Newcastle parkrun poetry

The Park Run Family

Dads and daughters,

Mums and sons,

cousins, dogs, uncles,

the DNA of family runs.

Pain on the dirt track.

I can hear my brother’s breathing,

the drone of cars on the road,

but you turn the corner,

it goes quiet,

there’s just


Then-a cow’s moo,

the pong at Gate Two,

bad thoughts go round in your head,

I might wee, I might poo,

I might just


Thoughts spiral like genes.

Pushing a pram,

axels rattling on pebbles,

tunnel vision,

time slips in the gravel,

you claw it back

in the tarmac.

Baby squealing at the start,

wanting to go faster.

Knees crack,

hip burning as hot as the sun is,

look back at the line of runners

all along Grandstand Road.

Poo that smells like grass

in the heat,

avoid it on the track,

do a shimmy with your feet,

dog pulls you back.

The feeling of running past people,

the feeling of being overtaken.

One week the cows stampeded.

Every limb aching.

Today, I didn’t hear the skylarks.

Cheering, endorphins, cooling down, elated,

for these five k, we’re all related.


Newcastle 100th parkrun relay

1st      Trojan A (mens)                               15:34

2nd    Claremont RR (mens)                        17:43

3rd    Northumbria University (mixed)         17:52

4th    Trojan B (mens)                                 18:06

5th     Scott Logic (mixed)                           20:44

6th     Trojan Girls  (ladies)                         21:36

7th     Gateshead (mixed)                          21:52

8th     Hexham wooden spoons (mixed)   22:10

9th     Fetch Ed  (mixed)                            23:06

10th   Natalie's Team (mixed)                    23:15

11th   Angels of the North (ladies)           26:06

12th  "The kingdom" (mixed)                     28:10

Congratulations to the winning mens (Trojan A) and ladies (Trojan Girls) teams. Please get in touch to make arrangements to pick up your parkrun medals.

Well done to all the runners. Great parkrun spirit shown today.



2011 Great North Run results

Junior Great North Run


Amy Smith



Evan Smith



Oliver Daniels



Sophie Daniels



Great North Run


Ainhara Garcia Sagarzazu



Christine Almeida



Craig Smith




Darren McBain



Dave Daniels



Dave Eastwood



Gareth Davies



Graham Purvis



Hilary Shaw



Ian Kirtley




Jamie Boswell



Jane Bloomfield



Jiving K Boots



Jon Bell


(8 minute PB)


Kelvin Gower



Kerry Marshall



Kerry McAndrew



Kevin Lister




Mark Reynolds




Martin Wardle



Michael Ewing


(4 minute PB)


Nathan Sankar


(3m 29s quicker than 2010)

Paul Newton



Paul Wilkinson



PC David Rathband



Rachel Daniels


(14 minute PB)


Rob Wishart




Robert Brand




Ron Thorn



Sarah Moon



Simon Daniels



Stuart Norman


(5 mins quicker than 2010)

Sue Holdsworth




Newcastle parkrun #78

It's moments like this that I regret bunking off school so often and missing out on an education. Otherwise I'd be able to describe Saturday's proceedings more eloquently, without using glib terms such as 'super', 'smashing' or 'great'. But I can't, so all I can say is, wasn’t the latest parkrun a great spectacle. I thought last week's event was a show stopper - with an abundance of PB's in glorious weather conditions - yet this one went beyond anyone's wildest imaginations.

