New Year’s Day 2019

There will be a special parkrun event on January 1st 2020 at 8:30 at Upton House. Those wishing to complete a double can head to Bournemouth which starts at 10am.


Event #122 – 12th October 2019

Many thanks to Andy Wellington for this week's Run Report

Well that was a wet one. There were certainly more puddles than I have seen at a parkrun recently. I was running today and tried to avoid puddles to start with but gave up after the first corner and just splashed my way around the course. There were certainly a lot of muddy legs at the finish. As always it was great to see a good selection of first timers coming to try our event whether tourists or newcomers. We had visitors from Harrow, Seaton and Maidenhead today. I hope they all enjoyed their experience.


I never require any extra motivation to attend parkrun, but watching the inspiring Eliud Kipchoge attempt his under 2 hour marathon challenge before leaving my house might have been too motivating, as I went way too fast at the start. Predictably I paid the price 2k in. Eliud got his pacing right though as he was successful in his run.

It was only a week ago that the 15th anniversary of the first ever parkrun at Bushy Park took place. At that first event there were 13 runners and 5 volunteers. Last week there were about 300,000 participants at parkruns around the world. Not only that but the selection of athletes has changed over the years. At the start it was all about the runners. These days there are runners, joggers and walkers all getting involved. The inclusive nature of the parkrun of today has no doubt increased it's popularity.


A special mention must go to Claire Harvey who sat in the Education Centre on her own during parkrun, going through the spare barcode reels, marking up missing labels, to help the Core Team with ordering requirements. The Core Team has to ensure missing finish tokens are replaced and have adequate labels in stock to do so. This was quite a time consuming task for Claire, she missed seeing us running in the rain, but a vital task to ensure Upton House parkrun runs smoothly each week ensuring every participate is presented with a finish token.

This week 282 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 30 were first timers and 36 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 32 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 32 volunteers:

Andy WELLINGTON • Michele WHITEHURST • Keith MANN • Philip WHITEHURST • Colin SMITH • Hamish MACBETH • Kim DURDLE • Jo ALLAM • Claire HARVEY • Lucy HARVEY • Michael WESTON • Wendy BRIMICOMBE • Jules BOOTH • Philip BENHAM • Nicola BARKER • Lucy GLADDIS • Scott WINTHROP • Abigail BAKER • Aileen BARROW • Maria SMITH • Michelle RYALL • Nigel REDMAN • Neil WELLINGTON • Grace MORRISON • Kelly FRY • Roman FRY • Greg NEILSON • Paul JOBLING • Mary MELLOR • Ash JONES • Claire CARLIN • Paul CARLIN

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

The male record is held by Daniel MULRYAN who recorded a time of 15:45 on 29th December 2018 (event number 81).
The female record is held by Annabel GUMMOW who recorded a time of 17:53 on 17th August 2019 (event number 114).
The Age Grade course record is held by Caroline HORDER who recorded 92.14% (22:41) on 13th January 2018 (event number 32).

Upton House parkrun started on 3rd June 2017. Since then 7,664 participants have completed 35,938 parkruns covering a total distance of 179,690 km, including 6,624 new Personal Bests. A total of 658 individuals have volunteered 3,835 times.


Event #121 – 5th October 2019

Many thanks to Helen Rees from Eastleigh for this week's Run Report

Upton House parkrun #121

5 October 2019 – parkrun’s 15th birthday celebrations

“Birthdays, Bovines and Baked Goods”

by Helen Rees

Sometimes I do wonder what life (and Saturday morning in particular) was like before parkrun. These days, I’ve clearly abandoned my long-held “I don’t do dressing up or fancy dress” and “I don’t get up early at weekends” mantras, in favour of waking up early, visiting far-flung parkruns with friends, and selecting appropriate running attire for the occasion.

This week was a big milestone for me – “doing my Cow”. OK, OK, I’ll explain. In parkrun-speak, when you complete 100 different events [locations], you become a member of the ‘Cowell Club’ (named after Chris Cowell who was the first parkrunner to achieve it). Half of that number is 50 different events – and half a ‘Cowell’ is therefore a ‘Cow’. Living in Hampshire (Eastleigh is my home parkrun), there are plenty of parkrun events to choose from, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel further afield as well. But I had not yet run at Upton House – and with friends visiting for the Bournemouth Marathon Festival, it was the perfect choice to visit for my 50th different event. (In this case, my as yet unsuspecting partners-in-cow-crime would be parkrun friends Lesley Quinn (Woodley) and Helen Bower (Abingdon)).

