From the beginning

Our latest parkrun person profile introduces Kelvin Desmoyers-Davis, a name many might recognise from its regular appearance near the top of the finishers list.

One of the participants in the first ever Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun, Kelvin has been taking part in parkruns since before ours existed.

“A colleague at work mentioned this ‘timed 5k event in Maidstone’ and my gut feeling was well that sounds interesting but a bit far to travel!” explained Kelvin. “Then through word of mouth and social media I discovered there was a parkrun starting at Tonbridge, so I went along to their inaugural event. Then – as I’m Tunbridge Wells born and bred – I heard about the then new Royal Tunbridge Wells event and I’ve been here ever since.”

Kelvin is front of the pack (he's the one on the left!)

Kelvin is front of the pack

When asked what made him keep coming back Kelvin said: “Different reasons at different stages. Originally I was determined to beat my PBs. Then to get into the 50 club. Now [not far off 250 parkruns] I see it as more than just a 5k and I enjoy the social aspects like catching up with fellow participants for a post parkrun coffee.”

Post-parkrun coffee

Post-parkrun coffee

His favourite thing about parkrun is entering the finish funnel, because that’s the moment when he feels like he’s achieved something: “Whether that’s helping someone get a PB if I’ve been a volunteer pacer, renewing my own PB or simply knowing I’m one run fewer away from the next milestone club!”

Having been a parkrunner for so long, Kelvin’s one of our faster participants but is often seen slowing down a little as a volunteer pacer [pacers always choose a time they feel comfortable with, rather than aiming for their own PB, so they can be sure their time is achievable on the day].

“It’s rewarding to know you may have helped someone achieve a PB. The pacer can help prevent runners from going too fast for their target time and so burning out before the end of the run. It’s often easier to just follow someone in front of you!”

Part of the pacer pack

Part of the pacer pack

His advice to others is taking part is: “If it’s a cold day, bring something warm to wear afterwards. If it’s hot, bring a bottle of water. The most important thing is to just try and enjoy taking part. Don’t set unrealistic goals, and avoid injuries by listening to your body.” Invaluable advice whether you’re a 20, 40 or 60 minute finisher!

Kelvin also shares his toughest part of the route: “I find the second lap between the bridge and the events field is the toughest part. Keep something in the tank for this section.” That said, of the 13 different parkruns he’s participated in he also says ours is one of – if not the most – picturesque. We always like to hear praise of our park!

To finish his profile we asked Kelvin to tell us something random about himself. He may be one of our faster participants now, but his response was to admit he used to smoke for more than 10 years. Which perhaps acts as reassurance to others thinking of quitting smoking and taking on a new challenge?

 

Five years of Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
27 April 2019
Event No 247

Run report by Erica Jones

The fifth birthday of Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun was such an exciting event that even Storm Hannah attempted to put in an appearance. Thankfully, she wasn’t quick enough, so apart from a little (a lot) of headwind the event was able to run without a hitch.

An impressive 310 participants and 46 volunteers turned up for the birthday event, which is certainly something to be proud of.

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The day started with regular parkrunner and Chief Executive of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council William Benson saying a few words, before our new Event Director Colin Ratcliffe launched into the briefings. This included highlighting the Gazebo of Joy which was sheltering the raffle prizes as well as sweet and savoury treats (for human and four-legged runners). This year the raffle prizes were won by a “magic” finish token spot system, a speedier way of ensuring participants win prizes and recognising the efforts of a random assortment of finish times along the way (not forgetting a handy way of discouraging funnel duckers!).

The spot raffle was also a great way of directing people to the sweet and savoury treats and encouraging a few more conversations among those who like to loiter and relax in the park after their 5k effort.

Five years of RTW parkrun has led to many achievements to be proud of, on a collective scale 6,725 people have completed the 5k course, clocking up an incredible 42,858 runs, walks or jogs. This has led to a massive 7,307 personal bests being achieved during that time.

Adding up all the time participants have taken means a total of 2 years, 142 days, 1 hour, 22 minutes and 36 seconds have been spent parkrunning at Royal Tunbridge Wells, clocking up a distance of 214,290km around Dunorlan Park.

All of this supported by 438 different volunteers – our helpers really are heroes!

