Tring parkrun is cancelled on 30 May 2020: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Getting to know you: Q&A with Keith Stonestreet

This week's Q&A is with Keith Stonestreet. Keith has now completed 173 parkruns in total, 127 of which have been at Tring. Keith has been running regularly at Tring since June 2015. Of those 46 runs that weren't at Tring, Keith has run at 25 different parkruns.

Following his inaugural run at Tring, Keith notched up a PB in each of his next 8 runs, reducing his PB from 34:02 to 27:22 in the space of just nine weeks. Keith's current PB is 24:19, which he set on 25 June 2016.

Keith running in woods
Keith seen here approaching the finish line in one of our final runs before lockdown.

So let's hear from Keith...….

When did you move to the Tring area, and where did you move from?
We moved to Cheddington about 6 years ago from Northolt. I had always lived in and around Harrow so it was quite a change moving to the countryside. Love it here.

Keith First run no beard
Keith running his very first Tring parkrun back in June 2015. Personally I can't remember Keith without his beard!

Other than parkrun, do you take part in any other organised running events?
I do some races but not many. Cliveden XC, Marsworth 10k, Aldbury 5, amongst others. I am also a member of Tring Running Club so do the club runs.

Given current restrictions, what are you doing to keep active?
I am furloughed so have time on my hands. I am running more and trying to up my distance as I am entered for the Humanity Direct Chiltern Challenge 50k in July which will easily be the farthest I have run. It hasn't been cancelled yet so the training for that is keeping me busy. I am also doing some YouTube Exercise just to do something different from running.

What does Tring parkrun mean to you?
It is a fantastic friendly event. I have met so many people through it and it is the reason I joined Tring Running Club as I was encouraged by a few people there to check it out. Without Tring parkrun I would definitely not be running as much as I am now and be a lot less fit and would not have met so many new friends.

Why did you start parkrun? How did you hear about Tring parkrun? Did you come along with others?
I started parkrun back in 2007 at Bushy parkrun. I had tried running and it seemed like a good introduction to running with others. I am not sure how I heard about it? I must have read about it somewhere? It was not that local to where I was living and I only did about 5 on and off (Ed - Actually Keith it was 6). I then stopped running altogether. I then moved to Cheddington and noticed the amount of people running here so I decided to take up running again to get fitter and lose some weight. Once I completed Couch to 5k I remembered parkrun and looked for a local one. The obvious one was Tring. I came down by myself and was instantly welcomed. The rest is history really.

Obviously Tring parkrun is your favourite parkrun, but what is your second favourite and why?
I think it's Bushy parkrun. It was the first one I did and the original. When a few of us went there a while ago it was fantastic. It's just another level. The shear amount of people is amazing. It's very well organised and I would recommend anyone who hasn't been to go just to experience it. You may even bump into PSH as we did (although he has been to Tring twice).

Taking any of our courses, what is your favourite bit of the Tring parkrun course and why?
The run along King Charles' Drive is fantastic. The views are amazing pretty much any time, whatever the weather. It's also pretty flat and you can just relax a little and chat to anyone around you. Also you can see the faster runners returning and when you return you can see the slower runners on their way out. I was a little unsure when the course changed to an out and back but I love it now. You get to see everyone and cheer them on and say hello etc.

What’s your favourite volunteer role?
Probably Marshall and Pacer. As a Marshall you get to cheer everyone on and as a pacer you still get to run and the runners with you really appreciate it.

Keith volunteering
Keith pictured here in November 2019, preparing for a spot of Marshalling at the turnaround point. Keith is a regular volunteer at Tring, having volunteered on 36 occasions, filling just about every volunteer role going. Just pre-event set-up needed for a full house, Keith!

Favourite / funniest parkrun memory?
I think it has to be turning up to see Blazej dressed as a Frog on the recent Leap Year run and hopping over the line.

Blazej frog costume
Don't ask!!!!

What parkrun would you like to do in the future and why?
I would like to do a foreign one. Not really too fussed as to where though. It would just be great to experience parkrun in another country.

What’s your pre parkrun breakfast?
I don't really eat before, just an espresso or 2.

Keith Leaping
Warning: A double espresso just before parkrun can seriously damage your running style.

Have you ever done any of our fancy dress parkruns, and if so, what did you come dressed as?
I have worn a Scream mask on Halloween but not really apart from that that I can remember.

