Newbury parkrun – Event 33 (15 September 2012)

With the Royal County of Berkshire show taking place today at Newbury Showground we thought many of our regular runners may switch their allegiance from chasing the satisfaction of a new personal best to the potential reward of a yellow rosette for fourth place in the "Largest Marrow" competition at the showground. However, with Greenham Common once again basking in beautiful early autumnal conditions this week, it seems that the majority of you couldn't resist your Saturday morning boost of oxygen-deprived, lung busting pleasure: 213 runners finished today's parkrun, with 16% of you completing the course for the first time.

Whilst we lacked tangible examples of agricultural brilliance at today's parkrun, this was more than made up for by the natural splendour of Greenham Common and its native flora and fauna (where the cattle are now such a regular fixture we hear the sportiest cattle are on the verge of signing up for barcodes).

Many of our regular runners chose to forfeit today's run (or "take it easy") as they were running in the popular (and highly beautiful) Highclere 10k the following day. We were therefore quite surprised when we analysed the results to discover there were 68 new personal bests today - that's an almost unheard of 39% of the field! Although the conditions were good, they certainly can't be totally to blame for such fast running and the results are surely testament to some very dedicated training taking place in the Newbury area.

Before the run got underway today, we had the enjoyable task of presenting some of our junior runners with their "10 club" t-shirts. The "10 club" t-shirts are awarded to all parkrunners aged 19 and under who complete 10 parkruns (so a massive 50km of total running).

Today we awarded t-shirts to Ellie Williams and Jack Amor. Ellie is one of our top young female athletes, and is a regular top three finisher at Newbury (she was third today!). Ellie ran her first parkrun on 3 March, and has improved her personal best since that first run by 1 minute and 41 seconds. Her best time is now an impressive 22:21, and yesterday's run was her thirteenth in total. Jack has also now completed thirteen runs at Newbury - rather impressive considering her only started parkrunning in June. During that time, he's managed to reduce his personal best by over a minute and we know there's a lot more to come! Jack's also lent his hand to volunteering recently, showing his versatility as a parkrunner! Well done to both of you, and we look forward to awarding you 50 club t-shirts in the not-too-distant-future (for more explanation about the parkrun "club" system - it's not only for juniors! - then please click here).

Ellie Williams (50 club) Jack Amor (10 club)

In today's parkrun, we welcomed back Frimley Lodge parkrun regular Ryan Brookling (VM40-44) who took his first win at Newbury in 17:16. We know Ryan will be back soon to attempt to claim his place in the exclusive "sub-17" club - and also to add further to his win count (Ryan is second place in the overall parkrun "Most first finishes" table). Previous winner Neil Jones (SM20-24) of Newbury AC ran just a few seconds outside his personal place to finish second in 17:37, with James Moorcroft putting in an exceptionally solid run to cross the line third in 17:49.

In the ladies' race, it was lovely to welcome back Sandra Bowers (VW35-39) of Winchester & District AC with her beautiful canine running companions. Whilst today wasn't the fastest the Sandra and the huskies have run at Newbury (we think they were a little too keen off the startline having not run Newbury for a few weeks), the excellent time of 18:16 was enough to earn Sandra's sixth first placed finished out of six appearances as well as earning her today's highest age graded score of 83.07%. Emily Gray (JW14) of Team Kennet finished as second placed female today, reducing her personal best by a further seven seconds to finish in 22:21 - an excellent time for a junior runner. Today's 10 club inductee, Ellie Williams (JW14) of Team Kennet finished in third with a time of 22:58.

As usual though, we enjoyed seeing equally impressive (and, in many cases, more impressive runs throughout the whole field). Sam Coleman was pleased to finish his first ever parkrun and put down a marker to beat next time. Jo Darby was happy to get round with the help of some excellent pacing from Colin Brassington, and Karen Thompson put in another excellent run (yes you did, Karen!) to show excellent consistency (those times will start tumbling soon, we know it!). One of the happiest people at the finish line today was Liz Harkness (VW60-64) of Newbury AC who was ecstatic to knock 12 seconds off her Newbury best and edge ever closer to the elusive 80% age graded target. Anne Wenlock was also pleased to run a new personal best, with Jo Amor demonstrating her streak of improvement by knocking another 35 seconds from her time. Young Baxter Cowhig showed his prize of July parkrunner of the month paid dividends by running a one minute personal best in his new (shiny) shoes fitted by Sweatshop, and a huge "well done" must go to Sarah Massey: Sarah's initial comment that her running was improving by the fact she was "pleased to pass another runner today" was concreted by a massive 105 seconds off her personal best! We're also going to mention Rob Hall: whilst Rob's greatest achievement today was "singing" whilst running, we hear he's off to Havant parkrun for a few weeks and is deserting us at Newbury! Hopefully this report-induced guilt trick will see him returning very soon. We'll even tell him he sounded like the late Pavarotti if that induces loyalty. Maybe.