Over the last year our parkrun has grown in number, with record-breaking attendances occurring increasingly often and it’s great to see average finish times are actually getting slower as our numbers increase. We call it parkrun, but many of us do walk or jog, using the 5k event as the perfect opportunity to begin to get active, which is the best advice for anyone thinking of joining us at our next event.

Well done to everyone who’s taken part in our parkrun – it’s the joggers, runners, volunteers and walkers who make our event so special.

 

End of an era

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
30 March 2019
Event No 243

Run report by Richard Woodfield. Pictures by Nick Fitzgerald

Everything came together brilliantly for Joe's farewell parkrun as Event Director:

* our highest ever attendance - 331 parkrunners & 37 volunteers came to give Joe a great send off.
* it was the ideal spring morning - sunny and mild - for a special occasion
* heartful tributes were paid to Joe and to all that had been achieved under his leadership of our parkrun
* astonishingly, as if to underline the point, there was a century of personal best times achieved.

Even the practical nitty gritty contributed to the spirit of the occasion. The PA system was on its best behaviour. The mud situation was much improved. And the number of "unknown runners" without barcodes was just 15 out of 331. At less than 5%, this meant that Joe's final stint processessing results afterwards involved a lot less detective work than on many a previous parkrun!

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Reflecting on his experience Joe thanked all those who had contributed to the success of RTW parkrun, not forgetting those who had enabled the parkrun to use such a wonderful venue. Volunteers, parkrunners, TWBC and Friends of Dunorlan Park had all played their part. Joe recalled that he had been responsible for adding the "Royal" to "Tunbridge Wells parkrun". He had also changed the route originally envisaged - it had initially been planned to have the route start by going uphill towards the main carpark. There was one parkrun, back in the early days, when the event had been run by just six volunteers. This had been pretty fraught and had required substantial multi tasking across all the essential volunteer roles.

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Louise had been in at the start of RTW parkrun, so it was entirely fitting that she paid tribute to Joe:

"I first met Joe in early 2014 at Tonbridge parkrun where I had gone along to meet with the newly appointed Event Director for the soon-to-be-established RTW parkrun. I had heard about the event via a facebook appeal for volunteers and as an avid runner myself and keen to give something back to my local community, this seemed right up my street.

My first impression of Joe was of a cool, calm and collected guy, disciplined and clearly into fitness. I also thought he was quiet, until I got to know him a little better. This was just the sort of person I knew would carry out the Event Director role perfectly, and he has proven me right! Many of you will not be aware of the time-consuming hard work that goes on behind the scenes at parkrun each week, not only on a Saturday, but during the week – organising the volunteers, dealing with queries from participants, liaising with the local council and parkrun HQ, as well as helping out at the actual events on a Saturday morning. It is not an easy job to undertake, but one that Joe has done humbly.

Over the 5 years I have known Joe, he has faced everything thrown his way head on with diplomacy, with the best interests of parkrun and its participants at the forefront of his mind. No mountain has been too high for him to overcome, in his personal achievements as well as spearheading RTW parkrun. I have seen Joe go from a DJ when I first met him, to a fully qualified PT and Running Coach, leading running groups of all abilities as well as fitting in his own training, and all this outside his actual job, which he still continues to do.

It has been a pleasure to see RTW parkrun grow and flourish under Joe’s tutelage, from inception to winning Best Group at the Love Where You Love Awards and our imminent 5-year anniversary. It will now fall to our new Event Director, Colin Ratcliffe to tackle the role, which I have no doubt he will do with fervour and determination.

If you could please all join me in a round of applause to thank Joe for his hard work in making RTW parkrun what it is today."

Joe - surrounded by parkrun milestone tops as a reminder of all that parkrunning and volunteering!
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Judy - our volunteer co-ordinator - presented gifts and a card to Joe. Among the many messages in the card were: "You've been totally awesome - thanks for making me and hundreds/thousands of people get fit and passionate about running" ... "parkrun changed my life" ... "Great work, Joe. I hope you will always be proud of what you have achieved here, and your legacy. Thank you"

Let's leave the final word to Joe:

"It's been an absolute pleasure being involved with parkrun over the past 5+ years and wonderful to see how the event has grown and evolved over my tenure. I know that it is in safe hands with a core, experienced volunteer team as well as a core and faithful group of runners. Saturday was a wonderful send-off and I look forward to seeing the event continue to grow and succeed over the next 5 years and beyond. I fully intend to return as a runner and volunteer when I am available and always encourage my RTW runners to attend. My main aim in setting up the event was to inspire others to get involved in running, the same way in which I was inspired by the London 2012 Olympics and it's great to see so many at RTW parkrun who have gradually progressed and become more involved with the event, the sport and the community."

