#86 – “That’s the bestest parkrun ever!”

Today, I made the worst mistake ever as a parkrun tourist.

No I didn't forget my barcode; I always have a spare under the sole of my shoe just in case I misplace the ones in my phone case, parkrun shorts and the two in my car!

I didn't arrive late and have to play catch the tail walker…  although with the amazing pink 5km run route signs, getting lost would be hard (however the hilly route would make for a frantic and tough start if I had to make up 10 minutes!).

Run Brief area

Even picking one of the toughest and the hilliest parkrun in the UK to 'run' with Achilles issues and under physio instructions to walk up any hills - I walked a lot today - wasn't that big an error.

The error was bringing my wife with me to run Whinlatter Forest parkrun!

I have been a totally disorganised parkrun tourist now for over three years. Thankfully my super-kind, report proofreading wife humours me in my parkrun adventures; travelling with some sufferance to far-flung places around the UK as I go to yet another new, different event, always questioning me…  'Why are we travelling so far to run a free 5km event?'

This week after dropping my son off at the World Scout Jamboree catch-up camp, we kept heading up the M6 to parkrun in the North!  Only when we set off we had no hotel booked and I had no idea where we were going to run. All my wife said was, "I want to parkrun somewhere with trees."

Although we stopped at a Travelodge just off the M6 by Lancaster with 50 parkruns that I hadn't run very close, by the demand (to get it past the proof reader it did originally say request!) for trees was still fresh in my mind as I fell asleep last night.  Having seen fellow parkrun tourist's pictures of Whinlatter Forest I had an idea… It did mean another early Saturday start but my long-suffering other half is now used to that!

As we drove along the final stretch of our journey, ears popping along the A66, the sight of soaring hills and tree-covered slopes vindicated my selection.  This was a run would earn me star-husband points, of which, after leaving my smelly parkrun kit in a warm car for 5 days last week, I was in much need of. I do know how to use the washing machine but after a slight error washing a shower gel bottle with bubbles foaming out of the powder drawer, I am rarely allowed.  And never unsupervised!

As well as running lots of different parkrun events I love to write the run report.  So on arrival I quickly sought out this week's RD, Sonia DRYDEN to grab the chance to write the report.  Thankfully for me she said "Yes.". although after reading my stream of consciousness both you and her might just regret it!

At the run briefing Sonia advised all of how tough the course was…  3 times harder than you had been told! She wasn't lying. I recorded a personal worst time at a parkrun while running on my own (my only other slower times were when I was running with my young children or as a tail walker).

My wife and I walked together to the start and 91 other runners.  Normally we self-seed - as I have the accolade of being the fastest in the family, I normally start a head of my wife - however since my injury I have been relegated from the number one spot!  So we started together.

With the countdown from 3 starting the parkrun, the gentle downhill start led me into a false sense of security - surely this wasn't going to be quite as bad as it had been made out?

During the first half kilometre I matched my wife step for step. Well actually two steps of mine to every three of hers as she has shorter legs.  My gentle easy pace, nicely matching her hard efforts, this wasn't going to be so bad I felt - until the hills started.

Without a care in the world my wife ran off and left me in the middle of the woods as she gracefully glided up the hill. I resorted to a walk, definitely under physio advice.

As I watched my wife ran off into the distance I noticed a stream of runners zigzagging up a huge great hill.

From the run briefing I knew that Rachel was waiting at the top of the hill and she marked the halfway point and finally a downhill section - I could run again.

As I passed Rachel fast runners shot past me  - I was being lapped by speedy runners before I was even halfway! In fact I didn't even see today's first finisher, Kieran COOPER (SM18-19) because he was so far ahead of me, finishing in 19:05! Great running.

Father & SON

As I approached Lyn holding her hi-vis lap arrows, for a millisecond I was tempted to sneak behind Striders of Croydon AC's Jodie GRAY (SW30-34) who finished in 25:09, 14th place and first lady.  But knew that I was only cheating myself and if my wife hadn't seen me overtake her it would be the only topic of conversation on the four + hour drive home!

