Swindon parkrun, Event 442, Run report

Swindon parkrun

Event number 442

30th March 2019


Parkrun 442 was a special one for many reasons - and none more so than the fact that our parkrun director Emma Sperring celebrated her 400th occasion (that’s nine years) of being at the helm. It’s no easy task, requiring the combined skills of a primary school teacher, a logistics expert, inspirational public speaker, diplomat and some kind of plate-spinning circus performer.

Emma’s insistence on proper hush at the start of every run has become something of a cherished tradition at Lydiard Park - with many coming along specifically to enjoy the brief zen moment of ‘Swindon silence’ a rare and wondrous thing in this age of unremitting interruption. I’m sure that I speak for all Swindon parkrunners when I say thanks for your years of commitment and skill that have allowed Swindon parkrun to flourish in the way it has!

There were 569 participants kicking their heels and exchanging small talk in the sunshine this week with delegations from Abingdon, Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cheltenham, Grantham, Rushmoor and Telford joining in the shenanigans.

And the whole thing was caught on camera by two students from New College, who were filming as part of their studies in conjunction with Beat the Street - I’m sure we will all end up looking fit and heroic - they can do wonders with video editing these days!


Making sure the whole thing took place without a hitch (as far as anyone could tell) were a team of no fewer than 45 volunteers - splendid people, each and every one of them.

Among those helping out this week was Duke of Edinburgh volunteer Maddie Fear, who completed 25 occasions of volunteering today - hats off to you Maddie!


And speaking of splendid people, we were joined by eight members of Swindon GoodGym as part of a community event to mark Earth Hour, who took part in parkrun before devoting time to supporting the park rangers in their work around Lydiard Park. Quite brilliant!


Earth Hour is an annual event when those taking part are encouraged to switch off all electrical items for an hour to highlight environmental issues. For more information, visit wwf.org.uk/earthhour

Good Gymers are a group of volunteer runners who combine exercise with doing good deeds around the community before running away again, like a team of super heroes. I’m just glad they’re on our side! To find our more, and possibly get involved, head over to www.goodgym.org


We did have a slight delay processing the results for a variety of reasons.

Director Emma felt it was important to remind us of the basics: “We must complete two laps before crossing the finish line; only crossing the finish line once; staying in order while in the funnel; not funnel ducking (don’t say that too quickly!!!) AND taking a number token at the end of the funnel will ensure that everyone will receive an accurate time. Not doing these things creates a number of issues for the Results Processor (Simon Sperring this week)...

“Simon was Volunteer Coordinator, Timekeeper, Token Sorter (with Colin), involved with the GoodGym Community Mission, and then returned home to process the results.”


I personally don’t think that Simon’s doing enough - if you see him next week, ask him if he can count the jelly babies as well (perhaps not!).


Chalking up 10 runs this week were James Baker, Oliver Abbott, Gracie Crabtree, Bethany Larbey, and pushing through the 50 barrier were Roy Dove, Roger Osborn and Karen Privett.

Congratulations are in order for Fran Machin, Paul Robson and Jude Hancock who have recorded 100 runs and also to Gary Whitehead and Noel Howlett who are on an amazing 250.


See you next week fellow parkrunners!

Ben Fitzgerald