Medley of memories..... (RW)
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Spring 2019 – change at the helm and upcoming events

Here's what we've got lined up for you at RTW parkrun through the Spring.

There are currently no planned cancellations of our event during the remainder of March and April.

Saturday 30 March - change at the helm! As we approach our 5th anniversary Joe Watts has decided the time is right to step down as overall Event Director of RTW parkrun. This will be Joe's last parkrun as Event Director, and he will also be Run Director on that day. We'd love to give Joe a great send off to thank him for the service he has given in setting up and leading our parkrun. During his time at the helm around 6,500 different parkrunners have, between them, completed over 40,000 parkruns on our course, achieving around 7,000 Personal Best times! And, equally impressive, around 425 different people have volunteered to don the yellow hi vis volunteer jacket at our event. As we know, every local parkrun is built on teamwork, but we owe Joe an especially big debt of gratitude for leading and committing an enormous amount of time and energy to the success of our parkrun. Colin Ratcliffe has kindly agreed to take on the role of Event Director.

It would be lovely to have a great turnout on 30 March to help make the day memorable for Joe. Also we'd like to suggest that all parkrunners and volunteers who have earned a parkrun tee shirt for volunteering or completing a given number of parkruns could wear their parkrun top on that day as a very visible reminder of how much parkrunners have achieved under Joe's stewardship of the event.

To add to the occasion we are planning to have pacers. (Although the course is rather muddy and slippery in places at the moment the forecasters are, encouragingly, suggesting there will be a fair amount of dry and mild weather through the rest of March.) The volunteer roster is currently open for pacer volunteers for that day.

Joe on cake cutting duties at our 4th Anniversary ...... Colin making sure our numbers add up
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Saturday 20 April - Easter parkrun We'll be marking Easter (ok - a day early as we're keen!) with some treats for parkrunners and volunteers around the barcode scanning area. Chocolate may feature! If you've got family or friends visiting for the holiday weekend it's always nice to have an outing with them at parkrun. Dunorlan Park is likely to be full of spring colours by then.

Saturday 27 April - 5th anniversary parkrun It's amazing to think we've been going that long! The event will be a good opportunity to thank the many people who've contributed so much to the success of our parkrun during the last year. It will also be a pacer day.

We'll also be having a raffle with prizes on offer, and so would welcome donations, in advance, of raffle prizes. It would be most helpful if any raffle prizes donated could be given to Judy by the previous parkrun (20 April) at the latest so that we know what other raffle prizes we may need to buy in to complete a suitable range. If you'd rather make a small financial donation towards raffle prizes this has to be done on-line via the website. (See "more" then "about us" buttons at top right corner of our home page)

 

Raising Your Spirits

RTW parkrun
Date 27 October 2018

Run Report Writer and Photographer Zena Hassell

If you have been coffin and spluttering recently, leave the medicine bottle at home in the bathroom cabinet and head to your nearest parkrun, where a weekly alternative prescription is sure to make you feel much better. Although local G.P, Dr Acula, was unable to attend this weeks event, due to a high demand of blood doning at his late surgery, several of his patients took his advice and resurrected their bodies at Dunorlan Park. Amongst the 263 parkrunners were several high spirited individuals, interacting with no less than 16 Pace Invaders!

The Final Countdown – 16 Pace Invaders! (RW)
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While the temperature hovered just above a bone chilling 0c degrees, run Director Joe Watts welcomed parkrun tourists from Ipswich and Ireland. He also congratulated Colin Ratcliffe on engraving his 100th run onto the Milestone Club scoreboard. Congratulations also went to George Moore joining the 10 club, Penelope Dobson and Prem Konteczny joining the 50 club. Did anyone spot newcomer ‘Wonky Bear’ enjoying his 1st visit to Royal Tunbridge Wells? (More about him later...)

