Category Archives: parkrun

Aviemore parkrun

I spent last week in Scotland! There’s a holiday update coming soon but let me tell you about what we did on our first day there. We went to Aviemore parkrun.

I adore Scotland, the beautiful scenery and miles of lush countryside just waiting to be explored. It’s perfect. I particularly like the Cairngorms National park and have visited many times so when I heard Aviemore had it’s own parkrun I knew I wanted to go next time we were there. I then heard it only gets around 50 people. Then I definitely wanted to go! My local parkrun gets between 350-450 runners. As a slower runner I’m always near the end so the prospect of a top 50 finish was very alluring!

Aviemore was only an hour from where we were staying so after a quick check of their Facebook page to make sure they were on, as there was lots of snow in Scotland, we set off with my obligatory Belvita and cup of coffee.

parkrun selfie

Pre parkrun picture

When we arrived I introduced myself to Pete the Run Director and told him where we’d come from. He gave us a warm welcome but did seem slightly bemused that we would travel so far! He gave the Run Brief, then we walked to the start. It had said on the course page that it was a short walk to the start but I didn’t expect to have to go through a tunnel! How cool is that?!

tunnel to the start

The tunnel to the start

Anyway we set off and I soon found myself running beside the tail walker. She introduced herself as Claire and we started chatting. She was such a lovely lady and we chatted about everything from pets to races we had coming up. The run starts by heading through a woodland area and soon opens up. The whole run is on a firm woodland track. I imagine it can get a little boggy but the ground was very frozen when we were there. There were a couple of patches that were sheet ice that I chose to walk over. I didn’t want to break my leg on holiday!

The course is described as an undulating out and back course. However because I was chatting away to Claire I didn’t notice the hills too much which surprised me as all my running is on pancake flat roads! We reached the turn around cone and started to retrace our steps and then there was the moment! The moment that sets this parkrun apart from any other is when you turn and see the Cairngorm Mountain. It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely breathtaking and seeing it covered in snow gave it an almost magical feeling. That moment was incredible and rendered me speechless…for about 30 seconds. I like to talk…a lot! I just wish I’d thought on and snapped a picture!

There were some nice downhill sections on the way back which were great but then Claire told me we were at the last kilometre and it was all uphill. When we got to the start of the hill I, somewhat foolishly thought, “It doesn’t look that big” but it was. It was big and long! Claire gave me a good tip of taking smaller steps and that helped. Usually I try to lengthen my stride on the mini mountain of my local parkrun.

As we reached the end I was given an almighty cheer by the volunteers which was awesome! The volunteers were all so lovely. I was given my finish token and was just about to get it scanned when I thought to check my position number and was super surprised to see I finished in position 28!! I told the barcode scanner I just needed to take a picture of my token which amused her! Claire then explained to her about our large numbers at my home parkrun and it soon made sense.

finish token

After taking a picture I thanked Claire and thanked the other volunteers. We then went to the designated café which was upstairs above a lovely homeware shop. I ordered the smashed avocado and eggs on toast which had been recommended in the run brief and it was absolutely delicious!

When the results came through I was pleased to see I was only 2 minutes outside of my PB despite it being a hilly course!

We both really enjoyed Aviemore parkrun and would definitely go back. It reminded me of the much more local Moors Valley parkrun so I feel the need to revisit there again soon.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled for a parkrun?

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The Beast From The East

I’m a little behind with blogging so forgive me for having to mention the The Beast From The East! On 3rd March I was due to be Run Director at my local parkrun. There had been forecasts for snow but being on the South Coast, snow is quite a rarity. I’d prepped the kit naively thinking there wouldn’t be any snow, or if there were, there wouldn’t be very much of it.

Thursday afternoon came and so did the snow. It got so bad that work started to send people home. I left just after 2.30pm. The snow continued and in to Friday. We were given a snow day at work on Friday which meant I could make the final checks on the kit. By Friday night we were starting to think of a plan for the Saturday morning.

Myself and another RD agreed that we’d meet at 7am and walk the course to see how the promenade was looking. However, once she arrived at my house we already knew it was a no go. I couldn’t stand on my drive without sliding on the ice. When I managed to get off my drive the pavement was hard compacted ice. We made the decision to cancel.

Myself and the ED went down to our starting point at 8.45 just in case anyone hadn’t seen the announcements on our social media. We turned 4 people away which wasn’t too bad, it meant the message had got through. We did feel really bad for once fella. He’d travelled to us from Chichester after they had cancelled the night before. He told us he’d not seen the announcements on social media but this was to be his 99th run and the following week he’d travel to Manchester to run his 100th run whilst his brother ran his 200th. Now he was going to have to run his 99th in Manchester! Oops!

