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
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.