the sunshine" as she ran around Copenhagen!!!), and I am constantly receiving messages and emails from other events around the country and world asking about the intricacies of how to set up their own virtual event. Today's messages came from North Wales and the Republic of Ireland (watch this space on those ones), and we have the honour of welcoming Henley Wood parkrun, Oswestry to our virtual model!

Henley Wood officially counts for anyone wanting to complete the compass club badge on Running Challenges due to its name containing the village name too - OsWESTry.

Another First Timer to quickly mention was parkrun debutant Jackie Shah. Jackie has never run a parkrun in Virtual or Actual form. She is from Marple and I only have two facts about Marple.

  1. Their running club's strips resemble Dennis the Menace jumpers
  2. The Global Operations Manager for parkrun UK, James Kemp, is from Marple, and when he visited Melton (Equinox weekend 2 years ago) he described it as "the perfect event" (smug!!! (me, not him))

Our Run Director today is on the core team at Bestwood Village parkrun, and his very professional image (nice that someone made an effort for us) made him look like a trustworthy sort. And the pride with which he spoke of his own event actually seemed to sell it to us all fairly well. We would be forgiven for finding him so convincing that we would no longer be put off by the nickname of Beastwood! This guy who shall remain nameless in the interest of balance, did such a good job of making Bestwood sound idylic that he could easily secure a job on the North Korean tourist board (paraphrased quote from another of today's runners).

I do really want to say a big thank you to today's RD but it has become a running joke that he has been mentioned too many times in our run reports, and so he shall simply be referred to as the brother of Mr Nina (who today thought his brother being RD would mean he would get away with only running 4.96km)! Seriously though, when this is all done with and we are parkrunning for real once more, do visit Bestwood. It is a tough run but beautiful!

The unpredictable weather had an expected impact upon our field of runners today and a modest, but still impressive 170 of you ran, jogged and walked around courses of your own design and choosing. Even with the lower numbers we still managed an impressive 39 PBs (23% of the field).

With so many achieving new best times including Mike Brighty for the 8th week on the trot, and Andrea Crellin who is still eyeing up that World Record attempt, I think it is also important to give a shout out to the nearly-ones. David Brook and Joanna Davis both painfully equalled their PBs from previous weeks!! (Best not mention Tracey Unwin who was 1 whole second away from her PB!) David Harknett got a PB of a different kind by actually submitting his result before the 8pm deadline, and Ian Wells also managed to remember to post his results at all!

It is with sadness that we have to announce the impending departure of Lee Harley-Hotchkiss. Last week he got under 22 minutes as a great PB. Just 7 days later he has got his time under 21 minutes - and so he is now announcing his retirement (shall we tell him that there are other numbers?)

Finally on the subject of records, is it all just a little bit of history repeated? In February 2015, on our 5th event, Jason Barton broke the course record that was shared between two runners. He held on to this course record for just a single week. Last week, JB and Paul Kerr ran PBs to share our virtual event record. 7 days later and it's gone again! Huge congrats to Toby Heaver for running a great all-time parkrun PB of 18.05!

A couple of shoutouts to our very own barkrunners , Bertie the Spaniel (in the results under the pseudonym "Caroline Webb") and Flynn the dog who was not impressed at being dragged out for a run by "dad" Trevor Wade, but was finally persuaded at the offer of a treat (if any of you have not seen the treat in the results pics, it kind of looks like a cross between a Christmas candy cane and a child's femur!!!)

In the Friday reminder on Facebook, I was talking about the highly tenuous importance of the number 12 in the world of parkrun. I do have a correction to make. I stated that Paul Sinton Hewitt was joined by 12 friends to run the very first Bushy Park Time Trial back in Octiber 2004. 13 people did run the course, and PSH was there, but in fact, he was injured! He did the RD role so there were 13 of his friends there (could I save my factoid by saying that one of them he didn't really like that much???)

I also stated that of the 12 members of the Melton Mowbray parkrun core team, 4 of them had 12 letters in their name. There were a few guesses as to who they would be so here they are...