We were definitely justified in making the cancellation but I did feel bad for him!

Snow on the prom

The next day was like the snow never happened. It all melted, there were blue skies and sunshine! Crazy!

I went for a 4 mile run the next day. I had a rough idea of where I’d run that would be around the 4 mile mark but decided to take a couple of detours, you know, to explore? Yeah I got lost…twice! During the run I struggled too. I know some days you have bad runs and this was definitely one. It just felt hard. I managed to do it slightly quicker than my previous 4 mile run though so that’s good. I also got a little boost when I passed by two friends from parkrun who were making up for their missed run the day before.

4 mile run

Obligatory post run picture and stats! Excuse the filter, sometimes I do like to dabble with a snapchat filter!

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A Small Piece of parkrun Fame

Every week parkrun UK ask a question on their Facebook page. Sometimes it’s just “Did you join us this week?” or “Where did you parkrun today?” Sometimes they might ask something a bit more in depth e.g. “How does parkrun make you feel?” etc. Occasionally I answer these, if I feel I have something to say.

So imagine my surprise when I left work one night and had a Twitter notification from Anna telling me I’d been featured on parkrun UK’s Twitter page. A few days later I was on their Facebook page!


Imagine my surprise when the following week I was featured again!

I absolutely can not get over how many likes on Facebook this one got! A whopping 761! So many people congratulating me and lots of people complimenting my t-shirt! It’s from OBD Clothing in case you’re wondering!

I’ve loved my little two minutes of parkrun fame!

Have you ever been featured on parkrun’s social media?

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A Birthday parkrun

Last Saturday it was my Birthday. Since my Birthday was on a Saturday I knew it had to start with a parkrun. I actually contemplated going away for my Birthday and doing some parkrun tourism, but in the end I knew there was no where else I’d rather be than at my home parkrun with my friends.

After a cup of coffee and a Belvita breakfast bar, I took the long way to parkrun to have a warm up. I actually live 0.2 miles away from my local parkrun start line so I actually have to go well out of my way to get a warm up in!

As soon as I got to parkrun people started wishing me Happy Birthday. Then Auz (the guy that was integral in getting our parkrun started) came over with a Happy Birthday helium balloon for me. I was so flattered that he and his lovely lady Rachel got me a gift. 😊

Now I was holding a balloon, lots of people wished me a Happy Birthday. It was so lovely. As the run brief began I positioned myself behind Mike who I ran with in this post. He runs at such a consistent pace I really wanted to try and keep him in my sights.

As we set off down the prom I thought to myself “If I can run to the first shelter I’ll be really pleased” as I’d never managed to run that far before, but low and behold by matching Mike’s pace I reached that first shelter and kept going. My focus now changed to the second shelter and I knew I’d be pleased if I could get that far. But guess what?! I did! My thoughts kept changing “If I can make it to the sailing club, the turn around point, if I can make it back to the sailing club, the second shelter, the finish funnel (We have to run past the finish funnel at around 1.4 miles) I made it to the bottom of the ramp before just needing to walk the ramp and catch my breath. The bottom of the ramp is 1.5 miles in to the course.

I RAN 1.5 MILES WITHOUT STOPPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to cry, happy tears of course. However, Mike was calling me and telling me to come on. So when I reached the top of the ramp we were off again. I took a couple more walk breaks but actually ran a lot of it. I was so pleased with myself, what a Birthday treat! Oh and my balloon? The string on it snapped as I reached the second turn around point and turned in to the wind 😢 I was gutted as I’d been planning my Instagram post, me and the balloon in front of the parkrun flag. But no, the stupid wind took it for a trip to the Isle of Wight! Below is my Instagram post minus the balloon!

After parkrun

Never mind, the joy from running so much of the parkrun outweighed the sadness relating to the balloon.

Have you ever parkrunned on your Birthday? Is parkrunned even a word?

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Stokes Bay junior parkrun

junior parkrun logo

I thought I’d give you a little update on how Stokes Bay junior parkrun is progressing. We started on June 4th where we had an epic turn out of 184 children. With the inaugural event, you always expect a bigger turn out but we’ve now settled in to around 80-100 runners a week, occasionally a little more or less.

We’ve not had any major incidents other than the odd scraped knee, but have had a few challenges. These include a sailing competition, a duathlon and a 24 hour running event all sharing the same piece of prom. Everyone has been really understanding though and told their competitors to be aware of children running on the same route as they are, or where they’re moving their boats!