And what a great choice it turned out to be. Plentiful parking, great facilities, even the weather decided to brighten up (compared to the gloomy forecast), and the local parkrunners and volunteer team some of the friendliest around. Not just the locals, actually, as the first person we saw when we got out of the car turned out to be Sue Freegard, visiting from South Africa, who had spotted my intentions to run at Upton House on the parkrun World tourists group on Facebook earlier in the week. Always lovely to make the world a slightly smaller place when you meet online friends in the real parkrun world!


At the start gathering area, there were lots of visitors from out of town – we spotted a team from Hayes & Harlington Runners, as well as several parkrunners ‘touristing’ from Reading, Swindon, Oxford, Reigate, Glasgow, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Kendal (Cumbria) and Dewsbury. (I can’t claim credit for remembering all these, this parkrun has a lovely whiteboard where visitors can sign in with their ‘home’ info - a great idea).

After a very helpful First Timers Briefing for all us visitors, and those new to parkrun entirely (well done those people!), we were treated to a very special run briefing by RD Alex, including the announcement of milestone runs (congratulations to all those celebrating 50, 100 or 250 parkruns! – and thanks Upton for the fabulous milestone capes) before the mic was taken over briefly by Helen Richards who gave a very moving emotional tribute to a young local parkrunner, Lucy, who has overcome major health challenges in recent times – while continuing to volunteer and be involved in the community of parkrun throughout her treatment – it was her birthday as well as parkrun’s own 15th birthday. Cue a particularly rousing rendition of ‘happy birthday’ (for Lucy and parkrun) sung by the whole gathering of parkrunners, volunteers and supporters.


So with the breathing warm-up covered in a very musical way, we made our way to the nearby start line. Taking in the woods within Upton Country Park, the trail paths are remarkably easy underfoot – even with the week of rain we’ve had, there were only a few muddy puddles to add to the fun. While Upton House is a 3-lap parkrun, it doesn’t feel like it really, as after the first larger lap which winds its way around a large part of the park, you turn through the woods and out into a second area, before completing the first loop again. I’m told that there are lovely views to be had, out across Holes Bay, however the misty skies had other ideas this week. But the snaking field of parkrunners in their brightly- coloured shirts (and in some cases, capes) was a lovely sight. All around the course there was lots of enthusiastic support, from marshals, families and other park users, and a good number of photographers too, who captured some fabulous images of the proceedings. Particular thanks to Danika Westwood who will forever be responsible for securing such lovely photographic evidence of my Fresian-inspired accessories, among a huge number of excellent photos of the whole field (of runners – not just cows!). All the pictures in this report are courtesy of Danika.

The finish area was full of enthusiastic supporters too – our little bovine trio had run the whole parkrun together and to finish together as well was really lovely. With our barcodes scanned, it was off to the café for well-earned refreshments – but not before we’d taken our turn with the customary selfie frame, chatted to other visiting tourists (hello team Hayes & Harlington!) and studied the Visitors Board to see who’d come from where.

Well-wishes abound for all those taking part in the Bournemouth Marathon, Half and 10k events throughout the weekend, my fellow co-cows Helen and Lesley and I made our way to the café, which is warm and welcoming, and offers a very generous 10% discount to parkrunners, with a fabulous range of delicious cakes, treats and drinks.


It was lovely to chat to other runners in this friendly relaxing space – including the guys doing the token sorting. That’s one of my favourite volunteering duties, it’s always great to see the innovative and creative ways this is done at different events (so kudos to Upton House for the clever ‘hairband hack’ – will definitely deploy that on our own board!). I also met Danielle, who confirmed this was only her 4th parkrun, having been encouraged by her family to run it in August. She’s loving the experience already, and had that wide-eyed awe of those who’ve completed multiple parkrun events – I reassured her it wasn’t that long ago that I was a new parkrunner, thinking those 50, 100 tshirts would be beyond my reach. And here I am having done 118 parkruns now, wearing cow ears (and a tail) to celebrate my 50 different events. I did warn her the parkrun addiction is very, very real.

Upton House was delightful – from the warm welcome, the beautiful course, the fantastic volunteers and the lovely setting, to the community spirit, the friendship and lovely parkrun stories, the true heart of parkrun. I highly recommend a visit there if you’re ever in Dorset.

I have been filming some of my tourism parkruns on a GoPro, with timelapse footage, so that potential parkrun participants can see the various courses and terrains before they visit and get some idea of the variety of events. Here’s my GoPro timelapse from Upton House this weekend (and all the others I have uploaded are on the same playlist – do have a look).

