Festive Events at Riddlesdown parkrun – Christmas and New Year’s Day



The Festive Season at Riddlesdown parkrun!

It's Official!
We have permission from the landowners - Thank you Croydon Council
We have permission from Warlingham School - Thank you Mr Bradwell

Extra Festive parkruns are ON, 9am Christmas Day, 9am New Year's Day ...

christmas day
Christmas Day start line - 2015

There is one condition, however - volunteers!

IMG_5321 copy
Christmas Day Ken - 2016

We need volunteers... 7 non running volunteers for each event, to ensure that it is safe, and that no one is put under undue stress to get things safely organised. In addition we will need set-up and take down volunteers, but they can run as well, and a tail walker, obviously!

The Christmas Day Volunteer Team - 2014

I'm happy to be one of the 7 for each event, and in addition to Run Director, we will need a timekeeper, a finish token giveouter, a barcode scanner, an marshal for Barrie's Bend (and it would be nice if Barrie could run, don't you think?) a back up timer and a number checker.

Christmas Day 2011 - Our littlest volunteer at our first Christmas Event

It would be nice to have some photos, a run report, an extra scanner, marshalls on all the corners as well, but as a starting point, 6 people who are willing to volunteer for the extra events are needed.

ridds Xmas 2013 - me
Christmas Day - 2013 - A bit damp!

Soooooo - Fancy a run on Christmas morning, to balance out the indulgences to come? Or some fresh air to clear the hangover? If you'd like to volunteer (tis the season of goodwill, after all!) please let us know - either by emailing the event inbox on riddlesdownhelpers@parkrun.com or signing up on Saturday at the registration table where you scan your barcode.

Christmas 2012 - The wet one!


See you all on the Downs,
Nicki and Team Ridds



Christmas 2013



Fancy No-Dress Event – naked parkun at Event 314!!




***News... 500th Event Milestone, Naked parkrun, Defibrillator fundraiser ... News***


Dearest Riddlesdownites,
I’d like begin by thanking everyone who has volunteered so far for April – volunteers keep the Event alive, and ensure its continuation.

On a lighter note – several people have picked up on the fact that my 500th volunteering occasion is rapidly approaching, and have asked what we are planning to do to celebrate this… now parkrun don’t officially celebrate volunteering milestones after 25 (yet!) so we’ve decided to create our own occasion.


We will be celebrating at Event 314, which is not this week, but the week after, because that is the event that most of the core team will be at - It will actually be my 501st volunteer, but I don’t believe in tempting fate so that’s ok by me!


The celebration will involve cakes (please make and bring cakes – I will!) as always, which will mainly be consumed at The Horseshoe on Warlingham Green, whilst we process results and everyone is invited to come along and join us. It has become something of a tradition to celebrate major milestones with some kind of fancy dress themed run. Now, I hate fancy dress, and as this is my milestone, we’ve decided that a Fancy No-Dress Event is appropriate. Yes, that’s right – a naked parkrun.


Anyone who has earned a purple ’25 volunteers’ t-shirt can wear that, and other purple clothing. Children (and here we’re going for anyone who has to run with an adult or guardian, so the 11 and unders) may wear clothes. Volunteers may wear their Hi-vis vests, and any other hi-vis fig leaves they happen to have!


As for the rest of you – naked parkrun! (running shoes are allowed)


If you wish to wear clothes, then we ask that a forfeit is made – in the form of a donation to our DEFIBRILATOR FUND.

Following the death of a parkrunner last week at an event in the midlands, we have decided that it really is time we had our own defibrillator. parkrun have negotiated a discount, but even with this, we need at least £600 for the most basic model – and at the moment Riddlesdown’s donation fund has £38 in it! We are not allowed to handle cash or cheques, so to make a donation you will need to access the following link: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/riddlesdown/aboutus/ and click on the DONATE to parkrun button. The 15% which usually goes to new event start-up will be given back to us when we have sufficient monies (less 15%) to order our defibrillator.

So – there you have it – not tomorrow, but the week after, Event 314, Naked parkrun!
See you (all of you!) there!



Nicki Clark
Event Director, Riddlesdown parkrun



A few words about volunteering -



To volunteer, or not volunteer, that is the question.