Bury any negative thoughts – It’s a Saturday Mourning
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Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
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Heartbreak Hill – “Better the devil you know!”
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All smiles as a pumpkin carves around the events field
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Eat healthy for strong bones and fast finish
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Back to ‘Wonky Bear’ who very much enjoyed his visit to RTW Parkrun. He is a special bear made up of recycled hi vis volunteer vests and travels around to different parkrun events! To find out more checkout RTW parkrun/Twitter and Facebook.

Wonky Bear Relaxing
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Please note that next week's parkrun (3rd November) is on as usual, however, the Pembury Road Car Park will be much busier to accommodate vehicles for the setting up of the fireworks display later that evening. It would be advisable to try and car share, cycle, jog or walk if possible.

This week 263 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 43 were first timers and 31 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 28 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 39 volunteers:

Mark SCOTT • Daniel WITT • Joseph WATTS • Jane FENTIMAN • Kelvin DESMOYERS-DAVIS • Judy GUEST • Zena HASSELL • Croz CROSWELL • Simon KEEP • Marian KEEP • Richard NASH • Alexander HOLMES • Dominic HOLMES • Charles BOWLEY • Richard WOODFIELD • Chris MULLALEY • Marianne CROKER • Francis EAMES • Amy WHITE • Noeline SIMS • Lizzy ADAM • Colin RATCLIFFE • Huw JONES • Hugh STEPHENSON • Carolyn PRICE • Erica JONES • Robin BARWICK • Bethan CHANDLER • Angela TYLER • Rose SAWYER • Juanita MCFARLIN • Jonathan HAWKER • Maisie VERNON • Gemma STILLIARD • Amy DOBSON • Molly SLOUGH • Hannah CRAINE • Grace GOODWIN • Annie TAYLOR

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by William LEVETT who recorded a time of 16:12 on 8th April 2017 (event number 149).
The female record is held by Nicole TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:48 on 21st July 2018 (event number 209).
The Age Grade course record is held by Cath WHEELER who recorded 86.98% (21:23) on 15th September 2018 (event number 216).

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,904 participants have completed 36,897 parkruns covering a total distance of 184,485 km, including 6,581 new Personal Bests.

 

The Runaway Bride and Groom

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event number 218
29th September 2018

Run Report Written by Judy Guest   Photographer Richard Woodfield 

On a very autumnal morning, Louise (and bump) quietened everyone to welcome 310 participants. It was lovely to see 49 first timers, with tourists from Bushy Park, Bromley and Dulwich.

Congratulations go this week to Julian Clements, Kate Thomson and Simon Marshall who had joined the 50 club and a big cheer to our wedding couple Lloyd Collier and Suzannah Kinsella who joined the 100 club - once they had completed their wedding parkrun.

Lloyd and Suzannah met through running, so many of their friends from Tunbridge Wells Harriers and family were there to join them running around the course, before setting off for the wedding in the afternoon.

The Wedding Group
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It was also our monthly Pacer Day. A big thank you to the pacers who helped us see 64 new Personal Bests.

Congratulations to those of you that took part in the Hospice in the Weald 10k last Sunday. It was a very wet run.

Perspiring "vicar", clad in a heavy cassock, accompanies the couple up the last hill
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Every little helps
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Today’s event was made possible by 39 volunteers including some new Duke of Edinburgh volunteers. Thank you to you all.

Mark SCOTT • Daniel WITT • Joseph WATTS • Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • Croz CROSWELL • Gloria RICHARDS • David CUNNINGHAM • Nick FITZGERALD • Gabrielle RICHARDS • Richard WOODFIELD • Coral SADLER • Matthew NEWMAN • Chris MULLALEY • Marianne CROKER • Callum BENSON • David EDWARDS • Noeline SIMS • Colin RATCLIFFE • Huw JONES • Hugh STEPHENSON • Isobel WARREN • Matthew DUBERY • Oliver DAWE • Robin BARWICK • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Bethan CHANDLER • Victoria CAGLAR • Rose SAWYER • Sophie WAIGHT • Jonathan HAWKER • Maisie VERNON • Amy DOBSON • Hannah CRAINE • Grace GOODWIN • Annie TAYLOR

Tranquil - the next few weeks should see the autumn colours at their finest
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Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by William LEVETT who recorded a time of 16:12 on 8th April 2017 (event number 149).
The female record is held by Nicole TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:48 on 21st July 2018 (event number 209).

There have been four occasions since RTW parkrun was launched that we've had over 300 parkrunners. Two of these events were in September 2018.