So I turned to face the technical woody section that we had been warned about on the run briefing.  Taking care to lift my feet, I followed the path and weaved between the trees, enjoying the downhill for all 200m before again the path went up. And UP!

Passing Rachel for the second time I gasped out my thanks.  This was especially heartfelt as she pointed me in the right way!

One of the reasons that I like to offer to write the run report is that it gives me a record of my travels and the other is to offer thanks to the marshals who make these events possible. As just like today my shouts of thanks to the marshals on course are lost as all the effort goes into breathing as I move.  So a huge thank you to:- Kate BAIRD, Brendan CARLIN, Sonia DRYDEN, Carol HARVEY, Rory HODGKISS, Rachel JONES, Hannah Elizabeth METCALFE, David SANDERSON, Jessica SMITH & Lyn THOMPSON; today's team who made this event possible for all us 93 runners. As with parkruns around the world if you fancy giving scanning a go, fancy being the time keeper, marshalling and encouraging others or are happy to help out in any role please look on the roster and e-mail - whinlatterforesthelpers@parkrun.com Don’t worry if you are unsure what to do, there is always someone on hand to talk you through the role.  You can even write the run report. I promise they don’t all have to be this long!

As I started the road section for the second and final time I spotted the orange hi-vis of the tail walker. With a light run, jog and a bit of brisk walking I soon caught them up.  As the route again turned slightly uphill I had a chat. I would love to mention the lady's name as it was her first ever parkrun, as her daughter had bought her along. But scanning the results I noticed she was down as an unknown so I am going to guess she didn't have a barcode.  What a shame. But the great thing is there are parkruns on all over the country every Saturday at 9am so don't worry, register and you can parkrun again next week either here at Whinlatter Forest or at any other parkrun. I'm sure most will be a lot easier than this one, although not many as scenic.

Passing Lynn and her yellow signs for the second time I remembered the run briefing - it was 200m all downhill and I could look like a god.

I would like to think I ran in like a bronzed Hermes, messenger of the gods, winged trainers flying across the ground however my wife tells me I was more like Dionysus, the god of wine and entertainment after a heavy night staggering out of a taverna.  A dreadful look for teetotaller.

Collecting my token I was greeted by my wife, the lady who has proofread over 100 run reports and who has turned my inarticulate prose into English of a decent standard, spotting my typos, spelling mistakes and lack of punctuation within seconds of scanning a report.  Even highlighting parts in red as nonsensical rubbish with, "That's the bestest parkrun ever!". High praise indeed from someone who has run 92 different events.  Even FabbyAbbey (Fountains Abbey!)

Although the elevation across the course made it a bit of a beast, the amazing views down the Valley with the low-level autumn sun shimmering off the lake, the giant pines stretching skywards made it an absolute beauty.

As has now become a tradition, a great parkrun tour always involves a trip to the café for a chat over coffee.  And at Siskins you get a parkrun special! So as the team packed up, we scoffed egg sandwiches and tea.

Results & finish token sorting Siskins Cakes

By the time the team arrived in the café to sort tokens and process results we had started on cake and coffee! Maybe my injury isn't the only reason my running is getting slower!

Chatting to the team I was pulled up by Rachel on my comment.  The first time I saw her on course she said, 'You're halfway.' I checked my watch, only to respond, 'We are definitely not halfway!'

My wife wants my result expunged from the official results for arguing…  as she knows this means I would have to break my 3 year streak of new parkruns by visiting again!  As she said if she lived closer she would be running here every week and the hills would be amazing training.

As the core team packed up to leave the café we took the chance to explore more of the Forest, especially the Gruffalo trail.  What a wonderful natural area to enjoy and lots of amazing playgrounds for youngsters and a GoApe for those a little older and a mass of mountain biking trails.


Getting in the car my wife's final words as we drove away were, "You've really raised the bar on parkruns this week…  How are you going to top it next week?'

Thank you for a superb parkrun today.

Happy parkrunning.



