Tyne Green parkrun is cancelled on 2021-04-17 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Lock Down Blog #13

We hope everyone is enjoying the glorious weather. If you're thinking of heading out this weekend for a run, walk or plod, maybe you're looking for somewhere new. The volunteer team have been sharing some of their favourite local routes. Here are the highlights...

From Neil P: Favourite loop is from home, near Hencotes, through the Sele, down Burn Lane and wave at fellow Food Bank volunteers. Then pass by the famous Cafe Enna to our wonderful, wonderful parkrun course which I do as far as (nearly) end of Tyne Green. Then return by same route. Takes 30 minutes. Favourite because it embraces much of our awesome parkrun!

From Iain S: Starting at the bottom of Leazes Lane, run and onto Shaws Lane to the top. Take the right fork then follow left into the forest, the forest track following the side of the large field which High Wood abuts. At the end of the forest track, take a right down the wider track, it eventually becomes a tar surface, across the ford (or footbridge), up the road through the farm to the A69. Cross over and take the steep downhill track which starts as concrete, along through a lovely wood with a stream on your right and up a slope to the old Alston railway bridge which you go under. Keep going until you get to Graham Reader’s farm, go carefully over the style not disturbing the ducks, geese or horses and turn right along the vehicle track to the bridge at Warden. Cross the road and take the track left past Robson Green’s house along the side of the South Tyne, under the rail bridge and join the tarred path just east of the A69 bridge. Finish at the rail crossing. Optional is to continue up Spittal Lane.

David R: A slightly adapted one from me. Just because it would normally start and finish at home!

Not Strava but - https://www.fetcheveryone.com/routes-view.php?id=1816085

Starts and finishes at Enna and 5 1/2 miles. Takes you over Hexham Bridge and over the A69 pedestrian bridge, onto St John’s Lee and down into Acomb. Take Howford Lane to Waters Meet, have a quick sunbathe on the beach (optional!) then head back on the trail to the A6079. Follow the old road to the pedestrian bridge heading back to Enna!

What’s not to love about a run along Tyne Green, sunbathing on the Waters Meet beach and finishing at Enna for coffee and a bacon sandwich (obviously you have to make sure you’re back before Enna closes!) :-D

Tony B: I did start to explore the trails more during lockdown. Lots close by that I'd never been on before lockdown, like the one Marc mentions above. My favourite new one is from Hexham, along past the Boatside at Warden, then at Forestones paper mill taking the path off to the left, by the level crossing, following the South Tyne to Allerwash, then turning uphill through the woodland to Newbrough. Following the road back to Hexham through Newbrough and Forestones. Mix of flat trail and road, and doing it that way round the bit of elevation gains barely noticable until running down hill out of Forestones. It's just over a half marathon from Hexham, but if park in the pull in by the level crossing at the paper mill, then the loop is about 8 km (I don't do miles when running). I like it as it's a really lovely stretch of river to run along and then a lovely bit of woodland at Newbrough, which was laden with wild garlic with it's associated heady aroma, when I first discovered the route in the spring. Not sure why I hadn't been along there before. Up for a challenge? https://strava.app.link/Qr4sbeUJF8

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I did this segment in 48:58. Give it a go!

Marc L: My favourite new route is courtesy of Tony Brown ... Start at the Dyvels Inn at Corbridge, and run down to the bridge. Don't cross the bridge and run instead along the river, towards Hexham. When the trail brings you back to the road at Dilston, cross over and run past the Physic Garden. Directly after the Scout Ground turn left and up the new path, over the fields. Follow the signs and after a while they'll take you over a new footbridge. Up another hill, pass three houses on your left, and turn hard left along a narrow path onto the road. Turn left again and head down the hill towards Dilston Castle. Almost opposite the castle, turn right onto a gravel track and up towards a small collection of houses. Ignore the path on the left and carry on to the path on your right, and follow the signs which take you looping left around the top of the houses. Run across more fields, along the path and onto a lane, admiring the houses on your right, and the views on your left, and just after the new white house you'll find a path on your left, through the hedge. Run down across two fields, over the main road and onto more fields, leading finally to a short path through the woods, popping out at Corbridge Station. The sight of Dyvels Inn, and the promise of a pint, is enough to help you forget that it took you 5 1/2 miles to get back to your starting point. Or for a shorter route to the River Tyne and back to Dyvels! :-)
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Tony: Just run from Dyvels Inn and 5 1/2 miles later you'll arrive back for a pint! Lovely. :-D