I’ve been Run Director twice now. It should have been three but I had to miss one due to illness. Part of junior parkrun is collecting the milestone wristbands when a child has completed the set amount of runs.

junior parkrun wristbands

Image courtesy of

When I was Run Director I had the opportunity to present the Half Marathon wristband to my friend and fellow junior parkrun RD’s daughter.

junior parkrun RD

It was an absolute honour to be able to present her with her Half Marathon wristband. The blue Half Marathon wristband represents 11 junior parkruns completed. The green Marathon wristband represents 21 runs and the orange Ultra Marathon wristband represents 50 runs. Parents are also sent a link to print off a certificate for their child.

I also stepped out of my comfort zone this Sunday just gone and took on a volunteer role I have never tried before. I was tail walker. I’ve put my name down to do this before at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun but chickened out as I just wasn’t sure I could keep up with the last person. However at junior parkrun the distance is a lot shorter and usually there is a lot less running involved. The role of the Tail Walker is to stay at the back of the field and be the last person to cross the finish line. Typically as it was my first turn at doing it I actually had a lot of running to do as a child dropped out, and another was in and out of a buggy, and when she was in the buggy, her mum ran! Fast!

I’ve now volunteered at Stokes Bay junior parkrun 14 times and so far we haven’t had any rain!! *touch wood!* This takes my volunteering total for parkrun up to 116!

Want to read my other Stokes Bay junior parkrun posts? The links are below:

Stokes Bay junior parkrun Test Event

Stokes Bay junior parkrun Event Number 1

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Returning to parkrun

parkrun logo

On 1st August I injured my Achilles. I’ve rested it, iced it, stretched it. It’s got a bit better. When I first did it, it hurt even without weight on it. Now it only hurts walking down stairs and it’s not exactly a pain, just uncomfortable.

On 19th August I walked a 5k and it was still a little painful. I’ve continued looking after the injury and today wanted to try out walking the parkrun course.

I walked the course with Kieran We also walked with Jade, the tail walker.. Jade is one of my fellow RDs at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. As we walked the Achilles felt absolutely fine. We kept up a good walking pace and chatted all the way round. It was really lovely, the sun was shining and I was chatting away with two friends and also improving my health at the same time. That’s the beauty of parkrun.

It was only towards the end, at the short uphill section, that I even felt my Achilles and again it wasn’t a pain, just uncomfortable. As soon as we had finished it went away and as Kieran and I walked back to the café I couldn’t even feel it.

After the run we took the standard post parkrun finish token photo. Kieran had his Birthday this week just gone and he got a new iPhone 7 plus. His post parkrun finish token photo was so much better than mine! I can not wait to get a new phone. For now though, you’re just going to have to deal with my picture.

parkrun finish token

We completed the course in 56:19, a good time for walking and still beats the first time I ever did parkrun and walked. I was surprised how hard it felt after a month off though! To be honest I thought we might have dipped over an hour but thankfully it didn’t. Now, the next step? A little try at running, possibly tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Volunteering 100 times at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun

parkrun logo

On 19th August I volunteered for the 100th time at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. I’ve mentioned in previous posts how I got started at parkrun but in case you haven’t read it before, I moved to the South Coast and needed a way to meet new people. It really is as simple as that.

I’ve met a lot of great people at parkrun and now have a lot of friends as a result. I know I can go and always see people I know, have a natter and a laugh and then finish it all off with a coffee.

There are people I’ve become close to, people I’d never have met if it wasn’t for parkrun, and people from all walks of life. I could write a paragraph to each person who has made my life that little bit better by having them in it as a result of meeting them at parkrun but I feel this blog post would become way too long so instead I’m going to share some pictures of me with my parkrun crew.

Starting with a picture of one of the greatest parkruns. It was part of the #IAmTeamGB campaign and parkrun sent us balloons, bunting, tshirts, sweatbands, selfie frames etc. We had fun in the finish funnel.

parkrun volunteers

This is probably one of the first team photos I was in. The volunteers change every week but sometimes people come and go. I haven’t seen some of the people in this photo for a while which is sad but the beauty of parkrun is that the door is always open.

parkrun volunteers

One of my favourite parkrun memories. I was timekeeping when this guy carried his pug, Dexter, over the finish line. Lots of people take their dogs to parkrun, not a lot of people carry them!

dog at parkrun

Me with Emma and Geoff, I’m wearing the blue and white Run Director vest. parkrun has enabled me to meet people from all walks of life that do interesting jobs and give their own time to help others.

parkrun volunteers

Another picture from the same day with us all squinting in the sunlight! It is occasionally Sunny at Lee-on-the-Solent but if I’m honest the howling wind and rain has had me wet through to my knickers at parkrun more times than I care to remember.

parkrun volunteers

This is a more recent picture of some of the regular volunteers. The lovely Pippa is wearing the RD vest in this picture, another amazing person I’ve benefitted from knowing!

parkrun volunteers

It’s taken two years to reach 100 times volunteering. Here I am as RD at the 2nd anniversary. We had a fancy dress theme and obviously I am Minnie Mouse. I’ve just realised, it looks like I am the only person in fancy dress in this photo! I swear there were others!!