To be honest the day began on a slightly down-beat note, with over-cast skies and a strong westerly wind making running conditions quite difficult. It also appeared, as I made my way over to the starting area, that the number of runners may be lower than last week's attendance of 240. But that was understandable given the poor weather. Anyhow, on my way to the start line I bumped into course record holder, Ian Hudspith (Morpeth Harriers), and jokingly asked, 'Going for a new course record today?', to which he replied something along the lines of, 'The windy conditions won't help'. Typical, on one of the few occasions Ian graces Newcastle with his presence, the Gods transpire to give us awful racing conditions. If only he had run a week earlier I thought to myself.
Following the pre-run speech by Race Director, Sue Holdsworth, a special announcement was made, wishing good-bye and good luck to parkrun regular, Steve Harknett, who is leaving these shores to begin a new job in Sri Lanka. As a leaving gift, the Race Directors presented Steve with a Newcastle parkrun themed t-shirt which we hope will remind him of the good times he had at Newcastle and all the people he will be leaving behind. Hopefully, Steve will be Race Directing his own little Sri Lanka 'parkrun' in the near future and if he ever needs help with the results he knows who to contact.
Back to the run, and as this was our monthly paced event, and I was one of the pacers, I had a fantastic opportunity to witness close at hand the very best runners in action during the race. Or so I thought. Because before I had even run 500 metres, the leaders were virtually out of sight. I could just make out the safety bike, and if my eyes weren't playing tricks on me, I could have sworn the lead runner was actually side-by-side with the bike. Reaching the 1k marker, I could see up ahead the lead runners were already making their way along Grandstand Road, and as I approached the 3k marker I was able to look across the moor and spot the leading runner, Ian Hudspith, making great progress towards the 4k marker. I'm not ashamed to admit, watching Ian in full stride was a joy to behold. A short time later, as I passed the 4k marker and went through the final gate, I looked over to my left, where normally I can watch the finishing stages of the run, but strangely there was no sight of either the safety bike or the lead runners. Hmm!!!
Having completed my run, I stood next to Ian Kirtley (Race Timer) to assist with the recording of the times and happened to glance down at the list of times written down so far during the event. The first one read 14.36. No way. 'Was that the winning time?' I asked. 'Yep.', Ian replied, 'By Ian Hudspith.'
He had actually bettered his previous course record by 14 seconds. And in non-favourable conditions too. To put his run in context, in the 18 months Newcastle parkrun has been going, virtually every top class North East athlete has ran the event, but none of them, other than Ian, has managed to get under the 15 minutes barrier. Unsurprisingly, following his record breaking run, Ian achieved his highest ever Age Grading at parkrun of 93.49%, and his time was the quickest on the day at any parkrun event.  
Finishing in 2nd place was James Buis (Heaton Harriers), whose time of 15.58 was his second quickest at parkrun, while in 3rd place was debutant Mark Brown of Morpeth Harriers, completing his run in 16.42.
In the ladies event, first finisher of the day was Gateshead athlete, Alex Snook, who ran a PB of 17.48. In second and third places were Claire Simpson (Chester Le Street) and Keri Pearson (Elvet Striders) respectively, with times of 17.52 and 20.42.
As the morning went on, and runners began to stream across the finishing line, Ian and I began to wonder if we would get close to last week's attendance. Ha! Not only did we get close but we sailed past it, eventually reaching a new record attendance of 279. Massive thanks to everyone who came along to help Newcastle achieve this tremendous landmark and with good fortune - and some decent weather - it won't be long until we pass the 300 mark. 
Despite the strong wind making running difficult around the course, we had a grand total of 58 runners making their parkrun debut and a magnificent 48 runners managing to record PB's on the day. The poor conditions didn't hinder the quality of runs either, because Ian Hudspith withstanding, a further 7 athletes still achieved an Age Grading in excess of 80%. They were, Claire Simpson 83.40%, Alex Snook 83.15%, Phil Walker (Morpeth Harriers) 82.83%, Pamela Gold (Heaton Harriers) 82.61%, James Buis 82.15%, David McGuckin (Chester Le Street) 81.32% and Annette Hames 81.09%. Well done to all. 
Readers of last week's report will no-doubt recall the epic battle between parkrun regulars Craig Smith and Steve Harknett, to determine who would claim second place in the points table before Steve's departure this week. And following Steve's victory last week, it was the turn of Craig to claim 'moral' victory this week, finishing 24th as opposed to Steve's 32nd place, and thereby climbing above him in the table. However, there's a twist in the tale, because sneaking up on the blindside we have Paul Wilkinson, with his finish of 19th position earning him enough points to rise above both Craig and Steve in the table and claim second place for himself. Can Paul now do the unthinkable and catch current points leader, Kevin Lister? We'll have to wait and see.
One final mention regarding Saturday's event, and that is to congratulate Mark Reay on completing his 50th parkrun. Although only 47 have been at Newcastle (2 were ran at Sunderland and the other at Leeds), when you consider Mark is a regular volunteer, he would surely have achieved this fabulous milestone some time ago, so well done Mark.
As always, special thanks to all the volunteers for they help this weekend, especially the registration team who had to persevere with some technical difficulties with the scanning equipment. Hopefully any bugs in the system will be sorted out before the next event (especially as I'm down for that particular role).
And finally, just a reminder that someone very dear to Newcastle parkrun will be making a welcome return next week. 
Yes folks, Ms parkrun herself, Niyc Pidgeon, will be back, so please bring along as many people as you can and let's make it a very special occasion.

