Festive Arrangements – 2019/20

If you want to know exactly how many days are left to go until Christmas, Robin will be more than happy to let you know, but it's near enough to confirm our arrangements so you can get planning.

  • Saturdays at 9am will continue as normal.
  • There WILL be an extra parkrun on Christmas Day at 9am. If you are planning on attending this run, please bear in mind that it is unlikely that the visitor centre will be open and at this stage we don't know whether all the usual gates will be open, including those to the Grange car park. Please allow a little extra time just in case.
  • There WILL NOT be a parkrun at the arboretum on New Year's Day. However, other local events may be choosing to put an additional run on. Start times may vary between events and as in previous years, parkrun HQ will allow you to log two parkruns on New Year's Day if you wish. Please ensure you travel safely to, between and from parkrun should you choose to take advantage of an additional run or two.

A full list of UK parkruns and whether or not they are planning to put on additional runs over the festive period can be found here: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/special-events/


Christmas 2018 and New Year 2019…

Christmas Day - Yes, we are on. 9am start as normal. Please remember that the visitor centre will be closed so toilets, cafe, warm space to spectate indoors will not be available.

New Years Day - No, there is no run taking place at the arboretum. A full list of events on both Christmas and New Years Day can be found at: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/special-events/ If you are going to try and do the double, this unofficial link might help: http://tailrun.uk/nyd/2019/uk/?fbclid=IwAR2gu083ix779OrfSYuoIjmpe80ArpfJE5StZ5qv98qocmMuFJLm3gegrRs


5th Anniversary Honours and Stats

So that's another parkrun year done - it doesn't seem like five minutes since we did this twelve months ago!

When we held our first parkrun at the arboretum, we had 55 runners and it took eleven months to break into three figures. Now, in our fifth year, the average attendance is 336 and we hit a record attendance of 431.







Some of our regular volunteers - all have helped our on 20 or more occasions


The core team







Christmas 2016 and New Year 2017.

The Walsall Arboretum parkrun event team are pleased to confirm that in line with previous years, we will be putting on an extra parkrun on Christmas Day at 9:00am. Runners attending should anticipate that the visitor centre, toilets and car park will all be closed. We will not be putting on an additional parkrun on New Year's Day.

If you are away for Christmas or if you are keen to take part in the traditional New Year's Day parkrun double (the only day of the year you can do this in the UK), a full list of events running on Christmas and New Year's Day can be found at http://www.parkrun.org.uk/christmas-compendium/

We will continue to run each Saturday in December as usual, including Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.


4th Anniversary Honours and Stats

In our fourth year of parkrun taking place at Walsall Arboretum, we staged 53 events, including Christmas Day. 2,492 unique runners have completed the 5km course - that's 14,287 individual runs. Of course, this couldn't have taken place without the support of 286 unique volunteers!

As at 6 March 2015, there are now 5,156 runners who have registered Walsall as their home parkrun, of which 1,510 registered since our third birthday. (Please don't all turn up at the same time!) The most number of parkrun attendees was on 3 October 2015 where 355 people crossed the line. The fewest number of parkrun attendees was on 26 December 2015, when 135 people took part.


Annual Points Competition

Men Women
1 Steven JULIAN 4168 1 Sophie ASH 4556
2 Steve James DARBY 3875 2 Ania GRUSZCZYNSKA 4094
3 Paul PLASTIQUE 3751 3 Michelle YOUNG 3826

Junior parkrunners

Men Women
Robert BEECH 3343 Cerys MCHUGH 2602


We couldn't put on a parkrun every week without your help. Outside the core team I'd like to acknowledge the contribution made by Ron Reynolds, Steve Law, Surinder Thind, Will Edler and Eva Hendon as the parkrunners and junior parkrunners who have volunteered the most times.
Then there's my core team - no matter what time you try to get down to the arboretum on a Saturday morning, Mike and Ursula Elwell are already there and have the course pretty much set up already.

The role of volunteer co-ordinator is done by Harshad Patel who encourages you good parkrunners to help out each week and fills the rota in.

Finally, to the Run Directors who have responsibility for the run each week as well as processing the results and so I'm very grateful to Anne Kelsall (who unfortunately couldn't be with us today), Ayaaz Tarajia (retired), Gary Jenkins, Pete Dimbleby and Sarah Tucker for their contribution to parkrun here in Walsall.

For those of you who are interested, here are some stats for the past twelve months.

Fastest Finishers:

Men Women
01/08/15 Dougie Musson 15:23 26/09/15 Katie Allen 17:59

Most First Finishes:

Men Women
1= Daniel Robinson 7 1 Jennifer Hitchcott 9
1= Kevin Loundes 7 2 Gemma Sidaway 6
1= Benjamin Boulter 7 3 Ania Gruszczynska 4

All Male First Finishers (in date order):

Daniel Robinson, Elliot Jones, Kevin Loundes, Benjamin Boulter, Gurmal Singh, Michael Morley, Martin Williams, Steve Thompson, Dougie Musson, Alex Parker, Aaron Brown, Chris Poulton, Thomas Beasley, Christopher Fullerton, James Jefferson, Ashley Crawford, Luke Andrew Davis, Robert Beech, Christopher Baxter, Luke Vine, David Waple, Shaun Barnsley, Richard Powell.

