RVp #299 – The one before the big 300!

A cloudy and cold morning greeted our early-rising volunteers down at Rother Valley parkrun this morning. The January doom and gloom is well upon us, but this didn’t stop our 25 volunteers and 512 runners, joggers and walkers turning out this morning! Last week we saw our record attendance down at Rother Valley, a huge 578 parkrunners. This made us royally brace ourselves for another big attendance, and you lovely lot did not disappoint! We welcomed tourists from Doncaster and Lancashire this morning, and also welcomed 85 eager (we think?!) first timers at Rother Valley parkrun. We hope you all enjoyed the event, and we promise that sunny days are not too far away.

So rambling aside, let’s recap the events of this morning! Our first timers briefing was delivered to you by our lovely Tom Copping this morning. Tom’s warm welcome and thorough briefing made for some happy first-timers feeling less apprehensive about getting lost on the course and feeling raring to go. Soon, it was time for another fabulous briefing. We gathered at the start line where our very own Pete Flynn (event director and regular run director!) took the stage (aka – the muddy grass) and welcomed all 512 of you to our 299th parkrun. We were aptly reminded of the parkrun rules and, in a shocking turn of events, informed that next week was to be our 300th parkrun, with a pyjama party to boot! For those of you like me (who would happily live in her PJs and could nap for Britain) this is a fantastic opportunity to run or volunteer IN YOUR PYJAMAS. Life doesn’t get much better than this. Run brief complete, we set off to enjoy 5k of running, jogging and walking around the lake. The park was surprisingly quiet this morning, but our fabulous run marshals did a good job of warning participants of other park users and keeping everyone safe. Despite feeling a little sleepy this morning I managed to run my fastest parkrun for some time! The encouragement from some of the faster parkrunners who stayed to cheer on others was lovely, and even encouraged me to push for a little sprint finish. Our volunteers did a super job of timekeeping, handing out tokens and barcode scanning, helping the event to run safely and smoothly. The PB bell was out and rang nicely throughout the event. A fantastic 97 parkrunners recorded new personal bests this morning! Well done to everyone who participated in this morning’s event, you are all superstars.

Before we move on to shifting the spotlight onto our volunteers, I'd just like to add a quick reminder about funnel etiquette. When you cross the finish line, please stay in the order that you crossed the line in and continue to walk right the way through the funnel until you reach our volunteers who will hand you your finish token. Ducking out of the funnel and not taking a token is very unhelpful as it causes the results to be altered. (We do not even allow the parks resident ducks to partake in funnel ducking.) As you cross the line, our timekeepers will press a button to record your time. If they record 10 times, but person 5 ducks out of the funnel and doesn't take a finish token then that means that every result after person 4 will be wrong as we expect our token numbers to match our timekeeping numbers. If you cross the line, you must take a token. Similarly, if you do not stay in the order that you crossed the line in whilst moving through the funnel, you may not get the time you are expecting. If Sally finishes 30 seconds ahead of you, in position 6, but in the funnel you swap places, you will receive token 6 and therefore will get Sally's time. Great for you, not so great for poor old Sally! Please listen to the instructions of the funnel managers and token sorters once you have crossed the line and stay in order. Also, please return your token to one of our barcode scanners, even if you don't have your barcode or you do not want a time. We reuse these tokens every week and they are expensive to replace, so we would much appreciate having them back. Thank you! :)

Today’s event was made possible by our 25 dazzling hi-viz heroes. A huge thank you to the following volunteers for making this morning so wonderful:


Volunteering is a rewarding and heart-warming part of parkrun. There is lots of fun to be had in volunteering, so please consider giving it a try if you haven’t already! Proof of happy volunteers can be found in the pictures that I have added to this report. (Full disclosure: I did tell some of the volunteers to “look serious and busy” when taking their photos; we can’t have people thinking that volunteering is all about laughter and happiness, you know!)

