Witton parkrun is cancelled on 2020-10-31 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

WITTON IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS ISSUE 22 – 24th October 2020

As increasing parts of northern England settle into Tier 3 restrictions for the foreseeable future and cases continue to rise across the country, it’s safe to say that the UK is firmly underway with a second wave of coronavirus and as we head towards winter, with the clocks going back at the weekend, difficult and uncertain times lie ahead. There’s lots of noise and competing arguments about the best way through this crisis, but all we mere mortals can do is follow the agreed upon guidelines of ‘Hands, Face, Space’ – washing our hands regularly, covering our face in public settings and keeping social distance from others wherever possible.

Hands Face Space

The government advice is fairly straightforward and vital if we’re going to keep local cases down

In the parkrun world, while events in the UK are postponed indefinitely, events are slowly returning elsewhere, with parkruns in Western Australia and Japan this week joining others in other parts of Australia, New Zealand and the Falkland Islands which have previously restarted. In total, there were 87 parkruns this week, nearly twice as many as last week, welcoming 8543 parkrunners and 886 volunteers, also both almost twice the previous week’s total. 11 events in Japan and 28 events in Western Australia took place, with the state containing the major population centre of Perth joining the Northern Territory and Tasmania in reopening in recent weeks, albeit in a more limited manner as some lifting of restrictions has been delayed. This coming Saturday should see parkruns in a fourth part of Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (containing the nation’s capital, Canberra), reopen, alongside the first parkruns close to the UK mainland, Nobles parkrun on the Isle of Man and Guernsey parkrun in the Channel Islands. These two events are returning initially on a four-week pilot basis, to see how they operate under UK restrictions and whether they become overwhelmed by visitors from other parkruns in the UK (something that is discouraged but unpoliceable) and if concerns are raised then the decision to reopen these specific events may be swiftly reversed.

Tsujido Kaihin parkrun

Tsujido Kaihin parkrun, about 20 miles from Yokohama in Japan, finally held their first event on Saturday, many months after was previously intended – a good time was had by all!

Although I profess to some trepidation on this topic, perhaps informed by my proximity to the epicentre of the current ongoing crisis, which centres on our part of the country, parkrun last week released results of a survey they conducted of 2,000 parkrunners regarding the effects of lockdown and the absence of parkrun on their mental and physical health. The results are, unsurprisingly, quite depressing, with 62% of respondents reporting a negative impact on their mental health from the COVID-19 restrictions and 70% saying their links to their community had been weakened. 38% said they were less physically active than prior to lockdown, while considering the doomsday scenario that parkrun could never return, 55% thought their health and wellbeing would be negatively impacted if parkruns ceased to operate, a figure I’m sure many Wittoners would agree with. While these statistics clearly demonstrate the importance of parkrun to its participants’ physical and mental wellbeing, something I think we all recognise and appreciate, there still remains significant barriers to a return for parkrun at Witton any time in the near future, and I think Tom Williams’ suggestion last week that Spring seemed most likely rings very true. You can read the full findings of parkrun’s survey here: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/10/20/losing-connection-and-quality-of-life/

Group Shot

We’re all missing our shared parkrun experience at the moment and can’t wait to get back as soon as it’s safe

In more positive news, we received a message this week from Kathryn Townsend with the latest shots of our much-missed home, as she ran on Saturday alongside husband Simon and friend Craig. Kath said she was missing us all and parkruns generally (she tours frequently and is on the core team at Worden Park junior parkrun in Leyland). Kath has nevertheless kept up with her physical activity, telling us she’s done either a walk or run every day since lockdown began and has successfully kept it up after returning to work. Consequently, on the virtual Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge, she has reached Carlisle! Just Scotland to go now, Kath!

Kath and Co

Kath sent us these two photos from her run – husband Simon is in black and friend Craig in blue – it’s nice to see the course, Kath, thanks for sending them!

Thanks for your message, and if you’re running or walking 5K, why not submit a (not)parkrun time? Speaking of which…

(not)parkrun – Week 19

A hit-or-miss week weatherwise, with plenty of wet weather though not always raining. Over the weekend, the persistent rain that fell for most of Saturday surprisingly gave way to a cool Sunday filled with bright sunshine and largely cloudless skies. This week saw 19 (not)parkrunners record a total of 29 (not)parkruns and first to finish this week was Blackburn Road Runner Andrew WISDOM in 23:35. Andrew ran 3 (not)parkruns this week and retook the lead for most first finishes (7) from fellow Road Runner Dan Hamilton, celebrating by knocking 5 seconds off his PB from Week 14 – great work, Andrew! Second to finish, and first female, was Miriam HAMILTON in 24:29. This was Miriam’s 9th (not)parkrun and the first time she’s recorded a time when husband Dan has not. Although not a PB, it was her highest (not)parkrun finishing position and the highest by any female since Kate Pomfret was first finisher in Week 3 – well done, Miriam! Just behind Miriam was fellow Road Runner Karen RISHTON in 24:33. Karen recorded 3 more (not)parkruns to get to 37 in total, and she knocked 3 seconds off her PB from Week 15, to end up just 4 seconds behind Miriam in the battle to be first female – keep going, Karen!

Miriam

Miriam – here in a rare shot in BRR gear – was first female for the 8th time at (not)parkrun!

Fourth finisher was friend of Witton Cameron ASHTON in 27:05. Cameron recorded 2 (not)parkruns this week, setting a massive new PB by a minute and a quarter from Week 15 in recording his highest ever (not)parkrun finishing position – brilliant, Cameron! A fourth PB in the top 5 is next, in the form of Long Distance Walkers Assocation’s Brian FISHER in 27:50! This was Brian’s 12th (not)parkrun and he improved for a 4th consecutive visit, knocking a single second off his time from last week – they all count, Brian! 6th was Witton 50 Club member Robert CROMPTON in 27:52. This was Robert’s 20th (not)parkrun in total, one of only 6 people to reach that total to date.

Cameron 2

Cameron recorded a new PB for the first time in 4 weeks this week!

Next up is Blackburn Road Runner Kate POMFRET in 29:06. Kate ran 3 (not)parkruns this week, her most for 4 weeks, and reached 31 (not)parkruns in total, just the third person to hit 30 overall. One of the other two is Darwen Dasher Chris COOPER, who comes next, in 29:25. Chris ran 3 more (not)parkruns this week to take his total to 37, the joint-highest number of any Wittoner. 9th place went to Witton 50 Club member John KEARNEY in 29:48. John ran 2 (not)parkruns this week to take his total to 8 overall across the past 6 weeks.

Chris C

Chris Cooper has the joint-highest number of (not)parkruns at Witton, with 37!

Another Road Runner up now and it’s Cathy HATCH in 31:56. Cathy only started (not)parkrunning in Week 8, but has now recorded 14 runs in total, the 9th-highest total among Wittoners. Next is friend of Witton Isobel HOLLINGS in 32:42. This was Isobel’s 10th (not)parkrun recorded across 10 separate weeks since Week 3. Then it was a returning (not)parkrunner, South East Lancs Orienteering Club’s Paul BOOTH, in 35:18. Paul recorded his 12th (not)parkrun in total and first since he recorded his 5th PB in a row 4 weeks ago – great to see you back, Paul! I follow next, Matthew VERNON in 35:26. Faster than last week, slower than the week before’s PB and my 6th (not)parkrun in total.

Cathy H

Blackburn Road Runner Cathy Hatch recorded her 14th (not)parkrun this week!

Our last Blackburn Road Runner this week is Witton 100 Club member Ian GOODLIFFE in 37:14. Ian’s single run on Saturday took him to 17 overall. He was followed by fellow 100 Club member Pat PROCTER who ran 42:36 this week, a second successive (not)parkrun PB on her third run, knocking nearly 2 minutes off her time from last week – cracking progress, Pat! This put her half a minute in front of my mum, Lynda VERNON in 43:09. This was mum’s 5th (not)parkrun and the first time she has failed to improve, but still a solid time – it can’t be a PB every week, mum!

Pat

An autumnal shot of Pat Procter from around this time last year – she set another PB this week!

Final ones now, starting with a surprise name down here in Witton 50 Club member Peter NICHOLSON in 48:16. This is far slower than Peter’s usual time and, having investigated, Peter has revealed he has suffered a knee injury which may take some time to heal. In his own words: I was really disappointed on Saturday to miss my first Saturday morning 9am run since lockdown began. But I decided to do a (not)parkrun talk walk on Sunday – I’ve never actually done tail-walking! Get well soon, Peter! Next it Witton 50 Club member Dorothy MYERS in 49:42. Having first joined us last week, Dorothy recorded her third (not)parkrun this week and set a new PB, knocking nearly 2 minutes off her time – you never cease to amaze, Dot! Last, but certainly not least, is friend of Witton Janice PARKER, who ran her 8th (not)parkrun this week and recorded a new PB of 50:58, knocking nearly 2 minutes off her previous best from way back in Week 3 in July – brilliant work, Janice!

Peter

We hope that Peter Nicholson will be fighting fit and smiling again soon!

This week, Karen, Chris, Kate, and Andrew recorded 3 times and Cameron and John ran twice. Karen’s fastest run came on Monday, John’s came on Tuesday, the same day Cathy ran, Miriam ran on Wednesday, Paul ran on Thursday, Robert and Dot ran on Friday, an astonishing 8 of you ran on parkrunday despite the torrential conditions for much of the day, while Pat, Peter, me and mum ran on Sunday. Well done to this week’s (not)parkrunners and if you’re thinking of getting involved, it couldn’t be simpler, and we’d love to see you!

not-parkrun

Fancy getting involved? Walk, jog or run 5K, log into your parkrun profile and record your time!

parkrunniversaries

Three more Wittoners celebrate their parkrunniversaries this week, having all made their debut at Event #9 in our first year. But since then, they’ve all had quite different parkrun journeys to reach this point… We start with something of a hold-over from last week, where we discussed Janice Parker and daughter Isobel’s parkrunniversaries – well this week, we celebrate the parkrunniversary of Janice’s partner, friend of Witton and regular (not)parkrunner Cameron ASHTON! Cameron ran his first parkrun on October 24th, 2015 and came back regularly for the rest of the year, running 6 times before year's end, culminating in a run on Christmas Day. He set two PBs in that time, reducing his time to 31:38 in November and after running our first parkrun on the Beast course, Cameron joined Janice at Heaton Park a week later, his first tourist run. He ran twice more at Witton before month’s end, before finishing the month at Heaton. In total, he ran 46 parkruns during 2016, visiting 10 different venues, from Albert parkrun in Middlesbrough to nearby Bolton and Burnley, to Clermont Waterfront parkrun in Florida, where he ran twice in September. He also ran his 50th parkrun, at Worsley Woods near Manchester in December, earning his red milestone t-shirt. He ran 11 times with us at Witton, including at our first birthday and our second Christmas Day run, and, notably, in July broke his old course Witton PB by over a minute. In 2017, he reached 49 parkruns in a calendar year, adding 5 new venues to his total, all in the North West. He ran 9 times at Witton, including at our 2nd birthday and 100th event and, of course, on Christmas Day – an event that was made extra special by Cameron earning his black milestone t-shirt at Witton that day. 2018 dawned with a first New Year’s Day Double, at Sale Water and Stretford parkruns, and having got off to this start, Cameron managed a staggering 53 parkruns in the year, missing just two Saturdays during the course of the year, one in February, and one in October. These came at an impressive 31 venues, with no less than 21 of them being brand new venues, including running at parkrun’s spiritual home, Bushy Park in September. He ran 7 times at Witton, including for our first Run for Norman in June, our 3rd birthday in August, our 150th run in November and our 4th Christmas Day event. Last year, he matched the feat, running another 53 parkruns over the year, missing just two Saturdays, both in February. New Year’s Day events at Blackpool and Lytham Hall were the start of 36 different venues that year, 21 of them being brand new venues, from Conwy in Wales to Nidda in Frankfurt, Germany. In August, at Bradford parkrun, Cameron ran at his 50th different venue, which puts him at Half Cowell status, 50 more away from Full Cowell Club membership. He ran 9 times with us at Witton, including over Christmas at our Christmas Day event and our 200th parkrun 3 days later. Cameron had run a perfect 13 out of 13 parkruns in 2020 before our suspension, joining us at Witton most recently just one week earlier at Event #210 in early March for the first time this year. In total, he has run 221 parkruns, with his 43 appearances at Witton his most-visited venue – he keeps threatening to join the Witton 50 Club but hasn’t yet! His total of 221 is the highest by anybody who ran their first parkrun at Witton, and he has outstripped his home parkrun by 11 events so far, with Witton currently stuck on 211 events held. Another curio that emerged when I was checking these things out is that Cameron has completed stopwatch bingo, collecting a finishing time with every seconds number between :00 and :59. Statistically, this is likely to take a parkrunner 281 parkruns from their first run, but Cameron achieved the feat at Southport parkrun in November 2019, finishing in a PB of 26:44, at only his 202nd parkrun!* This puts him around the top 10% for the fastest parkrunners to achieve that feat, so well done, Cameron – and happy 5th parkrunniversary, what a 5 years it has been!

Cameron

Cameron takes a more leisurely pace at the finish of his first parkrun – he’s now done more parkruns than anyone who started at Witton!

*Before you all accuse me of having far too much time on my hands (again!), these stats are available to all parkrunners using the Running Challenges browser extension, which works on Chrome and Firefox browsers. This automatically collates all your parkrun data when you are exploring your stats in detail and will generate a whole host of additional information about your parkrun achievements: it’s a proper rabbit hole! You can download the extension here: https://running-challenges.co.uk/ but remember it only works on Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox (all details can be found via the link). Enjoy!

Our next parkrunniversary belongs to a lesser known member of the Witton 50 Club, but one who has run most of his parkruns with us at Witton: it’s Paul GAVIN! Paul also joined us for Event #9 on October 24th, 2015 for his first run and recorded an impressive 25:27. He returned a week later, setting a PB by over half a minute but that was his last run on the old course as he next joined us in the New Year for our first run on the Beast. Nevertheless, the change of course didn’t seem to bother him, as Paul ran 11 times in the first half of 2016, before not joining us again between May and September. He returned at Event #51, and ran four more times before year's end, to end the year on 15 parkruns, all at Witton. A similar pattern in 2017 too, with 6 runs in the first half of the year, before a summer lull from April to August, returning one week before our second birthday in August. In total, he ran his first 27 parkruns at Witton, the joint-8th longest streak from the start of a parkrun career at Witton and the joint-14th longest unbroken streak at any point in Witton history. His streak ended when he joined the Witton on Tour party (an unofficial Witton event given there were around 50 of us trekked over there) to Hyndburn parkrun’s third ever event in November. He ran 6 more parkruns before year’s end, 4 at Witton, a return to Hyndburn and a first run at Burnley parkrun, for 17 in total, slightly more than a year earlier. Another modest improvement in 2018, saw 18 runs in total, with 13 of them coming with us at Witton, 2 at Preston and the remaining 3 returning to Hyndburn. Once more, there was a definite summer gap, with no runs between May and September, but Paul’s quiet accumulation added up and when he visited us at Event #149 in November 2018, he ran his 50th parkrun, to earn his red milestone t-shirt. There were no parkruns at all in the first half of 2019, but he returned in June, at nearby Hyndburn, during our summer hiatus, running 13 times before year’s end, 7 times at Witton and 6 times at Hyndburn. In August, he joined us for our 4th birthday, the first birthday parkrun he’s been a part of, and that day Paul also became the 47th member of the Witton 50 Club, the only member to join that birthday! In total, Paul has run 65 parkruns, with 51 of them coming with us at Witton – happy 5th parkrunniversary, Paul, we look forward to welcoming you back when we return!

Paul Gavin 2

Paul Gavin works hard sprinting to the finish of his first parkrun – he’s now a member of the Witton 50 Club!