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,777 participants have completed 35,878 parkruns covering a total distance of 179,390 km, including 6,430 new Personal Bests.

 

Pacemakers

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event no 214
25 August 2018

Run report by Judy Guest with Richard Woodfield. Pictures by Louise Fitzgerald and Chloe Hassell

On a cooler but sunny morning Francis Eames was the Run Director and welcomed everyone to our monthly pacer day, including tourists from as far as South Africa and Bristol, as well as closer to home like Bromley. Several parkrunners who are regulars at RTW (albeit not registered with our particular parkrun as their "home" parkrun) had joined run clubs, including William Levett who holds our course record and has completed 50 parkruns. Zac Dixon, a junior, had completed 10 parkruns at our course.

Francis reminded everyone that our event was cancelled in two weeks time, on 8 September, and so that would be a good opportunity for some parkrun tourism.

These pacer events are often very popular and today 45 runners achieved a PB. Rebecca commented on Facebook: "Thank you to all the pacers. Managed to smash my pb by over 30 seconds. Only taken me two years! They were spot on. Thank you." If you ever feel you would like to pace, and contribute to that feel good factor please let us know.

We were pleased to welcome back the Crowborough Hockey team coming along for the start of their pre season training.

A distant view of our August record total of 285 parkrunners setting out (LF)
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Dunorlan Park at its finest (LF)
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Sadly we had 25 runners this week who had not brought along their barcodes.

Please remember parkrun rules state no barcodes means you are not allocated a time. They are easy to remember. When you register you have six printed bar codes. Bring one along (ideally laminated). Put the spares in your car, your phone case, your purse as well as your usual running gear. You can also purchase wristbands or key rings. Having to manually adjust the results for non barcodes delays you getting your results and - more significantly - means that volunteers need to stay around longer after the event.

We would also like to wish Happy 20th Birthday this week to our regular runner, Mary Scott.

This week 285 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 46 were first timers and 45 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 20 different clubs took part. This was our second highest attendance in 2018, and our fifth highest since RTW parkrun started.

Robert enjoying his parkrun.... (CH)
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The event was made possible by 28 volunteers:

Danny WINSON • Joseph WATTS • Louise FITZGERALD • Stella BEARD • Steve BARNFIELD • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • Croz CROSWELL • Richard NASH • Nick FITZGERALD • Richard WOODFIELD • Chris MULLALEY • Marianne CROKER • Francis EAMES • Noeline SIMS • Colin RATCLIFFE • Huw JONES • Hugh STEPHENSON • Erica JONES • Andrew DENNETT • Edward DENNETT • Robin BARWICK • Yolanda WITT • Angela TYLER • Jack NORWOOD • Amy DOBSON • Andrew GRAHAM • Jane PALMER

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by William LEVETT who recorded a time of 16:12 on 8th April 2017 (event number 149).
The female record is held by Nicole TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:48 on 21st July 2018 (event number 209).
The Age Grade course record is held by John LOWDEN who recorded 85.21% (18:49) on 19th November 2016 (event number 130).

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,614 participants have completed 34,774 parkruns covering a total distance of 173,870 km, including 6,245 new Personal Bests.

 

Firm underfoot

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event 210
28th July 2018

Written by Francis Eames. Photos by Richard Woodfield and John Bowman

All parkruns are different and as I visit other parkruns around the country (20 so far and counting) I am always struck by their individual characteristics. From the hidden start and multiple tree roots to trip over at Dartford Heath, to the Gurkhas at Ashford, and the showers along the promenade at Hove, which some parkrunners were running through to cool off during the run, they are all unique. And there can be few parkrun starts more dramatic and picturesque than the beautiful sweep down from the café to the boathouse and along the side of the lake here at Dunorlan Park. The sight of the parkrun peleton sweeping down the hill at 9am on Saturday mornings is truly an uplifting sight and now firmly part of “the Dunorlan week”.