That's all from us this week folks. We look forward to welcoming you all down for our big 300th PJ spectacular! Have a lovely weekend, and see you next Saturday!


RVp #296 – The first of the decade!

The first parkrun of 2020, and indeed, the decade, took place this morning with our lovely Run Director, Tom, taking the reins! Volunteers and regular runners may have noticed his innovative idea of using a fold up table to direct this morning’s volunteers from, saving them all from stepping in the ever sticky mud to collect their high-vis vests from Bessie. We are unsure why this has never been thought of before, but are very grateful to Tom for his smashing thinking!

Volunteers dressed (in plenty of warm clothes and stunning yellow vests) it was time for the run brief. This morning we welcomed an astonishing 88 first timers at Rother Valley! We hope you all enjoyed the event and felt warmly welcomed by our friendly community. The field consisted of many people donning RED January t-shirts, which was just fantastic to see. Our mental health can suffer at any time of year, not least when the days are short and the Christmas excitement is over. RED January aims to encourage participants to be active every day during January. You don’t just have to run, all exercise counts, and you can even fundraise for your efforts, with all proceeds going to the mental health charity, MIND. We are proud to welcome those participating in RED January and hope that you enjoy your activities this month. Many people see the New Year as a time to start something new, so if you’re a new parkrunner that joined us this morning, we welcome you with open arms. Though, we’re afraid that we cannot be held responsible for your loss of a long Saturday morning lie-in, but we hope our event is one that keeps you setting that alarm clock weekly!

Despite the bitterly cold wind, the weather was kind to us this morning and allowed 438 of you to run, jog and walk your way around without being caught in any rain showers. The course was a little slippery in places due to an accumulation of mud and rainwater on the paths, yet 41 of you splashed through the puddles to grab yourselves new personal bests – well done! The event went smoothly with no incidents and a happy set of parkrunners and volunteers. Some finishers were even kind enough to stay and cheer on other parkrunners as they crossed the line.

However, the biggest mention this morning goes to the 32 volunteers, who arrived early to ensure your event went ahead safely and smoothly. Rother Valley parkrun simply wouldn’t be possible without the selfless help and support from such volunteers, so THANK YOU. Your wonderful high-vis heroes this morning were no less than:

David ELSOM • Suzanne PRICE • Alice FAIRHALL • Dave RYAN • Pete FLYNN • Kate LEVICK • Katrina MULDOON • David LEVICK • Dan GRIFFIN • Chris AMERY • Lesley HEWSON • David BUTLER • Chris HAYES • Philip HICKEN • Tom COPPING • Shreen HOWSON • Elliott HOWSON • Martin PEARCE • Michelle PEARCE • Mandy VERNON • Gary SCHOFIELD • Joseph CONNOLLY • Gill FREER • Alison COLQUHOUN • Neill TOWNSHEND • Willow BROWN • Julie AITCHESON • Marie VAGUE • Richard J SHAW • Julie WILLIS • Evelyn MULDOON • Alex SHAW

Each week we require 29 volunteers for a SAFE and SMOOTH event. As someone who was a regular parkrunner for two years before taking the plunge to volunteer, I can understand why some may be apprehensive. However, I can now say that volunteering allowed me to find my second family. Volunteers and parkrunners that I saw each Saturday whilst marshalling soon became more than the people I saw on a Saturday morning. They became the people I called on a tough day, or shared tears of laughter with over a pub meal. The amount of parkrunners that show their gratitude for your volunteering efforts gives a warm sense of achievement that is hard to find anywhere else. Please consider volunteering your time to help keep our event running. All volunteers (new or old!) are warmly welcomed and given clear and simple instructions on how to fulfil their role. Also, if you volunteer 25 times, you receive a FREE (snazzy) purple t-shirt from parkrun to commemorate your achievement! We also provide volunteers with a free ticket to exchange for a hot drink at the café after the event. Do please consider making volunteering at parkrun one of your new years resolutions!

