Queen Elizabeth parkrun is cancelled on 11 April 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Mud, mud and more mud !!!

Parkrun #361

By Tom Briggs, aged 15

Saturday morning, and that of course means parkrun. It was QE Parkrun #361 and my 103rd parkrun at QE. The race director was James who coincidentally paced me at my first ever parkrun (which was also at QE) in July 2014 when I was nine years old. This is my first run report as part of my bronze DoE.
It was a muddy one today, especially with the logging going on. Parkrun this week, as usual was a family affair for me; my dad, my mum, my brother and, of course, our dog – she wouldn’t miss it for the world. Unlike my 16-year-old sister who decided her hockey match should take priority. There was an average amount of runners, with a lot of tourists, to of course get their Q. We all set off at a reasonable pace up the hill until we hit the downhill which was probably the muddiest part of the course.
Up the long hill we went on our second loop, after some well needed support from volunteers and spectators at the finish funnel. Luckily, there was no headwind going up the kilometre-long climb, so it was easier than usual, yet still the one of the hardest climbs of any parkrun (at least of the ones I’ve done!). The hill is usually my strongest part of the course and I managed to gain one place however this was short-lived with me being re–overtaken as I got onto the second downhill.
It’s early March, so of course that meant more mud on the downhill (I was getting quite tired of it at that point!). Along the ‘rollercoaster’ section I managed to increase my pace significantly, despite the muddy patches. Getting to the finish, we were cheered on by the volunteers, spectators and those who had already finished.
Along the course, the marshals were smiley and supportive, despite the cold weather. The volunteers at the finish funnel were great as usual, congratulating everyone on their run and time. It was a relatively fast parkrun for the conditions, with Stephen Masterson, Phil Guest and Tom Overing (the first three runners) coming in at 18:53, 20:51 and 21:00 respectively. The first three female runners were Kathryn Marcell, Danielle Robarts and Suzanne Gray, their times being 24:59, 26:01 and 26:26. I was fifth and the first junior runner, with my time being 21:25. Our dog, Tinga, taking my dad for a run, was second dog; beaten this week by Suki.
Overall, QE is a great, parkrun and I would thoroughly recommend anybody thinking of coming here to do so, if not for the run then definitely for the great coffee and food at the recently renovated café afterwards!

 

Queen Elizabeth parkrun ~360 – Rain, diversions and fun in the mud

Leap day dawned, the first time you could complete a parkrun on Leap Day (the next opportunity won’t be until 2048). It has been raining most of the night and was still raining in the morning, but that wasn’t going to stop me traveling to Queen Elizabeth parkrun. I was hoping they wouldn’t be forced to cancel, I mean not only was it leap day, it was the Q for my alphabet, but more importantly a parkrun named after me could not be missed (yes my first name is Elizabeth I was named after our esteemed Queen although I’m known by my second name). Anyway it’s 6.30 am and I have a 1 hr 30 min drive ahead of me, I would get there in good time, at least that’s what I thought until the UK car park from hell otherwise known as the M25 decided it would shut between J8 and J10 !!! Diversionary tactics were called for and 2 1/2 hrs later I made it just in time to see the runners starting.

Off I went, little was I expecting that hill at the start but at least it had stopped raining. I joined up with the tail walker Ivor (also an RD at Queen Elizabeth parkrun) who was fantastic. Being on the tail end of a bout of flu, I got to that first corner thinking I was never going make this. Ivor was having none of it I had come all this way I was doing this!! He was brilliant he told me grass was my friend, that’s when you could find it. We chatted all the way round about all things parkrun and about how the nature of this course varies dramatically depending on time of year and the weather and I had my first experience of skiing in mud and puddles which were deep and everywhere so there was no way to avoid them. So, I slipped and slide-ed my way around the first loop only to find myself at that dreaded hill again only this loop and that hill was longer.

The course was very well marked with two fantastic marshals along the way who despite the cold and now the wind was starting to pick-up, still smiled and cheered us on. At the top of the dreaded hill was the most beautiful view which I’m told on a clear day you can actually see the Isle of Wight, but although we couldn’t see that far today the view was still spectacular and well worth the climb. Then we descended back into deep mud pits and puddles with me sometimes not so elegantly waving my arms around to keep my balance and not slip over!!

Luckily for me I made it to the finish with Ivor without slipping over and completely embarrassing myself to find a very welcoming group of volunteers, timekeeper, finish tokens, scanner and a very relieved RD, Marie, that I had firstly arrived safely given the travel issues and then got round this beautiful, muddy, soggy course in one piece. Some of the volunteers laughing asked me how I had managed to stay so clean (soaking muddy socks and shoes with some up my legs didn’t seem to count) I think the answer to that is I wasn’t brave enough to run at all in that mud and those puddles. That I feel is best left to the expert parkrunners at Queen Elizabeth parkrun.

We all retired to the coffee shop to warm up and grab a well-earned coffee and PB (no not personal best, this as I explained to Ivor has been redefined as parkrun breakfast).

Would I come back? Absolutely I would this is not just a Q for your alphabet but one you need to visit in different seasons and weather to fully appreciate its beauty. The team are warm, caring, welcoming and just wonderful. Thank you not only to the all volunteers today but all those who work so hard answering emails, doing social media and all the other background tasks you so rarely hear about.

By Nickie Sale
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QE parkrun #360 – Come for the Q, stay for the view!

This was my first QE parkrun, but it won't be my last - I think I have a new favourite.

