Pomphrey Profiles: Getting to Know You, Part 10 – Danny, Vic & Thelma and Meryl

Who would have thought we would be without parkrun for 10 weeks? parkrun, especially at Pomphrey Hill, has been part of our lives for 6 years and I'm sure the last 10 weeks have felt like 6 years to some of you.  Please keep an eye out on your local parkrunners, family and friends - many of us will feel a sense of emotional fatigue, or even hopelessness from time to time. Please be assured you are not alone, reach out to someone if you need help, a talk or a socially distanced walk or run.

It's great to see posts to our facebook page that folks are still out running, particularly enjoying Mr Hill. We'd like to thank you for continuing to avoid the parkrun area on a Saturday morning at 9am and organising gatherings.  When it is safe to return, the whole team will be delighted to see you  - especially those who want to volunteer with us! Until then, we have some more profiles of runners for you to enjoy. This week we have Run Director, Danny, former volunteer of the year Vic and his gorgeous wife Thelma, and yours truly, Run Director Meryl.

Daniel Smith

Q1 - What originally brought you to parkrun?
I was working in a job that meant I spent most of the week travelling the country and staying in hotels. Ordering Lasagne with a side of fries was beginning to take it’s toll on my waistline and I realised I need to get some exercise to get back into shape before I became a heart attack statistic. So I started running. 1 mile was a struggle at first and I slowly built things up. A friend kept posting about parkrun on facebook so I went to the website and found Pomphrey Hill was walking distance from my house. One of the best decisions I have ever made in my life!

Q2 - Which running or volunteer story are you most proud of?
Doesn’t matter how fit you are or how many times you have climbed it, Mr Hill is a challenge on each and every lap. As a runner, I find it reassuring that despite whatever discomfort you are in, there is a friendly face at the top of the hill giving you encouragement. So my favourite volunteer story would have to be the time I marshalled Top of Pomphrey with my son and being as “encouraging” as I could. I was later informed that people could hear me from near the duck pond!!!!

Q3 - What you are doing to remain positive?
Some days are better than others. Like most runners, I had a target that I was training towards and my whole year was geared towards one race in October. Even if restrictions were lifted tomorrow, I can’t see me being ready in time. So, without that race to focus on, I feel a little directionless. When I feel a little down, I remind myself of the positives. I have my friends. I have my family. One day, I will have parkrun again. In the meantime, I write a quiz for my running club and we stream it on a Thursday night when our main club night would occur. The research for the questions can be quite distracting.

Q4 - What you are doing to remain active and fit?
I try to get out every day for either a run, walk or a bike ride with my son. I am using the daily rewards from Pokemon Go as something to aim each time I go outside. As the game rewards activity, it is a useful way to motivate my activity!!!!

Q5 - Apart from Pomphrey Hill which is your next favourite parkrun and why?
I have done a few tourists trips elsewhere and I don’t think I have found anything as good as Pomphrey Hill! I think part of my love for my home run is knowing so many people there and I’m never going to get that somewhere else. The tourist parkruns I have really enjoyed have been part of an enjoyable weekend. Like a camping trip to Swansea with family and friends or being mistaken for professional athletes whilst looking for somewhere to have a post-parkrun breakfast. If I have to pick my favourite tourist parkrun that wasn’t part of a great weekend, I think I would have to go for Cirencester parkrun. Nice trail route but an amazing post-parkrun dinning experience!!!!!!!!

Q6 - Is there anything else you would like to share?
I still haven’t written that screenplay. I still haven’t learnt to play the guitar. I still haven’t learnt Chinese. All things I want to get round to doing at some point. But it’s okay. I’ll get round to doing them at some point. Things are tough enough as there without putting more pressure on myself to get X, Y and Z done.




Friends helping my get to 100 miles in a month. With help from each other, we can get through this.



Thelma & Vic


Q1 - What originally brought you to parkrun?
Vic inspired me to come to parkrun because everyone was so friendly and any ability can run, jog or walk.
Vic heard about parkrun via local media.

Q2 - Which running or volunteer story are you most proud of?
I really enjoyed the position of timekeeper with Alyssa because the information was mirrored exactly on the watches.
I also enjoy the position of number checker as it keeps me on my toes!
Vic enjoyed his award of Volunteer of the Year.

Q3 - What you are doing to remain positive?
I'm doing yoga and Pilates on line.
Vic is running a 10k course every other day and passes parkrun Pomphrey Hill, his one is on the road!

Q4 - What you are doing to remain active and fit?
We're both doing different types of exercise to keep fit.

Q5 - Apart from Pomphrey Hill which is your next favourite parkrun and why?
Next favourite parkrun is Builth Wells because you run along by the river. After it has finished nearly everyone goes to The Strand cafe for breakfast.



