Worcester Pitchcroft parkrun #54 – 28th July 2018

Run Report – Written by Imogen Gunson

The morning started well with a break from the heatwave, cool and breezy to start which was refreshing for a run. After a deceptively long walk from the car park we had our first timer and tourist briefing by David – with the wind now picking up making hearing much speech difficult it is fortunate the route is fairly straight forward, almost being the boundaries of the racetrack. We had a spectrum of tourists today from neighbouring parkruns through to Bushy the home of parkrun, and even an international visitor from Russia! We then had the run directors welcome, with Sam highlight that 99.2% of parkrun events in the UK have an AED, of which Pitchcroft is one, which is a fantastic achievement.

We then started the run, a lovely start area with plenty of space rather than congestion as some events can be! Battling the wind, we headed down one of the straights, but shortly crossed the course thinking we would have the wind behind for a bit of a speed boost – however having thick tree cover we were protected from all elements, so could at least run comfortably even if not assisted by the wind.

The course had plenty of marshal’s around it, all of whom were supportive throughout with particularly oomph in the cheers on the second lap. As the event was drawing to a close we had a welcome rain shower, I’m sure in a few months we won’t be so keen on them again. At the finish line the volunteers on timing, tokens, and scanning were all friendly and as chatty as you can without distracting from their roles. When touristing it’s always lovely to speak to people both runners and volunteers who really make it – with warm recollections I’m sure to visit again, once I’ve reached my ‘regionnaire’ of West Midlands.

In total 203 parkrunners walked, jogged or ran of whom 34 achieved new PBs so a massive well done all, particularly given the head on wind for half the course!

Milestones was achieved by 3 into the ’50 club’ – I’m sure they’ll be looking forward to proudly wearing their red shirts before long.

I always enjoy meeting people at their first parkrun and seeing the smiles at the finish which hopefully means they’ll be back! The first achievement is just getting to your first parkrun, I remember being nervous before my first thinking it would be an elite running club, little did I know every event is a family both in itself and within the wider international parkrun family where all are welcome. Today we were joined by 15 first timers who hopefully enjoyed themselves so much they’ll return and maybe even catch the tourist bug, as I was one of 35 tourists.

Final note has to be the thank you to the high vis heroes of which we had 18 volunteers today, we really couldn’t enjoy our run without you!

parkrun run report - 54


Pitchcroft parkrun – 49th Edition – 26 May 2018

Levett Alone; High for Lowe.

In the blazing damp of the Late Spring Bank Holiday Weekend in Worcester, local parkrunners were joined by visitors from Ware and from Tunbridge Wells - and probably other far-flung parkruns - to make up 215 people running, jogging, dog-walking, buggy-pushing and burpee-ing their way around the Pitchcroft loop course.

And did we do the Ware? Where? routine in the briefing? Of course we did. Comedy gold.

Burpee-ing?  More of that later.

Indeed it was the Tunbridge Wells Harriers runner, William Levett, who was the first person home - a clear 45 seconds ahead of the next runner - with local Black Pear athlete,  Jemima Lowe, crossing the line as the first female runner.

William's performance also saw him topping the WAVA listing, making it a rare event that our own Bryony Silcott doesn't top those rankings. Bryony, easy-going soul that she is, will be happy with second place on this occasion.

Meanwhile, recovering her breath after progressing through the funnel, Jemima momentarily placed her finish token on the ground - only for a caring, considerate fellow parkrunner to pick it up and hand it in as a stray.

Our event organisers were happy to make an exception to take Jemima's parkrun credentials to create a manual record of her days achievement which shows clearly on the latest results.


Abley to a Milestone; No Hazard for Jukes; Beaudro's Return

Having done our research and made our usual appeal for milestone runs at the pre-run briefing, as so often happens none was forthcoming.  The bell clanged and the tumbleweed blew across the path in front of the Run Director.

Scanning through today's results, Julian Abley - seemingly most regularly a Wyre Forest parkrunner - ran his 100th event with us at Pitchcroft today, gaining a new PB in the process. A good day for Julian, who ran his previous parkrun in Treviso, Italy, a human-scale city so attractive that perhaps Worcester City Council might do worse than initiate a twinning arrangement.

