Welcome to 2017

7th January 2017: Event #137
Run report & photos by David Harman

With Christmas pudding, mince pies, roast turkey, cold turkey, lukewarm turkey, turkey stew, turkey fricassee, turkey curry, turkey soup, turkey pizza etc. now distant memories, thoughts usually turn to the lengthening days, the countdown to Spring, New Year's Resolutions and Getting Back Into Shape. Thus it was that 202 runners gathered at a murky Dunorlan Park for the 137th Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun on 7th January.

Runners congregate near the start/finish area
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Simon JONES was Run Director for the day and he firstly wished a Happy New Year to all runners and volunteers, before welcoming returning runners, 19 first timers, and 5 parkrun tourists from as near as Tonbridge and as far away as Brueton (Solihull), Cambridge and Horsham. There were no announcements, for no-one had joined the Junior 10 club, 50 club, 100 club or 250 club in the past week, but here's the thing …. with a whole year of parkruns ahead, there's plenty of time to work towards those milestones!

There were plenty of dogs this week (please remeber only one dog per runner, to be kept on a short lead or harness and under firm control for the duration of the event):
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Finally, with the witching hour (9am) approaching, Simon without further ado, asked the timers "timers, are you ready?" and the runners "runners, are you ready?", and 3…2…1!, it was off down the slope.

An impressive 202 people completed our free, 5km course this week:
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With the cold weather turning milder, plus half a day and half a night of rain, the course was inevitably muddy in places. Three of the usual notorious spots, the little dell just after the War Memorial, the slope up through the copse onto the Event Field, and the little copse just beyond the Event Field exit on the downhill glide to Quagmire Corner were predictably slippery. Quagmire Corner itself was fairly muddy but we have seen worse (and probably will see worse 'ere Summer comes!). Time to dust-off the trail shoes if you have some, methinks!

The quagmire is making a most unwelcome, yet inevitable return...
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...however, please keep to the right of the orange cones to avoid collisions:
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Despite the onset of these stickier conditions, 18 runners achieved new PBs – a cracking start to the New Year! And all runners, whether young or young at heart, plus a good selection of dogs made the finish line without incident. The ducks and geese for some mysterious ornithological reason were all in the water, with just a few disinterested seagulls on dry land.

The entrance to the events field:
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Minor hiccups in the results processing caused Steve BARNFIELD a few grey hairs, so a few parkrun New Year Resolutions: Please don't take the finish tokens home – we need them for next week. If, inadvertently you do take one home, please give it back before the next parkrun starts, not at the finish token scanning stage. If you only complete one lap, please don't go through the finish funnel. And finally, the old chestnut – Don't Forget Your Barcode (#DFYB)! This week, 22 runners forgot their barcode or hadn't registered and therefore did not receive a time. Pity!

Our youngest finisher?? Children are able to register with parkrun from the age of 4:
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Our thanks go to this week's wonderful team of volunteers: Alison BEARD • Annaelle DUFFIELD • Annamaria BETTS • Austin RUDMAN • Charlie WARD • David HARMAN • Dominic MARDEN • Graham BROOKS • Helen SANSON • Huw JONES • Jessica CARSWELL • Joseph WATTS • Judy GUEST • Julie CHANDLER • Kathy SKINNER • Laurence BUNNETT • Louise FITZGERALD • Nick FITZGERALD • Simon JONES • Steve BARNFIELD and Zena HASSELL.

Volunteers are the superstars of parkrun - thank you:
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Like to join our volunteer team next week? Easy-peasy! Simply drop an email to royaltunbridgewellshelpers@parkrun.com and Event Director Joe WATTS will do the rest.

Some murky photos of RTW parkun #137 can be found on our Flickr page and if you would like to add yours, please do!

Let us know how you got on at our event by:
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Following us on Twitter

Walk, jog or run, but above all - have fun!
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Full results of this week's event with all the statistics, and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun results page.

 

A wild and blustery day

Event number 78
7th November 2015
Run report by Richard Woodfield

It was a wild and blustery day and my parkrun record of never having to run in the rain finally came to an end - on my 32nd parkrun. In fact the rain during the run was not that heavy and only started on the second lap. But, undeniably, there was more than enough moisture in Dunorlan Park to go round.... The golden glow of autumn leaves was somewhat eclipsed by the garish orange of the temporary plastic fencing put up around the park to safeguard the spectators at the big firework display later in the day.

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During the pre-run briefing by Steve Barnfield there was a big round of applause for David Harman, the last ever winner of the monthly Sweatshop prize, as well as a warm welcome to 14 first timers (which included several parkrun tourists). Steve also warned the runners to take care of the sizeable excavations made by unknown creatures on the path that brings the runners back down from the field to the lake.

