Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave

rainbow tees

It's been 19 weeks since the last parkrun was run/walked/jogged on 14th March 2020 - it seems such a long time ago. Although a lot of people have managed to continue to get out and run or walk throughout lockdown, one of the big things that I miss about parkrun not being on is the social element, the chance to see old and new friends and catch up with their week, perhaps over a coffee after parkrun. And so for the last 7 weeks we came up with an initiative that, whilst it doesn't enable us to chat over a cup of coffee, enabled us to see the faces of our fellow parkrunners and perhaps hear a few words about where they went out to walk or run.

The idea was simple. Each week one of the colours of the rainbow was selected with the instruction to go out - or stay in - and do some exercise wearing something in that colour. Then to take a photo of it, and post it on the Walthamstow parkrun facebook page. And so we could wave at each other through pictures, stay in touch with the parkrun family and perhaps be motivated to do some exercise. But why a rainbow? In its most literal terms, a rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. But it is also a symbol of hope, and one that was adopted at the start of the Coronavirus crisis, with children drawing pictures of rainbows that were proudly displayed in windows, and rainbows being drawn on pavements, fences and walls not just to symbolise hope but also to thank the NHS workers and other keyworkers who kept things going whilst people were 'locked down' in their own homes. And the rainbow flag is also used as the symbol of gay pride or LGBTQ+ so it also seemed fitting in June as our Pride parkrun was also cancelled. There are many myths surrounding rainbows, including the Irish myth that leprechauns hid pots of gold at the end of the rainbow! And so it seemed appropriate to choose a rainbow as a symbol of hope - perhaps the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow would be the confirmation of a date as to when parkrun will resume! 

The first week was 30 May - 6 June, and designated RED week as red is the first colour in the spectrum. I anxiously wondered whether anyone would take part, but very relieved to find that 28 of you did, posting your photos on the facebook page. Fortunately, the parkrun milestone t-shirt earned for doing 50 parkruns is red, so many of you didn't have far to go to find a red t-shirt, but it is also the colour of the MIND "Run Every Day" challenge, and the club colour of East London Runners running club so it didn't prove too much of a challenge. Although it was great seeing everyone's photos, I think my favourite was Mo Allen's handstand against the obelisk at Pole Hill, which led me to do a bit of research and I fell down a wikipedia wormhole reading all about Laurence of Arabia!

Mo Allen Pole Hill

I was taught the mnemonic "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain" to remember the order of the colours of the rainbow. At the time, I was trying to grow beetroot in a little patch of garden, so for some reason best known to a six-year old I changed it to "Richard Of York Grew Beetroot In Vain" which is how I have remembered it ever since! However you remember the order, the second colour in the rainbow is orange, which I thought might be a bit more of a challenge until I realised that in a certain light the parkrun apricot top might easily be classed as orange! This week we had pictures taken in back gardens, in parks, in the Olympic park, by lakes or even on roof terraces like this one of Suzi Brent who ran her 5km orange run at 5am on her roof terrace in Walthamstow, in memory of Justin Edinburgh, the Leyton Orient manager who tragically died a year ago at the untimely age of 49.

Suzi Brent

Week 3 (13-20 June) was all about mellow yellow! I loved this week; there was something about seeing all the sunshiney yellow tops that just made me feel happy! It did prove a challenge for some though, as yellow doesn't seem to be a common colour for a running top. Not to be deterred though, we had some creative entries this week, including this fabulous yellow lego bag modelled by Richard Selby!

Richard Selby

There was no such problem for GREEN week (20-27 June) for the hard-core parkrunners who have previously run over 250 parkruns, as they could wear their milestone green t-shirt, as modelled by Steve Bywater who wore it for a freedom run at Wanstead Flats parkrun course. And a number of other parkrunners wore t-shirts from races they have previously run in, bringing back happy memories sometimes of races completed alongside other members of the parkrun family.

Steve Bywater

Blue week (27 June - 4 July) also didn't prove too much of a problem for finding coloured tees. Walthamstow parkrun hasn't been going long enough for our most loyal parkrunners to have earned their blue 500 milestone tee, but blue is the club colour of Eton Manor running club, and also a lot of events seem to chose blue for their finishers' tees, including the London Marathon, worn here by Antony Smith at Connaught Water:

Antony Smith

However, Indigo posed a bit more of a problem, as there was a lot of confusion about what colour indigo actually is! I think my favourite pic of this week was a socially distanced group shot of Penny, Clare, Rachel Sharron and Steve at the Peter May centre reminding us all that we can still run on our parkrun's grounds, even though it seems to have worn Steve out!

Group photo

And all too soon it was the last week - Violet - 11th-18th July. When we started this challenge, I said that if parkrun was back before we got to the end of the rainbow we would take it that our symbol of hope had worked - sadly this was not to be. But it was small consolation to see everyone's violet photos and the effort that everyone went to - even Gail Seal managed to get out and get a violet selfie in front of some violet flowers despite having fallen over on her long run the week before and fractured her elbow!

Gail Seal

One of the reasons we wanted to do this challenge was so that we could see all the familiar faces of our parkrun friends, despite not being able to see them in person at Peter May on a Saturday morning. And a huge thank you goes to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to post photos - some every week. It's been lovely seeing the familiar faces, and also some newish ones too. But an added bonus has been seeing the faces of some virtual parkrun tourists, who have posted pics each week from Luton, Scarborough and South and North Wales proving that the parkrun family stretches far and wide! So a big thank you also goes to Kathy Sandler, Helen and Andy Rutter, Anthony Howe and Elizabeth Czaban. I hope that when parkrun resumes and we are able to do some parkrun tourism again, that you will come and see us in person - and I also hope to get round to see you on your home turf at some point in the future.

