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:
Liking us on Facebook
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.

 

Festive fun at parkrun

24th December 2016: Event #135
Run report by Joe Watts, photos by Richard Woodfield

It was a dry & bright, yet deceptively cold morning in Dunorlan Park for our Christmas Eve pacer day and there was a great buzz around the place in anticipation for this festive edition of our free, weekly 5km event. It was wonderful to see many people wearing santa hats, Christmas jumpers, reindeer antlers and even a few who had gone all out and worn entire outfits!

Dressed for the occasion:
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Our team of 30 volunteers, led by this week's Run Director Steve Barnfield were well prepared to accommodate what turned out to be a record breaking attendance of 281 people, however, it wasn't all plain sailing (more on this later).

Many thanks to this week's team of 30 volunteers:
Annaelle DUFFIELD • Annamaria BETTS • Austin RUDMAN • Chris MULLALEY • Colin RATCLIFFE • Daniel LULHAM • David CUNNINGHAM • David HARMAN • Deborah DIXON • Deirdre LULHAM • Dennis SANSON • Gabriela BAGULEY • Helen SANSON • Huw JONES • James BAGULEY • Joseph WATTS • Judy GUEST • Kelvin DESMOYERS-DAVIS • Kitt BAGULEY • Lloyd COLLIER • Louise FITZGERALD • Mary P SCOTT • Nick FITZGERALD • Noeline SIMS • Ralph GREEN • Rosemary SUMPTER • Ross MARSHALL • Simon JONES • Steve BARNFIELD • Zena HASSELL

There were plenty of first time parkrunners at our new runners briefing, with a total of 41 recorded finishers in our results of whom 29 were taking part in their very first parkrun & 12 were parkrun tourists. There were however, a large number (32) of unknown runners - those who had either not registered with parkrun before the event, forgotten their barcode or in 4 instances forgot to return our finish tokens for scanning (please return these tokens next time).

During the pre-run briefing Steve welcomed 3 new members to the parkrun 50 club - regular volunteer & fellow Run Director, Louise Fitzgerald and regular RTW parkrunners Croz Croswell and Gavin Hill as well as 2 who were to run their 50th at this event - RTW parkrunner convert Josie Jenkins (previously a regular at Tonbridge parkrun) and Event Director Joe Watts and finally, Sofia Baguley who was to run her 100th at this event - congratulations to all!

Sofia Baguley with son and daughter, prior to running her 100th parkrun:
sofia 100

Finally, Steve introduced our team of 12 volunteer runners whose job it was to pace finish times of 33 minutes up to 22 minutes. It was good to see a few new faces amongst the pacing team and we would like to encourage anyone to give it a go as it is good fun and rewarding at the same time.

This week's team of pacers:
pacers

So, back to my earlier comment surrounding our volunteers being well prepared. Of course, each week the Run Director and regular volunteers provide trainnig and briefing to all of the volunteers on the roles they are to carry out and we also provide a lanyard which will assist with anything that you may have forgotten. However, as with running, you can only control the controllable.

As mentioned above, I was to run my 50th at this event and my aim before the run was to finish in 50th position - easier said than done! I set off fast and began counting runners ahead of me at the bridge (around 15), once over the bridge I slowed and began to let others pass me as we made our way up the path towards the Victoria Cross Grove. Still counting, I allowed many more to pass me through the events field and as we made our way back around the lake. As I made my way down the slope for the second lap I caught up with the 24 minute pacer (Austin Rudman) and was joined by my good friend and RTW parkrun stlawart, Mark Scott - both to whom I revealed my plan to finish in 50th position. Unfortunately, I became a little distracted at this point and couldn't quite remember if I was in 48th or 49th position! I let Mark go and stuck close to Austin. It became a little more difficult for me to monitor my position as we made our way up the path toward the Victoria Cross Grove and events field as we began to overtake 1 or 2 runners whilst also 1 or 2 were overtaking us, yet I was confident that I would be 50th or thereabouts.