This is an appeal to all of our runners, and although it is a fairly long post, I'd be grateful if you could spare the time to read it.

In addition to the serious stuff below - volunteering is fun. It is easier than running! The event is free, partly because of the volunteers each week. Putting something back into your event helps to keep it going. If you volunteer 25 times, you get a purple t-shirt. If you’re racing later in the day, you can get a volunteer in first. If you're injured, you can support others to achieve their goals. And it is possible to run and volunteer, particularly if you plan ahead and book up the slot early, or if you are finishing in the top 40% of the field.
If you haven't volunteered before, or haven't volunteered recently, please could you have a look at the roster and think seriously about whether you could.

It is becoming increasingly hard to fill the roster each month, with the same hard core group doubling up and running themselves ragged to keep the same standard of event delivery going.
Thus far there have always been photos and always been a report, but these things are not essential and particularly in the case of photos, will just stop happening - it isn't fair to expect the person on timer to also take photos, and the Run Director is no longer allowed to do any job other than Run Direct - which means supervise the event, and be ready to deal with any emergency or situation which occurs.
The half way timer role will also disappear if we can't cover all the marshal slots.

We can put the event on with 5 non-running volunteers each week - RD, Timer, Finish Tokens, Barcode scanner and a marshal on Barrie's Bend.


If we do this, it will be a very different event to that which we are used to.

There will be no back up if the timer goes wrong, either through technical or human error, and this would have resulted in the entire field being given a time of 59:59 on at least one occasion this year already. The extra stress and pressure this would put on the volunteer operating the timer would make that role even harder to fill.

Only one person on each of finish tokens and barcode scanning means that queues will build up.
With finish tokens, this means that the funnel may overflow, and people won't get the correct place or time, and human nature being what it is, runners will get impatient, and the volunteer giving out the tokens will be under more pressure, and thus is more likely to drop the tokens, etc. Again, this makes the role more stressful, and more difficult to fill.
Barcode scanning will just take longer, and runners will get cold, but again, this is likely to result in increasingly harassed and pressured volunteers, with more mistakes, and less willingness to repeat the job.

No photos, no halfway timer, and only one marshal.
These things will not make the event un-runnable, but they will make it less pleasant for the runners, with less support, and no photographic record of the day.




In terms of Health and Safety, we have NEVER had to cancel an event This, in part, has been because when conditions have been less than perfect, we have had sufficient marshals to ensure that all the potentially dangerous parts of the course are negotiated safely. As the roster currently stands, if it is icy, we won't be able to do this, and I am not going to put an event on if the course is not safe.
I am aware that we have, historically, been very lucky with volunteers, and it is sad that with the largest numbers of runners we've ever had, our volunteer numbers are at an all-time low, with the roster often being filled late on a Friday night as a result of frantic text messages begging for support from some of our stalwarts.
So, if you're still reading, (and I'm aware that I'm preaching to the converted to some extent) please see if you can help. The event needs you.

Our email address is riddlesdownhelpers@parkrun.com

Thank you, as always.

Riddlesdown parkrun team


Event 303 – On or Off? UPDATE…



EVENT 303 IS (possibly) ON.

After a course inspection this evening, and a drive down Tithe Pit Shaw Lane on the way home, there is at least a fighting chance that we will be open for business as (almost) normal tomorrow.


The carpark will not be open.
Warlingham School have requested that the gates remain shut, as the carpark will not have been gritted and the should a runner slip and sue, they may well be liable. If we do go ahead, runners will need to use on-road parking, and we would ask that if possible car sharing/cycling and walking/jogging to the event are all utilised to the full, so as to reduce the pressure on local roads. Please do not park in the lay-by unless you are part of the pre-event set up team, and please try to avoid upsetting the residents!


This isn't negotiable.
If there is further snowfall, and Tithe Pit Shaw Lane becomes unsafe (ie, if I cant drive up it!) or if the police close the road, then we will cancel, as this will mean there is no ambulance access in the event of an emergency.
The Course
The course is wet and a bit disgusting. The pictures below show the water feature by the tree, and the path either side.


The grass areas are snow/slush and a bit wet.


The paths are grim - slush, water, mud and the odd chunk of ice. IF THIS ALL FREEZES TONIGHT, it may make the course unsafe.


If we decide after an early morning course assessment that it is not reasonable to go ahead, we will make the decision to cancel then.

