Northampton parkrun report #416

Pride Northampton parkun #416

Red and yellow, and pink and blue, purple and orange, and green.

Half of those colours can't actually even be found in a rainbow, but that didn't stop them being on display at Northampton parkrun #416.

That's because today's event was a celebration of Pride and the LGBTQ community.

Pride events usually take place in June - a nod towards the Stonewall riots that invigorated  the movement - but like almost everything these days many have suffered a Covid-inspired delay.

Northampton parkrun's small contribution saw the course's usual army of cheerful volunteers decked out in hats, wigs, flags and all manner of funky costumes and colours (I'm looking at you on the last one, Bryan Lewin!).

Pride Northampton parkun #416

There was a festival spirit as 326 runners - including 32 first timers - sprinted, jogged and bounced their way around a bright, if muggy, Abington Park.

At least one unicorn was spotted, but thankfully personal bests were most common than this rarest of mythical creatures, with 26 being clocked up.

Pride Northampton parkun #416

Even more colour was added to the course through the shining shirts of the 32 different clubs represented, demonstrating the strength and variety of the running community in Northampton and beyond.

The field was headed by Andy Heather, who rushed round in 17:32, while the first woman round was Angharad Pryce in 22:13.

A special mention as well to Steven Allen, who completed his 100th parkrun on his 70th birthday - not a bad double celebration - and to Ralph Stahmann who celebrated his birthday as everyone should by volunteering to give out finish tokens.

Pride Northampton parkun #416

All that remains to be said from a colourful 416th Northampton parkrun is a massive thank you to our volunteers (listed below) and remember, Richard (Red) Of (Orange) York (Yellow) Gave (Green) Battle (Blue) In (Indigo) Vain (Violet).

Now you can sing a rainbow properly!

Pride Northampton parkun #416


David FROST • Gabrielle DEERE • Stavros CARAYANNIS • Leigh BARKER • Mick CONROY • Bryan LEWIN • Peter CURRINGTON • James CUSHING • Michelle LEWIS • Craig LEWIS • Chloe TALLETT • Ralph STAHMANN • Kathryn HALL • Esther POULUS • Cormac CLEARY • Esme CUSHING • Jo CODNER • Katherine MCFADIAN • Dannii LEVI • Elaine STARMER • Lynette PARK • Bec LAMBERT • Lee WADE • Julie FITZELL • Jeff BATTISON • Alfie STARMER • Cheryl COLLIN • Ben CURRINGTON • Claire HEDGES • Lorraine SMITH • Dale TEBBUTT • Helen BRIGGS

Run report by Craig Lewis


Northampton parkrun #413-#415 – by Bryan Lewin

Hola! I returned to my usual spot this week after a couple of Saturdays away (where I swapped St Georges Avenue for a coastal route near Santa Eulària des Riu, in Ibiza) and it seems that I missed some outstanding performances by parkrun participants (and, as always, volunteers!).

On 21 August Sophie Harris improved the record female time that she had set seven days earlier, by twelve seconds, to finish in 16.33 (with a third best ever age grade of 89.43%) - but even that time was not good enough to surpass Finlay Ward (JM 15-17), fresh from excelling in steeplechase events at regional and national level, who smashed his previous PB to finish first in 16.28.

Mark Hill is no stranger to being a first finisher - on 28 August he did so for the 35th time, equalling Luke Greer at the top of the table. Mark’s PB time of 16.10 is second on the VM 35-39 all-time list. Eva Stuart-Hill (JW 11-14) was first female - also with a new PB, of 20.48. Perhaps most impressively, Cecil Schumacher notched 34.31 to register the best ever time at the Racecourse … for someone in the VM 85-89 age category!

This week, David Ball crossed the finish line first in 17.33 (which, amazingly, is the exact time that David clocked in his previous two parkruns (when he wasn’t accompanying others)! Jess Lamb (JW 11-14) was first female with a Racecourse PB of 20.35, although she ran 20.21 recently at Sixfields Upton parkrun. I’m not sure if they’re related but other Lambs – Nathan (JM 11-14 - 17.45), Paul (VM 50-54 – 20.54) and Bella (JW 10 – 22.44) all ran PBs as well.