Although none of us admit it, we all target someone or something we want to beat. Who or what is your target?
I honestly don't have a target, it tends to change each week depending on how well I am running that week. I may see someone ahead and aim for them but I am not usually looking until the return along King Charles' Drive.

Do you think you’ll ever get another PB at Tring?
I don't think so, I don't really know how I did the one I have. I have not been within about 2 minutes of it for years. You never know though.

Keith on his way to his PB
Keith, seen here in June 2016, looking effortless on his way to a PB of 24:19


Weeks 9 and 10 double bill


Another fantastic virtual Tring parkrun turnout

We had an excellent turnout for weeks 9 and 10 of our virtual Tring parkrun.
TEN weeks!!

Week 9 had a music theme and week 10 a football theme
(Click on the picture to see a bigger version)

I'd like to teach the world to sing..

Two weeks ago, with our "getting to know you" interview with musical marshal Jim Maple, and the Eurovision Song Contest being replaced with a remote sing-a-long, the theme for our ninth virtual Tring parkrun had to be "music". Andy Evans asked for "pics of you singing, or by a musical road name or building or perhaps a pose with a musical instrument that you have at home or dressed up in your Eurovision outfit? Be it a trumpet, piano, guitar or recorder or you singing". We were not disappointed and saw a huge outpouring of talent, both musical and creative.

AM and Andy
Madness: Ann-Marie and Andy putting "one step beyond" into action

Notable results from virtual parkrun 9:

  • First finisher was Peter Loose - who also bagged a volunteer point for setting-up Cheddington Goose Acre Lockdown parkrun. Respect.
  • Team Mitchell were next across the line with a very technical and musical effort - and we were impressed by the Monks musicality too.
  • Kieth Stonestreet deserves kudos for spotting a boat on the canal called "All Mod Cons" (my favourite album).
  • Kieth Henderson entertained us with Springstein's Born to Run.
  • Saving their kisses and downing Buck Fizzes were the Leybournes, Pages and Dances.
  • Allison Williment and Helen Tullie both went for the nature's music and even posted recordings of Geese, Wren and Chafinch. We liked these.
  • Graham Hollands recorded a virtual parkrun PB, turning his lockdown hair to aerodynamic advantage with a great punk inspired Mohican. Respect.
  • From her time in the USA Claire Hallessey donned her Chicago Rock'n'Roll half marathon T-shirt. (Claire's running T-shirt drawer must be HUGE).
  • Pencil on Piano impressed us all - and was this week's top placed canine participant.
  • Clare Murphy gets a consolation prize for the week's corniest joke about the new cows in Tring Park making "moosic" :-)
  • And finally a creative mention for Team Patterson's interpretations of "Bridge over troubled waters".

And many thanks to all of the other musical (and non-musical) virtual runners.

Len and Katie top of the pops
Brilliant effort by Len and Katie - surely far too young to remember Jethro Tull and the Beatles!??
And talking about too young, surely Dick and Jac weren't even born when these albums came out?

Those album covers triggered a bit of research. "Best of Top of the Pops 72" featured such wonders as "My ding-a-ling", "Mouldy old dough" and "Long-haired lover from Liverpool". Album 73 regaled us with classics including "I'm the Leader of the Gang" (are we allowed to even mention that these days?), "Rubber Bullets" (load up!!), and "Skweeze me pleeze me". If you're keen on "Kung Fu fighting" then spin up album number 74. [Ed: get back to the run report!!].

jon jon 2
Jon Manning, as always, had great takes on the themes - for week 10, no one said what type of football!

The beautiful game...

In another world this would have been the FA Cup final weekend and so a football theme seemed appropriate for our 10th virtual Tring parkrun. The instructions were simple - "Maybe it’s you in a football shirt, maybe run past a football pitch, maybe run carrying a football. The choice, as ever, is yours".

We could have fielded several teams with this week's turnout.

The faithful
Watford vs Norwich City at Vicarage Road today. Clive Cohen and Dave Cary suitably segregated at Marsworth Wilstone parkrun.