As I made my way up the final stretch toward the finish I passed Austin as another regular (Ryland Atwood) pumped his way past us and up to the finish line, where I crossed nestled in closely behind him. We made our way through the funnel and collected our finish position tokens - mine read "P101"!! Now, I'm no mathemetician but I am pretty good with numbers and I would like to think that I can count up to 50 with ease, so how was I to have miscounted by 50?! Fortunately, my years of experience as a parkun volunteer instantly led me to deduce that our finish tokens volunteer had moved from batch 1 to 50 on to batch 101 to 150 (i.e. missing out position tokens 51 to 100) - I had indeed missed out by 1 position. However, this was not to be my final position as this was altered during results processing from position 51 to 49 (still 1 out) as there were 2 runners ahead of me who had only completed one lap, which goes back to my earlier point - you can only control the controllable!

The scanning queues............................................ and a busy morning for the timekeepers:
scanning queue timekeeper

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

I end this festive edition of our weekly run report with a reflection of the growth of our event, not only during this past year where attendances have exceeded 200 on no less than 11 occasions, but over the past 135 events that we have held. As the event continues to grow, so too does the need for volunteers and this not only means those who are wearing the yellow hi-vis jackets each week, but also those of you who regularly run with us. We ask you to help us by assisting those who are new to the event wherever possible, before (the course is 2 laps, run in an anti-clockwise direction - trail shoes advised), during (follow the yellow signs with black arrows; there's a slippery, muddy section coming up) and after the run (finish funnel, finish tokens & barcode scanning) as your experience and knowledge is priceless.

Year on year number of finishers at RTW parkrun:
20th December 2014 - 64
19th December 2015 - 124 (also a pacer day)
24th December 2016 - 281

See you all again on New Year's Eve, same time, same place, for our final run of 2016!

Don't forget that you can follow us on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook where you will find the latest news and information on our event.

 

Leaving nothing to chance.

It was a lovely morning - with crystal clear visibility, bright sunshine and a bit of a breeze - as 149 parkrunners and 14 volunteers assembled before parkrun No 111. Later that day there were to be heavy, squally showers - but thankfully they were long way off for the parkrun early risers.

A moment for reflection before parkrun - the 100th anniversary of the Somme
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Run Director, Simon JONES, was leaving nothing to chance. "We start at the starting line" he reminded the assembled parkrunners. He was on equally safe ground when warning the good contingent of new runners that parkrun could become addictive - a statement that was greeted with enthusiasm by the many parkrun addicts.

A diminutive (non parkrunning) dog with a ball held up the briefing for a few moments as it wandered hopefully round the crowd of parkrunners looking for someone to join in a game of "fetch". The delay was shortlived and after a burst of applause for the volunteers the parkrunners were on their way.

KLAXON: "parkrun can become addictive!" ................. a very satisfying PB for Mary!
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The early arrivals assemble near the start
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High Summer - parkrunners emerge into the sunshine
2nd July 2016

Determined - Louise FITZGERALD on her way to a personal best
2nd July 2016

Round the corner and into the events field.....
2nd July 2016

From the Twittersphere...
"Amazing @RTWparkrun this morning and so good to see so many newbies. The race director was right, it's addictive!" (@SuzanneYoung123)

"A great thing to get addicted to - parkrun rocks" (@dazstaley)

"Big thank you to whoever found my wife's bracelet and to the lovely volunteers at @RTWparkrun for looking after it #reunited" (@CharlieB987)

"Yes! Smashed my PB @RTWparkrun by 32 seconds. A year in the making" (@_lou_fitzgerald)

Derek and Linsey - parkrun tourists: "a beautiful park - but that last hill!"
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Statistics
17 parkrunners were tackling our course for the first time. Of these:
12 were new to parkrun and
5 were parkrun tourists (including from Greenwich and Hastings)

23 personal bests were achieved.

First finisher was Neil SMITH (17:13) who also had the highest age grade % (81.1%)
First female finisher (and 18th finisher overall) was Helena EAMES (22:33)

39 runners were aged 50+
20 runners were aged 17 or under

This week's volunteers were: Charlie KIRWAN  •  Colin RATCLIFFE  •  David HARMAN  •  Gloria RICHARDS  •  Jessica CARSWELL  •  Joseph WATTS  •  Judy GUEST  •  Julie FRAMPTON  •  Louise FITZGERALD  •  Nick FITZGERALD  •  Noeline SIMS  •  Richard WOODFIELD  •  Simon JONES  •  Steve BARNFIELD

A reminder that you can follow us on Twitter or if you prefer you can like us on Facebook.

This week's report was written by Richard Woodfield

 

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:

Like us on Facebook

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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

 

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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