Our final parkrunniversary this week belongs to another veteran of Event #9, but someone who almost has two parkrunniversaries, having then not joined us again for a very long time! On October 24th, 2015, Blackburn GroupRun’s Terry KENNEDY ran his first parkrun! Terry recorded 48:37 that day but would not be seen at another Witton – or any other parkrun for that matter – for 3 and a third years – 40 months in total! His next parkrun came on February 23rd, 2019, and on our Beast course, Terry ran a new PB, knocking over 2 and a half minutes off his debut from years earlier. This time, he returned a week later, running 3 weekends in a row, and he ran 15 times in total during the course of last year, setting 3 more PBs to set a new mark of 37:48 in June. After a break from September to the end of the year, Terry returned to parkrun in January, running 5 times before our suspension, including our most recent run, Event #211 in March. In total, Terry has run 21 parkruns and they have all come at Witton. This is the joint-5th longest active streak among Wittoners from the start of their parkrun careers and the joint-15th including those who have since run elsewhere. It is also the joint-28th longest unbroken streak of runs at Witton at any point! Your loyalty is appreciated, Terry, and we’re pleased you finally came back – happy 5th parkrunniversary (sort of!)! Proof if some of you need it that it’s never too late to rekindle your parkrunning! Why not pay us a visit when we return?

Terry K

Terry Kennedy completes his first parkrun, supported by the tail walkers – it would be over 3 years before he returned but he’s fairly regular these days!

This Week in Witton parkrun…

2015

This year lines up exactly with the same dates as parkruns were held in our first year, so Saturday marked 5 years to the day since our 9th parkrun on 24th October 2015. Saturday was wild, wet, and windy and conditions were exactly the same for Event #9 five years ago, with the first truly horrid conditions for a Witton parkrun. Nevertheless, 163 hardy souls lined up for the off. It was a quiet affair overall, as Witton settled into the familiar pattern of running, scanning and mingling that is parkrun’s hallmark. One small milestone was reached, when visitor Gavin Finch became the 800th different person to cross the line at Witton – we’ve now had more than 4,400! In other news, following Mark A Jennings’ appearance at Event #1, he had held the record for the ‘Most parkruns Seen at Witton’ with his total that day of 298. 8 events later, we welcomed our second and third members of the 250 club in the form of Melvyn Burton of Crossgates Harriers and then Dave John Williamson of the UK parkrun tourists group, with Dave taking the record of most parkruns seen with his visit being run #318 – our first run by someone over 300 parkruns (Melvyn was running his 272nd parkrun that day – still a stonking number!). Meanwhile, in the quest to find the last man standing from our inaugural event, we had another casualty as Witton 100 Club member Peter Toogood became the latest person to miss an event, leaving just Anwar Khan and Michael McCarthy on a perfect record of 9 Witton parkruns out of a possible 9!

Gavin Dave Melvyn

Gavin Finch became the 800th different person to cross the line at Witton (having lost out to son Thomas, who was 799th!), while Dave Williamson (wearing his old style 100 shirt!) took the record for most parkruns seen at Witton with 318, with Melvyn Burton slotting into 3rd with 272 runs!

2016

Event #56 on October 22nd, 2016 was once again a temperate autumn run, quite a contrast from a year earlier. As Witton approached back-to-back cancellations, we welcomed 106 attendees to the Beast, our final three-figure attendance of the year. Another relatively quiet event, with just one milestone t-shirt awarded, when Darwen Dasher Kerry Elliott earned her red milestone t-shirt on her 50th parkrun, 41 of which had come at Witton, helping her to win the 2015-16 Points Competition. Meanwhile, Witton 50 Club member Justin Collighan was the last person to have run all our parkruns in our second year.

Kerry

Kerry Elliott’s on her way to her red 50 t-shirt this week in 2016!

2017

Event #102 on October 21st, 2017 was a pleasant affair, with rain holding off for the 86 attendees, perhaps a slightly higher number than could be expected given it was the weekend our near-neighbours Hyndburn parkrun held their inaugural event. Our report that week was kindly provided by regular Peter Nicholson, and the major news of the day went to Blackburn Road Runner Kate Pomfret, who became the 20th member of the Witton 50 Club, 97 events after making her debut with us and 2 events after she earned her red milestone t-shirt at our 100th event!

Kate

A sepia shot of Kate Pomfret as she joined the Witton 50 Club this week in 2017!

2018

Speaking of Kate, she was our run report writer this week in 2018, when Event #147 took place on October 20th. Cracking conditions at Witton saw 97 people come down for a run, with Blackburn Road Runner Josh Crowther first man home in his current Witton PB of 17:59, his first sub-18-minute run on the Beast and, at the time, the 13th quickest run ever seen on the Beast (it’s down to 21st now – there’s been some speed merchants in recent years!). Following up our mention of Dave Williamson in 2015, we were visited in 2018 by Peter Broadbent, who ran his 366th parkrun with us that day – one for every day of the year! This put Peter 5th in the all-time Witton list at the time, showing how things had changed since 2015, and further change can be shown by telling you he’s now 10th in the list! No milestones on the day either!

Peter Broadbent

A cracking shot here of the run down to Tattersall Corner! Peter Broadbent (in black) was running his 366th parkrun, the 10th-highest total we’ve ever seen at Witton!

2019

Event #191 took place on October 19th, 2019 in crisp autumnal conditions. The most notable run at the sharp end of the field came from visitor Jennifer Wetton of Central AC in Scotland. Jennifer finished in 4th position overall in 19:35, the 8th-fastest first female time in Witton history and 6th-fastest on the Beast. Her time would have been good enough to be first person home in exactly half of all our events last year, she just picked the wrong week! Meanwhile, first time Wittoner Sue O’Rorke, of Skipton parkrun, became the 17000th person to cross the line and have their barcode scanned (named runs). We also had a special visitor to Witton, in the form of a gold baton, part of the Big Community Relay to celebrate parkrun’s 15th birthday last October. The 15 batons were handed out at Woodhouse Moor parkrun in Leeds, the 4th-ever parkrun event in the world and Blackburn Road Runner Hayley Duckworth was fortunate enough to take possession of one at Preston parkrun the previous week. She brought it to Witton (where else?!) and handed it to fellow Road Runner Ian Goodliffe, who ran around the Beast with it, before taking it to Croxteth Hall parkrun in Liverpool for next week’s run! I’d love to be able to tell you where the gold baton has gone since then, but unfortunately once the initiative ended, they were no longer tracked and have dropped off the radar. There are parkrunners online hunting for them, though, so maybe we’ll see another one at some point! Finally, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council had completed some renovation works in Witton Park which greatly improved the back end of our course: the perimeter fence on the run away from Tattersall Corner had been repaired and improved, the 3 steps to the final avenue of trees had been reconstructed into 6 shallower steps (a significant adjustment to the average parkrunner's rhythm was required!) and, in part due to the increased use of the woods for music events, the forest floor in the final avenue of trees had been given a covering of tarmac, ending for the foreseeable the muddy bog parkrunners usually have to navigate in the winter months. Such a shame we won’t be feeling its benefit this winter, however!

Ian Baton

Witton legend Ian Goodliffe was the lucky recipient of one of parkrun’s 15th anniversary batons, taking it on to Liverpool a week later – I’ve been trying to trace what happened to it with limited success!

And with that rather extensive account of last year’s event, I think we’re just about done! With the clocks going back this weekend, the nights will start to draw in and the mornings will be darker. The days will get shorter and colder and life is likely to feel quiet and lonely for many of us over the coming months. Look out for each other, and if you ever need anything please know that the parkrun community is still here, and we are always delighted to hear from you. We love you, and we miss you all.

We’re getting through this together.

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun

Me

An early shot of me from a soggy Event #9!

 

WITTON IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS ISSUE 21 – 17th October 2020

As widely predicted, on Friday, it was announced that much of Lancashire, including Blackburn with Darwen, would be placed in Tier 3 the next day. The move into the Very High Risk category for coronavirus cases sees all inter-household mixing banned in homes, gardens and any indoor setting, though the Rule of Six is still in place for public places such as parks. In practicality, the main change so far has been the closing of so-called ‘wet pubs’ (those that do not serve food) but within the sliding measures of Tier 3, further actions can be taken to help curb the spread of the virus if necessary, while discussions continue in other parts of the country over further moves into Tier 3 and calls grow for a possible nationwide lockdown to help ‘reset’ the situation with the virus.

Tier 3

Blackburn has entered Tier 3 restrictions, which means new rules for us to all get used to

After a welcome lull over the summer months, Europe is beginning to see the emergence of a second wave of COVID-19, which is forcing nations to re-impose restrictions across the continent as we approach what is certain to be a difficult winter. These measures have now impacted parkrun’s return in a significant way, with the intended return of parkrun Poland last Saturday cancelled at quite short notice, following the reimposition of restrictions by the Polish government which would have impacted the ability of all parkruns in the country to operate. While this is a blow, it is evidence that parkrun HQ are operating in a fluid way regarding reopening, with changing conditions within operating countries causing a necessary change of direction.

Gdynia parkrun

parkruns in Poland, like Gdynia parkrun near Gdansk (the first parkrun ever in Poland), have had their restart date delayed due to new restrictions

This meant that the only newly returning parkruns this weekend were those in the Australian island state of Tasmania, where 11 of the 16 events there restarted on Saturday. This meant that worldwide at the weekend, 45 events took place, with 4842 parkrunners and 489 volunteers. Next weekend, parkruns in Western Australia and parkrun Japan are pencilled in to return, while on the last day of the month, returns for parkruns on the Isle of Man and Guernsey are scheduled, preliminarily on a 4-week pilot basis. Closer to home, on Friday, Tom Williams, parkrun Global’s Chief Operating Officer, held the latest Q and A discussion on parkrun’s social media platforms to update UK parkrunners on the current state of play, and alleviate some of the concerns which emerged during the aborted return plans in October. The discussion was varied, revisiting issues which came out around volunteering and equipment, but also discussing public perception on the return of parkrun and sounding a more conciliatory attitude towards restart plans, stating that no event could be mandated to return though there would be plenty of support from HQ to help facilitate a return when it was appropriate. To that end, while Tom was understandably reluctant to put a timeframe on a return in the UK, given the worsening situation, his cautious estimate was for a whole-UK return in the Spring. If measures to reduce infection happen faster than expected, that could be sooner, but likewise, if things continue to be bad, it could be later. Either way, it appears unlikely that we will see parkruns back in the UK during this calendar year, an unimaginable notion when we paused in March. You can read parkrun HQ's latest announcements here: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/10/20/covid-19-coronavirus-update-20-october/

Bellerive

Bellerive parkrun in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania returned this week, and was the second-largest parkrun attendance in the world last Saturday, with 328 attendees!

(not)parkrun – Week 18

There was no doubting that Autumn had arrived this week, with a lack of warmth evident throughout. On my run at the weekend, I was running through falling leaves as wind shook the trees and left a bejewelled path of yellows and browns at my feet. This week saw 19 (not)parkrunners record 30 (not)parkruns, both an improvement on last week, and only the third time we’ve hit 30 (not)parkruns in total during a week. The Hamiltons fail to register a (not)parkrun time, which meant a return to the top spot for some other familiar faces, and first finisher this week was Blackburn Road Runner Andrew WISDOM in 24:13. This was Andrew’s 17th (not)parkrun and matched Dan’s 6 (not)parkrun first finishes, returning to the top spot for the first time since Week 14, all this despite it being his slowest (not)parkrun time since Week 12 – good job, Andrew! Second place went to Blackburn Harrier Ian CLARKSON in 24:46. This was Ian’s fastest of two (not)parkruns this week, taking him to 6 in total and this is his highest finishing position so far, just one place off the top spot! Completing the podium was this week’s first female and it was a return to the rostrum for Blackburn Road Runner Karen RISHTON in 25:10. Karen recorded 3 (not)parkruns this week, taking her total to 34, and she has now been first finisher on 7 separate weeks, one behind fellow Road Runner Miriam!

Andrew W

Andrew Wisdom (l) was (not)parkrun first finisher for the 6th time in total, matching Dan Hamilton!

Just missing out on the podium was Darwen Dasher Chris COOPER in 26:25. Chris ran an impressive 4 (not)parkruns this week, equalling Karen’s total of 34 overall, the most of any Wittoner – great commitment, Chris! Next up was Robert CROMPTON in 27:18. Following his return last week, Witton 50 Club member Robert ran twice more this week to take his total to 19. He was followed by a return for Long Distance Walkers Association’s Brian FISHER in 27:51. This was Brian’s 11th (not)parkrun but his first submitted for two weeks, not that it seems to have dampened his speed, as he improved on his PB from a fortnight ago by over half a minute – superb running, Brian! Next up is Witton 50 Club member Peter NICHOLSON in 28:50. This was Peter’s 16th (not)parkrun, continuing a streak of 16 consecutive weeks recording a time, and it was by far the slowest time he has finished a week with, though of course there’s nothing wrong with a more leisurely 5K – you can’t go flat out every week, after all!

Peter N

Peter Nicholson continued his streak of 16 consecutive weeks recording a (not)parkrun time this week!

Next up is friend of Witton Cameron ASHTON in 28:55. Cameron recorded two times this week, to give him 26 in total and he ran nearly a minute quicker than last week – good work, Cameron! He’s followed by Blackburn Road Runner Kate POMFRET in 29:02. Like Cameron, Kate ran twice this week, putting her on 28 in total, 6 behind the top spot she held for a while. Behind Kate is Witton 50 Club member John KEARNEY in 29:54. This was John’s 6th (not)parkrun across the 5 weeks since making his debut in Week 14. Then it’s Blackburn Road Runner Cathy HATCH in 32:30. Cathy has recorded 13 (not)parkruns now, having first joined us in Week 8!

Kate

Kate Pomfret (pictured here at a wet Witton two years ago this week) ran her 28th (not)parkrun in total this week!

Next up is returning (not)parkrunner Isobel HOLLINGS in 35:19. This was Isobel’s 9th (not)parkrun, and first for three weeks in a special week for her – it was her parkrunniversary! More on that shortly… Behind her was myself, Matthew VERNON in 35:52. This was my 5th (not)parkrun and was slightly slower than last week, as I really wasn’t feeling it, but still found a nice pace that was comfortable, without being easy. I was followed by Ian GOODLIFFE in 37:14. As usual, Blackburn Road Runner Ian recorded his time on Saturday, this being his 16th in total, over two minutes faster than last week – great job, Papa G! He was followed by his fellow Road Runner, our last this week, Irene SLATER in exactly 38 minutes. This was Witton 100 Club member Irene’s 9th (not)parkrun, having recorded two last week!

Ian G not

Ian Goodliffe recorded a 16th (not)parkrun overall this week – and he did it on parkrunday!

Last few now, but plenty going on, starting with my mum, Lynda VERNON in 42:28. This was mum’s 4th (not)parkrun and she improved for the third straight week, knocking over a minute and 40 seconds off her time from last week! She’s followed by last week’s first timer, Pat PROCTER who recorded 44:26 this week, setting a massive new PB by over 5 minutes from her debut last week – good to see you getting up to speed, Pat! I suspect (not)parkrun came up in Pat’s weekly telephone call with good friend Dorothy MYERS, as this week saw Dot record her own debut (not)parkrun time – not once but twice! Dorothy, as most of you will know, is the oldest regular female at Witton parkrun and is steadfastly loyal, running every one of her 87 parkruns to date with us at Witton – welcome to (not)parkrun, Dot! Dot’s fastest time came on Tuesday, when she recorded 51:37 – I must say I was delighted to see her name in the results, our only first timer this week, and it’s great to see her getting out and about in the current climate! Keep up the good work, Dot! Last, but certainly not least, is friend of Witton Janice PARKER in 55:57. This was Janice’s 7th (not)parkrun and first since Week 16, as she, like daughter Isobel, ran on her parkrunniversary!

Dot

Witton legend Dot Myers ran her first two parkruns this week!

