New Year

What better way to start the New Year than at Rushmere parkrun start time is 9am


Rushmere parkrun #50 – the one with the fifties

Happy birthday to parkrunner David Allen, who celebrated his 50th birthday on Rushmere's 50th event. Finishing in position 50th today was Cameron GELL with a time of 28:54 - highly impressive as he's under 10. Awesome!

Nobody completed their 50th parkrun today, however Andy Gardiner of Cheltenham deserves a special mention as he ran his 250th parkrun, finishing in style by crossing the line first overall. Congratulations, Andy, and thanks for joining us at Rushmere for this momentous occasion.

It's a battle for glory at the top of the women's annual points competition. Things are hotting up as we near the end of the year. Who will have the glory? The winner shall be entitled to an extra bang of the gong! Current standings are:
Tracy WILLIAMSON (Unattached) 2582 pts.
Philippa EDMONDS (Unattached) 2474 pts.
Isabella BIDLAKE HULL (Leighton Buzzard AC) 2034 pts.

Many Rushmere parkrunners, volunteers and Run Directors were in Amsterdam for the marathon and half marathon this weekend, including me, but I shan't miss a parkrun volunteering opportunity so I'm writing this run report in absentia. It was a sunny day for the race, and although the course was flat our legs are now hurting quite a lot.

Fancy Dress

Remember: It will be Fancy Dress at Rushmere on 29th October for Halloween!

And that's not all!

The following weekend, event 53 (yep, we counted right) will be our first birthday! Join us for cake and celebration. There's a party theme, so please wear your party hats and the most fabulous clothing you can imagine.

Now, enjoy these lovely photos. See you in the woods.


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Rushmere parkrun #22 – we got ourselves a new bridge!


Runners Briefing

152 Easter bunnies joined us this week to hop round our wonderful woodland course. We welcomed 18 newbies to the #parkrunfamily and a further 25 runners who came to visit Rushmere for the first time including Pauline Ryan all the way from Glasgow who quote “Loved loved loved your trail course, pity it's too far from Pollock parkrun to join you regularly.”

The juniors were flying this morning with 9 JM10 and JW10 completing a full 2 laps - Kieran Stapleton finished in 24:07 and Freya Blackwell 29:12, now that’s quick. Please remember that all under 11s must be accompanied at arm's length by a parent, guardian or nominated adult at all times along the course.


 New Anti Slip Bridge

Was it the new anti slip bridge or the thought of cake at the end? Not only did our Event Director Glen Turner raise the bar with a new course record of 17:53 but 46 runners also smashed their own PBs - Lynda Murray shaved almost 5 minutes off her first Rushmere time and Jeremy Pedler is 11 minutes quicker than his debut run the beginning of December! Overall, a whopping 48% of people who had run the course previously posted their fastest time.



The local clubs were also out in force this week with Leighton Buzzard Athletics Club claiming the top spot with 17 club members closely followed by 12 Leighton Fun Runners and 5 Leighton Buzzard Tri Club.



A huge thank you to all the volunteers this week and to those who signed up to join us next Saturday. Remember you can only run if we have a team of volunteers to look after you so remember to opt-in to the appeal emails and visit our future roster page to see what roles are free for up and coming events.

See you all again soon!



Rushmere parkrun # 20 – The one with 7 Davids, 3 Sarahs and 1 duck!

A dry, calm morning saw a large group assembled on the meadow for the run briefing. Of the 154 runners there were 7 Davids and 3 Sarahs. They are the most common first names among registered parkrunners in the UK, worldwide, and running at Rushmere on 12th March!
Jon Balaam from the Greensand Trust was gamely running in a duck costume to raise funds for Duck End Nature Reserve and waddled round the course in a very respectable 31:48.
Heavy rain midweek had softened the mud nicely and attracted more tourists than usual to sample the woodland delights of a Rushmere parkrun.

There were 54 runners new to Rushmere with 15 of those being first time parkrunners, welcome to the parkrun family. Elizabeth Morrison was at Rushmere for the first time, but ran her 50th parkrun, well done Elizabeth, we are looking forward to seeing you again soon in a shiny new red t shirt.
46% of our returning parkrunners set new best times. Notable amongst this avalanche of PBs was Gemma Taylor who has improved her time by over 11 minutes since the end of January; Douglas and Eddie Cook who slid under the magic 30 minute mark; Anna Larkins, first lady home for the 4th occasion, ran 22:18 smashing her previous best time; Leo Sheldrick who improved by almost 90 seconds and Benjamin Williamson who reduced his time again to 24:19, his third PB in four weeks.

Two age grade records were also broken and both by Rushmere first timers. Congratulations go to Zara Brooks who broke the JW 11-14 age category record in time of 24:26 and Steve Sharples who ran 21:18 in the VM50-54 age group.