All Female First Finishers (in date order):

Joanne Kent, Tracy Alderson, Ania Gruszczynska, Hannah Helmore, Gemma Sidaway, Lucy Cambridge, Jennifer Hitchcott, Deborah Blakeman, Mary Senior, Katie Allen, Sarah Conway, Julie Delahaye-Slater, Autumn Howard, Penelope Jane Barber, Abigail Saker, Erin Roberts, Rebecca Brayer, Isher Mander, Jayne Rogers, Katie Dolan, Louise Booker, Jill McGee, Val Carter, Elizabeth Watters, Diane Watson, Tam Calder.

New Age Category Records:

The following age category records were broken in 2014/15:


Category Runner Time Age Grading On
JM10 James VAUGHAN 18:32 85.16% 06/06/15
JM15-17 Benjamin BOULTER 15:48 85.44% 31/10/15
SM20-24 Dougie MUSSON 15:23 84.18% 01/08/15
VM40-44 Michael HUNT 16:59 82.83% 04/07/15
VM55-59 Mike CADMAN 17:39 87.82% 29/08/15
VM65-69 Geoff FARMER 19:23 86.50% 01/08/15
VM70-74 Alexander DAVIDSON-ELLIOTT 24:05 77.37% 12/09/15
VM75-79 Alexander DAVIDSON-ELLIOTT 24:37 76.98% 25/12/15
VM80-84 David JORDAN 39:49 54.12% 31/10/15


Category Runner Time Age Grading On
SW20-24 Katie ALLEN 17:59 82.30% 26/09/15
VW35-39 Lynne Michelle HILL 19:08 78.66% 20/02/16
VW40-44 Diane WATSON 20:00 78.08% 09/01/16
VW55-59 Penelope Jane BARBER 19:52 91.11% 03/10/15
VW60-64 Joan CLARKE 22:04 86.71% 14/11/15
VW65-69 Diane EDGE 28:02 75.68% 21/11/15
VW70-74 Mary HOLLETT 39:09 58.79% 06/02/16
VW75-79 Greta ROBINSON 43:58 55.16% 17/10/15



(Age groupings not stated did not have the record broken in 2015/16. The full list is here: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/walsall/results/agecategoryrecords/ ).

Here's to a successful 5th year.

Regards, Chris


Getting the most out of Walsall Arboretum parkrun.

In the last month, we've had almost 100 people run at Walsall parkrun for the first time. I thought it might be an idea to put something together so everyone can enjoy their Saturday morning parkrun. Rather than re-invent the wheel I've *borrowed* the below from our friends at Oxford parkrun.

Happy running and see you down the Arbo on Saturday!

1. Remember your printed barcode

Without a printed barcode, we will not be able to give you a time, no exceptions.  We recommend the official parkrun barcode solutions. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept any barcodes on any mobile or other digital devices - Tom explains the reason why in a recent newsletter here: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/news/2016/01/21/weekly-newsletter-21st-january-2016/

2. It's a run, not a race

parkrun is open to everyone, no matter how fast you are. All runners are expected to be courteous to one another.

If you are a quick runner looking to pass, please ensure you do so safely and politely. By the same token, if you are a slower runner, or if you wish to run in a group, please keep to the left to allow space for faster runners to pass.

Whilst we have no problem with runners wearing headphones, please can you try and keep your music down to a level where you'll be able to hear both any warnings from the marshalls or any faster runners approaching.

3. Only cross the finish line once

When you cross the finish line, your time is captured by our volunteer timekeepers. Should you cross the line again (running in with a slower runner perhaps) this will upset the results.

4. Always take a finish token

When you've crossed the finish line, you must take a finish token. If you do not take a token, all runners after you will receive an inaccurate time for their run.

Once you have your finish token, take both it and your printed barcode to one of our volunteer barcode scanners.

5. Always give your finish token back

Even if you've forgotten your printer barcode, please return our finish token. They are waterproof, reliably scannable and guaranteed for five years.

When we lose one we have to replace it with a blank token and sticker which inevitably don't scan as well and wear out due to weather. Replacement original tokens cost 70p each.

6. Volunteer

parkrun is volunteer led. Without volunteers there is no parkrun. Please thank the marshalls on your way round.

Volunteering is extremely rewarding and very easy, full training is given for all roles and there are even roles you can complete and still run. You don't need to be scared of making a mistake as for all crucial roles we have two volunteers doing the same thing.

