(not)parkrun – Record Breakers!

Where to start? What a surprise, pleasure, privilege it is to be able to write a (not) parkrun run report in the week Witney smashes the world records for both number of (not) parkrun’s run, walked or jogged and also the number of participants.

And, we should never get tired of saying, but it’s all because of the community that we’ve built together.  And we should never take it for granted, and never stop nurturing it. It’s the people things. If anything, maybe the last seven months without Witney parkrun have shown us that the actual 5km are the least important part of parkrun. You know, those 5km that you’ve looked forward to through the week, maybe felt a teeny bit anxious about, possibly cruised through, probably grimaced and dug deep for - and then, only then, smiled the satisfaction, started the weekend.

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Why? Because we’ve shown, typified by this past month of extraordinary exhortations of our Crabby, and the even more astounding response from the hundreds - hundreds! - registering (not) parkruns, that we’ve created a truly special community. And surely, aren’t the friendships forged, rekindled, nourished; the support we give to each other, aren’t they more important than the actual 5km?

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Three years ago I walked the course for the first time with a determined, enthusiastic, dedicated bunch of dreamers - keen to bring parkrun to Witney but not sure how or where or when or if anyone would come... and if they did where would they park and what if it was flooded and what if the council said no and a million other what ifs and potential reasons why not.

That core group carefully worked through the what ifs and why nots and delivered for the rest of us, encouraged us, applauded us and in turn, in time, together we’ve built our special table topping community.

And really, again, does your time on the 5km actually matter? That muddy corner or slopes in the wood or first buds in spring. Maybe yes or maybe no, but what matters for me are ‘not on my watch’, ‘mind the wire’, ditch dancers, bubble blowing, volunteers, friends. The people things. And for me, those people things on our last parkrun before more floods, before the virus on 8th February.  The previous day, the parkrun team, along with other community pillars Libfest and Witney Music Festival, came together to support my son Patrick’s Memorial Service. An unforgettable, immensely appreciated, very definite people thing.

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So too right, Martin is spot on talking about what makes Witney parkrun special on the Free Weekly Timed podcast - it’s all of us and what we can give to each other - whether we’re running, jogging, walking through our gorgeous tree lined avenues or as it turns out, not.

Reflecting on that journey over three years, did any of that cheerily optimistic team trudging the proposed course three sunny Septembers ago envisage this? That such a special community could be built?  Possibly not, and as a non runner at the time, it’s fair to say I didn’t entirely expect to be reflecting 400 runs later and as a parkrun regular.  It’s fair to say too that I couldn’t imagine running a half marathon...

But for me, the culmination of everything that parkrun has given me, will be doing just that, because organised events have been cancelled, in and around our familiar West Witney fields this coming Saturday morning in aid of SeeSaw. Along the way, I’ll be joined and supported by some familiar parkrun faces, friends, my favourite people things.

Honestly, I can’t wait.

And I guess I’ll be logging my (not) parkrun.

Run Report: Liam Walsh


(not)parkrun round up: We would like to thank…

It's been a busy Bank Holiday Monday but it's given us chance to reflect on how awesome our Witney parkrunners were last week and we wanted to send a little Oscar-winner-worthy THANK YOU to all of you!

Firstly, 451 (not)parkruns. Simply wow. We've imagined those 451 (not)parkruns as a relay which would mean we'd have been able to visit the top 23 parkruns in last week's (not)parkrun leaderboard.

Witney's (not)parkrun tour Pt1

Witney's (not)parkrun tour Pt2

Witney's (not)parkrun tour Pt3

There wasn't quite enough distance to skip over to Northern Ireland to visit Valley parkrun, Newtownabbey who were 24th last week. That also meant we didn't quite make it to our local neighbours Abingdon parkrun who were join 25th.

But we have made sure the relay took in the fabulous Brundall parkrun who are small, inspiring and exceptionally supportive (we definitely want to visit them when things are 'back'!). Take a look at our UK relay journey in these three images!

We also want to thank the 243 of you who logged your (not)parkrun last week. It's a phenomenal number and more (not)parkrunners than anyone has registered in the UK in a single week so far. You're all record breakers!

