Torbay Velopark parkrun 31 July 2021 #171 by Amanda Francis

Today marks the second parkrun back in England, it’s great to be back! As it’s my 100th time running Torbay Velopark parkrun, I though I would have a go at writing my first ever run report. I shared my 100th with Lucy Payne and Matt Arthur ran today on his Wedding Day, congratulations Matt! 

The car park was very busy, it looked like a big turn out today. I joined the socially distanced crowd during Jo’s excellent first-timer’s briefing. She mentioned the field and the hidden hill. This hill was a bit of a shock to me on first ever parkrun. I was graduating from Couch to 5K and it felt like a mountain!

Steve then did a great socially distanced run briefing. There were lots of tourists and a few first-time parkrunners. There were tourists from as far away as Australia.

Just before the race we made our way to the start, setting off at exactly 9 am. It was so great to be back in the crowd of runners and I got swept along for the first kilometre. When I checked my watch I was going faster than I thought. I’m running Totnes 10K tomorrow and I was going to take it easy today, but parkrun fever had taken over!

I got a “well done” from the lovely run director Steve as I went into the second lap. I always find this section of the parkrun tricky. The initial excitement had worn off and it was starting to hurt! Thanks to the fantastic tail walkers who were encouraging everyone who went past.

By the time I went off the velopark I was slowing down. I heard someone say, ”This was easier last time back in March!” I definitely agree! Luckily, The Puddle (aka the water feature) was dry and we wouldn’t have to run around the field with wet trainers.

As I turned on the field, the first runners, Harry Harvey and Ben Gerrish were powering down towards the finish. Amazing running!

I still had a bit to do. It’s hard running up the field away from the finish, again the fantastic marshals kept me going. I’m sure I even heard a cockerel offering some encouragement from one of the back gardens. I think he’s new, I can’t remember hearing him before last week.

Then it was time for the hidden wood and hill, which always feels steeper than it is. When I started to go down hill I tried to go a bit quicker to the finish. I say tried because even after 100 times running this parkrun, I always start too fast and then just try to hang on.

Just before the end, I could feel someone right by me and the sprint finish was on. Unfortunately, this last effort finished me off and I have to apologise to the people around me in the finish funnel as I struggled to get my breath! I was in such a state that I dropped my precious token (sorry Kerry) and even forgot to stop my watch, disaster!

I loved the walk up to the barcode scanners, it’s lovely to get the parkrun buzz again at the finish. I got a quick hand sanitise before handing my barcode over to the brilliant, efficient barcode scanners.

Thanks so much to all the volunteers, it’s so emotional to have parkrun back. I probably wouldn’t have kept running after C25K without Torbay Velopark parkrun. I am so grateful.

Well done to other 391 parkrunners today, the first finishers Harry Harvey and Aimee Ferguson, the first timers and visitors to Torbay Velopark parkrun. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

This week 391 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 111 were first timers and 63 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 56 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 29 volunteers: Jean LYLE • Graham GORDON • Jordon STEVENS • Stephen WILBRAHAM • Eileen SEVERN • John DRENNAN • Gary BRENTON • Lydia STONE • Ros BEARD • Lynne JOHN • Cassandra HARRISON • David JOHN • Dani DODWELL • Stuart CRESSWELL • David HEWET • Alison FORD • Tom WRIGHT • Jo COISH • Kerry BELL • Amanda FRANCIS • Catherine CARTER • Mark TIDBALL • Danny DEAN • Gary ADDERLEY • Charlotte SIMMONS • Graham KEMPSTER • Zachary NEWTON • Hilary ATKINSON • Harley GILL

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


Torbay Velopark parkrun 24 July 2021 #170

Run report - Lesley Pymm (Perry Hall)

Well, wasn't that fantastic? It has been such a long time since most of us have been able to parkrun (I know one of two have had the opportunity to travel to Northern Ireland or Jersey and Guernsey, but for the majority of us it has been 70 weeks). I arrived at Torbay Velopark with a mixture of emotions. I was excited to be able to do parkrun again but, still being very careful owing to Covid, anxious about how the Covid Framework would work. I had spent the previous Saturday at my home parkrun location assisting the core team to walk around and advise dog walkers and other users that we would be back, trying out the start and finish funnels and the long walk to scanning. When I got to the Velopark I could see that the same sort of organisation had gone into the plans for this run.

I found that everyone was very respectful of other people at Torbay. Jo did the briefing - following the script so that it was kept short as instructed! In fact it was too short and we had to wait before being directed to move to the start. You are very fortunate that the track is wide at Torbay, so there was no problem with keeping apart from the start. I can honestly say that I felt quite safe during the run. It is an interesting run. There are a variety of surfaces as we started on the tarmac of the velopark, then a trail along to the grassy field. There were plenty of volunteers around to encourage us all on our way and the other runners were very welcoming.