Whatever decision we make will appear on our facebook page by 8am (Course inspection at 7.30)

Link: https://www.facebook.com/riddlesdownparkrun

If we do go ahead, it will not be a course for the faint-hearted. If you don't fancy getting wet, cold and possibly muddy, then please don't come!
It won't be nice for children, for small dogs, or for those who have a tendency to fall over anyway! The Irrepressibles will love it, although they should be at the Surrey League race!
Appropriate footwear will be essential - spikes, trail-shoes, even football boots, but road shoes aren't going to cut it.
Warm clothing is probably a good idea - for volunteers it will be essential.

Please remember there will always be another parkrun day, and if you're not sure that you want to run at Ridds tomorrow, don't risk it. There are other events nearby:Whilst Nonsuch has already cancelled, Banstead Woods is more sheltered, Roundshaw and Lloyd are not at the top of a hill - please check their event news pages and social media as before setting off, as they are likely to be making morning inspections as well.

Above all, stay safe - and enjoy the snow!
Check FB tomorrow morning, we'll update by 8am.
ED, Ridds.


Christmas and New Year’s Day at Riddlesdown parkrun


Extra, extra.... extra festive runs....

Good Evening Riddlesdownites,


Some good news for those of you hoping for extra runs and fun at Christmas - we have permission from the lovely Andrew Williams of Croydon Council to have 2 extra events, one on Christmas Day, and one on New Year's Day. Both events will be 9am as usual, and they will only go ahead if we have sufficient volunteers to ensure all is safe for everyone.


If you are available to volunteer for either of the extra events - or in fact for any of the events in December, please sign up on Saturday, or email us on riddlesdownhelpers@parkrun.com



The usual Saturday events will be as usual - and the one on New Year's Eve will be our 300th... any suggestions as to how we should celebrate will be most welcome.

See you tomorrow!


Car park restrictions – Saturday 16th July 2016

As those of you who are connected to Warlingham School are doubtless aware, Paul Derrett, the member of the premises team who lived on-site, very sadly passed away this morning.

Aside from the personal loss, Paul was a great friend to Riddlesdown parkrun, going way beyond the remit of his job to make things possible for us in all weathers, as the school car park use was one of the conditions laid down by Croydon Council when we applied for permission to use the Downs for our Event.

After some discussion, the school have agreed that we can open the car park tomorrow morning and thus Riddlesdown parkrun can go ahead, but they have asked that we restrict parking to the front car parks only, leaving the side gate and back car parks shut and empty, thus giving his family privacy and peace over the weekend.

Obviously we will comply with this request.

This will mean that there will be less parking space than usual, so if you can get to the event either by sharing cars, on foot or on a bike, please do.

Our condolences to Paul's family, and to all those who knew and will miss him.

Nicki Clark
Event Director
Riddlesdown parkrun


Riddlesdown parkrun Event 23rd January 2016 – Event 250


Our 250th Event - Come and celebrate


That's a huge amount of kms run, by plenty of people, plus many hours spent cheering, clapping, timing, scanning etc by many more people - you get the idea!
Most importantly it means it is time to celebrate.
When? - Saturday 23rd January 9 a.m. (Or very soon after! We'll do our best.)
Where? - Riddlesdown parkrun
And after at - The Horseshoe, Warlingham Green
Dress code? - Are you getting any hints from this? Yes wear GREEN. (It's the colour of the 250 t shirt.)
What to bring? - cake, or something else to share at the pub.
Everybody is welcome, whether you've run with us 250 times or once.
It would be great to see you all at the run and after at the pub.
Ange and Nicki

Festive parkruns @ Riddlesdown


Extra, Extra .... Christmas Day and New Year's Day parkruns

Just in case anyone was worried about what to do with their Christmas holidays, we are delighted to announce that there will be two extra parkruns at Riddlesdown - one on Christmas Day, and one on New Year's Day. Both Events will start at 9am (Roundshaw are doing a 10am on NYD for those of you who are glutton for punishment) and the only thing which may prevent these events from happening (other than insanely dangerous weather) will be a lack of volunteers... so, Riddlesdownites - it's over to you!

See you all soon,
Nicki & Ange


Sweatshop Monthly Prize – October 2015



We are pleased to announce that this month’s Sweatshop Monthly Prize winner is Michael Wray.