This week, Chris ran 4 times, Karen ran 3 and Ian C, Robert, Cameron, Kate, Irene and Dot ran twice. 8 people recording multiple times during the week blitzes the previous best of 5 and it’s great to see so many of you getting out and about during the week. This week, John ran on Monday, the same day Irene and Karen ran their fastest, Cathy ran on Tuesday, the same day Dot recorded her quickest, then, strangely, we jump to Friday, when Ian C and Robert ran their fastest, with a further 8 recording their times on parkrunday (Saturday), while me, mum and Pat ran on Sunday, which is when Chris set his new PB. Well done all our (not)parkrunners this week!

not-parkrun

It couldn’t be easier to join us for (not)parkrun: run your 5K, log in to your parkrun profile and submit your time – no proof required!

parkrunniversaries

Another four Wittoners celebrated parkrunniversaries this week, three of them having debuted early into our first year, with another joining us 2 years later. First is Paul MCKENNA, who ran his first parkrun on October 14th, 2017 at Witton’s Event #101! Paul ran 26:30 at that initial outing but returned a week later to knock 26 seconds off his time. We didn’t see him again then for over a year, before he joined us again right at the end of 2018, at Event #156 on December 29th. He improved again that day, knocking nearly another minute off his time from 14 months earlier and from mid-January 2019, he became a regular at Witton, running 3 times in January, twice in February, 4 times in March and 3 times in April. Following his first appearance, he set PBs on his next 7 appearances at Witton in total, reducing his time to an impressive 22:34 in February. In total, Paul’s first 19 parkruns were all at Witton, up to mid-June 2019, before making his tourism debut during our long hiatus last summer, visiting nearby Hyndburn parkrun at the end of June. This was his only tourist parkrun that summer, and he next visited Witton in October, joining us 5 more times before the end of 2019, including a first Christmas Day parkrun and our 200th event 3 days later. For New Year’s Day, he opted for a different venue, perhaps for ease of travel between venues, as Paul visited Stretford and South Manchester parkruns to complete a first (and now only) New Year’s Day Double. His remaining parkruns have all been at Witton, and he had run 7 more times by our March suspension, taking him to 34 parkruns in total, with 31 of them at Witton. Happy 3rd parkrunniversary, Paul!

Paul McKenna

Paul comes to the finish of his first parkrun, 3 years ago this week!

Onto Event #8 now, on October 17th, 2015, at which there were three parkrunniversaries. We start with a Darwen Dasher, who has run almost half of her parkruns with us at Witton: it’s Sarah WALKER nee SUTHERS! Sarah ran her first two parkruns in October 2015, both at Witton but then wasn’t seen at a parkrun again until 2017, first visiting Cuerden Valley parkrun in January and then returning to Witton 3 times in February. This was followed by 5 consecutive tourist runs, at Kettering, Cuerden Valley, Bolton, Penrith and Oxford parkruns before another run at Witton. In total, Sarah ran 28 parkruns in 2017, her highest yearly total, adding Burnley, Preston, Hyndburn and Strathclyde to her growing list of venues, including joining Witton on Tour at Hyndburn’s 3rd event in November. She ran 17 more times in 2018, including at our 3rd birthday. She has only run 7 parkruns since the end of 2018, and only once more at Witton to date, but it was a very special one as at Event #170 in April 2019, Sarah ran with us for the 26th time and ran her 50th parkrun in total, earning her red milestone t-shirt from parkrun HQ. She also ran at Corby and Preston parkruns earlier in 2019 and followed her visit to Witton with runs at Morecambe Prom, Markeaton and Belfast Victoria parkruns, with a single outing at Bolton parkrun in March her only run of 2020. In total, Sarah has run 54 parkruns across 16 different venues, with Witton by far her most-visited venue with 26. Happy 5th parkrunniversary, Sarah!

Sarah Suthers

Sarah Suthers (as she then was) finishes our 8th parkrun on our old course back in 2015!

Our final two parkrunniversaries are a mother and daughter, who both debuted at Event #8 on October 17th, 2015. Both friends of Witton, who started with us, neither has yet reached the heady heights of the Witton 50 Club but both have run a significant number of parkruns across the years, I speak of Isobel HOLLINGS and her mum, Janice PARKER! Starting with Isobel, she ran her first parkrun in October and returned a week later for another go. Running once more in 2015, she set a new PB, knocking nearly 2 minutes off her inaugural time but following the change in course at Witton at the start of 2016, Isobel toured more, with Heaton Park in Manchester becoming her new regular parkrun. She ran 19 times at Heaton parkrun in 2016, part of a total of 39 parkruns overall, an impressive total, 8 of those still coming with us at Witton (including for our 50th run in September), alongside 5 other venues. There were just 8 runs in 2017, across 6 different venues, including a single visit to Witton in October for our 100th event. Her final run of the year, at Preston in November, marked her 50th parkrun in total, earning her red milestone t-shirt. After a parkrun-less year in 2018, Isobel was back on it in 2019, running 19 times in total, including 4 times at Witton, joining us for both our 4th birthday in August and our 200th event in December. Many of her runs came at new venues, 9 new ones in total ranging from nearby Clitheroe Castle to Bedford parkrun in southern England. 2020 had seen 6 parkruns before our suspension, all at different venues, only one visit to Heaton among her visited venues and, consequently, no runs at Witton since December. Nevertheless, on Saturday, Isobel joined her mum in running the Witton old course on the very day they ran their first parkrun 5 years ago – happy 5th parkrunniversary, Isobel!

Isobel

Isobel comes to the finish of her first parkrun back in 2015 – she’s done 75 in total now!

Our final parkrunniversary this week is for Isobel’s mum, friend of Witton, Janice PARKER. Like her daughter, Janice first joined us for Event #8 on October 17th, 2015 and she joined us 5 times in total before year’s end, setting three consecutive PBs to end the year on 43:35, finishing her year with her first Christmas Day run with us. She ran with us at the first Beast event on January 2nd, 2016, but with a number of medical conditions, the course change proved difficult for her and so began a parkrun odyssey, which started in a small way. Following a run at Heaton Park in mid-January, she ran once more both at Witton and there before the end of the month. Then came Burnley and Bolton in February, Worsley Woods in April, Preston in June, Albert parkrun in Middlesbrough in August, two international runs at Clermont Waterfront parkrun in Florida in September, Pennington Flash in October and Cuerden Valley in December. These were just some of 46 parkruns that took place during 2016, with 10 runs at Witton, including for our first birthday in August and for our second Christmas Day run, while her Christmas Eve run at Heaton Park marked her 50th parkrun overall, at her home for 21 parkruns that year. 2017 saw a further increase to 49 parkruns in total, including 5 new venues from Blackpool and Southport to Haigh Woodland and Oldham, down to Mile End parkrun in London. She joined us at Witton on 6 occasions, including for our 2nd birthday in August, our 100th event in October and our 3rd Christmas Day parkrun, her 99th run in total, before earning her black milestone t-shirt at Heaton the day before New Year’s Eve. 2018 started with a first New Year’s Day Double, taking on new venues at Sale Water and Stretford parkruns. For the first time, she hit 50 parkruns in a calendar year, labelling her a gold level parkrun obsessive, with those runs coming at 30 different venues, including 21 brand new ones, from Redcar, Stewart and Tees Barrage parkruns in the North East to parkrun’s spiritual home Bushy Park in London, which she visited in September. She didn’t forget Witton, running 7 times with us, including all the important ones: our first Run for Norman in June, our 3rd birthday in August, our 150th event in November and our 4th Christmas Day parkrun. In 2019, Janice achieved a further 50 parkruns during the year, 23 more of which came at newly visited venues, from Conwy in North Wales to Darlington South Park in the North East to Nidda parkrun in Frankfurt, Germany! Her run at Morecambe Prom parkrun in August was her 50th different parkrun venue, making her a member of the Half-Cowell Club, with another 50 needed to reach centurion levels and full membership. Witton wasn’t visited until July, one of 5 visits during the year, including, once again, for our 4th birthday in August, our 5th Christmas Day parkrun and our 200th event, just 3 days later. Following runs at Woodhouse Moor and Temple Newsam parkruns in Leeds on New Year’s Day, Janice had completed all 13 possible parkruns in the year, including two on New Year’s and one on Leap Day, and all at different venues, including 4 more entirely new ones. She has run a total of 33 parkruns at Witton, always returning for special and important events, and has run an impressive 213 parkruns in total, the highest number by any woman who has begun their parkrunning journey at Witton. She did have plans to earn her green 250 t-shirt this calendar year, but obviously Covid has made that impossible. Nevertheless, Janice got in touch this week, following her parkrunniversary run on our old course last Saturday, to share her own experiences of parkrun, one I’m sure lots of you can relate to: “I can remember that first time parkrunning – I was so nervous and not sure if I would be accepted being the slow runner that I was. Parkrun has given me so much: confidence, friendships, and a real joy in participating in something I feel is worthwhile (for my physical and mental health as well as the wider community). I am missing parkrun, although my body certainly isn’t (my health isn’t brilliant at the moment). I’m hoping to keep up the (not)parkruns until we can all be back on that start line together again – I’ll still be that fat lass at the back though!” We look forward to welcoming you back soon, Janice – happy 5th parkrunniversary!

Janice

A happy Janice completes her first parkrun – she’s still smiling 213 parkruns later!

This Week in Witton parkrun…

2015

Event #8 took place on October 17th, 2015 and was the quietest Witton event so far. First female Maria Lowe, of the Horwich RMI Harriers, set the record of being the first person, male or female, to be first finisher at consecutive Witton events, having achieved the feat a week earlier on her second of three successive visits to Witton. Blackburn Road Runner Brigitte Wainmann became the 1500th person to cross the finish line at Witton, 3 events after our 1000th finisher had been an unknown. And on the quest to find the last man standing from our first event, our 3 contenders, Anwar Khan, Michael McCarthy and Peter Toogood were all still locked in combat, attending for an eighth week in a row each!

Maria Lowe

Maria Lowe forever etched herself into Witton history, as the first person to ever record back-to-back first finishes!

2016

The most notable thing about Event #55 on October 15th, 2016 is that there was NO run report! An unthinkable travesty. Looking through my stats, there is very little to say about the event: there were only 69 attendees, with just 2 first timers visiting us from other venues, the joint-lowest total we’ve ever had at a Witton parkrun. We also had our 350th unknown finisher – you can tell I’m scratching around for something to say, can’t you? I’ll stop…

Hi Vis

No notable milestones from Event #55, so have an atmospheric shot of some volunteers, proving that hi vis does what it says on the tin!

2017

You’re not going to believe this, but Event #101 on October 14th, 2017 was another rare occasion where there is no run report! Unlike Event #55, however, we did have milestones to discuss! Blackburn Road Runner Ian Goodliffe earned his red 50 t-shirt (after we mentioned his earning of his black t-shirt last week!), becoming the 34th person to do so at Witton. 46 of Ian’s runs came with us, with visits to Cuerden Valley, Huddersfield, Preston and Haigh Woodland completing the set. We also had a new purple t-shirt earner, as friend of Witton Mark Lord volunteered for the 25th time, as a tail walker. 19 of Mark’s credits had come as a marshal, also barcode scanning once, with the remaining 5 coming as tail walker.

Ian G and Mark L

Ian Goodliffe (l, in yellow) sprints to his red t-shirt back in 2017, while Mark Lord earns his purple t-shirt tail-walking while pushing baby Skylar in her pram – hardcore!

2018

Event #146 on October 13th, 2018 was an eventful affair. Storm Callum brought wind and rain that left poor parkrunners scurrying for cover pre-run, while the event itself was briefly in doubt when the course inspection revealed a fallen tree blocking the route! Never fear, Witton regulars Bryan Searby, Bernie Johnson, Peter Craine and John Kearney set to work breaking the tree up with their bare hands to ensure we kept our reputation of never cancelling for the weather (with one, more recent, notable exception)! Following the howling conditions, only 66 people came down for a run, though the rain had largely subsided by the time the run started. Among the attendees was former Witton core team member Sean Procter, who ran his 70th parkrun and 50th at Witton, to become the 38th member of the Witton 50 Club, the only milestone of the week!

Event 146

Some wet Witton regulars shelter pre-run, while our industrious boys set to work tackling our pesky fallen tree – their efforts allowing Sean Procter (r) to join the Witton 50 Club!

2019

Limited info about Event #190 on October 12th, 2019 too, following a rather brief run report. No milestones were earned, which partially explains it. First timer Morgan Sewell was first finisher, and junior Leah Hoole was first female for the third time, and most recent to date. An exceedingly quiet week, all things considered!

Morgan and Leah

Morgan Sewell looks worn out as first finisher last year on his only visit to Witton so far, while junior Leah Hoole finishes as first female for the third time in total!

And with that brief recount, we’re done for this week – who knew mid-October was the annual Witton parkrun lull?!

Until next week, stay safe and for those of you with children or in the teaching profession, have a great half term break – you’ve earned it!

We’re getting through this together,

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun

Me

Doing our best impression of Reservoir Vernons upon our arrival in this shot!

 

WITTON IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS ISSUE 20 – 10th October 2020

It is now, quite astonishingly, 30 weeks since we last all met at Witton for our 211th event. I’m sure that when it started, none of us imagined that it would be so long before it was safe to go ahead again and it appears that more difficult times lie ahead. There is a strange contrast going on at the moment: as the national picture turns darker once more, the parkrun picture grows ever brighter. In the UK, and more specifically England, the government have introduced a new three-tier lockdown system to help simplify the different restrictions in place in different parts of the country. Tier 1 (labelled ‘Medium’) is the status for most parts of the country and will largely follow the current national guidelines of the ‘Rule of Six’ and the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. Tier 2 (labelled ‘High’) bans all indoor mixing of households in any public or private setting, with the ‘Rule of Six’ applied to outdoor settings, including private gardens. This tier applies to all areas currently under enhanced restrictions, including Blackburn with Darwen, plus a few other new areas. While the specifics of these measures are still to be fully confirmed and outlined, it does appear as though – for now at least – our local measures have been relaxed slightly to allow for outside meetings, but I stress that this is not something I am 100% certain on at time of writing. Tier 3 (labelled ‘Very High’) currently only covers the Liverpool City Region and this tier bans all mixing of households in any indoor or outdoor setting, closes all pubs and bars that don’t serve food and encourages the minimum amount of travel, particularly out of area. Tier 3 is the most fluid tier, in the sense that, in addition to those measures already announced, further measures will be discussed with the regional council and mayoral leaders to introduce further measures specific to that area that will have the biggest impact on reducing the spread of the virus.

Covid Tiers

The new three-tier system is likely to dominate our lives for the next few weeks and months

This new system comes into place at a time when infections continue to rise and now, for the first time, this is translating significantly into hospital admissions, with there currently being more patients in hospital with coronavirus than at the start of lockdown in March. This has led the government to put the mothballed Nightingale Hospitals in the North of England, including at the Manchester Central (formerly GMEX) Arena in Manchester, on standby for service, though their specific role is yet to be confirmed. The next few weeks and months are looking like being very difficult, with more restrictions likely to come into place, but we just need to be sensible and limit our interactions with others to do our bit, remembering to wash our hands regularly, cover our face with a mask in public settings and give each other space by social distancing where possible. It has been a tough 7 months, with very little change in many ways for people in most of Blackburn with Darwen, but while fatigue with the restrictions and frustration with central government may be setting in, we must remember that the easiest way to get restrictions lifted is to follow the rules to help limit the virus’s transmission in the local community and help reduce the infection rate to a more manageable level.

Manchester Nightingale

The Manchester Nightingale Hospital is being prepared for service in the coming months

In the world of parkrun, however, while plans were shelved a few weeks ago for a return in the UK in the near future, the parkruns in Auckland – the centre of New Zealand’s recent outbreak – returned to join the rest of the country, as well as those in northern Australia and the Falkland Islands for a total of 33 parkruns, 3,355 parkrunners and 364 volunteers who took part last weekend. This coming Saturday should see parkrun Poland return, alongside events in the Australian state of Tasmania, with parkrun Japan and Western Australia following a week later and then the return of the two events on Guernsey and the Isle of Man, to start with on a provisional 4-week basis at which point it will be reviewed. While it is gutting that we aren’t able to take part ourselves at the moment, it is heartening to see parkruns in other parts of the world awaking from their hibernation and being embraced by their local communities once more. The latest update from parkrun HQ is available here: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/10/13/covid-19-coronavirus-update-13-october/

Hobsonville Point parkrun

Hobsonville Point parkrun in Auckland was one of those returning this week – how good is it to see parkrunners gathered around a finish area?!