We hope to see you all again soon! Our Run Director next week is Graham Worsfold. If you would like to volunteer, please email rothervalleyhelpers@parkrun.com or message our facebook page. Happy parkrunning!


RVp #279 – The one with a flock of parkrun tourists!

This week, we had no other than Daniel Connolly touristing with us to present to you with this special report:

Rother Valley #279 – All aboard!

There can be very few parkrun tourists as disorganised as me.  Much to the utter despair of my daughter! My son on the other hand is far more relaxed - as long as there is a cafe afterwards that will do him a cooked breakfast or a sausage and egg sandwich he will get into the car half asleep and promptly return to thw snoring stage that he was woken from a few minutes beforehand!

However I took my lack of planning to a new level this morning, only deciding a parkrun location as I sat in the car ready to go at 6:30am.  After having done over 150 different events I should really have some sort of selection system in place but having completed two regions (East and West Midlands), the UK Alphabet, a number of Running Challenges from the Chrome/Firefox Extensions and not really being interested in the Wilson Index my touring has been haphazard to say the least.

However members of the UK parkrun Tourist Facebook page (identifiable by the Cow motifed material band you might see at parkruns on heads, necks or wrists) have been a useful collective of well parkrun travelled minds; a few weeks ago I asked for a few recommendations for hidden gems of parkrun and Rother Valley was recommended.  So as I waited for my long suffering wife to lock the house I google mapped the directions and we were soon off.

As we got onto the M1 I realised it was perhaps advisable to check that the event was on and any parking arrangements - a quick check of Facebook and the event page reassured me all was well.  I always travel with trail and road shoes and loose change for parking as many times I have no idea what to expect.

We arrived just after 8 and with a flash of our parkrun barcode and £1 paid we had soon parked up.  It could be my age or a long drive and a coffee but I certainly needed the facilities as we arrived!  With no mention on the course page - apart from the cafe opening at 9:30 I got a little nervous and wished I had used a little of the built in wiggle room on time on a service station stop.  The signs from the carpark directed you to some toilets but the sign states open at 8:30am - I am delighted to say that 8:30 meant 8:30 as they opened perfectly on time.

With the slight shower starting to pass, I gathered up the rest of my family and started the short walk to the parkrun trailer?  As well as depositing our post run bags safely away I managed to also grab the report writer roster spot, which is why you have a slightly daft southern tourist writing the run report this week!


One thing that continues to surprise me on all the parkruns I visit is the first timers' briefing.  What surprises me, is not the fact that Megan CROFTS had a busy job. As I know that in the summer many people go on holiday and rather than miss a parkrun find a new event close to where they are staying.  This week 43 runners came to Rother Valley for the first time.

What continues to amaze me is that each week there are new runners to the parkrun family from the local area even to a parkrun on it’s 279th run not just one or two new runners but 15!  So a huge welcome to:- Edward TOWNEND, Steven CURRY, Jack PIERCE, Claire NIELD, Callum WALKER, Amanda DUFFY, Luke STEWART, Daniel SMITH, Paul BURNS, Alys HOBBS, Zoe CARTWRIGHT, Charlotte MOORE, Jenny CLEGG, Michelle REYNOLDS & Joanne ROTHWELL.  I hope you enjoyed your run today and come back to parkrun here or at any other event soon.


The parkrun weather fairies seemed to be smiling down on Rother Valley as the clouds passed, taking the drizzle away to replace it with a beautiful blue azure sky, just in time for the main briefing.

From my travels I can safely say that similar things are said at parkruns across the land – maybe in a different order- sometimes due to an issue more is said about one part of the parkrun code and occasionally even changes or extra safety measures are mentioned so it is important that everyone is there and listening!  One of my bugbears is people talking during the run briefing; as well as a lack of respect for the RD who is giving up their time, it is disrespectful to newer runners who may have never heard it before. I am sure that experienced runners have heard it loads but it is important. But I loved the ‘Quiet Please’ signs or now to be known ever more to me as the ‘Shhhh signs’ to remind runners that for just a few minutes they need to be quiet.

