The times they are a-changing

Last weekend was my 5th parkrun birthday as I first came to parkrun here at Upton Court on 21st June 2104.  I knew as I walked back over the park at the end of the run that I was hooked and 173 runs later I still love it.  In the meantime I have run at about 40 other parkruns as far apart as West Cork, Scotland and France and am nearing completion of my parkrun alphabet.  Clearly this malarkey is something of an obsession for me, as my family frequently remind me, but there are worse things to obsess about.

Excuse my self-indulgent reminiscing about my parkrun history but it got me thinking about the changes I have observed since June 2014.   The most obvious is the number of people who come along to Upton Court each Saturday morning. On 21/06/14 there were 75 runners which was a fairly typical number at the time. At least half of the people running that day are still UCp regulars so if repeat-visits is anything to go by I’m not the only one who is hooked.  Five years on our numbers are more like 175. As our numbers steadily rise it is harder to know everyone by name but I hope the friendliness is unchanged for first-timers, visitors and regulars alike.

Looking more broadly, a big change parkrun has seen over the time is its growth nationally and internationally.  If you want to see how the number of events and participants has grown over the years see https://www.parkrun.org.uk/results/historicalchart/ .  In order to support this growth parkrun has undoubtedly become commercial but, in my opinion, this has not impacted the free, local, volunteer vibe which I experience wherever I go for my weekly parkrun.

And finally back to a local change.  In recent months, the Run Directors (RD) have written run reports less frequently than 5 years ago – a point of pride for UCp in its earlier days. Most parkruns don’t bother! The problem for us as RD’s is that it is difficult to say something fresh when you have written many reports before.  So if you fancy writing a report one week about anything parkrun related we would love to hear from you.

And so to this week’s news:  188 runners, lured by the sunny morning, the free run and for one week only free food from parkrun’s commercial partner Co-op.  Thanks to Jack and his colleagues for coming along and distributing the goodies.

As usual a big thanks to all our volunteers. I have a feeling I forgot to give you the opportunity to give them a round of applause on the start line, so feel free to do it yourself now.   There were 15 PB’s with the most notable being Sreeram Thiagarajan who clocked 29:33 on his 80th Upton Court run.   We had nine people completely new to parkrun so welcome to Ewelina, Nikki, Emma, Natasya, Matthew, Anl, Rajesh, Venkat and Laksmi.  I hope in five years time you might look back with fondness on what parkrun has brought to your lives.   At the other end of the spectrum Bob Hardman ran his 369th run.  Bob is a real UCp stalwart almost always being around early for setting up and  setting down after the event.  Just looking at Bob’s stats I reckon he must have run over 75 different events – who’s the obsessive now!

APTOTW goes to Duncan Gibson who ran 28:45 which was bang on the average run time.

I am away in Glasgow next weekend.  You never know I might find myself a parkrun there too!

Here’s to the next five years. Some things may be a-changing but the best of parkun remains the same.

See you again soon.

Jim

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT – Different Start/Finish position this Saturday 8th June

Please note that due to a rugby tournament taking place at Slough Rugby Club the start and finish position of our parkrun will move up to the opposite corner of the park to normal.  This Saturday it will be near the main park entrance, next to the large car park on Upton Court Road (Sat nav SL3 7LU).

Do not drive down the lane to the Rugby Club.  If you do, you will be charged an entrance fee by the Rugby Club.  And as the lane is narrow, it will be very difficult to turn around once you are on it.

This means that the usual indoor facilities and refreshments will not be available.  The toilets at the Rugby Club may be available to use, but they are a 5 minute jog across the park.