(not)parkrun – Week 17

A peculiar week weatherwise saw bright sunshine interspersed with heavy rain, with the rain often arriving during the evening and night time, but evidence of puddles and mud around for much of the week, as the weaker Autumn sun struggled to dry them up. A quieter week on the (not)parkrun front this week, with 17 (not)parkrunners recording 23 (not)parkrun times, both the lowest numbers for 4 weeks. That said, there was a familiar picture at the front of the field, with last week’s top 3 replicated exactly this week. This meant it was a Blackburn Road Runners clean sweep on the podium, led by Witton 50 Club member Daniel HAMILTON in 21:55. This was Dan’s 8th (not)parkrun, and 6th time as first finisher, one ahead of Andrew Wisdom on 5. Speaking of whom, second was Andrew WISDOM in 23:43. This was Andrew’s only run this week and his 16th (not)parkrun in total. Third place, and first female, went once more to another Witton 50 Club member, Miriam HAMILTON in 24:03. This was Miriam’s 8th (not)parkrun and she maintained her clean sweep of being first female in every (not)parkrun week she’s taken part in, with 8 from 8, and she marked this with a first ever (not)parkrun PB, knocking 20 seconds off her time from way back in Week 2 in June – nice one, Miriam!

Miriam

Miriam finished as first female for the 8th time this week!

Just off the podium was returning Blackburn Harrier Ian CLARKSON in 24:43. This was Ian’s 4th (not)parkrun across the last 6 weeks, and he finished a position lower than he managed a fortnight ago. Next is our fifth consecutive Witton 50 Club member, Peter NICHOLSON in 24:54. This was Peter’s 15th (not)parkrun and extends his record run of consecutive weeks to 14, level with Blackburn Road Runner Karen Rishton. Next was our first non-50 Club member but it’s still a regular Witton face and (not)parkrunner: Darwen Dasher Chris COOPER in 25:33. Chris recorded 3 (not)parkruns this week, taking his total to 30 and in doing so set a new PB on Friday, knocking over a minute off his time from Week 12 – impressive progress, Chris! He was followed by a return for Witton 50 Club member Robert CROMPTON in 25:36. Robert ran 3 (not)parkruns this week, perhaps making up for lost time, as it was his first appearance for 3 weeks, and he too ran a PB, knocking a whopping minute and 45 seconds off his time from Week 11 in August – fantastic work, Robert!

Robert

Robert made up for missing the past 2 (not)parkrun weeks by running 3 times this week!

Blackburn Road Runner Karen RISHTON is next, running 26:22 this week. Karen’s 2 (not)parkruns this week took her to 31 in total, just keeping her ahead of the advancing Chris Cooper at the top of the Witton (not)parkrun tree – she also joins Peter Nicholson on 14 consecutive weeks recording a time at Witton, the current record. She’s followed by John KEARNEY, who ran 27:33 this week. That was the fastest of two (not)parkruns for John this week, taking his total to 5 over the past 4 weeks. Next is friend of Witton Cameron ASHTON in 29:52. Cameron’s run this week takes him to 24 (not)parkruns in total, the 4th highest number among Wittoners.

John K

John Kearney (l, pictured with cousin Paul Allen) recorded multiple (not)parkruns for the first time this week!

Next up is Blackburn Road Runner Kate POMFRET in 30:40. This was the 26th (not)parkrun for the former Witton record holder, as she submitted a time for the 14th week out of 17. Behind Kate was fellow Road Runner Cathy HATCH in 31:59. Cathy has run 12 (not)parkruns across the last 10 weeks. She’s followed by myself, Matthew VERNON, in 35:12. This was my 4th (not)parkrun and third on the same route and finally I set a PB, knocking 12 seconds off the time from my first (not)parkrun in Week 14 – phew! I find myself in a Blackburn Road Runner sandwich, followed as I am by Witton 100 Club member Irene SLATER in 38:51. This was Irene’s 7th (not)parkrun recorded in 6 of the last 7 weeks.

Irene

Irene ran her 7th (not)parkrun this week!

Into the home stretch now, starting with our 8th and final Road Runner, Ian GOODLIFFE in 39:17. Papa G recorded his usual Saturday outing for his 15th (not)parkrun in total across 12 (not)parkrun weeks. He’s followed by my mum, Lynda VERNON in 44:10. This was mum’s third (not)parkrun and she set a second successive PB, knocking another 40 seconds off her time from last week – keep going, mum! Our final time goes to our only first timer this week, but it’s a very familiar Witton face: Pat PROCTER in 49:50! Pat has run 133 Witton parkruns since making her debut in September 2016 and now makes her (not)parkrun debut just over 4 years later. It’s been a tricky time for Pat, who has been suffering with sciatica, so it’s great to see her feeling well enough to get out and about again running. Welcome to the club, Pat!

Pat

Pat (r, pictured with good friend Dot Myers) joined us for the first time this week by recording a (not)parkrun time!

This week, Chris and Robert ran 3 times, and Karen and John ran twice. Meanwhile, Robert’s fastest was on Monday, the same day Cathy ran, Andrew ran on Tuesday, Irene ran on Wednesday, the same day Karen ran her fastest, Thursday was John Kearney’s fastest (not)parkrun, the same day Peter Nicholson ran, Chris’s fastest came on Friday, the same day Ian C ran, Ian G and Kate ran on parkrunday and the remaining 6 all ran on Sunday. This week at Witton, we broke the 30-barrier for most (not)parkruns completed, with Karen Rishton on 31 and Chris Cooper on 30 – who will be the first to 50?! Well done to all our (not)parkrunners this week.

not-parkrun

If you want to join in the (not)parkrun fun, anyone can submit a time, just run your 5K, log in to you parkrun profile and record your result!

parkrunniversaries

Another four parkrunniversaries this week and we begin with a friend of Witton. A prolific parkrunner with a unique fashion sense and always keen for an excuse to dress up, it’s Red Rose Road Runner Gina BIGGS! Gina’s parkrunning far predates Witton, with her first parkrun coming on October 5th, 2013 at nearby Preston parkrun. She ran 3 times in 2013, before becoming a parkrun regular in 2014, with her first 27 parkruns all coming at Preston before a one-off trip down the road to Cuerden Valley in August. Returning to Preston, she earned her red t-shirt at Event #138 in mid-February 2015, just 18 months after making her parkrun debut. 2015 was the year when Gina began what has become a touring odyssey, with visits to Heaton Park, South Manchester, Wilmslow, Ormskirk, Porthcawl in South Wales, Halifax, Warrington, back to Cuerden Valley, Conwy in North Wales, Lytham Hall and, of course, Witton. Gina first joined us for Event #11 in November 2015. She followed this by visiting us 10 times in 2016, including on Christmas Day, something she’d first done at Preston the year before and something she has done every year since at different venues. Her most recent visit to date came at Event #148, our Halloween event in October 2018, but this is not greatly surprising as Gina’s touring has gone from strength-to-strength. She has run at a staggering 119 different events, joining the Cowell Club for 100 different events completed at Pont y Bala parkrun in Snowdonia in August last year. She joined us in earning her black milestone t-shirt at Witton’s 28th event back in April 2016 and earned her green t-shirt for 250 runs at Jersey parkrun in October last year. Gina is also a committed marathon and ultrarunner and someone you’ve always got the possibility of bumping into at races. Happy 7th parkrunniversary, Gina!

Gina 2

Gina (in white) finishes her first Witton parkrun: it was her 82nd parkrun in total!

Sharing a parkrunniversary with Gina, but 6 years later are two of the stars of Witton parkrun’s recent existence. These two have only taken part once in a parkrun, but have become as much a part of the Witton family as anyone else, confidently taking on a range of roles in our volunteering team: it’s Duke of Edinburgh volunteers Emma HAYES and Niamh ROBERTSON! Emma first joined us alongside her dad Matthew and friend Sienna Lee-Fielding, as she tentatively took her first steps towards her D of E award. She marshalled that first event, up at the top of the Beast and enjoyed it enough to come back the next week, handing out finish tokens, and then the next week, scanning barcodes. Emma volunteered at 21 consecutive Witton events from October 2019 to February 2020 and, having missed Event #210, she returned for our final event before lockdown. She has satisfied her Duke of Edinburgh commitment and been signed off by Michelle but continued to volunteer because she was enjoying it. In total, she has barcode scanned 7 times, been a timekeeper 6 times, handed out finish token 5 times, marshalled 3 times and tail walked once, memorably on Christmas Day, when she, Niamh and a returning Sienna took part in their first-ever parkrun. She is a steady head, wise beyond her years, is comfortable with the technology and how it all works, doesn’t lose her head in a crisis (as proven when her timer packed up 10 minutes into a parkrun!) and is adaptable, happily taking over the photography work on New Year’s Day (and snapping some excellent pictures too), when her broken timer left her with nothing to do. The past 6 months have been difficult for us all and who knows when we’ll be back at Witton. Perhaps Emma won’t be available, or want to join us again when this is all over, but so long as she wants to come, I know I speak for the whole Witton core team in saying that she’s more than welcome, she has been a wonderful addition to the volunteering team and taken a lot of pressure off the roster each week. Just 3 parkruns away from a purple t-shirt too, Emma, happy first parkrunniversary!

Emma

Emma has become a reliable part of the Witton team, here handing out finishing tokens!

Niamh, meanwhile, joined us at the same event, Event #189 on October 5th, 2019. The daughter of one of Michelle’s friends, she came down to satisfy her own Duke of Edinburgh criteria and, like Emma, quickly settled into the role. She barcode-scanned that very first week, a tough responsibility but one she dealt with excellently, before acting as photographer a week later, then timekeeper, finish tokens and back to barcode scanning. Incredibly, since making her debut, Niamh hasn’t missed a single Witton event, volunteering at all 23 parkruns between October 2019 and March 2020. She has been timekeeper on 7 occasions, handed out finish tokens also on 7 occasions, barcode-scanned 6 times and been a marshal, photographer, and tail walker once, the latter, like Emma, on Christmas Day. She is a very responsible and confident young woman, comfortable talking with adults and has formed a strong bond with Emma and the other D of E girls we’ve had recently. Like Emma, if she still wishes to join us upon our resumption, she would be more than welcome, as she has provided an enormous service to us over the 6 months we were able to operate. And she’s even closer than Emma to a t-shirt – just 2 more needed, Niamh! Happy first parkrunniversary!

Niamh

Niamh is now a familiar part of the Witton team, here on finish tokens duty!

Finally, for this week, we have a familiar Wittoner, who has run with us on 36 occasions, including running her first and 50th parkruns with us: it’s Blackburn Road Runner Tina GLOVER, who ran her first parkrun on October 7th, 2017! Tina first joined us at Event #100, running 40:45 and ran 6 times in total before the end of the year, improving three consecutive times after her first parkrun to end the year with a PB of 37:46. She ran 15 times at Witton in the first 6 months of 2018, improving 5 more times to take her time down to an impressive 32:44, before running her first tourist run at nearby Preston. This was the start of another 15 parkruns in the second half of 2018, with only 5 of those coming at Witton, with visits to Preston, Cuerden Valley, Hyndburn and Burnley completing the set. She ran 25 times in 2019, including 9 more visits to Witton and first-time visits to Haigh Woodland and Clitheroe Castle parkruns. She hadn’t forgotten her roots though, returning to us for Event #182 in August to run her 50th parkrun and earn her red milestone t-shirt, returning a fortnight later for our 4th birthday. She’d only ran twice in 2020 before lockdown, joining us in mid-January and running at Hyndburn in early March, taking her to 63 parkruns in total, just over half of which have been at Witton. At Event #204 in January, she volunteered with us for the first time, as a marshal, adding another string to her bow. Happy 3rd parkrunniversary, Tina, here’s to many more in the future!

Tina

Tina completes her first parkrun at Event #100 in October 2017!

This Week in Witton parkrun…

2015

Event #7 took place on October 10th, 2015, in bright autumnal conditions. About a month ago, in the 2018 section, I mentioned that Anthony Valentine headed the fastest top 5 for 25 weeks. Well Anthony’s first appearance at Witton came at Event #7, where he was first finisher, heading the fastest top 5 since our inaugural event, all 5 coming home within just a minute and a half of each other! There were *just* 44 first timers – 25% of the field and that was the lowest percentage so far! There were no milestone t-shirts awarded, but our quest to find the last man (or woman) standing from Witton’s first event had two more casualties, with Jez and Holly Turner engaged in cross country events and missing Event #7. This left Michael McCarthy, Peter Toogood and Anwar Khan as the only ones left who had completed all 7 Witton parkruns to date!

Event 7

Another Witton parkrun gets underway: first finisher Anthony Valentine is in the middle (blue and red top!)

2016

Event #54 took place on October 8th, 2016 in Indian Summer conditions, belying the approaching clocks going back. Another quiet week in 2016, with the most noteworthy developments being our 1,100th PB (Jamie Dowdall of the Darwen Dashers – we’ll return to this stat in 2019!) and that Andy Haworth, Justin Collighan and Aimie Wormald were the only remaining parkrunners to have run all our events in our second year.

Jamie

Jamie Dowdall heads to our 1,100th PB on a balmy October day 4 years ago!

2017

In 2017, our event took place on October 7th and was our 100th event, on the same week we celebrated parkrun’s 13th birthday! This was a particularly special birthday for parkrun (aren’t they all?) because, as you may recall from last week’s report, the original Bushy Park Time Trial’s first event took place with 13 runners taking part! This was only the start of it though, with milestones and celebrations throughout the field, starting right at the front, where we celebrated our century of parkruns with our first ever dead-heat finish! Ribble Valley Harrier Stephen Hall and Trawden AC’s Ben Walmsley sprinted down the hill and both recorded a time of 18:25, with Stephen given the marginal edge of Finish Token #1 – but it was Ben who recorded the PB!

Dead Heat

A thrilling finish to Witton’s 100th event – Stephen (r), beating Ben on the photo!

A host of regulars and visitors joined us for our big milestone, some of them to help celebrate milestones of their own, with no less than 7 (SEVEN) t-shirts awarded! We were visited by first timers Alan and Brian Platt, who chose Witton to run their joint-100th parkruns at our 100th event, earning their black milestone t-shirts from parkrun HQ, with both having run at 22 different venues culminating at Witton. Among our three red t-shirts awarded were Witton’s most-frequent first male, James McLeod and Blackburn Road Runner Kate Pomfret, who have both since joined the Witton 50 Club (and in Kate’s case the 100 Club!), and core team member Sally Hupfield-Smith, who is just one short of joining herself. Speaking of the Witton 50 Club, it celebrated it’s 19th member in the shape of regular frontrunner Bernie Johnson, who became the latest person to have run at least half of Witton’s first 100 events, doing so in double-quick fashion as he ran his first parkrun less than 18 months earlier, getting to 50 Wittons in just 56 events, setting a new record for the fastest person to join the club from Anwar Khan (58)! Our final running t-shirt went to youngster Stanley Hilton, who earned his white junior t-shirt for his 10th parkrun, alongside dad, Witton regular David. Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Lorna Pickup earned her purple volunteering t-shirt for 25 events volunteered at – many of those recent credits coming as communications person for our social media channels.

Platts

Alan and Brian Platt were among our 7 t-shirt earners in 2017: black t-shirts earned on their first visit for our 100th event!

In the last year, she has now joined our Run Director team! And still there was more: regular volunteer Joanne McLean turned 50, while William Fox joined us for the second time, with the first coming way back at Event #1! Anwar Khan led the way for most Witton events done, with 84/100, followed by myself (80), Peter Toogood (72), Aimie Wormald (70) and Isabel Chadwick (67). This event was the first time the top 17 most visited Wittoners ran at the same event, with Andy Haworth the only one of the 19 members of the Witton 50 Club not to take part on the day – in fact, he was the only person out of 28 people to have run 40 or more times at Witton not to be there! On the volunteering front, Michelle was on top with a perfect 100/100 volunteering credits, husband Bryan was on 97, Sean Procter was on 94, Sally was on 88 and run reporter Barry Shackleton was on 65. Finally for this epic summary, we celebrated our birthday by collecting for Blackburn Food Bank and in total, you lot contributed a staggering amount: 39 tins of tomatoes, 27 tins of potatoes, 19 tins of peaches, 10 tins of pineapple, 9 tins of fruit cocktail, 7 tins of mandarin oranges, 6 tins of pears, 8 tins of custard, 9 packs of custard, 23 tins of soup, 17 tins of baked beans, 15 tins of tuna, 12 tins of peas, 7 tins of carrots, 4 tins of sweetcorn, 3 tins of chick peas, 3 tins of red kidney beans, 2 tins of sardines, 1 tins of borlotti beans, 1 tin of butterbeans, 1 tin of cannellini beans, 21 other items, a large bag of dried food, including pasta and cereal and 40 tins of rice pudding! Phew!

