Swindon parkrun, Event 449, Run report

Swindon parkrun
Event number 449
25th May 2019

It didn’t take long for the slate-coloured clouds that hung over us, like Sunday evening homework, to be boiled away by the sun. And what started out as one of those ‘nothing’ mornings ended up as a glorious excuse to meander back home through Lydiard Park - chewing reflectively on a jelly baby. What a time to be alive!

Drawn like moths by the well-founded rumours of Swindon parkrun’s smooth organisation ‘like a Swiss watch’ (that’s what people are saying…)  friendly atmosphere and beautiful surroundings - we welcomed visitors from Queen Elizabeth, Chippenham, Shepton Mallett, Marlborough and Milton Keynes parkruns. They were among the 535 people who joined in the fun - including an enthusiastic cohort from JB Fitness couch to 5k team (awesome work guys!).

During the pre-race briefing, parkrun co-director Emma Sperring singled out Simon Lansdowne for special mention - Mr Lansdowne puts in the hours as the run director for Swindon juniors parkrun which takes place every Sunday.

Today, through some careful planning, he was able to celebrate his 100th parkrun AND simultaneously his 100th stint as a volunteer. Good one Simon!  

Emma said: “He does a lot of work, unnoticed, behind the scenes. And we are keen for everyone to recognise this.”

If you see him - remind yourself that you are in the presence of one of those decent people who quietly make things happen, without going on about it. There are never enough Simons.

Next week, parkrun is celebrating the first ‘birthday’ of the excellent parkrun practice initiative - a partnership between more than 800 GP surgeries and parkrun to promote health and wellbeing of patients and staff.

To mark the success of the first year, parkrun is aiming to encourage GPs and practice staff to come along next week. The GP parkrun pledge day builds on the success of last year’s parkrun celebration of the NHS’s 70th birthday.

For more on the GP parkrun pledge  follow this link

A quick note for your diary - Swindon parkrun will not take place on 15th June - to make way for the Bubble Rush charity fun run taking place on that date.

Right then, here’s the roll call of glory:

Today we raise on our shoulders young Thomas Sandwell and Lewis Taylor who achieved 10 parkruns today. We also congratulate Vanessa Spencer for her 50th run and Samuel Kingsley and the afore-mentioned Simon Lansdowne for their 100th runs. And let’s not forget David Holman who today clocked up 250!

Thanks as always for the 42 superb volunteers who made this whole thing possible.

See you all next week… remember to bring a GP or someone from their practice with you if you can (it would be polite to ask their permission first).

Ben Fitzgerald



Swindon parkrun, Event 448, Run report

Swindon parkrun

Event number 448

11th May 2019


After a week of sulky skies and window rattling rain it was a relief to have some mellow meteorology to soften the going this morning.

Among the 563 at the start line were tourists from Frome, Kendall and Epsom and a Professor from Lancaster University - Mike Berners-Lee.

The fleet footed boffin, fresh from an appearance at the Swindon’s fabulous Spring Festival to talk about his eco-themed book There is no Planet B, ran the Lydiard double loop in a swift 19:18 , eighth place overall.

And, annoyingly, he’s also a nice bloke as well…

In his pre-event send off, our parkrun director Tim Howe wished birthday ‘girl’ Alex Wells a cracking 21st birthday and Steve Kingston (pacing 40 mins today) an excellent 60th birthday today. Congratulations were also in order for Peter Holmes for chalking up his 100th run after two years at parkrun -  Peter started when he was 71!

And Sarah McDermott who has now volunteered at parkrun 200 times.

Another nice bloke I chatted to today is committed parkrun pacer Phil Jefferies. In addition to pacing today at 32 minutes, he also recently paced the Manchester, Paris, London and Liverpool marathons - four of 38 events he had paced this year. Phil says Swindon parkrun, where his love of pacing started, is responsible for transforming his life, improving his health and broadening his social life.

He said: “I know how much the pacers words of encouragement helped me when I first started at parkrun and I get loads of satisfaction from giving something back. It’s great to be able to help other people reach their goals.”

And that’s the parkrun ethos right there in a nutshell... Thanks Phil and the other marshalls - we need your motivation!

I definitely do… one long second off my personal best this week.. perhaps if I work on being more streamlined it could make all the difference?

Completing 50 runs this week were speedy Ben Cole (who came first in a lung-busting 16 minutes). It was a double celebration for Anthony and Mandy Wetherell who completed their 100th and 50th run respectively. Hitting the 100 run mark was Caroline Boulton and on 10 runs is Josh Osbourn. Congratulations all!

Quick reminder - there is no parkrun or junior parkrun next week as Lydiard Park is hosting the Pretty Muddy Race for Life 5k over that weekend.

Until such time as we meet again.


Ben Fitzgerald



Swindon parkrun, Event 446, Run report

RUN REPORT for Swindon parkrun Number 447


What a difference a week makes at Swindon parkrun!