 

Sunny 1 June 2019 Parkrun – event number 334

Many thanks to Louisa from the core team at Henley for the parkrun report below.
A reminder re next weeks parkrun, 8 June 2019. The run will start and finish from the top car park on Upton Court Road. This is due to an event at the RFC. Please park at this top car park. Thanks. Alison
On a gorgeous sunny morning 4 of the Henley parkrun core team continued our enforced tourism (Henley’s cancelled due to a dangerous tree on the course) by travelling to Upton Court for a “parky” parkrun in sight of Her Maj’s Berkshire home.
I call it a “parky” parkrun as it is very much a run round a park (surprising how many aren’t!) - and what a lovely parkrun it is! Great views - not just of Liz’s pad but across the grass, some changes of surface to keep it interesting and with two laps you know just where the finish is and when to sprint.
And sprint finish is exactly what the 35 PB achievers did - including two of us Henley tourists who took 40+ seconds off our previous bests :) 189 people in total ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 40 were first timers, including 9 for whom it was their first parkrun.  We hope you get the bug and keep coming back!

The event was made possible by 13 volunteers:

Alison BROWNHILL • Avtar SINGH • Bob HARDMAN • John SHAW • Julian BORRILL • Matt SMITH • James BATES • Lisa EUDEN • James MIDDLETON • Abdur REHMAN • Jinni COUTINHO • Lisa DOIDGE • Nidhi VAIDYANATH

It was a nice day today to be standing out marshalling but parkrun volunteers do it all year round, rain, shine or sleeting hail and I’m always so grateful for their encouragement, special thanks to the marshal at the first lap extension point who was really dishing out the positive vibes.

Thanks to all at Upton for a great run, welcoming atmosphere and my PB!!

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

The male record is held by Glenn HUGHES who recorded a scary time of 15:28 on 30th August 2014 (event number 89).
The female record is held by Jill COLLETT who recorded a time of 18:09 on 18th August 2018 (event number 294).
The Age Grade course record is held by Maureen DOWLING who recorded 87.58% (20:24) on 25th August 2018 (event number 295).

Upton Court parkrun started on 24th November 2012. Since then 6,291 participants have completed 33,704 parkruns covering a total distance of 168,520 km, including 5,162 new Personal Bests. A total of 440 individuals have volunteered 3,557 times.

 

Sunny Easter Park Run – 20th April 2019

It was a glorious day for a Park Run - I hope you all enjoyed running in the sun.

A big thank you to all the volunteers, it was great to have such a big team of helpers:

Alison BROWNHILL • Christopher HUNT • Colin John ADAMS • Bronwen PULLIN • Michael Terence BALLARD • Ben BLAZQUEZ • Matt SMITH • James BATES • Daisy DIGGENS • Louise DIGGENS • Jim HAYES • Caren HUNT • Elizabeth HUNT • Jim HAFFEY • Emily EUDEN • Lisa EUDEN • James MIDDLETON • Kam ATWAL • Nidhi VAIDYANATH • Aman JOHAL • Jordan HOWLETT.

Daisy Diggens, who was handing out tokens, and her sister made a special effort and had prepared some Well Done signs for the runners - Thank you.

34 recorded new Personal Bests today, but a special mention to Jim Hayes, one of our Run Directors, who achieved a PB today of 21:52!

Milestones achieved: Sarah Holland did her 50th parkrun - well done. Apologies if I have missed any others.

We welcomed alot of tourists today- I hope you all enjoyed yourself and we will see you again.

This week 181 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 35 were first timers. Representatives of 18 different clubs took part.

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

The male record is held by Glenn HUGHES who recorded a time of 15:28 on 30th August 2014 (event number 89).
The female record is held by Jill COLLETT who recorded a time of 18:09 on 18th August 2018 (event number 294).
The Age Grade course record is held by Maureen DOWLING who recorded 87.58% (20:24) on 25th August 2018 (event number 295).

Upton Court parkrun started on 24th November 2012. Since then 6,089 participants have completed 32,704 parkruns covering a total distance of 163,520 km, including 5,005 new Personal Bests. A total of 435 individuals have volunteered 3,474 times.

 

Run Report # 324 16th March 2019. Windy!

The windy weather didn't put people off  - it was great to have over 160 runners!