Kathy and Alan Helen and Andy Rutter Anthony Howe Elizabeth Czaban

And so we come to the final rainbow collage featuring everyone's photos in glorious rainbow technicolour! I hope you enjoy seeing the final rainbow wave and looking for yourself amongst the photos! And keep an eye on our facebook page for the next challenge...

photovisi-download (7)

We Will Get Through This Together #loveparkrun #parkrunfamily

Ali Sheppard


Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave week 7: VIOLET – 11-18 July 2020


So the final week of the Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave was all too soon upon us, and dedicated to the colour violet: the colour of light at the short wavelength end of the visible spectrum with a wavelength between approximately 380 and 450 nanometers. It is one of the seven colours that Isaac Newton labelled when dividing the spectrum of visible light in 1672, as written about in last week’s report. The colour’s name is derived from the violet flower - pictured above.

Violet and purple have a long history of association with royalty, originally because Tyrian purple dye was extremely expensive in antiquity. The emperors of Rome wore purple togas, as did the Byzantine emperors. During the Middle Ages violet was worn by bishops and university professors and was often used in art as the colour of the robes of the Virgin Mary. In Chinese painting, the colour violet represents the "unity transcending the duality of yin and yang, and "the ultimate harmony of the universe”. In Hinduism and Buddhism violet is associated with the Crown Chakra. But it’s not all good; according to surveys in Europe and the United States, violet is the colour people most often associate with extravagance and individualism, the unconventional, the artificial, and ambiguity.

It is most appropriate that violet and purple is associated with royalty, as in the parkrun world the colour is given over to the milestone t-shirt awarded to parkrun royalty – the volunteers! To earn yourself a volunteer t-shirt you need to volunteer 25 times at parkrun, and we are very grateful at Walthamstow parkrun to all our volunteers.

Wearing the 25 volunteer t-shirt with pride this week were Steve and Janet Bywater (with stunning smiles this week!), Gillian Andrews, Rachel Emmett and Nessa Stead Clyne – I passed the latter two on Fulbourne Road when they were out doing their violet run!

Bywaters Janet Bywater Gillian AndrewsRachel Emmett and Nessa Clyde

Richard Selby wore his volunteer top for his violet run, commenting: “Violet shirt, longish hair, and, er, moobs. What lockdown does to a chap.”  Er, we’re not saying anything, Richard, but you won’t be the only one to feel that they’ve put on a few ‘coronapounds’!

Richard also got out this week for a run with Ellis Sharman, who wore his volunteer top whilst the dynamic duo tackled the Race Organiser’s City Scramble in Waltham Forest. If you haven’t come across this race, do look it up if they do it again – it’s a sort-of cross between a running race and a treasure hunt, with a little history lesson thrown in! On a set day (Saturday 18th July this month) a set of clues are released at 9am to everyone who has signed up for the event, and you have to run to each clue on either a 5k or 10k route, collecting letters at each clue point. The letters form an anagram which reveals your final destination. It was certainly a good substitution for parkrun whilst it is still paused; and doing it on a Saturday morning also helped.

I wore my volunteer top for my second violet run of the week, also whilst taking part in a virtual event. This one was for one leg of the Eton Manor Virtual Spitfire Scramble race! This weekend should have seen the annual Spitfire Scramble 24-hour race taking place, and one which a number of club members have enjoyed in previous years. To make up for the race being cancelled, the club decided to hold a virtual race instead. To cover the 24 hour period, we were divided into teams of 8, and each team-member had to complete 3 runs of exactly an hour each time. The winning team was the one whose collective members ran the furthest over the 24 hour period – and I was honoured and a bit taken aback to be on the winning team – the Golden Grahams!

Richard Selby richard and ellis Ellis Sharman Ali Sheppard 2

Also wearing his volunteer 25 top was Steve Peacock who matched the 25 volunteering occasions needed to earn the top by running in 25 degrees! He commented that it wasn’t great timing because of the heat, but his run started in the Peter May grounds which looked great and was very quiet. And Liz Worrall also ran at Peter May, commenting that she had it all to herself for her run. This is a timely reminder that even though Peter May is currently closed, the grounds are open for runners/walkers during the daytime on weekdays, so although we can’t parkrun, we can use the grounds to do freedom runs and (not)parkruns.

175 miles away over in South Wales, virtual tourist Elizabeth Czaban also chose to do her violet run on a parkrun course, wearing her volunteer top and a rainbow face mask to accompany her neighbour to do her week 2 of couch to 5k at Parc Penallta.

One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about this rainbow challenge is hearing everyone’s stories about where they’ve been running during lockdown and whilst lockdown has been eased. And I have to hand over to Penny Wiles for the story she wrote to accompany her violet volunteer top photo:

“Top quality photo this week, as I had the lovely Louise Taylor to run with today, the rest of the crew taking the shrinking violet thing a bit too far. Delightful Dave was there to greet me, and I tried to recruit some cricketers to join us when we start back.
“No chance, cricketers don’t run.” The young man told me.
“Yes they do, my son was a cricketer and now he runs marathons.”
“Then he’s one in a million.”
“You’re right there!” I told him.
See how your mother loves you Joel Wiles!"