Key stats and facts from week 10 include:

  • First female finisher was Lucy Daisy Clutton who posted a video clip of impressive ball skills. Who knew?
  • Team Bladen were the first family to finish together. Apparently they support Arsenal (again - who knew??).
  • Best joke of the week goes to Lee Robinson "....wearing a West Ham goalie shirt - helps reduce the chance of me catching anything! ⚒️".
  • Pencil was first canine finisher again - playing in goal, too.
  • Carol Page and Helen Tullie get a special mention for reminding us "it's all about the coffee"...posting photos with croissants and with appropriate mugs.
  • Charlie Watson's contribution was to keep going after 5km until she'd completed the first half (45 mins)...we're looking for evidence of the second half next week.
  • Team VdL also deserve a special mention for their dogged and full-hearted support of Port Vale despite all evidence that this is not a great idea.

There were, of course many other allegiances on display, local and national. Apart from Arsenal, Chelsea, and Watford (of course!) we saw Brentford, Norwich City, Leeds (they went downhill after Billy left them!!), West Ham, Aston Villa, Wealdstone FC (!!) and more.

We were also impressed by the appearance - by Blaz - of a Polish shirt and a trip down Memory Lane to Wembley 1973. Dave Carey was quick to comment, on Facebook, that "I remember it well, sadly. Jan Tomaszewski played a blinder in goal for Poland. Peter Shilton only had 2 shots to face and made a mistake to let one of them go in. Poland were a good side though. Finished 3rd in 1974 World Cup." Dave is who you need on your quiz team for the sports round!

And well done to everyone else who body-swerved the football theme and went out and did a virtual parkrun anyway.

Now let's take a brief look at previous years this weekend:

Last year...

For some reason this feels like an age ago. There are two brilliant run reports covering mid May 2019. The cows were well and truly back (and we'd discovered another natural Cow Marshal in the form of Steve Brookman), Martin Bishop completed his 100th and Cathy baked and decorated the most awesome cake, and a very pregnant Sally Nash finished in a time way faster than I've ever managed.
#248 "Now these are small"
#249 Special guest report by young Isobel

Cow selfie
Steve Brookman - one of my favourite pics from tring parkrun

2 years ago....

Apparently there had just been a royal wedding, we had the 2nd and 3rd running on our new course, and we discovered that the cows really like our blue tarpaulin. Also it was surprisingly wet two years ago - very unlike this year.

#194 The Second Running
#195 The one where the cows took an interest in our blue tarp

"Blue tarp to a cow"

3 years ago....

2017 was a warm Spring, like this year. Our numbers grew and for the first time we exceeded 200 runners for more than 2 weeks in a row. Harry Bryant was RD and made the unique observation that "Robert Mann and our tail runners Howard Lambert and Richard Murphy all finished in 51:27 this week. As I’m sure you know, 51 divided by 27 is 1.88888888888888888. Very nice". I'm lost for words.
#139 Good things come to those who wait
#140 Return of the cows

#140. Who will get to Gate 1 first - the parkrunners or cows? Read the report to find out

4 years ago....

Lorraine Hurford was RD for the first time back in 2016 (one of four new RDs taken onboard), a very small William Drath got his first PB, Tom Patterson completed his 10th parkrun, Katie Haines (another of the new RDs) was heading for a PB but stopped to help a runner than had taken a tumble, a great display to parkrun family spirit.

#85 Cakes and cows
#86 Keep moving forward/

bombing ken
Ken photo-bombs Andy

5 years ago....

Five years ago, wearing an Arsenal top, Issy Bladen completed her first Tring parkrun and has hardly missed a parkrun weekend since. Liz Daniels was "Queen of PBs", Dom Evans won "parkrunner of the month" and his sister Sophie was surprised to be first female finisher (the visitor in front took a wrong turning on the woods!!!). We were still a "baby" parkrun, numbers were small and we were fast establishing a reputation of "you must do Tring" with parkrun tourists.

#31 A new herd of cows
#32 Well behaved cattle
Plus Chris’s occasional series
Part of Chris Millar's occasional series....

With parkrun being for all ages and abilities runners often can find themselves running with others many years different to themselves in age. Pictured are 2 sprinters, both running for the first time at Tring but at opposite ends of the parkrun experience table. Young Oscar Atkins produces an excellent sprint for his 1st ever parkrun, whilst Richard Kirk, our most experienced parkrunner this week, gives him plenty of competition.



Stay well, stay fit, stay happy and join us for next week's (11th) virtual parkrun.
Details on our Facebook page.


Getting to know you: Q&A with Pencil (and Nick Carmichael-Johns)

This week we get to meet Nick Carmichael-Johns, and his faithful sidekick Pencil the cockerpoo.