Run Report Event #85

This week the locals just outnumbered the number of first timers to the forest. 108 parkrunners total with 46 people parkrunning at Whinlatter for the first time. What a glorious day you all had for it too. The sun decided to join us after a long absence in August! The sunshine enabled to beautiful views to be admired as people made their way around the course. The mild temperature made getting round that little bit easier as could be seen with the 21 personal best times that were achieved this week! Well done to everyone who bagged themselves a new one. Especially well done to Sue Simpson who made it a hat trick of 3 PBs in a row!

We had milestones a plenty with Cara Organ (who also gained a PB) hitting the milestone of 100 runs at the same time as her father Martin Organ who completed his 50th parkrun. Thanks for choosing Whinlatter as the setting for this! Well done also to Lucy Owen for completing you 50th parkrun today - enjoy wearing that red t shirt!

Cara & Martin Organ 100 & 50

There were two people joining the parkrun family this week by completing their first parkrun - welcome to Dominic Young & Alex Hickin - we promise it only gets easier from here on in..

Alex Hickin 1st parkrun

Congratulations to Robin Regan for taking finish token #1 and well done to first lady back this week Elizabeth Watson  - impressive running!

Robin Regan 1st finisherElizabether Watson 1st Female1st 3 finishers

Huge thank you to this week's volunteers: John SCRIVENS • Rachel JONES • Sonia DRYDEN • Brendan CARLIN • Nathan FOX • David WILSON • Pauline SINGLETON • Elspeth JOHNSON • Liam JOHNSON we just couldn't run parkrun without you. If anyone fancies volunteering please just get in touch via Facebook or email us whinlatterforest@parkrun.com all the roles are easy to do and you will be with the most supportive group of people who enable others to achieve great things! 





Run Report Event #84 by Anthony Howe

Along with the majority of runners this Saturday, I was a visitor to Whinlatter Forest. In fact, 57 out of the 122 finishers were running here for the first time. I can’t speak for any of the others, but this one definitely wants to return!

The 84th running of Whinlatter Forest parkrun saw good running conditions – not too warm and not too cold – and no rain. There was even a mention of an orange ball in the sky making a brief appearance. All of these may have been factors in 18 people obtaining new Personal Bests. First finisher Robin Regan of Eden Runners also only missed out on his PB by 1 second, while the next two finishers both ran their fastest times at this event. Well done Stephen Walker and Tom Dunlop.1st 3 finishersJust 3 seconds separated the first female finishers, where Natalie McCarron just pipped Nadia Shaw. I’m sure they will discuss their new PBs at their next Cumberland AC meeting. Third female home was Bethan Everson, ninth finisher overall. The highest Age Grading obtained was 76.94% by Lyn Thompson of Keswick AC, another person running a PB.

The sole milestone run this weekend was Paul Sibert’s 100th run. Paul has ran 83 times at Beeston parkrun, twice at Canon Hill and once at 15 other events. Congratulations Paul, the black T shirt will hopefully be on the way soon.

In amongst the tourists were visitors from Rosliston, Worsley Woods, Wimbledon Common and Chipping Sodbury to name a few. Most prolific parkrunner was Zoe Dennison who has run 417 times, including 242 at Bushy at 110 at Bath Skyline. At the other end of the scale were two people registering their first runs. Congratulations to Rachel Bauer and Daniel Grisdale and welcome to the parkrun family.

This week’s event was brought to you by the following heroes, many thanks go out to these as without them, well you know…

Samantha AYERS, James CONLON, Hazel DAVIES, Anthony GAGG, Ben GRUCHY, Jo GRUCHY, Rachel JONES, John SCRIVENS, Wendy SHILL, Debs WHITE, Scott WHITE


Finally from me, wow, what an amazing run. Of all the different events I have run at, it is right up there with my favourites. The views are stunning and the forest is fantastic, and the volunteers are so helpful and encouraging. I don’t think there is much else that I’d want from my run on a Saturday morning, and I’m thinking of how and when I can get back again sometime soon.

Anthony Howe


Run Report Event #82

A huge bumper crowd at this week's parkrun at Whinlatter Forest. The sun shining and the bank holiday brought 231 people out to run, jog or walk the course. Out of this number 124 were people who were joining our event for the first time. Just marvellous!