Steve Peacock Liz Worrall Elizabeth Czaban Penny Wiles

Forming a bridge between those wearing their volunteer tops and other violet tops, is this great photo from Ercole Lugari and Leoni Mitchell. Leoni is wearing her volunteer top and her (not)shrinking violet expression, after a great Monday morning training session with Ercole who is wearing his Brecon Beacons to Cardiff Ultra top – impressing Elizabeth Czaban by doing so!

Ruby Daly found that she had missed out on the chance to claim her volunteer tee as they were out of stock when she earned hers, and then didn’t see her email saying that she could order her shirt until it was too late and the link had been deactivated. So the nearest she had to violet was either the lovely multi-coloured top she’s wearing in one of her now legendary garden shots, or a photo of her mum and nephew! With another garden shot was Christina Watson - sporting violet sunglasses after her run!

Sharron Rooney usually joins the gang to do a freedom/(not)parkrun at Peter May, but was flying solo this week for around the Docks. An ardent Liverpool fan, Sharron wore her 30th Anniversary of Hillsborough tee from a run that she did last year. Usual tees are red for Liverpool or blue for Everton, but on the 30th Anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster they blended the red and blue colours to make a purple tee to show unity. #JFT96

Ercole and Leoni Ruby Daly Ruby's mum Christina Watson 2 Sharron Rooney

A number of parkrunners wore violet tops from races/runs completed in the past as usual, this week. Thomas Hardy wore his Royal Parks Half marathon finisher’s tee for a (not)parkrun at Peter May, whereas Sam Jackson wore his Bournemouth Marathon 2015 shirt. I noticed from the results that Thomas’s daughter Emma recorded her first (not)parkrun as well this week – well done, Emma!

Virtual tourist Anthony Howe from North Wales wore his Welsh Castles Relay shirt on a City Strides quest, commenting that he was on the hidden side of Conwy castle this time (and got lost in a caravan park about 4 miles later – all good fun!).

Our other regular virtual tourist from Scarborough, Helen Rutter, wore her treasured Hardmoors tee shirt to run on an urban route from home, whereas her other half, Andy, got a PB running a virtual 5k – but sadly didn’t have a violet top to wear for the photo!

Not all races bring back entirely happy memories: for my first violet run I wore my “Beat the Boat 10k” race tee. BtB is in Windsor and is an unusual but fun race, where the spectators are all on boats going at different speeds and you run alongside the towpath, aiming to beat the boat to the finish line. I ran it on an incredibly hot day two years ago, and it was the only race I’ve done where I had to be virtually carried across the finish line by a friend and a medic before collapsing in the medical tent!

Thomas Hardy Sam Jackson Anthony Howe Helen Rutter Ali Sheppard 1

I have been most impressed by the way everyone has embraced this challenge and the efforts that have been made to post a pic wearing the right colour of the week, even when not at home or injured! Clare Hirst was staying up in Yorkshire this week, but managed to borrow a violet top to go out and do a tourist run at Huddersfield! At the other end of the country, Mo Allen was a parkrun tourist at Woolacombe, complete with its ‘dune of doom’ which he tackled whilst modelling his “sexy imp horns and violet top” – his words, not mine!

Finally, huge kudos and love goes to Gail Seal who fractured her elbow whilst out running last weekend. But not even a fractured elbow stopped her from getting out for a walk over Tottenham marshes, matching her Run Through violet top to some lovely wild flowers! We wish you a speedy recovery, Gail, and hope you heal quickly and are able to get back out running soon.

Clare Hirst Mo Allen Gail Seal

So that’s it, folks – we’ve come to the end of our rainbow. Over the next week I’m going to make a collage of everyone’s photos for each week to make one giant rainbow wave, which I will post when I’ve done it. I hope you’ve found it motivating, and have enjoyed seeing everyone’s photos and reading their stories. And I hope that it’s made you feel connected to the parkrun family. They say that at the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold – well, let’s hope that the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow is our parkrun being able to re-start – see you all at the start line!

Ali Sheppard


Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave – Week 6: INDIGO – 4-11 July 2020


Week 6 in the Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave was given over to the confusing colour of indigo. The word ‘indigo’ to describe a colour is not often used in modern-day language, which is perhaps why Street parkrun chose to ignore it in their parkrun rainbow challenge, and they opted for violet followed by pink instead! Wikapedia tells me that indigo is a deep and rich colour close to the colour wheel blue, based on the ancient dye of the same name. The word indigo comes from the Latin for “Indian” as the dye was originally imported to Europe from India, with the first known recorded use of indigo as a colour name in English being in 1289.

Indigofera tinctoria and related species from which the dye was obtained, were cultivated in East Asia, Egypt, India and Peru in antiquity. The earliest direct evidence for the use of indigo as a dye dates to around 4000 BC and comes from Huaca Prieta in contemporary Peru. Pliny the Elder mentions India as the source of the dye after which it was named, having been imported from there via the Silk Road.

Blue dye can be made from two different types of plants: the indigo plant, which produces the best results, and from the woad plant Isatis tinctoria, also known as pastel. For a long time, woad was the main source of blue dye in Europe – think Braveheart! Woad was replaced by true indigo as trade routes opened up, and both plant sources have now been largely replaced by synthetic dyes.

Isaac Newton introduced indigo as one of the seven base colours of his work in the mid-1660s, when Newton bought a pair of prisms at a fair near Cambridge. In a pivotal experiment the young Newton shone a narrow beam of sunlight through a prism to produce a rainbow-like band of colours on the wall. In describing this optical spectrum, Newton said: "The originall or primary colours are Red, yellow, Green, Blew, & a violet purple; together with Orang, Indico, & an indefinite varietie of intermediate gradations.”