Claire K: Start at Café Enna, run to Warden. Pass Boathouse & Au Natural, Public footpath is a few 100 yards on right. Go over tracks up path to steep field, go up, go thru gate, turn left through gate to next field, staying at top of field. Go thru gate, follow bottom of field to wooded area. Thru gate, follow path. Just before next gate look for steep path switch back on right. Climb up path to gate. Go along bottom of field. Go through gate. Stay on left up field to trig point. Go back down same field keeping to opposite side of field you ran up. Running towards pylon. Run down field to gate. Path goes through farm buildings. Take road to right across 2 cattle grids and then follow road to right back to Boat house. Something like that... views are amazing on the top! :-) https://strava.app.link/yoO9Jwt5N8

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Ian G: Mine has been the tynegreen parkrun as been limited to the flat through injury.

Ian B: I don't have a favourite route but I do have a favourite direction - up! There's nothing better than getting to the top of a hill and looking back at where you were, where you are and what you have around you.

What are some of your favourite local lockdown loops?

 

Lockdown Blog #12

Recently parkrun UK announced the development of a comprehensive ‘return to parkrun’ planning document and risk assessment to ensure that all the necessary support is in place when parkrun returns to the UK. While we patiently wait for further guidance, the core team have been reminiscing about their favourite parkruns. While we all agree Tyne Green parkrun is the best parkrun, we created a list of our second favourite parkuns...

RD Neil P
Second favourite is Penrith parkrun, it’s where my love of parkrun all began. They organise it almost as well as us!! Flat course with Blencathra as a backdrop. Have ran it about 75 times.

CV Debbie L
Newcastle parkrun in Exhibition Park. Flat course on tarmac paths. I walk/jogged it in March 2019. It was my first ever experience of parkrun which my lovely cousin Sue introduced me to. I loved the friendly atmosphere and the cheering on from the Marshalls. I was hooked! My next steps were bravely taken solo ‘at home’ at our wonderful Tyne Green parkrun!!

RD David R
Victoria parkrun, Kitchener. 3 3/4 laps of a lake and finishes on an island in the lake. Avoiding aggressive squirrels and Canada Geese adds to the fun! Only done it once but will go again next time I’m go to Canada which will hopefully be soon!

RD Ian G
Rushmoor parkrun in Hampshire, 2 laps of the playing field with a stretch along the Basingstoke Canal. Growing up, the Red Devils parachute display team used to land their plane on the field when training.

RD Ian B
I ran Prudhoe Riverside parkrun 5 times :-D A riveting description, Ian. You'll have parkrunners flocking to Prudhoe Riverside parkrun. We do have big love for our sister parkrun!

RD Marc L
I have only run at 4 locations, and can't admit to Prudhoe!! Therefore, Minehead parkrun, which starts at the Beach Hotel . It's flat but involves five switch backs and as a result feels very long. However, runners are next to the sea (well, Bristol Channel) and it's always a lot warmer than Northumberland (apart from the marshalling which is always way warmer at Tyne Green!!).

RD Tony B
Druridge Bay parkrun,  as it was my parkrun debut course, 14 May 2016 in a time of 31:16. I returned in May 2017 and managed 28:29, after cycling 36 miles, down from Alnmouth. I need to get back to see how much I've improved, before age starts to slow me down again :-D

CV Catriona M
I am not sure if I meet your criteria for a story but mine has to be in Somerset* July 2019. It was THE hottest day of the year and I am ready for the off in my shorts and vest. The lesson learnt was keep quiet at the RD briefing. She came running down the line looking for me before starting the run with their ‘Top Tourist’  T shirt. Unfortunately it wasn’t a T shirt, it was the biggest, heaviest polo shirt I have ever worn, and I sweltered my way round. I was sorely tempted to stop half way since it was double circuit, but I felt I owed it to Tyne Green parkrun’s reputation to keep going!
* thought I’d better withhold the name of the actual parkrun in case they think we are just whinging northerners!

RD Claire K
Joe Creason parkun, Louisville, KY, USA. One of only a handful of parkruns in the southern United States and started by British expat Natalie D, who was RD the day I ran it. The route was a double figure of eight and a loop around a park over path and grass, and what felt like at the time, a massive hill. It was perhaps an incline, but it was July and around 25 degrees at 9:00am. I can officially boast to finishing a parkrun as 3rd female and 9th overall... ahem... out of 16 total parkrunners. It was lovely to be part of a small and enthusiastic band of parkrunners and volunteers.