Q1 - What originally brought you to parkrun?
Back in the summer of 2013, Adrian would run and my daughter Alyssa was a gymnast. The routine would be that I would drop Adrian to Little Stoke park, take her to gym, return to the park to collect him and then come home (collecting Alyssa from gym later on in the morning). After a few months of playing chauffeur, gym was on summer shutdown and we decided to join Adrian on this run malarky, walking my first ever parkrun. As a mum of 3 children, the youngest then aged 4, I hadn't run since secondary school and I was most definitely unfit. I downloaded the couch to 5k app and haven't looked back since.

Q2 - Which running or volunteer story are you most proud of?
There are so many inspirational moments, memorable times but here are a few:

I was speed walking/jogging slowly round Clevedon Salthouse Fields parkrun in February this year and a runner recognised me from Pomphrey Hill - don't ask me why! She had finished but asked to walk with me a while. She had brought her niece to marshal at Pomphrey one week and they were sort of enjoying it, evidently I had thanked her and said "thanks mini-marshal" on each lap. Her niece appreciated the thanks and saw that I was having fun on my run and asked her aunt if next time, could they please run parkrun? The fact this lady took the time to tell me, that I had inspired her niece to run brought tears to my eyes.

Another fun memory - one week I was running with the lovely Thelma, this was before Mr Hill got some much needed tlc it was quite muddy. Each time we got to the steepest part of the hill we would link arms to stop eachother from falling over, haul each other up the hill while our shoes tried to stick in the mud. It was hysterical fun, we laughed so hard, despite the effort and muck involved.

My 100th run I asked folks that wanted to join me to "wear a hat" as a simple symbol that they were celebrating with me. A group of friends went the extra mile and donned brunette wigs and lipstick and ran with me as honorary "Meryl"s, even the babies and bearded men. Alyssa was running with us and when she called out "Mum?" at least 5 voices answered "yes?". I've never felt so loved and appreciated.

Q3 - What you are doing to remain positive?
I've always looked for the silver lining in any situation and tried to have a can do attitude. Staying positive is my natural state, I've been hear to say "my blood type is like my attitude, B positive". I'm not stuck at home, I'm safe at home. Having 3 wonderful children at home really helps, we've enjoyed family card games including cribbage, old maid and 'oh hell'. Aside from the cards, I'm really enjoying introducing Megan to the "Buffy the vampire slayer" back catalog and re-reading some favourite books.

Q4 - What you are doing to remain active and fit?
I've always enjoyed Zumba mid week and have been very fortunate that my instructor has started live Zumba via Zoom as well as recorded sessions for us to use the other days of the week. As I have been working at a school through lockdown, the only other exercise has been the occasional walk for fresh air.

Q5 - Apart from Pomphrey Hill which is your next favourite parkrun and why?
I have been fortunate in my parkrun career to be a runner, volunteer, Run Director, Event Director, Event Ambassador, South West Regional Ambassador and Serious Incident Line volunteer (I'm currently RD at Pomphrey and SIL volunteer only). As such I have enjoyed parkruns with a number of wonderful people, from the folks at HQ, the founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE (and his lovely wife), received a high five from Dave Moorcroft OBE, not to mention the original team at Little Stoke where my parkrun life first started. My favourite parkrun though, for now, is Weedon Island Preserve. We had landed in Florida the afternoon before, woken up at 4am local time (parkrun time back home) and driven the 90 minutes to this remote nature preserve for a 7am start. There were tiny crabs all over the boardwalks, newts and birds, the humidity was unbelievable and don't even get me started on the mosquitos! After a number of years without a holiday, a rough couple of months for the family as my brother had recently had a brain tumour removed, we really had to pinch ourselves to even get on the flight. To be in the Florida sunshine that Saturday morning was just wonderful.

Q6 - Is there anything else you would like to share?
Wherever you are reading this, please know that I miss you terribly and can't wait for a cwtch and catch up, as soon as parkrun returns!

pomphrey profile

If you'd like to see your name in lights, then please email us at pomphreyhill@parkrun.com with answers to the following questions:

- a photo of yourself (or a link to a photo)
Q1 - what originally brought you to parkrun?
Q2 - which running or volunteer story are you most proud of and would like to share?
Q3 - what you are doing to remain positive?
Q4 - what you are doing to remain active and fit?
Q5 - apart from Pomphrey Hill which is your next favourite parkrun and why?
Q6 - is there anything else you would like to share?

These will be published over the coming days and weeks on our parkrun website and our Facebook page. Wherever you are, we hope you and your family are well and staying safe.

Meryl Grimshaw
Run Director

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