The human eye does not readily differentiate hues in the wavelengths between what we today call blue and violet. If this is where Newton meant indigo to lie, most individuals would have difficulty distinguishing indigo from its neighbours. According to Isaac Asimov, "It is customary to list indigo as a colour lying between blue and violet, but it has never seemed to me that indigo is worth the dignity of being considered a separate colour. To my eyes it seems merely deep blue.”

All clear? Well it certainly caused some confusion from this week’s parkrunners! Mo Allen posted a pic taken at the end of a 6k jog with Amy as support rider, commenting that “Neither of us are really sure what Indigo is so this was our best guess”, whilst Leoni Mitchell said “Maybe this is indigo although looks more like blue to me”. And Helen Rutter (virtual tourist from Scarborough) posted a pic saying: “Navy blue is all I have. Family 5k before son leaves us for a month to go to York. I will miss him.”

Mo and Amy Allen Leoni Mitchell Helen Rutter

The confusion over the colour indigo continued with some runners who were able to use their marathon finisher’s tees this week, with marathons spread across the country from Brighton to Edinburgh, via London and Yorkshire! Starting with Ruby Daly who wore her Brighton Marathon top and who commented: “Does this count? Hope so cos it’s the only dark blue I’ve got!” Steve Bywater wondered if his London Marathon finisher top was “Indigo or Indi-no?” Definitely Indigo, I’d say. Sam Jackson continued his Yorkshire theme with his Yorkshire marathon tee, whilst Gillian Andrews wore her Edinburgh marathon tee for an indigo run in the sunshine.

Ruby Daly Steve Bywater Sam Jackson Gillian Andrews

A number of people were also able to take advantage of their hard-earned half-marathon tees bringing back happy memories of previous races from far and wide. The furthest of these was Richard Selby who gave us a “Howdy y’all” when wearing his Texas Big Star Half Marathon shirt from last year, whilst running on Walthamstow Marshes. Fortunately his ankle is recovering so he very sensibly took it slowly and just went for a slow jog. Also recovering from injury is Penny Wiles, who wore one of her favourite tops earned in October 2014 for a River Thames Half Marathon. She wore it to accompany Rachel Emmett as they did their (not)parkruns around Lloyd Park. Liz Worrall went for her ‘Stow rainbow run with her dog Ted, wearing the nearest she could get to indigo with her 2018 Big Half top. Liz says that she did the Big Half as part of her VLM training and again it has very happy memories as she ran it with her ‘Stow parkrun buddies – happy days! Playing t-shirt snap with Liz was Janet Bywater, who also put on her 2018 Big Half top after the cool down following the ELR faux track session on the ‘doughnut’ by the Waterworks roundabout!

Richard Selby Penny Wiles Liz Worrall Janet Bywater

Although we don’t have parkrun proper up and running yet, a lot of us are doing 5k runs and registering them on their parkrun profiles as (not)parkruns. Take a look at the results section of the website to see each week, which you can sort by day, or time and you get the chance to record a PB too! And if you do your (not)parkrun at the Peter May centre, you can record it as a freedom run too! To do either of these, just log into your parkrun profile and enter the details, and enjoy watching the results come in over the week as more people do their 5k runs.

Doing just this at the Peter May were Sharron Rooney, Rachel Emmett, Clare Hirst, Penny Wiles and Steve Peacock, and they managed to pause in their (not)parkrun / freedom runs to pose for a group indigo shot.

I registered my first (not)parkrun this week whilst the last Walthamstow Hare trail plus a bit extra to make it up to 5k, whilst wearing triple indigo! The face covering buff is from the hardest race I’ve ever entered – the Lundy Island Race on 14 July 2019 - and the only one where I had to admit defeat half-way round!

Stephen Thompson enjoyed this week’s indigo colour saying: “Any chance to break this bad boy out!” He also found it helped him to a (not)parkrun PB too! Glad to have been of service, Stephen!

And Christina Watson wore a charity Haven House tee for her 5k run – an excellent local charity to support.

Group photo Ali Sheppard Stephen Thompson Christina Watson

For some people, a 5k run is just not enough, particularly if in training for longer races – whenever they resume, or done virtually. Triathlete Brian Longman managed an Indigo-go 17m bike ride to the lake, where he swam for 2.5 miles and then rode back home! Whilst Gail Seal went for a 10 mile long run around a very windy Hackney Marshes, whilst wearing indigo!

Brian Longman Gail Seal

With the lockdown regulations easing, some people managed to get out a bit further or to do different routes to their normal ones. Sue Mei Tan had a change of background from her usual Olympic Park view to the River Thames, when she went for her indigo run along the Thames Path in Thamesmead. In South Wales, virtual tourist Elizabeth Czaban took in the atmospheric views from the Observatory after doing a 3k run-walk on the trails of Penallta park (not the part used for parkrun) - not that you can tell from her 'indigo' pic! Perhaps for the final week we can see your face, Liz, if we don't mention your name but just call you our virtual tourist from South Wales? Meanwhile, in North Wales, Anthony Howe excitedly commented that WALES IS OPEN and that he is now allowed to leave his local area. For his indigo run he explored another new set of roads to get more streets for CityStrides, with amazing views of Llandudno on the way round. He’s wearing his newly christened Hellrunner shirt, which is his favourite run of the year but sadly has been cancelled this year.