Shane Sharkey, Liz Parkinson, Mike Williams and Anne Craddock

The latter of which had her first run today since her nasty fall and sprain a few weeks back. A huge welcome back to Anne who was supervised around her run by her mum Alison. We still have a pandemic afoot so social distancing is important and their selfies clearly show them being over 2m apart. In fact, so do their times!!! Alison mentioned in her Strava run title that she was keeping an eye on Anne - how she managed to keep an eye on her from 4 minutes in front is impressive (another eye-test fun fact at the end of the report)

Another big welcome back to Louise Bridgeman who is finally allowed out after 14 days of Covid related isolation.

Jenny and Clive Kent did some proper tourism today! They drove TWO MILES from their door to start their run! In the meantime, Graham Foster didn't even set foot out the front door due to the hail storm, and so he ran his full 5k on the dreadmill!

I usually have a piece about the failings of prospective tail walkers (people who have claimed to be tail walkers but appear mid-table on the results). This week, not one person claimed to be our tail walker with their submissions so we must say a thank you to a very modest Jayne Bavin for getting us all round well and safe. Regular tail walker, Charlotte Coltman remembered to submit her result when she read the post at 8pm saying that the deadline was up! I suppose this would count as a tail walker fail (she still didn't finish behind Jayne though).

While on the subject of volunteer fails, Mark Preston claims he did an epic failure in trying to pace 30 minutes! He was 24 seconds ahead of time. If I were wanting to pace a certain time and the person I was following got me round 24 seconds under it, I would be delighted. It is clear that Mark has the highest pacing standards of anyone I know!!!


Fun Fact - Last week I made some jokes about a certain eye test. Any opthalmologists among you will be despairing that today is the 6th June 2020! While we use 20/20 vision (to denote what we should be able to see from 20 feet away), the American system utilises 6/6 (what you should see from 6 yards away). Today is 6/6/2020!!!!

Also, over the past 12 weeks, we have had 374 runners completing 2017 Virtual parkruns - a combined distance of 10,085 km. Using this, we could celebrate the significance of today's date by traveling to the Pro-Vision Center (364 Maine Mall, South Portland, Maine, USA), have our eyes tested, run the Acadia National Park half marathon (scheduled for tomorrow - cancelled) and then come home again!


Virtual parkrun #11 – 30.05.2020

We are supposed to beat Covid-19 with "good old British Common Sense," well today was a clear-cut example of classic British understatement! I would say a good quarter of the results submitted contained the word "warm"!

On my part, there was certainly a case of "good old British relief!" You will all be aware of the BBC video that was circulated last Saturday. This brought quite a bit of atention to the event and I have spent half of the week replying to messages from people wanting to join in after seeing us, and from other parkrun teams wondering how to set up their own Virtual event, and wondering if they can copy our format (of course they can - and a big welcome to Kettering Virtual parkrun who had 98 runners on their debut today!)

The video in question has been viewed 283,610 times at the time of writing so I have been a little fearful of how this week would pan out in terms of results. Although we did have new runners joining from afar (a big hello to Proinnsias O'Keefe from Bere Island just off the coast of County Cork), the numbers were certainly manageable and we ended today's event with a total of 180 runners.

18% of the field got PBs today which is our smallest return yet, but that is to be expected as we have more and more runs, and the weather certainly would not have helped. But within these 33 PBs there are a few stories that have presented themselves.

Previous Melton Mowbray parkrun record holder, Jason Barton and previous Virtual event record holder, Paul Kerr both achieved PBs today. They now share a new Virtual event course record of 18:11 and Jason is our first finisher purely on the basis of Paul being so far behind him... in the alphabet!!!

A similar fate occured with Daniel Moult (today celebrating Canary Islands Day!!!!!????) and (very) newly appointed Kettering Virtual parkrun ED Andrea Crellin where Andrea's A got the better of Dan's... actually... I had better not finish that sentence. Far too easy to take out of context.

Speaking of Andrea, over the last 4 weeks she has AVERAGED a 39 second PB each week! She has her target set on beating her own 5k PB and at this rate is only a week away from smashing it. As a matter of fact, at this rate she is only 23 weeks away from smashing Joshua Cheptegei's world record of 12:51!

