(Almost) Halfway to a Lara

Milton Keynes parkrun, event 561, May 7 2022
250 not out off 561 deliveries

Not for the first time I am amazed at what I have achieved since the first thoughts of parkrun drifted through my head.

Back then I never even thought about reaching 50 runs, let alone 250. More recently I was so excited about my 50th birthday that I wasn't conscious of how close I was to the parkrun milestone..

Unsurprisingly I do not remember all 250 runs but here are a few memories:

Run 1. Black Park, October 3, 2009. 22:21
I remember the results more than the run. I was handed a metal disc with my position, then headed over to the laptop where David searched the database for my athlete number. A role I then took on the following week. Back then I had absolutely no respect for the distance. Past races had all been 10k, 10 miles, adventure races, a couple of halfs and  a disastrous marathon. 5k is way, way harder than anything else I have ever done. That hasn't changed, other than mostly I do them for fun now. We had only become parents 2 months earlier. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation that made me so slow?

Run 4. Gorleston, July 1, 2010. 22:00
6 months on from the launch of Milton Keynes parkrun and I'm on holiday so I take the opportunity to run for a change, travelling across from Cromer to Gorleston Cliffs. I arrived to find a flurry of activity in the air around me, as a swarm of flies descended on the course. So that run was completed whilst attempting to breath through my teeth, head sideways to the route and my eyes half closed. Somehow I got a top 10 finish and my fastest parkrun to date. I also forgot my barcode. Those were the days...

Run 14. Banstead Woods, April 23, 2011. 20:47
That was a tough course. But not as tough as arriving late, struggling to park, and sprinting to get to the start in time. Some things never change! Apparently parking is still tricky there, so I suggest planning a long warm up to avoid the stress. After such a challenging hilly run it was nice that we all went to the pub, where the photographer was already downloading to the laptop so we could all see the days photos.

Run 38. Milton Keynes April 21, 2012. 19:18
2012 I was on the up, getting consistently faster, and only weeks away from the MK Marathon. On the back of consistent training I was on fire. Amongst record numbers (328) and in near perfect conditions I was being paced by Stephen Richardson to a potential podium (top 3 place). So close. It is hard to believe I was once truly competitive against Jeremy Vick, who finished just 1 second ahead of me. 4th. Close, but no cigar.

Run 54. Lydiard. April 6, 2013. 20:30
Not so much memorable for the fairly flat two lapper course, more so for the ridiculous route I directed my brother, Stuart, to drive that took us almost all the way around the outskirts of Swindon, yet we still arrived in plenty of time.

Run 60. Sheringham, July 20 2013. 22:52
A year on, and I was getting faster still, especially going downhill. A month earlier I had finished 6th here, and this time I set off at such breakneck speed (sub 3:00/km - it used to be a much steeper downhill start) that I led easily for the first third of the run, before being overtaken by a young whippersnapper. I was running comfortably hard, still able to chat with another runner as we followed the leader, only for us to both realise we didn't recognise where we were. Yells to the leader went unheeded, and we spent the last 3km overtaking bemused runners on the proper course. That additional 600m almost certainly cost me a podium place, but did teach me a very valuable lesson - Pay Attention!

I did return the following week and finish 3rd. My highest ever finish, and only parkrun podium.

Run 66. Milton Keynes, October 5, 2013. 19:02
My MK PB. It would be another 2 years before I stopped getting 19 minute finishes, but I never got closer to the elusive 18:xx than this run. As with a number of parkruns in that 3 year period it really felt like a race, with myself, Simon Read and Rick Neale pulling each other around in a planned attack on the 19 minute barrier. Only I couldn't hold the pace, losing my nerve in the final 250 metres and missing out by just 2 seconds. I genuinely miss runs like that, and it is nice to think that I am slowly but surely edging back in that direction.

Run 70. Rushcliffe. March 1, 2014. 19:21
More so that the whole day was memorable. A twenty year reunion of university Rock Soc meant I was heading up to Nottingham, so I stopped on the way. Rushcliffe also happened to be the home event of Helen Hood, whom many of you will know as the head of parkrun UK event delivery. In an amusing irony she was in Milton Keynes that day.

