The Return of Newark parkrun

6 sleeps to go!!

Who’s ready to get back to parkrun then?

A fair few of you we imagine. 

As you know the Government is relaxing restrictions placed on individuals. However, the guidance on events still remains as we are all following parkrun’s global COVID framework.

Covid framework main points:

First and foremost we must remind you to not attend if you are required to self-isolate, have tested positive or if you or someone you live with has symptoms. 

The start

Both start and finish are in the same place.

The first timers briefing will take place by the parkrun sign at 8:50 as normal. 

Maximise the start area space. The tree circle now has fewer bushes on the circumference so you can easily use more of the field. We have purchased a PA speaker so you should all still be able to hear us. 

The framework requires us to limit the run brief to 2 minutes in order to minimise the time you are gathered together (some RD’s will find that harder than others!). This does mean that we cannot include milestone or birthday notices but if you send us any photos you take we’ll share them on our Facebook page. 


The course

We will be using our normal 3 lap course. We know that it has pinch points but please make good use of the space around where you can. 

Sadly, the wooden bridge will not take 200 odd runners pounding over it (times 3) so we will be running around the side of it on the grass. A marshal will be in place to control this.


The finish

The finish funnel will be longer to ensure you can stay socially distanced going through it to collect your token. 

We will need to keep the scanning queues to a minimum and to do this we will have extra scanners on. If you are a fast finisher and have the Virtual Volunteer app downloaded you could help us here and jump into scanning mode if you see queues building up (just let the Run Director know what you are doing first).

Be ready to hold out your barcode and finish token so that they can be scanned at arms length. Finish tokens can then be placed in our normal tray box for later sorting. 

A reminder here that, in line with all other parkrun events, we are unable to accept digital barcodes on phones or watches. 

A physical barcode is required and this can either be simply printed on paper, laminated or plastic cards/tags or wristband.

To avoid volunteers huddling around devices in the park, results will be processed later in the day once at home so please allow extra time for them to come through. 

As the 5k event restarts so too can 11-14 year olds join back in with junior parkrun from Sunday 25th July. 


(not)parkruns will continue alongside the normal events, so if you cannot make Saturday morning you can still be involved. 

We’d like to say a big thank you to all those who have logged (not)parkrun times since it started. We do hope it has kept you motivated in some small way and hope to see you at the main event, especially those of you who have joined us during lockdown. 

Hope to see you at the start next Saturday!


‘To be honest, I’m glad its all over and now we can get back to some sort of normality’

Not sure if they were talking about the Euros, Wimbledon or parkrun.

I'm hoping it refers to the fact they we are back to parkrun on 24th July and this is the penultimate ‘not/parkrun/what the hell shall we talk about this week’ report. I’ve lost count of how many of these write - ups we’ve done, but as our last proper parkrun was on 14th March last year, it’s probably about 70.

Going back to the football analogy, Brian will deliver his final motivational words in next week’s report, to ensure that all runners and volunteers are ready for the kick - off at 9.00 a.m. on Saturday 24th, but after that you won’t have to suffer attempts from either of us trying to make writing about 30 people not running 5k sound interesting.

Our original aim was just to let you know the (not)parkrun results, which was well received for the first few weeks, but it became apparent that we needed something else. So, we updated on runner’s progress on their targets, we included ‘this time last year’, ‘this time 2 years ago…….’ but it was pictures that seemed to work the best and several captured the essence of Saturday parkrun, which we’ve all been missing.

The reports and (not)parkrun has helped lots of people stay engaged with parkrun, particularly during the dark winter months of lockdown when fortunately, there were other challenges, such as RED (Run Every Day) January which a lot of our runners were involved with. In fact, Simon Lock has continued the challenge and whilst most people were happy to retire after ‘Red 31’ at the end of January, he’s kept it up and today ran Red 194! Well done Simon, we look forward to seeing you celebrate Red 365 at the end of the year.

We’ve seen lots of our Saturday 5k runners join (not)parkrun and also attracted runners who are new to parkrun in any format.