Mike Brighty got his 7th PB on the trot in case anyone from the anti-doping agency is reading this!

Melissa Harley-Hotchkiss achieved a Groundhog Day running 29:44 last week and today.

Jim and Andrea Dziemianko managed to travel in style. They both ran their respective 5ks up a canal tow path, and then canoed back! There are unanswered questions about where the canoes came from if they weren't at the start? Do their owners know they were taken? Were they returned?

Other points of note are Tara Upton's sheer consistency. Having done all of our 11 weeks thus far, her times have varied by a total of 1m24, and that's only because her fastest time is 23 seconds faster than any others. 61 seconds is all that separates her other 10 runs!

Grant Bridgeman is currently isolating at home which means that his parkruns consist of an unknown quantity of laps of his garden. Purely as an experiment, he wanted to find out if continuous oval laps gave you the guaranteed speed boost that you get in Mario Kart. You don't!

Also isolating is Rachel Holland who ran her 5k on the Dreadmill at home. She was overjoyed at husband Chris' "Pleased to be outside Virtual parkrun". #relationshipgoals

Dan O'Gorman put forward his bid to be this week's tail walker, but actually left 6 people behind him. Yet again, a big thank you to Charlotte Coltman who got us all back in safely.

Finally, a big thank you to this morning's Run Director, Julie Thompson. Julie has been an ambassador for parkrun for the past 6 years, and as explained by Darren on week 9, their role is to provide the human link between events and HQ. It was actually Julie and her husband Mark that were the ambassadors who helped to set up our event, and Julie's off-the-cuff suggestion in March that led to me setting up Melton's Virtual event.

As part of her brief, she regaled you all with her hilarious tale of when they came to measure our course and it ended up over a mile too long. There are certain, shall we say, inconsistencies in her retelling of this story, but it is largely true. I did get us lost on the course.

In my defence, the whole process from choosing a course to them coming out to measure it, happened really quickly and I had only ever seen the course as it was intended to be (and now still is) from my Garmin Connect profile on a computer screen. I had not seen it in the flesh at all before the day of measuring. I missed the right turn on the back corner and carried on for a bit.... I have since been out in my car for a fairly long drive to test my eyesight (as is common practice) and returned to complete the course as it should be, and has been for the past five and a half years!


Fun Fact

If we had had just eight more runners, we would have covered enough distance in today's results to form a human relay from Islington to Durham, over to Barnard Castle, Back to Durham and all the way back to Islington!


Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun #10 – junior parkrun takeover


Guys - this is a very important point for this week. It was brought to our attention that Mark Weston has been mentioned in 2 consecutive run briefs. We cannot let this go to his head, so in this run brief there is an extra concerted effort to not mention him at all in this one.

The run brief starts below: ______________________________________________________________________

A couple of things to pick up on this week. At least once a year, we have an actual kids takeover at Melton Mowbray parkrun where we have all of the volunteer roles covered by kids - from time-keeping and barcode scanning all the way through to performing the run brief and marshmallows (marshals). This usually takes place on the last weekend of the summer holidays, but this is Lockdown Britain and we no-longer know when the school holidays are, so today's run was a takeover by our amazing junior event.

The junior event is typically held on Sundays at the Redwood end of Melton Country park at 9am and is open to athletes aged 4 - 14. For this, they would need to register once and get a barcode (the exact same process we do to register for the 5k events).

As it is a junior takeover this week, and there are safeguarding rules around videoing minors, we had our junior parkrun Event Director, Andy Nicholls as our Run Director this morning. A very good run brief that even included a warm up and some rather impressive jumping squats!

In the usual spirit of kids doing volunteer roles, Andy had his daughter holding the camera for him. Having taught her, I can confirm that she is a far more capable and competant athlete and mathematician than she is a camerawoman! Thank you anyway, Zoe (or Giggles the camerawoman as Mark Ashmore described her)!