Having spent most of his twenties saying that he would never leave London, Nick reached a point in his life where he decided that the allure of wide open space just got too much. So where better to move to than Tring?

Officially Nick has now completed 86 parkruns, though he did sneak in a couple of unrecorded events when visiting his in-laws. Nick started parkrun back in January 2017, and has been a regular at Tring ever since. Having racked up four PBs in his first six runs, Nick's current PB is 29:14, which he set back in April 2014.

Park run Pencil
Meet Pencil - for anyone who wants to follow Pencil's exploits, Pencil has her own Instagram account - you can follow her occasional updates @pencilthecockerpoo.

Other than parkrun, do you take part in any other organised running events?

I’ve run the London marathon three times, the Edinburgh marathon twice and done twenty plus half marathons (including the Brighton half on ten consecutive occasions). I was never a natural athlete at school but years ago, a personal trainer that I met at a party persuaded me to enter a half marathon and I’ve never looked back!

Pencil Park Run 2
Action shot of Nick sporting a hard-won London marathon T-shirt

Given current restrictions, what are you doing to keep active?

I take my dog Pencil out for a walk every morning but we have to be back in time for 0900 sharp because we are Joe Wicks obsessives in this house. If the pandemics shown me anything, it’s that there’s enough room for a family of four to sort of do burpees in my living room.

Why did you start parkrun? How did you hear about Tring parkrun? Did you come along with others?

I have always thought running was a really solitary hobby so when I started the parkrun in 2018 (just after my daughter was born), I didn’t come to chat… I came to run fast! I definitely spent the first few weeks, head down in the avenue of trees, trying and normally failing to better my time each week.

Then a year later, on New Year’s Day, in a slightly hungover and slightly confused state, my husband persuaded me to take our silly dog Pencil with me. I’d spent a year resisting because she is the world’s smallest cockerpoo (her legs are SO short) but I figured that I could always carry her if I needed to.

Well, anyone that saw me running that New Year’s Day would know that Pencil basically dragged me around the course because she loved it so much.

What does Tring parkrun mean to you?

Pencil has taught me a million things about how to do parkrun right: to bound down to the start line every Saturday, to be constantly cheerful, to greet every last runner with enthusiasm, to heckle the briefing with excited barks (sorry about that!), to run too fast at the start, to love the mud and the rain and the snow, to lag a bit when it starts to hurt, to not care less about your finish time and to hurl yourself across the finish line like you’re going for Olympic gold. I just wouldn’t be without Pencil at parkrun now. Whisper this… but I think she enjoys it even more than I do.

Pencil Park Run 4
Pencil looking proud of her Saturday morning exploits

Obviously Tring parkrun is your favourite parkrun, but what is your second favourite and why?

Is it wrong that I’ve only ever done two other parkruns outside of Tring, both while visiting my in laws? I didn’t even take my barcode either because I didn’t want Tring to feel that I was cheating on it!

Taking any of our courses, what is your favourite bit of the Tring parkrun course and why?

I get wistful even thinking about the parkrun course because I miss it so much. When I first started parkrun, I loved the fact that you went through several different stages to get to the finish. Then when the route changed, I loved being able to cheer on the leading runners heading back as we were still heading out.

My favourite bit is probably the moment just out of the woods where Pencil realises that we’re almost at the finish and the lead always tightens as she begins her sprint finish. No matter how reluctant she’s been during the rest of the race, she can always be relied on to drag me over the finish line!

What’s your favourite volunteer role?

I really enjoyed being the tail runner. I made sure that I collected my barcode and recorded my time on that one and when I look back at the results, I love the memory of being the last to finish. And I tell anyone who’ll listen that if you want to try parkrun for the first time, you’re guaranteed not to be last!

Favourite / funniest parkrun memory?

I’m so unbelievably different now to how I was when I started the parkrun. My favourite memories aren’t of pushing myself to finish fast. They’re of friends coming along and running with me, people trying parkrun for the first time with me, running slow in the snow and the rain. And my favourite memory of all is the handful of times I’ve persuaded my little boy to run with me. He may have needed Haribo to coax him up the hill and he may have laid down halfway round and told me his heart was hurting… but in my eyes, when he finally crossed that finish line, he was basically Mo Farah.