But it was your reactions and comments that made the posts more interesting on facebook, where we now have more than 2,400 followers. Stats show that the most ‘engaging’ post over the past 16 months was;

‘Disappointing news that parkrun wasn’t starting again until 24th July’ – has reached over 1.6 k people and earned 242 engagements! Newark parkrun - Posts | Facebook

My personal favourite was ‘A picture of these 3 boys emerging from the woods.’ Lots of great pictures taken by Ross and Carol taken in the woods and a nice reminder of what we’ve been missing; Newark parkrun - Posts | Facebook.

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the posts, either by commenting or sharing your progress updates.

Brian and I are due a rest from report writing for a while, so if you’d like to help, please get in touch. It’s quite easy, you’ll probably have around 200 runners and plenty of stats to comment on, and with tourists and first timers at the park along with all of our regular parkrunners, there should be plenty to write about and lots of photo opportunities. Several people, including Juniors have written some great reports over the years and we can help if needed.


Jan and Phillipa

I was short on pictures this week, so delighted to see Jan’s You Tube clip, which is something different, showing him training on Beacon Hill with Chief Coach Philippa. They also met Brian, who I think was happy to complete just one ascent of the hill.

Here’s the clip  Saturday morning hills - YouTube and if you have a look at Jan’s You Tube Channel, you’ll see that he often trains in far more picturesque locations than Beacon Hill.

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Last week’s (not)parkrun results

21 of us completed 42 (not)parkruns last week, slightly up on the previous week.

Ally Shivas completed his 160th run, Fiona Whittingham ticked off 130, Liz Freshney 120, Paul Tilley 110 Well run all.

Rueben Shivas ran a massive pb of 21.28 to be first home this week. Rueben runs in the JM10 category, and smashed his previous pb of 23.57. He also ran at Junior parkrun on Sunday, where he was second in 8.05 behind Loxley Marshall who ran 7.46.

Michael Rose had the second fastest (not)parkrun time of the week in 22.54, just ahead of Peter Daniel in 23.10, who as usual had the highest age grade score of 78.06%.

Notfast Netty was first female in 24.57, with Liz Freshney next in 28.52.

Anne Gibbs ran a pb of 32.04 which has been on the cards for a while, as two weeks ago she was just 1 second away from her previous pb of 32.10.

Well run all, look forward to seeing you back at the park.


And finally

‘Bring us a magazine each will you please’. ‘Er….ok Mum’ but this proved to be more difficult than I thought.

I haven’t bought a magazine for years and last time I looked there was just the Radio times, Athletics weekly and Caravanning Monthly. So I was amazed by the selection at one of our local supermarkets, an amazing range of topics, interests and opinions.

Something for everyone and almost as diverse as parkrun. We cater for those who enjoy a walk around our lovely park, those who want to jog with their dog, or try to keep up with their kids. Those who are starting out on their first parkrun and those who proudly wear their 250 milestone T shirt. Those who enjoy a steady social run as well as the speed merchants who are chasing that sub 20 - minute time.

So, whether you’re a Farmer’s Weekly or Vogue, Model Railways or Kerrang, you’ll be very welcome back to your parkrun on Saturday 24th July.

That’s it then.






The countdown has begun

It’s July! parkrun restart (in England) month!

With Northern Ireland restarting last week, this week saw France restart and if you are following the global updates you will know that England is next. Lots of expectation management from government that the 19th July will see all restrictions lifted which means we will be ON for the following Saturday (24th). 

Core teams await an update from HQ on that this week but we think that we can say with some confidence to GET YOUR BARCODES READY! For those that have not run an event before you will need to make sure that you have a physical barcode with you on the day, be that printed out/laminated or wristband/plastic tags from here - Note, we cannot accept digital based barcodes. 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

Call for Volunteers

With the pending restart in mind we will be looking for volunteers to fill our rosters. So if you are able to help out please get in touch. 

Here’s the roster as it currently stands:

To whet your appetite the Aussies have started putting together some short videos on volunteering tasks. They can be found on the official parkrun YouTube channel and this one is on barcode scanning (my favourite role as you get to put names to faces):

(not)parkrun report

Last week we saw 18 parkrunners logging a total of 38 (not)parkruns. We think that (not)parkruns will continue to run alongside the physical event (as they have done for all countries that are already open) but we’ll need to see what HQ do. 