CV Kate W
I’m a one parkrun kind of a woman. :-) There is only Tyne Green parkrun. :-)

We very much look forward to getting back to parkrun. It is great to know that mostly wherever we are in the world, there will be a fantastic parkrun to satiate that Saturday morning feeling. Something that Paul Fielding no doubt will attest to having participated in 487 different parkruns! Although he has yet to visit Tyne Green parkrun. We wonder what his current favourite parkrun is...

What is your second favourite parkrun?

 

Lockdown Blog #11

A bit of a potted history!

My first parkrun experience was as a volunteer timekeeper in Newcastle’s Town Moor back in 2010, when there were a lot fewer than the five- or six hundred runners it attracts now. I volunteered on a couple of occasions and ran three or four times as well. But getting to Newcastle for 9.00am on a Saturday when you’re doing the same trip on Monday to Friday for work meant the novelty soon wore off!

Fast forward three years, and I was invited to be part of the core team setting up a new parkrun at Gibside. I did a marshalling stint at Blackhill (only once though. It’s cold up there…!) and then Gibside started in February 2014. Then there was another long gap. Ask me why and I’ll tell you “off air”!

Sometime later, I found myself timekeeping at Prudhoe Riverside, which reignited the bug, and then…

My first contact with Tyne Green parkrun came while I was running along the riverside path with my now fellow Run Director, Marc Lintern.

A couple of dodgy-looking characters were digging out the weeds along the wall by the railway line. They turned out to be Event Director and Tyne Green parkrun ‘driving force’, the appositely-named Neil Park and Run Director-to-be, John Chilton, who were widening the path ahead of a test run. That was in November 2018.

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Neil & John without shovels!

A couple of months later I found myself sitting in the County Hotel having a drink with Neil, John and the rest of the team, who had been working hard to get Tyne Green parkrun up and running.

Another couple of meetings followed, the course was measured and then, on 20th April 2019, Neil’s dream was finally realised when 241 enthusiastic parkrunners descended on Tyne Green! Not a bad launch party.

Having volunteered or run at 44 of the 46 events, I can honestly say it’s been a pleasure to witness not only the growth of parkrun itself, but also of the core team of volunteers, who turn up every week without fail to ensure the run goes smoothly.

We’ve developed a strong team spirit in the year since we came into being, and built some - hopefully lasting! - friendships as a result.

When we return from our prolonged Covid-19-enforced absence, I will have the honour of succeeding Claire Knowles as Neil’s Co-Event Director when she heads off to work on creating a Junior Parkrun at Tyne Green. Hers will certainly be big running shoes to fill, but I’m really looking forward to continuing her legacy. Claire’s unwavering enthusiasm and commitment has helped make Tyne Green parkrun the runaway success (no pun intended) that it is today, so watch this space. It will be filled with junior parkrunners in no time at all!

Fingers crossed we’ll be allowed back sooner rather than later but, whenever it may be, we’ll look forward to welcoming back the regular runners, as well as – hopefully - some new faces too. We know that a lot more people have been running during lockdown, so if that’s you, keep it going and we’ll see you on Tyne Green.

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David

 

Lockdown Blog #10

Parkrun & Me

I guess my journey to being part of parkrun began when I was at school. I loved the cross country season (I am hopeless at football), splashing around the partially submerged playing fields in the park next to the school. When I left school, running was not something I continued because I was cycling to work and had a physically demanding job.

Fast forward 30 years, I’d passed my driving test and had a couple of promotions at work which meant more time behind the desk, sitting in the car and doing site visits rather than the physically demanding, manual work I’d done previously. Consequently, the inevitable happened: I gained weight and my fitness levels dropped. I had often thought about running again as I remembered how I used to enjoy it. But nagging in the back of my mind was the thought that if someone saw me out running they might be judging me or laughing at me as I struggled along. This feeling took over and as a result I simply did nothing.

As often happens in life however, I got a wakeup call: After a minor operation I was told that it was quite difficult to bring me around from the anesthetic due to my weight. This sobering thought really concentrated my mind and made me determined to start running again. As such, during my recovery I downloaded the Couch to 5K app.