A total of 105 runners turned out for the 360th parkrun at Queen Elizabeth Country Park today, the first ever 29th February parkrun, with the next not due until 2048. This was a great opportunity for parkrun bingo with both the date and the alphabet in my favour. Thank you to Erika, who gave me a run-down on what to expect from the course before we started (and went on to bag a PB - well done!).

We were lucky that the rain held off for most of the run, but the conditions underfoot were wet enough... lots of squeaks and squeals as we negotiated the grassy downhill of the first loop which might have been easier on skis than in trail shoes. The second loop has a long long hill, which is amply paid back in a lovely downhill section, with some gentle undulations and plenty of mud back to the finish point. I'd been expecting a really tough run, but I finished on a real high and loved it. The views over the downs and the adventurous feel of running on woodland trails make this a really enjoyable parkrun.

I'm used to being one of 200-300 runners looping a park or running there and back, so this was a really different experience - the layout of the route and the smaller number of runners meant that at times it felt like I was out on a lovely solo trail run with the added bonus of distance markers and cheerful volunteers along the way.

Congratulations to Stuart Giddings for running his 50th parkrun today. Despite the conditions, 6 runners picked up a PB, and there were an impressive 37 first timers to this course - that's 35% of the total! Tourists came from Rochford, Dunstable and Redditch, among others, chasing that Q perhaps? Welcome to parkrun those of you running your first ever today: Austen Nicholson-Locke and Chris Mahan - what a course for your first one! Thank you to all the volunteers today, you are superstars.

By Katie Reynolds

 

Queen Elizabeth parkrun #357 – Not Your Average parkrun!

Today I was Challenge Chasing at the beautiful Queen Elizabeth parkrun. Not only was it my “Q” for the Alphabet Challenge but it was also my “Cow” (50th different event venue, half a Cowell, it’s sounding more complicated the more I try to explain so I’ll leave it there but it’s a thing!)

Chatting to other Tourists as we looked for the start, people had travelled from London, Aylesbury, Stratford Upon Avon and Yorkshire. Me and the reluctant parkrunner hubby Nick had travelled from Redditch, Worcestershire (Arrow Valley parkrun). We’d had an overnight stay in lovely Winchester and were well fuelled after 3 courses at Rick Steins Seafood Restaurant last night (5 pints for Nick too which he says makes him run quicker!)

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After a very warm welcome from RD James we had an entertaining First Timers brief from Phil who wasn’t surprised to see so many alphabet chasing tourists, it’s a regular thing with there only being 3 Q’s in the UK. He did call us “sad” but he seems to know a lot about it so I think he’s probably a secret tourist really!
Plenty of space to leave jackets by the start although a very vigilant Marshall kindly warned us that dogs tended to pee up the one post so to avoid that one

We welcomed 9 parkrunners at their very first parkrun who were very surprised to get a round of applause, hope the tough conditions didn’t put them off coming back next week.
Usually it’s the weather that’s the challenge at the moment but this was a tough trail course. Now I love that, trail’s my go-to run, the hillier and muddier the better but if you’re used to a flatter, more tarmacced parkrun then you may have had a shock, especially if you were wearing your usual road shoes! Hopefully if this describes you, you managed to stay upright!

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Some interesting stats from today;
115 people ran or walked or jogged.
Veteran parkrunner today was Joanne CAIE who completed her 355th run.
Stu LAVALETTE completed his 300th, well done Stu!
Top age grade today was Tamara LAKE with 74.22% and was also first female, fantastic running!
My fave Club names today: RunnyHoneys Running Club, Run Things Running Club, Thunderer Sqn and Zombies! Run!
Hope you all had as good a morning as we did and if you’re a tourist reading this getting ready for your Q visit, don’t forget your barcode and don’t forget your trail shoes!

Thanks as always to the brilliant volunteers who made it happen today;
Alexandra NIGHTINGALE • Amelia NIGHTINGALE • Ben RICHES • Carol CARBERRY • Dawn RENTON • Ian KITCHEN • James LEIGHTON • Jamie LEWIS • Joel LEWIS • John ROBERTS • Marie WILES • Phil HENDERSON • Sharon FOX • Tanya ROBERTS

Run report by: Sharon FOX

 

Event #352 – New Year’s Day Special

As we are sure you are aware Queen Elizabeth parkrun will be holding a special event on New Years Day. Here are a few notes if you are planning to attend.

1. The start time is 10:30AM not 9AM. There are other events in the area that are starting at 9AM so this does allow you to run QE as the second part of a New Years Day double.

2. We are expecting larger numbers than usual. This will cause congestion entering the park. We advise you to get there in plenty of time to allow you to park and make your way to the start.

3. QECP now operates an ANPR payment system. Your registration plate will be scanned at the entry barrier and you then pay at a pay machine before exiting. We have asked QECP if they can re-configure the barriers to allow two inbound lanes to ease congestion. In any case this is likely to cause a bottle neck entering the park.

4. If you arrive in good time or you are not running a double please consider using some of the other car parks. There are five more parking areas within QECP in addition to the main car park and the Gravel Hill car park. There is a car park at Benhams Bushes another at Juniper and two car parks between these two. All are within 1km of the start.

5. Please park sensibly and show consideration to other park users.

6. The cafe at the visitor centre will be open as usual. They know they will be arriving with bigger than normal numbers and they should have the staff to cope but in any case please take this into consideration.

We look forward to seeing you all tomorrow. Have a great evening whatever you are doing!

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