Pencil Park Run 3 (002)
Great camouflage Pencil!

What parkrun would you like to do in the future and why?

I’m a massive Gavin and Stacey fan and I absolutely love the sound of the Gavin and Stacey parkrun which basically involves doing Billericay and Barry Island!

Nessa 2
Oh, what's occurrin'? The RD at Barry parkrun about to deliver the pre-run briefing.

Ed: For all you doubters who thought there's no such thing as the Gavin and Stacey parkrun, check out this link

What’s your pre parkrun breakfast?

I think there’s a typo in this question because WHAT KIND OF FOOL EATS BREAKFAST BEFORE THEY DO PARKRUN? My favourite post parkrun breakfast is the one that I discuss with my regular running buddy Sara Darling and will normally involve something on toast: avocado or eggs for me and mushrooms for her.

Do you think you’ll ever get another PB at Tring?

I sometimes stare at my parkrun results and got obsessed last year with trying to make sure that I got a 2019 result that started with a two (as I tend to finish in the 30 minute plus region.)

The best I managed was 30:00 so I failed… but I quickly realised that it doesn’t really matter at all! I realise now that the personal best ones aren’t always the best runs. Sometimes the best runs are the slow ones where everything hurts a bit. You get the biggest sense of achievement from those!


Week 8 – The big weekend


And so...

We're going to mix it up a bit this week. First of all we were hugely impressed by everyone's VE Day efforts and also the caption competition entries. (See below).

This weekend over the previous five years had their own significant moments too. So, let's start there and in reverse order...

Last year #247

Do you remember run number 247..... the one where the results went missing? The one when Andy Evans' detective agency was formed? The one where Ann-Marie's pretty brown eyes misted with emotion?? Yes/No???

detective agency
The dark and mysterious case of the missing runners

Here's how the story started..... "When I finally caught up with Andy, he was drinking strong coffee with a renegade RD named ‘Running Boy’ Collings in a ramshackle joint just off the A41, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring morning".

I'm not going to even summarise what happened next, follow the link to read the rest of "The Tring parkrun detective agency"

2018 #193 "Phew"

This was the first running of our "new" course, the version that did not start and end on the Lime tree Avenue.

Harry was RD and wrote "Essentially if everything goes well I don’t really have to do anything as Run Director, and on a day when we had a new herd of cows, a new route plus our fifth highest attendance ever it’s a testament to how great our volunteers are that I was able to wander around and chat to runners whilst everything seemed to tick over nicely. So, THANK YOU!"

Downhill and then through the valley at the start - for the first time

In fact had we ran this year, we'd also have had a new herd of cows to contend with. And perhaps the warm temperatures might have slowed the pace a little, but two years ago Chris Nicholls recorded his 7th PB in 7 weeks, Tia Kerr-Miller recorded 4 in 4 and Kelly Lane, Iain Middleton, Alice Fisher, Adrienne Garner, Anna Taylor, Simon Cowie, Rob Billings, Colin Hamnett, David Taylor, Gavin Morden and Callum Hunter-Whitehouse all had 2 PBs in 2 weeks. Better still Adrienne Garner chipped off some more time off her own 2nd best at VW70-74 and Betty Stracey recorded our 2nd best ever VW75-79.

2017 #138 "Effort Grade: Average"

Setting up a deja-vu moment two years later the run report noted that there were "gremlins" getting in the way of smooth result processing.

After the gremlins were zapped it became apparent that congratulations were due to those runners who reached impressive milestones that week, including Phil Roger and Daniel Wolff who ran their 100th parkruns and Juliet Mitchell who completed her 50th. Louise Bladen became the fourth person to complete 100 Tring parkruns.

I was struck by this photo - taken with a telephoto lens everyone looks a lot closer than they really were....just like scurrilous press images taken with very, very long telephotos to claim mass "social distancing abuse"

Harry was delighted that after a dearth of candidates in recent weeks he could finally award a "most aesthetically pleasing time" award. "Not only did Linda Walke, Gareth Davies and Matt Wade all finish at precisely the same time, they also broke the thirty minute barrier and managed to match, to the second, our average run time. Bearing in mind we have now had 3,901 named runners this was quite a feat and I’m sure must have been pre-arranged! 29:59 to all three of you, all whilst carefully calculating the effect the 124 runners ahead of you would have on our average. Good work - you’ve made my day."