The briefing is the time we also get to celebrate those milestones and today we had a few that will result in a t-shirt e-mail at some point (I am still waiting on my 250 shirt - but I guess a few weeks of still running in my 100 top means that it has less wear on it’s way to 500!) Pauline WILLIAMS & Tina BELL both ran their 50th parkrun today so on the results will now have a lovely red t-shirt icon after their name.  There were a number of runners who completed their 10th milestone - for most it was just an arbitrary milestone - but for Evelyn MULDOON & Hayden MULDOON they both will get a 10 t-shirt icon on their results as they are juniors.

One other milestone was Phillip PARKIN who got his v25 milestone - for carrying out 25 days volunteering.  It is possible to do more than one role on a day - Event Set-Up, Marshal, Report Writer &Token Sorting but this is only one day but 4 roles!  So rather impressively this is before Philip has got to even 50 parkruns!

There was a shout out for Brian CAMERON who was doing his 200th parkrun, although not an official milestone is a lot of committed parkrunning.  After listening to a lot of the With Me Now Podcast all about parkruns, I had to resist the desire to shout “Arbitrary” as many wouldn’t get the reference and think I was being rude.  The podcasts are well worth a listen and will explain many things about parkrun and where calling out Arbitrary comes in.

As I am writing this report I should also mention Mary CONNOLLY (my wife) as she also ran her 200th parkrun today - "Arbitrary"  You might also have noticed Carl HILL wearing his modified 100 t-shirt showing 400 but even that wasn’t quite enough to be this week's most experienced parkrunner as Rory WADDELL ran his 502nd!  Great commitment.

With the formalities over the run soon started.  Normally no matter how often I tell myself I will run a sensible steady parkrun, as soon as the mass of runners press the start on their Garmin’s I am off like a man-eating tiger is after me.  However as my physio is allowing me one run a week if I take it steady and walk any hills! I had to let my wife race ahead - there are very few of her 200 runs where she has beaten me at parkrun. :(

One of the joys of running at a comfortable pace is that I could properly thank every marshal out on the course.  Normally after 100m I can barely manage a gasp or a thumbs up. This is why volunteering to write the week’s report is so good as I can thank all the marshals properly on behalf of the 365 that took part.  So a huge thank you to :- Robin ACHESON, Julie AITCHESON, Chris AMERY, Freddie BESTWICK, Ann BREWSTER, Nicola CHAPLEN, Megan CROFTS, Carol EGGINGTON, Jacky FAIRFAX, Tricia FLYNN, Heather FLYNN, Pete FLYNN, Gill FREER, Sharon HAYLETT, Richard HIND, Kathryn HOPE, Michael LEES, Fiona MORGAN, Phillip PARKIN, Ji PATTISON-SMITH, Michelle PEARCE, Martin PEARCE, Mark PLANT, Andrew Peter ROSCAMP, Jonas RUGINIS, Gary SCHOFIELD, Lynn THURSBY, Marie VAGUE, Mandy VERNON, Karen WEBSTER, Tony WEIGHTMAN, Dawn WOODS, Helen WORSFOLD who all who wore the superhero HiViz today and made the run possible. As with parkruns around the world if you fancy giving scanning a go, fancy being the time keeper, marshalling and encouraging others or are happy to help out in any role please send an e-mail - rothervalleyhelpers@parkrun.com  Don’t worry if you are unsure of what to do most roles are very simple and the RD or Volunteer Coordinator will give you the training you need.  You will get to be part of a great team of volunteers that make parkrun happen. And like Phillip you too could get that 25 icon on your results and be the proud owner of the Aubergine (It is really purple) t-shirt.