Over the last three weeks a number of milestones have been reached - and, if you weren’t already aware, there are volunteering equivalent T-shirts to claim/purchase; the (matching) range now comprises j10, 25, 50, 100, 250 and 500 for everyone involved. Louise Maguire (50), Rachel Fearnley (50), Lee Wade (100), Stephen Walter (100), Liz Dabell (100) and Richard Lack (100) all qualified for merchandise. Unofficial milestones were achieved by erstwhile Run Director Daniel Gillert (150), Michael Howell (200) and Zoe White (300) - who zoomed round to celebrate, equalling her PB of 31.42, which she set in 2017, aided and abetted by fellow Wellingborough and District AC colleague, Emma Robinson.

Lots of first timers, loads of PBs and a goodly number of 80%-plus on the age grade thingy – too many to mention by name, but a few random references to the following. Bethany Conroy ran a PB on 28 August in 23.33 – and repeated that precise time on 4 September. Samson.g Kidan ran a PB on 21 August in 19.58 – and repeated that precise time on 28 August. Local MP for Daventry, Chris Heaton-Harris, made his Racecourse debut on 4 September after running his first parkrun at the two-laps-on-sand Great Yarmouth North Beach event the week before (fellow local football referee Wayne Chalmers, who ran it on 21 August, commented that “parkruns do not come more challenging than this”). The number of runners, joggers, walkers and wheelers are gradually increasing each week and so, therefore, is the need for more volunteers. I’m told that, in my absence, Bec Lambert’s vocal encouragement was warmly welcomed by all that passed her on that corner – if not by one local resident! Be like Bec – think how you could support Northampton parkrun by volunteering occasionally. Adiós!

Bryan Sept 2021


#413 Northampton parkrun report

This week 344 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 47 were first timers and 42 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 30 different clubs took part.

413 parkrun

The event was made possible by 26 volunteers:

Dean SHEARS • Jenaya SMITH • Leigh BARKER • Mick CONROY • Peter DIXON • Eamon KENNEDY • Alastair RAPLEY • Michelle LEWIS • Andy LACK • Kathryn HALL • Bobby CHATTERJEE • Cormac CLEARY • Matt BUSHELL • Ian HARPER • Sara HALL • Deborah ARMSON • Dannii LEVI • Russell HILL • Bec LAMBERT • Sherrill CASON • Julie FITZELL • Mark DEAN • Ben CARTER • Emily ARMSON • Ian MACSPORRAN • Lorraine SMITH

413 Volunteers

Daniel celebrated his 150th parkrun and Richard (orange top next picture down) completed his 100th.

413 Daniel

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

The male record is held by Andrew BADDELEY who recorded a time of 14:52 on 16th April 2016 (event number 207).
The female record is held by Sophie HARRIS who recorded a time of 16:33 on 21st August 2021 (event number 413).

413 Sophie

The Age Grade course record is held by Angela COPSON who recorded 105.64% (20:24) on 25th April 2015 (event number 156).

Northampton parkrun started on 5th May 2012. Since then 16,211 participants have completed 146,404 parkruns covering a total distance of 732,020 km, including 25,173 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,354 individuals have volunteered 8,817 times.


#412 by Bryan Lewin

Having re-started after a near-500 day disruption, we were then forced to endure two cancelled Saturdays because of events on the Racecourse … but little did we realise that our delayed resumption to near-normality, Northampton parkrun #412 on 14th August 2021, would be a record-breaking occasion!

412 - Start line

The first three home were all first timers with us and pride of place went to Herne Hill Harrier Sophie Harris (SW 25-29). In her second parkrun (her first was at Corby on Christmas Day 2017), Sophie became our first-ever female first finisher with a scintillating best female time of 16.45, knocking virtually half a minute off Emily Waugh’s previous record, and registering the 7th all-time best, of 88.36%, on our Age Graded League. First male home, second overall with 17.03, was Declan Brandley, who has run most frequently at the Aachener Weiher parkrun in Cologne. In any normal week, Lauren Hall’s 17.24 would have enabled her to finish where she normally does in a parkrun – first female - but her time does rank third on our all-time list.

