Thurrock parkrun not the Run Report #10

It's a Hi from Peter Eates - I thought it was time I wrote another "not the run report"

I hope you are all OK and getting some running in during these difficult times. I've found it difficult to keep motivated and to make time. It is so easy to come up with reasons why you can't run. It's also easy to lose confidence.

I had a major dent in my confidence at the end of May when, out running on a pleasant Saturday morning 4 miler, on a route I know well, I had a dramatic "face plant" in Fleming Road. This time I went down like the proverbial sack of spuds. My face took most of the impact. I was a bloody mess and for the first time, I called my Wife to transport me home (I have not published pictures).

Just over a week on and most of the abrasions and bruising has gone but I was suffering that "what if I fall again" demon sitting on my shoulder. After a chat with a fellow runner and wise sage, I decided to run our beloved parkrun. I can easily park the car there, social distancing is easing to maintain, soft landing on majority of the course, measured distance, familiar and available. With that in mind, I set off last Sunday for my "face plant" return.

I immediately felt at home and while far from breaking any records, I completed the run safely (if a little out of breath). I saw my setup buddy and friend Dean standing behind his van. It transpires that Dean is doing 3 virtual marathons a week and he and Debbie are planning to do 100 mile run at the end of the year. Seeing him brought to mind this happy, celebratory day.


It also brought to mind some previous advice from Dean when I was telling him about hurting my hands while saving myself from a fall. His advice was, save your hands and land on your face. You can make money with your hands, but that face..... Cheers Dean

I decided to make Thurrock parkrun a habit again so I'm doing a "5 a day" (5k that is) for a week.

Having posted my plan, friends Bob, Karen and friends came out to run/walk on Monday and I only missed them due to a late running washing machine repair man (photo by Karen).


After my run Tuesday, I popped down to see Ray, our most prolific volunteer marshal, who lives in the row of houses heading towards poo corner. Ray was badly injured in February while trying to temporarily fix his fence during the very high winds. He is slowly recovering but will need to take a role at the start line as he has to rest a lot. Pictured below (far right) when we got our Impulse Leisure Award in October.


Yesterday, I did my 4th parkrun and was approaching Mick's corner when I saw a mirage. Was it an illusion or was that really Paul Berry in hi-viz standing there with a hand clapper cheering me on? I'm delighted to say it was. Paul, His Wife Ana (who had spotted me from her window) and baby Tabitha. They were all there for me at the finishing line to chat with me after the run. It doesn't get better than that. Paul was my inspiration to do a weeks worth of parkruns (although he could have done a couple more while I was still out there given his pace).


Today I had a different kind of company. Although I was still struggling, I kept hearing a voice cheering me on and telling me how well I was doing. A spiritual marshal perhaps? When I finished, I sat on Mick's bench and thanked him for his help.


Finally, I saw a familiar car outside the Pyramid Centre and realised the "Play Network Group" has re-opened and I had an appropriately distanced chat with my friends Sylvia, Jackie and Roy. Had a good chat with Roy about a strange man that keeps appearing around five each morning (Dean).

As I'm sure you have seen, parkrun have announced a new "not the parkrun" which is a virtual run of your own. Liz will be posting it I think.

I hope to see you all soon (at a 2 metre distance that is).

Take care






Thurrock parkrun not the Run Report #9

Well what a few months its been and I for one have certainly been missing Saturday morning parkrun at Thurrock but that's not stopped me running, day 233 as I'm penning this.

As a Thurrock Nomad, you know us the ones in blue we've had loads of virtual fun. This virtual fun has ranged from quiz nights on zoom, lip sync videos and virtual holidays raising some funds for our NHS. This virtual holiday see us running from Newquay in Cornwall upto Holy island then down to Shanklin on the isle of wight completing several laps and raising £1200 in the process, with loads of great holiday snaps well mainly selfies. We are currently climbing a virtual Mount Everest for Thurrock mind, with this week being mental health awareness week and this has raised over £500 so far. Now our quiz nights that's another story, I now realise we have one or two rather eccentric types in our club and it appears I fit that category. We certainly have made the best of this unusual world we find ourselves in.