Special shout outs in the run brief this week were for Sue Simpson of Morpeth Harriers who was celebrating her birthday, Scott Perry who was running his 50th parkrun and Nathan Collins a junior parkrunner who got to the milestone 10 runs and will be receiving his white Junior 10 t-shirt!

Morpeth Harriers Nathan Collins

The heat returned to the forest which had an impact on PBS, but it was fantastic to see 16 people achieve a new one, including regular Whinlatter Forest runners Sue Simpson & Jane Mottram. Congratulations to Benita Lapthorn who bagged a new PB for the second week in a row!

New to parkrun were Glen Duncan, Esther Crooks, Alexandra Peacock, William Steele and Harvey Smith - welcome to the parkrun family!

The first three back today were Oliver Matharu, Robert Webster & Joe Driscoll - well done.

1st Finisher 1st 3

Thanks as ever to our fantastic team of volunteers - this week they were: Sarah HAMILTON • John SCRIVENS • Jo GRUCHY • Rachel JONES • Tanya COATES • Coral PRICE • Sonia DRYDEN • Brendan CARLIN • Andrew KNIGHTS • Janet KNIGHTS • Chris HAMILTON




Run Report Event #81

Finally a week when the rain stopped and all the parkrunners and volunteers got home dry! Yippee!

This Saturday 193 people came to join in the parkrun fun of whom 104 were first timers to the forest. We saw 8 people complete their first ever parkrun to join the parkrun family - we hope you all had a fab time!

Sunny Run Brief

There was much to celebrate on the hill as regular runner and volunteer Janet Evans completed her 100th parkrun - a fantastic achievement and sees her join the black t shirt gang! Well done!

Janet Evans


Congratulations to Tom Harrison who set a record for the VM80-84 category getting round the course in a fantastic time of 42.18!

In total 24 people achieved a new personal best, which is wonderful. 7 of those people were representing Derwent AC who brought a long a large group to run the course this week - the training is clearly paying off!

Derwent AC

It's fantastic listening to all the stories as people complete the 5km route. The celebrations this week really do reflect that parkrun is for everyone - run, jog or walk - your parkrun - your way!

Without the volunteer team, parkrun wouldn't happen. This week's team was led by Jo Grucy our run director and we'd like to thank: Diana MITCHELL  • Rachel JONES • Tanya COATES • Paul COLDHAM • Anthony GAGG • Siobhan GASCOIGNE • Sonia DRYDEN • Brendan CARLIN • David WILSON • David SANDERSON




Run Report Event #80 Rain Did Not Stop Play

This Saturday the rain came and it came in style! We were however, relieved that the predicted thunderstorms stayed away. It's fair to say it was up there as one of the soggiest parkruns to date. The rain by no means dampened any spirits and it certainly helped to provide a memorable run!

Despite the biblical rains 170 of you came along to run, jog and walk the course and we had 170 wet but happy parkrunners at the finish. The trees providing as much cover as they could to protect the finishers.

Tree dwellers trying to keep dry

Once again we saw a high number of first timers to the forest - 86 to be exact with 11 people completing their first ever parkrun. We welcomed a crowd from Home Group who were running to raise awareness and funds for the World Transplant Games, some ran, some jogged, some walked and some volunteered - thank you to you all!

Home Group

The rain must have encouraged you all to get a shift on as we saw 19 people achieve a new PB. We had quick runners in the first three including Carl bell who has recently been crowned British Fell Running Champion - congratulations Carl!

1st 3

More congratulations to Leigh Pullan of Run Pals and Peacehaven parkrun who joined us with a group from Run Pals to complete his 100th parkrun. You're black t shirt will be winging it's way to you - wear it with pride!

We were very pleased to see the return of finish token 38 which has been missing in action for a number of weeks. Thank you to the mystery person who dropped it back into the box!