Last Saturday, facing a brisk headwind down the first straight, only 26 runners – that’s barely 1 in 15 -  battled their way to a new PB.

Today, a massive number of 107 runners – that’s almost 1 in 5 - breezed to a new best time.

Not only do they get our congratulations but also all the good weekend feelings that go with beating their best!


Yes, it really was a perfect May morning for a run in the park and, even though there was a nippy northerly, because we were running anti clockwise, it blew us all the way up the back straight. Beautiful!


It certainly looks like conditions suited speedy Ben Cole, first over the finish line for the 28th time, and getting himself a splendid sub 16 minutes time and a new-PB to boot!


We hope that, among today’s 561 runners, the 57 First Timers, including numerous terrific tourists from Chipping Sodbury, Clapham Common, Cardiff, Northampton, Cheltenham, Worcester Wood, Southport, Banbury, and Milton Keynes also had good runs.


Happy with their efforts today are likely to be the three runners who reached key T-shirt rewarded parkrun milestones.


On making it to 50 runs, well done to Phil Bradley, Jim Ovey, and Lorraine Heritage. The last-named will be doubly happy because she reached her half century with a new PB!


Also pretty happy, even without the reward of a new T-shirt, will be Swindon stalwart Glenn Sedgwick. Today, he hit 300 runs!


Well done too and many thanks to today’s 48 volunteers – including Anna Smith volunteering for the 25thtime and the super Swindon Striders, pacing, scanning, and diligently doing their first run of the month duties – thanks to every one of them for giving up part of their Bank Holiday weekend to help us start it in the best possible way!


And if you’d like to end the weekend with another lovely 5k run in Lydiard Park followed by a get together with nice people and a talk about running, here are details of what’s taking place on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.

2pm ~ Monday 6th May FESTIVAL 5km FREEDOM RUNPresented in association with Swindon parkrun.
Gentle 5km Freedom Run in lovely Lydiard Park with lots of friendly, supportive, and all-age Swindon parkrun runners!
The run will be followed by a short rest, with refreshing REFRESHMENTS!

3pm ~ in the Luxborough Suite, Lydiard Park £5 . . BELLA MACKIE will talk about her book Jog On which tells the story of how running saved her life; and OMER HOMER will talk about how running changed his life.                    Unhappy and struggling with deep-rooted health problems, Bella Mackie ended her twenties in tears. She could barely find the strength to get off the sofa, let alone piece her life back together. Until one day she pulled on a pair of trainers and went for a run. And did so again and again, and carried on running, running, running; and loving it and life again! In her book Jog On, Bella explains, with hilarious and unfiltered honesty, how running saved her life!
Omer Homer came to England from a beautiful but troubled part of the world, where the only and necessary bit of running he did was across minefields. One day, his luck ran out and an exploding landmine caused him serious injuries. In Swindon, he found friendship and things to do, most healing of which was going for a run, in safety. As a result, his running has taken off and so has his life!

The next time we can enjoy our Saturday parkrun and experience the life-changing benefits of running, together, is 11th May.


Till then, keep well, keep running, and have a good weekend!


Matt Holland



Swindon parkrun, event 446, Run report

Today I ticked off the letter ‘S’ of my parkrun alphabet as 1 of 24 first timers and tourists amongst 398 parkrunners at Swindon event number 446.

This week was a celebration for Iain Wear who reached his 250 milestone, Chris Humphrey who reached his 100 milestone, and Alison Mcgrath, Wendy Mitchell, Caroline Bosley and Albert Thomas who all reached their 50 milestones. Also, this week, despite the incredibly windy conditions, 26 recorded new personal bests- fantastic achievements and well done to all!

Having encouraged my ACCA class mate, Kane, a few weeks ago to sign up and give his local parkrun a go I thought it only fair to try it out for myself.

Firstly, I would like to thank the 50 strong team of hi-vis heroes led by Run Director Emma for making the event possible and providing great encouragement to all around the two lap course.
Furthermore, the organisation of today’s run was one of the best I have attended. Peter gave a great first timer’s briefing complete with map of the route and welcomed myself and other tourists from Swansea, Newport and Winchester.

Emma then directed us all over to the starting positions behind the pacers. This is a brilliant aid for those looking to set and achieve new Pb’s, and with these set at 5-minute intervals from a 20-minute finish time upwards it really was inclusive for everyone which I thought was great.

The course itself is set within the beautiful and peaceful grounds of Lydiard Park. Just beyond the car park is an expansive lake and it is worth spending some time here pre or post-run.
Some highlights for me were passing the field of cows and the glorious sight of bluebells in the woodlands.

Clear direction was also given at the finish, which just to note is a short distance from the start, and well managed through the funnel to ensure everyone received the correct finish token for their time.

So, for anyone looking for a more scenic parkrun, give Swindon a go!