The 243 of you included 29 newly-registered parkrunners - that would be a lot of registrations in a 'normal' week so it's pretty extraordinary considering our metaphorical 'doors' are closed! We welcome each of you to the parkrun UK family and can't wait to see you at Witney as soon as parkrun returns.

It also included 95 first timers - that's to say 95 of you who haven't completed a (not)parkrun previously. As you can imagine, that's a few too many to list individually but we're hugely grateful you've put your running or walking shoes on to join us and we hope you'll continue (not)parkrunning in the coming weeks.

A whopping 58 of you also registered Personal Bests in comparison to previous weeks' (not)parkruns. We love that (not)parkrun is not only encouraging you to get out there, but maybe it's also motivating some of you to complete your 5K that little bit quicker than last time.

A special mention also goes to Adam Cardinal and Dale Johnson who logged 7 (not)parkruns - that's a minimum of 5K every day so thank you for not only getting out there, but recording your efforts online!

A couple more thank yous! Firstly, continued thanks go to our Chief Cheerleader, Mr Martin Crabb! We saw lots of efforts logged as 'Making Crabby Happy' and we know you certainly did that last week. He openly credits Witney parkrun with aiding his exceptional recovery from his hip replacement and we know he counts lots of you as friends, so he is exceptionally proud of our entire community.

Thanks too to BBC Radio Oxford for chatting to Martin on the phone last week as it no doubt caught a few people's ears and inspired some extra runs, jogs and walks.

Final thanks to the lovely Rebecca for her inspiring Cake by the Ocean (not)Run Report. You were all logging your (not)parkruns until 23:30 last night so it seems she inspired some of you to throw in a few last minute efforts.

Despite not being together in person, we are simply overjoyed at the community spirit we've witnessed during the past week. You've epitomised what parkrun is all about and you've certainly put Witney firmly on the map.

Now, it's the start of a new (not)parkrun week, don't you know...! Who's joining us?!

#loveparkrun #notparkrun


(not)parkrun – Lucas Lockdown20

This week's (not)parkrun (not)Run Report comes from Kayleigh Lucas. If you've not logged one yet, let Kayleigh be your inspiration to give it a go!


With the prospect of lockdown approaching back in March, my mum and I made the decision that being in my small flat on Witney High Street wasn't the best place for both my mental and physical health so she came and collected me and took me back with her to Devon.

With the waterlogging at the Witney parkrun course I probably hadn't completed a 5k in a few months so Mum was keen to get me back out there. So we sat and plotted our Lucas Lockdown20 parkrun route. We completed the first one on Saturday 28th March - purposefully setting a slow pace so we could only get better!! The course was an out and back with a mammoth hill at the halfway point which sapped a lot of energy - especially on hot days with no shade. But every Saturday morning we went out and completed the course, knowing that when we got home we could have a nice breakfast (bacon and pancakes can be a good motivational tool). The only disappointment was not being able to record these as parkruns!

Original Parkrun Route

After 12 weeks on the bounce I decided I needed a week off. The road had got busier and I was getting a bit bored of running the same route. We returned on the 27th June to complete our first official (not)parkrun - on an alternative route through the village - less main road, less cars, more shade! Our original route had a maximum elevation of 159m (mostly the mammoth hill!!) - our new route ... 198m.

Alternative Devon Route

We set off up the hill to the village (I never decided if starting with a hill was a good or bad idea), before dropping down to complete a circular route before the descent back to home. I was always told that the hills weren't as bad if you go clockwise around the village - I don't know if it's actually true but psychologically it feels easier going that way. We'd started using Fartlek in the week to help improve my fast walking and running sections and now used this for the full 5k; 1 min at 7-8 effort followed by 2 mins at 3-4. I've found this a really good way of pacing myself, giving myself time to recover and being able to judge my own effort, slowly improving as I got fitter and healthier. The downside... the moment your friendly personal trainer says the next 1 minute fast interval is coming up as you get to the bottom of the worst hill in the village at around the 3k mark. Mum would laugh as I responded 'of course it is' before I put all my effort in to power up the hill. The only benefit was knowing that was the final climb and everything after that was either downhill or flat!!

