Riddlesdown parkrun Event Report May 7th 2022 – Event 516



The One By The parkrun Obsessive

Report by Chris Leonard
Photos by Keith Constable - Click on the following link to view the complete set in Flickr:


Ok, I’m somewhat the parkrun enthusiast ( obsessive, fanatic and bore are also words used at the breakfast table) today was great, a real homecoming. Roundshaw Downs is my ‘home run’ but we’re spoiled for choice with great local runs and with Roundshaw cancelled I had a hankering to revisit Riddlesdown Common, the course where I began my parkrun journey in 2016. I love the new course, as beautiful as I remembered and the positive vibe cast by the volunteers was echoed by the participants, this may be Croydon’s friendliest event.


Ok it was a bit humid, but, what a cracking day for a 5k run. Today's event, number 516, was attended by 163 parkrunners. We had 19 ‘tourists’ attending Riddlesdown Common for the first time and 3 people choosing the course for their first ever parkrun, welcome to the parkrun family Luke, Leela, and Alexander. They say the second parkrun is the hardest, well today 5 runners, Matthew, Oliver, Andrew, Natasha and Richard cleared that hurdle.

As promised by the Run Director, course conditions were pretty much ideal (can’t blame my slow time on that then) and a amazing 23 P.B.s were achieved.


Well done to; Dylan (first finisher), Tom, Orrin, Scott, Jean, Matthew, Lachlan, Joanne, George, Florence, Dave, Gareth, Kevin, Sam, James, Ellie, Grace, Paul, Natasha, Kiana, Nansen, Richard and Susan.




There were 4 unknown runners recorded, did you forget your barcode? PARKRUN NOW ACCEPT BARCODES ON MOBILES, alternatively, my kids bought me a parkrun wristband, problem solved.

Special mention and extra kudos to 7 runners who all achieved ‘milestone’ runs today.


James, Ellie and Kiana celebrated running their tenth event and as minors, qualify for the white junior T shirt. Tom’s joined the 25 ‘club’ (purple T shirt), Sarah and Bernard ran their 50th event (red top) and with 100 runs Tamsin is eligible for the black t shirt.

Check out your profile for the link from parkrun. What’s next? The green 250 top or after 10 years running, walking and jogging 5k the, increasingly common, blue 500 T shirt.


I noticed, and applaud Helen, accomplishing run number 343 AND she’s also clocked up over 250 volunteer credits, what a superstar!


Finally, thanks and appreciation to the 26 volunteers, without whom, today’s event simply wouldn’t happen. There are a wide variety of ways to get involved, many roles allow you to run as well, AND, there are milestone t shirts available for volunteers too. If you’re interested in getting involved email riddlesdown@parkrun.com or speak to one of the team next week



Report by Chris Leonard



Riddlesdown parkrun Run Report Event 513 – 16th April 2022



Riddlesdown parkrun #513 - Voluntourism!

Report by Claire Young
Photos by Keith Constable. (to view the complete set of photos in Flickr, click on the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddlesdown/albums/72177720298234352

The sun was shining, and all seemed good as we left Southend-on-Sea for our trip across the water to Surrey. However, when we found ourselves sitting in stationary traffic on the M25 due to debris on the carriageway we doubted we would make it on time, but finally we were on our way again.


On arrival we discovered that the Riddlesdown volunteer team had had problems of their own: gates with a mind of their own, and a vandalised storage area.


One of the items taken was the TailWalker bib! He may have been in pink rather than the usual orange but there was no mistaking him with his rather impressive Tail


My friends and I got talking to Kirsten Parry before the run as she was wearing a Crohns and Colitis shirt which is a charity close to our hearts. It was so good to see her determination to get out there and run whenever she is well enough to do so. She was running her first Riddlesdown parkrun today.


Nicki Clark, the Run Director, gave the First Timers Welcome explaining to us about the skylarks nesting on the ground, and the importance of staying on the marked paths.