The biggest applause of the day yet again has to be for our amazing volunteers who did question their sanity at standing out in the rain this week! We tried to find a new volunteer role as umbrella holder for Andrew but it wasn't on the list! parkrun would not happen if it were not for the volunteers so thank you very much to: Samantha AYERS • Nicol MOFFAT • John SCRIVENS • Hazel DAVIES • Leigh PULLAN • Laura PULLAN • Siobhan GASCOIGNE • Sonia DRYDEN • Brendan CARLIN • Janet KNIGHTS • Helen HEY • Pip CONLON • Julie COOPER

Soggy Volunteers Soggy volunteers 2




Run Report Event #79 by Jim Upton

What a wonderful way to start a holiday in the Lake District! A run in the sun up one of the most beautiful hills in the country. OK not everyone’s cup of tea, but a tough parkrun in the morning gives you a great feeling for the rest of the day. 

Right from arriving at the car park the atmosphere was so “parkrun positive”, mainly people wondering whether it was really as tough as it sounded. It was another well attended run with 107 first timers out of the 213 runners in total. This included 6 runners having their first ever parkrun experience. As RD Sonia said “If this is your first parkrun, you’ll always find the next one easier.”

Since June 29th the number of participants has increased each week and on Saturday the second highest number ever at Whinlatter was achieved, beaten only by the 2019 New Year’s Day event. This was when 279 runners ran Whinlatter followed by Keswick an hour later!

Over 20 Borders Reivers Runners were welcomed at the briefing. They have been parkrunning all over the North West raising awareness of Parkinson’s. A most impressive group who cheered everyone over the finish line later.

Border Reivers Running Club

Sonia also introduced the team of Tail Walkers with Edward wearing his wonderful home-made tail.

Tail Walking Team

 The parkrun is amazingly beautiful with wonderful sunny views over Bassenthwaite Lake. The views of the runners ahead going further uphill were less enjoyable!  The marshals were very cheerful and supportive, which was much needed as 3km of the run is uphill.  The final 800 metres, after the loop, was downhill all the way, a good opportunity to complete a really challenging parkrun in style!

Many congratulations to all the participants including the following -

Matthew VOKES (New PB) First Male Finisher

1st 3 finishers

Elizabeth WATSON (New PB) First Female Finisher

Katie SAMUELSON Most Experienced parkrunner - 384 parkruns

Michael ANDERSON Best Age Grade - 73.05%

With such high number of Whinlatter first-timers there was a very impressive 35 out of a possible 101 parkrunners achieving their PB for the course. Running conditions were very good, especially for a mountain run.

Our youngest parkrunners were Edward and Isobel PARTRIDGE who were Tail Walking, Henry WHITE who was a First Timer after 13 parkruns in East Anglia and Joseph ROBSON from Yorkshire. Joseph was running his 176th parkrun, in addition to his 36 junior parkruns, at over 50 different parkrun courses!

 Many thanks to the fantastic hi-viz heroes lead by a wonderfully enthusiastic Sonia DRYDEN, and John PARTRIDGE who successfully lead the 30 minute pacing.  Without Andrew KNIGHTS, Brendan CARLIN, Carol HARVEY, David WILSON, Edward PARTRIDGE, Hazel DAVIES, Isobel PARTRIDGE, James UPTON, Janet KNIGHTS, Jo GRUCHY, Nathan FOX, Sarah PARTRIDGE, Siobhan GASCOIGNE and Sonia DRYDEN this amazing parkrun could not happen.

If you are in the north of the Lake District the Whinlatter parkrun is a great challenge with fantastic views. However if you want something scenic but less hilly, there is the Keswick parkrun, currently on their third route due to footpath work, where you can see the hills without running up them. The choice is yours.

 On a personal note I really enjoyed the run; a PB for me and my wife who was particularly impressed with the tail walker team. My son was a first-timer and has now completed the flattest (Portrush) and the hilliest parkruns in the UK.

Jim Upton



Run Report Event #78 The One With Lots Of People

Saturday was fantastic! So many people came along to join us for 3 and a bit miles, up and down and around the forest. 186 of you to be exact came along to run, jog and walk the course and an incredible 106 of that number were first timers to our event at Whinlatter - that's 57% of the field!

Group selfie

The attendance this week was a new record for Whinlatter Forest, the only other day the attendance has been higher was on New Years Day, so this is the official non bank holiday record.