Lucas Parkrun

We hadn't plotted this route in advance, but had walked it enough times to know we were going to fall just short of 5k as we crossed back over the A30 so begrudgingly had to run past home and loop back around, picking up the home straight segments from our original parkrun.

With restrictions easing and a move to West Yorkshire in September, I'm back in Witney. Mum and I still complete our 5k at the same time each Saturday morning - the Lucas Lockdown20 Parkrun now has a Devon and Witney leg. My route here is a maximum elevation of 97m and my potential future route in Mirfield a max of 110m - I will never complain about the hills of Witney again.

So far since lockdown started in March I have run 142.26km, which for me is pretty good!

At Witney parkrun I'm known for my sprint finishes... and I can reassure you that in Devon these were no different. Since I've been back in Witney they haven't continued - I'm not sure those sat outside of Eden Cafe would appreciate it.

(not)parkrun has been a great way of getting me back out. I log a 5k most weeks (I've missed 2 since March so far) and when my motivation is lacking I walk and feel better for doing so. I may be the slowest on the Witney (not)parkrun Results page but every parkrun needs a tail walker!!

Words & photos: Kayleigh Lucas

#loveparkrun #notparkrun


Tail Walker’s Mission Impossible

Our regular Tail Walker, Martin Crabb, has become hooked on (not)parkrun, and of course, who can blame him?! With Witney parkrun currently SECOND (that's right... SECOND!) in the UK leaderboard of most participants this week, we set him a challenge which he's responded to in style.

Please read his words below then watch his brilliant motivational video on our social media pages before logging your own (not)parkrun this weekend!


I received this message from Witney parkrun:

"Good morning Mr C,
Your mission - should you choose to accept it - involves encouraging 100 Witney parkrun family members to record a (not)parkrun 5K run, jog or walk on their parkrun profile by 11:59pm on Sunday 23rd August 2020..."

As everyone knows, I'm parkrun crazy and can never reject a challenge!

Firstly, I thought what a great opportunity to find out who is fit and well after lockdown and to re-establish communication with all my Saturday morning friends.

I would like to thank everyone who responded last week resulting in a new Witney (not)parkrun record of 55. I thought if everyone who did it last week encouraged another parkrunner to join in, I will achieve my mission! 67293806_421743425102074_1695967492951769088_o

It's never going to be that easy, so I'm now begging all those who have had the pleasure in lapping me to join is, as my parkrun therapist has advised this will help me survive until I'm back powering through the woods with everyone shouting: "No Running Crabby!"

I promise if I achieve my mission I will stop going on about Witney parkrun until we have a restart date.

Love to everyone and hope to see you soon xx



(not)parkrun (not)Run Report – Seaton parkrun

A holiday cottage with a previously unvisited parkrun just 1 mile away would be super exciting under 'normal' circumstances. Despite abnormal circumstances, it was still too good an opportunity to miss...

With both Dan and I in the fortunate position of having been able to continue working during lockdown, we decided we needed a little break and managed to book an impromptu week in Beer in Devon at the end of July.

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Despite the abundance of hills in the surrounding area (hills really aren't my friend!), I managed an exploratory run on Sunday morning and was surprised to see a Seaton parkrun Strava segment when I got back. With the worldwide closure of parkrun, we hadn't even checked what was nearby on booking our holiday so this discovery cemented the exact location of my next run. (not)parkrun was on!

Tuesday evening arrived and after researching the Seaton parkrun course, we walked the 2km to the start - a little mound on the otherwise pan-flat Esplanade on the sea front. There wasn't much jostling for position with only two of us on the start line so after a 3-2-1, we were off past the beach huts, heading west to the turnaround point (a neatly spray-painted 2 metre social distancing reminder) at the end of the pavement.