Congratulations to Gemma Johnson and Nick Fletcher who ran their very first parkrun today.
I hope you enjoyed it and welcome to the parkrun family. Warning: it can get quite addictive!
Rosemary Uddoh and Shereen Boreland were running their second ever parkrun but their first at Riddlesdown.




Towards the other end of the scale was Sarah Dunnell running her 250th parkrun of which 244 of them have been at Riddlesdown, and James Wicks celebrating his ‘arbitrary’ 300th parkrun (he was also pushing a buggy, no mean feat on this course.)

If you enjoy trail running as I do you will enjoy the course running around the edge of fields over some terrain that I imagine gets quite muddy and wet in the winter, even more fun for trail lovers. Every turn was marked and marshalled so there was no chance of either taking a wrong turn or disturbing the skylarks, which had a definite aural presence although I didn’t spot one.


I guess this is not surprising with 142 noisy parkrunners cavorting around the edge of their field. Barrie Williams had his own spot as marshall on ‘Barrie’s Bend’ so thank you to him and all the other volunteers who gave up their Saturday morning so the rest of us could enjoy our parkrun fix.




Some other noteworthy mentions should go to first finisher Daniel Holah and first female finisher, young Emily King who has managed to set a new PB on every occasion she has run a 5k parkrun. Clearly someone to look out for in the future!


Juliet Cleghorn topped the age grading with a whopping 77.74%

Thankyou to all at Riddlesdown parkrun. We enjoyed your course and the wonderful weather you provided for us all.



Report by Claire Young

Riddlesdown parkrun Run Report Event 512 – 9th April 2022


Riddlesdown parkrun as a NENDY

Report by Chris Dyke
Photos by Keith Constable (to view the entire album in Flickr, click on the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddlesdown/albums/72177720298132879

At long, long last I finally made it down to Riddlesdown this morning as a tourist. It’s been my ‘NENDY’ (Nearest Event Not Done Yet) for ages, but a lack of trains from Crystal Palace to these parts means I’ve always had it in my back pocket as a great one to include on a long run. So I was somewhat sweaty when I turned up, but since when were runners fragrant? A word of warning for tourists: if you’re coming from south London (or anywhere round South Croydon), let’s just say that for the so-called North ‘Downs’, there’s an awful lot of ‘Up’ coming from that direction…


Anyway, I arrived wondering if my morning would improve, and of course it did. This is a quiet part of the world with some achingly beautiful views (I could have stopped at one corner and gazed at the valley forever, but I imagine the famous friendly Barrie would have moved me along), an idyllic, flattish off-road course (I was expecting a lot more mud after the week’s downpours) and a stellar team of volunteers who were unfailingly polite, welcoming and chirpy.

I’ve now listened to 235 run briefings, and delivered almost 50, but this was the first time I’d ever learned ‘Bird Facts’ at a parkrun. Apparently Riddlesdown is a nature reserve for the protection of the Skylark, which nests (I did not know this) on the ground. So all runners must stay off the grass at all times, to play our part in protecting this species. Fascinating stuff.

This unusual feature of the route feeds into the way Riddlesdown captures the parkrun ideal – this is smaller than many London events (the attendance of 129 today seems fairly typical), the start is narrow, overtaking (for bird-based reasons) impossible for long stretches, the course beautiful and the surface often challenging. I’d be amazed if anyone set a 5k PB at this course, but I’d be more amazed if anyone didn’t enjoy it. I’ve been to some huge events with enormous wide starts, which were impressive organisational feats but felt industrial by comparison. This is an event you run for the sheer joy of it, and I loved it.


I hope that Sarah Judge and Erin Wicks enjoyed it as much as me, as they finished their first ever parkruns today! Well done both.


Also new to this event were Cameron Elliot, Daren Griffin, Sophie Cavill, Ben Pyner, Lara Cousins, Elle Leadbitter, Andrew Sylvester, Sophia Hodge, Jade Griffin, Hannah Kennedy, Michael Stannard, Sue Elliott, David Brett, Caroline Wild, Adam Borlase, Julie Olson, Sarah Boyle, and Paul Atherton. I’m sure many of them will be back soon.

