There be Pirates me Hearties #351 27th January 2018

parkrun. You couldn’t describe it in one sentence if you tried. It means so many different things to different people, something that was clearly evident today at Worcester Woods. Where else would you see a group of Mental Health Ambassadors brightening up and encouraging us on a rather drab, dull day in their cheery, blue (or purple) tops whilst at the same time, just a few metres away, observe Wally’s crew of cheery pirates from the Jolly Malvern Joggers waving their cutlasses and threatening to overrun the Woods? Rumour has it there were also a few other Wallys resplendent in their stripy tops, weaving through the woods today. Well done if you spotted one.

#351 Malvern Jogger Pirates

As mentioned there was a #runandtalk event today at parkrun, hosted by the Mental Health Ambassadors from Black Pear Joggers (Alison, Glenn, James and Steve) and Pershore Plum Plodders (Sian). They were there as part of a nationwide initiative set up by England Athletics, and supported by Mind, the mental health charity. We asked Alison, Glenn and Sian to tell us a bit more.

“#runandtalk events will be happening all over the country this week, and it is a great initiative to try to break the stigma of talking about mental health and to try to raise awareness of the positive impact that running, or walking and getting outside can have on mental health. Running is great for you once you get started! We are here today to run, jog, chat and eat cake afterwards, and also to be a simple presence and to signpost people to help that might be available. This will also lead up to the Time to Talk Day on 1st February – take a look at the website if you want more details!”

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It was good to have you here with us at parkrun, and to see the encouragement to keep going that you were giving runners and walkers out in the Woods today, and great to be reminded that this is something we can all be involved in. Mental health problems affect one in four of us yet people are still afraid to talk about it. For people with mental health problems not being able to talk about it can be one of the worst parts of the illness. So by getting people talking about mental health we can break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all.

In other news, congratulations if you celebrated a milestone today:

100th: Christopher ATTWOOD, Nick GRIFFITHS

150th: Debbie PARKER, Vivien TOLLEY

200th: Karen COOPER

250th: Ian WALWYN

Congratulations also, if you achieved a PB today in all that mud – a great achievement. As always, parkrun would not be possible without the volunteers, all 43 of them. If you think volunteering is not for you – think again! It’s a great thing to do, the runners will love you, and you can treat yourself to an extra-large slice of cake afterwards, knowing you have done something awesome. Please email – the team will be delighted to hear from you.

Great news for next week - Rich has promised that it will be a dry one next week. If you don’t keep your word Rich, we’ve heard that there might be a bunch of pirates who would like a word with you…


Major Milestone #354 Christmas parkruns

On a weekend when Worcester was hitting the national headlines for the monumental ‘fatberg’ below the Bath Road, there were far more wholesome headlines being made at Worcester Woods parkrun, with some blockbuster milestones being celebrated, alongside a visit from the Mayor, Steve Mackay, to start the run. Lots of festive costumes and headwear on display, and lots of cake and chocolate to share. 


Ed and Mayor #346


Ed, sorry Santa, Steve the Mayor of Worcester, and Brian "boss of the funnel".


So well done if you were one of the 531 people who completed parkrun last Saturday with a run, jog or walk, and a big shout out to all the incredibly cheery volunteers who made getting round in all that squelchy mud so enjoyable.


There were lots of visitors with us on Saturday from as far off as South Africa, and we hope you enjoyed your visit. A special mention, however, to John Milner, from Shrewsbury who was joined by friends and family.


jon Milner family and friends #354


Amazingly, John has completed 50 parkruns this year, each in a different location. He said that it’s been fun, but all those early starts and long journeys have taken their toll on his body and wallet! An awesome achievement, John, well done from all of us and great to see you all (including Scott Perry, with you, completing his 20th different parkrun this year.) We asked a few leading questions, trying to get John to confirm the well-known fact that Worcester Woods is the best parkrun…with mixed results!


Favourite parkrun so far: Fountains Abbey or Eden Project


Quickest parkrun: Yorkshire


Most mud: Cheadle Hulme (“up to the knees!”)


Best Woods (getting desperate here): That would have to be Worcester!


Friendliest: Definitely Worcester!


So there you have it folks, we are the friendliest parkrun – it’s official!


Congratulations of you celebrated a milestone this weekend or Christmas Day; and lots of people did.