Sue Mei Tan Elizabeth Czaban Anthony Howe

Having already submitted my indigo pic on the first day of the week, my new CONTRA top arrived in the post this week and my first thought was “is that indigo”? So I thought I’d have another shot at doing a (not)parkrun as you can record a (not)parkrun every day, whilst doing a Janet Bywater and having a second indigo-go! I was hoping to get the (not)parkrun tailwalker spot but Maureen Barry beat me to it! Also wearing CONTRA this week was Ellis Sharman who managed to get out for a rainbow wave run despite having a potential shin splint injury. Hope you’re ok, Ellis. The great thing about CONTRA is not only is it ethically made, but all the profits go to support parkrun – and it’s really great running wear too.

Ali Sheppard 2 Ellis Sharman

That’s it folks – hopefully next week will be a bit easier to achieve with the final week – violet!

Ali Sheppard


Run Report – Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave – Week 5: BLUE – 27 June – 4 July 2020


This week’s colour for the Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave was blue, which has contrasting connotations attached to it. We talk about feeling blue, and being in a blue mood which is pretty negative, but we also refer to ‘blue sky thinking’ and clear blue skies can often lift the mood to a more positive one. In the music field, whilst Elvis sang about his blue suede shoes and had a blue, blue Christmas, the Marcels sang about the blue moon, and Eric Clapton sang about his blue eyes being made blue, surely E.L.O.’s “Mr Blue Sky” is one of the happiest songs ever composed?

The colour blue is one of the three primary colours of pigments in painting and traditional colour theory. It lies between violet and green on the spectrum of visible light, with the eye perceiving blue when observing light with a dominant wavelength between approximately 450 and 495 nanometres. Blue has been an important colour in art and decoration since ancient times. The semi-precious stone lapis lazuli was used in ancient Egypt for jewellery and ornament and later, in the Renaissance, to make the pigment ultramarine, the most expensive of all pigments. In the eighth century Chinese artists used cobalt blue to colour fine blue and white porcelain. In the Middle Ages, European artists used it in the windows of cathedrals. Europeans wore clothing coloured with the vegetable dye woad until it was replaced by the finer indigo from America – but more on that next week! In the 19th century, synthetic blue dyes and pigments gradually replaced mineral pigments and synthetic dyes. Dark blue became a common colour for military uniforms and later, in the late 20th century, for business suits. Because blue has commonly been associated with harmony, it was chosen as the colour of the flags of the United Nations and the European Union.

It also seems to be the colour of choice for many marathon t-shirts, and a number of our rainbow wave parkrunners chose to show off their very well-deserved marathon tees this week. Starting off with our virtual tourist from North Wales, Anthony Howe, who managed to sneak a bit of blue sky into his photo whilst wearing his blue 2017 Greater Manchester Marathon t-shirt for his Saturday 5k around his village – which he did at marathon pace.  Meanwhile, our home-grown Antony, Antony Smith, also managed to find some blue skies to add to blue water and his blue London Marathon finishers’ shirt at Connaught Water. Also sporting a London Marathon finishers’ t-shirt was Janet Bywater, who loves rainbow parkrun so much that she actually did it twice this week with different tees!  Her second tee is from the 2016 Mountains to Sea half marathon in north Wales - maybe Anthony Howe has done this one as well? Janet says: "You take the take the steam train up the mountain from Porthmadog up to Blaneau Festinniog and then run back down again. It’s a brilliant race."  Finishing our quartet of marathon runners is Sam Jackson who wore his very blue Halstead Marathon tee this week.

Anthony Howe Antony Smith Janet Bywater Monday Janet Bywater Sam Jackson

It’s not just the full marathon though; a number of half-marathons have had blue finishers’ tees in the past. Gillian Andrews wore the t-shirt from her first ever half marathon, whilst Steve Bywater wore his Vitality Big Half tee to get “all hilled out” at Highams Park. Steve Peacock also wore his Vitality Big Half tee, which I was surprised to discover was his only official half marathon T-shirt, even though he declares that he hated it! (The half marathon I think, not the t-shirt!). He also dug out a pair of blue shorts that he says he never seems to wear in honour of blue week.

Gillian Andrews Steve Bywater Steve Peacock

Of course, if you’re going to run a half marathon, full marathon, ultra or triathlon, you need to take your training seriously for when races resume. Taking it seriously with the lockdown training this week was triathlete Brian Longman, who wore blue for a 5.8 mile run through Harold Court Woods and Pages Wood, and Ercole Lugari and his partner in crime Leoni Mitchell, who did a 3 x 2k sprint training session. It makes me tired just thinking about it – and Leoni sure is one Tough Mudder as her blue t-shirt proclaims!

Brian Longman Ercole and Leoni

I was feeling pretty blue in mood this week and feel like I’ve lost my running mojo. But I matched my mood by wearing all blue - blue shoes, socks, top, cap and buff for my first 5k (not)parkrun – which I think was the slowest 5k I’ve done since the start of lockdown! At least the blue Eton Manor buff acted as a handy face covering when I popped into the Spar at the end of the run to buy some milk! Elizabeth Czaban, our virtual tourist from South Wales, used her parkrun World Tourist cap and buff to hide her lockdown hair on a 6.9km Welsh valleys country lanes walk. She also appears to have hidden the blue sky behind some threatening clouds too!