Staying on the sea-side of the Esplanade's wall, we then headed east towards the very end of the pavement... and on to the stony beach for a short saunter to the next turnaround point. Well. I always wonder why I lose so much time on our woodchip carpet in the Witney woods but that's nothing compared to the energy sapping 75 metre out & back section at Seaton!

I clambered over steps (clearly not part of the usual parkrun route... not only had the stones turned my legs to jelly but clearly my brain too!) and headed back along the pavement on the 'road' side of the Esplanade, over the little start mound and stated off on the second identical lap.

By the time I'd gone around the beach hut turnaround, Dan was a mere orange dot in the distance! The flat, wide pavements were a thing of joy after all the hills around us and due to the time of day, they were fairly quiet too. With no marshals on hand, I made do with smiles and socially distanced 'good evenings' to others enjoying the seaside in a much more leisurely manner on the fairly cool summer evening, while I geared myself up for the next hit of the stony beach!

Deciding there was no way my legs could take on steps again, I headed back to the finish line along the sea-side of the Esplanade wall. Around halfway back, I was pleased to see Dan heading towards me to encourage me home after he'd completed his (not)parkrun. I knew the finish was back on the stony beach so I headed down the finish ramp and looked down to my watch. Urgh. I still had over 100 metres of stony beach running to go!

With one last push, I gave it everything I had and managed to land in a huffing, puffing heap as soon as the watched clicked on to 5K. I'd done it! And despite perhaps 400m of energy sapping stones, I still somehow ran a faster time than I've ever managed at Witney! With a princely sum of 0 metres of elevation at Seaton, I reckon our little mountain* into the woods is where I normally lose all my time ;-)

* some say it's a ramp. I'm sticking with mountain. Especially on the second lap!

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It was lovely to be able to complete a (not)parkrun on a course that was new to us and I'd definitely recommend a visit to Seaton parkrun's stony beach if you're ever in the area once parkrunning resumes.

In the meantime, keep on logging your (not)parkruns and let's see how high we can elevate Witney on the UK leaderboard!

(not)parkrun (not)Run Report: Tamsyn Wymer

#loveparkrun #notparkrun


Not a run report “Teaser” Edition

Hey there, how are you all doing? Lovely to see many of you (safely) out and about  this week hitting your "not a parkrun"  5K's or taking up other activities such as cycling in our beautiful countryside.

A big well done to everyone who joined the Great Big parkrun Quiz. A PB or not, great fun! And for those of you who guessed the RD in the photo, it was indeed RD Bertie!

This week we have a special edition "Teaser" not a run report for you ahead of a little bank holiday surprise! Kindly written by RD Ally. Can you guess what she is talking about:


After some initial chit-chat and warming up in preparation, we made our way to the familiar starting point up at West Witney. Eager faces listened to the run-briefing, ready to hi-five the hi-viz heroes and pay attention to the hazard areas around the course. Then 3-2-1, we were off!


Imagining the volume of happy faces through the trees, we each swiftly made our way through the out & back. Not surprisingly Tegs made a quick getaway on the small lap, while the rest of us were relying on the hi-viz heroes to boost our efforts. Hilarious cries of ‘No way - He can’t lap me already!’ were shouted by Bethany, but thankfully she held him off and Ally was giving it everything she had to be hot on his tail.  Once we’d made it past the clubhouse on the small lap, we seemed to have found our rhythm and a consistent pace was maintained for the first of the larger laps.  A boost from the hi-viz heroes, saw Rhys edge ahead of Ally, while Bethany spent a fair amount of time finding those hazards!


Once through the woods we were heading for the final lap and the gap was closing.  Tegs had found a surge of energy as the volunteers with their pom-poms and cowbells cheered him on, and the rest of us needed to dig deep to get round that final loop. The kids were closing that gap as they came down Deer Park Rd, but Ally was determined to dig deep! This was the only time she’d ever been in this position and Tegs was in her sights. From nowhere, Rhys came sprinting past to take the lead, and Tegs appeared to have run out of energy as he was pretty much stationary for the next couple of minutes.