412 parkrunners 236967975_4198301280266639_3441481030320660040_n

In total, 317 ran, jogged, walked and wheeled our course, of whom 41 were first timers with us (and 19 of those had never before participated in any parkrun). Lisa Catherine Swan visited us for the first time, having previously completed 341 parkruns, mainly in the Brighton area. We had 43 parkrunners who recorded new PBs. Phil Brigden was fourth home with 17.49; it was his seventh parkrun at the Racecourse and he’s beaten his previous time on every occasion. Just a couple of other PB mentions – Nathan Scarsbrook (JM 15-17), who lopped a chunk off his previous best time (25.06), recording 20.12, and Julie Boshell (VW 55-59), who was going round in about 38 minutes before the pandemic break, stormed home in 32.46.

Sophie Harris, Lauren Hall, Chris Bell and Phil Brigden all impressively recorded over 80% on the age graded thingy.

On the milestone front, Lindsay Reeves, recorded her much-awaited 300th at the Racecourse (and 391st overall), Allyson Swan completed her 250th (244 at Northampton) and the inspirational ultra runner Michael Williams (VM 70-74) celebrated his 200th in 23.07, encouraged by a contingent of fellow Northampton Road Runners. Lindsay, Allyson and Michael have all been stalwart supporters of Northampton parkrun since the start, in 2012. Piotr Streciwilk (100) and Cheryl Hirons (50) also had reason to celebrate and both can now claim their T-shirts.

412 - Lindsay 300th
Lindsay Reeves (sparkly leggings)
412 - Michael 200th
Michael Williams (holding drink)

Miscellaneous mention (1) to Neil Martin (VM 55-59) who ran his first-ever parkrun in 27.01 and who has a namesake. I happened to bump into Neil Martin (VM 60-64) jogging on his way to volunteer on Saturday (he stopped and walked with me!). This Neil has done 235 parkruns (206 at Northampton) and his most recent run at the Racecourse was on 14th March 2020 … in the spookily coincidental time of 27.01!! Miscellaneous mention (2) to Claire O’Connor (VW 45-49). Claire’s ‘usual’ parkrun is an out-and-back route along the Chesapeake and Ohio canal towpath in Washington DC. This weekend, local girl Claire should have been back here celebrating an event in her life far more memorable and enjoyable than parkrun, but the nuptials were sadly postponed for covid reasons. Miscellaneous mention (3) jointly to Carole James (WWC) and Alan Hackett. Carole not only managed to turn up on time (!) but then ‘coached’ first timer Alan around the course. To quote from one of Michelle Lewis’ Running Tales podcasts: “Alan has spent a significant chunk of his life running. His achievements include 24 hour runs, taking on the London to Brighton challenge and serving as chairman of Northampton Road Runners. Recent years have thrown a different set of challenges his way … ”. Well done to both Carole and Alan – especially their sprint finish!

412 - Claire oConnor
Claire O'Connor
412 - Wheelchair racers
Carole James and Alan Hackett

I’ll be having a short break from ‘that corner’ for a couple of weeks – so I’ll finish by just saying think about volunteering (as 33 proudly did this week in the new pink hi-vis tops) and DFYB.

412 - pink vests 233706547_214410530523517_6684236092039349000_n


412 - Bryan


Bruce Fordyce talks to Run Director Michelle Lewis

Bruce Fordyce

A big thank you to Bruce for sparing some time to talk about parkrun with me.



Bob Emmerson’s 400th parkrun

BBC News - part one

BBC News - part two

BBC One show

Runners World

Chronicle and Echo

Comrades Twitter page

parkrun UK

James Thorpe video of the 411 parkrun

Bob Emmerson - paper 400th

Comrade Twitter Bob Emmerson

Younger Bob Emmerson  Bob 400th Finish


Did you know Bob's picture is now appearing in the Northampton museum?

Bob in museum


#411 – We are back finally – By Bryan Lewin

Northampton Racecourse parkrun #410 took place on 14th March 2020 … and, after 497 days - including 70 Saturdays – we returned on 24th July 2021. The results show that 348 people, ran, jogged and walked our course, of whom 33 were first timers with us (28 had never before participated in any parkrun) and 38 recorded new PBs. The event was made possible by 34 volunteers.


