Southend parkrun #389

Southend parkrun
Event number 389
15th February 2020 – ‘Waiting for Dennis’

The weather was kind this morning, enabling us to enjoy our parkrun before the arrival of the high winds and rain from Storm Dennis. The course was dry with the wind not causing too much of a problem for the 473 people, representing 23 different clubs, who ran, jogged and walked the course, and enabled 41 to record new Personal Bests – well done.

Today saw 35 first timers at Southend parkrun, 15 of whom were tourists and 20 trying parkrun for the first time, so welcome to parkrun Harry Knight, Darren Deadman, Garry Russell, Ian Carroll, Ian Tilbury, Sanithu Liyanage, Alison Robins, Hazel Kimber, Jen Leafe, Alex Russell, Katherine Davis, Lillie Davis, Antony Davis, Olivia Beale, Nikki Beale, Robert Savage, Louise Smith, Sally Watts, Helen Russell, Holly Fernandez – we hope to see you back soon.

The fastest man on the course today was Beau Macdonald, who completed the event in an impressive time of 17:39. The fastest female was Niamh Staunton, in a new personal best time of 21:39. Our first finishers today are under 14 years of age, so fantastic running both of you!!

Milestones achieved today were:

Finley Stephenson.

Nicola Snoad and Alan Rayner.

Helen Wilkins.

Ivan Newman.

Congratulations to you all!

parkrun cannot happen without our amazing High-Viz Heroes and the 26 volunteers who gave their time and enthusiastic support to make this event possible were:
Keith Passingham (RD) • Nathaniel Lark • Nathan Collins • Alice Hamer • Charlotte Baines • Anne Gunn • Vikki Kenney • Alex Thornton • Claire Bissett • Geraldine Grapes • Linda Donnelly • Carly Newman • Terry Coker • Nigel Walker • Jessica Walker • George Felton • Jeff Brooks • Lin Taylor • Michael Walker • David Tuttlebee • Anne Purdham • Nicola Saunders • Paula Claridge • Jemma Lee • Dawn Harvey • Theresa Philips; a big thank you to all of them.

If you would like to be a High-Viz hero please see the future roster using the link and email to join in.

This week’s random results picked using an online random number generator to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of getting a mention, regardless of finishing position, are Michael Wilks who finished in position 5 recording a time of 19:50, in position 56 was Gary Parkins in 24:10, with Samuel Fairless in position 205 in 29:59. In position 319 was David Walker in 32:44, with Sarah Starling in 389th position in 34:55 and Karen Bateup finishing in position 408 in a time of 36:00. Special mentions to Kirk Patston who finished in 24:24, Nick Chambers who finished in 27:27, Paul Brown who finished in 33:33, Stephen Cook who finished in 35:35 and Lucy Haswell who finished in 37:37. Well done to all of you.

In a moving speech at the beginning of today’s parkrun Mark Dobson, Chairman of Leigh on Sea Striders, shared with our parkrun community the very sad news of the passing of club member Stephanie Simpson. Steph had been travelling in New Zealand and was trekking in the Mount Aspiring National Park last weekend, she was reported missing after she failed to return to work on Monday. On Friday the very sad announcement came through from the rescue services that her body had been found. Steph had been an active member of the club for over ten years and was always up for a challenge, completing the 2016 LoSS Charity event walking around the South Downs Way. Her strengths were not just in her capability in running but in her beautiful manner and her genuine care and kindness about the wellbeing of everyone else around her first and foremost. In a poignant tribute to the 32 years of her beautiful life members of the Leigh on Sea Striders ran together finishing in times of 32 minutes, supported at finish by the applause of our parkrun community. Rest in Peace Stephanie Simpson, fly high our beautiful angel.

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the website using the link:

Run Report written by Theresa Philips.


International Women’s Day 2020

We are delighted to be holding a parkun on this year's International Women's Day and are pleased that we will be supported by volunteers from the women at Active Life, we hope to see everyone there for another fantastic Saturday morning!