Just three years later our average time is now 30:27, which means that we are being successful in attracting a wider range of abilities in those joining to run/jog or walk.

2016 #84 "Titled, errr "84"!"

"'He that will enjoy the brightness of sunshine, must quit the coolness of the shade.' Samuel Johnson" - is how this report started. Can you guess who the RD was?

You probably guessed Wes...but, no, it was our very own Mr Richard Murphy.

sam and Joanna
Sam and Jo - two of our regular volunteers in 2016. Jo now lives in rural Cornwallshire and Sam helped set up beautiful Wendover Woods parkrun.

The following made me smile: "For the tourists the most travelled was David Irwin from Huntingdon who had just completed the Ridgeway Path with his wife. I think David also gets quote of the week, after hearing that the first 1k was mostly up hill in the pre run briefing delivered by Chris he expected the rest of the course to be flat ‘He told me only the first bit was uphill! There wasn’t a flat bit on the whole run!’. David has now completed 198 runs, I wonder if he’ll be back to Tring for his 200th?"

A quick bit of internet stalking shows that David is now at an amazing 355 parkruns and that he returned to Tring in June the following year...which must have been very close to his 250th.

Also that week Kirk Clifford completed the course in 19.36 setting a new Age Grade course record of 84.01%, a great achievement when you consider the nature of our course and that the benchmark is the World Record time for his age group (60-64 at the time).

2015 #30 "Post election hangover cure"

"Whether you were celebrating or mourning, once again Tring parkrun was the perfect antidote on Saturday morning. With the weather, brisk and perhaps a little damp, any signs of hangovers were quickly cured...."

Ron Hull was RD (he's now ED for the lovely Rushmere parkrun) and noted that this was the first week that the women outnumbered the men, at 52%. In fact the female numbers have been consistently high or highest this weekend in previous years. I'm not sure why.

Mr Hull also commented eloquently on the role of First Timers Briefing......

Chris Millar, a volunteer who has offered to be a RD (Run Director) has his 1st go at the new-runners brief. The new runners brief role involves following a fairly standard script and explaining the route, some of the rules and answering any questions. To be honest, if you have run a few times at Tring, don't mind talking to 10-20 people, can point into the far distance and make running up a hill into an amusing joke, then you're an ideal candidate for this role!

And one other notable snippet was "As everyone knows, parkrun is about giving it a go, improving, enjoying and making friends. This week welcomed first timers who had travelled from Sheffield, club outings (Leighton Buzzard) and 1st appearances from Fairland Spartans, Kilamarsh Kestrels and Team Trisports. Richard Murphy also achieved his 7th PB in 8 weeks."


And back to this week 2020 "We'll meet again"

The 75th anniversary of VE day was marked this weekend. It was odd seeing the socially distanced commemorations on the BBC, but oddly a virtual/non-parkrun week for us is becoming (sadly!?) a bit normal.

Virtual runs, virtual Akeman coffee mornings and seeing what everyone has come up with in response to Andy's weekly challenge have become one of the new things to look forward too.

WW2 was a challenging time for the world's population and Vera Lynn's "We'll meet again" became an iconic, poignant and symbolic song. It seemed equally fitting for our own circumstances and so we used it as the soundtrack to our own video remembering many happy days in Tring Park on Saturday mornings - and that we'll enjoy again together at some point in the future.

Red white and blue was what Andy asked for and that is what we got. "Leesten very carefully, I shall say thees only once..." - you were all fantastic!

VE Day and week 8
Superb effort by everyone yet again

I especially like Pencil sitting on a union flag and also RD Anna/Ross' daughter Jessica (see below).

This week we also had yet another "getting to know you" interview with a regular parkrunner. Many thanks to Steve Bladen for doing these. This week the victim celebrity was the legend that is Jim Maple aka the Musical Marshal.

If you've not seen it yet you can find it here. It include links to a few of the videos of Jim in action and his inspired playlists.

Also we had a great excuse for a caption competition. This proved challenging as noted by Moira Douglas, who said, "Problem is whatever Jim said to Anna will not be repeatable!"

The winning entry was "Jim said “Anna, I have a dream that one day the parkrun course will move away from these treasured trees and the grasslands and simply run up and down the hill between Nell Gwynne’s monument and the summerhouse, so that runners can enjoy my playlist every step of the way. I have a dream today.” - well done to Julian Crane.