At the finish it was a bit of a walk to collect our finish tokens and then a longer walk (warm down) to get to scanning. Well done Torbay Velopark, from my perspective it all went very well. The rain that had been forecast stayed away as well.

There were a number of tourists there - my husband and I included - but obviously owing to the Covid framework there was no real chance to see where everyone came from.

There were 24 people doing their first ever parkrun, well done all of you and welcome to the parkrun community. Six were doing that all important second had a long wait didn't you, but four of you managed to record a PB, so that was worth waiting for. Talking of PBs, 37 of you managed that, so must have been training over the lockdown.

Well done to Jac Gardiner Smith from Cardiff who was first finisher in an amazing time of 15.58 and to local Peter Monaghan who ran the course in 17.23 (age grading 89.17%) amazing! Susan Lyle of Brixham Harriers was the female runner with the highest age grading of 76.58% as she ran 25:20 but the first female finisher was Hayley Rogerson from Orion Harriers who ran 21:17.

A mention must go to Lewis Keywood who achieved his 100 parkrun milestone, well done Lewis it must have been so frustrating waiting for that, but you will be able to get the T-shirt soon! Also mention to Jean Lyle of South Devon AC who achieved a 'mini-milestone' of 200 hundred parkruns. Well done, Jean!

Well done to all 254 people who walked, jogged or ran on Saturday and a massive thank you to the 25 volunteers who made this happen.

Thanks to everyone at Torbay Velopark for a brilliant return to parkrunning. We hope to see you again in the future.

Lesley Pymm


Torbay Velopark parkrun 15/02/20 Run Report by Richard Aquilina

Event #165 – 15th February 2020

I arrived at Torbay Velopark parkrun with my friends Mel, a tourist from Eastville parkrun and Martyn, a tourist from Ashton Court parkrun. We weren’t planning on being here. When we set off from Bristol at 6:45am our satnav was programmed to take us to Exmouth parkrun. I was writing their Run Report. It was during our windy drive heading south on the M5 that Storm Dennis hit the South West and notification came through that Exmouth had fallen foul of Dennis.

I’m a continual tourist since my home event closed almost four years ago. This means I always have a plan B. Today in stepped Torbay Velopark for our new event fix. I’d seen mention of Torbay Velopark’s proud record of never cancelling so I knew we’d get an event in but as Mel checked their Facebook page she saw that a lack of volunteers could put today’s event in jeopardy. As we arrived in the car park at the nearby leisure centre we could see the Hi-Vis heroes ready to welcome us – the event was on. One of the marshals greeted us with a large smile and took our photograph. The rain was only a drizzle at this stage.

As 8:50am, Graydon gave us first timers our briefing. He’s run over 160 parkruns half of which havebeen at Torbay Velopark so he knew what he was talking about when told us to expect some water (and mud!) after we’d run our three laps on the tarmac.

With only minutes until our 9am start, Simon, our friendly Run Director lifted his megaphone to give us our final briefing. Unsurprisingly weather conditions meant we were on the B course – I’ll have to return in the summer for the A course and the field in earshot of the Zoo animals!
Promptly at 9am we were off.

The rain was falling harder and the noise of Dennis gave the run an eerie feeling as you could hear nothing except the hurricane. One moment you’d have a headwind, the next a tailwind. In no time my kit and trainers were soaking. By my second lap the rain was torrential.

The event was only possible because of the volunteers who cheered us as we made our way around the three laps and muddy out and back finish!

Special thanks to our tail walkers today, Rio Gill and Louise Benson. It was Rio's second parkrun...he got a PB. First time tail walking but this was his 13th time volunteering. The other 18 volunteers were:

Andy Thompson • Connor France • Danny Dean • Dave Wilkes • Eileen Severn • Gary Brenton• Graydon Widdicombe • Hannah Davies • Harley Gill • Ian Hayward • Jo Coish • Luis Hegarty •Nathan Mei • Richard Aquilina • Sharon Nelson • Simon Gilboy • Susan Lyle • Tom Wright

We had 235 people running, jogging and walking the course. 32 were first timers (six brand new to parkrun – well done on starting your parkrun journey running in a hurricane!) and 23 recorded personal best (PB) times. Representatives of 28 different clubs took part. Particular congratulations must go to Megan Davis who was the first female finisher with a PB of 18:44. She's run this course three times now, has done 62 parkruns in total and her all time PB is 18:19. Her age grade today was

12 of you didn't have a barcode. Perhaps you forgot it or it was blown away? Or perhaps you have yet to register? #DFYB

Today’s participants quickly left the finish to get scanned and I would imagine home to dry out! Our lovely tail walkers crossed the line with less than 55 minutes gone. The kit was quickly packed away and you’d never had known parkrun had been there.
As tourists the core team made us feel very welcome.