I've been watching and trying to encourage my friends from parkrun from afar, like my good friend Dean who's been getting out 3 times a week so he can pick up where he left off once we are back on the heath. Also my mum Marlene who's been getting out for a run/walk every day, and when you consider she's got a big birthday in a few months she's doing rather well with about 6k a day. Heidi and I have managed to stay married so far with all this time together, this is mainly down to me cooking I think oh and she's baked a cake or two. And I've created lots of new routes for my runs which enables my social distancing to continue, I have ran through fields on footpaths and the golf course at Orsett. But even though we've had all this fun I still miss all my Nomad and Harrier friends as well as all you guys at parkrun. Keep running and stay safe guys, see all soon.


Thurrock parkrun not the Run Report #8

This weekend sees us at home yet again, but this time with something a bit different! After a four day week of home schooling (and I use the term “schooling” very loosely ), we had a bank holiday on a Friday - it doesn’t take much to throw us at the moment, but throw us, it has!

On our family walk, it was lovely to see people getting ready to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, with bunting and flags. Olli managed to get a glimpse of the Red Arrows on their way to London whilst out on a run, but sadly we couldn’t see them from home!

We watched the broadcast of Winston Churchill’s historic speech and then The Queens speech in the evening. Isla made some medal cookies (which were yummy), and we looked at photographs of both of my Grandads who both served in WW2.
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Had things have been ‘normal’ we probably would have been out and about this weekend, but this ‘new normal’ has made us slow down and appreciate things so much more! Seeing the flowers bloom in the garden, taking notice of nature on our daily walks and exploring our local area are just some of the things I hope we continue after we start getting back into our previous routines.

It’s people that we’re really missing! We’ve been connecting with family and friends on video calls which is lovely, but it’s not quite the same as seeing them in person. It’s events like parkrun that bring people together - whether you’re a runner or a volunteer, it’s the acknowledgement, support and encouragement of others that can make all the difference.

Stay safe everyone xxx


Thurrock parkrun not the Run Report #7 (aka what day is it?)

Hello All,

When Liz/Pete mentioned about other people writing the “No Run” parkrun report – I thought “I can do that – seeing as I haven’t been running!” I confess – I’ve only been out twice in the last 6 weeks.

I think my problem is a lack of motivation. Oh don’t get me wrong – I’m motivated enough when it comes to going to the fridge for food and/or wine. But when it comes to going out for a run – that’s where I am struggling.

The trouble with going out by yourself is that there’s no Run Director to tell you the rules. There are no friendly fellow runners to keep you company. There are no smiling volunteers on the corners cheering you on when you are flagging. And when you finish, there are no time keepers or a finish token in sight!!

At least if there was a parkrun, I’d know it was Saturday!! Perhaps I’ve taken parkrun for granted.

But any exercise is good for our mental health – so even if we’re just going for a walk that’s a start. A friend of mine in Spain hasn’t been able to go outside for 50 days – so we should be grateful that we are still able to go out for exercise if we want to (safely and at a social distance of course!).

I hope everyone is staying safe and well and I look forward to when we can all be together again.

“We will meet again”.


Thurrock parkrun not the Run Report #6

Hi y'all!

Hope everyone is keeping safe and well? Another week has passed without our parkrun fix, in fact it seemed to fly by so quickly that I forgot to write this during the week!

It's been great to see that lots of you have still been keeping active by walking, running and cycling. Hopefully those of you that have got your families involved can bring them along to parkrun once we're back. Special mention to Paul Berry who ran the Thurrock course seven times in as many days! Strava tells me that a few others have been out there running on the Heath as part of other runs too. I needed to come to Orsett Heath for work this week so I took advantage and brought Chester and we walked a lap in reverse for a change - he was grateful for the change of scenery but missed his parkrun friends.

Well done to all the Thurrock Nomads and friends who are taking part in their Holiday Run by running virtual laps of the UK from Newquay to Holy Island to Shanklin to raise money for the local NHS hospitals. We're currently on the third lap and over £1000 has been raised so well done all.

Let's hope this is another week that flies by to get us closer to a form of normality

Take care everyone
Liz xx


Thurrock parkrun “not the Run Report” #5

Hi, Peter again this week but we are looking for volunteers for next week to write the "not the run report".

The news we were expecting, but didn't really want, is that parkrun remains closed until at least the end of May. Sorry

With some sadness in my heart, I set off with my Wife, Christine, to the Pyramid Centre and Orsett Heath to do a few parkrun errands and combine the trip with our daily exercise.