Talking to runners it seemed that you were helped up the hill only to be met by a force against you as you battled across the top of the field - well done to all of you!

A big thank you to the volunteers - the wind chill factor was more than we had expected!

Alison BROWNHILL • Bob HARDMAN • Michael Terence BALLARD • James BATES • Sam HELSBY • Kim REES • Jo GODSMARK • Andy SCRUTON • Yvonne DAVIES • Isabelle SCRUTON • Emily EUDEN • Lisa EUDEN • James MIDDLETON • Lisa DOIDGE • Nidhi VAIDYANATH • Aman JOHAL

We are very grateful to the Duke of Edinburgh volunteers. In the coming weeks the roster is not that full - please do take a look and either email us, or write your name on the roster.

Well done to Peter Thomas on his 50th park run.

I feel alot more comfortable as run director now I am not worrying about cars leaving the car park whilst people still running - so thank you to those of you using the main Upton Court car park.

This week 161 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 23 were first timers and 14 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 18 different clubs took part.

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

The male record is held by Glenn HUGHES who recorded a time of 15:28 on 30th August 2014 (event number 89).
The female record is held by Jill COLLETT who recorded a time of 18:09 on 18th August 2018 (event number 294).
The Age Grade course record is held by Maureen DOWLING who recorded 87.58% (20:24) on 25th August 2018 (event number 295).

Upton Court parkrun started on 24th November 2012. Since then 5,886 participants have completed 31,724 parkruns covering a total distance of 158,620 km, including 4,842 new Personal Bests. A total of 424 individuals have volunteered 3,385 times.

 

Cold but Sunny

Upton Court parkrun
Event number 318
2nd February 2019

A huge thank you to Matt Smith for preparing the course so our park run could go ahead! This involved clearing the paths on Friday and being up early on Saturday to put down more salt.

Also thank you to the volunteers for braving the cold - I know very tough for the timers.

Alison BROWNHILL • Dave THOMAS • Michael Terence BALLARD • Ben BLAZQUEZ • Matt SMITH • James BATES • Neill HARPER • Anne MOGRABY • Sam HELSBY • Jim HAYES • Ann CHANDLER • Sue HAYES • Claire BLAZQUEZ • Emily EUDEN • Lisa EUDEN • James MIDDLETON • Lisa DOIDGE • Nidhi VAIDYANATH • Aman JOHAL

This week 195 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 55 were first timers and 10 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 35 different clubs took part.

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

It was great to have more runners than usual for a winters day, this was due to most of the local park runs being cancelled. So we had quite a few parkrun tourists, including Nick Wealleans who came all the way down form Leeds on the train! We also had some people brand new to parkrun, we hope to see you again.

Well done to Bryony for reaching the 350 mark!

The male record is held by Glenn HUGHES who recorded a time of 15:28 on 30th August 2014 (event number 89).
The female record is held by Jill COLLETT who recorded a time of 18:09 on 18th August 2018 (event number 294).
The Age Grade course record is held by Maureen DOWLING who recorded 87.58% (20:24) on 25th August 2018 (event number 295).

Upton Court parkrun started on 24th November 2012. Since then 5,674 participants have completed 30,626 parkruns covering a total distance of 153,130 km, including 4,711 new Personal Bests. A total of 415 individuals have volunteered 3,294 times.

See you next week!

Alison

 

Upton Court parkrun # 312 – 29/12/2018

It was great to see so many of you enjoying our parkrun after the Christmas festivities.

Thank you to all the volunteers:

James BATES, Alison BROWNHILL, Matilda COOKSEY, Harbhajan DHILLON, Lisa DOIDGE, Emily EUDEN, Lisa EUDEN, Dawn FUNNELL, Bob HARDMAN, Robert Steven NUTTER, Juanita SEVERSON, Gary SEVERSON, Nidhi VAIDYANATH, Stuart WILLIAMS

We welcome the support of the Duke of Edinburgh volunteers.