And another Wyre Forest afficionado, Martin Jukes, also hit 100 parkruns.  Martin's parkrun history shows him to have collected most of the local venues, including the much-missed Hanbury Hall. His Arrow Valley visits suggest a possible town-twinning arrangement with Redditch, should the Treviso link-up project fall through...

And we saw one of our regulars, Sarah Beaudro, back with us for her 101st parkrun, having celebrated her 100th as tail walker (we think) at Worcester Woods.  Sarah had a pre-run briefing shout out and cheer at the Pitchcroft last week, and had the same again today.

Congratulations to all three, with the cautionary encouragement that it's only 150 more parkruns to your next milestone t-shirt...


Rowan: Runner of the Day

The Run Director's 'Runner of the Day' award (should there be such a thing?) goes to Rowan Bennett, a first-timer in the JW10 category.  Rowan very tactfully restrained her hamstring-injured mum, Natalie, from dangerously over-cooking her recovery by ensuring they finished at the back of the field with our tail walker, Ann Grey.

Rowan smiled all the way around, and it's for that - and for looking after her mum - she's recognised this week.

Nine more parkruns, and Rowan receives her 10-runs t-shirt.

  1.   And Repeat.

We share our Pitchcroft parkrun space in the middle of Worcester with anyone and everyone who wants to use it for whatever reason.

It's not every week though we're going to be sharing it with a solitary, confident and determined individual whose plan for the morning is to perambulate for a mile around the edge of our course through the medium of the burpee.

If you're not sure what a burpee is, here's a link which tells you all.


  1. Painful. And then some.

The person behind this challenge is Mark 'Max' Wall, a St Johns, Worcester resident, and 32 years-served British Army soldier.

Actually, the person truly behind this challenge is Ruby, an 11 year-old Christopher Whitehead's pupil.

Ruby has a medical condition - type 2 spinal muscular atrophy - which means she can only really move around using a wheelchair.

Max's plan is to raise the £4,000 which will allow Ruby to buy a different sort of wheelchair, one that will allow her to take on more difficult terrain, such as the beach and the sea, which will create so much more freedom for her.

Max completed the mile.  Anyone who saw him - and there were more than 230 parkrunners,  volunteers and supporters who would bear witness - will know what an effort it was. It took him longer and was more painful than he expected. Then again, he did say that if it didn't hurt, it wasn't worth doing.

And the fundraising? At the time of writing (Saturday evening), the JustGiving page shows two-thirds of the target sum achieved.


What Max is doing is in no way an official parkrun charity.

Pitchcroft parkrun respects the parkrun UK's policy that seeks to avoid dilution of the parkrun brand which is critical to the organisation's success.

However, with so many of today's Pitchcroft parkrunners voicing their encouragement to Max  during the run, and asking afterwards about his progress, it would be a dereliction on our part not to highlight and provide an update on this positively-intentioned, completely selfless, if not somewhat crazy, challenge.


Dates for the Diary: 50th edition and 1st Anniversary Just Around the Corner

On the theme of sharing the Pitchcroft, this morning's pre-event briefing reminded everyone that we're having a fallow week next Saturday (2 June 2018). Commercial event arranged through Worcester City Council has precedence over us on this occasion, and its nature is such we can't realistically re-juggle our parkrun in a way which would not affect the incoming event. So please don't show up at Pitchcroft as we will not be there.

Consequently our 50th Edition Pitchcroft parkrun is put back by one week to 9 June - which happily coincides with our Pitchcroft parkrun First Anniversary, based on our launch date of 10 June 2017.

So, Saturday 9 June it is. Set the date in your diaries. Big day for Pitchcroft parkrun.


Run Report from a Tourist…

Finally the day had come. Saturday 19th May had been marked in the diary for weeks and we were looking forward to celebrating the big day with tea and cake. No…it was not the Royal Wedding that had captured the exhilaration of a group of runners from Hucclecote Harriers running club (near Gloucester), but a spot of parkrun tourism to your lovely venue! 10 Harriers (plus one toddler) made the journey up the M5 eager to score PBs on what we had heard was a fast and flat course!

It turns out that the excitement of the union of Harry and Meghan hadn’t put many people off attending because the 48th parkrun at Pitchcroft recorded its 5th biggest attendance as 245 people walked, jogged and ran around the stunning tree lined course. And very few people were resplendent in red, white a blue!
Unfortunately we didn’t get to experience your new course because Worcester Rowing Club’s Spring Regatta was taking place, as well as a Fun Fair in the centre of the racecourse, so the old course was used. It is great that you have the option to switch to a backup course so avoiding cancellation, and it also demonstrates one of the key themes of parkrun; that we are all able to share a public space with other park users.