A sprint finish ensued between Rhys & Ally, with the 10 yr old being the first through the finish funnel in a time of 23.30, Ally 2nd in 25.00, Tegs just behind in 26.30, and we all cheered Bethany in at 28.00


Needless to say Tegs was not happy with that result and would rather have run the actual course for real!! Roll on Witney parkrun's return!

Watch this space for more clues coming this week. In the meantime, #staysafe, #stayhome #loveparkrun


“Not” a run report special compilation 18th April 2020

A big thank you to everyone who has submitted content for this weeks "not " a run report compilation. We love seeing what you have all been up to.

Mandy Lucas:

"The Lucas Lockdown parkrun is now in its Fourth week! I've been tailwalker every week and Kayleigh Lucas has been placed first each week! Might even make myself a tail for next week!"


Ruth Trout:

"Just did 5k round Burwell/Deer Park. Part of one of our Tuesdays night routes. I hadn’t intended going that far but allowed some peer pressure from my neighbour to spur me on for the final half K!"

Dan Wymer (RD):

"I should've been RD at Witney this week so instead I virtually parkrunned in Central Park, NYC. Two laps of the Onassis Reservoir, pan flat and beautiful views!"


Nikki Shaw:

"Morning - we did a beautiful 5k around Alvescot and Black Bourton this morning - we can’t wait to be back at parkrun soon! xx"

Trish Davies ( volunteer parkrun photographer)

"Well I have taken on a new challenge... couch25K and am making hearts to say thank you to my staff as I work in the NHS. Stay safe everyone x"


Karen Rebecca:

"Morning, Matt and I enjoyed an early morning 5k along the meadow and river with Alfie the dog.. We managed around 34 minutes which is a steady improvement"

Punam Owens (Co-ED)

"my husband Lewis  and I were due to tail walk this week as part of our 28th wedding anniversary celebrations. So we walked the dogs instead!"

IMG_3581 IMG_3582 3

Graham Carter:

"I’ve been doing the parkrun quite a bit on my own. Nice and quiet."

Claire Soanes:

"Gorgeous bluebell woods near us are replacing Deer Park woods"


Cereta Drewett ( volunteer parkrun photographer)

"I am scanning all the family photos over nearly 80 years in order to make a book AND since lockdown I have taken up running again and completed my 162nd mile"

Michael Lewis:

"I’m having to shield so no running for me. I’ve bought a turbo trainer for my bike, so I’ve done several rides in my garden.
On the craft side, I’ve made a bug hotel"


Deborah Jackson:

"Did the online quiz and posted a miserable score of 5/15. Must do better!"

Andrew James Grundy Lyons:

"Took the opportunity to discover an empty central London on the run today."


And last but not least, many of our parkrunners have been volunteering for the Witney Land Army to help those in our community most in need - well done to you:


We know its going to be a long walk, jog or run until we can be back, so its been fabulous to see what you have been up to. We'd love to do it all again next week, so please do send in your snippets and fun facts!

In the meantime, take care everyone!

#staysafe, #stayhome #loveparkrun



12th April 2020 “Not a parkrun” run report x 2

Happy Easter Sunday. What a fabulous few days of sunshine we have had!

We are just loving everyone’s creativity so this week we have two “non” run reports for you…it is a holiday weekend after all!

Our first #notaparkrun run report is by our very own RD Dan Wymer who successfully held the inaugural Zwift Constitution Hill parkrun yesterday morning:

“The weather at the start was terrible with the rain so heavy you could hardly make out Buckingham Palace! After the briefest of briefings the crowd of 3 set off up The Mall - well 2 of the 3 did. Jonathan had volunteered to be Tail-walker at the last moment and took his role very seriously!


Fortunately the rain stopped by the time we got onto Birdcage Walk and the sun was shining as we neared Big Ben. Jenny and Dan kept taking it in turns for the lead throughout the course.

The turn at the bottom of The Strand meant only 800m to go and Jenny took and kept the lead to be first finisher under Admiralty Arch and the beaming sunshine”


Next week Dan will touristing at Zwift Onassis Reservoir parkrun! We look forward to hearing all about it!