So it was that in October of 2018 I started Week One of Couch to 5K. I actually found the darkening evenings a comfort as I knew that it meant less people would see me struggle to run between the walking breaks. I soon found, however, that I was improving and not dreading the next run. In time I began to feel more confident that I could complete it.

I’d been tracking my efforts on a well know activity tracking app while I was running those 5k, so when I completed the 9 week programme I thought… what next? I kept plodding along the streets still hoping no one I knew would see me as I was still scared I would be judged. Then came a conversation with a friend who suggested we do a parkrun - which I have to admit I had never heard of before! So, one crisp February morning I found myself standing at the start of Prudhoe Riverside parkrun. In the back of my mind I was hoping I wouldn’t come last, however I now know of course that you are never last as that is always the role of the tail walker. On that February morning I managed to run the whole way and crossed the finish line with the support of all the faster runners who had kindly stayed to support others. It was then that I knew this was something I would continue do and enjoy.

Then, thanks to a fantastic team, parkrun came to Hexham where I lived and to Tynegreen! I found myself at home there initially running: By this time I had done a couple of 10Ks and had in turn picked up the inevitable injury. As such, I thought I would give volunteering a go: After being issued with the obligatory hi-vis vest I found myself marshalling the hedge and cheering on the runners as they come past with the same gusto I had received over the previous weeks.

I kept volunteering and tried out different roles (I’m really not sure how I am not banned from timekeeping!) and enjoying the banter on those Saturday mornings at 8am when setting up the finish area. Then Neil, one of our great Co-Event Directors asked me if I would consider becoming a Run Director (RD). Initially I was hesitant but I soon realised from the friendships and support I received from the whole core team and volunteers that yes…I could do this.

So what has parkrun has brought me? Well it’s brought increased fitness and aided some weight loss for one (I say ‘some’…let’s just say that blasted lockdown hasn’t exactly helped with that one!) But it’s so much more than that: It’s definitely improved my mental well being and brought friendship and a real sense of belonging, all whilst supporting others in achieving their goals.

So – that’s my parkrun story. Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing you all back at Tyne Green when we get the go ahead. Fingers crossed we won’t have to wait too long. Come and say hello – I’ll be the one wearing the silly hat. The hat will depend on the weather and the season, but without fail, it’ll be silly and hopefully will put a smile on your face!

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Ian x

 

Lockdown Blog #9

This is a story about a girl.

A girl who spent most of her time happily by herself with her dog for company (and what great company dogs are!) A girl who grew up without brothers or sisters and perhaps by default, spent most of her early years quite happily by herself writing stories about other girls, other dogs and other worlds. It’s probably important to say at this point that this isn’t a story that’s meant to be sad. It’s not meant to make you feel sorry for this girl or intentionally tug at the heart strings. This girl is thankful for many, many things in life and if you were to meet this girl, you’d no doubt find her with a genuine smile upon her face. Nevertheless, behind the smile is a story that this girl finds difficult to tell. A story about how throughout her life, this girl would look at other people, especially groups of people, and wonder just how they did it… how did they manage to fit in? From where this girl was standing, it looked like other people made friends easily. They simply fitted in. They seemed to just slot, effortlessly, like round pegs into round holes to become part of something quite beautiful: Friendships. Groups. Connections.

This girl decided the problem simply must be that she was a square peg. Destined to never fit in, no matter how hard she tried and how much she wanted to. Perhaps she tried too hard? Perhaps she wanted it too much? Cue, as this girl got older, much over-analysing and over-reflecting and all that sort of anxious stuff that goes through your head at 3am when you should be fast asleep. This girl was a sensitive soul with very thin skin and sometimes it simply felt a bit too much. What’s more, it wasn’t much fun being this way as a teenager at school. At a time when most people wanted and succeeded in fitting in and becoming part of a pack, this girl found herself to be even more square-pegged. Too thin-skinned. She felt like she simply didn’t belong.

But… this girl had a secret weapon! (Apart from dogs). This girl ran! (Well, ‘jogged’ may be a more accurate description but let’s not get all boggy with semantics). As she got older, this girl discovered how much she loved putting on her trainers and one foot in front of the other and forgetting about her over-thinky brain and her self-diagnosed square-peg syndrome. This girl wasn’t the fastest runner. She certainly wasn’t the strongest. But she loved to run. She loved to get out into nature away from the feelings of not fitting in and not belonging. Away from her insecurities and that head of hers that did that over-analyse-y thing. Away from trying too hard and thinking too much. As clichéd as it sounds, this girl loved running away from all of the stuff that made her feel like she couldn’t make friends and towards nothing but blue skies and green grass and soil and dirt beneath her feet. Running made this girl feel, albeit temporarily, like perhaps, just perhaps she could. Perhaps she could be part of something. Perhaps she could feel like she fitted in. Perhaps she could be part of the magic she felt when she laced up her trainers and huffed and puffed her way happily along paths and roads and riverbanks.