Glen Turner, who was first home for the 6th time here at Rushmere, achieved the best age grade score of the morning with 71.07%. Close behind on age grading was Steve Sharples 70.34%, Diane Sandover 69.03% and Zara Brooks 68.08%.

Many thanks from me and on behalf of all the runners to our wonderful volunteers this week who made this event go very smoothly. If you would like to volunteer please get in touch none of the jobs are very difficult, full training is given and there is a lot of fun to be had and new friends to be made.
We hope to see many of you running at Rushmere again next week.


Rushmere parkrun #19 – No mud, only SNOW!

During the course setup this week - rather than discussions of course records due to a dry course, conversation centred around the beautiful scenery and how lovely it is to run in the snow. Extra attention was also paid to the fact that paths were hidden and that we were using white markers on snow! There were the usual obstructions to be cleared - and showing how dedicated our volunteers are even horse poo was moved off the course.

We were pleased to see 90 parkrunners join us and enjoy this lovely course - no matter what the weather has been up to. This included 18 first timers - its great to see new runners joining us each week.

And the snow must have suited a lot of our runners with a massive haul of 25 PBs, with 3 first timers in the top 5 places. A special shout out goes to Isla Atkinson, one or our junior runners, gaining a new PB of 38.10. Well done Isla.

Male placings:
Paul Williamson of Leighton Buzzard Triathlon Club, was first over the line in 19:05, followed by first timer Piers Vallance of Bucks Fire Service AC in 19:29. In third was Sean Byrne (Unattached) in 22:35.

Female placings:
Claire VALLANCE was first (4th overall) over the line in 22:42 in her first appearance. Becky DAVIES was second (25th overall) over the line in 26:44 followed by Lucy MCGROATRY in third (27th overall) in 26:52.

We can't wait to see what the course will be like for this Saturday's run - see you there!


Rushmere parkrun #17 – the one with the Triathlon Club takeover

Dame Kelly Holmes (@damekellyholmes on Twitter) recently pledged to visit three parkrun events, and a number of Rushmere parkrunners have been trying to convince her to visit our muddy woods this week. So when Saturday came, we were excited not only by the unusually dry weather, but also by the admittedly-slim possibility of meeting an Olympic legend.

"Oh my goodness! I think I can see Kelly Holmes!"

We will get straight to the point: Kelly Holmes didn't come (see you next week though, Dame Kelly, yeah?) But 121 other people did, and we had a rollicking good time of it too. Another wheelbarrow load of 38 new Personal Bests was metaphorically dumped on the meadow this week in a sweaty, muddy, exhausted, but truly satisfied heap.

On the start line, 121 runners clasped their left wrist in a gesture of solemn anticipation of the fun that was just about to be unleashed.

Gemma TAYLOR put in a brilliant effort this week with a second-best-ever time of 53:29, not far off her amazing PB last week despite the far muddier conditions on the course this time round. Way to go, Gemma!

The most seasoned parkrunner this week was Jerry BARNES from York Acorn RC, with 137 runs, and coming from York probably makes him the furthest-travelled parkrun tourist this week too.

Welcome to a massive 31 first-time Rushmere parkrunners who joined us, and for 17 of these people Rushmere was their first-ever parkrun. So welcome to the parkrun family, and we hope you enjoyed your first run with us!


Andrew HEALE continued his unbroken streak of Rushmere parkrun attendances, running his 17th of 17 events. Will he complete the full year? James BRIMBLE also added to an impressive tally with 11 Rushmere parkruns now under his belt.

Special thanks go to Leighton Buzzard Triathlon Club this week, for supplying many of the volunteers and bringing the fun and encouragement around the course. They even found five spare club members to participate in the event. Big thanks to our non-triathlete volunteers too, naturally!


If you fancy joining us one week to help make Rushmere parkrun happen, and at the same time spend an hour or two in the woods in good company (and who doesn't enjoy that?!) then head on over to our Volunteers page to find out more.

More photos from this week's event are available on our Flickr group here: - sign in to Flickr and join the group to see all the pictures.

See you next week for more woodland fun!


Rushmere parkrun #16 – of love and Personal Bests

Now that the days are noticeably lengthening, the standard-issue light drizzle and stubborn, lingering wintry chill of Saturday February 13 could mean only one thing at Rushmere Country Park. That's right: the start of Heron Watch 2016. This is the time of year they're getting out and about round the visitor centre, so head up there if you want to spot one of these majestic birds going about its daily business in its natural habitat.


But we weren't looking for herons at Rushmere parkrun today. Oh no! We were looking for Personal Bests on this, the 16th running of this event, on the eve of Valentine's Day, the parkrun of love!