Ali Sheppard Elizabeth Czaban

Some of our parkrunners looked for inspiration this week from the world of TV and films. Firstly, Richard Selby answered the question we were all asking in the 1980s, possibly self-incriminating himself into an attempted murder case!  Ah, NOW we know who shot JR!  And is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Super Mo (Allen), out for a 5k jog with Amy.  Meanwhile, at Peter May (where else?) Charlie’s Angels were doing their thang, with Rachel Emmett, Penny Wiles and Clare Hirst posing after their weekly freedom run – whilst presumably Charlie took the photo? Or was it Dermot? Perhaps we've also solved another conundrum from 1980s telly - Dermot Hughes is the never-seen Charlie from Charlie's Angels!

Richard Selby Mo and Amy Allen Mo Allen Group photo

Meanwhile, were these two parkrunners dog or child assisted? Jonathan Partington, running with 2 year-old Jake in a running buggy, thought that Jake found their run together a little easier than he did! And Liz Worrall ran her blue run in the forest with her lovely dog Ted whilst wearing her 2018 Run the River t-shirt which again brought back very happy memories of running it with lots of the ‘Stow parkrun gang. There will be more happy memories to make in the future, Liz, I'm sure.

Jonathan Partington Liz Worrall

Also running in the woods was Gail Seal, although she ran in Knebworth woods, not Epping Forest. Gail is a scientist and she was back at work in the lab this week, so went for her blue run at lunchtime near her workplace. Her blue t-shirt is from Runners Heal, who donate a month of lunches to school children in Kenya for every purchase.

A little – well, a lot actually – further North were virtual tourists Helen and Andy Rutter from Scarborough, who ran a family 5k on a route from their home which runs along an old railway line and is one of their lockdown favourites. Helen is wearing a CONTRA vest, the purchase of which goes to support parkrun too. Ellis Sharman was also sporting CONTRA for a shade of blue on our green turf (Peter May)!

Gail Seal Helen and Andy RutterEllis Sharman

Sue Mei Tan managed to coordinate her blue top with the blue Olympic ring after her run in the Olympic park, whilst Neil Richardson ran in a blue Team WN t-shirt, which I read as “Team WIN”! Ruby Daly  treated is to another view of her pocket sized garden as she posed for a selfie in a blue shirt after her morning run just ahead of a downpour.

Sue Mei Tan Neil Richardson Ruby Daly

So that’s it for BLUE week folks – next week we have a completely different colour in… um… INDIGO!

Thank you all again for your contributions – whilst we still can’t meet up at Peter May on a Saturday morning, I really enjoy seeing all of your faces and hearing about what you are up to, and hope you do too.

Don’t forget that if you run/walk a 5k anywhere, on any day, you can record it as a (not)parkrun. Just log into your parkrun profile to log your (not)parkrun. You can log a run every day of the week if you like, but only your fastest will show up in the results.

Until next week,

Ali Sheppard


Run Report – Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave – Week 4: Green – 20-27 June 2020


Week 4 of the Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave saw parkrunners turning to the colour green, which I hope represents the green shoots of recovery and new life!  In nature, by far the largest contributor to green in nature is chlorophyll, the chemical by which plants photosynthesize and convert sunlight into chemical energy. Many creatures have adapted to their green environments by taking on a green hue themselves as camouflage.

In post-classical Europe, green was the colour commonly associated with wealth, merchants, bankers and the gentry, while red was reserved for the nobility. For this reason, the costume of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and the benches in the House of Commons are green whilst those in the House of Lords are red. It has a long historical tradition as the colour of Ireland, and is also the historic colour of Islam, being the colour of the banner of Muhammad, and is found in the flags of nearly all Islamic countries.

Green is also most commonly associated with nature, life, health, youth, spring, hope and envy. Because of its association with nature, it is the colour of the environmental movement; and is also the colour of safety and permission; a green light means go ahead, and a green card permits permanent residence in the United States.

But in parkrun world, green means 250 parkruns completed, and the colour of the milestone 250 tee-shirt! At Walthamstow we have a number of regular hardcore parkrunners who have earned their green tees, and so who had an ideal top to wear for the green rainbow wave week! Some of these 250+ runners took advantage of the easing of the coronavirus regulations which now allows groups of up to 6 runners to meet outside, to meet up at Peter May and pose for this socially distanced shot. Tom Hardy, Sharron Rooney, Rachel Emmett and Clare Hirst ran 5k runs on the hallowed turf, whilst Penny Wiles, who is nursing a hamstring injury, managed to run a little before having a nice walk with photographer Dermot Hughes. Dermot has his own green 250 milestone tee, having run 283 parkruns before they were suspended, but being behind the camera we didn’t get to see it.

Group shot

Steve Bywater wore his 250 green tee for a cheeky selfie at the start line of another parkrun course – not THE parkrun of course! Can you identify the parkrun from his photo? The answer is at the bottom of this post!  Another of our "quarter of a century" green runners is our centurian Ercole Lugari, who looks pretty pleased after his sprint training session with Leoni Mitchell, whilst Gillian Andrews just looks pleased full stop!

Brian Longman took his 250 tee for a 4.5 mile run through Roding Valley Nature reserve with son, Jack Longman, who might just have (did!) borrowed his dad’s tee for his pic! Brian has done an amazing 428 parkruns in total, 37 of them at Walthamstow.

Steve Bywater Ercole Lugari Gillian Andrews Brian Longman Jack Longman

For the rest of us who have earning our 250 tees to look forward to, we had to look elsewhere for a green colour to wear. Fortunately quite a lot of running events seem to have green finishers’ t-shirts. One such event is the popular Run The River race, worn by Janet Bywater whilst doing the ELR faux track session, and Liz Worrall who wore hers for a 5km run in the forest with her lovely dog Ted. Liz says it is “another special race T-shirt from Run The River 2017 which I ran with lots of my Stow parkrun buddies – happy memories”. That’s one of the things I love about race tees – the happy memories that they conjure up, and I certainly hope that was the case for Ellis Sharman who wore his Great North Run tee for his second run of the day! It's a shame that the Great North Run has been postponed twice this year - let's hope you get to earn another GNR t-shirt next year, Ellis.