But it was much more of an occasion than those bare statistics indicate. As we all know, parkrun is not a race and it’s so much more than just a run - it’s a get-together with friends, and a like-minded community, to exercise (naturally!) but also to have (nowadays) a socially-distanced chat, a laugh and a celebration or two. No more so than this week.

Unless you’ve recently been with Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson in their supersonic rockets or totally self-isolating because of the pandemic, you can’t have avoided the numerous television, radio and social media stories featuring Bob making his much-anticipated 400th parkrun. Is there any more to say about this remarkable man than what he has already said about himself?! His running achievements are staggering (world best times, 40 miles round a track in less than 5 hours etc etc), he’s a parkrun legend and he is an inspiration to young and old alike. I’ve known him a long time; I’ve taken part in marathons etc with him and I have the utmost respect and admiration for his motivation and physical fitness. Long may he continue.

Bob's 400th parkrun

Bob's 400th parkrun

William Kneeshaw (100), Peter Diamond (50) and Bethany Quinney (50 – with a PB!) were others who’ve also been waiting to celebrate their milestones. And Julie Evans did her 200th run at Northampton (out of 213 in total).


Norbert Mihalik finished first (for the seventh time) and Louise Hannan was first female (for the second time). Eighteen of the 141 females taking part clocked up PBs, including four out of the first six, and Claudia Terrell (JW10) impressively but frustratingly ran 23.39, one second outside of her PB. Kimberley Boyce notched a PB with 34.19 nearly seven years after her previous best time; Robin Bunting went round in 21.00, five minutes quicker than his last parkrun in 2019, and over three minutes faster that his last PB.

On the age grade percentage thingy, Andy Green, Chris Bell and Andy Heather all recorded over 80%.

Bob always runs in green, so honourable mentions go to Stirling Green (spot on 22- minute pacemaker) and Calvin Green (24.08 whilst steering Freddie in the pushchair).


Despite some initial traumas, Alastair and the team ensured a safe, enjoyable and successful resumption of parkrun. There were a few changes – at the start and finish – but, in between, all the usual effort and determination was displayed by everyone! It’s good to be back – but please remember that we now miss two Saturdays and our next event is on 16 August. Don’t forget your barcode (and, just a reminder to Carole James – we start at 9.00 not 9.30, so don’t be late (again))!





First post of 2021 – By Bryan Lewin

People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.” Clarissa Wild, author.

On 18 March 2020, parkrun HQ announced that all UK parkruns (and those in Eswatini, Namibia, Russia and South Africa) were suspended “until at least the end of March” – which meant that the pandemic had forced the closure of parkrun in every territory around the world. At that time, I suspect none of us could have possibly envisaged the duration of the UK suspension – but, although nothing is certain, fourteen months and twenty-two days after the last event at Northampton Racecourse, parkrun HQ “currently expect” that we will return on Saturday 5 June 2021 (alongside all 5k parkrun events across England).

We will, sadly, have been deprived of the nation’s favourite weekly bout of exercise for over a year, but, to put things into context, I want to acknowledge those in our local parkrun community who have suffered from the virus or have undergone the loss of a loved one during this period. A close friend’s passing way was hastened by COVID-19 and I know the additional pain that relatives etc were forced to endure as a result.

During the restrictions and lockdowns, I’ve come across quite a few local parkrunners (who I spotted or who have approached me!) in a variety of locations ... whilst I’ve been out shopping, walking, litter picking, eating or drinking - and even when I’ve, rarely, been out jogging myself. Without exception, they’ve all expressed the hope for parkrun to return as soon as safely possible. And why wouldn’t they?

Most of us recognise and agree, I think, that parkrun has become more than just the regular 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning walk, jog, run or wheel … (or volunteering stint). The (theoretical) emphasis may be on participation rather than competition (!) … but, for many people, parkrun provides an escape from pressurised work environments and schedules, a social opportunity for meeting up with friends/colleagues/family before, during and after the event and the enjoyable experience of being part of a community of supportive, like-minded individuals.