Southend parkrun #382 – New Year’s Day 2020

Southend parkrun
Event number 382
1st January 2020

Happy New Year, from all at Southend parkrun! Or should I say Happy New Decade? And what a start to the new decade it was: with barely 10 hours on the clock, 332 eager people descended upon Gunner's Park to walk, jog, or run their way around our popular 5k course.

It would not have been possible, of course, without the help of our wonderful volunteers. Our thanks to Run Director Thomas CUFLEY, and his team of Hi-Vis Heroes:


Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Surely, the only one you ever need is simply to strive to be the best version of yourself every day. Do you want to know a really easy way to achieve that? Volunteer at your local parkrun of course! If you enjoy parkrun but have never tried volunteering, I urge you to consider it. After all, without volunteers there would be no parkrun. There are lots of varied roles available; you can try each of them or just choose the one that suits you best. For more information about volunteering, please visit

And now for some milestones…

Congratulations to Wally JAMES, who began the year in the best possible way by completing his 50th parkrun! Rumour has it, he also achieved a new PB. More on that later perhaps…

Congratulations to Rachael L THORNTON, who became the latest member of the prestigious Southend 250 club! The first 250 badge of the new decade. How’s that for timing?

7 people tried parkrun for the very first time. Congratulations to:

Matthew CREEVY-MCDONALD, Philip TOBIN, Amanda ALLIX, Lee COLE, Helen CARTER, Adam MOY, and Miss ATKIN.

Welcome to the parkrun family! I always say the first one is the hardest. Don’t believe me? We’re here every Saturday at 9:00am. Come back and try again!

We were also joined by 17 parkrun tourists, running at Southend for the first time. Welcome to:


We hope you enjoyed our course and that we will see you again soon.

And now for everybody’s favourite feature…Southend’s Random Results!

Female Results:

Janine SOLE (VW45-49) was 36th across the line (135th overall) with a new Personal Best time of 28:02. Congratulations Janine!
Kerryn CYFKA (SW30-34) was 29th across the line (124th overall) with a time of 27:25.
Julie COOMBS (VW45-49) was 30th across the line (125th overall) with a time of 27:27.

Male Results:

Darren LOCK (VM45-49) was 23rd across the line (28th overall) with a new Personal Best time of 21:33.
Richard MASKELL (VM40-44) was 40th across the line (46th overall) with a time of 22:44.
First Timer Philip TOBIN (VM50-54) was 127th across the line (179th overall) with a very aesthetically pleasing time of 30:30. Congratulations on completing your first parkrun, Philip!

On the subject of aesthetically pleasing times, we cannot overlook the fact that David HARDING finished the first parkrun of 2020 with a time of 20:20! Great work David, and congratulations on a new PB too!

N.B. The Random Results are picked using an online random number generator to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of getting a mention, regardless of finishing position. Will it be you next time? It’s quite an honour, don’t you know? For the full set of results, please click here.

33 people came storming into 2020 by setting themselves new Personal Best times! Congratulations to:

Oliver RANDALL, Stuart JUDD, David HARDING, Kate WALSH, Megan VERNON, Darren LOCK, Peter MCINTYRE, Charlotte SAYER, Wally JAMES, Rachel WOOD, Louise HAMMOND, Adam LANGDON, Lorraine HEAL, Alice FLEMING, Luke PUGSLEY, Tracey GILL, Andrew HALLING, Janine SOLE, George LEE, Amy PUGSLEY, Claire SUTTON, Austin SPICER, Leanne RANDALL, Thomas ORCHARD, Desrae LE ROUX, Tim LAU, Kelly WEBB, Shantelle HOLMES, Oliver COOMBS, Eva HUGHES, David PANTON, Joanne STANLEY, and Joanne RANDALL.