Mercifully the hottest week of the year gave way to rain on Friday night and it was somewhat cooler as 9am approached. A deluge a couple of hours before the start could have put some people off, but undeterred, 225 intrepid runners arrived at the start, almost exactly the same number as the same weekend last year. 23 different clubs were represented in the field. Noeline was in charge and wielding the megaphone this week for RTW parkrun number 210 and introduced the 13 pacers to the crowd, with most minutes covered, from Daniel Witt and Nick Fitzgerald at a very brisk 21 and 22 minutes through to the mid 30s and to Erica Jones pacing at … well we’re not quite sure, as she didn’t have a number on her back! It is fun pacing and if you haven’t tried it, give it a go next time. It is always good to have a gaggle of runners around you looking for a PB maybe, and if you get to the finish a few seconds inside the time, it is doubly motivating for them.

Among the crowd were parkrun tourists from Belfast, Bristol and Leamington Spa (a parkrun that could be Royal like ours, but chose not to be). It was good to see you all. Please come again. Magnificently there were 27 parkrunners running at Dunorlan Park for the first time of whom 8 were running their very first parkrun, and another 9 who were doing their second. Well done to all of you.

Pacers at the ready
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And 37 volunteers turned out to make the run happen and to go as smoothly as it always does. This week Mark SCOTT • Daniel WITT • Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • Stella BEARD • Steve BARNFIELD • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • John BOWMAN • Richard NASH • Gloria RICHARDS • David CUNNINGHAM • Nick FITZGERALD • Richard WOODFIELD • Francis EAMES • Amy WHITE • David EDWARDS • Eve DUBREUIL • Noeline SIMS • Wendy CURRIE • Colin RATCLIFFE • Huw JONES • Erica JONES • Robert HASSELL • Yvonne RAPTIS • Robin BARWICK • Yolanda WITT • Angela TYLER • Derek JEE • Will GREAVES • Lara JEE • Geraldine JEE • Julie MARCHANT • Maisie VERNON • Mark DENNISON • Carol MUNT • Andrew GRAHAM

.... all answered the call for volunteers and thanks go to all of them. We couldn’t do it without you.

Noeline introduced Stuart Dixon and Alison Norman to the 50 club to the usual applause and congratulations.

Paying attention to Noeline's pre parkrun brief
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So off we went down the hill and it was indeed slippery after the rain. One runner took a tumble on the grass on the hill and as you would expect from such a self-evidently nice bunch of people who make up the RTW parkrun community, immediately about 10 parkrunners stopped to help him to his feet and check he was OK. Then it was over the wooden bridge and up into the country for the first time.

Fortunately the rain had all been absorbed by the parched ground and the going was still very firm underfoot. It may have been cooler than previous days, but it still felt quite hot and humid up on the top field by the cottages, but there was a lovely breeze coming across the lake which made it much more bearable, and this was very welcome as we then turned uphill again onto the new loop. Ahead, James Taylor was powering in to be first male finisher nearly 2 minutes ahead of the rest of the field and Sarah Cronin not far behind as first woman home. 33 parkrunners registered a new PB. Let’s hope the pacers helped with some of those.

Pacer, David, in action (JB)
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A buggy runner powering towards the close
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This week we had two buggy runners. Stuart Corke finished in an impressive time of just over 26 minutes, an amazing time given the off-road nature of the Dunorlan course. As he said, it gets more difficult week by week as his little boy grows and gets heavier! (Richard Woodfield adds: our official course description says "We apologise but the course at Dunorlan Park can be rough in places and therefore unsuitable for buggies." It's worth mentioning, for the benefit of future potential new parkrunners and parkrun tourists who may read this post, that this advice indeed remains the case for most of the year, and for most buggies. But the Summer of 2018 has been like few others!)

Graham Brooks, RTW’s most senior parkrunner, was running with his dog this week. And started a new tradition … of peeing on the run director’s coat (the dog, not Graham!), which was drying out on the grass after the early morning deluge.

Post Event Closure
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And so another RTW parkrun came to a close with the café full of happy parkrunners enjoying a well-deserved breakfast while Judy and the Jee family sorted the finish tokens, Steve and Mark processed the results and Noeline and her elves made sure everything was packed away neatly for next week. Have a good week and we hope to see you all next Saturday

 

Thank you… thank you… thank you…

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event no 199
28 April 2018

Run report by Richard Woodfield. Pictures by Charles Bowley, except where stated

Our fourth anniversary was a gloomy, dank sort of day. But no matter - that could not supress the brilliant colours of the flowery garlands worn by all the volunteers or indeed the enjoyment of parkrunners and volunteers on an action packed birthday event. It was very much a day for thanking everyone who had contributed to the continuing success of parkrun over the last year, and in the four years that our event has been running.