Food Bank Trio

Michelle was inundated with donations for the Blackburn Food Bank to celebrate our 100th event!

2018

A change of pace for Event #145 on October 6th, 2018, with the lowest total of attendees (77) for 6 weeks and the third-slowest first finishing time ever of 21:04, providing a “first” first finish for Trawden AC’s Fraser Snape. Mercifully, following 2017, there were no milestone t-shirts earned but we did have another first-time parkrunner who was a young as can be, as 4-year-old Hugh Snape ran his first parkrun with us in a hugely respectable 42:51, alongside dad Paul. One of the reasons for the quiet event was a number of races taking place over the weekend, which saw Wittoners far and wide. Lorna Pickup ran the Rochdale Half Marathon, with Corinne Surkitt taking part in the Rochdale 10K; there were lots in action in Chester, where Matt Chester, Annika Halsall and Ian Goodliffe ran the Chester Metric Marathon (26km not 26 miles) and Gary Blackburn ran the Imperial Marathon (the full 26 miles!). Meanwhile, Witton 50 Club sisters Julie Price and Suzanne Ferrandino ran the West Coast Half Marathon from Preston to Lytham St Annes and last but certainly not least, Viki Walsh, daughter of Witton legend Norman, ran the Three Towers Ultra Marathon to raise money for the British Heart Foundation following her dad’s death earlier in the year. It consisted of running from Darwen, up to the Jubilee Tower, up to Rivington Tower and then to the Peel Monument overlooking Ramsbottom, then back around. Around 7,500 feet of elevation and no less than 43 miles, Viki successfully finished in 13 hours and 15 minutes. What an effort!

Hugh

Little Hugh Snape sprints ahead of dad Paul on his way to his first parkrun credit, aged just 4!

2019

Event #189 on October 5th, 2019 saw Witton take part in parkrun’s 15th birthday celebrations and we celebrated with no less than 3 milestone t-shirts! Cousins Paul Allen and John Kearney both earned their red milestone t-shirts for their 50th parkruns, synchronising their celebrations having started around the same time. They were joined by Wayne Haworth, running his 22nd parkrun at Witton and 50th parkrun in total, earning his red t-shirt too. We also had the 11th new member of the Witton 100 Club, Papa G, Ian Goodliffe – he finished 100th on the day too! First to finish was Witton 50 Club member Justin Collighan, for the first time in over 2 years, following an 18-month hiatus. Finishing off a very special Witton parkrun, we passed the 3000 mark for PBs earned at Witton, with PB #3000 going to Gavin Finch on his 7th run at Witton, exactly 100 events after his previous visit!

Ian G

No pictures from Event #189, but here’s black t-shirt earner Ian Goodliffe wearing his new item just one week later – how much has t-shirt distribution improved in the past 18 months?!

And I think that’s plenty from me for this week, it’s nice to be reminded of some of these wonderful events and remember the things we have to look forward to once this is all over. Our 100th event was a really special day for so many reasons: our 250th should be approaching in January/February-time but obviously now will be much later next year all being well, given we’re currently marooned on 211. Who knows what the next few weeks and months have in store: Tier 3? Local lockdown? National lockdown? Christmas cancelled? It’s difficult to know and difficult to face, but we’re here for each other and if you ever want to let us know anything or give us an update on something, you can always get in touch via our Facebook page or via wittonoffice@parkrun.com. It would be wonderful to hear from you.

In the meantime, stay safe, follow the government advice and please look out for each other.

We’re getting through this, together.

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun

Not the most flattering picture but it's me and Scott!

Not the most flattering picture but at least I’m smiling – wearing my parkrun buff to help celebrate 15 years of parkrun just 12 months ago!

 

WITTON IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS ISSUE 19 – 3rd October 2020

For the first time in a few weeks, things seem to have settled down somewhat. Not that restrictions have been lifted, but that no new ones have been imposed. The Prime Minister reiterated the need for everyone to do their part in reducing the spread of the virus with the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ message still prevalent, and there is early evidence that the all-important ‘R’ number has reduced, potentially to just 1.1, meaning that while the infection is still expanding, the rate at which it is doing so is substantially reduced, flattening the curve and reducing the speed of infection. Nevertheless, there remain several challenges ahead: universities are the latest hotspots, with many students facing lockdowns on campus, while locally it remains illegal to meet another household in your house or garden and guidance is against such meetings taking place in any public setting, including parks. The Prime Minister warned on Sunday of a bumpy road to Christmas and potentially beyond and we must be prepared for that.

Prime Minister

The Prime Minister warned at the weekend of more difficulties ahead

In the world of parkrun, it is a very special week for every parkrunner as this is the week of International parkrun Day, commemorating the first ever parkrun, the Bushy Park Time Trial, which took place on October 2nd, 2004 in London. The brainchild of Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the first parkrun involved just 13 of Paul’s club runner friends and has now evolved into a 22-nation, 2000-event phenomenon, with nearly 7 million barcodes issued worldwide. This year’s 16th birthday is a more poignant rather than celebratory affair, with it marking the first year that no celebrations have been possible in Bushy Park, but thanks to events in New Zealand, northern Australia and the Falkland Islands, 29 parkruns were able to take place this weekend, comprising 2681 parkrunners and 306 volunteers. Happy birthday parkrun! And if you want to read more about parkrun’s history, for last year’s 15th anniversary, I wrote a brief(ish) history of parkrun for this very website, which you can read here: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/witton/news/2019/10/03/a-briefish-history-of-parkrun/

parkrun pioneers

The original Bushy Park Time Trial in October 2004 took place with just 13 runners – the original parkrun pioneers!

The progress is set to continue in the coming weeks, according to the parkrun blog, with Auckland joining the rest of New Zealand this coming Saturday, following the lifting of restrictions. Later in the month, a week on Saturday, parkrun Poland is scheduled to return, alongside those located on the Australian island state of Tasmania. On October 24th, a week later, parkrun Japan hopes to return, with parkruns in Western Australia becoming the third state in the country to restart on October 31st. That same day, Nobles parkrun on the Isle of Man and Guernsey parkrun in the Channel Islands are set to restart, provisionally on a 4-week pilot basis. In part, this is due to those two locations still being subject to some of the restrictions covering the rest of the UK, and with both places accessible from the mainland, there is concern that those locations could be overwhelmed by parkrun tourists, a nightmare both for the parkrun concerned and also the local community in the current climate. Should issues arise, these parkruns may swiftly be closed again, joining the rest of the UK which is currently suspended indefinitely. You can read parkrun’s latest blog here: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/10/06/covid-19-coronavirus-update-6-october/

parkrun Japan

Japanese parkruns, such as Futakotamagawa parkrun in Tokyo, are the latest parkrun nation to get a prospective return date

(not)parkrun – Week 16

After a surprisingly nice week last week, we were left under no illusion that Autumn had landed this week, with days of rain interspersed with days of cool rather than warm sunshine. This culminated in the arrival of Storm Alex for the weekend, with torrential rain blanketing much of the country throughout a soggy Saturday before the clouds parted for a brighter Sunday. First finisher this week was Blackburn Road Runner Daniel HAMILTON, for the second successive week, this time in 21:50. This was Dan’s 7th (not)parkrun and 5th time as Witton first finisher, matching Andrew Wisdom’s record. Second was Dan’s fellow Blackburn Road Runner Andrew WISDOM in 24:04. I don’t know if Andrew forgot to run this week and just re-recorded last week’s time instead, because Andrew recorded exactly the same time, on exactly the same day and ended up in exactly the same position overall last week – consistent, Andrew! Completing an all Blackburn Road Runner podium was Miriam HAMILTON in 24:31! Miriam was first female for the 7th time at Witton, a perfect record from her 7 (not)parkruns so far and putting her one clear of fellow Road Runner Karen Rishton on 6 – well done, Miriam!

Dan and Mim (3)

A typically nutty pose for first male Dan Hamilton, while wife Miriam (first female, r) looks on despairingly!

4th this week was Witton 50 Club member Peter NICHOLSON in 24:54. It looked like Peter’s record of 13 consecutive weeks submitting (not)parkrun times may be at an end this week, before he recorded a time on Sunday – cutting it fine, Peter! Just behind him was Peter’s fellow record holder on the longest streak of consecutive weeks, Karen RISHTON in 25:58. Blackburn Road Runner Karen holds the record for the most (not)parkruns of anyone at Witton, this week adding two more to her total, making 29. 6th was our first new (not)parkrunner this week, and it’s the familiar Witton face of teenager Lucy EASTWOOD. Blackburn Harrier Lucy is a very egalitarian parkrunner, volunteering as often as she runs and has 20 runs and 26 volunteering credits to her name – welcome to (not)parkrun, Lucy, it’s great to see you and that’s a great benchmark! Just behind Lucy was returning (not)parkrunner John KEARNEY in 26:59. John first ran a fortnight ago and followed it up with 2 (not)parkruns this week to take his tally to 3, earning a new PB on Wednesday, knocking nearly 2 and a half minutes off his debut – great work, John!

Lucy

Lucy Eastwood (r) recorded her first (not)parkrun time last weekend!

Next is Darwen Dasher Chris COOPER in 27:04. This was the fastest of 3 (not)parkruns Chris recorded this week, taking him to 27 overall at an average of exactly 3 a week, having started 9 weeks ago – prolific, Chris! He was followed by another regular (not)parkrunner, Cameron ASHTON in 28:22. Friend of Witton Cameron has run 23 (not)parkruns in total and this week’s run on Sunday was the 10th consecutive week he has recorded a time. Long Distance Walkers Association member Brian FISHER comes next, in 28:27. Brian is another regular (not)parkrunner, this being the 10th week he has recorded a time, having started parkrunning just before lockdown, and it marked a 4th PB in that time, knocking 17 seconds off his time from last week – great progress, Brian! Behind Brian was returning (not)parkrunner Kate POMFRET in 30:43. Blackburn Road Runner Kate has recorded times in 13 of the 16 possible weeks, recording 3 (not)parkruns for the third time in that spell to reach 25 in total.

Kate (7)

An atmospheric picture of Blackburn Road Runner Kate Pomfret – she returned to (not)parkrun after a week off last week!

Our other first timer now, and regular Wittoners will be unsurprised to discover it’s Clare EASTWOOD in 31:15! As I mentioned earlier, our other first timer was Clare’s daughter Lucy and mother-and-daughter are rarely seen apart at parkrun and so it begins in (not)parkrun. Like her daughter, Clare volunteers as much as she runs and has 28 volunteering credits and 22 runs to her total so far – nice to see you, Clare! Another Blackburn Road Runner next, Cathy HATCH in 31:35. Cathy has recorded 11 (not)parkruns across 8 weeks now, after making her debut in Week 7. Cathy’s fellow Road Runner Kathryn KINNEY next, in 32:21. Kathryn makes her first appearance since Week 12, after appearing for 3 consecutive weeks prior to that and this week recorded her 4th (not)parkrun – welcome back, Kathryn! A big gap then back to yours truly, Matthew VERNON in exactly 36 minutes. This was my third week recording a (not)parkrun time and my run on Sunday followed the same route as the week before, setting a new PB for that route but not beating my (not)parkrun time from my first week. It was a nice run around the reservoir, rewarded by a stunning whole rainbow framing the water as light rain fell on me, while bright sunshine shone over Darwen. Lovely.

Clare

Clare Eastwood joined daughter Lucy in recording a first (not)parkrun time this week – our only two first timers!

Yet another Blackburn Road Runner next, and it’s Papa G, Ian GOODLIFFE in 38:45. This was Ian’s 14th (not)parkrun, recorded over 11 separate weeks since making his debut in Week 2. Fellow Road Runner and Witton 100 Club member Irene SLATER is up next, running 38:48 this week. Irene recorded 2 (not)parkruns for the first time this week, taking her total to 6 – good effort, Irene! Next is a returning (not)parkrunner, Witton 50 Club member Jacqueline DWYER in 42:33. Jackie debuted in Week 3 and last appeared in Week 7, but this week marked a new PB, knocking nearly a minute off her time from Week 6. Great work, Jackie, but where’s Bill?! Another returnee follows, Witton core team member Diane HARRISON-LEEMING in 44:19. Blackburn GroupRun’s Diane recorded her 4th (not)parkrun and first since Week 14 a fortnight ago – welcome back, Diane!

Jackie (2)

Jackie Dwyer (l) looks delighted to have earned a (not)parkrun PB this week!

Last ones now, starting with my mum, Lynda VERNON, who recorded 44:50 this week. Running the same route as last week, mum set a big new PB, undoubtedly helped by going the right way this week! We finish with a trio of familiar Wittoners in a rather extraordinary time, Blackburn Harrier Vicky MCKINLAY, son Alex and daughter Jenna, in – wait for it – 2 hours, 4 minutes! Vicky and the kids went for a woodland walk on Sunday and enjoyed it thoroughly, checking out the natural features, eating ice creams and watching Red, the dog, have a paddle in the river. All this time was counted in the (not)parkrun time and after the 5km had been completed, that was the time! I’m so pleased they recorded it, as it proves that (not)parkrun is truly open to all. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve done no running at all during lockdown, if you go for a long walk, why not put it down as a (not)parkrun, even if it has taken an hour and a half (or longer!)? For those interested, that time would not actually break the parkrun world record, with a few parkrunners taking over 2 hours to finish, usually due to underlying conditions, though, rather than stopping for an ice cream! The record belongs to Italian Franco Tonoli, who in 2017 completed Milano Nord parkrun in 2 hours, 57 minutes and 12 seconds. Paralysed Franco completed the feat using an exoskeleton, which helped him to operate upright, a truly phenomenal feat. You can read more about Franco’s feat here: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/05/18/spotlight-on-italy/

McKinlays (4)

Victoria McKinlay, daughter Jenna and son Alex set a record for the slowest (not)parkrun time – or actual parkrun for that matter – ever recorded at Witton! Good for them!

Our total of 23 (not)parkrunners and 31 (not)parkruns were both records at Witton - breaking the 21 (not)parkrunners from Week 2 and matching the 31 (not)parkruns from Week 12 - a great start to October! This week, Chris and Kate ran 3 times and Andrew, Karen, John and Irene ran twice. Irene, Cathy, Kathryn and Jackie all ran on Monday, Karen and John ran on Wednesday, Andrew, Chris and Diane on Thursday, Brian on Friday, Ian and the Hamiltons on Saturday and the remaining 10 on Sunday! Special mentions to Dan, Miriam and Ian, the only three brave enough to run on parkrunday this week, which is no surprise given the incessant rain that battered the town on Saturday! But well done to all this week’s (not)parkrunners! Remember, this month is parktoberfest, where parkrun are encouraging parkrunners to record as many (not)parkruns as possible and it would be great to see a few more of you follow Clare and Lucy’s lead by recording your first (not)parkruns in the coming weeks – we’d love to see and metaphorically hear from you after so many months away!

not-parkrun

It couldn’t be simpler to record a (not)parkrun time as you can see above, but if you’re having any problems, please contact us and we’ll help you out!

parkrunniversaries

Just the four parkrunniversaries this week as we enter October. First up is a Blackburn Road Runner and familiar Witton face, whose parkrun journey began 2 years before Witton began: September 29th, 2013 is the parkrunniversary for Elizabeth WATTON!  Lizzie’s parkrunning started way over at Scunthorpe parkrun in North Lincolnshire with a one-off run at Event #32. At this time, parkruns were still relatively scarce and it would be a year before she ran her second parkrun, at Burnley parkrun in October 2014, the first of two runs that month both at Towneley Park. 2015 started with 6 runs in January and February, 5 times at Burnley and once at Cleethorpes parkrun, also in Lincolnshire, and these were her last runs before making her Witton debut at Event #5 in September 2015. More local parkruns meant more regular parkrunning, with 6 more runs before year’s end, including a return to Burnley. 12 runs came in 2016 and 7 more in 2017, including a first Christmas Day parkrun at Witton. Her parkrunning has become a bit more frequent in recent years, with 19 runs in 2018  and 15 runs in 2019, when she joined us once again on Christmas Day, and she’d run 6 times in 2020 before lockdown, including a first ever New Year’s Day run with us, backing it up with a run at Hyndburn to make it a Double. In total, Lizzie’s run 75 parkruns so far, across 20 different parkrun venues (qualifying her as a parkrun tourist, meaning she can join the Facebook group and claim her cow cowl if she so wishes!), with Witton her most-visited venue with 29 runs, followed by Burnley with 15, with another 7 parkruns visited more than once, all based in the North West bar the most unusual one on the list, Southwark parkrun in London, which she’s run at twice! She ran her 50th parkrun at Witton’s 3rd birthday, earning her red milestone t-shirt, and was halfway towards her black t-shirt when we were suspended. Happy 7th parkrunniversary, Lizzie, we hope to see you at Witton when we return – 21 more to join the Witton 50 Club!