Just to mix it up a bit:

Screenshot 2020-05-10 at 18.58.50

We also had a bonus caption competition featuring little Jessica:

Screenshot 2020-05-10 at 19.01.53

Love it!


So that's it for this week.

Stay safe, stay well - keep in touch via our FB page.

See you next week

The Tring parkrun team



You can find out more about Tring parkrun and see all of our photographs and videos on our Facebook page here.

If we still haven't fulfilled your need for a weekly parkrun fix try "With Me Now" hosted by Danny Norman and Nicola Forwood, a really great, independent, parkrun podcast.



Getting to know you: Q&A with Jim Maple

This weeks Q&A is with our regular volunteer, Jim Maple. Jim is probably one of our the most recognisable faces at Tring parkrun, and as the selection of photos and links below show, is one of its real characters. In truth, Jim was meant to have featured in an earlier week, but those of you who know Jim will appreciate that it has taken some weeks of toing and froing to get something suitable for a family audience!

In the early days of Tring parkrun Jim was a regular runner, though these days he is more often found marshalling us around the course's various twists and turns, historically at gate 1 on our first course, and more recently at the obelisk. At our fourth birthday awards, Jim was crowned "Volunteer of the Year".

Jim volunteer award 4th birthday
A modest looking Jim collecting his award.

Jim's musical montages were always a welcome relief, coming as they did at the end of a long slog up one of Tring park's numerous hills.

Jim was a DJ with Radio Lab If you'd like to listen to one of Jim's parkrun inspired music playlists as you read - just click here to go to a video we made featuring Jim and his radio show 3 years ago.

While these days we have to make do with just Jim's verbal encouragement, I'm sure we'd all hope that one day we might be able to find a way of getting Jim's music back in the park.

Jim Spring 2019 video
Click above to see a video of Jim in action (plays in Facebook)

Jim has completed parkrun 57 times, 55 of which have been at Tring. Jim ran at Tring's very first parkrun in November 2014. Jim's PB is a very respectable 32:15, achieved back in October 2015.

Jim lives in Tring with his wife Di and dog Spike. Jim moved to Tring in 1979 from Mortimer near Reading. So let's hear from Jim...…

Other than parkrun, do you take part in any other organised running events? Not any more. I used to do Tring Running Club events.

Given current restrictions, what are you doing to keep active? Walking in Tring Park and adjacent woodland.

What does Tring parkrun mean to you? A whole section of my friendships.

Jim isolating
Jim and his friends. Who knew that Jim was such a trend setter - these days social distancing is all the rage.

Why did you start parkrun? Tip off from my son who used to be a pretty nifty runner. Also as a response to type 2 diabetes.

Obviously Tring parkrun is your favourite parkrun, but what is your second favourite and why? South Shields, except when nobody told me there was a "dress like a ballerina" theme.

Chris Miller
It's not just South Shields Jim - did you forget that one of our Run Directors also attempted a "dress like a ballerina" themed run? Though looking at this picture, I'm not surprised it hasn't really caught on.

Taking any of our courses, what is your favourite bit of the Tring parkrun course and why? Probably that funnel-y shaped thing at the end.

What’s your favourite volunteer role? Music marshal

Favourite / funniest parkrun memory? In my running days I did have a brief flirtation with the use of a "Canicross" lead, on the other end of which was my dog Spike. I always realised there would be profit and loss in this arrangement, as in times when he'd pull me and times when I'd pull him. What I hadn't reckoned with was the degree of difficulty in deploying a doggie poo-bag in a stiff breeze. I shall urge Canicross to design a sort of racing poo-bag with quick action.

Jim from video Sep 2019
Jim returning from a spot of marshalling, poo-bag in hand.

What parkrun would you like to do in the future and why? Just to get round Tring would be lovely.

What’s your pre parkrun breakfast? The usual... cereal and toast. I find I can marshal on that just nicely.

While cereal and toast will make do for breakfast, as a former Chemistry teacher, Jim is seen here outside the Akeman promoting the benefits of genetically modified broccoli.

Although none of us admit it, we all target someone we want to beat. Who’s your target? The Grim Reaper.

Jim catches up with his Nemesis

Do you think you’ll ever get another PB at Tring? With absolute certainty, no.

Jim running
Mmmmmm…...looking at this recent shot Jim, you might be right.


⇐ Newer Posts