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The course offered a big challenge to the 139 runners - the top field was absolutely sodden and the mud deep. In various places runners were faced with a decision - whether to run straight through the middle of the mire or to try a somewhat longer way round in the hope of finding slightly easier going. It reminded me of the Oxford/Cambridge boat race where the direct route isn't necessarily the fastest and the cox aims to gain advantage by steering in unlikely directions to avoid the worst of the rough water. Given the conditions it was hardly surprising that there were just 8 personal bests and that the first placing today (at 21.49) was the slowest of any of the 78 parkruns so far at Dunorlan Park, but I reckon we should all feel entitled mentally to deduct a minute or two from our results to give a true reflection of the effort!

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This week’s statistics:
Number of volunteers - 17
Number of runners - 139
of which;
parkrun tourists - 4
First timers - 10
Personal bests - 8
Unregistered runners / forgotten barcodes - 25

Thanks once again to this week's volunteer team:
Steve BARNFIELD, Faris BOUAMRA, Donna CARR, Jessica CARSWELL, Jake DOBSON, James EVANS, Nick FITZGERALD, Louise FITZGERALD, Judy GUEST, David HARMAN, Ollie HESTER, Simon JONES, Mia LULHAM, Gus MALONE, Gloria RICHARDS, Joseph WATTS, Richard WOODFIELD

A quick plug for trail running shoes during the wetter months - I had just bought a pair and was using them for the first time. I found they make a big difference when trying to change direction on the slippery mud.

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Richard Woodfield

Afterwards, some of us adjourned to the other end of the park with the Deputy Mayor of Tunbridge Wells and representative of the Fields in Trust to attend the ceremony to mark Dunorlan Park's memorial garden being given protection as one of the Fields in Trust's Centenary Fields. It was fitting that this event, at the Victoria Cross Grove, took place on the eve of Remembrance Sunday. Among those saying a few words was local MP, Greg Clark, who often takes part in our RTW parkrun. As Fields in Trust highlights the value of parks to their local communities it was appropriate that the photos of the event featured some of our most regular parkrun volunteers who, week by week, enable us to have an enjoyable and invigorating start to the weekend.

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Pictured above at the Victoria Cross Grove - Tunbridge Wells Deputy Mayor (David Neve), Greg Clark MP, Nick Green (TWBC), Fields in Trust, parkrun volunteers and runners

Current standing in the Men's annual points competition:
Chris MULLALEY 2062 pts.
Charles BOWLEY 1779 pts.
Kelvin DESMOYERS-DAVIS 1712 pts.

Current standing in the Women's annual points competition:
Zena HASSELL 2310 pts.
Heather CROKER 1963 pts.
Erin MARKS 1937 pts.

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By way of a postscript, I like browsing through the parkrun statistics. There's a mine of interesting information - not least the age grade % figures which can provide considerable encouragement to us runners of maturer years! But, when you get time, do take a quick look at the stats of some of the familiar names of the RTW core parkrun team. You will see that some of them have volunteered dozens and dozens of times. My special vote of thanks goes to those who set up the course beforehand and so have to get up even earlier on a Saturday morning.

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Thanks to both Donna Carr (Maidstone parkrun Event Director) and Jessica Carswell for taking this week's photos - all of which can be viewed on our website.

As always, we would love to hear how you got on at our event so please post your comments on our Facebook or Twitter pages:

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Full results of this week's event and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun results page.

If you would like to write a run report for one of our events then please e-mail royaltunbridgewellshelpers@parkrun.com

 

Spooky stats …

Event number 76
24th October 2015

On Saturday October 24th, we welcomed 153 runners to Dunorlan Park for the 76th Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun, your weekly, free, timed 5k run.

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Oddly, we had exactly the same number last week. The week before that, it was 135, and the week before that was the same – 135. 153-153-135-135 … hmm … what does this mean? … is something spooky going on (it is Hallowe'en next week, after all)? ... after much thought, all we can say is that we have absolutely no idea!

Anyway, this week's Run Director, Rob Campbell was on top form as he gave the pre-run briefing in his inimitable style. Taking pride of place in the announcements was news that Ryland Atwood has joined the 50 Club, having run his 50th parkrun last week - all but one of these at Royal Tunbridge Wells.

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The weather started – and remained dull and grey but thankfully dry, and although the grassy sections were damp, the surface was firm with just the odd divot / rabbit-hole to watch out for. These good conditions were reflected in a sizeable crop of PBs this week – 28. I didn't manage one but did achieve a best 2015 time, exactly a minute off my PB. Oh well … so near, yet so far away!

A strong club presence was contributed by members from Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC, Bromley Veterans AC, Crowborough Runners, Gloucester AAC, Harwell RC, Horsham Joggers, Medway & Maidstone AC, Paddock Wood AC, Rugeley & District AC, St Mark's Runners, Tonbridge AC, Tunbridge Wells Harriers, Vegan Runners and Wadhurst Runners - all in all, we welcomed no less than 32 first timers to our event.