Lizzie (2)

Lizzie Watton (in pink) completes her first Witton parkrun – her 10th overall!

Next up is a recent Wittoner who fast became a regular when work allowed, consistently improving, and edging closer and closer to the front of the field: on September 29th, 2018, Matt LOVICK joined us for the first time! Having first run at Event #144, Matt’s next parkrun came with a return to Witton 8 months later in May 2019, when he immediately ran a PB. He ran again at Witton in mid-June, then ran 3 times during our four-week summer hiatus last year at nearby Bolton parkrun. He returned to Witton 10 more times in 2019, before finishing his year at Bolton just after Christmas. He ran the first 8 possible parkruns of 2020, too, with his last run coming at Witton’s 206th event in early February – his only non-Witton run this year coming on New Year’s Day at Hyndburn as part of a double with Witton. Matt’s objective for 2020 was to earn his red milestone t-shirt for 50 parkruns but coronavirus has clearly scuppered that plan unfortunately. Nevertheless, he is already halfway there, in less than a year of true parkrunning (May 2019-March 2020), with 19 of those runs coming at Witton, 4 at Bolton and 2 at Hyndburn. From an initial 23:56, he has improved 6 times at Witton, most recently on his last visit, to a new best of 20:57, his first sub-21-minute parkrun. That time also earned him another accolade he’s working towards, finishing as second finisher at Witton for only the second time – that first finish will come, Matt! Happy 2nd parkrunniversary!

Matt

Fireman Matt Lovick isn’t always available on Saturday mornings, but usually when he is, he’s on the Witton start line!

Our remaining two parkrunniversaries this week are for a married couple who are both familiar Witton faces, one a little more regularly than the other: it’s Kate and Mick POMFRET! Witton 100 Club member Kate first joined us for Event #6 on October 3rd, 2015 and improved 3 times in her next 4 visits, from 32:46 to 29:20. After visiting Witton for 6 consecutive events, all on the old course, she returned twice in the New Year to run on the Beast before a surprising gap of 6 months with no parkrunning whatsoever. She returned to Witton for Event #47, just before our first birthday, and this began her parkrun journey properly. She returned 9 further times in 2016, including for our first birthday and our 50th event, but in 2017 her attendance skyrocketed, running 44 parkruns in total, including her first tourist runs, starting at Preston (twice), Hyndburn as part of the Witton on tour and the far-flung Weymouth parkrun, presumably on holiday! Her first run at Preston was her 31st parkrun overall, and her first 30 parkruns were all at Witton, which is the 5th longest streak for anybody from the start of their parkrun career, while it remains the 11th longest streak of uninterrupted Witton parkruns by anyone at any point. She ran at our second birthday and our 100th parkrun and ran her first New Year’s Day parkrun at our first New Year’s Event on January 1st, 2018. This was the first of another 38 parkruns in 2018, improving her Witton best twice, including at our 150th event in November, where she ran 29:05. She also ran at our third birthday, as well as expanding her tourism to include Ormskirk and Clitheroe Castle (as part of Wittons on Tour), Lancaster, Cuerden Valley, Bolton, Pendle, Lytham Hall, Burnley and Colby parkrun in Pembrokeshire, Wales. In 2019, she only ran 27 parkruns, as she focused on longer distances, but often came to Witton to volunteer on Saturdays. Only 11 of her runs came at Witton as she enthusiastically took up the Blackburn Road Runners’ challenge to run as many different-lettered parkruns as possible during the year. She successfully completed 16 of the 24 letters available in the UK – Aberystwyth, Burnley, Cuerden Valley, Delamere, Fleetwood Promenade, Haigh Woodland, Kew Woods, Lytham Hall, Morecambe Prom, Ormskirk, Preston, Rising Sun, Southport, Tawd Valley, Upton House and, of course, Witton. She also ran her first Christmas Day parkrun and followed it up with a first (and now only) New Year’s Day Double a week later, the first of 7 parkruns in 2020, including our final event before lockdown in March. In total, Kate has run 134 parkruns so far, with 102 of them coming with us at Witton and she’s also volunteered for us 21 times, 19 of which have come since the middle of 2018. She’s also taken part in the Great North Run for the past 2 years, as well as this year’s virtual event, as her running goes from strength-to-strength. Happy 5th parkrunniversary, Kate!

Kate and Mick 2

Kate and Mick are in great spirits as the complete their first parkrun side-by-side in October 2015!

Husband Mick also joined us for his first parkrun at Event #6 in October 2015, improving on his next 2 visits for a best of 31:01. He ran 5 consecutive parkruns, throughout October, but then suddenly stopped, not to return for over 2 years. He snuck back in December 2017, running twice before year’s end, with Kate revealing Mick was attempting to get fitter and lose some weight. He became a familiar face at Witton in 2018, running alongside Kate on New Year’s Day and running 24 times with us in total, finally improving on his old course PB in April with the start of a run of 7 consecutive PBs at Witton, reaching a best of 29:07 in mid-June. These were joined by runs at Preston, Ormskirk, Clitheroe Castle, Bolton and Burnley during the year for a total of 29 in 2018. 2019 started with an outing on New Year’s Day with us again and featured 16 runs in total in the first 6 months of the year, including tourist runs at Haigh Woodland, Upton House and Kew Woods, before injury hit and forced him onto the sidelines. Unfortunately, he has yet to return. He has volunteered on 12 occasions for us, often in a marshalling capacity, and in total, he has run 44 times with us and 53 times in total. Mick earned his red milestone t-shirt at our 172nd event in April 2019 and remains just 6 runs short of joining the Witton 50 Club. Kate has assured us on multiple occasions that Mick’s situation is improving, and we hope he is in a position to return to parkrun soon when we eventually return. Happy 5th parkrunniversary, Mick!

Kate and Mick

Mick and Kate’s first event was a foggy one, but they completed it together – Kate’s done a few more than Mick over the intervening years, but they’re both familiar faces!

This Week in Witton parkrun…

2015

Event #6 came on October 3rd, 2015 and was a rare foggy affair at Witton! First home, for the second time in our first 6 events, was Blackburn Harrier Tim Raynes – he hasn’t been back since! Another milestone was awarded, our 4th in 6 events, and this one went to young Preston Harrier Rhys Caton, who became our second junior to run his 10th parkrun at Witton, earning his white milestone t-shirt. He marked it with a new PB, knocking 2 minutes and 11 seconds off his debut at Event #3. He became the first JM10 to earn a t-shirt at Witton, the lowest age category, aged just 9, but hasn’t run a parkrun anywhere since September 2017, his 22nd parkrun overall! We had a staggering 40 volunteers for the event, the only time this figure has ever been hit in Witton history (and the only time it’s likely to be – Michelle wouldn’t be able to find jobs for 40 people to do these days!). Finally, our quest to find the last survivor who had run every Witton parkrun to date was down to the final five: Michael McCarthy, Peter Toogood, Holly Turner, Jeremy (Jez) Turner and Anwar Khan. Poor Joanne McLean had dropped out of the running after discovering she had taken part in Event #5 with a fractured hip! This has caused endless issues for Joanne, and though she has volunteered at several Witton parkruns, she has only taken part once since on our Beast route. And Barry missed Anwar off again!

Event 6

A rare event for a Witton parkrun deserves a collage! Thick fog descended on the park, creating an eerie atmosphere for photos - cheeky chappie Rhys Caton (bottom right) was the only t-shirt earner!

2016

Event #53, on October 1st, 2016, was a quiet affair, with no milestone t-shirts awarded and no major news. Dot Myers earned yet another VW70-74 category record (and with it another PB), the first person in Witton history to improve an age category record 5 times. In other news, Andy Haworth, Matthew Cocker, Bernie Johnson, Justin Collighan and Aimie Wormald were the only Wittoners to have run all 5 events of our second year.

Dot (5)

Dot Myers (accompanied by tail walker Suzanne Ferrandino) is on her way to a 5th Witton age category record in 2016!

2017

Event #99 took place on September 30th, 2017. The only milestone t-shirt awarded that day was on the volunteering front, to Witton 50 Club member Julia Rushton. Julia had volunteered 19 times at Witton and 6 times at nearby Bolton and 24 of her 25 credits had come as tail walker, with a single outing as photographer at Witton completing the set! Meanwhile, we were visited by Lymm Runner Chris Pickford, a regular at Cheadle Hulme parkrun in south Manchester. Chris kindly wrote our run report that week, and couldn’t have been more complimentary about his Witton experience, stating: “While I have nothing but respect for flat tarmac runs, I do love the parkruns that present a bit more of a challenge and Witton certainly does that, with some entertaining climbs and descents, with a variety of running surfaces.” He also said, ‘Michelle and her team run a slick and friendly operation, you would struggle to find a better team to be part of.’ Thanks, Chris, you’re welcome back any time!

Julia (2)

Witton 50 Club member Julia Rushton (l) earned her purple t-shirt at Event #99 – no photos that day, but here she is performing the same function on her next appearance, tail walking at Event #103!

2018

Event #144 took place on September 29th, 2018, and was the first autumnal parkrun of the year, in cool conditions but bright and sunny all the same. We had two new milestone t-shirts awarded, first to Blackburn Harrier Andrew Raynes, who earned his red milestone t-shirt for his 50th parkrun with his 14th run at Witton. His most visited venue was Burnley (22 times), having started parkrunning there in 2013, also running at Preston (9 times), Carlisle and Keswick parkruns before Witton began in 2015. Second t-shirt went to Oliver Barton, who ran his 10th parkrun as a junior, earning his white t-shirt. Oliver had run all his previous 9 parkruns at Southport parkrun, but ran his 10th with us, and in doing so became the 25th junior to earn his white t-shirt at Witton! Finally, we were visited by VI-impaired runner Kelly Barton and guide Mike Leatherbarrow for the second time in 4 events, their most recent visit to Witton, while Event Director Michelle ran her first parkrun in nearly a year!

Andrew and Oliver

Andrew Raynes (l) ran his 50th parkrun at Witton in 2018, while Oliver Barton (r) joined us for the first time and earned his junior white t-shirt!

2019

Witton’s 188th event took place on September 28th, 2019, in the midst of a heavy downpour – no different to this week had we been on! Horwich RMI Harrier Phil Marsden made light of the conditions, however, finishing in a stonking 17:28, the 11th fastest time ever seen on the Beast and 15th fastest in Witton history. It was half a minute off the Witton PB he set in April the same year, and Phil became the first person ever to run 3 sub-18-minute parkruns on the Beast – astonishing figures! No milestone t-shirts were awarded, but there were two new inductees into the Witton 50 Club. Jane Magee ran her 64th parkrun and 50th at Witton, just 18 months after making her debut in April 2018. She became the 48th person and 24th female to enter the Club, meaning there was an equal number of men and women in the Club for the first time since June 2018. It lasted barely a minute, however, before Blackburn Harrier Ian Clarkson crossed the line to complete his 54th parkrun and 50th at Witton, an unbroken streak following 4 runs at Burnley and Cuerden Valley in the pre-Witton days. Young Daniel Smith took a tumble and suffered a swollen ankle, but his dad thanked the Witton team for their prompt attention and assured us he was well on the mend. We also had two more repeat names, with new attendees called David Hilton and Tracy Slater joining previous attendees by those names.

Phil Marsden

No pictures from Event #188, but by chance, speedster Phil Marsden (black) also joined us 100 events earlier at Event #88 for another sub-18 run on the Beast!

Finally for this week, well done to Blackburn Road Runner Matt Chester, who successfully completed the virtual London Marathon, after pounding the streets and parks of Blackburn for 26.2 miles in 5 hours, 51 minutes and 10 seconds (or just over two and a half McKinlay family 5Ks!) – a phenomenal effort in the circumstances, and well done to all those friends and relatives of Witton and Wittoners who completed the distance in this strangest of years, you’re all superstars.

Matt C (7)

Ready for the off: Matt Chester sets off on his 26.2-mile Blackburn (virtual London) Marathon!

Until next week, stay safe and keep in touch,

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun

Bruce in front, Tiyra behind

 

WITTON IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS ISSUE 18 – 26th September 2020

Events seem to be moving at breakneck speed, and I confess it is difficult to keep track, not just of the national and local rules and restrictions, but also the latest information coming from parkrun HQ. The national picture continues to be serious, with repeated warnings that the spread of the virus is currently widespread. In recent days, new records have been set for the number of cases reported in a single day, although this should be taken with a pinch of salt as at the peak of the first wave testing was only taking place in hospitals and the number of cases in the general population was thought to be significantly higher than reported. Nevertheless, we’ve seen 71 COVID-related deaths in hospital in a single day, the most since the start of July and there are warnings that more are ahead. It is vital, particularly locally, where rates are among the highest in the country, that we continue to follow the government advice, limiting our contact with people from other households and maintaining social distance and wearing face masks when in public settings. At the end of last week, the Health Secretary launched the NHS COVID-19 app, which can be downloaded to all Apple and Android devices. The app will keep you up-to-date with the situation in your local area, allow you to book tests if you show symptoms and track your movements to alert other app users who’ve come into contact with you if you test positive, with you receiving the same information in the same situation, so you can self-isolate for the required number of days (all anonymously of course – no names will be revealed). You can find out more information and download the app here: https://covid19.nhs.uk/

NHS app 2

The new NHS COVID-19 App is designed to track your interactions with people who test positive and alert you to when you need to self-isolate

Big developments in the parkrun world this week, with confirmation coming on Thursday (and not Friday as previously broadcast) that parkrun would not be returning as hoped by the end of October. This will come as a relief to many as well as being met with dismay by plenty (indeed, some may feel a bit of both) but it was the only logical outcome in the current climate. Without unduly speculating, I observed that the tone in parkrun’s announcement is surprisingly combative, suggesting this was not a decision they took lightly or willingly. Despite parkrun being put on the exemption list under the government’s Rule of Six restrictions, it seems other stakeholders are not as willing to go ahead at the present time. In the Q and A last week, parkrun Global COO Tom Williams suggested that parkrun could only get underway again if at least 95% of events could go ahead, with cancellations only provided in specific instances where all other possibilities had been exhausted. You can read parkrun’s announcement here: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/09/24/restarting-in-england/?fbclid=IwAR2acB7BLPeAQsQWQQ4CPKV3CDIoOdmDdPyUqqDgZgdY45ykx0Si-GDeBbc

While England faces setbacks, however, parkrun saw further increases to its worldwide events with the return of parkruns in New Zealand after a near-2-month hiatus. 23 of the 29 parkruns in New Zealand took place, pretty much all bar those in-and-around Auckland, where their recent flare-up occurred. They joined the three Northern Territory parkruns in Australia and Cape Pembroke Lighthouse parkrun on the Falkland Islands as the only events in the world to take place last weekend. Further reopenings are scheduled for October in parts of Australia, plus the Polish parkruns, while the rest of us sit tight. As the parkrun blog confirmed, it took 5-and-a-half years to get from 1 event to 27 events the first time around, so to do it in a fortnight is significant progress – just another 2,000 to go! You can read this week’s blog here: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/09/29/covid-19-coronavirus-update-29-september/

Hagley

Hagley parkrun in Christchurch, New Zealand was the biggest event to return this weekend, with 283 attendees

In light of our continued absence, and the success of (not)parkrun, as well as parkrun’s upcoming 16th birthday on October 2nd, parkrun is launching ‘parktoberfest’, to encourage as many people as possible to take part in (not)parkrun as many times as they like during the month of October. It would be great to see lots of you recording (not)parkruns at Witton this month, particularly those of you regular Wittoners who we haven’t heard from in a while – let us know you’re ok and get a 5K in too, however slow it may be after a few months away, we’re all feeling it believe me! The announcement encourages people to run with friends, family and neighbours while respecting local and national guidelines: I should emphasise that in Blackburn with Darwen, the advice is to not have any unnecessary interactions with people not in your household or social bubble. You can read all the information about parktoberfest, including the inclusion of junior parkruns for the first time, here: https://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2020/09/30/parktoberfest-is-here/

parktober

Will you join in with parktoberfest by recording some (not)parkruns? We’d love to see how you’re doing!