Special guest, William Benson (Chief Executive of TWBC) is a parkrunner himself and so is well placed to know that a short pithy speech in the prerun brief is likely to go down well with the assembled parkrunners. William (pictured below) drew attention to some of the impressive stats about participation and the achievements of parkrun and thanked those - volunteers and paid staff - who looked after the park.

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Run Director, Louise, "ran" through an impressive list of organisations and individuals to be thanked. These included: the Council for their considerable and continuing support; the cafe for regularly refreshing us after parkrun - and putting up with our muddy footwear; those who had contributed to the food and raffle prizes for today, which included a number of local businesses and the Running Hub; Event Director, Joe, the other Run Directors; and of course all the volunteers - including those who had recently joined the core volunteer team. Louise presented some "thank you" cards, containing kinds words of appreciation.

Louise introduced the pacer team - and gave a reminder to keep right of the cones when coming down to Quagmire Corner from the Events Field. This avoids the risk of collision with parkrunners who have just run across the wooden bridge travelling in the opposite direction.

The pacer team leads the applause as Louise thanks volunteer co-ordinator, Judy
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Sofia and family with a selection of the delicious refreshments on offer
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A "Zena special" parkrun cake
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Louise reminded the parkrunners about the organization, Friends of Dunorlan Park, which aims to help protect and enhance the park. (At the left of the picture below you can see evidence of the work supported by the Friends, to prevent the larger of the two islands subsiding into the lake dute to erosion. The smaller island is next on the list as it too has been suffering heavily from erosion.) If you would like to support the Friends, there are leaflets in the cafe, or the organisation can easily be found online. Membership is a reasonably priced £7, or £12 for family.

An environment worth protecting!
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There was a rousing cheer for all today's volunteers and the parkrunners were up and running, jogging and walking.

Where have all the flowers gone?

I perched myself next to a rhododendron bush with its profuse array of pink blossoms strewn over the path, which made a great position for photography. A man out was out walking his dog and, as it's quite a narrow stretch of path, he waited patiently awhile for the flow of parkrunners streaming past to ease. It was very encouraging to hear I should think at least 40 parkrunners thanking him politely as they passed. Certainly a little politeness and consideration can go a long way. (3 pics by RW)

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Passing with flying colours

Most our parkrunners will not be aware that one of the visitors today was a parkrun adjudicator, Jacky MacDonald. The adjudicator's job is to conduct perdiodic checks of parkruns around the country to see that parkruns are complying with parkrun policies and rules. The aim is not simply box ticking - it's to ensure that parkrun events continue to be safe and enjoyable, and well run. You'll be pleased to know that RTW parkrun received a very positive assessment, with Jacky concluding:

"First class Run Director Louise Fitzgerald, very clear, and as it was their 4th anniversary gave mention to all the core volunteers. Nice touch."

Adjudicator Jacky conducting a practical assessment ....and one very cool parkrunning dog
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The raffle ....
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parkrun tourist pleased with her raffle prize - the edible parkrun vest!
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Photographer, Charles, captures array of parkrun colours postively glowing on a dank morning!
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Special guest, William, with daughter Amelia, who knocked over 20 seconds off her PB
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Flower power...
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After today's event parkrun tourist Max (based at Folkestone) told me that, with this visit to RTW, he had just completed a full set of the Kent parkruns. He agreed with the suggestion that Lullingstone was probably the most challenging Kentish parkrun course.

Today's statistics
227 parkrunners
43 volunteers
42 personal bests
31 first timers on our course (including 10 doing their first ever parkrun)

Steve Bolton and Hugh Stephenson had recently joined the 50 parkruns club and John Dyson had become a member of the 25 volunteers club.