This week 402 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 115 were first timers and 63 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 53 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 42 volunteers:

Andy WELLINGTON • Michele WHITEHURST • Keith MANN • Philip WHITEHURST • Denise DAY • Kim DURDLE • Lucy HARVEY • Kirsty WESTON • Kevin DAY • Alun DAVIE • Helen REES • Christopher MILLER • Maureen LUCAS • Helen RICHARDS • Antony BROWN • Rachel GLADDIS • Jules BOOTH • Philip BENHAM • Danika WESTWOOD • Alex BARRETT • Lindsay VIVIAN • Tina CHERRETT • Keith FRANCIS • Jude FRANCIS • Daniel SALMON • Jack LLOYD • Lucy GLADDIS • Scott WINTHROP • Katy ASTLE • Aileen BARROW • Hilary LOVELESS • Sarah LANHAM • Michelle RYALL • Paul MAYWOOD • Nigel REDMAN • Helen REDMAN • Sandra THORPE • Roman FRY • Jayme BENHAM • Jack YEOMAN • Ash JONES • Elaine FAIRCLOUGH

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

The male record is held by Daniel MULRYAN who recorded a time of 15:45 on 29th December 2018 (event number 81).
The female record is held by Annabel GUMMOW who recorded a time of 17:53 on 17th August 2019 (event number 114).
The Age Grade course record is held by Caroline HORDER who recorded 92.14% (22:41) on 13th January 2018 (event number 32).

Upton House parkrun started on 3rd June 2017. Since then 7,634 participants have completed 35,656 parkruns covering a total distance of 178,280 km, including 6,588 new Personal Bests. A total of 654 individuals have volunteered 3,803 times.


Event #120 – 28th September 2019

Thanks to Damian Baker from Daventry for this weeks run report:

A perhaps surprisingly dry and pleasant morning was the start to Upton House’s 120th parkrun and my first visit here.

Having arrived into Poole last night and feeling the strong winds and trying to dodge the rain showers it was quite a surprise to wake up to weather nothing like those forecast the day before.  No doubt the parkrun spirits were looking after us today!


Upton House has the honour of being one of just three parkruns in the UK that start with the letter “U” and so it is likely that some of the 26 first time tourists, perhaps budding alphabeteers, may have been here for that reason.  The white board near the start recorded tourists from Devises, Nottingham, Lydney and Bristol. There were also 2 brand new to parkrun, Jamie STURGESS and Rob HAYWOOD. We hope you all enjoyed your visit, I know that I did!

Soon there were 350 of us here, listening to the welcome briefing from today’s Run Director Denise DAY and then a short walk off to the start.


The event would not however have been possible though without 32 wonderful volunteers:  Aileen BARROW, Damian BAKER, Philip BENHAM, Troy BENNETTON, Jules BOOTH, Andrew BULLARD, Jenny CAMPBELL TRAYFORD, Claire CARLIN, Paul CARLIN, Michelle DAVIES, Denise DAY, Kevin DAY, Kim DURDLE, Michael FLECK, Tiffany FREKE, Lucy GLADDIS, Ash JONES, Maureen LUCAS, Keith MANN, Daniel MASON, Barry MILLER, Christopher MILLER, Karen O'SHEA, Neil O'SHEA, Matthew REEVES, Michelle RYALL, Daniel SALMON, Jonathan STIBY, Penny SUMMERS, Neil WELLINGTON, Andy WELLINGTON and Janette WITHERS.

Thank-you to you all and if you are reading this and want to get involved in future weeks then all details can be found at  There many different roles to choose from.

Conditions were almost perfect today with just a few puddles at the bottom of the ‘big lap’ to navigate and a nice temperature which if anything was bordering on toasty out in the open upwards section but with 60 personal bests today it seems to have been appreciated.  Three of those PBs went to 50% of today’s six septuagenarian parkrunners - Lesley CHAPLIN, Duncan BRIGGS and Patrick MCIVER; Patrick having set a new best on each of his 4 visits.

First male finisher was Luke DE-BENEDICTIS in a solid time of 18:08 and first female finisher was Lucy BURROWS in a time of 21:23.  Top age grade performance was Stephen HOGARTH with 80.57% (running impressively under 20 minutes in the VM60-64 category). First junior finisher was Archie WEEDON.

Congratulations to all of the above but also to everyone who came along and completed the course today.

