The Northampton Crayons

Who can remember what they were doing in the summer of 2018?

For a group of parkrunners from Northampton, that summer started off with some harmless parkrun tourism, which included a special event at Rushmere with a little bit of dressing up. And then things, well, escalated. More tourism trips were proposed along with the suggestion that we did it in costume. Various ideas were put forward including one that as we were from Northampton that we should be dressed up in footwear (!) Then came the fateful day when someone ("Miss Pink") said that they had a crayon outfit...and it took off from there. We all claimed a colour and the rest is history! Or rather the start of something special...


The crayons' first outing was in October 2018 in Bedford. Since then we've added a splash of colour to parkruns at Market Harborough, Buckingham, Bicester, Watermeadows, Daventry, Stratford upon Avon, Colwick, St Neots, Millenium, Kettering, Warwick and Brixworth - even doing a colourful pilgrimage to Bushy. It's also a tradition to enjoy the local culinary culture after a parkrun (Miss Gold's hot chocolates are becoming legendary) and so far Colwick holds the prize for the most substantial breakfast!

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Our outfits are a bit like an "away" strip so we are never crayons at Northampton parkrun, but we did manage a sneaky crayon 5k around the racecourse in October 2019 for the Decathlon run series on a very wet Sunday.


The Northampton Crayons are a mixed bunch, with different backgrounds and running abilities. The one thing we all have in common - and what brought us together - is parkrun. Who knew that such a fantastic, free event could have such colourful consequences.


The crayons try to get out for some tourism once a month - there has to be at least a pack of 4 of us for it to be a crayon event. Who knows...we may be bringing some crayon colour to a parkrun near you soon.


Blue - Rachel Canham and Carole James, Red - Sam Tearle and James Thorpe, Gold - Kevin Evans, Purple - Michelle Lewis, Pink - Lindsay Reeves and Rachel Ilsley, White - Carol Tarbox, Orange - Catherine Hickford and Green - Joanna MacGregor and Sarah Jones.


# 356 by Bryan Lewin

After a weekend away, up North (and before a week away … seeking some sun!), I resumed marshalling at my usual spot for Northampton parkrun #356. Last week I was spectating at the English National Cross Country Championships at Harewood House, near Leeds (where my grandson was competing), but I managed to squeeze in a parkrun myself – at nearby Temple Newsam (‘undulating’ course, no chance of a PB!).

On my arrival at the Racecourse, it was therefore a pleasant surprise to bump into Noah Bennett, who ran in the same race as my grandson in the Championships and, according to the Chron, had “used his track pedigree to finish in a superb 14th position, only seconds away from a top 10 finish” (and, it might be noted, Noah’s sister, Alice, also produced an “outstanding performance” at the Championships).

Fresh from these endeavours, Noah was second overall finisher on Saturday with a new PB (only one other person has ever bettered his time of 16.56, in JM 11-14, at Northampton). Leading the 450 runners, walkers, pushers, pullers and joggers this week was Noah’s club mate Mark Hill, who weaved his way round in 16.29, and our first female finisher was Annette Golawska (who lopped 50 seconds off her previous best time to finish in 20.18). Andy Green was third home in 17.59 (the best performance ever in VM 55-59 at our parkrun) … although not quite a PB for Andy, which is still 17.43 (the best performance ever in VM 50-54 at our parkrun!). He later led all the way in the Magic Mile to clock 5.35.

Unsurprisingly Noah and Andy both achieved over 80% on the ‘Age Cat’ thingy – as did second female finisher Kate Bond (VW 55-59) for her 21.50. Nathan Lamb (JM 11-14), who was ninth overall with 19.08, ‘scored’ 79.97%

Amongst our fabulous 450, I could only spot one milestone – Dee Munro, completing her 50th (and I know there was a significant birthday, but not the lady’s identity – sorry). There were 44 first timers (30 doing their first ever parkruns), including a ‘car full’ from Stamford Striders – Caroline Robertson, Helen Schofield, Amy Hodgson and Janine Buck. Neil Currant – 87 in total - was at his 54th different parkrun and Tanya O’Neill, a parkrun tourist from Cardiff, obviously enjoyed her first timer experience here, taking advantage of our newly acquired parkrun photoframe to post on social media (and be the profile pic on our Facebook page)! Len Voralia notched up his 402nd parkrun (Bob did his 346th).


It might have been muddy for the touring Crayons, and others we normally see, at Watermeadows (Towcester) parkrun, but the dry, brighter weather conditions encouraged 64 athletes to register new PBs at the Racecourse. As always, its not possible to credit everyone, so only a few mentions … Amanda Stohrer (11 consecutive PBs since 8th December – from 38.29 to 34.35); Rachel Ilsley (knocking nearly four minutes off, from 33.29 to 29.47); Mark Warren (just three parkruns since October 2016 – 29.09, 27.04 then 24.01!); Jamie Clark (26 parkruns since April 2018, all at Northampton, 11 PBs, started with 30.47, now down to 25.19) … and our oldest/youngest PBers of the week - Mick Bond (VM 65-69) with 29.22 and Tallulah Havard (JW10) with 26.06.


It seems slightly unfair, to me, that you’re unlikely to be mentioned in a run report unless you’re a milestoner, PBer or whatever – so some completely random mentions. Sarah Kaced, a first timer, was position 356 in parkrun #356; Derek Finan was 312th in a time of 31.2 (well, 31.19 – a PB); Marie Fitzhugh was 433rd in 43.3 (well, 43.26); The average run time for our parkrun is 28.40 - Mike Tebbutt (28.39) and Sue Davis (28.44) were closest this week. And Tim Leah gets named and shamed for no barcode!