The benefits and appeal of parkrun (according to some academic studies I’ve been perusing … as you do) are many and varied. Apparently, traditionally underrepresented groups in sport and physical activity, such as women or those who are normally less active, are more likely to be attracted to parkrun’s inclusiveness; the demographic of parkrun is ever changing, enticing more previously-inactive people to take part each year. You’ll also be encouraged to learn that, as well as developing fitness and total physical activity, parkrun participants show improvements in “mood (stress, anxiety and depression)”. As one study reported: “Most encouraging is that the positive effects are largest for those who are less active when they registered with parkrun, and that there is a dose response: that is, the more frequently someone participates in parkrun events, the bigger the positive impact.”

And you thought that beating your PB was what it was all about?!

There has been a remarkable rise in the number of people running during the lockdowns, demonstrated, not only by the obvious sightings in parks, on the pavements etc, but by a boom in trainer sales, increased purchases of GPS wearables like Garmin or Fitbit and a surge in the downloading of Public Health England’s ‘Couch to 5k’ app. A downside has been the cancellation of organised races, but I know that many of you have been keeping up with (and exceeding!) your pre-coronavirus running efforts and taking part in virtual events, often with a charity-supporting connection. (not)parkrun has provided an opportunity to run etc a 5k on a route of your own choosing, on a day and time of your choice – and you can record up to one activity per day, with your fastest time each week included in a weekly results table! (Predictably, Lindsay ‘299 Northampton parkruns’ Reeves, who has been part of our event from the beginning, was one of those completing the first Northampton (not)parkrun, which took place between 15th and 21st June 2020).

For some of us, however (and I confess that I’m one of them) there’s been a loss of motivation, a lesser incentive to do anything running-related and a ‘steadier’ pace when you do eventually drag yourself out! I did one (not)parkrun – it was my slowest ever time! But we’re not to worry, apparently - the experts say it’s understandable and completely normal in the short term; runners are creatures of habit – we just need to get back into the routine.

So, if we get the go ahead for ‘Bob400’ day on 5 June, will things be different? Yes!


Details aren’t finalised but here’s a few things you might expect. Participants will be encouraged, wherever possible, to minimise travel by taking part in their local parkrun and to avoid unnecessary travel to other events. Pre-event briefings will be more in the style of ‘Szabolcs’ than ‘Michelle’ (!) – they’ll only cover information critical to the safety of participants and the smooth running of the event (and will be for a maximum time of two minutes). Social distancing will continue to be the norm before and after the event – “making use of all available space and minimising the amount of time in close proximity to each other” will be the advice when you’re taking part. Runners will be asked to informally seed themselves at the start to avoid unnecessary bunching during the event. There must be no high fives, hugs, physical contact etc with volunteers … (or anyone else!). Consideration will be given to moving start/finish areas to maximise available space (remember when we used to veer off left to finish?). The finish procedure will also change, so that a contactless scanning process can take place.

My last run report closed with a Dame Vera “We’ll meet again” reference. I’ll end this one by quoting Captain Sir Tom, who said of the crisis in April 2020: “We will get through it in the end but it might take time … at the end of the day we shall all be OK again. The sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away”.

The clouds are clearing, the sun is beginning to shine, we will be OK again - soon ….




Northampton parkrun 2020 so far by Bryan Lewin

With nothing much better to do, in fact, nothing much to do! … (being an over-70 with a dodgy ticker and, therefore, in self-isolation) … I’ve spent a little time perusing the Northampton parkrun events that have taken place this year, so far.

But first and foremost, with the announcement that all parkruns are cancelled “until at least the end of March”, following government advice and public health guidelines, it is especially disappointing that we can’t go ahead this week. It would have been Bob’s 400th parkrun and also it would have been a special (yellow-themed) occasion to support Rowan's fundraising (those involved are trying to raise £4,000 to purchase his new wheelchair). Not only that, but (if she ran) it would have been Lindsay Reeves’ 300th Northampton parkrun (and her 389th in total) – Lindsay has been part of Northampton parkrun from the very beginning.

There were, potentially 12 parkruns during the period but Storm Dennis, “one of the most intense extratropical cyclones ever recorded”, cancelled us on 15th February (I think that means ‘very wet very windy’ because the official reason we were off was “Dennis had too many baked beans - huge threat”). This date would have had an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme – and it is now re-scheduled for 30th May.