A couple of highlights to pick out from the results:

Matt Lee posted a personal best of 23:27. That’s significantly better than his actual PB so I’m sure he’ll be wanting to see what he can do when we return. 

Samantha Farrell (0 events) logged her 2nd (not)parkrun and also bettered her previous time by 8 minutes. 

Full report:

We’re nearly there. 



Almost managed to avoid mentioning the football, almost.

More parkruns are re- opening closer to home, with Northern Ireland being back in action on Saturday.

I couldn’t spot any regular Newark parkrunners there, but Andy and Sally Jeyes, keen tourists from Conkers who have visited Newark several times over the years, just happened to be in Northern Ireland and were pleased to be at Holly Cross College in a field of only 39 parkrunners.

We may get more than that when we start back at Newark, but armed with our new p.a. system we’ll ensure that everyone hears the run brief! Well done Brian on researching and finding this bargain piece of kit.


parkrunner’s updates;

There has been some amazing long - distance achievements recorded here over the last few months (there are more to come) and I know that some of them seem so remote from parkrun and out of reach for some of us, myself included. But ask any of our long – distance hero’s and they’ll probably tell you that they struggled to run their first mile and their first 5k when they were starting out, just like the rest of us!

So, if you’re just starting out on your running career, you never know where it may lead to. In the meantime, a reminder that parkrun continues caters for everyone of all abilities, whatever their aspirations.

The latest parkrunners to smash a long – distance challenge are Angela Brown and Annette Taylor. They have completed over 230 parkruns between them and are both Notfast runners known for their love of longer runs. In my case that would be 10k, which would be a warm - up for them.

In 2 days over last weekend, they completed The Race to the Castle starting in Newcastle, with an overnight campsite in Acklington and after a massive 103k (64miles) they were relived to arrive at the magnificent Bamburgh Castle and be rewarded with a can of lager (the event is sponsored by Heineken!)

I asked Angela how it went; it was a very tough event described by others as brutal in both weather conditions and terrain made up by the stunning scenery that could be seen on Sunday.

Sounds amazing. Well done both, what a great achievement. You deserve a few days rest and we’ll look forward to seeing you at parkrun soon.


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 Mike Munro

I’ve hit the gym at work to help with the extra distance and have been doing some shorter runs trying to settle my pace down. I always seem to set off too quickly paying the price later on. Oh, and yes, the past Hot Days certainly made me get out there early doors, but still it was so warm! Yesterday's (not)parkrun was a godsend albeit I always forget to log it #OldAge!

Hot days? Must be a while since you sent the update Mike, but good too hear you’re still working at it! Look forward to seeing you back at the park soon.


Several striders and plenty of parkrunners took to 2 wheels on Sunday to complete various distances up to 104 miles at the Giant Doddington Sportive.

Adding a second or even third discipline in addition to running is regularly recommended by coaches and other experts. Its gives you some variety, uses different muscles and in the case of cycling, you can stop at half - way for coffee and cake. This may be more difficult in the case of swimming.

Well done Sara – Jane Cobb, Jason Cobb, Stacy Atkins, Alison Harland, John Palmer, Steve Padgett, Simon Palmer, Steve White and apologies to any others I may have missed out.


CPR Training

Following our post a couple of weeks ago, this has been provisionally booked for Saturday 11th September, at 10.00 a.m. at the park. Newark Community First Aid can accommodate up to 20 people on this free session that lasts up to an hour. We’ve had a number of responses and if you’d like to add your name added to the list, please get in touch.


Results of last week’s (not)parkrun

Congratulations Ben Harrison on reaching your 150th (not)parkrun this week, that’s a great achievement and I don’t know of anyone who has done so many more (not)parkruns than the real version!  If anyone has, please let me know.

Ben started parkrunning at Newark in January last year and managed to get 7 in, with 5 personal bests, culminating in 30.07 in the final parkrun on 14th March.  Well done Ben in improving your (not)parkrun p.b. to 24.43 in May this year, you’ve obviously been training hard over the last 15 months.

He’s also a regular volunteer having been in action over 30 times at Junior parkrun.

Looking forward to seeing you at a Saturday run soon Ben.