The RD gave a shout out to a few tourists from Banbury, the rabble from Gloucester and as far as Paris. Matthew Robert Wateridge from Basingstoke has run a phenomenal 318 pakruns and, impressively, Worcester Pitchcroft was his 192nd different parkrun location! There must have been a few more tourists as 37 people were first timers to Worcester Pitchcroft and 6 runners were brand new to parkrun as a whole. The parkrun community hopes you enjoyed it and that you come back!
Sarah Beaudro, who has done 21% of her runs at Pitchcroft reached her 100 milestone on Saturday and celebrated at Worcester Woods.

Although it was pretty warm 26% of us recorded course PBs on Saturday, which is pretty good going; so well done all! Ros Townsend-Hope recorded a great age grade score of 86% with a time of 23:34.
Worcester AC had the triple for the men this week with Finley Smith first over the line for the 3rd time at Worcester Pitchcroft in 17:27 followed by Robbie Campbell in 17:39 and Sam Davey in 17:47. Lily Southern was 1st female home on her first appearance at Worcester Pitchcroft in a time of 19:23, followed by Becky Hardie who scored a new PB of 20:22 and then Rachel Booth in 22:35.

15 runners show up as unknown on the results. Remember – no barcode, no results. So don’t forget your barcode!
Being a buggy runner to a large 2 year old, I loved your course; paved surfaces, flat and shielded from the sun are all positives in my and Tom’s book! It was lovely to run alongside the river under a tree lined path on a beautiful Spring morning. The PB bell was a great addition too. On my second visit to Worcester Pitchcroft I was, once again, struck by the friendliness of the core team.
Thank you for being so welcoming to us.
Thank you must also go to all the volunteers who made this event possible:
David ASHBERY, Mary BARKER, Jacob BEARD, Lisa CLAYTON, Gill CLERICI, Sandra COOK, Sam DAVEY, Charlotte DEAN, Michael DICKSON, James DICKSON, Peter DREW, Suzanne DUDLEY, Nick DUNAWAY, David GRAY, Ann GRAY, Nick HOOPER, Miles JAMES, Alex KEEGAN, Tsu LAW, Dai MORRIS, Tom MORRIS, Sam PAYNE, Jonathan PHILLIPS, Stanley ROBERTS, Rollo RUMFORD, Sean RYAN, Harvey WYLDE

We thoroughly enjoyed our morning in Worcester and stayed for hours eating cake in the Pump House Environment Centre afterwards. I know a few of us are hoping to come back again and experience your new course.

And, finally, some aesthetically pleasing times:
James Hitchcock – 20:30
Peter Cartwright 22:33
Rachael Morris 24:00
David George – 24:24
Adam Davies - 26:27
Dylan Southwick – 27:28
Sarah Williams Hubbard – 28:29
Nathan Fitter – 28:38


Pitchcroft parkrun writting now... we just wanted to say a huge thanks to the Hucclecote Harriers for coming and filling our event with smiles. And another thanks to them again for writing this wonderful report! Shamefully, we only have this one picture of Sophie... so please send in any photos that we forgot to take.

Look forward to having you back soon.


Pitchcroft parkrun – 43rd Edition – 14 April 2018

No flood: gates open

The waters of the Severn having subsided somewhat, the new two-lap Pitchcroft course was available to us for the second time, on a day when paradoxically the promise of spring finally seemed to be lived up to, as the threat of nuclear winter increased.

And, for all the planning, preparation and safety risk mitigation in place to squeeze our runners through the bottleneck right-hand turn to traverse the racetrack, the large gates guarding that crossing were again found to be not locked, allowing us a safer means of negotiating the only really tricky part of our course.

And the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the trees were in bud and blue skies were abundant, which made for a reassuring change from the previous several weeks when grey skies, cold winds and miserable precipitation have been the Saturday order of the morning.

Blue Skies

parkrun partners - Alzheimer Research UK
Having communed locally with the Coop last week, this week we allied with Alzheimer Research UK, our charitable partners.