It may be a tricky course to run fast on, but lots of runners still hit new Riddlesdown PBs this morning.


Congratulations Ethan Piper, Nasen Saadi, Paul Lyford, Gareth Davies, Bill Cops, Ben Whyatt, Andrew Sharp, and Louise Gardner.


Just the one informal milestone today, but it’s a biggie – David Bull ran a scarcely credible 350th parkrun, his 160th at Riddlesdown, having run at an astonishing 135 events overall. There must be something extra-special about Riddlesdown if he keeps coming back! Some people are tantalisingly close. Enjoy your next run everyone – it’ll be a special one for Andrew Sharp (currently on 49 parkruns), Sarah Dunnell (who did her 249th today) and James Wicks who is now sitting on a phenomenal 299 runs.


Thank you most of all to the sterling volunteer crew: Robert BOSWELL, Ingrid BUCHANAN, Nicki CLARK, Keith CONSTABLE, George COPS, Sara CROUCH, Chris DYKE, Roy EDIE, Tamsin GOODWIN, Mark HATHWAY, Jemima HINDER, Kenneth HOOKS, Cathy JENNINGS, Lauren MANDRY, Henry MARSDEN, Matthew MUSSETT, Conor O'SHEA, Helen PETERS, Joy RIMELL, Susan ROGERS, David ROOT, Andrew SHARP, Keith SIMPSON, Livia TRACEY, Karen WEIGHALL, Barrie WILLIAMS.

Without you it would have been impossible.

Thank you for having me!

Happy running.


Riddlesdown parkrun Run Report Event 503 – 5th February 2022



From the Tourist perspective - Event 503

Report by Edmond Jackson
Photos by Keith Constable. To view the complete album in Flickr, click on the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddlesdown/albums/72177720296524053

On a sunny morn, 150 runners succeeded around a firmer course as the dry spell continues. Marshals were in shock and awe at Alix Ramsier’s “storming gazelle” form as he bounded past to finish in 17.30.


So far ahead was he during the penultimate stretch, it was hard to know if attached to the race. Statistics say that was still down on your phenomenal 14.52, Alix, so better luck next time. ;-) (Alix's PB of 14.52 was run on our pre-covid course, which was somewhat faster than the course we are using now. It was also run with the assistance of his lovely doggo, Reggie. Alix's fastest time on the 'new' course is 16.01, again running with Reggie. Today's time is one of very few sub 18 minute finishes we've seen, to date only 7 runners have achieved this on the current course! - ED)

Champions of the day were the 16 of you achieving Personal Bests.


If current conditions extend to another spring drought, it will be a gardening and climate worry, albeit increasingly better for the satisfaction of advancing your times.

Of course, parkrun isn’t all about competition, and everyone getting round – even as a decent walk – can take heart, this kind of distance is probably optimal for health.


It’s still worth reflecting how what you achieve each Saturday, was once regarded as one of the toughest distances.
Nowadays, parkrun and 10ks tend to be seen as events for beginners and those of improving ability, whereas “serious” runners engage marathons and increasingly, ultras of 50k to 100k.
Distances and the assumptions surrounding them have radically changed, yet the challenge of what seems quite short nowadays remains as hard as you make it.
“When I was a lad” (if a small one) a long distance running event at school was 800 metres. On TV, David Coleman would sound ecstatic about demi-gods fit enough to perform in the five thousand metres.
A pinnacle 1970s athletic achievement was Flying Finn, Lasse Viren, winning four gold medals at two Olympics, including the ten thousand metres. Brendan Foster became a household name as a tough-man of the track. Can you imagine that now, for a 10k runner?

Yet even today’s front runners at parkrun know how hard is the distance, casually referred to as a 5k, when giving it their best.
Remember also, celebrated athletes perform on manicured-flat running tracks.
parkruns such as Riddlesdown typically mean squelch for a large part of the season, i.e. extra effort.