And yes, you can find us on twitter too @newarkparkrun

Meanwhile, back at the park, 22 of us ran a total of 44 (not)parkruns last week.

In addition to Ben’s 150, well done Fiona Whittingham whose total went to over 120 last week. There are several who may hit the 50 or 100 mark in the next 4 weeks before we hope to re- commence parkrun proper on 24th July (we’re assuming that (not)parkrun will cease once we get started again). And don’t forget, you can post a (not)parkrun every day if you have the time and energy to run 5k every day.

No first timers this week, but another great p.b. for Hannah Jackson, who ran 22.47, the overall fastest of the week. Well run Hannah, training hard and having new shoes seems to help!

Peter Daniel posted another great time of 23.28 to give him the highest age – grade of the week again; 77.06%. And well - done Chris Cregg who had the second highest score of 69.4% for her run of 31.03 in the VW65- 69 category.

Have a good week, try to fit some runs around watching football, tennis, cycling, cricket – it’s a busy time for sport.





Can you hear us?

So, we can expect a few changes when we restart. Some of those are to ensure we are COVID compliant (longer funnel, more scanners, no PB bell or selfie frame), some have been made due to HQ branding decisions (pink hi-viz vests) but others are where we as a core team have felt that we could do with improvements. 

On the improvement side of things we have gone and purchased a PA speaker. We’ve long thought that sometimes we cannot be heard during the run brief and now that we will most likely be a bit more spaced out at the start we felt that it was about time we took the plunge and gave our voices some help!


It is being field tested this coming week so Bob’s update next week will most likely include how we got on and whether we have any eardrums left!

We’ve also purchased a couple of parkrun branded GUIDE bibs. These are deep purple in colour and will help when guiding those with visual impairments. 


On the course front, I met up with Simon Hill (the new park ranger) in the week. He’s only been with us a month but already he is looking at what he can do to make our course safer. 

He is a qualified Arborist and has cut a few branches back that were sticking out at the top of the steps and he has plans to cut all the trees back along past the football field after that point too. 

The bridge has become a little bouncy in places now and although Simon has had a go at making temporary repairs it may need something more fundamental going forwards. We have been asked to make a call on event day and if the grass at the side is dry enough, run around it. This will delay it deteriorating further. Obviously this will be marshalled and controlled. 

(not)parkrun report

This week we saw 27 parkrunners logging a total of 43 (not)parkruns between them.

Mandy Gurd has logged her 4th (not)parkrun and recorded a PB in doing so. 

Ann Gibbs celebrates her 50th (not)parkrun with a PB of her own. 

Ally Shivas has logged 3 (not)parkruns this week and that takes him past the 150 mark. Ally got in touch with us as he wanted to reflect on what (not)parkrun has meant to him:


On the 14th March 2020 I plodded round the parkrun course (for my 20th parkrun) with my son in just over 31 minutes. He was 2 weeks away turning 11 and being able to run without me slowing him down.

Days later we were consigned to our homes due to a nasty cough and high temperature in our household. The first National lockdown was announced and that was the end of parkrun. We were devastated in our house about this. Not only was parkrun stopping but so were all our other outlets.

I quickly realised that I am someone who craves community. 

As a teacher I missed the community at school - carrying out my duties from my home just wasn’t the same.

As a park runner I missed the wonderful parkrun community that had always welcomed me with shouts of encouragement and friendly faces.

So many places of community had been taken from us and it was at this point that the (not)parkrun community was born.

Over the past 15 months I have loved being part of the (not)parkrun community. It’s been great running with my friend (shout out to Paul Tilley) and cheering on people who I don’t even know (Netty is such a great runner and Ben Harrison has chucked out loads of (not)parkruns. I don’t even know most of the (not)parkrunners but each week it has provided me with a link to a community. This has helped me in so many ways but most notably to help me manage my own emotional health and well being. 

Every week without actual park run is a week too many but the virtual (not)parkrun has been a wonderful place for me to find community. 

Hopefully we will all be back soon!


Thanks Ally, nice to know it is helping and we’ll all soon be back to meet up physically. 

Well done all, keep up the good work and get ready for our return.

Here’s the full report:

Hang in there,


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