50: Merlin DUFF, Mervyn DAVIS, Richard LEAH and the amazing Claire GENT, Robert PRICE, Mark SEYLER, Bill BLOSS, Kay MOHANNA, Rachel BETTERIDGE


100: Ian HANNIS and Theresa HAYES, Benjamin GIRVAN
Stuart DAY


150 (unofficial but awesome): Ian Wild and Anthony JONES


250: The one and only Gerry RUDOLF


300 (unofficial but even more awesome): For the legendary Plum Plodders Carole MORRISON and Trevor CLARK


Here’s a photo of Joyce and Trevor mucking about on the way to the start....


Joyce and Trev #345


There’s no doubting that Gerry is an integral part of the team at Worcester Woods, as he seamlessly publishes the results and organises the volunteers every week, plus a host of other, unseen, jobs. Therefore it is only fitting to recognise his amazing achievement of 250 parkruns, and to find out a bit more about him.


Gerrys 250th #346


 The one and only Gerry!!


So here are a few (mostly) parkrun-related facts about Gerry that you may or may not know!


Parkrun got Gerry into fancy dress, and there is nothing he likes more than donning his reindeer antlers and painting his nose red for Christmas parkrun.

Gerry is a Worcester Warriors and Tottenham fan.

Gerry has played golf at Wentworth with Bernard Gallagher. He has also played golf in the dark – not so successfully.

Gerry can make his own marmalade, bread, and is a skilled cake maker. If you haven’t tried it, his Lemon Drizzle cake is to die for. Quote heard on Saturday: “mum, Gerry’s cake is even better than Granny’s!”

Gerry has helped and encouraged numerous people with their running. Lisa, Von, Bobbi and Russ say that he has been their long-suffering running coach and buddy for half marathon training. Apparently, he has a good listening ears!

Gerry has volunteered 155+ times.

He started parkrunning at 62 when diagnosed with diabetes and has since lost 5 stone, and has brought the diabetes under control.

Finally, did you know that Gerry is a skilled archer? It has been reported (source requests anonymity) that before he retired from his job, he used to set up his targets on a weekend in the empty company warehouse to practice. Occasionally, arrows must have drifted, and it was not uncommon to find a rogue arrow in the racking.



Make sure you say hello to Gerry the next time you come to parkrun. You will also make him very happy by offering your services as a willing volunteer. Drop an email to; there are lots of different roles each week for you to get involved with!


Looking forward to seeing lots of you at the very special Christmas Day parkrun, or as usual next Saturday. Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and looking forward to more parkunning with you all in 2018.


Coached to 5k – Event 354 16th December 2017

On the weekend that Sir Mo won BBC Sports Personality of the Year, we should also celebrate our own local heroes. Whilst lots of other parkruns across the Midlands had to cancel because of the icy conditions, our fantastic team managed to clear away ice from the paths to make it safe enough to run. Frostmageddon was averted, and 530 of us managed to run, jog and walk our way around a chilly and slightly squelchy winter course.


Congratulations to you if you were one of 31 people who got a PB this week, and also if you celebrated a special milestone:


50: Adam TAYLOR, Brett BARFIELD, Matt BIRD, and special mentions for Dawn POUND (who has also volunteered over 100 times) and James GOLDBY (one of the Worcester parkrun founders, hitting 50 after 7 years of planning and volunteering).


100: Peter REEVES


200: Vonnie RALPHS (deserves a special whoop whoop for being here at parkrun #1 and battling through breast cancer and back to fitness)


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Vonnie and Pals!


Junior 10: Oliver ELIOTT-WILLIAMS and Frankie REED


Next week will also be a special milestone week with Gerry RUDOLF celebrating his 250th parkrun, and Joyce Morrison hitting parkrun #300. We can’t wait to celebrate with you!


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Parkrunning with us today were the group from Worcester Bosch, who completed their Couch to 5K course back in September. You can’t have failed to notice their ‘Sumo-Santa’ meandering around the Woods? There was also a post-parkrun mince pie and mulled wine celebration, where a few of the group explained their motivation for coming along on a Saturday morning.


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Helen Carlisle


“I helped to set up a summer Couch to 5K at Worcester Bosch, and 40 of us graduated on the 16th September at parkrun. Today it’s three months on, and we decided to have a re-run celebration together at Christmas. Working at Worcester Bosch feels like being part of a big family.


There is a focus on health and wellbeing, and we wanted to try to encourage people to exercise more. The course has been a success; it has got people out and active, with some joining local clubs or getting out and running together. It’s even got me more active, and I’ve been coming far more regularly to parkrun!


Sarah Lawrence


“I’m in my 60’s and have never really run before (at least not since school). Without encouragement I would not have run – I was too frightened! Now I have joined a local running group on a Monday night, and have been running every week. I love parkrun because it is fun and sociable – I still can’t believe it is free! It’s great that you get to meet people from everywhere, and while you are running on your own, you never feel alone.