Janet Bywater Liz Worrall Ellis Sharman

Not only are some finishers’ tees green, but some charity tees are green. Steve Peacock wore his green Macmillan Cancer vest for his first ever 10 miles event in 2018 and raised £700 for Macmillan – a fantastic effort both in running and fundraising, despite Steve saying that he was so nervous that he wouldn’t make it.  I also wore a charity tee - my green NSPCC running top - when I met up with Gail Seal to take part in the Race Organiser’s #CityScramble run which was like a race and a treasure hunt combined – great fun! The event was a choice of a 5k / 10k route with clues along the way that had to be solved to reach the final destination. We took on the 5k route but it came to 6.4k so maybe we didn’t choose the most direct route between clues! Gail wore double green with a green top and green running shoes too! This was the first time I've actually run with anyone else, even socially distanced, since lockdown began, and I certainly noticed the difference to being a lone, solo runner.

Steve Peacock Gail and me

There are so many different varieties of green – some look blue, others look yellow! Leoni Mitchell said that Ercole had said that her green top was yellow, but she swears it’s green! (I think it looks green!) She wore it for her 5k sprint training session with Ercole, and the picture was supposed to be taken with him but she ended up doing a cool down run away from his house (Stratford to Walthamstow) so they took separate photos. Richard Selby wore the greenest t-shirt he owns which looks pretty blue but states that the wrist band is proper green though! His pic was taken by Ellis Sharman when they went for a run together in Lloyd Park, where they bumped into Stow parkrun regulars Clare Hirst and Gail Seal too. Meanwhile, Ruby Daly is laughing as she has a neighbour’s tree growing out of her head on her pic. At least it’s a green tree!

Leoni Mitchell Richard Selby Ruby Daly

We’ve had some pretty hot weather this week and I was impressed with how many people managed to get out to run even when it was so hot. Helen Rutter, our virtual tourist from Dalby Forest, went for a family 5k on the seafront at 7:00am and despite the early time, says it was already "boiling hot" on the day that she went. At the other end of the day Katy Ambrose went out for a very hot evening run, wearing green, and Jonathan Partington is managed to look pretty cool and collected despite the weather!

Helen Rutter Helen Rutter 1 Katy Alice Jonathan Partington

So what to do if you don’t have a green running top? Well if you’re Mo and Amy Allen you wear a Christmas t-shirt and a Waltham Forest Diving Club top for your 6k jog on a warm day! And it doesn’t have to be taken when running as triathlete Brian Longman demonstrated with his second green pic, taken after a 5.5 mile swim at Redricks Lake. Christina Watson seems to be getting faster and faster every week, and she wore her “Avoid Everyone” t-shirt for her 5k run this week, which is pretty appropriate in these coronavirus days!

Mo and Amy Allen Brian Longman swim Christina Watson

Meanwhile, over in South Wales, virtual tourist Elizabeth Czaban bought these lairy Welsh leggings in March as a reward to herself for completing her ‘Cowell’ (that’s 100 different parkruns – named after the first person to do so, called Chris Cowell), but that haven’t actually seen a real parkrun yet. She recorded a (not)parkrun time of 1:00:28 when walking around Penallta parkrun course with a neighbour who she met through ‘Clap for Carers’. She has now managed to recruit the neighbour to parkrun who has now registered and is looking forward to completing her first parkrun when they resume.

At the other end of Wales, in North Wales, our other regular virtual tourist, Anthony Howe, posted his green photo, saying “So, I haven't got a green running top, plus my achilles is a bit sore this week from playing football with my 7 year old, so I could have opted to hide inside our green garden waste wheelie bin. but it's got grass in it. So we went for a walk down a nearby former railway track. My son said it looks a bit like a parkrun (he's completed Keswick and The Wammy, which are both on old railways). In fact our NENYD (Nearest Event Not Yet Done!) is also a railway track, but when we visited a few weeks ago I'm sure a notice said it was one of the steepest railways of its type, or something similar - there's your warning, if you visit Greenfield Valley the second half is uphill.  Anyway, we probably walked around 5k, well, most of us walked it!” I love this photo – and you’ve got double green with the child’s baseball cap too!

Elizabeth Czaban Anthony Howe

So that’s it for this week – thanks to everyone who contributed. Let’s hope the green week heralds the green shoots of recovery for parkrun to return in the not-too-distant future. Next week the colour is blue, and I’m already looking forward to seeing everyone’s blue photos and hearing about your exercise efforts!

Ali Sheppard

* Steve Bywater was, of course, running at Wanstead Flats parkrun course.


Run Report – Walthamstow parkrun rainbow wave – Week 3: YELLOW – 13-20 June 2020

Hello mellow yellow! Week 3 of the rainbow wave initiative saw parkrunners reaching for their brightest, happiest shades of yellow to wear whilst out and about running/walking/jogging or doing any exercise!