The October 2015 winner of the Riddlesdown parkrun Monthly Sweatshop Prize is Michael Wray. This prize is awarded to athletes who have shown consistency, commitment and improvement at the event.

Michael’s first parkrun was Riddlesdown 65th event, on 1st September 2012. He finished in 36th place in a time of 24:24. 2 PBs followed before the end of September, bringing his time down to 23:12. A regular runner throughout the long wet and muddy winter, Michael didn’t abandon Riddlesdown during the floods, and his perseverance was rewarded in April of 2013, at our 100th event, he PBed again, with a time of 23:01. His next two runs were also PBs, the first of which took him below 23 minutes. By the end of August, Michael had run 23 parkruns and had a PB of 21:33. Michael continued to run throughout the rest of 2013, and through 2014, putting in at least 1 run a month, every month. A further PB was earned in April 2014, of 21:21. He obviously likes this PB, as he has kept it ever since! Michael ran his 100th parkrun (and his 99th at Riddlesdown) on 19th September 2015, and he has now run a total of 102 parkruns, with an overall improvement of 3 minutes and 3 seconds.

As a volunteer, Michael has become a valuable part of the team, particularly since running his 100th parkrun. He has performed a variety of roles, from photographer to marshal, to pre-event set up, and all of them with a great deal of enthusiasm. In September he ran the River Relay as part of team Riddlesdown, and he is definitely a Riddlesdown stalwart. Although his one run elsewhere - at Portrush parkrun – did earn him the label of ‘traitor’ recently, we are delighted that Michael has chosen Riddlesdown as his parkrun home and look forward to many more Saturday mornings in his company!

We’d like to thank Hugh Brasher of the Sweatshop for his generosity and to congratulate Michael Wray on his achievements. Michael’s prize is a new pair of running shoes fitted at the Sweatshop of his choice.

michael wray



Sweatshop Monthly Prize – September 2015



We are pleased to announce that this month’s Sweatshop Monthly Prize winner is Barrie Williams.

The September 2015 winner of the Riddlesdown parkrun Monthly Sweatshop Prize is Barrie Williams. This prize is awarded to athletes who have shown consistency, commitment and improvement at the event.

In spite of the fact that Barrie has run one of the lowest number of runs of all of our prize winners, there can be no doubting his commitment to the event. He is one of our most prolific volunteers, and has been with us since our inaugural event in July 2011. In total, Barrie has run 8 parkruns, 7 of them at Riddlesdown.

Barrie’s parkrun story started before Riddlesdown parkrun began, in June 2010 at Roundshaw Downs. His first run at Riddlesdown came in July 2013, 2 years after his first volunteer here. He ran at Event 111, and finished in 88th position with a time of 29.27. August & September of 2013 saw a further 3 runs, with 2 PBs and an age category record of 26:43, which is still the fastest run by a VM 75-79. Barrie then took another 2 year break before his first run – whether caused by injury or volunteering altruism we aren’t entirely certain - and he didn’t run again until September of this year. He now has another 3 runs to his credit, and although Barrie hasn’t beaten his 2013 PB, his age grading has improved and now stands at an impressive 71%.

As a volunteer, Barrie is an invaluable part of Riddlesdown parkrun. We first encountered him on a pre-inaugural event walk around the course, where he demonstrated huge enthusiasm and volunteered for Event #1. We didn’t see him again for a while, but he turned up again in 2013, volunteering on 32 occasions, including Christmas Day, and in 2014 he increased this to a remarkable 44 occasions, again including Christmas Day, and so far in 2015 he has volunteered 32 times – bringing his total to 109! Barrie is happy to do any job, but his favourite is definitely marshalling at point 4, which is the furthest point away from the registration desk. He has marshalled there so frequently that it has been renamed ‘Barrie’s Bend’, and he has even been seen standing guard there on a Tuesday afternoon!!

Barrie’s support is hugely appreciated by all the runners, and we very much look forward to seeing him both marshalling and running for years to come!

We’d like to thank Hugh Brasher of the Sweatshop for his generosity and to congratulate Barrie Williams on his achievements. Barrie’s prize is a new pair of running shoes fitted at the Sweatshop of his choice.

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