192 Runners this week with a rather impressive 42 PBs. In our 10 weeks of doing Virtual events, this represents our lowest PB:Runner ratio/percentage (22% - our previous lowest was 27%) however, this is easily explained by todays weather! The breezy nature of today's outdoors was mentioned more than anything else in the results submissions. From the windy conditions, we can infer two main points:

  1. Why the PB rate was so low, and
  2. Which direction 42 runners were mainly running in!

Another Virtual Groundhog Day badge earned by Sarah Wappatt who ran 26:31 on two consecutive events!

Most random observation of the day comes from Week 8 RD, Dan Moult who pointed out how privileged we all are to run today on World Turtle Day!

Worst joke of the day comes from Week 8 RD, Dan Moult who dedicated is run to "Michelle"!

Strava Art kudos to Zoe Flintoft who's cursive "PARKRUN" had to be zoomed in to see it as anything other than a "splodge" (her words), and to Elizabeth Gray whose Strava Art attempt was so bad that Strava wouldn't even show it (again, her words)!

With regards to volunteers, Andy and Zoe were superb this morning, and Nina Snowling managed to (again) do a mid-run-marshal as part of her own run - this time marshaling Stuart Barratt round on his Virtual debut as he actually passed the top of Nina's Hill!

Laura Wade tried to claim a place as our tail-walker in 1:04:08, but she left out Charlotte Coltman who listed herself as a "potential tailwalker" in 1:06:50. However, Charlotte Coltman had not seen in Amelia Fisher who also claimed to be our tail walker in 1:07:25.

Zoe Heath quietens them all as she made sure everyone was back well and safe in 1:09:02! (I genuinely did not foresee 10 weeks ago that people would actually be competing to be our tail-walker [a role that literally cannot exist for real in this format])

A final note must be made about the digital elephant in the room. After the radio interview the other week, BBC Radio Leicester asked if they could do a video feature for their online presence. Well, it made its premiere this morning at 8.01am! If you have not had chance to see it then it can be found on the following link:

Huge thanks for the production of this must go to Melton Mowbray parkrunner Harris Millar who put it all together, and massive plaudits for all of our self-filming stars - Martin and Carl Taylor-Beeby, Nina Snowling, Andy, Kristy and Zoe Nicholls, Sharon and Rob Mee, Grant Bridgeman, Kerstin Pepper (Perrigo parkrun ED), Dan Moult, Andrew Wrath, and Mark Weston (bugger! nearly made a full report without him!!!! $@!+)




Virtual parkrun Week 9 – 16.05.2020

What a great day for running. Nice and dry without being overbearingly hot. The whole purpose behind these Virtual events is to keep the conversation going, and you guys have given us so much to talk about today.

Firstly, a huge thank you to this morning's Run Director, Darren Barratt. Darren is our event ambassador (a role he took on from around October/November last year). He has been a huge supporter of the Virtual series so it was so heart-warming to hear his run brief start with the words:

"Welcome to the Rutland... err... Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun" (Cheers boss!)

We had 13 first timers and 55 PBs so big welcomes and congratulations to all concerned there. Most of the PBs were huge too! I don't think there were many at all that were just by a few seconds (I missed out on my buggy PB by 1 whole second!!!).

Two runners and their stories that have already been mentioned in separate Facebook posts are Max Leah who ran a PB on board the flight deck of the QE2 as it sailed, and Joe Allen who, instead of running 5k, ran a full marathon to raise money for the NHS. If anyone would like to sponsor Joe, his JustGiving page has been shared in our Facebook posts, and it will be repeated again at the end of this run report (just under the Results Link).

Mike Freeman completed his first 5k since having a hip replacement. Welcome back Mike and well done on your recovery.

Last week's PB hero Alex Bridgeman had to concede defeat as his time was beaten by Dad, Grant (who was probably still feeling spurred on by his pre-run feline encounter)

Ben Pickard had to have "a little sit down in the kitchen" after his run, while wife Laura ran back at the country park again for the first time since lockdown.

We had three Groundhog Day Virtual badge winners. On the Running Challenges extension for Chrome, parkrunners can get badges for completing certain goals/challenges - some are more easily controlled than others. One of them is the Groundhog Day badge where people need to run the exact same time at the exact same course on consecutive events. This week's unofficial admissions to the Virtual version of this club are Cathy Jones, Gwyn Jones, and Mark Tyler! Feel free to draw a circle with a digital alarm clock in it and stick it in your front windows just next to those rainbows.