Our second #nonrunreport is by Beth Soanes, one of our junior parkrunners. We shared some of her Logo creations yesterday and here they all are combined, just brilliant!

lego 1 lego 2 lego 3

Can you spot the "ditch dancers" and John "mind the wire" ?

first runner finsihing Barcodes please! Cakes being bought from UE Coffee Roaster. Tail walker just coming down Deer Park Road

First finisher finishing, barcodes please!

D entering results. Footballers still playing

RD entering results and footballers playing!

Well done Beth, this was a wonderful depiction of Witney parkrun and thank you to RD Dan too for sharing another way to keep active.

We would love to keep sharing your "non" run reports, so please let us know what you have been up to.

In the meantime, we wish you a great rest of the weekend,

Stay safe, stay home.




Event #89 – a Special Day ❤️

We have a special Run Report this week, written by Witney regular Liam Walsh. Thanks to Liam for taking the time to write these lovely words. All our love and thoughts are with the Walsh family ❤️

Thankfully our weather fairy sprinkled some magic and allowed us to go ahead this weekend, for Witney parkrun #89 was a special and a sunny one for me.

Last week our Witney parkrun team posted a request for volunteers to help at a Celebration Service for my son Patrick on Friday.

We know that parkrun prides itself on community, inclusiveness and wellbeing, and the way that you have embodied those values to support at such a tough time is humbling and heartwarming.


parkrun is so much more than the effort of a 5k or the volunteering itself: it’s about the friendships and spirit and connections that develop from it. And I’m so so grateful for that. That so many people have said that the service was beautiful is such a credit to our parkrun helper heroes, working alongside other community friends from Witney Music Festival and Libfest.

It simply couldn’t have happened without you.

So special thanks in no particular order to the following Witney parkrunners (and to everyone else with a hug or message or smile), who kindly gave their time on Friday:

John Honour
Peter Rose
Gill Sherwood
Punam Owens
Tamsyn Wymer
Dan Wymer
Kate Prinsep
Fraser Howard
Sally Howard
Ruth Trout
Matt Keeble
Eric Marshall
Marli Buckridge
James Field
Rupert Macfarlane

Roll on to Saturday and after our stop-start winter it was lovely to see so many familiar hivis heroes catching up and preparing for action - 30 heroes this week. Soon Run Director Bertie was in full flow with his familiar ‘not on my watch’ refrain sending us cheerily and safely on our way.


After the usual first lap dance through the mud and puddles, we had our much awaited woodland surprise to look forward to. And, as if the sight of snowdrops and the promise of daffodils wasn’t enough to raise spirits and hint of spring, there before us was a glorious woodchip carpet. Thank you so much indeed to the tremendous Witney Woodland Volunteers - there’s our fabulous community in action again - not only does it look fantastic, it made struggling through the woods that much more bearable! I almost looked forward to the final lap and visiting again!

For me it was also special to see friends, some old, many new in a familiar comforting place amongst the 214 finishing faces, with Ruth ensuring no-one finishes last at parkrun. There were 47 first timers, and somehow, pretty miraculously 13 personal bests. If getting our parkrun up and running 2 years ago was a 1,000 piece jigsaw, it was special to be able to introduce one of those pieces - all the way from Brisbane. Special to welcome visitors from Bury St Edmunds and Sheffield and special to share our story with others from Leeds and Woking and Newport and Ashbourne.


Fingers crossed that the weather fairy is back on duty this week, and that between us all, we’ll find new reasons to feel special at parkrun next week.


Run Report: Liam Walsh

Photos: Derek Hall, Trish Davies


EVENT CANCELLED – 4th January 2020.

***EVENT CANCELLED, January 4th***

Hello everyone, an early course inspection this morning has resulted in an event CANCELLATION for tomorrow.
The overnight rain has compromised our starting point and the majority of the field is waterlogged.
We are all very disappointed but safety is always our first priority.

In case you wish to tourist tomorrow, please check this link for cancellations before you travel:


We hope drier weather over the next few days will help the course recover in time for the 11th.

A big thank you again to everyone who stepped forward to volunteer. We appreciate you greatly!



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