Jenny Cranston


I’m also in my 60’s and am hoping to keep it up and keep healthy as I get older. I love that we have encouraged each other in our group. I have a friend who says she can’t run, and maybe I could be a mentor for her, so I’d like to see her come along to parkrun. It makes me laugh a bit when people younger than me say they can’t run! It’s not about stamina, but about determination.”


Thanks for sharing your parkrun stories with us, it’s always great to be inspired by others. If you have something to share about your parkrun journey, please let us know!

As always, parkrun couldn’t happen without our fantastic volunteers. If you feel you could help in the next few weeks, please email There is lots of space on the roster, especially over the holiday period. if you like to run too, there are lots of roles that you could do before, during or after – please get on touch.


See you next Saturday…bring on the festivities!


Winter Woonderland #343 9th December 2017

It’s probably fair to say that we can’t even begin to imagine the headache that the weather caused the core team on Saturday as they laboured over the decision whether parkrun should go ahead or not.


The paths and areas outside the Countryside Centre were just too icy to be a safe option, as evidenced by a few tumbles. It looked like all was lost, until a slight change to the course was found. And what a change!


So team Worcester Woods – we know it was hard work for you this week, but we want to give you a huge thank you for the alternative course with an extra inner loop. It was truly stunning to run in parts of the woods that we don’t usually get to see on a crisp, frosty winter morning.


Welcome if you were a visiting us today! Good to see tourists with us for the first time from Arrow Valley, Ashton Court, Bramley, Cardiff, Little Stoke, Shrewsbury, St. Albans, Swindon and Wyre Forest. We hope you come back for another visit.

Even though it was a cold one, there were still plenty of mini parkrunners enjoying themselves this week. We caught up with a few of them, and love their unique take on parkrun! Thanks to Ruby, Nicole, Emma, Noah (8), Eddie (8), Arthur (10), Shannon (8), Alasdair (10), Izzy (7), Harry (5), Arthur S. (9) and Edward (12) for your amusing and insightful answers! Here they are..

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#343 2

What’s the best thing about parkrun?

Ruby, Nicole & Emma: Meeting people!

Noah: It’s really nice and enjoyable – it wakes me up!

Eddie: It’s free and it’s fun!

Arthur: Keeping fit!

Alasdair: Getting a new PB!

Izzy: It warms you up!

Arthur and Edward: The community spirit – because it’s not a race or a competition.


Can you describe Worcester Woods parkrun in just one word?

Here’s the collective list: Friendly, fun, enjoyable, fast, hard, exciting, fun (again), happy, awesome, slippery, better than Pitchcroft (sorry guys!) and….woody (of course)!

We know it’s not a race, but is there anyone you really want to beat?

Noah: I really want to beat Oliver Lloyd from my school, but my dad is slowing me down!

Alasdair: I really want to beat my sister Shannon. Shannon is the fastest in our family.

Eddie and Arthur: Our teacher at school, Mr. Clarke (watch out Mr. Clarke, they’re coming for you!)

Finally, although parkrun is already great, can you think of anything that would make it even better?

Ruby, Nicole and Emma: Start it later. And maybe free hot drink at the end would be good – the week the Co-op came was awesome! (spot the teenagers!)

Noah: Even more people doing it!

Eddie: More laps!

Arthur: Cake and sweets at the end!

Alasdair: An escalator!

Izzy and Harry: Sweets when you finish!

Edward: Maybe a young people’s pacer or group so that you can stay together and encourage each other.

That’s a great shopping list kids, hopefully the team will be able to do something with your ideas (especially the escalator) very soon…in the meantime, if you’ve got a great parkrun story about how parkrun has helped or changed things for you, we would love to hear about it. Email and we can arrange to catch up with you on a Saturday morning.

Congratulations if you celebrated hitting a milestone this week!

50: Samuel ELSDON

100: Rachel MATHIAS (visiting from Cardiff)

150: Helen BURTON

200: Caz KIBBLE

250: Chris GARRATT

Next week will be Vonnie Ralphs's amazing 250th parkrun, with a sparkly theme, so feel free to wear something appropriate to support her.

Due to conditions today, only a few PB’s, so an extra special congratulations if you got onto the...

Wall of Pride (≥10 parkruns and PB Today):

Amanda HYETT (15) 23:43
Greg DOBBINS (23) 24:07
Harry DOWNING (14) 30:25
Lindsey GOODRUM (14) 25:18
Malachi CASHMORE (60) 19:09 *** Boom ***
Mark TEAGUE (12) 18:21
Paul SMITH (28) 23:53

*** Boom = 50+ parkruns and PB today
Figure in () = parkruns compeleted

Finally, as always, a huge thank you to the volunteers who look after us and work so hard, especially this week. Don’t forget, if you can lend a hand, especially over the next few weeks (and on Christmas Day), please email, and make yourself a high viz hero!