This week we were joined by seven runners from Ware Joggers. They were here to support John Butcher claim the course record for the age category VM 85 - 89! Congratulations. John ran 35:22.

Also we welcomed Brian Collins and his wife - Brian completed his 50th park run in 2018.

Happy New Year

Alison

 

A brief report – UCp #310

Just a short report this week. Like many of you I am busy at the moment buying presents, writing cards, making preparations for a houseful over Christmas and going out drinking, eating and celebrating.

Sue is looking over my shoulder and has cast significant doubt over all but the last of my various alleged activities!

It seems more of you were put off by the wet weather a couple of weeks ago when we had less than 100 finishers than the cold easterly breeze on Saturday when 127 of you completed the course.  But it was definitely a morning to be well wrapped up.
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It was also notable how many of you banded into small groups to try and get some shelter by tucking behind another runner  

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Special mention to Petra Hale who joined the red t-shirt club by clocking up her 50th parkrun and to Ewan Montgomery who completed his 100th run.

APTOTW goes to Christine Fox with her pleasing palindromic 42:24.

Just a reminder that over the festive period we will hold parkruns each Saturday morning at 9am as usual with an additional run on New Year's Day at 10:30am.

Jim

 
And finally the stats
Upton Court parkrun Event number 310 - 15th December 2018
This week 127 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 16 were first timers and 10 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 16 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 16 volunteers:

Neil Graham ANDERSON • Paul KEELER • Eileen Lily ANDERSON • Sacha BRECH • Alison BRECH • Jim HAYES • Caren HUNT • Alison BOYLE • Christopher BOYLE • Emily EUDEN • Lisa EUDEN • James MIDDLETON • Matilda COOKSEY • Alyce EUDEN • Nidhi VAIDYANATH • Sofia HEALEY

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

The male record is held by Glenn HUGHES who recorded a time of 15:28 on 30th August 2014 (event number 89).
The female record is held by Jill COLLETT who recorded a time of 18:09 on 18th August 2018 (event number 294).
The Age Grade course record is held by Maureen DOWLING who recorded 87.58% (20:24) on 25th August 2018 (event number 295).

Upton Court parkrun started on 24th November 2012. Since then 5,274 participants have completed 28,960 parkruns covering a total distance of 144,800 km, including 4,558 new Personal Bests. A total of 395 individuals have volunteered 3,164 times.

 

Running away

Each year on the first weekend of November we have to cancel Upton Court parkrun as the park is being readied for the bonfire night fireworks. I am always interested to see the people who take this as an opportunity for a bit of parkrun tourism. This year, amongst our regulars I see some ventured just up the road to Black Park, others to Bedfont, Homewood, Frimley, Wendover Woods and a couple of geeks* to Queen Elizabeth just up the A3 from Portsmouth. On the other side of this parkrun coin, are the locals who know and love UCp and don’t feel the need to go elsewhere to pick up different letters of the alphabet, or all the parkruns inside the M25, or all six letter English parkruns south of Hadrian's Wall**. One notable example of this would be Avtar Mookar who has 101 parkruns to his name, every single one of which has been at Upton Court. Well done Avtar for your commitment and loyalty to UCp.

The reason I harp back to a couple of weeks ago was that it was another of those weeks when parkrun made national headlines. Like us, Billericay parkrun in Essex was also cancelled for bonfire night. Some people will know about Billericay from the BBC comedy Gavin & Stacey about the long distance relationship between Essex boy Gavin and South Wales girl Stacey from Barry Island. So Billericay parkrun took around 30 runners to Barry to celebrate the unlikely link between the two towns. For more details see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46063496 . It made me think about which parkrun might be a suitable twin for Upton Court. Any bright ideas?

Enough of the idle ramblings and on to the hard news of the week – Brexit aside. When I woke up and looked out at a rather dull morning I made my usual estimate about the number of people we could expect and guessed 130. So to end up with 186 finishers was a great surprise. We had many visitors this morning – a few collecting the letter ‘U’ in their alphabet of parkruns, some as part of of an Instagram group who picked us as a central point to meet up and others from an extended family group who also chose UCp as their meeting point this morning. If you were visiting, wherever you came from and whatever your reason you were most welcome and we hope you enjoyed yourselves.