This week’s statistics:
Number of volunteers - 17
Number of runners - 153
of which;
parkrun tourists - 25
First timers - 7
Personal bests - 28
Unregistered runners / forgotten barcodes - 13

Sadly, runners who forget their barcodes or have not registered do not receive personal finish times. Registering only takes a few moments and once registered you will get a finishing time at any parkrun event – so long as you don't forget to bring your barcode (#DFYB)!

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Thanks are due to this week's volunteers: Steve BARNFIELD (Barcode Scanning and Results Processor), Faris BOUAMRA (Finish Tokens), Rob CAMPBELL (Run Director, Pre-Event Setup and Results Processor), Jessica CARSWELL (Finish Token Support), Jake DODSON (Marshal), Louise FITZGERALD (Funnel Manager & Pre-Event Setup), Nick FITZGERALD (Timekeeper & Pre-Event Setup), Judy GUEST (Barcode Scanning and Token Sorting), David HARMAN (Run Report Writer), Zena HASSELL (Marshal), Simon JONES (New Runners Briefing and Post-event Close Down), Mia LULHAM (Marshal), Gus MALONE (Photographer), Liz ORR (Backup Timer), Joe WATTS (Pre-Event Setup and Tail Runner) and Richard WOODFIELD (Marshal).

Our team of volunteers are vital and parkrun would not be possible without them. New volunteers are always welcome! Why not check our volunteer roster to see which roles are vacant at future events?

Current standing in the Men's annual points table:
Chris MULLALEY (Unattached) 1923 pts.
Charles BOWLEY (Unattached) 1630 pts.
Kelvin DESMOYERS- DAVIS (Unattached) 1629 pts.

Current standing in the Women's annual points table:
Zena HASSELL (Unattached) 2131 pts.
Erin MARKS [Jnr] (Unattached) 1792 pts.
Heather CROKER [Jnr] (Unattached) 1778 pts.

Thanks to Gus Malone for taking this weeks photos - if you took some too and would like to share them, please upload to the event Flickr page.

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As always, we would love to hear how you got on at our event so please post your comments on our Facebook or Twitter pages:

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Finally, the next two weeks see two special parkrun events.

31st October: Something only slightly less terrifying than the alarm clock going off at 08:30 on a Saturday occurs – Hallowe'en descends on Dunorlan Park! Ghouls, ghosts, spectres, phantoms, vampires, banshees, demons, werewolves, zombies, spooks and poltergeists will be haunting the course – and that's just the runners! However, if you somehow make it to the finish line unscathed, there will be sweet and savoury treats, kindly made by our culinary wizards Judy, Gloria & Sofia! Further details can be found here.

7th November: On the eve of Remembrance Day, we will be joined by the charity Fields in Trust (previously known as the National Playing Fields Association) to celebrate Dunorlan Park’s memorial garden's protection as one of Fields in Trust’s Centenary Fields. This programme works in partnership with The Royal British Legion to safeguard green spaces to honour the memory of those who lost their lives in World War I. After the run at 10am, a Centenary Fields Dedication Ceremony will be held at the Victoria Cross Grove (past which our course runs), the park’s memorial garden, with the unveiling of the Fields in Trust plaque. Full details of the event can be found here.

 

Fields in Trust parkrun – Saturday 7th November

On Saturday 7th November, we will be teaming up with national charity Fields in Trust (FIT) for our event in Dunorlan Park, Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Fields in Trust is the UK’s only national charity dedicated to protecting and improving parks, playing fields and playgrounds. Founded in 1925, they protect over 2,500 green spaces throughout the UK from being closed off to the public or lost to a building development. Protected sites include several parkrun venues and they also support outdoor spaces through grants and opportunities to host “Have a Field Day” events.

We invite you to join us in celebrating Dunorlan Park’s memorial garden being protected as one of Fields in Trust’s Centenary Fields. Working in partnership with The Royal British Legion, this programme safeguards green spaces to honour the memory of those who lost their lives in World War I.

The parkrun starts at the usual time of 9am, followed by a Centenary Fields Dedication Ceremony at the Victoria Cross Grove, the park’s memorial garden, and the unveiling of the Fields in Trust plaque. There will be hot drinks provided in the park’s cafe and you can sign up for membership and win tickets to Fields in Trust’s awards ceremony at Lord’s Cricket Ground in December. You can read more about the history of the Victoria Cross Grove memorial garden by visiting, this link where a brief history is given on page 8.

It is parkrun’s mission to encourage participation in sport and this depends on there being outdoor space – a ‘carpark-run’ wouldn’t generate quite the same buzz! With building developments on the rise, it is important that our parks remain green public spaces forever. In this video, Fields in Trust ambassador Graeme Le Saux talks about the importance of protecting our outdoor spaces.

So, if you are in the Tunbridge Wells area on the 7th November, join Fields in Trust and parkrun. There’ll be games, medals and t-shirts – and everyone who runs will receive a Centenary Fields badge. To find out whether your local park is protected, simply enter your postcode on the Fields in Trust’s website.

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