Another benefit of a slower than normal pace is that I really got to enjoy the route, rather than running eyeballs out and gasping for breath, I could appreciate the lovely one lap course.  The tarmac and limestone / gravel paths made for a great running surface with minimal inclines - no Yorkshire flat here… proper flat! With the sun beating down the water looked lovely and inviting, however the blue green algae means that a post run swim isn’t possible.  On the plus side the event that was to cause a cancelled parkrun has gone so you can enjoy another week running around this lovely lake, I can see why the carparks were so busy - as this was really a secret gem of parkrun just like I was advised.

The only disadvantage of a flat course circumnavigating the lakes is that from the other side I could see Steel City Striders RC’s, Kristoff BOYNTON (SM25-29) cruise home in 17:20 to be first finisher and then Frances ROBERTS (SW25-29) finish in 9th overall in 19:38 to be first lady home.  Great running well done.

A massive 48 runners will have had a celebration later in the morning as they will have received those great words New PB on their parkrun results text!  So a huge well done to:- Liam JACKSON, Jenny GALLACHER, Sian DICKINSON, Daniel PENROSE, Louise MELLOR, Diane DRABBLE, Clive BUCK, Clare HOLLINGWORTH, Brian MIRANDA, Richard JONES, Harvey THORPE, Andrea THORPE, Leanne FOGARTY, Clare MCSHANE, Holly BAILEY-JONES, Danielle BRYCE, Bernadette HALL, Lynn BLUNDELL, Robert THORPE, Colin HONEYMAN, Colin SEWELL, Adam CROWLE, Steph POWELL, Julie CROWLE, Luke GAYTON, Armagan BULUT,Steve CARTER, Lindsey WRIGHT, Gareth WIDDOWSON, Jamie WRIGHT, Andrew BRYCE, Bryan COSTELLO, Rebecca COUSIN, Cath LARKIN, Melanie O'CONNOR, Ellis RALTON, Stefan SMITH, Heather HAWKINS, Amanda SHAW, Henry ROBINSON, Sarah WILLIAMS, Brandon FLETCHER, Chloe CORNTHWAITE, Lauren WRIGHTBecky BROOKS, Liam SOMERS, & Jacob OKEEFE.  What a shame that the Rother Valley PB bell came to an unfortunate end a few weeks ago!

After passing the llama and goat farm - I totally missed it as I ran but had a good look later! - it was just a short distance to the finish which this week was rather moist due to all the rain!

After getting my tokens scanned and collecting the rest of the family it was then on to one of my favorite part of parkrun… The cafe!


Not only do I get to indulge (may be rather too much and combined with a lack of running means my 100 top is getting a little snug!) in a lovely post run breakfast, coffee and cake but I do it in the company of other parkrunners and get to have a good chat and watch the team sort tokens ready for next week.


Whilst local parkrunners may have finished their coffee and chat and gone home, we enjoyed a few more hours in the lovely Rother Valley park - well after running past the miniature railway we had to have a ride!


The tourist that recommended Rother Valley was spot on, it is a real gem of a parkrun. Thank you for a lovely parkrun today.

Happy parkrunning.

Daniel Connolly



RVP#278 and a visit from an “original 13”

A beautiful sunny morning at Rother Valley and after great persistence from this weeks volunteer co-ordinator Graham we finally managed to fill this weeks volunteer roster of 30 high viz heroes

Martin RD for this week invited Julie our “Volunteer of the Year 2019” to speak a few words at the initial run briefing

Julie made a very heartfelt plea for everyone to consider volunteering as it is becoming a real challenge to get sufficient volunteers to safely host this great event.

We moved the volunteers white board up to the barcode scanners and we have managed to get some additional help for the next event on 17 August (as we are cancelled next week)






We welcomed a total of 402 runners with 96 first timers and a magnificent 47 achieving a new PB

the first runner home was Benjamin Harris from Retford AC in a time of 16.46 finishing a healthy 24 secs in front of second place

The first female runner home was 19th in 20.46 and the first junior runner was a magnificent 8th in 19.18

We also had a group of 21 runners from Start2Jog for the first time

It was also a pleasure to welcome Karen Weir to Rother Valley for the first time, Karen is a parkrun Ambassador for South Yorkshire and was one of the original 13 runners that took part in the very first parkrun in October 2004


Please note that RV parkrun is cancelled on 10th August we look forward to welcoming everyone back on the 17th, we hope you enjoy touristing somewhere.