My stint on the corner was over; I joined tail walker Lynette and had an enjoyable chat about a couple of unexpected subjects (!) with a lovely group on our way back to the finish … then did the Magic Mile with another lovely group. Stirling Green - JM 11-14 - completing it in 6.21, following his earlier parkrun PB of 21.04.


This week’s Northampton parkrun only took place because of the 34 hi-vis hero volunteers. Please opt-in to the volunteer email if you'd like to join them and get involved!

Thanks to this week's volunteers

Alfie STARMER  •  Benjamin CRAWLEY  •  Bobby CHATTERJEE  •  Bryan LEWIN  •  Christopher BEATON  •  Christy GILLERT  •  Daniel GILLERT  •  David FROST  •  Dennis WEINBERG  •  Elaine STARMER  •  Fiona BARRETT  •  Gerald BILLIS  •  Harrison GILKES  •  Helen SMITH  •  Ian HARPER  •  Jeff BATTISON  •  Jenny GASKILL  •  Joanne HAYMAN  •  Julia BRADNAM  •  Julie FITZELL  •  Katie CHOWN  •  Leigh BARKER  •  Lynette HILL-PARK  •  Mark DEAN  •  Matt BUSHELL  •  Michael ELVIN  •  Michelle LEWIS  •  Peter VICKERS  •  Rachel ILSLEY  •  Ralph STAHMANN  •  Seb PERRY  •  Shaun LEDINGTON  •  Tony KENNEDY  •  Tracy STREET



#353 by Bryan Lewin

If you’ve taken part in the Northampton parkrun over the last couple of years, you will have probably seen the #fitfam group (and you'll definitely have heard Jane/Karen!!). The group is made up of family members; as they say "yes we’re all related, love spending time together and now run together". After completing their objective of doing ‘80 events for Dad's 80th birthday’ (between them) in his memory last year, they ambitiously targeted the 9th February 2019 Northampton parkrun to celebrate ‘Dad's 81st birthday’ with a few milestones. Last week's parkrun cancellations could have scuppered less resourceful individuals, but all was well in the end - five of the team achieved their 100 parkruns (Karen Clark, Jane Timmins, Sarah Dorey, Madeleine Wain and Dave Butler running - or hobbling! - round) and Matty Reid completed his 50th. I'll simply say that the group as a whole are a great advertisement for what parkrun is all about ... and that this was a truly fit and fitting tribute to a man who was obviously much-loved.

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They weren't the only 'milestoners' among the 476 athletes who walked, jogged or ran Northampton parkrun #353 (a few notable absentees – six of the ‘Crayons’ went to Bicester, for example). Wendy Hammond, on her Racecourse debut (with 18 others), and the discreet R Wood (VW 60-64) clocked up their 100s - Christy Gillert and Sarah Bickers (along with her labradoodle running partner, Archie) each ticked the 50 box.

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The aforementioned Wendy is a Vegan Runner – we had a group of ten Vegan Runners on Saturday, eight were first timers with us and three finished in the top eight. Amanda Salter brought along some Bushfield Joggers, Chris Jeanes was a first timer from Redway Runners and we had the usual smattering from local clubs.


There were, in fact, 27 ‘pure’ first timers, and, at the other end of the appearances scale, our 3rd place finisher, William Shippin, in his 357th and Len Voralia (his number 399!) have astonishingly both run more than Bob The Legend (343)! Despite the ‘blustery’ conditions, 61 athletes somehow managed a PB. It’s not possible to reference all of them (and apologies for significant omissions), but, in no particular order … Syreeta Fonso (7 runs at Northampton in the last 12 months – all PBs); Danny Clarke (five Northampton parkruns since October 2016, all PBs); Linda Kier (VW 65-69) (started this year; PB each time); Andrew David Ballantyne (4 PBs on the trot); Kieran Bodkin (three parkruns in 2019 – first was 35-50, this week’s was 24-58); Mike Campbell (from 37-24 in September 2018 to 26-42 – 11 PBs in 17 runs); George Pratt (from 33-48 to 26-42 in his second ever parkrun); Sam Freeman (8 PBs in last 11 parkruns); Liam Browne (five parkruns in 2019 – started with 51-00, now 42-36); Amanda Stohrer (8 runs since 15th December 2018 – all PBs). Very honourable mentions also to both Jens Walton (JM 11-14) with 22-57 and Claudia Terrell (JW 10) with 25-59. And, for family reasons (!), I must namecheck Andrew Myers, who smashed the 20-minute mark and lopped a chunk off his Killarney parkrun PB … Michael Burgess (VM 55-59), one of the Vegan Runner first timers, with 19-01 and 82.1%, was the only person to get over 80% on the ‘Age Cat’ thingy.

Last week’s cancellation meant we had no parkrun on Groundhog Day. But for a couple of people there might have been some feelings of déjà vu this week. Our first finisher, Andy Heather – with 18-01 - ran that exact time as first finisher on 23rd June last year. Centurion R Wood started her Northampton parkrunning in May 2016 with 30-04 … and, by design or accident, she was officially timed as 30-04 on Saturday! Well done everyone who took part. It was very cold and very windy, but as RD Alastair commented “… the runners all looked to be having fun” (!!?).

Northampton parkrun #353 only happened because of the 31 hi-vis hero volunteers. Please opt-in to the volunteer email if you'd like to join them and get involved!

Hopefully see you next week



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