Yellow is the colour between orange and green on the spectrum of visible light, with a dominant wavelength of roughly 570–590 nn. Because it was widely available, yellow ochre pigment was one of the first colours used in art; the Lascaux cave in France has a painting of a yellow horse that is 17,000 years old. Ochre and orpiment pigments were used to represent gold and skin colour in Egyptian tombs, then in the murals in Roman villas. In China, bright yellow was the colour of the Middle Kingdom, and could be worn only by the emperor and his household; special guests were welcomed on a yellow carpet.

According to surveys in Europe, Canada, and the United States, yellow is the colour people most often associate with amusement, gentleness, humour, and spontaneity, but also with duplicity, envy, jealousy, avarice, and, in the U.S., cowardice. In China and many Asian countries, it is seen as the colour of happiness, glory, harmony and wisdom. But I will always see it as a happy colour – the colour of sunshine and the smile emoji! It also must be the colour of creativity, because we had some pretty creative posts this week!

The glorious yellow sunshine came out for Ercole Lugari and Gillian Andrews for their yellow runs. For his run, Ercole wore his first running club vest – Collingwood AC in South London, which just happens to be yellow!

Ercole Lugari Gillian Andrews

However, the sun didn’t shine on Anthony Howe, our virtual tourist from Conwy in North Wales, as it started to rain the moment he stepped outside for his yellow run. Here he is having a nap against the marvellously named Parish Church of St. Margaret of Antioch, Bodelwyddan – known as “The Marble Church”. Doesn’t it always rain in Wales, Anthony?! Ellis Sharman was in fine punning form, noting that it didn’t feel like “Cold-Play” out there, but was all “Yellow”! And it must have rained just before Steve Bywater went out for a run as he’s managed to capture an actual rainbow for his rainbow run – good effort Steve!

Anthony Howe Ellis Sharman Steve Bywater

When I was in primary school I was taught a mnemonic for remembering the order of the colour of the rainbow: Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain, with York standing for yellow of course. So it was very apt that Sam Jackson celebrated the return of football with a snap at York Road (Walthamstow) for his yellow run, whilst wearing his yellow York City football top! Checking the parkrun website I see that of Sam’s 133 parkruns he has completed in the past, 77 have been at Walthamstow and 21 at York so I deduce he must have a connection with that fine city!

Sam Jackson

Not everyone liked their yellow tops, however! Penny Wiles described her top as “truly horrible” so I’m doubly impressed at her dedication to wear it when she stepped out on a “Maureen” style attempt to stride around Lloyd Park behind Rachel Emmett as she is nursing a hamstring injury this week. I hope you’re able to run next week, Penny. And Steve felt that his previous yellow vest was rather too clinging so actually bought a new yellow T-shirt for this week – it suits you, Steve!

Penny WIles Steve Peacock

Three of our parkrunners managed to double up with their virtual runs, combining their yellow runs with another virtual run. Janet Bywater combined her yellow run with the ELR virtual track session for her double bubble run, whilst Clare Hirst combined hers with a Cheshire Cat Virtual Tri run, leaving her with just a 1.5k swim and 40k bike ride to do before Sun night. She not only managed to complete the Virtual Triathlon, but came 2nd in her age category - fantastically well done, Clare. Lockdown hasn't held you down at all, and I hope you are grinning like a Cheshire Cat at your success!  Christina Watson went on a ‘hoppit and mob match 5k run’, improving on last week’s time too.

Janet Bywater Claire Hirst Christina Watson

Meanwhile, Sharron Rooney and Rachel Emmett were back on home turf rocking it in yellow at Peter May. Photo courtesy of Dermot Hughes – perhaps we can see you in front of the camera in your green 250 top next week, Dermot? Liz Worrall also had a lovely mellow yellow run over at Peter May, as did Gail Seal who wore her only yellow top – the London Landmarks Half which she hopes she will finally be able to run next year after it was cancelled this year.

Rachel and Sharron Liz Worrall Gail Seal

Leoni Mitchell and I had remarkably similar club t-shirts from completely different clubs that are/were organised by running shops! Leoni wore a top that represented her time in Leeds, with her Leeds Central SRG top. SRG stands for “Social Running Group” and is organised by “Up and Running” and caters for all level of runners – I’ll have to look them up the next time I am in Leeds. I wore my Sweatshop Running Club shirt which I got from attending the run sessions that used to be put on by Sweatshop in Westfield Stratford, before it closed. For a splash of double yellow I set off in front of some yellow flowers for a very slow bimble around Walthamstow village. Also going for a foliage shot was Ruby Daly who took her yellow shot in her garden in front of a rather spectacular tree

Leoni Mitchell Ali Sheppard Ruby Daly

Finally we had some rather creative entries from those who don’t own a yellow t-shirt this week. Elizabeth Czaban, our virtual tourist from South Wales, hid her lockdown ‘hairstyle’ under her parkrun tourist cow cowl. The Cow Cowl is worn to show membership of the UK parkrun tourists facebook group, for which members have to have completed a minimum of 20 different parkruns. Liz work her cowl for a trail 5k run alongside the river Sirhowy, which looked lovely. Mo and Amy Allen also lacked anything yellow to wear, so wrapped themselves in a high vis vest! This photo was taken at the end of Amy’s early birthday present – a strava segment that Mo created for her called “Amy’s square” – a 3.65 jog near Chingford. And finally, I love the improvisation Richard Selby, a.k.a. the Lego King, went to in order to fashion a yellow top out of a lego bag!

Elizabeth Czaban Mo and Amy Allen Richard Selby

Thank you to all of you for your hello mellow yellow contributions! Next week we move onto green, which I hope will represent the green shoots of recovery and a symbol of hope that parkrun will return soon!

Ali Sheppard

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