As well as volunteering at parkrun I’ve now started completing them too. I’m lucky enough to have had people complete them with me. They’re willing to give up their chance of a PB or decent run to accompany me on a slow plod. The photo below is Louise and I. Louise walked with me and gave me great encouragement. I’m truly grateful.

Louise and I at parkrun

Now a couple of pictures from the morning of my 100th time. I wore my “uniform”, my apricot parkrun t-shirt personalised with my home parkrun Lee-on-the-Solent. The apricot t-shirts are only £27 including personalisation. They’re a great way when you’re doing parkrun tourism to show others where you’re from. In the picture below I’m inputting the results. You can see the lovely card Pearson made for me and the doughnuts and éclairs my friend bought for me to say Happy 100!

I also had balloons that I decorated the finish funnel area with. I started the morning wearing them but after they repeatedly hit me round the head I was ready to pop them! They worked much better on the finish funnel.

parkrun volunteer

And finally the lovely Anna came to Lee. I was very honoured to be asked for a selfie with her! Thanks Anna. Anna writes an amazing running blog that I’ve read for, blimey, probably a few years now! You should check it out.

Selfie with Anna the Apple

So what’s next for my parkrun journey. I now really want to concentrate on progressing with my own running at Lee-on-the-Solent and continue my volunteering streak at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. Of course I won’t be able to resist still volunteering at Lee but it won’t be every single week anymore, unless this Achilles injury sticks around!

Are you a fan of parkrun? Why not read my other parkrun posts? These start at the beginning of my parkrun journey.

parkrun volunteer

Becoming a parkrun Run Director

parkrun – More than meets the eye

Volunteering at parkrun 50 times

I Am Team GB

parkrun – That time when 552 runners turned up

parkrun – Thoughts from the finish line

Volunteering 80 times at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun

My First parkrun

parkrun number 2

My third parkrun


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My third parkrun

parkrun logo

I haven’t completed a parkrun for a couple of weeks due to hurting my foot falling over a door frame at work. However two weeks of resting, elevating etc meant that I was ready to attempt another parkrun.

My plan was to walk the majority of the parkrun and at the final turnaround point begin run/walking the remainder. I walked the first part and didn’t get any leg pain like I normally do. I ended up walking with three children ranging from 9-15. Perhaps the constant chatter amongst them didn’t allow me to notice any pain! As we continued the leg pain never appeared and we were at the turn around point before I knew it. I began run/walking, supported by the children who were more than happy to run along and call out encouragement. When beginning my run segments I’d pick a point somewhere in the distance e.g. a bin, bench or beach hut. I felt good on the run section and really noticed how the Hokas helped propel me forward.

I finished in 53:27, beaten by all three children! Those pesky kids! It was another parkrun PB so I was pleased. The hot weather meant I felt shattered afterwards! I finished in 386th position! I now can’t run a parkrun for a couple of weeks due to work and having friends visit from Sheffield. I’m really going to try and make sure I keep up with practising though.

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Stokes Bay junior parkrun event number 1

junior parkrun logo

Sunday June 4th was the inaugural Stokes Bay junior parkrun. After a successful test event two weeks previous we were excited to see what the morning would bring. All 6 RD’s had posted about it on Facebook so we knew we’d get a good turnout. What we didn’t expect was a HUGE turnout!

Myself, Paul (the ED) and Maggie got their early to make sure we had anything and had everything in place ready for the arrival of the marshals. A lot of our marshals have come over to us from what is now known as our sister parkrun Lee-on-the-Solent. I’m amazed so many people are willing to give up their time on a Saturday, but to know so many people are willing to give up their on a Saturday and Sunday just shows the power of parkrun.

As we were setting up the Breakfast Club from Absolute Running ran by. A lot of these runners attend Lee parkrun too so we hollered and whooped as they went by. People started arriving from around 8.15, both runners and marshals. Paul jumped in to action and gave the marshals their equipment, lanyards and hi-vis vests. I was timekeeping, one of my favourite roles, so I trained the other timekeeper on how the stopwatch works.