So running helped this girl. But it didn’t help her so much once she was away from those solitary riverbanks. Back in the world of people, she felt her square peg-ness take over again. She still felt like she didn’t belong. Perhaps, after 41 years, she just wasn’t going to be part of the pack. A lone wolf that would watch on the periphery of a crowd, wanting to join in but never feeling like she could. And she told herself that it was ok. She still smiled. She still ran. She still spent most of her time happily with her dog and the stories in her head. But she resigned herself to never feeling like she belonged. Never really fitting in anywhere. Still haunted by schoolyard insecurities and voices from the past. But then… then the magic happened.

One day, on a certain riverbank, on Tyne Green in Hexham, this girl saw something: A pack. A colourful, smiling group of people (and dogs!) running, jogging and walking their way along beneath the canopy of trees. A happy, friendly rainbow of runners who were being encouraged by smiling, hi-vis volunteers. This girl stopped. She watched. And right there, at that moment, she felt something spark inside her. This, the girl realised, was parkrun.

Perhaps it was the magical lure of parkrun that helped this girl do something she’d never felt able to do before: She would try to see if she could fit in. She would see if she could overcome the self-doubt that made her shy away from groups and transport her back to those unhappy times as a teenager at school. And so, one Saturday morning in November, this girl found herself approaching a group of people who were wearing hi-vis vests and standing around a picnic table on Tyne Green. She found herself ignoring the familiar, naggy voice in her head that told her she wouldn’t be liked, wouldn’t be wanted and wouldn’t fit in. She found herself tentatively dismantling the self-doubt and the insecurities that a decade or so of schoolyard bullying had built. And before she knew it, she was being welcomed by these friendly, smiling hi-vis-wearing volunteers, who cheered and clapped and smiled as she ran her first parkrun. Her first run with other people! Her first time feeling like maybe she could. Maybe this girl could be part of something quite beautiful.

Now this is supposed to be a short story. So there’s not really space to tell you of how this girl felt after that first parkrun. There’s not really time to explain how she crossed that finishing line and how that tiny spark she had felt began to flicker and grow stronger and start to burn away the doubts and insecurities she’d felt for so many, many years. Neither is there space to tell you about how something very special pulled her back the following week to parkrun. How she found herself wearing a hi-vis vest herself. How she became a marshal and cheered on all those lovely parkrunners and couldn’t quite believe that she was there, doing something that she never thought herself capable of. And, even if you had all day to read this story, there probably still wouldn’t be time to describe just how very, very important being part of parkrun is to this girl. This girl, who is now a Run Director! (Caveat: She hasn’t actually had a go at being a Run Director yet but hopes very much aforementioned doubts and wobbles won’t come back to haunt her when she eventually does don that white RD vest for the first time. This girl hopes the magic of parkrun will do its magic stuff on the day and give her the moral support she needs!) This girl now feels part of something. Thanks to the magic of parkrun, this girl feels a long, long way from those days of being pushed down flights of stairs or hit in the face or the receiver of cruel, schoolyard words.

It really is thanks to parkrun. But, what is it about parkrun? Quite simply, it’s the people. It’s that sea of rainbowed runners and hi-vis vests that sweep you up and support you along whatever path you may have been struggling along by yourself. It’s the friendships, that go much further and deeper and last longer than simply for a few hours on a Saturday morning. It’s feeling a shared something. Something that threads itself through your life and joins you with others who share that same feeling. Who each, in their own way, felt that same spark when they too discovered parkrun. It’s a family. It’s a sense of belonging. It’s feeling that you’ve come home.

This girl may still feel like a square peg at times. But then, maybe we all do on occasions. And the magic of parkrun is that we all come together and it doesn’t matter what shape peg we are.

Thanks to parkrun, and the Tyne Green parkrun family this girl finally realised she could fit in. She could belong.

Thanks to each and every one of you, this girl, finally, can.

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Lorna x

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