Event #21 – This isn’t parkrun… This is parkfun!

This weeks run report is courtesy of Daniel Connelly

Over the last three years I have constantly strayed from my home parkrun of Coventry. As long as I have that joyous slip of paper, my athlete’s barcode, I can rock up at parks all over the world on a Saturday at 9am (nb times vary in different countries) and enjoy a fabulous free 5km run in good company. All parkrun asks is #DFYB
(Don’t forget your barcode!)

Although I have cajoled my wife to many different parkrun events over recent Saturdays, it has been a few weeks since the whole family have been together on our parkrun tourism adventure, due to scout camps and DofE expeditions. Having seen route traces and footage of the spiral, Somerdale Pavilion has been high on my visit list. As I made the mistake of showing my children they both demanded to go to the Curly Wurly parkrun, aka Somerdale Pavilion so it had been set aside and saved for when the whole family was together.

And what a day to pick, with azure blue sky and rocketing temperatures, the fresh spring greens around Somerdale Pavilion couldn’t have looked more beautiful and the recent dry weather meant no muddy patches – in fact road or trail shoes could happily be worn, as the morning dew would soon dry off.

Having once been late to a parkrun, due to being unable to find the start from the designated carpark and then be forced to play catch the tail runner (It was a few years ago when last over the line was a tail runner and not a tail walker!), I like to arrive early… Preferably at around 8:15, to build in some lea way, however the difference between Google Maps on a Friday Night predicted time and the actually journey time did mean that the family could have had an extra 20 minutes in bed! Not that they would notice as they all slept as I drove.

A tourist needs to make a tricky decision at a pay and display carpark… How long will the visit be? After seeing the Pavilion’s breakfast menu on Facebook at the start of the week I went for 4 hours… Best not to rush a big breakfast! Then it was a case of follow the arrows to the start! Easy.

Last year, I set myself the challenge to try and write a run report for every parkrun I visited; just like regular parkrunning habits form, so I keep writing. Writing the run reports forms a record of my parkrun travels, prolongs the parkrun fun beyond the café and allows me to properly thank all the volunteer heroes in hi-viz (or Easter Bunny outfits) who make these events possible. Whilst I do try and thank them as I run, sometimes I barely manage a wheeze at some marshals and if you don’t understand BSL you might think I am blowing you a kiss as I huff and puff past. So Jane BEETON, Toni BRITTON, Bre CAREN, Ian CONWAY, Gary COULTART, Sharon COULTART, Jayne CUMNER, Tina DURY, Jessica FOX-TAYLOR, Joan GIBSON, Janey GOOLD, Lydia GOOLD, Matt LANGDON, Lynsey MILES, Georgie MILES, Geoff MILES, Alice PERRYMAN, Charlotte ROSSITER, JamesROSSITER, Katy SHOESMITH, Deborah WILLIAMS, Oliver WILLIAMS – many thanks.


As with parkruns around the world if you fancy giving scanning a go, fancy being the time keeper, marshalling and encouraging others or are happy to help out in any role please look on the roster and e-mail -


Arriving early I reported in – for my Report Writing Duties which would be done hours after the run at home – much pondering what to write is done mid run, in the café and the drive home! Happily I managed to snap a few of the #HiVizHeroes in my homemade parkrun frame – I am sorry to those I missed.

Despite having gone to over 100 venues and heard the safety briefing over 200 times I still listen carefully as each parkrun venue and each event can have different risk and hazards that it is worth runners knowing about – And today was the first time I have ever been warned about golf balls! It is also lovely to clap the volunteers and celebrate any milestones. Despite the call out at the start we didn’t get to clap Phoebe DEVINE (JW10) who ran her 10th event as a junior and will have a little white t-shirt icon after her name on the results now; unfortunately for Matthew GOODWIN, Rob BROWN & Rob HOGG although they also completed their 10th run, as adults they have to wait a little longer to get an icon and t-shirt. Hopefully a mention in the report will suffice.

Deborah WILLIAMS did get a shout out and clap for one of the hardest milestones to discover from the weekly results, her 25th Volunteer. So now as well as the black 100 club icon for running she now has the additional Aubergine (Purple) t-shirt icon. I hope that the V25 shirts are in stock and arrive quickly so you can wear your t-shirt with pride.

On my parkrun adventures, much to the annoyance of my wife, I never look at the course. I never have any idea if the route is road or tail, single lap or multiple laps. Occasionally I research the café but that is as far as I go, as no matter how complex a course is at, my pace there is invariably someone to follow. But Somerdale Pavilion had peaked my interest from its inaugural run, seeing GPS traces, studying the course and viewing lots of footage of the swirl – I was at a loss to how it would work. I am sure that for this reason many tourists will be lured in to Curly Wurly for many many weeks to come. I do wonder how many of the 67 tourists today came to run the swirl? Although I do know that two runners came with leaflets and a banner for the http://www.severnbridgehalfmarathon.com/ on Sunday August 25th (10km race also an option.)

As well as those first timers, 9 people used their barcode for the first time ever at Somerdale Pavilion so a huge WELCOME to:- Sam MCCOLLUM, Austin MAY, Jenny SHARP, Meg DUDDING, Rebecca POWELL-CHANDLER, Charlotte CROSS, Mark GRIFFITHS, Andrew ENNIS & Janey GOOLD. I hope you enjoyed your first parkrun experience and return to parkrun soon.