Today of course couldn't have happened if it wasn't for our wonderful team of volunteers (who were particularly wonderful today - and adaptable - after a few unavoidable drop-outs). Thank you therefore to Claire and Carole Lowe, Chi Yeung, Clive Williams, Colin Brassington, Dexter Haywood, Florence Barry, Mark Shepherd, Martin Jezzard, Michael Futcher, Mike Sheridan, Mike Phillips (and family!), Nigel Grantham and Sarah Thorne. We always need volunteers every week (and it's also highly satisfying - and you get extra points for helping out!) then please mail us at to be put on the list.

After 33 events, 1,852 athletes from 109 athletics clubs have now completed 6,960 runs on the Newbury parkrun course, running a cumulative total of 34,800km. The women's course record is held by Sandra Bowers who ran 16:14 in event #17 on 2 June 2012 and the men's course record is held by Ian Reade who ran 16:05 in event #19 on 9 June 2012. The age graded record is held by Sandra Bowers who recorded a 93.22% in event #17.

Mags Scarlett still leads the women's points competition with 2,180 points with Carol Lowe just 6 points behind with 2,174 points. James Moorcroft leads the men's competition with 2,444 points with Paul Hendry currently runner up with 2,058 points.

After the event, we go to the wonderful Coffee Exchange on Greenham Business Park for wonderful home made food, tea and coffee. Please come and join us to chat about running, life, or even share stories about the old US Airforce base! Coffee Exchange have opened especially for Newbury parkrunners, so it is important we continue to support it. If you haven't heard about them, the cafe makes absolutely legendary rock cakes (which are normally still warm when we arrive as they're now having to bake extra ones on Saturday morning!). They have to be eaten to be believed!

Don't forget you can keep up to date with the latest Newbury parkrun chat through our Facebook page (Link) and via Twitter (Link). We're also always looking for more volunteers (and don't forget you get extra points each time you volunteer!) so please email if you are interested in being added to the volunteer database (and it is only right to be able to give some of the people who help each and every week a chance to run sometimes).

We are also currently looking at people who would like to have a go at being a Race Director. This doesn't mean you have to organise the whole event - just be around to ensure all volunteers know what they're doing, can give a little talk before the race and just oversee the running of the event. You don't even have to process the results! 

We'd also like to remind you that , although the nesting season is now over on Greenham Common, it is extremely important that you respect the flora and fauna of the area. To find out more information about the wildlife on the common, please refer to the downloadable leaflet "Welcome to Crookham and Greenham Common" which provides an excellent summary.

Please take note of the following announcements:

  1. Parking: We now have parking at the English Provinder Company thanks to Paul Hendry. We're extremely grateful to the EPC for allowing us use of their facility, but please ensure you follow the car park marshal's orders as we're not allowed to use all of it. Ensure you do not drop litter and treat the facility carefully.
  2. Running with dogs: We love the fact that people run with dogs! It is a joy to watch so many canine friends obviously enjoying the run as much as their owners. However, if you are going to run with your dog, please ensure you fit your dog with a harness rather than a collar (rather like the young lady in the picture on this report). This is for their own comfort. If you'd like to learn more about running with dogs (or even want to go "up a gear" and try cani-cross racing) then the Cani-Cross UK website provides a wealth of information for you to get started.
  3. Registration: A number of people have asked where their t-shirts are for the 10, 50 and 100 clubs. It is vitally important that, if Newbury is your regular parkrun, you ensure you are registered to it as your "home run". If you don't and you don't specify where you would like your t-shirt to be delivered to, it will, by default, be delivered to the event where you are registered and it can take some time before we can arrange handover or for the shirts to be rerouted. You can update your details at anytime by following the link on the weekly parkrun newsletter.

Any suggestions, ideas and feedback are always welcome to

See you next week!

Rachael Elliott (Event Director)