Full results can be found at

Today there were a couple of birthdays announced at the start but just one official parkrun milestone was achieved and that was junior Leo MORRIS completing his 10th parkrun (all at Upton House).   Also worth a mention was Paul VINEY who completed his 350th parkrun and in a new personal best time for this course.   Well done to you both. 


I personally finished the morning with a tasty coffee from the tea room before saying my farewells to Upton House parkrun and those I had a chance to chat too throughout what had been a very enjoyable morning.  It has been so much more than just a parkrun with a rare initial letter, it was an interesting course with a warmth from runners and volunteers alike to a new visitor. Thank-you!!

Damian BAKER, a tourist from Daventry, signing off.


Additional stats - This week 350 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 28 were first timers and 60 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 37 different clubs took part.


The male record is held by Daniel MULRYAN who recorded a time of 15:45 on 29th December 2018 (event number 81).
The female record is held by Annabel GUMMOW who recorded a time of 17:53 on 17th August 2019 (event number 114).
The Age Grade course record is held by Caroline HORDER who recorded 92.14% (22:41) on 13th January 2018 (event number 32).


Upton House parkrun started on 3rd June 2017. Since then 7,519 participants have completed 35,254 parkruns covering a total distance of 176,270 km, including 6,525 new Personal Bests. A total of 644 individuals have volunteered 3,761 times.



Event #119 – 21st September 2019

Many thanks to regular runner and volunteer, Hugh Gurney, for penning this week's run novel.

There is a Zen Koan that states “Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water”. I believe this to mean that with enlightenment you find satisfaction and pleasure in small, mundane tasks. You realise that every task has meaning and contributes to your peace of mind.

One of the ways you might begin to find enlightenment is by volunteering at parkrun. Each role brings its own satisfaction and contributes to the joy that you experience at parkrun. In barcode scanning there is the joy of hearing the scanner beeping over and over and over and over and over again. There is a joy of finding the right distance to hold the scanner from the barcodes; or a potential frustration to the ego when a barcode that is too old and crumpled to scan means sending the runner to get their details manually recorded.

In the little read Zen and the Art of Timekeeping book, timekeepers are instructed to constantly switch their attention between approaching runners and an imaginary finish line drawn in front of them on the ground. Their meditation is to stay in the present, never straying into the future by predicting when they think someone has crossed the line but witnessing the exact moment and simultaneously clicking the stopwatch’s lap button.

For the marshals the meditation is achieved through the repeating of a mantra like “Well done”, “Keeping going”, “Not far now” or for a venerated marshal like Keith Mann something more complex like “Do you want spraying?”. Likewise the Funnel Manager repeats their cry of “Don’t stop once you’re across the line” over and over, stopping only occasionally to chat with timekeepers in the moments when no-one is approaching the finish.

Further down the funnel the Finish Token crew are unconsciously counting in tens as they hand tokens to each runner before stepping aside to allow the next member of their little team to begin their own count. The trio take it in turns to step in, dish tokens then step away and collect their next batch of ten.


Tailwalkers undertake a walking meditation. Carefully creeping along behind the final runner-walker they find themselves able to enjoy the natural surroundings of Upton House Country Park but always remaining alert to a slowing down or speeding up in the pace ahead.

Some tasks like Run Director, Volunteer Co-ordinator or Results Processor are given only to the masterful Core Team. They have been through the initiation of training, swearing solemn oaths to uphold the policies and procedures of the greater parkrun organisation. They have learned the art of non-attachment and are equally adept at replying politely to emails from demanding parkrunners, or diplomatically dealing with members of the public driving mobility scooters towards the start line at 9am.

For those helping with Pre-Event Setup or Post-Event Closedown it may appear they are witnessing the birth or death of each week’s parkrun but it is just a step in the circle of parkrun life. Next week new souls will be reincarnated into many of the volunteer roles yet some will feel a sense of déjà vu. Some have spoken of an eerie familiarity to their task as if they’d performed it in some other time or place. Maybe some have been as far afield as Poole, Bournemouth or even the fabled Valley of the Moors.


For the one delivering the First Timer Briefing there are few props to rely on other than a map of the course. Instead they allow their enthusiasm and love of parkrun to shine through as they welcome Visitors and First Timers to each parkrun.

In searching for enlightenment we begin to question whether the world is real or an illusion. Do we experience the world, or are we experiencing our thoughts of the world as we believe it to be?  Without a photographer to capture the moments, each instant would fade from our memory and then would we be sure it actually took place? Even with photos can we ever know whether parkrun is an illusion or real?