As I said in last weeks report, I have been thinking about how we can improve our parkrun / make life easier for volunteers during the down time. One of the things was to get a few adjustments made to our deployment and collection vehicle (affectionately known as the rocket launcher). The lovely Clint who donated it to us at event 200 has taken it away (combined with a necessary trip) to shorten, lighten and make some adjustments to sign and cone storage. Thanks Clint - you are a star.


On arriving, I was greeted with a freshly painted men's WC door (thanks Thurrock Council).


Before starting off on a circuit. I took a picture of Christine at the start line tree and then another as we started to head to "pooh bin corner".


It was then that I realised just how well trod this route has been in the weeks since we stopped. nearly 5 agonising Saturdays ago.


Is it me or has a curious new line appeared which seems to avoid the bumps and may provide the fasted possible run on the first sector. It will be interesting to observe the route amongst the faster of you.

I am pleased to say that the grass has been cut in the last couple of weeks and doesn't look like it needs too much attention to get it back up and running on our return.

By the end of a "long lap" (and we did a second) I had been reminded what a lovely place Orsett Heath is and how you can exercise, take in the scenery and socially distance at this wonderful place. I think a few others may also have discovered it. No wonder the run line is so clear. I found myself leaving with a happier heart and a mental note to continue to make regular visits.

What I would like to do until we can start parkrun again is to make life easier and simpler for all of us.

Dave S started a crusade to get local signage in the area to guide people to Thurrock parkrun. He had got senior councillors engaged when suddenly, lockdown kicked in and it all stalled.

I'd like to add getting some permanent signage on the run lines especially the "Caution runners signs". Get a few arrows put on existing lamp posts and we could get marshals to set up and take down their corners. If anyone has the right council contacts, please champion these ideas.

I also want to move us over to the "virtual volunteer app" - freely available on iPhones and Androids. Our stopwatches and scanners are nearly 5 years old and require the use of special leads and a dedicated laptop. The move to smartphones could greatly simplify doing the results but it requires volunteers being willing to download and use the app. It is free and you can practice and play to your hearts content. All new parkruns since the beginning of this year have this as their only method and it works.

Finally, there are lots of consumables at parkrun which are usually funded by the event/run directors and volunteers. Donating pens, paper, toilet rolls (which many people may end up with a surplus of), disinfectant and batteries would all be welcomed.

Enough from me. Let's look at some of the activities being done by our participants.

Sandra is making lemon, lime and orange curd to get donations for the RNLI


Liz, Lucy and James are participation in #NHSNomads to raise money for NHS charities


and we are doing the Phoenis Striders Lockdown Letter Hunt to raise money for "Isla's Charity"


Take care all. Keep exercising responsibly, socially distance and stay safe.


Thurrock parkrun “not the Run Report” #4

Hi All,

Peter here and I hope you and your families are all well and safe in these difficult times.

I stepped in to write this as the previous volunteer, Chester (the Thurrock parkrun dog) had volunteered to do it until his Mum (Event Director Liz) cut his hair. Now, like Samson, he's lost all is strength and is lying in a darkened room and avoiding mirrors - how could you Mum. Chester - I'll pick up a bag of treats when I'm shopping tomorrow (if no ones stockpiling).

I've had a challenging week after my "live in" Mother-in-law told me I was capable of reaching a much higher level. I didn't realise she meant cleaning the soffits and facias. Plenty of steps though.

It's certainly been a strange few weeks. I have often felt during my 150 parkrun set-up's about what it would be like not to have to get up on a Saturday - well, it's horrible. I may never complain about set-up again.

I've spent the week getting in touch with some of our regular volunteers to see how they are coping.

Set-up Steve, a school teacher by trade, reckons its easier managing a class of 30 than doing home schooling for 2.

Dean has been getting up in the middle of the night to run parkrun alone and tells me the branches are already impinging on the course in places. He also tells me that he and RD, Debbie have a new addition - Ollie, pictured here at 13 weeks.

Renae was ill earlier in the year and has been fighting her way back to fitness by doing 100 squats a day - wow. We all have our ups and downs - sorry!

Sandra has been helping improve her maths and english doing Facetime tutoring with her grandchildren.

Ray is recovering slowly but surely and hopes to be back when we restart again.

We got this email "we are both in good health as much to be expected. We are in isolation for 12 weeks as Irene is the most vulnerable, but the family are getting everything we need. I hope that you and your family are well and cant wait to get back to normality. KEEP SAFE REGARDS REG & IRENE."

James and Gary are doing OK, working from home but not getting enough running in.