A hard parkrun, followed by long runs either side of lunch, around my old stomping grounds, snooze, and then back into town, and back in time.

Run 72. Milton Keynes, March 22, 2014. 37:35
Possibly my favourite ever photo, which you can see here perfectly captured by JP. Anya was in the buggy, urging me to 'go faster' as she always did. Out of nowhere came the command to STOP DADDY, so I did, repeatedly. For the whole run. As we came through the trees before the (then) final corner I didn't even know JP was there. What a great job he did.

Run 94. Conwy. 21 February 2015. 20:37
Back in North Wales for the Rhyl 10 with my cousins Dewi and James and brother, it seemed rude not to d a parkrun warm-up the day before. A lovely out and back with views over to the castle this was an easy run at my planned race pace for the following day. I know! and it was too, with a 66:48 10 miler.

Run 100. Bedford, May 16, 2015 19:38
I decided to celebrate my hundredth parkrun by running with Stuart at Bedford. Only I got there and bumped into Martin & Liz Yelling, so took the opportunity to run with an Olympic legend instead. Didn't last long though. Liz was running with the cream of Bedford AC and I felt pretty good for little more than 1km before sliding off the pace. Still ran with an Olympian though!

Run 157. Gladstone. November 25, 2017. 22:03
I was doing some tourism to celebrate parkrun with Glen Turner. Only I got the wrong date and turned up a week early! So here I was again, on the right date, surrounded by parkrun legends: Not only Glen, but also PSH and Bruce Li, not forgetting MK stalwarts and habitual tourists Rob & Liz Tribe and Ian Brazier. The park is also full of noise and vibrant green from the Ringed Parakeets that dominate the trees. I know they are non-native, but I love seeing them. Excellent coffee in the Ace Cafe afterwards topped it off.

Run 220. Milton Keynes. July 31 2021. 21.33
The second run back after lockdown, and having directed the week before, my first opportunity to run with my fellow parkrunners. For that I will be forever thankful. Training was going well, speed was up, but after that I didn't do any spadework for months.

Run 233. Wendover Woods. November 27, 2021. 24:26
Wendover is a gorgeous, if tough, run. This was my first chance to return there since lockdown, and I was now visiting as their local ambassador, having taken on the role earlier in the year. That isn't to say that my visits to my other parkruns at Buckingham or Linford Wood are any less memorable, but this really stuck in my head due to the snow. Carrying on the Tring tradition of a St. Andrew's Day meant that I felt compelled to run in a kilt. Not only that, but I decided I would go in full traditional clothing. So just sandals and a kilt, covered in woad. Not so much Braveheart, imagine the largest of the Pictsies, The Wee Free Men. Luckily for my health Jan refused to allow such idiocy and I ran in a blue base layer and t-shirt. My feet were still numb at the end as I insisted in running in my sandals, which I then didn't tie tightly enough. This is a lesson I doubt I will ever learn.

Run 250. Milton Keynes. May 7, 2022 21:49
Back on it after gently increasing the intensity after catching Covid at Christmas, whilst still upping the mileage ready for the Mammoth Marathon this coming weekend. A season's best, and my fastest overall since July last year. As you may have noticed I still hanker for those faster times despite yet another leap up in the age category. Looking back I note that most of my specifically memorable runs have been the fastest ones. The best blend together into one very joyous occasion. Running with friends. Running with family. Running in the memory of friends that never got to see what I built. Running with fellow parkrunners with incredible stories. Running with people who, quite literally, would not be here if it wasn't for parkrun. And from that perspective, every single parkrun is, has been, and always will be, memorable

 

Gareth

 

This week 435 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 38 were first timers and 39 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 33 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 31 volunteers:

Gareth SNELSON • Janice HEAD • William SHIPPIN • David Anthony LEWIS • Annette KRAFT • Angela MONZIONE • Martin JANES • Karen PLACE • Stacy CLEMES • Mike BOAST • Anya SNELSON • Sue BOOTHBY • Karen P • John FISHER • Liz MAY • Rob LANGHAM • Zach EVANS • Kin UNG • Vivien LYNHAM • Jonathan GRENDELMEIER • Margaret PIKE • Luca GRENDELMEIER • Angus MACLEOD • Jan PLAYEL • Noah COOPER-BENNETT • Julia COOKE • Veer HERAN • Ben REYNOLDS • Ethan RICHMOND • Jackie COOPER-BENNETT • Millie BATES

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Milton Keynes parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Emily TALLEN who recorded a time of 17:04 on 29th October 2011 (event number 94).
The male record is held by George WHEELER who recorded a time of 14:52 on 7th August 2021 (event number 523).
The Age Grade course record is held by Angela COPSON who recorded 95.57% (22:33) on 6th February 2016 (event number 311).