Our list of volunteer roles is coming to an end but the Run Report writers deserve a mention. There are those who like to tell how they came to be a parkrunner and how it has changed their life. Some like to describe the course in all its gloried details so that others may relive the ups and downs, twists and turns where they run every Saturday. Once in a while there will be a writer who wedges their tongue firmly in their cheek and taxes the cerebral cortex by writing a long flowing piece of about 1,500 words. Maybe one of those will be published soon.

But it is the best kept secret of parkrun that the best volunteering job is Token Sorting. Well, apart from being Keith Mann with his giant foam hand, fancy dress and water spraying that is. With token sorting, not only do you still get to run and not have to wear high-viz, but it is mindfulness through action.

It is taking the jumbled chaotic mess of 350+ little white plastic tokens and restoring them to order ready for the next week. It is a task that appeals to the control freak or compulsive urge to tidy that befalls all of us once in a while. It is the sort of task that daunts the uninitiated but to those who have tried it, it can become a lifelong obsession. It is the task that many love to do but for which few are chosen. Last week, my friend Kay and I were lucky enough to be the chosen ones.


Faced with a mass of tokens the temptation is to go sequentially – digging through to find 001 then 002 then 003 etc. But Kay and I took a different approach that began slowly, only paying off later. From the large pot of tokens, we picked up each token, turned it, examined it, revered it and then placed it on the table near tokens with a similar prefix.  Gradually small piles grew into a pattern of rows and columns upon the table. There was a beauty to this that could so easily have been missed. It took just ten minutes to complete this initial worship of all the tokens. And then each pile was picked up and ordered from 1-10, 11-20 etc, etc. We were fortunate to have no missing tokens and therefore the sequence was complete. The unity of the token collection is wholly divine. No parkrunner should ever risk the wrath of the gods by taking one home.

We sorted in silence with a laser focused concentration while others around us chattered and enjoyed their lattes. There was but one moment when the silence was broken. Upon finding the 001 token I showed it to Kay and let her hold it for a moment. It was a moment of self-honesty and acceptance for her that she would probably never get to hold it again. I told her that to touch the 001 token would bring her good luck for the rest of the day. Who knows maybe that luck will carry over to a PB next week.

For so many runners a PB is enough to overwhelm, bringing tears of joy and social media postings, or even boastings looking for acclaim when the ego is too strong.  Today 57 runners achieved a PB and for Jonathan Hartwell (2 second PB), Anthony Baker (13s), Bettina F Church (32s), Joanne Cleall (11s), Nicola Hall (16s), Matty Bishop (7s), Trevor Purser (3s), Tim Yorke (35s), Darryll Brewer (41s), Sarah-Louise Webb (21s), Hannah Edwards (2min04), Matthew Reeves (34s), Bob Henshaw (1s), Chris Barnett (7s), Berengere Pawley (51s), Koki Yamanouchi (1min23) the pull of Upton House parkrun is strong as they achieved theirs having been here at least 10 times before. The achievement may be fleeting but cherish it forever. Or at least until your next parkrun.

It is said the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. For parkrunners the journey to the club t-shirts begins with attending a first parkrun. Today we welcomed 55 First Timers while Michael Scandrett completed his journey to the 250-club, Nick Willis to the 100-club, Mark Wellbeloved / Melissa Huxter / Sandra Webb / Darryll Brewer to the 50-club and Molly Lockyer to the Junior10-club. I’ve found the t-shirts are best enjoyed when they celebrate regular attendance over years rather than being a goal to acquire another material possession.

Today the chance to volunteer to find enlightenment was taken by Ian Edwards, Hugh Gurney, Andy Wellington, Keith Mann, Denise Day, Kirsty Weston, Kevin Day, Christopher Miller, Donald Harper, Helen Richards, Michael Weston, Wendy Brimicombe, Troy Bennetton, Philip Benham, Martin Simmons, Ian Bandy, Matthew Reeves, Daniel Salmon, Lucy Gladdis, Scott Winthrop, Hayley Dunford, Katie Dunford, Nigel Redman, Neil Wellington, Roman Fry, Les Boniface, Brooke Bennetton, Jack Yeoman, Mary Mellor, Claire Carlin, Paul Carlin.   Maybe one day you will too?

You may recall about 1,500 words or so ago I offered up the Zen Koan about chopping wood and carrying water. You have probably heard others like “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” or “If a tree falls in a wood and no-one hears it, does it make a sound?”   I leave you now with one to ponder and meditate upon for a while.  “If a parkrun has no volunteers, is it still a parkrun?

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