We had five people brand new to parkrun, so a big welcome to Naseem, Tigran, Krishnam, Troy and Kashmir. My mum taught me that talking about a lady’s age is rude but she didn’t say anything about their age category so I will mention that Kashmir ran in the veteran women age 70-74 category. Proof that parkrun really is for everyone. There were 23 personal bests, notable amongst which was Alison Brech who knocked 17secs off her previous best on her 99th run. Watch out Brech-men, she’s after you. This week rather than picking a winner of the APTOTW , I’m going for an Aesthetically Pleasing Age-Graded Score of the Week with Paul Cooksey picking up the prize with a perfectly rounded 50%. In the milestones department congratultions go to Avtar Singh Bhogal for his 50th run and Amie Browne for clocking up her 150th.

I’m afraid there are no pictures this week as no-one came forward to volunteer as photographer. I think it’s a shame we have now had a number of weeks without pictures, so if you are handy with a camera why not try your hand at a bit of sports photography.

And finally here is next week’s news. We will be celebrating our sixth birthday next Saturday so we hope to see another big crowd. As has become our custom for the anniversary weekend, we will run the course in reverse direction. That means we will have all our runners gathered for the start in our normal finish area alongside the Rugby Club. So, there will be even less car park space than usual. So PLEASE park in the top car park (which is free) and jog/walk across from there. We will also have a brief gathering in the club-house before starting the run to say a few thank you’s, so if you could make an effort to arrive a few minutes early that would be most appreciated. To reward you for good parking and timekeeping, I am told there will be birthday cake, as well as Jo’s usual offerings of tea, coffee, bacon sandwiches alongside the stimulating company. What more could your Saturday morning offer?

I am away next weekend so will miss the party but look forward to seeing you all soon.

Jim

* in case you hadn't guessed the geeks were Sue and I but we did have the excuse that we were visiting family in Pompey.
** I think there might be 32 of them and I have only run 3 of them.

 

Sunny Parkrun – Saturday 10 November

It was a fabulous sunny early morning, before the rain came later! I am glad we were all out enjoying the sun.

Thank you to the volunteers and for all of you who responded to my plea for helpers:

Alison BROWNHILL • Gemma KILBURN • Sarah BLANSHARD • Michael Terence BALLARD • Liam MEDLEY • Matt SMITH • Rob ALBERY • David SANDERS • Jasbir HAYER • Jim HAYES • Victoria GIBSON • Lisa EUDEN • Sreeram THIAGARAJAN • Priya DURAIRAJAN • Kam ATWAL

A warm welcome to Liam Medley who visited Upton Court for the first time as volunteer, having moved down from Carlisle. We look forward to him coming back from injury and running with us.

We are short of volunteers over the coming week, so please email us at uptoncourthelpers@parkrun.com or add your name to the roster in the club house.

Congratulations to the milestone achievers of this week - particular mention to Mick Driver who ran his 200th parkrun, and wore a great 200 t shirt.

Please see the stats for this week's Upton Court parkrun:
This week 149 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 22 were first timers and 14 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 13 different clubs took part.
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Upton Court parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Glenn HUGHES who recorded a time of 15:28 on 30th August 2014 (event number 89).
The female record is held by Jill COLLETT who recorded a time of 18:09 on 18th August 2018 (event number 294).
The Age Grade course record is held by Maureen DOWLING who recorded 87.58% (20:24) on 25th August 2018 (event number 295).
Upton Court parkrun started on 24th November 2012. Since then 5,149 participants have completed 28,243 parkruns covering a total distance of 141,215 km, including 4,498 new Personal Bests.

A reminder that on Saturday 24 November it our 6th Birthday. As in previous years the run will be in the opposite direction.

See you all next week.

Alison

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