I've finished!
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This week's volunteers were:
Angela TYLER • Austin RUDMAN • Bethan CHANDLER • Charles BOWLEY • Chris MULLALEY • Colin RATCLIFFE • David CUNNINGHAM • David SAWYER • Emily MULLETT • Francis EAMES • Gabriela BAGULEY • Huw JONES • India ERLAM • Isabella SOUTH • James BAGULEY • James WELBURY • Jane FENTIMAN • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • Kitt BAGULEY • Louise FITZGERALD • Lukas RATCLIFFE • Maisie VERNON • Marian KEEP • Mark DENNISON • Mark SCOTT • Nick FITZGERALD • Noeline SIMS • Rachel SADLER • Richard NASH • Richard WOODFIELD • Robin BARWICK • Sofia BAGULEY • Stella BEARD • Stephen ELLIOTT • Steve BARNFIELD • Steve BOLTON • Stuart CORKE • Tom CHANDLER • Victoria CAGLAR • Victoria MULLETT • Wendy ANDERSON • Yolanda WITT

 

Spooktacular!

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Run Report no 174
28 October 2017

Run report by Richard Woodfield. Pictures by David Harman unless otherwise stated. (Additional pics by Richard Woodfield and Zena Hassell - or someone wielding Zena's camera!)

Ahead of the curve - volunteers are always up early to prepare for parkrun (RW)
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Arriving in good time to take up volunteer duties, for several minutes I completely failed to recognise Noeline disguised in her fetching dark green wig. Fortunately, Noeline's voice is unmistakable and so my misunderstanding was soon sorted out. It was a lovely autumn day for our pacer spooktacular event - low slanting sunshine bathing much of our course in a warm glow. Another good turnout - of 266 parkrunners and 30 volunteers - enjoyed the event.

Run Director, Louise, announced to applause that Dennis Sanson had joined the Junior 10 parkruns club and Steven Barrett, Nick Fitzgerald and Suzanne Young had all joined the 50 club.

Joe read out a poem by Zena - intended to encourage parkrun volunteering.

"From set up to end, some time we will spend,
Marking the course with our posts,
In bright yellow vests, but no time for rests,
Volunteers - we're your welcoming hosts.

As we huddle together in all sorts of weather,
Our speaker will lay down the rules,
Pleases listen and learn, it could be your turn,
If the temperature rises or cools.

If you like taking pics and adjusting the fix,
Dust off your old camera lens.
There's so much to see and yes it's all free!
Animals, family and friends.

Tokens to sort or write the report,
A selection of tasks to choose,
It really is fun, combine with a run,
Step forward you've nothing to lose."

We've had 53 different people volunteer in the last month, and 173 different people so far have volunteered in 2017. It would be great to add to that number - and of course we are massively grateful to all those who volunteer regularly.

Ground conditions out in the field had considerably improved from the previous week and this - combined with the efforts of our pacers - contributed to the spooktacular number of 58 personal bests achieved.

A range of unusually clad characters turned up to parkrun this week!
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Occupation: web designer? (ZH)
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Spider hitching a lift with Robert.
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A gorilla was feeling the heat ...
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A youthful skeleton rattles around the course
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What comes down at parkrun must go up!
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Feedback from two parkrun tourists this week on Facebook both mentioned that last hill!
"I was a tourist here today. Thanks for the welcome. Lovely course apart from the hill at the end!!! Well done to all the volunteers that make it possible, especially the 30 minute pacer that encouraged me at the finish." (Jon) "I was a tourist too! Beautiful run but glad my usual PR is flat, that hill was a killer at the end!" (Harriet)

Incidentally, the photo above is just one of a number of pictures taken from this spot as the parkrunners first come down the steep hill from the starting line. I was encouraged, looking through this sequence of pictures, to see that the great majority - and indeed possibly every single one- of the parkrunning dogs this week had followed the advice to start from near the back where there there is much less risk of accidents with tripping over leads and the dogs getting over-excited in the crowded throng. So, well done dogs and their owners!

Pacer, Amy, rising to the occasion!
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Glowing autumn sunlight... (RW)
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This week's volunteers were:

Amy WHITE • Annaelle DUFFIELD • Annamaria BETTS • Carol MUIR • Charles BOWLEY • Chris MULLALEY • David HARMAN • Deirdre LULHAM • Dennis LANCASTER • Emily MULLETT • Gabriela BAGULEY • James BAGULEY • John BOWMAN • John DYSON • John LOWDEN • Joseph WATTS • Judy GUEST • Kitt BAGULEY • Louise FITZGERALD • Michael CHAMPION • Nick FITZGERALD • Noeline SIMS • Paul BETTS • Richard WOODFIELD • Robin BARWICK • Ross MARSHALL • Sarah CRONIN • Stella BEARD • Victoria MULLETT • Yolanda WITT

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