Couch to 5k “Well Done” Event 341 25th November 2017

A chilly start to parkrun this morning, and a more noticeable ‘’what on earth are we doing look’’ on many faces. But of course, we were there to walk, jog, run, enjoy each other’s company and enjoy the challenge. So, was a bit of cold weather to stop us? Unlikely!

Thank you to all of the 41 volunteers who helped out and braved the cold today; it’s one thing to run in the cold but it takes an awesome person to stand in it and do all those jobs that make it possible for us to get our parkrun fix. We salute you.
Hats and happy faces on those of you that celebrated a birthday this week too (Steve Longley, Jeremy Jones and Emma Pound to name a few), and we hope that the great start to your special day ensured the rest of it was just as good.

It was ‘B’ day too for our parkrun tourists – Bedford, Buckingham and Burnage – we hope you loved the woods as much as we do!
Congratulations if you got a PB today (58 of you), or you hit one of those special, magical milestone moments today:

50 parkruns for Rebecca FARNSWORTH
100 parkruns for Angie RIDGE, Mark TOMLINSON and Adrian PRICE
200 parkruns (just for fun and because…why not?) for Alan SOUTHWICK

Also joining us today were some of the Couch to 5K completers from the Black Pears Tuesday Riverside group, and Happy Feet Fitness.
#342 C25K

C25K runners getting ready for their debut parkrun

It was great to hear the big cheer you got, and to hear about the encouragement you received as you went around. Well done for completing the course and parkrun today. I caught up with some of the the Black Pear Couch to 5K group (Sarah Broadbent, Jo Oakenshaw, Pam Ryan, Grania Flynn and Clare Diment) as they were enjoying a well-deserved slice of cake post-parkrun to find out about how they found it.

So why did you start Couch to 5K?:

Grania: I have signed up for the London Marathon, but I have never run for more than 5 minutes! Couch to 5K has set me on the right course, and it’s amazing what you can achieve.

Clare: I am a secretary at the hospital, and I sit down for most of the day, with no chance to exercise. A colleague goes along to Black Pear Joggers group and told me about the Couch to 5K. I thought that running would be out of the question because of problems with my knees and hips, but it hasn’t been a problem. Doing Couch to 5K has also helped me as I’ve been going along to Slimming World – I’ve lost weight and inches due to running. I’ve definitely got the bug now!

Pam: I’ve got a fitness test in January at work, and I couldn’t run at all, so I needed help! Jo: I just wanted to get fitter, and it was the same for me – I couldn’t run. I also have 3 children, so finding the time for fitness has been difficult.

Sarah: I’ve run before, but a back injury in January has meant that I’ve had to go back to the start, and Couch to 5K has been great for that. #342 C25K 1

All the training has paid off, finishing straight. How did you find parkrun today?

The groups answer was "it was tough and cold, but great!" The supportive atmosphere was fantastic. At this point, a heated discussion broke out about Badger Hill, and there was mild outrage that it had to be tackled TWICE!

But the ladies all agreed that they could not have done it without the support of their coaches, Sarah and Amanda (‘’even if we do think you were evil for making us run sometimes, Sarah!’’). Sarah was clearly proud of the group, and at how much they have achieved over the weeks.

#342 C25K 2

Time to Celebrate!!

#342 C25K 4

Running Well to the Finish

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High 5's!!!

What would you say to someone contemplating doing a Couch to 5K for the first time?
Again, without hesitation, they all said do it! Give it a go, we’re so glad we tried it. We have made new friends, gained confidence, and we would have given up if we had tried on our own. We have met up every week to do our homework together, and plan to come along on a Tuesday night now to join a transition group.

It’s clear that strong friendships have been formed in the group, and we really wish you well as you continue on your running journey, and hope to see you again at Worcester parkrun soon. Who knows, you might even start to enjoy Badger Hill…

We are blessed with lots of opportunities to join a Couch to 5K course in Worcester, whether work, club or fitness group based.

Running still not your thing? Don’t forget, you can still join the band of merry volunteers that keep parkrun going! Just drop and email to They would be delighted to hear from you!

Next week, it is the Worcester Victorian Fair, so make sure you leave enough time to negotiate the cars and coaches, especially as the park and ride will be busy. We look forward to seeing you next week.