In the end I decided to follow Joan GIBSON, this week’s RD, advice, ‘Don’t think about it, just run!’

So as the 157 surged over the longer grass, to spread out into a long stream of flowing parkrunners, I joined in the fun.

Now parkrun isn’t a race, it is a run… BUT as any Dad with a 13 yo son (very soon to be 14) will tell you, it is a race between the two of you. That desire to prove, despite your age, you still have it! I set off setting the pace a little too briskly for my son to sustain for 5km… which as he is 13 is fine as parkrun rules say that now he can run alone without a responsible adult – to be quite honest he has run without a responsible adult for most of his parkrun career; as my wife would say that although I kept him within arm’s reach, I am far from responsible!

As the course zigs and zags, across the field at certain points you could see the possible first finisher and the tail walker in virtual touching distance at different parts of the course. Rounding the pylon, and seeing runners starting the swirl I heard a buzzing! It wasn’t the noise of thousands of volts of electricity passing overhead but a sudden realisation in my brain of how the swirl works.

Soon enough the moment was upon me to find out, runners going both ways at the same time… In and out of the swirl but never the paths crossing. If I wasn’t so out of breath from running I would have let out a chortle of glee. As the spiral narrowed my hip right hip started to moan – probably running a marathon on Friday and racing your son the next day wasn’t that sensible! But just as I realised the turn was in the centre and the unwind started.

The joy of the close compact course is that I got to see how I was slowly pulling ahead of my son and also I could encourage my wife and daughter easily, without having to bellow across a few hundred metres of a path.

Rounding the out and back I started to count how far ahead I was of my son. Regrettably not enough to ease up, so pushing on I started lap 2. As I was trudging towards the pylon for the second time, Kingswood Tri Club’s, Matt LANGDON (VM45-49) came storming home in a new PB time of 18:03 to take the first finish token. On her first visit to Somerdale Pavilion, Forest of Dean AC’s, Cherry FOWLER (VW45-49) crossed the line in 15th place overall in a time of 21:32 to be the first lady home. Great running.

As I pushed on, I was a little disappointed that we hadn’t come to Somerdale Pavilion in the wet and mud where probably running spikes or wellies would probably be the best choice of footwear, however I wondered if the course drying out was good for PBs and looking at the results it seems pretty good as well as our first finisher 26 other runners also set a new PB. So well done to Colin TRAER, Pete CLARK, Courtney MITCHELL, Barry BRYANT, Matt BLACKER, Leonie SMITH, Nick BRAIN, Dan GREEN, Miranda REDFERN, Ben PORRITT, Sarah JONES, Richard PARKER, Sam THOMAS, Peter CLEAVES, Ryan NORTH, Jack RYAN, Joanne PARKER, James MATTHEWS, Bre CAREN, Sue DEVINE, Mark PENNY, Haydn MAY, Stephanie MAY, Christopher MORAN, Richard LAWTON & Vicky HESLOP.

Crossing the line and taking my finish token I was smiling, not just for managing to hold off my son for another week (If he properly trained rather than just running on parkrun day my victories would be numbered!) but from the sheer delight of a playful parkrun course run in glorious weather.

After playing with the air jet shoe cleaner to blast the grass from my shoes, a few times (Maybe my wife is right about the responsible bit!), it was into the café.

The post parkrun café trip has become as much a part of the tourism adventure as the run. Having a coffee and chat with other runners and the team as the results get processed. Having had a sneaky peek at the menu uploaded onto Somerdale Pavilion parkrun Facebook page I already knew what I was having – and it wasn’t just a coffee!


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After I had wolfed down my Vegetarian Breakfast, I chatted to other runners, leaving my son to trench through the larger builder's breakfast and my wife and daughter to sort the tokens ready for next week’s run.

Thank you to everyone at Somerdale Pavilion for being so welcoming to me and my family, we had a great time at your parkrun.

Happy parkrunning.

Daniel Connolly

As always a full set of today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Somerdale Pavilion parkrun Results Page.

Somerdale Pavilion parkrun
Event number 21
20th April 2019
This week 157 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 80 were first timers and 27 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 30 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 25 volunteers:

Daniel CONNOLLY • Elizabeth CONNOLLY • Mary CONNOLLY • Matt LANGDON • Jayne CUMNER • Gary COULTART • Sharon COULTART • Deborah WILLIAMS • Ian CONWAY • Oliver WILLIAMS • Katy SHOESMITH • Alice PERRYMAN • Tina DURY • Joan GIBSON • Lynsey MILES • Georgie MILES • Jane BEETON • Janey GOOLD • Lydia GOOLD • Geoff MILES • Toni BRITTON • Bre CAREN • Charlotte ROSSITER • James ROSSITER • Jessica FOX-TAYLOR

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Somerdale Pavilion parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by Ed KNUDSEN who recorded a time of 16:48 on 30th March 2019 (event number 18).
The female record is held by Clare JOLLIFFE who recorded a time of 20:15 on 13th April 2019 (event number 20).
The Age Grade course record is held by Caroline LAVIS who recorded 87.52% (26:18) on 23rd March 2019 (event number 17).

Somerdale Pavilion parkrun started on 17th November 2018. Since then 1,366 participants have completed 2,319 parkruns covering a total distance of 11,595 km, including 398 new Personal Bests. A total of 147 individuals have volunteered 385 times.