A week of decent weather meant the woodland course was firm and fast. Everyone put in a good effort, and 45 out of 89 parkrunners achieved a new Personal Best this week. That's more than half the field! That's incredible! And of those, a massive 20 beat their course PB by more than a minute!

We'd like to think the motivation boost from a "Gladiators" start had something to do with it, but it was more likely down to the steely determination and grit of you brilliant, hardy, somewhat-cleaner-than-usual runners.

The TWENTY people smashing their Rushmere PB by over 1 minute today were Graham STANBRIDGE, Megan COURAGE, Richard HENRY, Martin AYERS, Emma BRACE, Oliver HARRIS, Lucy ELLIS, Kieran ROADNIGHT, Tim JOHNSON, Jason JULIEN, Anthony RYAN, Jane PAPMEL, Mark BRADLEY, Charlotte WILLIAMSON, Simon COOPER, Saengchan RINTHANG, Diane LATIMER, Andrew CHILCRAFT, Gemma TAYLOR with an enormous 4-minute improvement this week, and especially Hannah LLOYD.

Hannah is on a meteoric rise to greatness. After her first parkrun three weeks ago, she has beaten her time by 6 minutes and then 5 minutes again, improving by a huge 11 minutes over the space of two weeks. That's insane! Brilliant running, Hannah.

If you've never run (or jogged, or walked) a parkrun before then you are very welcome at Rushmere. Today there were no fewer than 18 first timers joining the #parkrunfamily. We hope you enjoyed the run!


Both male and female first finishers were first-timers at Rushmere today, with Mark PINDER smashing it in 21:09. The first lady to cross the line was Alice GADSBY, with a time of 26:24, not only her first Rushmere parkrun but her first parkrun anywhere. Great going.

A crack team of 19 volunteers came forward this week to bring you this fabulous parkrun; mad props to all, especially David AYERS who has volunteered at every Rushmere event so far.


If you fancy joining us one weekend in the near future then just let us know. All our volunteer roles are super easy and massively rewarding. Check the roster and get in touch. We'd love to see you there!

Check out the photos from this week's event on Flickr. Anyone can add photos to the Rushmere group on Flickr so please go ahead and add your snaps - we'd love to see them! Thanks Rob LAUGHTON for being our photographer this week, these shots really are excellent.


Look out for all the latest news and photos on our Facebook and Twitter - like and follow us, and you'll never miss anything that comes out of these woods again.

Today was my first time as Run Director. It's been brilliant fun, and so far I seem to have gotten away with it. Unbelievably they're letting me do it again next week, with Leighton Buzzard Triathlon Club supplying several volunteers for event 17. See you there, and don't forget your barcode! #dfyb

Anthony Smith


Rushmere parkrun #15 – The rain falls hard on a humdrum town

One of my favourite lyrics from The Smiths…

And of course the rain didn’t disappoint. There have been 15 Rushmere parkruns and in all but about three we have seen rain and wind. However, our hardy running community keeps coming back stronger, even in a week that traditionally sees runners dwindle.

This week saw 113 runners brave the mud and rain, with 18 Rushmere debutants and 9 new to parkrun. This is a great effort! For those visitors to Rushmere who haven’t seen it in spring and summer, a treat is in store. The park is transformed and coffee always tastes better when sitting in the sunshine.

It wouldn’t be parkrun if we didn’t note the achievements. One of our own Event Directors (Glen Turner) was first finisher in just under 19mins. Consistency is Glen’s middle name – all of his Rushmere runs have been within 20 seconds each time. There were plenty of PBs despite the conditions and a special mention must go to two of our junior runners. Gemma Taylor smashed last week's time by almost four minutes, and James Brimble, a Rushmere regular, is nearing his first milestone of 10 parkruns.

As always, our volunteers need praise. We had 14 this week and on our course they are crucial to the safety and success of the event. Anthony Smith is now our own poster boy volunteer – his unique way of encouraging runners is becoming legendary. Rushmere would not be the same without him – so if you see him, please say hello. Not to be outdone, David Ayers has also volunteered at all 15 Rushmere parkruns.

We do have a great core volunteer team but sometimes they do like to have a run themselves. If you have ever fancy having a go, please email us or speak to any of us at future events. The more supporters we have the easier it is to run the event. None of the tasks are that challenging – and ultimately, we just want to get our runners round safely and have fun.

And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Until this Saturday…


Rushmere parkrun #14 – Storm Gertrude will not defeat us!

Despite a rather windy and wet week thanks to Storm Gertude conditions at Rushmere parkrun were pretty good. Thankfully 126 runners and walkers had not been put off by the possibility of a massive mud bath.

start line

We had 19 shinny new parkrunners choosing Rushmere for there very first barcode scanning experience and a further 20 visiting Rushmere for the first time, including 2 from Muddy Race Team, we hope you enjoyed our mud!