Well done Torbay Velopark parkrun for coming to our rescue when other events were forced to cancel. I’ll be back but next time I’d like some sun when running on the English Riviera!

Richard Aquilina
Little Stoke parkrun

Torbay Velopark parkrun
Event number 165
15th February 2020

From left to right:
Richard,  Mel & Martyn

Torbay 15-02-20


Torbay Velopark parkrun #164, 8th February 2020

By Graydon Widdicombe

With Storm Ciara set to bring severe gales to the UK over the weekend, it was great to wake up and see that the weather for Saturday morning’s Torbay Velopark parkrun was pretty much perfect for running; cool, sunny and with no wind!

Over recent months, I’ve been doing a bit of “parkrun tourism”, which means visiting other venues for parkruns. Of course I love my home parkrun, but I also enjoy visiting new places, and last weekend I made the “Bushy pilgrimage” to the venue where parkrun first started over 13 years ago; Bushy parkrun in Teddington, London.

Bushy recently claimed the biggest parkrun attendance ever, for any parkrun in the world, when over 2500 (yes, two-and-a-half THOUSAND) turned up on Christmas Day. Their legendary “three finish funnel” system was even brought into action for that one. The numbers involved and scale of the event is impressive, but yet it still manages to retain that friendly and very welcoming environment that we all know and love about parkrun. As I was stood there at the first timers briefing, where incidentally there were probably a couple of hundred people stood listening, I couldn't help feel a sense of pride that I was involved with something like parkrun. Experienced runners, nervous first timers, families, people with dogs; I love the inclusivity of parkrun. For me, it’s what makes it special. And Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun, was there too!

For those of you who may not have been to Bushy or seen the pictures, the start really is something to behold. When I did it, there were 1474 participants and 51 volunteers, and to be part of that lot careering down the very wide start area was a fantastic experience. It brought to mind those images that you see with 100s of runners sprinting off at the start of the National Cross Country Championships, but without the elbows! Although there are a lot of people, everyone was there to have a good time, whether they ran, waked or jogged the course. After the start I got into my stride and had an enjoyable run around the very picturesque park.

Turning back to today, which was Torbay's 163rd event, it was great to be back “home” and see some of the regulars out on the course. I had an enjoyable run out again, before running home and battening down the hatches in preparation for when Storm Ciara comes to town.

And, if you’re very lucky (or unlucky, depending on your point of view), you may even see yours truly on the parkrun UK page from time-to-time, as a few of us were asked to do a shoot for the new parkrun clothing range, over at Parke in Newton Abbot. Don’t worry - I won’t let the fame go to my head.

This week 340 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 43 were first timers and 61 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 22 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 23 volunteers:

Graydon WIDDICOMBE • Ian HAYWARD • David CUBBERLEY • Tania GODDARD • Dani DODWELL • Stuart CRESSWELL • Tom WRIGHT • Maddy DODWELL • Ned CARSWELL • Amanda GLOVER • Hannah DAVIES • Brian MARJORAM • Danny DEAN • Olivia BOOTE • Wendy PEDRICK • Sharon NELSON • Gary ADDERLEY • Jumanah AWAD • Louise BENSON • Harley GILL • Nathan MEI • Rio GILL • Connor FRANCE

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

The female record is held by Charlotte PENFOLD who recorded a time of 17:32 on 28th July 2018 (event number 82).
The male record is held by Ross BRADEN who recorded a time of 15:31 on 30th November 2019 (event number 153).
The Age Grade course record is held by Peter MONAGHAN who recorded 90.97% (16:37) on 19th May 2018 (event number 72).

Torbay Velopark parkrun started on 31st December 2016. Since then 8,297 participants have completed 41,060 parkruns covering a total distance of 205,300 km, including 8,474 new Personal Bests. A total of 578 individuals have volunteered 3,988 times.


International Women’s Day parkrun – Saturday 7th March 2020 #IWD

We are delighted to be one of the parkrun’s participating in the parkrun celebration of International Women’s Day, also supported by This Girl Can – which you may have seen on social media.

Of course everyone is welcome at parkrun – always!

But the figures and research show that women are less likely to take part in parkrun. Despite the fact that females make 54% of registrations, they are less likely than men to take part in parkrun and to continue participating.
International Women’s Day #IWD parkrun is a fantastic opportunity to encourage more women and girls to participate.

There are many barriers that hold people back – as #ThisGirlCan has been highlighting.

It would also be great to have our run hosted and organised entirely by women on the 7th of March - Please take a look at the Volunteer Roster and get your name down. #ThisGirlCan

So we invite you all to come along on 7th March 2020 for a parkrun celebrating female participation. Please do talk to the women and girls that you know about how great parkrun is, support them to overcome any worries that they have and come along, have fun and enjoy the friendly atmosphere we have at Torbay's parkrun.

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