Boomy feels he's losing his fitness but after a chat is going to try "running for fun". I sincerely recommend that to all.

Ashley is still travelling to work each day - next door to his office where he enjoys solitude. It has been a busy week for him with "virtual Easter" and of course, he's still helping the Food Bank.

Michelle, while working from home, has noticed that far more people are using the phone and video conferencing to keep in touch and are more friendly and  personable. Perhaps we've all learned something.

Apart from being Christine's part time nurse and having no excuse to not work through the "jobs to do list", I have been giving thought to how we can update and improve our parkrun. More about that in the weeks to come.

If you are suffering from a loss of running motivation, Nick at Phoenix Striders has come up with an alphabet challenge that you can all join, get a medal and raise some money for charity. See link below:

My other weekly duty is to act as the street MC and rouse the neighbours for the weekly NHS / frontline services / all those that support us for the clapping session. The use of the parkrun PA system (thanks again Sue and Terry) and some requests like "living in a box" and "please release me" raise the morale. We also invited parkrun runner and volunteer Zoe to take the applause for her role as a Chafford Hundred Community Supporter.

double click the above picture for short video clip

Well, that's it. Stay home, stay safe, exercise responsibly and be careful - love to all.






Thurrock parkrun not the Run Report #3

Today there was a field of 2 for my indoor park walk, my second indoor week out of at least 12 as I “shield” from COVID-19.  The journey to the walk was easy, passing the bathroom and spare room on way to the lounge where the parking marshall (aka Bailey the Cat) made sure we were suitably positioned for scratches before the start!

Run Director for us this week was Leslie Sansone, YouTube fitness coach, who put us through our warm up before we started our 5k.  Starting promptly at 9, Caz and I were underway.  A very level course here made for a gentle first mile, with a little “boosted walk” (aka a jog) for the final 2 minutes of that section of the track.  Not many signs for directions but the Run Director kept us informed throughout!

Another mile soon came and went, with lots of motivation from the Run Director and total indifference from Bailey!  Another boosted walk got us past the 2 mile marker and a reminder to take on some vital fluids.

Into the third mile Leslie picked up the pace - the whole course had power walks, side steps, kicks, knee lifts, kick backs and tap outs for variety, and in the third mile these were done with much gusto!  The final boosted walk got us to the three mile marker - then a gentler warm-down walk completed that all important 0.1 mile to make our 5k. 

So in an amazing coincidence Caz and I got exactly the same time, and it was weirdly exactly the same as mine last week - spooky!    I might even do the same course next week lol.

Stay safe everyone in these very different times - I look forward to getting back to the Heath sometime in the future and donning my orange hi-vis again!

Darren Bartholomew


Thurrock parkrun not the Run Report #2.5

So I was fortunate enough to have written the last run report before this little blip we find ourselves in at the minute.
I've still kept my running streak going finding myself on 184 days continuous days for April fools day. Recently I've started using routes I wouldn't normally use,but because of traffic being very light between Tilbury and West Tilbury I'm enjoying some people free routes.
Whilst out on my runs alone and with Heidi I've seen several Nomads and Thurrock parkrunners. Heidi and I passed Tammy walking round the lanes the other day with smiles and hello's exchanged, little things like this during these times can really make your day. Like today I passed Sean queuing outside the shop keeping his social distance as I ran past, Hello and smiles exchanged and again another nice little highlight in my day. It's just nice seeing people trying to get on with life. My point being its the little things that can really make us smile.  STAY SAFE


Thurrock parkrun not the Run Report #2

Well Liz set me a challenge to write a run report. Here goes....
Saturday 28th March . Started  like a normal Saturday morning up at 7:30 in time for the parkrun at 9am.
However in the current climate of isolation, social distancing and stay at home it is not a normal Saturday.
Instead of the usual parkrun, I had my first virtual Slimming class. I normally go after parkrun. This was new and interesting.
Some ideas from other members and you could see faces new and old. This is useful to keep each other motivated.
Then mine and Terry's exercises for the day was several hours cleaning and pruning the garden.
We are missing the parkrun. And I am sure you all agree what makes the parkrun is the people. The organisers,  the volunteers and of course the runners.
Whilst I am fortunate to be able to work from home. I hope you can all stay safe and stay healthy. BE KIND.
Sorry if this is not the sort of report you were expecting. But I  had a go.
Enjoy your week the best you can. Don't forget to talk to each other.
Take care bye for now. Jane signing off.
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