“Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast”

Event number 102 - 2nd anniversary
23rd April 2016

Special guests, Greg Clark MP and Deputy Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Councillor David Neve, runners, plus volunteers, friends and families, all gathered in a bright, sunny but blustery Dunorlan Park on Saturday 23rd April, to celebrate the second anniversary of the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun, your free, weekly, timed 5k run. No less than 177 runners had assembled, just two less than the event all time record number who attended the very first RTW parkrun on 26th April 2014.

Event Director Joe Watts began by welcoming Chris Mullaley to the 50 club. Chris has run 50 parkruns, all but two at RTW. Congratulation, Chris! Secondly, he announced that Mark Scott was running his 100th parkrun today, all but ten at RTW. Well done Mark!

Mark Scott (pictured below) - the latest member to the parkrun 100 club
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Next, Joe announced the winners of the annual points competition, with certificates presented by David Neve to:

Male winner - Chris Mullaley
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Female winner - Marianne Croker
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

and certificates presented by Greg Clark to:

Junior female winner - Erin Marks
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Junior male winner - William Blackwell (pictured below with Deputy Mayor, David Neve)
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Greg Clark reminded us that today was William Shakespeare's birthday, with an appropriate quotation from Romeo and Juliet: “Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast”. These are wise words indeed, but the wisdom of the Bard seems to have been comprehensively ignored by parkrun finishers (including Greg himself!) as today's results show!

Greg Clark MP in action:
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

He then turned to a more serious matter. In Tunbridge Wells, we are extremely fortunate to be able to run in the beautiful surroundings of Dunorlan Park. This is due in no small part to the ongoing support of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and recognition of the contribution that parkrun makes to our local community.

As many will have read, a council in another part of the country has decided that parkrun should pay to hold their event in a local park. Sadly, this has led to the suspension of that event. When parkrun was established, a fundamental principle was it should be open to everyone, whatever their ability, and should be safe and easy, and above all, free to take part in. Paying for the use of parks and other open spaces would put that principle in jeopardy. Now, Greg Clark besides being our constituency MP, wears another hat as Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, and prior to the run he announced that steps would be taken to dissuade local councils from charging parkrun to hold its events.

David Neve then welcomed us and drew attention to the delights of Dunorlan Park, with its extensive trees and shrubs, lake, and abundant wildlife, a very pleasant setting in which to undertake strenuous physical exercise! He had agreed to start the runners off and to greet them as they returned to the finish line.

177 people await the start of our 102nd event:
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Event Director Joe Watts went on to thank fellow Run Director Louise Fitzgerald as well as the three Run Directors, Steve Barnfield, Rob Campbell and Simon Jones, who in the past year have begun to share the burden of managing the weekly event. Thanks were also offered to the core team of volunteers, including our two non-running ladies, Judy Guest (who had volunteered at 49 of the 51 events in this past anniversary year) and regular marshal, Gloria Richards.

The volunteer Run Director team, pictured from left to right: Steve Barnfield, Joe Watts, Simon Jones, Louise Fitzgerald & Rob Campbell
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Finally, Helen Sanson thanked Joe himself and Louise Fitzgerald for all the considerable behind-the-scenes work they do to make the event happen like clockwork every week.

With that, the megaphone was passed to Louise, this week's Run Director, to welcome returning runners, first-timers and parkrun tourists to the RTW parkrun and give the pre-run briefing. David Neve gave the starting signal and we were off …

Tunbridge Wells parkrun

We welcomed many first-timers, including your friendly neighbourhood Spider-man (who went on to run the London Marathon on Sunday):
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

A stiff headwind did little to damp enthusiasm and spurred on by a magnificent team of pacers, an impressive 57 Personal Bests were gained! Sad to relate, yours truly, nursing a dodgy knee was not one of them, but there's always next week! The course has benefited from a few days of Spring sunshine and most of the event field has quickly dried-out to offer a good running surface. (We won't mention The Quagmire!).

Your pacing team pictured from left to right (finish times in brackets): Louise Fitzgerald, 30 mins (29:43), Mark Scott, 27 mins (26:19), Simon Jones, 32 mins (30:53), Joe Watts, 28 mins (27:44), Chris Mullaley, 24 mins (23:53), Nick Fitzgerald, 26 mins (25:15), Ross Marshall, 29 mins (28:42), Kelvin Desmoyers-Davis, 23 mins (22:57), Ryland Atwood, 25 mins (24:58) & Helen Sanson, 34 mins (33:25)
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

As part of the celebrations, finishers were greeted by a superb array of hot and cold snacks, plus cold drinks, kindly prepared and served by Sofia Baguley and Judy Guest. Meanwhile all received a raffle ticket from Gabby and James Baguley. A host of raffle prizes had been donated, so there was no need to include the items of lost property (running shirts, jackets, water-bottles, etc.) which seem to accumulate during the year! Pride of place in the raffle was the magnificent cake, baked by Zena Hassell. This featured an iced running shoe, stuck deep in glistening mud (chocolate), which aptly represented running conditions in the past months!

One of the raffle prizes donated by last year's female points competition winner, Zena Hassell:
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Finishers enjoying the complimentary refreshments provided by some of our volunteers:
Tunbridge Wells parkrun

All in all, a good time was had by everyone!

And to look forward with utmost optimism to Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun's third year, another Shakespearean quote (from Julius Caesar): “Bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.”― maybe even a new Personal Best!

Tunbridge Wells parkrun

This week’s statistics:
Number of volunteers - 30
Number of runners - 177
of which;
parkrun tourists – 9
First timers - 18
Personal bests - 57
Unregistered runners / forgotten barcodes – 13

You won't receive a finishing time if you forget your barcode or haven't registered, but registering takes just a few moments and once registered you get a finishing time at any parkrun event – so long as you don't forget to bring your barcode (#DFYB)!

Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Thanks are due to this week's team of 30 Volunteers:
Ali FARRALL • Charles BOWLEY • Charlie KIRWAN • Chris MULLALEY • Claire LAWRENCE • David HARMAN • Francis EAMES • Gabriela BAGULEY • Gabrielle RICHARDS • Gloria RICHARDS • Helen SANSON • James BAGULEY • James EVANS • Jessica CARSWELL • Joseph WATTS • Judy GUEST • Kelvin DESMOYERS-DAVIS • Kerry FRANCIS-WATTS • Louise FITZGERALD • Marian KEEP • Mark SCOTT • Nick FITZGERALD • Rob CAMPBELL • Ross MARSHALL • Ryland ATWOOD • Simon JONES • Simon KEEP • Sofia BAGULEY • Steve BARNFIELD • Travis GREEN

New volunteers are always welcome. No experience is necessary as full training is given. If you would like to help please get in touch!

Charles Bowley took an excellent range of photographs this week which you can find on the event Flickr page. If you took some and would like to share them, please upload them too.

Tunbridge Wells parkrun

We would love to hear how you got on at our event so let us know via social media channels:
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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.

This week's run report was written by David Harman. If you would like to write a future run report, please e-mail royaltunbridgewellshelpers@parkrun.com


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.


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.


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!


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:

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.

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.

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.


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.


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

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