During this period, regulars Nigel Swan, Pam Kingston and Steve Cory all notched up 300 parkruns in total. Steve also passed the ‘250 at Northampton’ mark – as did Peter Dixon, Charles Corbett and Andrew Jess. Mark Bonner claimed his 250 T-shirt and lots of parkrunners qualified for 50 and 100 T-shirts; sorry, but far too many to mention you all (or any of you!). And our esteemed Event Director, Alastair Rapley reached the magnificent achievement of volunteering on 100 occasions (according to the official stats … but I suspect that the actual figure is much more).

This is intended to be a collective review, featuring a few of the more noteworthy aspects, rather than a series of individual run reports, but we started the year/decade (yes, I know the argument that it wasn’t actually the beginning of the decade) with Northampton parkrun ♯400 on Wednesday 1st January. Despite the previous night’s celebrations (or not), 600 took part and an impressive 9 out of the first 20 welcomed in the New Year with PBs (there were 75 in total). Mark Hill was first finisher (for the 33rd time) – and with his number 1 spot again on 14th March, he’s now only one behind Luke Greer. Rebecca White was first female, in 19.09 – the third best ever time for our VW 40-44 category.

On 4th January Andy Green finished in 4th place in a time of 17.31 - which was not only a PB for him but it also smashed the previous best time (of 18.06) for VM55-59 parkrunners at Northampton. Andy also holds the Northampton VM 50-54 record (of 17.43) which he achieved six years ago – so he’s obviously improving with age! On 22nd February we had a first timer at Northampton, John Butcher, from Ware Joggers, who ran his 291st parkrun in 37.29, which earned him a place in the list of ‘Age Category Records for Northampton parkrun’ – deservedly so, because John is in the VM85-89 category! And, on 7th March, a determined young lady athlete, named Carole James, chipped a couple of seconds off her previous PB to set a new WWC record of 28.21.

The rare occurrence of 29th February falling on a Saturday (it won’t happen again until 2048) heralded the much anticipated (?!) Northampton parkrun in reverse - and it was certainly very popular. We had a new record attendance of 727 – the fifth largest in the UK that day; only Bushy Park (1029), Milton Keynes (921), Heaton Park (788) and Cannon Hill (781) had more. Noah Bennett (JM15-17) led the way to finish in an impressive 16.35 PB … and everyone managed to find their way round without mishap.

Northampton parkrun ♯409 on 7th March celebrated International Women’s Day by encouraging runners etc to bring along a female friend or relative – and it seemed to work. Our normal split is to have 40-50 more males than females taking part but, on this occasion, we had 281 females and 282 males - and 46 ‘other’ (a reference to ‘no barcode’, not gender). Maggie McQuaid, a first timer with us (but doing her 199th parkrun) was first female in 19.56; Elaine Danby (VW 60-64) registered 85.93% on that age grade thingummy … and there were lots of female milestones and PBs. (Some of the males also did quite well).

Our final parkrun for a while, on 14th March, was presided over by new RD, Julia Bradnam. It saw Mark Hill as first finisher (on his 100th parkrun) and Jessica Lamb (JW10) as first female in a brilliant PB of 21.12, the third best ever time at Northampton for this age category.

Finally, my view (from that corner) is that everyone who takes part in parkrun tries and gives of their best, whether they finish first or 500th. But I suspect that it’s always good to see your efforts rewarded in the form of improved times. About a year ago, Stirling Green (JM15-17) was finishing in around 21 minutes – since then, he’s achieved 10 PBs and, most recently, knocked 30 seconds off - so he’s now down to 17.45. No less impressively, Lynette Sampson (VW55-59) only started parkrunning this year but she has improved her time each run and she’s gone from 53.55 to 46.23. Well done to this pair, the hundreds like them and everyone else who makes Northampton parkrun such a superb event each week.

I gather Vera Lynn (103 years young on 20th March) has said we should evoke the wartime spirit, so, as she (nearly) sang:We'll meet again I do know where I don't know when But I know we'll meet again some sunny day Keep smiling through Just like you always do ‘Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.




21st March parkrun – A parkrun not to be missed

Why not miss this parkrun?

Rowan's Reality parkrun (Yellow theme for his love of minions) to find out more then visit 


We will also be celebrating 86 year old Bob Emmerson's 400th parkrun.  Mrs Emmerson will be there supporting and providing a table with nibbles to celebrate.




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