Milton Keynes parkrun started on 16th January 2010. Since then 24,378 participants have completed 220,844 parkruns covering a total distance of 1,104,220 km, including 35,226 new Personal Bests. A total of 2,215 individuals have volunteered 14,760 times.

 

 

 

 

Event #560

The 560th Milton Keynes parkrun took place today in the scenic setting of Willen Lake, with the sun blazing across the lake and surrounds, a beautiful morning outlook, perfect running conditions.

Before the start of the briefing, a lot of people were exercising, catching up with each other and talking tactics!

The atmosphere during the briefing was electric with a jolly run director singing at various points of the presentation, a rare sight at a parkrun event. He summarised the all familiar route, running along a canal, up a zigzag hill followed by a downhill and around the lake to the finish.

When the briefing finished the runners walked 5 minutes to the start line. The start was packed and again the run director gave the runners a rather jolly send off.

Unlike other congested parkruns there weren't any finishing time flags so people could position themselves into the right starting area. So when the runners set off there was a bit of a disconnect with faster runners beside the slower runners. At the start line there were also a number of rather excited dogs barking. Overall however, these issues didn’t detract from the positive vibe of the run with people being well natured.

The weather for this event was absolutely fantastic, you couldn’t wish for anything better. The morning was warm with a temperature of 5 degrees. Despite the cold start the sun made such an impact that runners were taking off their sweatshirts as it ended up being a rather sweaty affair. A nice feeling after a rather tough cold winter.

The stats for the parkrun were:-

First male runner: MARTYN MUNDAY 17:33
First female runner: SAMANTHA LUDLOW TAYLOR 19:18
First Age Grade %: KEN LENNON 85.28%
Total Runners: 451
Volunteers: 32

This run had a lot of leisure/medium paced runners with very few fast runners, 16 under 21 minute runners. Again with the positive vibe this didn’t seem to matter as people were happy to finish in a leisurely time without the pressure of getting a pb. There were many running teams present who were quite happy to run as groups in their team shirts.

The finish line had quite a few supporters and volunteers cheering everyone on. The scanning crew were friendly and processed runners in the usual efficient manner. As always post scanning there is always a buzz of people milling around talking excitedly about their achievements or disappointments.

A special thank you today to all the many, wonderful volunteers, The volunteers made the event today with all duties performed with a smile especially the singing Run Director!

This is a great run to do for tourists. This course is very scenic and shows off one of the best parks in Milton Keynes. It is also one of the friendliest in terms of both volunteers and runners. It also has nice toilet facilities and coffee shops.

Run Report by Joe.

 