In summary:

This week 398 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 24 were first timers and 26 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 29 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 50 volunteers:

Peter HARRIS • Emma SPERRING • Simon LANSDOWNE • Michael SAS • Martyn JOYCE • Paul APPLEBY • Stephen HEAVENS • Julia HASKELL • Andrew YOUNGMAN • Rob DAVIES • Simon SPERRING • Dan BATES • Pete EDWARDS • Anne GRIFFIN • Jason LEWIS • Ben WALTER • Peter DAWES • Nigel BARBER • Ben GREGORY • Eddie BAILEY • Gillian SLATTERY • Joanne STILLMAN • Richard WHIGHT • Lauren AUSTIN • Paul HAYDON • Ethan WARD • Graham MCDERMOTT • Michele POCOCK • Erica MILSOM • Julian FARMER • Leah BAKER • Madeleine HARRIS • Andrew HARDMAN • Heather SAYERS • Sarah MCDERMOTT • Leoni MURRELL • Ewan NETHERTON • Jude HANCOCK • Bhavesh WADHER • Selina STILES • Paul DOUGLASS • Luke SPERRING • Benjamin BRADLEY • Adam COXON • Sharon SMITH • Dave ONLEY • Kyle HOCKING • Jim MACLEOD • Jaiden NIJHAR-BROWN • Thomas COTTERILL

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

The female record is held by Amy CHALK who recorded a time of 17:07 on 23rd April 2011 (event number 56).
The male record is held by Chris READE who recorded a time of 15:17 on 21st January 2012 (event number 93).
The Age Grade course record is held by Peter MOLLOY who recorded 91.91% (17:55) on 21st July 2012 (event number 116).

Swindon parkrun started on 6th March 2010. Since then 16,258 participants have completed 147,462 parkruns covering a total distance of 737,310 km, including 25,503 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,293 individuals have volunteered 12,003 times.


Swindon parkrun, Event 445, Run report

Swindon parkrun

Event number 445

20th April 2019


Following hot on the heels of co-parkrun director Graham McDermott’s innovative double funnel exit system - we were introduced to a whole new PA speaker set up this week. Gone is the old tinny voiced megaphone, to be replaced by the startling clarity of a wireless mic - of the same kind pioneered by Madonna or dubious motivational speakers.

It’s going to take some getting used to. There was momentary confusion (on my part at least) at the start of parkrun 445 when Graham’s co-directing oppo Emma announced “Anyone new to parkrun should join me over here for the pre-run briefing.”

All heads instinctively turned towards the bag drop-off, from where the sound of Emma’s voice was emanating - but she was nowhere to be seen. Was she hiding beneath the blue tarpaulin perhaps? No place for a pre-race briefing, that’s for sure.

 It took me a second to twig that it was just the speaker position. Smoothly, I continued to turn my head to look at Emma over by the Lydiard Park sign, as if I was just momentarily checking on my bag and knew perfectly well where she was all along - in the same way that after spending a confusing and irritating moment trying to sidestep past your own reflection in a full length mirror, in a pub, you pretend to be checking your hair - fooling precisely nobody. (just me then…).

Joining us for fun in the sun this week, and boosting our participation numbers to 551, were lovely people from Bath, Brighouse, Bristol, Crawley, Hampstead Heath and Leighton Buzzard. After the surround sound voice of Emma requested and received hush, we learned that Alan Foster was celebrating his 75th birthday - joined on the run by four of his grandchildren. What a superb way to mark the occasion!  Many congratulations Alan.

We also took a moment to thank Kevin Smith for volunteering 25 times and Gary Whitehead for volunteering 50 times and his 200th run in Swindon.

And there was a belated shout-out for Judith Barber for her 202nd run. Well done Judith!

We are lucky enough at Swindon parkrun to have access to a defibrillator - an excellent piece of life-saving kit that can make all the difference in the event of a cardiac arrest. Anyone interested in finding out more about how to use this equipment is welcome to attend a Defib awareness session straight after next week’s parkrun, no need to book!

And speaking of looking ourselves, I’ve been asked to remind runners, as we move into warmer weather, to be aware of the importance of being sufficiently hydrated, and to leave a gap between stuffing back breakfast and running. Last week the parkrun team had to care for someone who struggled to retain their breakfast and this week someone who had not eaten or drunk at all before taking on the 5k route. Remember it’s parkrun, it should be fun. There’s no shame in ducking out if you feel a bit dodgy - there’s always next week. Take it easy on yourself!

Thanks to all 47 thoroughly decent volunteers, you are superstars one and all.

In this week’s roll call of glory are:  Thea Hopkins for 10 runs (well done!), a mighty trio of Gangaram Gurung, Sam Dubarry and Ian Bell on 50 runs, Tom Dunn with 100 and Dan Bates on 250 - congratulations everyone!


Until next time, keep on keeping on


Ben Fitzgerald


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