I cannot resist a milestone PB. With that in mind, my PB-of-the-week award goes to Wally JAMES for his time of 22:38. This was an incredible 1 minute, 34 seconds faster than his previous best time. Congratulations Wally! A superb way to celebrate your 50th parkrun.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to finish this report by talking a little about myself; or more specifically, about what parkrun means to me. I tried Southend parkrun for the first time in 2014 one weekend when I came to visit my mum. I was at a low point in my life: I was very depressed, and the future looked bleak. If I’m honest, I did not enjoy it: I had no body confidence; I was embarrassed by how unfit I felt; I was even intimidated by how happy and friendly everyone seemed. I also hated running! A couple of months later, I visited Mum and tried parkrun again. My feelings were much the same, mixed with a hint of pride at having set a new PB. When I eventually moved to the area, I started attending parkrun regularly; not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t handle the shame of staying in bed, knowing that Mum was out running 5k! Once I became a regular parkrunner, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it. Not the running (that came much later) but the event itself. I realised that my insecurities didn’t matter; all that mattered was that I was joining in and doing my best. I also learned to embrace the positivity and the friendliness, instead of shying away from it. A little over 5 years after my first ever parkrun, on the first day of 2020, I found myself scanning barcodes in Gunner’s Park. I chose not to run on this day because I spent the last day of 2019 running my first ever marathon! Me! The person who hated running almost as much as he hated himself. That is something that I could never have dreamed of achieving if it weren’t for parkrun. So, to anybody reading this who might be looking to make a positive change in their life; to any new runners, joggers, or walkers; or to anybody who is struggling with their physical or mental health; I would say this: give parkrun a try. Because, after 5 years, 182 parkruns, 62 volunteer roles, and now 1 marathon, I can confidently say: it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.

Finishing my first ever parkrun, 2014. Finishing my first ever marathon, 2019.

That’s about it from me. Be kind to one another. And happy running; however slow or fast you may be.

Happy New Year!

Run Report written by Thomas Carswell.


Southend parkrun #378

Southend parkrun
Event number 378
14th December 2019

The Pall Mall parkrun takeover event was finally here, and to all accounts it went without a hitch (although I’ve been slow to get this report out!). Even the weather was kind for December, with mild, dry, overcast conditions, and very little wind. There were a few puddles and muddy patches on the course, as a result of a wet Friday the day before.

Looking a bit more like a triathlon, this was the swim section…

This was my first time as a volunteer, and it was great to observe the event from the other side. I was in awe of everyone who turned up to take part, whether they appeared to be sprinting, jogging, or walking the 5K course. Alone, with friends or as families; I imagine everyone is there for different reasons.

I also gained a real respect for the volunteers who make it happen. A number of them who rock up week on week, come rain or shine. I got to chat to the man behind the giant blue foam hand (not a medical condition!), Derek, and other faces you see each week. I didn’t realise Duke of Edinburgh Award participants also support the event.

The Pall Mall Surgery Crew

Pall Mall Surgery had been planning this takeover for some time, and so were all excited the event was finally here. We had a range of staff from the surgery volunteering; doctors, an emergency care practitioner, a receptionist, a practice manager, a pharmacist, and prescription clerks. A number of family members of staff also volunteered to help too. Many of these staff have taken part in parkrun previously, but for a few this was their first experience. They all commented on how friendly everyone was!

If all goes to plan we’ll be back to takeover one event next summer!

Let’s talk stats:

311 runners/joggers/walkers took part, of whom 13 were first timers. So welcome to Southend parkrun newbies: Russell EDGINGS • Abigail REYNOLDS • Alex HEUER • Victoria LANGMEAD • Henry DAY • Julian REICHERT • Peter WILSON • Isabelle BRITTEN • Heidi ADAMS • David PURDY • Elsa CHALK • Matt CHALK • Pal KAUR

Dr Nagle delivering the First Timers Briefing, rocking the Christmas hat!

The fastest man on the course was Mark WALLER, who completed the event in a tidy 17:30. The fastest female was Lucy GOLDING, with an impressive time of 20:48. Well done guys!!