Then it was a case of waiting. As we waited more people arrived, and then even more. There were plenty of children but also plenty of adults. Some adults were dressed to run with their children, others wrapped up against the bracing wind. There weren’t just parents either, there were grandparents, aunts and uncles. The prom was soon full and Paul had to ask people to gather on the grassy area to keep the prom clear!

The brief and warm up (all junior events have to have a warm up) were due to start at 8.50am. 8.50 arrived but people were still arriving in their droves. There were people arriving as far as the eye could see. Then Jade (one of our RD’s) received a call saying the car park was full! Bearing in mind the car park is a pretty big one! The briefing was given as late as we possibly could, along with the warm up. Then the last thing that needed saying was “Ready, Steady, Go!” and they were off.

We all stood a bit gobsmacked as the crowd passed us. There were lots of runners. We quickly made our way down from the start line to the finish line  where we cheered all the runners on. The first runner finished the course in a rather speedy 8:05, 1 second faster than the test event! This is now set as our course record. Soon enough all the runners had returned home and we had a moment to stop and take it all in. 184 runners had completed the course. 184! Wow! We’ve created a monster.

As we chatted to people afterwards we had nothing but praise and positive comments, this then continued through the day on the Facebook and Twitter accounts. We were absolutely buzzing. I still am a little if I’m honest! The huge turnout just goes to show how much this little town needed a junior parkrun and I’m pleased we were able to bring it. We’re helping the future generation start life of a fit and healthy path. Long may it continue!

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parkrun tourism bucket list

I had to semi miss parkrun this work due to a work commitment. I went to volunteer again as volunteer coordinator but then had to leave at 9.3o to get to work. In a way it was probably a blessing in disguise. I fell at work on Monday (over a door frame of all things) and probably would have been tempted to give it a go had I not have had a work commitment. It is still a bit sore so it was for the best really. So instead of a parkrun update I thought I’d post about where I’d like to visit. I know, I can barely walk them at the minute but once I’m able to run them I’d like to do a little bit of tourism and check out some local and some not so local parkruns.

Close to home

Some of these are going to be easy to achieve. They aren’t that far away and I’d be able to drive there on a Saturday morning.

Southsea – I’ve heard Southsea is very similar to my home parkrun Lee-on-the-Solent, but with less marshals. It’s flat, it’s by the sea and has a great café. It’s also where some of my parkrun friends started their parkrun adventures before Lee became their home parkrun.

Netley Abbey – I encourage people to come and visit me at parkrun this used to be because I couldn’t drive and because I couldn’t bear to give up my volunteering. However I can drive now and I’m nearly at the magic 100 times I strived to volunteer. Anna has visited me a couple of times at Lee so maybe one day I’ll be able to let her show me her home parkrun?

Southampton – Southampton is one of the biggest parkruns in the UK so I’d like to see what such a big parkrun is like, although Lee is huge it’s actually half the size of Southampton.

A little further afield

Medina IOW – I’ve never been to the Isle of Wight but I’ve known there was a parkrun there for a while. I recently saw pictures of this parkrun on Instagram and it looks lovely as it runs alongside the River Medina.

Poole – This is another huge parkrun and I’ve heard good things about it from some of my parkrun friends. Apparently they go the extra mile for runners by providing water and laminating services for your barcode.

Weymouth – I adore Weymouth from my first holiday there in 1997 I have pretty much been back every year since even when it meant travelling by train to get there from Sheffield. I’d love to run a parkrun here but have to admit, I’m disappointed it’s not on the beach front.

A lot further afield

Bushy – The home of parkrun, surely everyone has to run this once in a lifetime? Also they have deer! Not many parkruns can boast that!

Sheffield Hallam – I first heard of parkrun when I lived back home in Sheffield. Sheffield Hallam was my local parkrun but I never made it to one, even when I could run. I guess a mixture of nerves and the unknown? Without knowing about parkrun I’d have never volunteered when Lee-on-the-Solent started up. This is such a familiar course, I have walked it a thousand times but it’d be great to do it officially.


So most people know I love Scotland. If we hadn’t of moved to the South Coast I’d have looked at moving to Scotland.

Ganavan Sands (near Oban) – After completing this parkrun I’d go for locally caught seafood in Oban. Can’t think of a better day to be honest.

Inverness – I simply love the Highlands, the scenery there is just something else so why not parkrun in Inverness where I’ve spent so much time. I’d stay in the log cabin we’ve stayed in before at North Kessock.

Aviemore – Aviemore is such a beautiful place. It has Loch Morlich which is probably the prettiest Loch I’ve ever seen. It also has reindeers!! When I’d finished this parkrun I’d refuel at Roo’s Leap.

I think that’s a big enough list for now. I’m pretty sure over time there will be others I add.


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