Dave’s 250th parkrun story

Milton Keynes parkrun, event 549, February 12 2022

This week we have a guest contribution from Dave Lawford as his friends shared his story with me and I asked if he would be willing to share with the wider community. Luckily he said yes! Over to Dave.
Dave Lawford
I never used to be able to run the less than 150m to my nearest Post-box...
So, it is going to be my 250th parkrun on 12th Feb 2022.
OK, so it is not the biggest running achievement, but for me running 5K every week is like climbing Mt Everest each Saturday morning. Just to get round the course and be alive at the end is something I am very proud of. I find each one mentally and physically challenging, even though I’ve done it so many times! It’s not a pleasant experience but I love getting over the finish line.
Parkruns all started in 2013 as part of my training for a very unexpected challenge which I found myself being coaxed into undertaking. It was for the 10K London Run with less than 4 months to train. It is another story for another day…suffice to say, ‘Thanks Gary’!
The only way to get someone who hated long runs (I was alright at anything below 400m at school and hadn’t run since), was to train, train, and train! I was determined to survive and get round the 10k course and in a respectful time. My fitness level was very poor. For fitness, I did an odd cycle ride and played very social badminton – a lot more talking than actually playing!
So, as part of a training regime which included about two to three short runs a week, there was a 5K parkrun every Saturday. It is all a bit blurry now, but it certainly helped with my training and developed a competitive edge that I needed to continue to motivate me for my training programme. A 9am meet on a Saturday morning with lots of ‘randomers’ was weird at first, but I soon got used to it.
The support and encouragement from a new circle of friends definitely helped ‘keeping me on track’. Most of my early parkruns were at Milton Keynes, as what soon began to interest me - parkrun tourism, had not become a huge part of my life, until well after the London 10K Run.
The very hot day in July came and went (I hate running in heat…everyone knows I’m a ‘Sweaty Betty’ at the best of times)! It was bloody tough! But I made it and in not too shabby time for someone who couldn’t run only a few months before. Thanks for the great loving family support from Simon (who ran, and yes, he beat me!) and from Anita for being my morale support throughout the training and the race day.
After the 10K my first thoughts were that it was back to my bike…and forget the running. I had met this painful challenge but was never really a runner and certainly not at these (what seemed to me) longer distances.
But then I forgot about my new Parkrun chums and the human power of persuasion, love, and determination (and some serious nagging!).

So, from then on parkrun slowly became a big part of my life, and I have been amazed by the ‘drug’ it has become. I have had some great times! I have had many laughs, some serious pains, lots of questioning ‘why’, but have carried on for over eight years (with a long break due to injury and COVID lockdowns). Even writing this, I can’t believe it has been that long. How far have I run outside of just the 250 parkruns? But I know I’ve spent a few bob on trainers though!
It has not been a simple journey…. a major injury in July 2019 took me out of mainstream running, enduring considerable pain for nearly 12 months. After waking up one midweek morning barely being able to stand or load bear properly on my right leg, I thought that my running days were over for good, and it certainly felt like it at the time.
Who knows how or why, but over the considerable time [of lockdown] of my knee got better. The exercises stopped and my body seemed to just ‘repair’ itself. I was so lucky! This was the only good thing that Lockdown did for me.
As I’ve said I am no Mo Farah! But I have never been particularly good at anything, and running is no different. I’d like to think for someone who loves all the wrong food (and the odd drink), I can still participate in these short runs and do a respectable time. I am going to be 54 this year!
I look at all the youngsters running by me each week and think ‘Aaaaaargh’… annoying but understandable and sort of acceptable (with my very gritted teeth). But then someone in their 60s or 70’s flashes by…. Multiple ‘AAAAAARGH’ and straight away I think ‘how on earth do they do that’???
All I will say is that running keeps me in check with both my mental and physical well-being. My brain and TB (tiny bladder) have a great time making me worry about many things including food intake for energy required, liquid hydration, weeing and sometimes farting when running, (and hoping that’s all it is!). Who knew planning and running a short 5K run could be so complicated! Rest assured; I still moan at the end of them!
None of what I’ve achieved would have been possible without the support of my family as well. My family have accepted my dedication and focus on Saturday mornings (ok, not always, but most weeks!), and the drug that I have got addicted to. parkrun is always considered as part of my overall weekend plans, but sometimes life and my other commitments must take precedence.
With my grown up children now in different parts of the country with their partners, I now have more Tourist Parkruns to explore and I’m looking forward to adding those to the list when I can.
I’d like to think as I achieve this parkrun milestone, my family are all just a little bit proud of me. I fully respect and recognise the commitment to get to this point by all the thousands of runners before me and know there are many more (near and far) who have achieved much greater milestones and personal endurances. I take a bow to them all! I can only imagine the phenomenal effort and dedication of all types of runners and especially marathon runners.
Dave

Thanks Dave! We look forward to your 500 story :-)

This week 461 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 36 were first timers and 62 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 32 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 31 volunteers:

Gareth SNELSON • Janice HEAD • Julie HULL • Jenny FENTON • Gary FENTON • Elizabeth TRIBE • Nicola CHURCH • Geoff BROAD • James WARREN • Karen PLACE • Helen INGRAM • Stacy CLEMES • Norma KEMPSTER • Anya SNELSON • Mary MCKINNELL • Sue BOOTHBY • Karen P • Lottey GATES • Hilary WHEELDON • Marie CALLAGHAN • Roger BETTS • Andy INGRAM • Sophie INGRAM • Amillie GREEN • Angus MACLEOD • Michelle MOTTRAM • Matthew INGRAM • Fiona CLARK • Helen COLLINS • Lisa OLIVER • Veer HERAN

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Milton Keynes parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Emily TALLEN who recorded a time of 17:04 on 29th October 2011 (event number 94).
The male record is held by George WHEELER who recorded a time of 14:52 on 7th August 2021 (event number 523).
The Age Grade course record is held by Angela COPSON who recorded 95.57% (22:33) on 6th February 2016 (event number 311).

Milton Keynes parkrun started on 16th January 2010. Since then 23,793 participants have completed 215,455 parkruns covering a total distance of 1,077,275 km, including 34,636 new Personal Bests. A total of 2,181 individuals have volunteered 14,341 times.

 

Oh I do like to be beside the lake-side (Event 539)

This week's report comes from parkrun tourist Martin Bishop:

Say what you like (or what you don’t like) about Milton Keynes as a place to live, it is certainly a great place for a run, or a walk for that matter. It has plenty of planned open green spaces “buffering” between the residential, commercial and industrial zones.

Normally a city criss-crossed by urban dual-carriageways might be problem for pedestrians and runners alike. However in MK, the planners thoughtfully included footpaths through under- and over-passes giving almost limitless pedestrian access across the city. Both this parkrun and the nearby Linford Wood parkrun make good use of these underpasses to navigate across urban areas safely.

We really enjoyed this course, (it being a one-lapper with no muddy bits) and we had perfect weather on the day (cold but clear blue sky and a surprisingly-strong winter sun ) to enjoy the surroundings, and the wild life.


Photo by @kazlikestorun

Off we go with a HO-HO-HO…There was definitely more than to be expected, at this juncture of Advent, of Santa hats out there (or should I say “on”) today. Many thanks to the resident volunteer photographer for capturing us on the course’s 3km point.






Photos by @kazlikestorun

You can always tell a friendly and caring parkrun community by eavesdropping various conversations as one passes others or (in my case, mostly) as others pass me by on the run: “Oh Hi Steve…haven’t seen you here for a while…” or “How have you been doing?…How’s Julie?” or “How was that half-marathon the other week?”…etc…etc. Such was the “background music” to today’s run.

And perhaps this conviviality and spirit of community was also a fitting tribute to the memory of a former regular MK parkrunner Mike Webber. We understood from chatting to the lady in the tartan leggings (sorry, I forgot to ask your name) that Mike died on this day exactly one year ago - in tribute, many participants wore pyjamas a reference to the many different pairs Mike would wear in posts during his treatment, and the pyjama themed parkrun he and many others completed in 2017. Out of deference to his memory, I found the link to the sad news announced in December last year on MK parkrun’s Facebook page.


Another new parkrun done for me (now 30% Cowell Club) and Cathy’s fourth time here today. We will certainly be back…If only so that I can try for a “sub-30” next time. Cathy was way ahead of me today with a PB, for this course, of 28:11. No pressure then

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The event was made possible by 30 volunteers:

Jenny FENTON • Gary FENTON • Martyn DOUGLAS • Carol WEBBER • Nick COSTIN • Fiona SIEQUIEN • Karen PLACE • Ian PENNICOTT • Helen INGRAM • David BOYD • Stacy CLEMES • Stephen ROSE • Mary MCKINNELL • Stephen RYAN • James WEBBER • James DELAMERE • Debbie MANSER • Kyla CLARKE • Kaz HYSON • Luke CHAMBERS • Sandy STEVENS • Margaret PIKE • Paul SMITH • Alice DOWIE • Jim DAWSON • Matthew INGRAM • Noah SIEQUIEN • Arjun MHAISKAR • Armaan MUSHTAQ • Veer HERAN

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Milton Keynes parkrun Results Page.

 

is there a New Years Day parkrun at Milton Keynes?

YES!
we will be welcoming in 2022 with Milton Keynes parkrun at Willen Lake at the usual time of 9am on Saturday 1st January

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