The course is not hilly like for example Mole Valley’s Parkrun around Denbies vineyard, but in winter conditions is proper cross-country.


There may not be medals at the finish, but you justifiably deserve one!


Riddlesdown parkrun Run Report Event 500 – 15th January 2022

Rear view – the tail of many marshals

Report and report photos by Andrew Sharp
Official Photos by Keith Constable - click on the following link to view: https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddlesdown/albums/72177720295996724)

As we gathered in the fog for the start there were a lot of familiar faces this week, both regulars and visitors with a long history of involvement at Riddlesdown.

As well as the usual course and safety details, course condition briefing (muddy, obvs), thanks to Croydon Council, The Downland Project and Warlingham School and thanks to the volunteers, Nicki’s run brief for the 500th event included a special welcome to those who had been present at the 1st event and to the course record holder, Kevin Quinn.


Without further ado, runners queued up for the start and we were off. I took up my place at, and wearing, the tail.


Event Director and Run Director Nicki, and Keith our photographer, bid a farewell as I set off to catch up with the walkers.




Nearing the start line, I passed the timekeepers, Kaye and Ken, who were heading to take up their posts at the finish.


The runners rapidly started to spread out, most disappearing into the thickening fog. Just ahead of me a few walkers followed the path along the edge of the field towards Jemima who stood ready to see us safely round the first slippery corner. I caught up with the final walker and we chatted for a while as we walked.


Two marshals, Jo and Paul Riches, were in position where the path passes through the hedge, around a large puddle, and into the second field.






Although muddy, the frost had made the path here a little less slippery than usual. We headed along the edge of the second field to the next marshal, Andrew Marlow, who had his daughter with him and through the next hedge to be greeted by Cathy Jennings in the third field.




At the far corner of field 3 on another slippery corner, Paula sent us left along the boundary with Riddlesdown Collegiate. One kilometer completed in ten and a half minutes, four to go.


Kevin Quinn passed us on his second lap, several minutes ahead of the next runner, as we headed along the top edge of field 3. The back of the pack changed with Pamela Roper now my companion for the rest of the event. Everyone lapping us shouted encouragement.

Matthew was waiting for us as we reached the trees.


We picked our way along the muddy path through the trees and onto the track at Barrie’s bend, where local legend Barrie was marshal at the first event and at many events since then.


The track was in good condition this week with not too much mud and the summer’s swarm of wasps a distant memory. We began to jog, walk and jog again to keep up our pace, hoping to complete the course in under an hour and claim some cake before it was all gone. At the crossover, Casey Damo sent us along the field boundary back towards the start where Rob Boswell guided us to run round the three fields again and Keith was on hand taking photos.




Alternately jogging and walking, we continued round the circuit again thanking marshals and standing them down, with Matthew joining us when we reached his marshal point and staying with us for the rest of the course.

A final push, with several supporters jogging with us, saw us reach the finish in just under an hour. Kaye and Ken were on hand to time us across the line, Connor was checking that the timers and tokens were in sync and Joy handed us our tokens.


There was still cake and the volunteers and runners celebrated 500 successful events at Riddlesdown.

event 500

Interesting fact - blue food colouring has a tendency to turn green when put into lemon flavoured cakes!

event 500-001

Some of our most prolific runners and our Event Director showing off their milestone Tees



Lovely to see everyone again.

The full list of people who were at both the 1st and the 500th Event either running or volunteering: Karen Weighall, Lee Dobson, Paul Groves, Peter Emery, Poppy Hatfield, Sarah Dunnell, Tim Pinkney, Chris Benjamin, Fiona Delaney, Barrie Williams, Sally-Ann Jackson, Paula Hooks, Kaye Quinn and Nicki Clark. A fair few of these individuals are in these photos.


And Finally, with a 500 runs and a five hundred volunteer tee between them, two of Riddlesdown parkrun's Founders, Kaye and Nicki - it may well be all their fault!

event 500-002


Report by Andrew Sharp

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