Event #77

After a week of verbal sparring between two of the sport's most respected compititors it was time for the talking to stop and the action to begin.
So ladies and gentlemen, lets get ready to RUMBLE!!!!

In the red corner, or rather in his red 50th t-shirt, was Craig Smith, 19 runs this year, 2 volunteer roles and in joint 2nd positionin the points table with 1831 points.
And in the white corner, looking resplendent in his 'lucky' white Blyth 10k t-shirt, was Steve Harknett, with 21 runs, 2 volunteer roles and seeking to secure out-right 2nd place from his rival (and good friend) before departing in a few weeks time to take up an overseas posting.

Conditions for the contest could not have been better, with the town moor swathed in warm sunlight. And for the first time inliving memory (or at least for the last few months anyway) there wasn't a breath of wind in the air. It wasn't just going to be Craig and Steve feeling the heat, but everyone else too.

As the Hopping's Fun Fair had departed the moor this meant a return to the original course, and as 9 o'clock passed, the mass of runners made their way around the route.

First finisher of the day, James Buis (Heaton Harriers), made light work of the humid conditions by dipping under 16 minutes for only the second time in his parkrun history by clocking a time of 15m 59s. His fabulous run earned James an Age Grading of 82.06%. In 2nd place was Tony Carter (Tyne Bridge Harriers), with a time of 16m 34s, closely followed in 3rd place by Ash Henderson (Blyth Harriers), in a time of 16m 44s.

Congratulations must also go to Patrick Duffy (Crook Harriers), who became the latest male athlete to get his name on the list of 'Sub 17' runners. His time of 16m 57s earning him the honour as 58th fastest male runner at Newcastle parkrun.

For the second consecutive week, first lady finisher was Alison Dargie of Elswick Harriers. Her new PB of 18m 07s helped Alison achieve an Age Grading of 82.89%. 2nd and 3rd female finishers were Sarah Lemon (Heaton Harriers) and Dianne Ford respectively. But without doubt the performance of the day was by Christine Lee (Elswick Harriers), who not only ran a new PB of 24m 21s, but also recorded an amazing Age Grading of 91.03%, placing her second on the all-time list of Age Grading's at Newcastle Parkrun.  

Yes, yes, but what about the titanic contest between Craig and Steve I hear you cry. Well, in the end there was a clear winner, and that person was...Steve. But he needed to run a PB to fend off the challenge from Craig, and his time of 18m 22s was a mighty 12 seconds quicker than his previous best. Finishing in 22nd position, as opposed to Craig's 28th position, now means Steve has a 6 point lead over Craig in the overall points table. But seriously, both guys are a tremendous credit to Newcastle parkrun, and I know whichever way the finishing order had been on Saturday, they would have congratulated each other at the end.

The fine weather must have inspired the good folk of the North East as we had a fantastic turn-out of 240 runners. And of those 240, 26 were making their first appearance at Newcastle and a magnificent 89 managed to run PB's. As mentioned earlier, one parkrunner managed to obtain an Age Grading in the 90's - which is classed as International standard, but as a measure of strength at Newcastle we also had nine runners recording a grading of 80% or more. So, as well as James and Alison, well done to the following athletes for their terrific performances, Pamela Gold (85.90), Howard Gold (83.54), Stephen Marshall (82.79), Annette Hames (82.15), Gavin Sword (81.61), Paul Hilton (81.52) and Mark Hall (81.20%). 