UPDATE: 30th August we’re no longer cancelled and will be going ahead on this date.


RVp 275 – The day the PB bell died!

This week 483 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 102 were first timers and 129 recorded new Personal Bests. So many PB's, that our PB bell fell to pieces!

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We had a massive 41 volunteers this week :

Dave RYAN • Andrew Peter ROSCAMP • Graham WORSFOLD • Helen WORSFOLD • Nick SCARLETT • James Frederick TRACEY • Paul BIRD • Andy PORTWOOD • Timothy FELLOWS • Lynn HAZELTON • Arron LARKIN • Mark PLANT • Sarah-Jane MASSINGHAM • Caroline SAUNDERS • Sian DICKINSON • Steven JOHNSON • Sergei SHKUL • Zaheer MAHMOOD • Tony WEIGHTMAN • Mark PIPER • Pauline WILLIAMS • Caitlin HAZELTON • Megan CROFTS • Valerie MEARES • Lindsey RODGERS • Martin PEARCE • Michelle PEARCE • Mandy VERNON • Gary SCHOFIELD • Gill FREER • Steve ROBINSON • Lynn THURSBY • Dawn GOODINGS • Adrian GOOD • Julie AITCHESON • Freddie BESTWICK • Anne LYNN • Mike BROWN • Chloe THURSBY • Richard WALL • Alex MOORE

Do you have a niggly injury that just won’t go away? Or maybe you are racing on the Sunday, and just want to rest your legs until race day? Or, you simply just want to meet a great group of people behind the scenes, and help ensure that the parkrun goes ahead every week.

If you fancy a hand at volunteering, just email us at rothervalley@parkrun.com. 

Don’t worry if you are unsure of what to do then full training will be given. There are also some roles where you can also run, as well as gain a volunteer credit, so why not give it a go? Nothing is too complicated and you’ll also get to meet a friendly bunch of volunteers behind the scenes!

For the past few years, a parkrun at 9am on a Saturday morning has been an integral part of my weekend routine. Unfortunately, due to injury I have been unable to run for the past month or so, and rather than break that routine, I was only too happy to keep on volunteering at various local parkruns. Indeed, some of you will already know me as occasional RD over at nearby Poolsbrook parkrun. Volunteering is fun and rewarding, but never more so in the past few weeks when I have been unable to run. After all, what else would I do at 9am on a Saturday morning???!!

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We had a pacing event today, with numbers catered for all abilities.This meant loads of PB’s, despite the slightly moggy weather. A massive total of 129 achieved a PB today. Well done to each and every one of you. 

As well as a big thanks to all of the pacers, a big thanks goes out to Tim Fellows for organising and coordinating all the of the pacers in the lead up to the event, and on the day!

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A new running group from Sheffield and Rotherham called Crescent Runners ran their first parkrun together after officially launching at the Round Sheffield Run a couple of weeks ago. We formed the group to improve health and fitness within the Asian community. There is a big stigma attached to running, and exercise in general within our communities, and by grouping together as like-minded runners, we hope to change that attitude.

We have already had lots of positive feedback from everyone since our debut, and we don’t plan to stop there. We have been featured on Radio Sheffield, Sheffield Star and the Sheffield Telegraph over the past two weeks. Furthermore, we hope to raise awareness and recruit more members , and if there is demand, hope to run a couch to 5k course soon. 

Of course, most of us know the mental as well as health benefits of running, and it is hoped that over time we can help break down the social stigma that running often has within the Muslim and Asian communities in general.

Expect to hear more from us in the coming weeks and months!


Happy parkrunning!

Zaheer Mahmood A1277256