Caroline Attwood-Reusser, a regular parkrunner herself, commanded due attention from the itching-to-get-on-with-it runners at the pre-event briefing, describing very succinctly the work of the charity, and in particular its current fund-raising campaign, Running Down Dementia.


This campaign sees participants aiming to run or walk 100km between April (so it’s only just launched) and 31 August, with the goal of raising a minimum of £100 through sponsorship. 100km: that’s 20 parkruns, and though there are probably not quite enough weekends to hit the target on the basis of parkrun alone, for many people this level of activity would be fairly easily achievable.

Caroline herself returned a respectable 31-minute-plus-change run, showing off her official parkrun Run Down Dementia technical t-shirt, which is available to all people signing up for the campaign.


Big (vegan) cheese Stateside
It’s rare weekend that Pitchcroft parkrun big (vegan) cheese Sam Payne is not present.

For this week Sam and his brother had booked a holiday in Boston, Massachusetts to watch the Celtics playing the (I think) Milwaukee Bucks (possibly the team of choice of Laverne and Shirley, or perhaps Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World).

What Sam and brother James hadn’t realised is that there is another minor sporting event taking place in New England this weekend: the Boston Marathon.

So, Sam Payne, obsessive runner, will have travelled 6,000 miles to watch basketball in a city where one of the world’s premier marathons is taking place in which he is not participating.

He is doing has done the local parkrun though

Worcester Mass.?

Had Sam decided perhaps to keep his money in his pocket and his carbon footprint in check, he would, along with 208 runners, 27 volunteers and numerous family & friend supporters, have enjoyed the sunshine, blue skies and refreshing light breeze that Worcester UK (rather than Worcester Mass.) had to offer this morning.

That meant no need for runners and volunteers to huddle for shelter like bedraggled pigeons around the pavilion before the race start, and a Worcester mass (did you see what I did there?) of smiling faces and socialising at the finish.

Jan Golding - Volunteer of the Week

Hitting the 25-event mark this week is Jan Golding who is our volunteer of the week.

Completing 25 volunteerings sees Jan able to claim, yes, yet another technical t-shirt - but one which speaks to a willingness to contribute to providing the parkrun event from which so many people benefit.

Jan often provides the briefing for Pitchcroft first-timers, as well as undertaking some of the technical admin tasks after the event that ensure our parkrunners have prompt and as accurate-as-possible results as promptly-as-possible.

Jan - in the words of Bob Dylan - you can have your cake and eat it too.



Easter Parkrun – The New Course!

Easter is a time for new beginnings.  And so it was that we said goodbye – for now at least – to our familiar ‘horseshoe’ course and welcomed our new course, which is two clockwise loops of the racecourse.  This change was brought about by having been given permission to use the access road across the racecourse and to run in front of the grandstand.

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As Easter is traditionally a Christian holiday, did you know that the Bible has a reference to an Easter parkrun?  Well, sort of.  In John’s gospel, chapter 20, it says that on Easter Sunday, Mary Magdelene went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried and when she saw that it was empty she ran to tell the disciples.  Then . . . Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  They didn’t have barcodes then so we can’t be sure what their times were, but at least we have a record of what order they finished in.

For our own Easter parkrun, we had a fantastic turnout with 290 runners, our 3rd largest field ever.  We had an amazing 62 people running Pitchcroft parkrun for the first time, of whom 13 were running their first ever parkrun.  Welcome everyone!  Peter Aldis and Nigel Scott chalked up their 50th parkrun, and 24 runners achieved PBs despite a bit of a headwind on the riverside path.  Very well done.  And two Easter Bunny runners were also spotted.

First impressions were that the new course works well.  I’m sure we won’t miss the three U-turns we have to make on the horseshoe course, and somehow it seems to help to be able to focus on getting to the end without the ‘false dawn’ of running past the finishing line with a kilometre still to go!  It has also been measured precisely to make sure that we get our full 5 kilometres worth of parkrun.

Lots of people were chatting afterwards and as they walked back to the toilet block, so maybe this layout will be a bit more sociable too.  Please tell us how you found it on our facebook page.

As ever, many thanks to the volunteers who make parkrun possible, and get up early come rain or shine to make sure everything is ready and we are all safe.  If you haven’t volunteered before, please do.  It is a different way to enjoy parkrun and give something back.

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