I'd dearly love to mention everyone who ran a PB too but I've been told the website might crash if I did so I'd just say congratulations to you all. Whether you dipped under 18 minutes or 28 minutes you should be mightly proud of your achievement.

Finally, a mention to the team of volunteers, without whom, parkrun couldn't go ahead. They may not get gradings or PB's but insome strange way they're probably the stars of the show every weekend and deserve just as much praise. Thanks guys.


Event 76#

Before reporting on Saturday's parkrun I'd like to mention the fantastic job carried out by the team of volunteers.

With the Hopping’s fun fair in town for their annual two week visit, it was necessary to use an alternative 5k route around the Town Moor and this meant extra volunteers were required to marshal the vehicle access points into the fun fair.  Thankfully, many of the regular parkrunner's gave up their weekly run and I'm pleased to say the event passed by without incident. So for this week only, a roll call for the army of volunteers; Ben Smith, David Lennon, David Shaw,  Fred & Jeff Henderson, Ian & Richard Kirtley, Kirstin Farquhar, Malcolm & Pat Craighead, Robbie Wishart, Robert Brand, Roland Peacock, Stephen Dixon,  Steve Harknett, Sumanth Nayak, Tove Elander and Will Griffin. Thanks to you all. 

Anyway, on with the run and it was a great day for local running club, Heaton Harriers, who not only had the first finisher of the day, James Buis in a time of 16m 16s, but also had the highest age grading runners in both male and female categories. Pamela Gold, with a time of 24m 53s, recorded a superb 83.66% (the highest of the day), and Howard Gold earned a grading of 83.33%, thanks to his time of 20m 30s. Heaton also provided the second finisher of the day, Jamie Thom with a time of 16m 44s, and had 19 of their members competing in the event.  Cheers for their support to Newcastle parkrun.

Ensuring Heaton didn't take all the spoils on the day was Elswick Harrier, Alison Dargie, who was first female finisher in a time of 18m 25s. Alison finished 7th overall and also achieved an age grading of 81.54%. Second female finisher was Emma Laura Williams (unattached), who clocked a new PB of 19m 40s. Well done Laura.

Incidentally, making up the group of runners achieving an age grading of 80% or over were; James Buis 80.64% and Annette Hames 82.15%. 

There was a great turn-out of 194 runners for event #76, and out of those 194, 31 were running Newcastle parkrun for the first time and a whopping 56 runners managed to record a new PB (I'm definitely not listing all those as I'll be here all day). Whether that was down to the perfect running conditions or the revised route we will never know but congratulations to each and every one of them nonetheless.  Sadly, it's back to the original course next week, rough track and all, but race organisers are currently checking whether the course can be permanently revised, so keep checking the news page for latest developments. However, new course or not, we won't be keeping one of the burger vans from the Hopping's fair, no matter how strong the demands are.

As we approach the half-way stage in this year's points competition, it is parkrun regular, Kevin Lister, out in front on his own with a total of 1983 points. Hot on his heels, and in joint second place, are Craig Smith and Steve Harknett, both on 1829 points. In the ladies competition, Annette Hames has a comfortable lead over second placed lady, Dianne Ford, with 2242 points against 2017.

With summer supposedly approaching, it's a good time to remind everyone that Newcastle parkrun is always on the look-out for new volunteers, never more so during the holiday period. If you're interested in helping out at a future event please contact the Race Director at the following email address


Newcastle parkrun #74 Race Report

We often read how top British Athletes like to go abroad to sample the ‘African way’ of running. Living in basic accommodation, training two or three times a day, and doing nothing except ‘eat, train and sleep’.  24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the hope of knocking a few seconds off their PB times.  But maybe, just maybe, training methods for elite runners are about to be turned upside down?