We had quite a few of our PBs recorded by people who are able to make comparisons over set times. Chris Genes (who has said that these Virtual parkruns give him a reason to push the pace instead of being a one-pace runner) ran his fastes 5k in a year, while Darren Glover reportedly ran his fastest 5k in 2 years, and Simon Weston identified his as "a little bit better than last week"

Last week's lost boy Daniel Moult ran his Vp this morning in consolation for not being at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Eliza Chanin is seeing the eventual return of parkrun as being potentially more challenging, as her usual Guardians of the Galaxy playlist hit the flattest part of her run whereas it would normally be where she starts the ascent on the hill for the second time.

Ian Wells reportedly ran the same course for the last 3 events, but today's Garmin file reported it as shorter - weirdly, running a shorter course also gave him a PB. Not suspicious at all...

John Kerr has promised us all Virtual cake for his actual birthday (at a real parkrun, I would be enforcing a sing-song... Anyone know if John is on Zoom???)

Mark Weston managed to dodge golf balls being fired at him as the world gets busier again.

Flynn the dog was held back today. He wanted to run off on his own but is only 10 so under parkrun rules isn't able to. Instead he had to walk because his human has picked up an injury. Hope you recover soon, Trevor!

Paul Kerr has set a new male event record with a superb time of 18:17!!!

Zoe Flintoft posted her result with the question, "Have I succeeded as a novice tail walker?" The answer to that, is yes Zoe. Thank you for getting us all round safely today!

Finally, I am sure you will join me in sending the very best wishes to Anne Craddock. Anne has been a regular at these Virtual events as well as being an experienced Run Director at the real life event. Having realised that her result was missing on my spreadsheet, I did check quickly on Strava just to see if it was my error. Anne went out for her run today and fell ending up in Grantham A&E. She is OK but has a nasty ankle sprain. Get well soon Anne.


Joe Allen's Just giving page is available here


Virtual parkrun #8 – 09.05.2020

Not sure if anyone noticed, but it was a bit warm out there! The heat did have an impact on both our overall numbers and the performances of those who did take part.

Last week we had an overall Virtual attendance record of 205 runners, this week we dropped to a still respectable 176 (including 9 first timers - a big welcome to you all).

Our PB totals have been creeping up week on week with an impressive 89 runners recording Personal Best times last week, but this week it dropped to 48 (still not to be sniffed at!)

A shout out to the Bridgeman family where Grant was pleased and proud to record a new personal best which was helped by his new "Melton Mowbray Virtual parkrun" apricot t-shirt and home-made battenburg(??!!!) - a feat which was matched by wife Louise. Grant then had the privilege of watching both his sons achieve a PB too - one of them beating his time by 21 seconds! Don't you just love it when family members find a rivalry???

We have had our second QE2 Flight Deck parkrun PB from Max Leah, another South African PB from Peter Shirtcliffe, and our resident tail-walker, Charlotte Coltman, took a huge 6 minutes from her best time in her first failure to get everyone around safely!

Og Ster was named and shamed for his tail-walking fail last week so he made sure he made amends this week as he works his way back from injury. Mark Weston had claimed to be our tailwalker this week, but our first 11 finishers could have finished their parkruns before the tailwalker if they had started when Mark crossed the finish line.

As ever, a huge thank you to our flamboyant Run Director, Dan Moult. The only person who loves a spreadsheet more than I do (Dan, if you're reading this, could you post a zoomed out screenshot of your parkrun spreadsheet - people need to see this thing of wonder!!) He has toured to 80 different parkrun venues, so with the theme of today's brief, is it fair to call him a Lost Boy?

I had indeed intended on touring with him to Peter Pan parkrun in Hull this morning. Afterall, I still need a P for my Alphabet challenge after Peterborough changed its name! It was Dan who told me that it would mark J. M. Barrie's 160th birthday (I thought he was only 150!?)

We will have another guest RD next week and I can't even give you a teaser line here (like I did last week) as I have no idea what they are going to say/do.

Until next week...



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