And, speaking of (not)parkrun, let’s get to it!

(not)parkrun – Week 15

A lovely week weather-wise continued into the weekend, with bright sunshine most days but turning cooler as the week wore on, belying the arrival of Autumn that has been threatening for a while. It was a bumper crop for (not)parkrun this week, hitting 20 different runners for just the third time in Witton (not)parkrun history (one off the record of 21 from Week 2), and hitting 26 (not)parkruns in total for the second successive week, the third highest total number overall. Fastest this week was returning (not)parkrunner Dan HAMILTON in a speedy 22:32. This was Dan’s 6th (not)parkrun and first for 3 weeks and marked the 4th occasion he’s been first finisher at Witton – well done, Dan! This meant he displaced the first finisher for the past two weeks, his fellow Blackburn Road Runner Andrew WISDOM, who had to make do with second place this week in 24:04. The podium places were completed with a first appearance in those positions by Blackburn Harrier Ian CLARKSON in 24:07. This marked a second successive PB for Witton 50 Club member Ian, knocking a whopping 1 minute and 39 seconds off his time from last week – great work, Ian!

Dan

Dan Hamilton celebrates another first finish in (not)parkrun, his 4th overall!

4th place was first female this week, in the form of Witton 50 Club member Miriam HAMILTON in 24:28. Like husband Dan, this was Miriam’s 6th (not)parkrun and first in 3 weeks and she maintained her record of being first female on all 6 of her (not)parkruns so far, matching her fellow Road Runner Karen Rishton’s record. Just behind Miriam was another (not)parkrun regular, Peter NICHOLSON in 24:35. This was Peter’s 13th (not)parkrun in 12 weeks and remarkably, marked his first occasion not on the (not)parkrun podium, despite running 1 second faster than last week – never mind, Peter! A single second behind Peter was Blackburn Road Runner Karen RISHTON in 24:36. Karen ran 4 (not)parkruns this week, extending her record of most (not)parkruns by a Wittoner, and she marked it with a new PB, just 8 seconds behind first female Miriam – beware, she’s coming, Mim!

Miriam

Miriam was first female for the 6th time – she’s only recorded 6 (not)parkruns in total!

Next up is one of last week’s first timers: he left it late until Sunday but returned for more, it’s Witton 150 Club member Scott SMITH! Scott recorded 25:08 this week, knocking just under half a minute off his debut from last week – nice one, mate! He was followed by a more experienced (not)parkrunner, Cameron ASHTON in 28:20. This was the fastest of two (not)parkruns Cameron did this week, and was a new PB, knocking 8 seconds off last week’s time – great job, Cameron! 3 seconds behind Cameron was Darwen Dasher Chris COOPER in 28:23. Chris ran 3 (not)parkruns this week, taking his total to 24, the second-highest number among Wittoners, becoming the second person to surpass Kate Pomfret’s previous record of 22. (Kate didn’t record a run this week!) Chris was followed by another frequent (not)parkrunner, Brian FISHER in 28:44! Long Distance Walkers Association’s Brian recorded a (not)parkrun for the 9th time this week and marked a huge PB of 3 minutes and 13 seconds off his time from Week 9, 6 weeks ago – amazing progress, Brian!

Cameron

Cameron recorded two (not)parkruns this week, taking his total to 22!

Next up was a return for Blackburn Road Runner Matthew CHESTER, in 31:36! Matt was an early pacesetter for (not)parkrun, the only person to record a time in each of our first 7 weeks but has only recorded times twice since. This is hardly surprising as Matt is deep in training for this weekend’s virtual London Marathon – good luck, Matt, we hope to see more of you (not)parkrunning once the big one’s out of the way! Just behind Matt was his fellow Road Runner Cathy HATCH in 31:48. Cathy ran her 10th (not)parkrun this week, the fourth week in succession she has recorded a time and coincidentally she has finished in exactly the same place for the past two weeks: 12th! Next up was South East Lancs Orienteering Club’s Paul BOOTH, and the big question was whether Paul could continue his streak of 4 PBs in a row over the past month. Well, this week, Paul ran 33:07, knocking another 17 seconds off his time from last week and he has knocked nearly 4 and a half minutes off his initial time from Week 1 over the past 5 weeks – stupendous, Paul!

Matt C

Matt Chester returned for the first time since Week 10 – good luck with the Virtual London Marathon, Matt!

Up next is Witton 50 Club member Ian BRODRICK in 33:09. This was Ian’s 7th (not)parkrun, across 14 weeks and, unusually, he has yet to beat his initial time of 31:58 from Week 2: I’m sure it’ll come, Ian! Behind Ian is frequent (not)parkrunner Isobel HOLLINGS in 33:20. Like Ian, Isobel has yet to break her initial time from Week 3, with this her 8th week of (not)parkrunning, although last week she came within just 2 seconds of bettering her PB – next time, Isobel! One Ian is usually followed by another, and so it was again, with Witton 100 Club member Ian GOODLIFFE next up in 36:44. This was Ian’s 13th (not)parkrun and, continuing a theme, he too has never bettered his initial 31:38 from Week 2 – maybe it’s not so unusual as I suggested after all!

Ian G

Papa G, Ian Goodliffe recorded his 13th (not)parkrun this week – unlucky for some!

Next up, returning for a second week of punishment is yours truly, Matthew VERNON in 38:02. Unlike last week’s run, this didn’t take place at Witton, but on a local route incorporating two laps of Fishmoor Reservoir. It was considerably slower than last week’s outing, but I don’t feel as rough after it, so fingers crossed things will get better from here! Just behind me was Blackburn Road Runner Irene SLATER in 38:47. This was Irene’s fourth (not)parkrun and her first not alongside fellow Road Runner Kathryn Kinney, as due to the new restrictions covering the whole of the local area, sadly the two good friends are forced to run individually – Irene in Pleasington and Kathryn in Langho, although only Irene recorded a (not)parkrun this week! Behind Irene was our only first timer this week, Witton 100 Club member (and my mother) Lynda VERNON in 48:54! This was mum’s first run in 6 months and she did it along the same route as me, but not being the strongest on geography, she predictably got slightly lost, which has added a good few minutes to her time! Nevertheless, this time was still faster than her first ever parkrun and now, confident of the route, she is hopeful of a big improvement next weekend – well done, mum! Finally, this week was friend of Witton Janice PARKER in exactly 58 minutes. This was Janice’s 6th (not)parkrun and third in four weeks – you’re getting out there, Janice, that’s always the most important thing!

Mum

My mum, Lynda Vernon, became the 50th Witton (not)parkrunner on Saturday!

This week saw Karen run 4 times (for the second successive week), Chris run 3 times (for the third successive week!) and Cameron run twice (for the second successive week). This week, Cathy ran on Tuesday, Matt and Irene ran on Wednesday, Andrew and Peter ran on Thursday, Ian C ran on Friday, there were an astonishing 12 times recorded on parkrunday (formerly known as Saturday) and Scott and Paul ran on Sunday. This was the highest number of (not)parkruns recorded on actual parkrunday ever at Witton (beating 10 in the very first week), although 12/20 is 60% of the field and this has been bettered twice, in Week 3 (7/11 – 64%) and Week 1 (10/14 – 71%). This week saw the 50th Wittoner record a (not)parkrun time – my mother, Lynda Vernon – while we have recorded an impressive 299 (not)parkruns in total, meaning we’re guaranteed to break 300 this week! Well done to all this week’s (not)parkrunners, and, remember, if you want to get involved, all you need to do is run 5K (anywhere, it doesn’t need to be on a parkrun route) and then log in to https://www.parkrun.com/signin/ using your parkrun number (which you’ll find on your barcode – the number after A, or alternatively you should find it on most parkrun emails you receive) and the password you set up to access your parkrun profile (if you don’t think you’ve set up a password, or have forgotten it, there’s a link on the page to reset your password), and once you’ve accessed your profile, you just need to click ‘(not)parkrun’ and enter your time – there’s no need to upload Strava records or Garmin data, just your time and the day you ran on. You can record a time any day of the week and can record a time every day if you so wish, for 7 per week. It’s great to see so many familiar names and helps us keep the community spirit of Witton parkrun alive while we’re on forced hiatus, so why not join in and work on that lapsed fitness over the past 6 months?!

not-parkrun

It couldn’t be simpler to join us at (not)parkrun – how about giving it a go? 

parkrunniversaries

A bumper week this week, with no less than 9 (NINE) parkrunniversaries this week of Wittoners old and new. We start with one of Witton’s original Run Directors, and someone still occasionally on the roster, Sally HUPFIELD-SMITH, who ran her first parkrun on September 20th, 2014 at nearby Burnley parkrun! Sally is another of the Witton core team who began her parkrunning journey prior to Witton parkrun starting up, and ran 12 times in late 2014 and 2015 before Witton’s inaugural event in August, culminating a week before Witton’s launch with her 3rd run at Burnley, alongside 4 runs at Heaton Park, 3 runs at Bolton and a 2 outings at Cuerden Valley. She was one of the few Witton core team members who ran at our inaugural event, where she operated as one of the tail runners at the time (tail walkers these days), but it would be her only appearance on our old course, with her next run at Witton coming at Event #20, one of the first runs on the Beast. She has only run 6 parkruns away from Witton since we started, most recently at Cuerden Valley in January 2018 and, after running 12 times in 2016 and an impressive 28 times in 2017, Sally’s parkrunning has tailed off a bit, running just 9 times in 2018 and just 5 times in 2019. She’s been a prodigious volunteer in our past, volunteering 137 times in 211 Witton parkruns, including 22 times as Run Director. She earned her purple t-shirt at our 21st event in February 2016 and earned her red 50 runs t-shirt at our 100th event in October 2017. Despite this, Sally has yet to join the Witton 50 Club, having been stuck on 49 runs with us since her last run at Witton way back in July last year. Happy 6th parkrunniversary, Sally!

Sally

Sally (right) seems to have enjoyed tail walking at Witton’s first event in August 2015!

Next up is someone who hasn’t been seen at Witton in a little while, Chris CHADWICK, whose first parkrun came way back in 2013, on September 21st, at Preston parkrun. Chris ran two parkruns back-to-back at the end of September that year, but then wasn’t seen again until May 2014, where he again ran at Preston, his only run that year. 2015 was when his parkrunning really began, running twice at Preston at the end of August, before joining Witton for Event #2 in early September. He quickly became a Witton regular, running 20 times with us in our first year, alongside 5 runs elsewhere. He earned his red 50 t-shirt at Witton at Event #79 in April 2017 and joined the Witton 50 Club at Event #103 in October the same year, becoming the 21st person to join. He was part of the Witton party who visited the new Hyndburn parkrun in November 2017, but has only run 8 times since then, all at Witton and hasn’t run a parkrun anywhere since April 2018. He currently sits on 73 parkruns, 27 short of his black milestone t-shirt, and has run 58 times at Witton parkrun, still the 47th-highest total of anyone. Included in his runs away from Witton are two runs at Carine Glades parrkun in Perth, Western Australia, over Christmas 2015, where he was joined, as so often was the case, by daughter Isabel, a fellow Witton 50 Club member. Chris – and Isabel – are both missed in Witton circles and it would be great to see them back at parkrun when we return – happy 7th parkrunniversary, Chris!

Chris C

Chris looks focused on his first Witton parkrun in September 2015 – his 7th parkrun overall!

A familiar name up next, even though he’s a relatively new member of the Witton community. He’s already a Witton 50 Club member though, and has been a prolific (not)parkrunner during our off-season, yes, it’s Blackburn Road Runner Andrew WISDOM, whose first parkrun came on September 22nd, 2018, not at Witton actually, but in the distant surroundings of Chelmsford Central parkrun in Essex. A week later, Andrew made his Witton debut and, after another tourist outing at Seaton parkrun in Devon, he ran 6 more times at Witton before the end of the year, including a run of 5 straight personal bests, reducing his time from an initial 30:25 to 27:56. He was virtually ever-present in 2019, running 34 out of 44 Witton parkruns last year, starting with his first New Year’s Day parkrun at Witton and ending just after his first Christmas Day parkrun with us in December. He also ran another 12 parkruns away from Witton, including two returns to Chelmsford, where I suspect a familial connection, and a variety of other locations across the country. This means a total of 46 parkruns last year, close to the Gold Level Obsessive mark of 50, and it saw him earn his red milestone t-shirt for his 50th parkrun in November that year, at our 194th event, just 14 months after his first parkrun. He was present for our 150th and 200th parkruns and joined us for our 4th birthday in August last year, while he joined the Witton 50 Club just before our closure, at Event #210 in early March, one of 13 parkruns he completed in 2020 before parkrun was suspended. Two of those came in a first (and following the change in rules, only) New Year’s Day Double, where he covered the greatest distance between his parkruns, following his run at Witton with a second outing at Morecambe Prom parkrun 36 miles away, while a closer inspection of Andrew’s 2020 parkrunning shows he was on a perfect streak at the point of suspension, having run a parkrun on every possible Saturday to date, plus two on New Year’s Day! He has run 68 parkruns in total already and would doubtless be well on his way to a black milestone t-shirt in normal times. In parkrun’s absence, Andrew has been an enthusiastic participant in (not)parkrun, running 13 times in 15 weeks and being virtual first finisher in 5 of those weeks. Happy 2nd parkrunniversary, Andrew, hopefully it won’t be too long before we’re back in action!

Andrew W

A rarity during these parkrunniversaries: I actually found shots of Andrew at his first parkrun away from Witton! Here he is sneaking into a couple of photos at Chelmsford Central parkrun 2 years ago this week!

Our remaining 6 parkrunniversaries are 3 pairs of linked individuals, two by marriage and one by work. We begin with two people celebrating their 3rd parkrunniversary, having made their debuts on September 23rd, 2017 at Witton’s Event #98: Julie GRAVES and Khurram SHAH! Julie and Khurram work together as part of the admin team for NHS East Lancs, alongside fellow Wittoners Laura Nicholson and Stacy Feeney. Stacy and Laura, you may recall, celebrated their parkrunniversaries a few weeks ago, but boss Julie first joined us this week. She made her debut at Event #98, running 41:54, and impressively ran on 11 consecutive Saturdays from the start of her parkrun career, including tourist runs at Hyndburn’s 3rd event, and a first run at Bolton when Witton was cancelled in December. She ran 4 PBs at Witton, too, down to 38:58 in mid-November, and after a brief break in mid-November, she earned 3 more PBs at Witton over the course of one week at Christmas, including a run on Christmas Day, and then followed it up with another PB on New Year’s Day to begin the year with a new best of 36:09. Her attendance continued to be near-ever-present, with runs at Cuerden Valley in January and Burnley in February, before her progress was cruelly halted by injury. At that point, she had run 21 parkruns in less than 6 months and had a Witton best of 35:22 from Event #113 in January and a parkrun best from her second last outing, at Burnley, of exactly 32 minutes. A succession of setbacks and physio appointments meant it was a huge amount of time before we saw Julie back at Witton, no less than a year and a half, making her return as a tail walker at Event #190 in October 2019. She returned twice more towards the end of the year, once in November and once in December and ran twice on New Year’s Day, first at Witton and then at Burnley. 2020 saw a return to her old habits, running 10 times out of 13 possible events, 8 times at Witton and twice at Burnley, with a Witton best of 36:58 and a parkrun best of 33:19, both around a minute off her pre-injury best. Now we have an enforced layoff, I hope Julie is still primed to continue her parkrun renaissance when we get back. In addition to Christmas Day 2017 and New Year’s Days 2018 and 2020, Julie has also run at our 100th and 200th events and ran on Leap Day, present as she was at our last three events before lockdown – happy 3rd parkrunniversary, Julie!