High numbers also helped a higher than average amount of personal bests. 32 people achieved anew PB this week. The Aylesbury family were on a mission with Caleb, Amelie, Ziva & Clare all gaining a new one.

Caleb Aylesbury

Peter Toes from Keswick Junior parkrun gained a new PB and Elspeth Johnson who has been a fab tail walker for us previously - Elspeth knocked 1 minute 32 seconds off her previous best! Philip Cueto also got himself a PB for the second week in a row - great work!

Congratulations to Amelia Bumby who is in the JW10 category, who completed her 10th parkrun and so joins the Junior white t shirt gang!

Robert Webster led the field this week and took finish token 1! Well done.

Robert Webster

Well done also to the 5 people who joined the parkrun family this week by completing their first ever parkrun. Welcome to: James Rice, James Cotterill, Ailsa Hogg, Megan Neesham-Mctiernan and Cora O'Meara.

Of course all this couldn't happen without our wonderful volunteers who this week smiled and clapped and got on with their tasks despite the rain. Thanks very much to: Martin CUMMINS • Jane CUMMINS • Peter John BATTRICK • Jo GRUCHY • Rachel JONES • Sam STREETER • Anthony GAGG • Sonia DRYDEN • Brendan CARLIN • Sarah PARTRIDGE • Sally BURCHALL

Finish Line







Run Report Event #77

A drizzly start to the morning this week, but once again the atmosphere in the forest was not dampened!

A slightly larger than average crowd of 119 came along to run, jog and walk the course this week. True to Whinlatter form, half of this number were people coming to the forest for the very first time to take part in parkrun.

We welcomed back Nic Wiseman who looks after Keswick Junior parkrun who completed his 300th parkrun and whilst that's not an official parkrun milestone - what an amazing achievement!

While we're talking about amazing how about this for a fact....Lewys Poole came along this week with his Mum Emma, Dad Nigel & sister Carys from Moormead Junior parkrun. Lewys completed his 249th parkrun at Whinlatter this week, which means next week he will complete his official milestone 250th parkrun! Lewys is in the JM1O category but is only 8 and half years old, which we believe will make him the youngest person in the world to achieve 250 parkruns! Simply amazing!

This week we welcomed Tom & Anna Chignell to the parkrun family as they completed their forst every parkrun.

Conditions were good for PBs this week with 18 of you gaining a new one. Well done everyone!

Huge shout out to the volunteers who made the event happen Peter John BATTRICK • Jo GRUCHY • Rachel JONES • Tanya COATES • Siobhan GASCOIGNE • Brendan CARLIN • Rob MALSOM • Stuart FARMER • Elspeth JOHNSON • Ava MURRAY 




Run Report Event #76

The sun shone brightly again for parkrun this week which saw 94 people come along to run, jog or walk the course.


We met lots of new people this week too, with 43 people being new to the forest, including Mark Lamb who took finish token #1.

Mark Lamb

We said happy birthday to Jenni Tomkinson from Brueton parkrun who joined us with along with her husband for a bit of parkrun tourism. I'm sure Jenni loved the chorus of happy birthday that rang out through the forest as she completed her 237th parkrun.

Jenni Tmkinson JT Back sash

There were 15 personal bests achieved this week! Shout out to Catriona Maison who knocked nearly 2 mins of her time while Tom Dunlop who finished 4th shaved another 4 seconds from his previous best time - it seems 4 is a lucky number for Tom!

Chris Clarke joined the parkrun family by completing his first ever parkrun - congratulations!

Thanks very much to this week's volunteers without whom parkrun just wouldn't happen:

Peter John BATTRICK • Jamielee JOHNSTON • Hazel DAVIES • Jo GRUCHY • Anthony GAGG • Gail JAZMIK • Siobhan GASCOIGNE • Sonia DRYDEN • Brendan CARLIN • Sally BURCHALL • Tony DUNCAN • Stephen SINGLETON

Here we have a picture of Gail who was the tail walker this week and Jamielee who sorted the finish tokens  - both first timers to the forest and it was lovely of you both to volunteer. Jamielee completed her 99th parkrun - best of luck for next week which will see Jamielee hit triple figures!

Volunteers = tail walker & token sorter