Lining up in today’s Newcastle parkrun was Ethiopian runner, Tadele Geremew, who having registered 2h 13m in the 2009 Frankfurt Marathon obviously knows a thing or two about running.  And after witnessing his terrific performance today, cruising home first in a time of 15m 39s, you have to wonder whether African athletes have hit upon a new process of running faster.  Go somewhere bitterly cold where you have no other option but to run fast or you’ll freeze to death.  And you don’t get much colder than the Newcastle Town Moor on a windy day. 

If Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie make their parkrun debuts in the next few weeks then we’re definitely onto something.

On a more serious note, congratulations must go to Justina Heslop on setting a new Female Course Record in a time of 16m 18s.  Amazingly, not only did Justina better her previous PB - and old course record - by 14 seconds in blustery conditions, but she achieved it just two days after winning the 2011 Blaydon Race, whilst some regular Newcastle parkrunners who also did the Blaydon Race complained that they were still not fully recovered from their race.  And if that course record wasn’t enough, Justina also recorded the highest Age Grading of the day, a remarkable 91%.  Incidentally, Justina’s time is only 7 seconds short of the global parkrun course record for a female competitor, currently held by Kenyan athlete, Gladys Chemweno.

As delighted we are to have international athletes at Newcastle parkrun, it was equally pleasing to see some of our local athletes have fine performances today.  None more so than parkrun regular James Buis (Heaton Harriers), who like Justina, also raced two days earlier and actually led today’s event during the early stages.  Nonetheless, James still finished in second place, in a time of 16m 05s, and by doing so achieved an age grading of 81.55%.

Other athletes attaining an Age Grading in excess of 80% were; Phil Walker (Morpeth Harriers) 84.57%, and Brian Cook (Sunderland Harriers) 80.45%.

As always, special thanks to the team of volunteers who helped today go by without a hitch.  It really is a case of people sacrificing their own run in order for the event to go ahead.

A mention too for the 5 pacers out on the course today, David Daniels, Kevin Lister, Mark Reay, Steven Bond and Robert Brand, who have all attracted praise for their efforts to help other parkrunners achieve their personal goals.  When people describe the pacers as ‘inspirational’ then we know Newcastle parkrun is on the right lines.  Paced events take place on the second Saturday of every month, and together with the usual 20, 25, 30 and 35 minutes pacing runs, we are also providing an extra pacer to run a specific time at the request of our parkrunners.  So whether you’re aiming for 17.45 or 27.45, get in touch and we will endeavour to help you run your target.



Well done london marathoners!

Let's celebrate the achievements of some of our parkrunners who achieved great things at London on Sunday!

Race Director and parkrunner David Daniels 2:50:01

Cheryl Parkin 4:14:09 First Marathon

Volunteer, @newcparkrun twitter manager, parkrunner Craig Smith 3:19:01 PB by 11 minutes

Peter Foggo 3:44:04

Volunteer and parkrunner, Rob Kirtley 4:18:12 PB

Kim Bluck 3:21:28

Shaun Dunlop at Madrid 3:02:24

Rob Wishart at Scotland Kilomathon in 21st place!! 1:51:54

Well done all, you are all stars!


Our first paced parkrun!

We have already had some great feedback with regards to our new pacing system, and we would love to hear any other feedback you might have - so do leave a comment below!

There will be one paced run each month, which will take place on the second saturday of every month, with times of 20, 25, 30 and 35 minutes being paced.

We may also introduce a 19 minute pacer for next months run as this seems to be a time that a lot of people would like to achieve.

Your next paced run at Newcastle parkrun will take place on Saturday 9th April!


Did anybody find a black waterproof pair of gloves at the end of the run on Saturday? A parkrunner has lost these and so if you did manage to find them then please hand them to a volunteer the next time you are at Newcastle parkrun.


Newcastle parkrun #54

Once we regularly get 200 runners at Newcastle parkrun we will be issued with a second scanning device. This will cut registration queue times by a half and will make your parkrun experience even better than usual. So lets try and get more than 200 runners for the next few weeks at least! Get those new year running shoes on and make sure you keep those resolutions!

The coffee cart will be at the finish line each week so you can get a much needed hot drink to rewarm.

See you in the park!


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