Finally, it's a great way of getting to know fellow parkrunners. You can check out our current volunteer rota here: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/walsall/futureroster/

7. Respect other park users

We do not have exclusive use of the park or it's paths. Please be polite to other park users.

8. Stay within arms reach of under 11s

Children under 11 must be within arms reach of a parent/guardian/designated adult at all times. This is a requirement of our insurance policy and is non-negotiable. We may remove the results of under 11s we find running without an adult.

If your under 11 wants to run by themselves, please check out junior parkrun.

9. Keep your dog on a short lead

You are welcome to run parkrun with a single dog. We ask that they are under firm control and on a short lead at all times. Please take extra care to avoid tripping other runners.

10. Smile!

Ron Reynolds is often on hand taking photos of your run. If you would prefer not to have your photo taken, please speak to the Run Director before the run.

11. Go to the cafe afterwards

The café in the visitor centre is within a few hundred meters of the start/finish line. We'd love to see you there and recommend the bacon sandwiches!

12. Check the results, find us on Facebook & Twitter

We aim to get your result to you on Saturday morning by email (and SMS if you set it up). Occasionally circumstances may mean they come out later. We are on Facebook as Walsall Arboretum parkrun and Twitter as @Walsallparkrun.

13. Milestones and more

parkrun and Tribesports provide free milestone t-shirts to parkrun in recognition of their achievements. As a junior, you can claim a t-shirt after 10 runs. Everyone can claim a t-shirt for reaching 50, 100, 250 and 500 runs. There is also a t-shirt available when you have volunteered 25 times.

parkrunners can also purchase a discounted FitBit device.

14. Donations

If you love parkrun, you can donate to us to help us cover the costs of keeping the event running smoothly. 85% of your donation will come directly to Walsall, with 15% going to the new event fund.


Christmas Day parkrun

One of your Christmas presents this year is an extra parkrun on Christmas Day at 9am.
The visitor centre (including the café) will be CLOSED. We understand the Grange Car Park will also be CLOSED, please plan your journey accordingly.
They will all be open again for our Boxing Day run.

Christmas Compendium – West Midlands version

The full Christmas Compendium ( http://www.parkrun.org.uk/christmas-compendium/ ) can be a little hard to see which local parkruns are putting on additional runs over the festive period, so I've reproduced the information below. I accept no responsibility if this information changes and I miss it. Even if another event is planning on putting on an additional event, circumstances may change resulting in cancellation, so it is recommended you double check on their event page before travelling. You may do one run on Christmas Day and two runs on New Year's Day

Last updated 19 December 2015.

Event Christmas Day New Year’s Day
Walsall Arboretum 9.00am No
Arrow Valley 10.00am No
Brueton 9.00am 9.00am
Cannon Hill No No
Conkers 9.00am 9.00am
Coventry 9.00am No
Evesham No No
Hanley 9.00am 10.00am
Hereford No No
Kingsbury Water No 10.30am
Leamington No 9.00am
Perry Hall No 10.30am
Shrewsbury No 10.00am
Telford No 10.30am
Wolverhampton No No
Worcester 9.00am 10.00am
Wyre Forest No No

Important Reminders

Most of the time, I really enjoy run directing – I love seeing anticipation of people waiting at the start line. Whether it’s people trying their hardest to be the first finisher, to reach a new PB, to have the opportunity to meet friends, make new friends or just complete the distance. It’s fair to say I have loved parkrun since the first run I did a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately today wasn’t a morning I enjoyed.

Every week at the run briefing, we remind participants that under 11s must be accompanied by an adult. We do not insist this is a parent, only that it is someone aged 18 or over who can run at the same pace as the child for the duration. All runners participate at their own risk and all parents retain responsibility for their children at all times. It is therefore disappointing to have received feedback from runners that there were under 11s on course that were unaccompanied, including one child in tears when their parent was nowhere to be seen. The on-duty run director is permitted by parkrun HQ to either not record or retrospectively delete the time of any junior runner who is unaccompanied. Clearly, we would rather not have to do this, however we will if necessary. (This is covered in the parkrun FAQs here: https://support.parkrun.com/hc/en-us/articles/200566273-Can-children-take-part- )

I also had a father approach me to say that their child had been pushed out of the way by a faster runner. Please remember we are a RUN not a RACE and regardless of how fast you are capable of running I do not expect to see or hear reports of anyone pushing another runner. I have advised the other run directors today that I am happy for them to either not record or retrospectively delete the time of any runner who is caught pushing another runner out of their way.

Parkrun is for everyone regardless of how good a runner you are. Most of the paths around the arboretum are wide enough to allow participants of all speeds to safely enjoy their run. In tighter areas, please can slower runners ensure they keep left and allow sufficient space for faster runners to pass. By the same token, it is for the faster runner to overtake safely.

Let’s have some consideration for each other and help keep Walsall Arboretum parkrun an event we can all enjoy.



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