Can you spot yourself in the start line video below? (click on the photo to open up)

parkrun vid #14

Richard McChensey race-walked the entire course in 36:20 minutes and quoted “I would have to rate it as one of the nicest courses of the 102 different parkruns that I have had the opportunity to do” - how very lucky are we?  In 6 weeks time Richard will be walking 165 miles round the M25 for Sports Relief. Head over to his blog Richard Walks London to hear about his challenge and to enter a competition to win a Fitbit - just guess how many steps his walk will take (it took Richard 5,268 steps to get round Rushmere).

The Leighton Buzzard Squadron Air Training Corps were also out in force today supporting each other round the course including Gemma Taylor who was one of the new members to the parkrun family.

air training corps

There were 7 park runners who were 'barcodeless' this week, remember

“No Barcode - No Result” #NBNR

Head over to register if you haven't already.

First through the finishing funnel was our very own Paul Williamson who has volunteered just as many times at Rushmere as he has run and the first lady was Katy Garnham-Lee from Leighton Fun Runners. Diane Sandover was best for age alongside Paul. There were also an impressive 38 PB’s achieved, that’s only 3 less than last week with 57 less runners Andrew Heale still maintains his title of running every Rushmere parkrun to date.

parkrun men finishers #14

Thank you’s go out to Jason Julien who kindly kept the parkrunners energy levels up with the donation of a big box of fruit…


and to Christine Ayres, David Ayres, Paul Doyle, Lindsey Froud, Victoria Green, Gordon Hill, Edward Kerr, Marcus Mitchinson, Lisa Mitchinson, Stephen Moore, Lynda Murray, Tam Quinn, Anthony Smith, Lorraine Stansby and Kerry Joanna Whitford who made sure everyone had a great time. Dave and Anthony made it back for their 14th week of volunteering - they are getting closer to their Milestone T-Shirt. Pay a visit to the volunteers page to join the team one morning.

Lastly please let us know if you would like to join us at Pizza Express in Leighton Buzzard Saturday 6th February at 7pm, email us at with ‘Pizza Express’ in the title.  We will confirm the details once we have an idea on numbers, keep and eye on our Facebook page for updates.

Make way for Jon Hull who will be RD next week - don't forget to ask him if he saw any mountain goats!



Rushmere parkrun #13 – the one with the attendance record

Driving up to the Rushmere car park on Saturday with a mist clouding the tops of towering trees, I was reminded how lucky we are to have such a wonderful parkrun setting on our doorstep. We are now firmly establishing ourselves within the local area as having something different to offer; a welcome escape from urban areas and a course that will change identity as each season passes. As we set out the route the sun broke through to break the wintery aesthetic, and we were braced for the 13th event at Rushmere.


A record number of 183 participants stood before me for the run briefing with a sizeable quota belonging to Redway Runners, who after taking numerous pictures of muddy trainers did assure us they enjoyed the event and would be back to participate again in the future.


The run itself was less treacherous underfoot as previous weeks though still required some careful navigation in some areas. Times are steadily becoming quicker over time and the new trail is gradually establishing itself into a well-trodden track. Georgia Nunn, Paul Ronald Williamson, Mervyn Stuckey, Rod Briggs, Robin Campbell and Jennifer Sangster all posted new age category records, Glen Turner was first place finisher for a record third time and most impressively Andrew Heale maintained his record of having run every event at Rushmere to date. There were 41 PBs and 20 people doing their first ever parkrun – welcome to the #parkrunfamily!

The finish area had a positive atmosphere at the end of this week’s run with many runners congregating to encourage others.



The dry weather was welcomed by all as we made our way for a post run coffee. The course undulations and varied terrain appeared to have caught many new to Rushmere unaware though none could question the unmistakable charm of this unique setting.


Pop along to our Facebook page to check out all the weekend's photos and keep abreast of the goings-on at Rushmere parkrun. We also have Twitter too!

What I enjoy the most about being involved with parkrun is the sense of community, a group of people coming together to celebrate running, promote goodwill and encourage others to succeed. David Ayers and Anthony Smith have volunteered at every Rushmere parkrun to date! And speaking of volunteers, a huge thanks must go to all 18 of them on Saturday.



Please check the upcoming roster and let us know if you can help out too – we would really appreciate it, and we can assure you that it’s easier than running but more productive than a lie in! ;-) Just let us know when you can help out.

Don't forget that if you are becoming a regular parkrunner, it might pay to consider an annual parking pass for £30 (or £35 with gift aid). You can do it online or in person in the visitor centre next to the cafe.


Whether it’s a reason to get out of bed on a Saturday morning or a social attraction, running or taking on a voluntary role is a great way to interact and meet new people.

Ed Kerr

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