Julie G

Julie is all smiles as she completes her first parkrun!

Onto Khurram now! Khurram SHAH is the husband of Heather Shah, who has also run 15 times at Witton and started at Event #6. Khurram took considerably longer to make his debut, nearly 2 years to the week in fact, starting at Event #98 with a steady 46:21. He originally ran under the name Shaheen Shah, for his own reasons, but changed it to his everyday name once he became a regular. This didn’t take long as, similar to Julie, he ran on 9 consecutive Saturdays, including a tourist run at Hyndburn in November, and setting 5 PBs in this time, down to 40:33 at Event #105. Like Julie, he ran 4 times over Christmas and New Year 2017-18 and set another PB on Christmas Day of 39:32, his first sub-40 parkrun. Following on from New Year’s Day, he ran a total of 25 parkruns during 2018, with bests of 36:56 at Witton and 36:06 at Hyndburn in successive weekends in June. He didn’t run from November until March, when he returned, running 10 Wittons out of a possible 12 between March and June 2019 but he hasn’t been back since! This leaves him on 42 Witton parkruns, 8 short of joining the Witton 50 Club, and 47 parkruns in total, just 3 short of his red milestone t-shirt! He ran at our 100th event and our 3rd Christmas Day event and all 5 events away from Witton have come at nearby Hyndburn. He is missed by many at Witton – happy 3rd parkrunniversary, Khurram, we hope to see you again upon our return!

Khurram

Khurram in action on his first parkrun, alongside wife Heather!

Next up is our first husband-and-wife team, who both made their debuts at Event #52 on September 24th, 2016. Though not prolific parkrunners, they have both predominantly run at Witton, having made big changes to their lives in a bid to live more healthily: I speak of Michael and Sharon SINKINSON! Michael first ran at Event #52 and returned a week later to smash his time by 7 minutes to come in at 24:26, improving further another week later to 23:41. Michael is a keen trail runner and also an ultra-runner, so only visits Witton periodically. After visiting 8 times in the last 3 months of 2016, culminating with a visit on Christmas Day, he only ran one parkrun in 2017, again on Christmas Day. His next visit was for our first Run for Norman in June 2018 and he visited twice more that year, for our 3rd birthday in August and our 150th event in November. He didn’t visit at all in 2019, but his most recent visit came in January, at Event #204. Aside from his 13 runs at Witton, he has run a further 7 elsewhere, with visits to Burnley (twice) and Pendle in 2016, Hyndburn in 2018, Cuerden Valley and Centennial parkrun in the centre of Sydney, Australia in 2019 and a New Year’s Day parkrun at Hyndburn in 2020. Happy 4th parkrunniversary, Michael, we hope to see you a bit more once we’re back!

Michael S

Michael (left) looks focused, alongside Witton 50 Club members Sue Duckworth and Matty Cocker, on his first parkrun in September 2016!

As for Sharon, she’s got a few more parkruns to her name. Like Michael, she joined us for Event #52 in September 2016, running 35:22. She ran 7 more times before the end of the year, running PBs on her next four visits to be down to 30:39 by November and setting another PB on Christmas Day of 30:02! She ran twice in 2017, including a new PB of exactly 28 minutes in May, then ran 4 times with us in 2018: on New Year’s Day, at our first Run for Norman, our 3rd birthday and our 150th birthday. That was actually Sharon’s last run at Witton to date, her 14th in total (one more than hubby Michael), but like her husband Sharon is much more at home with longer distances, regularly running half marathon distances and upwards. Sharon has run another 13 runs away from Witton, including 2 visits to Pendle, 2 to Burnley, 6 runs at Hyndburn, 1 at Cuerden Valley, plus outings at Minehead parkrun in Somerset and Centennial parkrun in Sydney, Australia. All this puts her on 27 parkruns, over halfway to her red milestone t-shirt, with her most recent runs coming at Hyndburn, with 3 runs this year, all in January, starting on New Year’s Day. Sharon has lost a considerable amount of weight since she started running and told me in her early days that she used me as her target to try and catch me, something she claims never to have managed. I can safely say that while I may have managed to keep her at bay over 5K, she has me beat over any other distance and is proof that you can do anything you put your mind to. Happy 4th parkrunniversary, Sharon, let’s get that red t-shirt once parkrun’s back!

Sharon S

Sharon has a breather during her first parkrun in September 2016 – she’s a much leaner figure these days!

Our final parkrunniversaries this week are a married pair of Witton 50 Club members and regular parkrun tourists. At Witton’s 5th event on September 26th, 2015, Darwen Dashers Kerry and Bruce ELLIOTT made their debut! I like to give everybody their own write-ups, but I think it’s virtually impossible to split the Elliotts, with almost identical parkrun records in terms of runs and venues. From their first outing in September, both Kerry and Bruce ran the next 10 Witton parkruns in a row, and each earned a new PB on their first 3 return visits, Kerry reducing her time from 27:57 to 26:35, while Bruce came down from 28:20 to 26:36. Bruce actually ran solo at Event #15, setting a new PB of 22:09, before both Elliotts were present for both our first Christmas Day parkrun and the sodden Boxing Day parkrun the day after. This means, having missed our first 4 runs, Bruce ran all the other 13 on our old course, with Kerry running 12. The Elliotts were early Witton adopters of the New Year’s Day Double, but in the absence of Witton’s New Year’s parkrun (which first happened in 2018), Kerry and Bruce ran at Ormskirk and St Helens parkruns, their first two tourist runs. Not that this meant a move away from Witton, with their attendance just as regular on our new Beast route, running 23 more times in Bruce’s case and a whopping 26 times in Kerry’s case before our first birthday, for totals of 36 for Bruce and 38 for Kerry! This regular attendance was enough for Kerry to win the Witton Female Points Competition for 2016 (an old parkrun competition which has been abolished since early 2017), while Bruce came third in the Men’s Competition. With two runs at Burnley each and a run at Bolton apiece, Kerry and Bruce were both rapidly approaching their red milestone t-shirts, and both qualified not long after our birthday one event apart, Kerry’s red t-shirt coming at Event #56 in October and Bruce’s at Event #57 in November, while they were both early joiners of the Witton 50 Club, Kerry joining at Event #84 as its 10th member and Bruce at Event #92 as its 13th member. At the end of 2016, Kerry had run 47 parkruns in total and Bruce 43, both above the Silver Obsessive tally of 40 but shy of the Gold level of 50, and both returned to Witton for our second Christmas Day parkrun.

Bruce and Kerry

Bruce and Kerry complete their first parkrun side-by-side in September 2015!

This is where their stories diverge a little from Witton, as having both been loyal and regular Wittoners over their first year, Kerry and Bruce started touring more and taking in other parkrun locations. They both ran another 43 parkruns in 2017, with another 15 each coming at Witton but the rest elsewhere. Some things didn’t change, however: they were present for our second birthday, our 100th event and our third Christmas Day event, while Kerry earned her black 100 t-shirt with us two days before Christmas, with Bruce’s coming on the first day of 2018 at our first New Year’s Day event. These were the first of 38 and 39 parkruns respectively that year, including Witton’s third birthday and our first Run for Norman (two of just 5 [Kerrry] and 6 [Bruce] visits to Witton) and Fleetwood Promenade’s inaugural event, but Christmas parkrunning didn’t happen as Kerry had to have a serious operation, which took her some time to recover from. Bruce didn’t take this opportunity to forge ahead with his total, instead waiting for her to recover, before they both returned to parkrunning in March 2019 at nearby Preston. That was the first of 37 parkruns apiece last year, including a return to Christmas Day parkrunning in December, and a further 9 parkruns for Bruce in 2020 and 10 for Kerry, a rare solo outing on the final day of parkrunning before lockdown edging her ahead. In total, 72 parkruns at Witton, and a whopping 187 parkruns in total, while Bruce is only ever so slightly behind with 71 runs at Witton and 184 in total to his name. The Elliotts are often the most far-flung Wittoners in my Witton on Tour roundups during cancellations, but their touring is far from limited to Witton cancellations. They have run at a staggering 69 different events each, with Burnley (13), Preston (12 for Kerry, 10 for Bruce), Bolton (8), Ormskirk, Worsley Woods and Hyndburn (4), Lytham Hall and Stretford parkruns (3 times) and Fleetwood Promenade, Blackpool, Croxteth Hall and Centre Vale parkruns (twice) their only repeat venues. Tempting though it is to list their 56 single-run events, I’ll limit it to a few choice selections: they’ve run at 48 of the 70 parkruns currently in the North West, plus 3 Scottish venues – Ruchill and Pollock parkruns in Glasgow and Falkirk parkrun, closer to Edinburgh. They have also ticked off an international parkrun, running Hasenheide parkrun in Berlin as part of a Darwen Dashers tour. I’m sure there’s plenty more adventures to be had once parkrun returns (22 more North West parkruns to become regionnaires for a start!) but it’s always nice to see them back at Witton – I wonder how long it will be before they join the Witton 100 Club? Happy 5th parkrunniversaries, Elliotts! Phew! All done!

Kerry and Bruce 2

Oddly Kerry and Bruce seem to have avoided cameras during their recent visits to Witton – here they are at Event #210 just before our suspension, celebrating fellow Dasher Lisa Moran’s 50th birthday!

This Week in Witton parkrun…

2015

Event #5 took place on September 26th, 2015 as the late summer sunshine rolled on. We were visited by Fin O’Regan, who finished in 23rd position and in doing so earned his black milestone t-shirt for his 100th parkrun! This is something we’re quite used to these days but was not as common back then – it would be 12 weeks before we saw another earned at Witton and we had only 5 in our first 62 events. What brought Fin to Witton is unclear: he has never run with us again and 64 of his 100 parkruns had come at Nonsuch parkrun in London (when Fin ran there just before lockdown, it was his 145th run at Nonsuch, and his 294th parkrun in total!) but nevertheless we were delighted to have him and he holds a place in Witton history, as we do in his parkrun history. It meant that within our first 5 parkruns, we’d seen a white 10 t-shirt, a red 50 t-shirt and a black 100 t-shirt earned at Witton! We also saw our 500th male finisher (Junaid Kadu) and our 500th female finisher (Vicky Spencer) and our 1000th finisher in total (an unknown! Farhana Patel was 1001!) Meanwhile, our quest to find the last person standing who had done every Witton parkrun was down was down to 6: Joanne McLean, Michael McCarthy, Peter Toogood, Holly Turner, Jeremy (Jez) Turner and Anwar Khan. As some of you may guess, I don’t know all this stuff off the top of my head, I use the past run reports to help me and I might just mention that our erstwhile run reporter Barry Shackleton actually omitted Anwar from his list at the time, claiming just 5 ever-presents – imagine missing the most prolific Witton parkrunner off!

Fin O'Regan

Fin O’Regan comes to the finish of his 100th parkrun – his first and only visit to Witton to date – in 2016!

2016

Event #52 took place on September 24th, 2016 and was another hotly contested affair, with the first four runners back within 14 seconds of each other, led by Ribble Valley Harrier Chris Barnes (19:42). 9 seconds behind, Witton 50 Club members James McLeod (2nd) and Justin Collighan (3rd) were separated by a single second, with Accrington Road Runner Glen Goodwin just 4 seconds further back in 19:56. Meanwhile, Witton legend Dorothy Myers earned her 4th consecutive PB at her 5th parkrun, which also meant she became the first person in Witton history to improve a category record 4 times themselves – she would manage it once more before her record was broken by our second VW70-74, Maureen West!

Dot

It may not look it, but Dot’s on her way to a 4th consecutive age category record at Witton – 51:33!

2017

Event #98 took place on September 23rd, 2017 and was a relatively quiet affair. That said, we did welcome two new members of the Witton 50 Club, first Darwen Dasher Andy Haworth and then fellow Dasher Anne Marie Rustidge. Andy became the 17th member and 10th man to join with Anne becoming member #18 and the 8th female. Additionally, Witton welcomed Edric Hobbs and his wife Caroline, who joined us, with Edric running and Caroline timing. Edric is the Event Director at Shepton Mallet parkrun in Somerset and was running his 164th parkrun with us that day. He got on very well with our own ED Michelle Searby and they had a good chat on the day. The run report that day was written by Blackburn Road Runner and Witton 50 Club member Sandra Snape!

Edric

Edric Hobbs, Event Director at Shepton Mallet parkrun, visited us in 2017!

2018

Event #143 took place on September 22nd, 2018 and the big story was two milestone t-shirts for regular Witton visitors. First was Witton 100 Club member Peter Toogood, who earned his black milestone t-shirt at Witton this weekend. Peter had run 91 of his 100 parkruns at Witton, after starting at Sheffield Hallam parkrun (now called Endcliffe) the week before Witton’s inaugural. Second was Witton 50 Club member, and regular (not)parkrunner, Ian Brodrick, who earned his red milestone t-shirt for his 50th parkrun overall. 42 of Ian’s 50 parkruns had come at Witton, with the rest coming at 7 other local venues, including some Witton on Tours! We also had a rare recent(ish) visit by Janet Davies on our volunteering team, whose famously vocal marshalling efforts are legendary round these parts – sadly, this was her most recent appearance at Witton – come back soon, Janet!

Ian B and Peter T

No good pictures of either Ian or Peter at Event #143 unfortunately, but here they are in action one event later, at Event #144, on their 51st and 101st parkruns!

2019

Event #187 took place on September 21st, 2019 and was a gloriously warm affair, with temperatures in the mid-20s as Britain basked in the last throes of summer – somewhat different from this year in every possible way! It was a bumper event too, starting with another milestone t-shirt, for frequent Wittoner Andrew Aspden. This was his 23rd parkrun at Witton, having started at Cuerden Valley for his first 20 runs before joining us at Witton. Witton veteran Terry Gray, fresh from earning his red t-shirt the week before, ran with us for the 18th consecutive week, the joint-7th longest streak in Witton history and one that would end there as he wasn’t present for Event #188! Another special visitor last year was Peter Holgate, running his 14th parkrun. During the pre-run briefing shout-out for tourists, his response came: ‘Australia!’ All Peter’s previous 13 runs had come at Noosa parkrun, near Brisbane in Western Australia – we were very pleased to welcome him for his first international parkrun! It was a big week on the volunteering front too, as we passed 4000 volunteering credits at Witton (ending the week on 4017), while Darwen Dasher Debbie Ashton volunteered for the 50th time at Witton, this week as a marshal, and Blackburn Road Runner Dan Hamilton made his debut as Run Director, commandeering the microphone for the pre-run briefing and having a hand in the results processing afterwards too! Finally, that weekend, a group of Wittoners headed across to Manchester for the quarterly parkrun meal, which we held at the Cosmo buffet restaurant on Deansgate. It is an incredible spread of almost every cuisine you can think of and a great time was had by all.

Andrew A

No picture of Andrew from his milestone run, unfortunately, but here he is after a particularly exhausting parkrun a few weeks later!

What a bumper week we had last year, another reminder of how much we’ve missed out on this year. It looks like a difficult winter ahead, but we’ll be here throughout it all and if you’re having trouble or feeling down, feel free to drop Witton a line, we’ve loved hearing from you all during our cancellations and are missing you all greatly.

Until next week, stay safe and we’re getting through this, together.

Matthew Vernon #loveparkrun #loveWittonparkrun

Me

A happy smiley one from March this year this week!

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