And they are off...

Milestones achieved were:

Stuart Avis

Florence Tofield

Unofficial 150

Joanne Choulerton and Suzy Peacher

There were 48 recorded new Personal Bests, including one for our GP Dr Evans-Smith, who was obviously feeling the love that day.

A smiley Dr Evans-Smith making it look easy!

26 volunteers made the event possible, so a big thanks to them:

Anne PURDHAM • Noah THORNTON • Geraldine HANSFORD • Stuart AVIS • Matt BARRETT • Derek BIRNIE • Megan MATTHEWS • Megan HAEGER-SMITH • Poppy GOOGE • Sandra STAMP • Poppy IRVING • Linda DONNELLY • Rachael MARCHANT • Charlotte COLDICOTT • Jane COLDICOTT • George FELTON • Rebecca O'SHEA • Emilia IVANOVA • Saadia JOOMUN • Bernadette HOPKINSON • Jane HICKLING • Lindsey HARRINGTON • Joshua HICKLING • Lionel NAGLE • Oliver KNIGHT • Chris ECCLESTONE

Report by Pall Mall Surgery’s Rebecca O’Shea.


Southend parkrun #377

Southend parkrun
Event number 377
Saturday 30th November 2019

Showing terrific style....a natural!

Not one, not two but three rainbows greeted 347 park runners and 24 volunteers at Gunners Park on a crisp and cold morning. That was enough to warm us all up before the 5k onslaught had even begun. Just for a brief moment I forgot all about the sleet!

One happy volunteer keeping those fingers warm.

A salute to the volunteers:
Matt Barrett taking over the Master of Ceremonies as Run Director. Sandra Stamp and Saadia Joomun keeping those fingers warm enough to record the times. Poppy Googe, Sam Miller, Alice Hamer and Noah Thornton scanning the barcodes with such finesse and dexterity in the hope that the scanners bleep. Next come the marshals starring Lin Taylor (let’s hope she doesn’t come down with laryngitis) in her customary first corner position, Ian Smith, Lynn Neesam, George Felton, Sue Hickey, Derek Birnie, Joanne Choulerton and Mark ‘the Hand’ Mitchell. Making sure nobody is left behind were our two tail walkers, Anne Purdham and Marian Elias. Elizabeth Welsh briefed the first timers and Lisa Hart caught our pain and happiness in her photos. Finally, Linda Donnelly, not happy with one role, became finish token support as well as car park marshall.

A winning pose!

Another ecstatic winner.

Conditions were fairly good and this produced an amazing 53 PB’s. Focusing on 5 PB’s I would like to give a special mention to Bob Sporle who recorded 17:53, knocking 1:17 off his old time to finish first. Ian Wilson is making a habit of attaining PB’s with 6 on the trot and his time now stands at 20:57. However, Ed Finlay has managed a run of 10 PB’s and his time now stands at 22:56. A magnificent run Ed! Young Neve Courtney is on a run of 4 PB’s and has now reached a superb 42:27. Finally, Wendy Ratnage, who has been trying for an age to attain a time in the 32’s from the 33’s, decided to bypass this stage and achieve a 31:59. Well done to Wendy and everyone else.


Jennifer Walsh.

Mark Samuels.

Lloyd ‘Marathon Man’ Richardson. Not an official number but still an incredible achievement. Added to that Lloyd has volunteered 113 times (yes, I did count them !). Respect to you Lloyd.

Top of the age gradings is Sean McFarlane with a lofty 82.67% in the VM 45-49 category. We need to find out what super fuel the Monk’s are taking with Steve on 79.70% and Jackie on 79.06% in the VM and VW 60-64 Age Category. Impressive running from you both and the rest of Southend parkrunners.
See you next week, where we do it all over again.

Photos: Lisa Hart
Run Report: Mark Samuels
Thirsty work this! Time for tea!

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