Parkruns – my story & milestones

As a runner I love competing in events but I also love taking part in a weekly 5km (3.1 miles) event called Parkrun. It is not a race but an event for everybody for fast runners, slow runners, beginners, for all ages etc but it is a timed event and everyone gets a result and position. It is also a great way to meet new people, to meet up with the volunteers who take time out to assist in these events and have a coffee afterwards and a great way to keep fit. Parkrun started many moons ago in the hefty days of 2004 in Bushy, south-west London by Paul Sinton-Hewitt who is now a legend within the Parkrun circles. Since then Parkrun is now taking part in twenty countries across five continents, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Eswatini, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

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Wimpole Hall Estate with running buddy, fellow Stevenage Strider and best bud Ollie Garbas

I started running the Parkrun series when I first found out about them back in January  2013 when I first started running. Other highlights: First international Parkun in Ireland (March 2015), 50th Parkrun completed at Panshanger (Hertfordshire in April 2015), first Parkrun done in Oceania (January 2016), 50th different Parkrun course completed at Southsea in Hampshire, 100th Parkrun completed at Newcastle West (Ireland in October 2017), First Parkrun completed in North America (December 2017) and coming first runner home in a wintry Trout Pond course in Alberta, Canada in March 2019. In April 2019, I just completed my 159th Parkrun but completed my 100th different Parkrun course .  

Here are the courses I have completed in, why I enjoy certain places and why I hate some.

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Running with Ollie at Stevenage Parkrun with Kiddo!

It all started in Saint Albans, Hertfordshire, UK

My first parkrun was around the lakes in the Roman city of Saint Albans with the beautiful cathedral overlooking the course. However my first Parkrun was one of my worst. Not because of the way it was run but coming from a safety background in the railway industry, I couldn’t understand how many hundreds of runners could do a three lap course around a lake. Surely someone was going to fall in but thankfully no one has. Since then I haven’t been back for that reason but still had the feeling coming away that I completed my first ever running event in a good 22-25.

Course no:2 Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, UK

A nice scenic course in southern Cambridgeshire, running around the grounds of Wimpole Hall Estate. Has a nasty hill half way through the course and sometimes has roaming cattle. I have done eight runs with my fastest time being 20:46 back in July 2014.

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Wimpole Hall Estate in January 2013

Course no:3 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

Nice course just north of the city, scenic surroundings and I am sure there was a small lake there. Only done the course once and managed to get around that in 22-05 back in 2013.

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Cambridge Parkrun – January 2013

Course no:4 Finsbury Park, London, UK

Two lap course near the train station which is hilly in places. Completed in 22-08 back in 2013.

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Finsbury Park (2013)

Course no:5 Gunpowder Parkrun, London, UK

Done this course twice which was run on gravel paths. Fastest time was 21-18 back in 2013.

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Gunpowder Parkrun (2013)

Course no.6: Bedford, Bedfordshire, UK

One of the faster courses on the Parkrun circuit I have done and have completed the course at the Bedford County Park several times. My Parkrun personal best time is held here and that came in January 2015 when I came in at 19-57. I also got featured on Anglia News when they did a clip on the Bedford Parkrun a few years ago when it was their birthday.

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Bedford Parkrun (2013)

Course no.7: Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK

Done this course twice around Willan Lake (which is also used in other running events like the MK festival of running to name one of them). Quite a nice course to run around, away from all the roundabouts and dual carriageways. Fastest time was 20-09 back in November 2014.

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Milton Keynes Parkrun (2013)

Course no.8: Southend, Essex, UK

A fantastic course if the weather is fine and the waves off the Thames Estuary doesn’t come over the sea wall (like it did on my first visit here). Nice fast course around Gunners Park in Shoeburyness with my fastest time being 20-20 in September 2013.

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Southend Parkrun

Course no.9: Oak Hill, London, UK

Another fast course I have come across despite a slight small hill on this two and a bit lap course. Love the banter here between the locals and myself as I am from Stevenage (we talk about football as Barnet and Stevenage are rivals). Parkrun terms, done this course four times and my fastest time is 20-06 in March 2013.

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Oak Hill Parkrun

Course no.10: Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK

Probably not the best time to do a fantastic fast course the day before my first ever marathon at Brighton in April 2013 but managed to get a time of 20-27, finishing fifth.

Course no.11: Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK

Forgot to bring my running shoes for this one but loved this off-road course. Time here was 22-22 in May 2013.

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Huntingdon Parkrun (2013)

Course no:12:  Gladstone Park, Brent, London, UK

North London course with the main arch of the new Wembley Stadium in the distance can be seen. Finished in 21-22.

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Gladstone Parkrun (2013)

Course no.13: Grovelands Park, Enfield, London, UK

Also in North London in the Enfield/Southgate area, ran around a lake and finished in 21-01.

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Grovelands Parkrun (2013)

Course no.14: Shorne Woods, Kent, UK

Drove over the Dartford Bridge to do my first Parkrun course in Kent which was held in Shorne Woods near Gravesend. Finished second in 20-53. All gravel paths and loved running through the woodland.

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Shorne Woods Parkrun (2013)

Course no.15: Walthamstow, London, UK

Didn’t really like this course as it was around the grounds of a leisure centre in North-East London. Finished in 20-54

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Walthamstow Parkrun (2013)

Course no.16: Pymmes Park, London, UK

Done this course twice in one week as it was pretty fast. Loved the people behind the scenes here and great community feel. First week I got 20-22 but a week later came in at 20-26.

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Pymmes Parkrun (2013)

Course no.17: Highbury Fields, London, UK

Another course I truly hated in Islington, a FIVE lap course. I had to keep thinking how many laps I have done. Came in at 20-41.

Course no.18: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK

Nice two lap course on the outskirts of the city around lakes. Was a hard off-road course but remember coming away with the feeling of doing a great workout. Finished in 20-17.

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Peterborough Parkrun (2013)

Course no.19: Northampton, Northamptonshire, UK

My first Christmas Day Parkrun I did and drove all the way to Northampton! Remember nearly getting overtaken at the finish line by a few santas and a guy dressed in a snowman suit. Finished in 20-40.

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Northampton Parkrun

Course no.20: Harrow Lodge, Hornchurch, Essex, UK

Done this course twice and a great one around a huge park and in the grounds of a leisure centre. All off road. Fastest time here was 22-43.

Course no.21: Eastleigh, Hampshire, UK

Down to the south coast and next to the runway of Southampton airport, I ran the back up course at Eastleigh (as when I went the weather totally flooded parts of the normal route). Came away in 23-32.

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Eastleigh Parkrun (2014)

Course no.22: Ashford, Kent, UK

A nice trip on the high speed train to Ashford and the short walk to the park. Can’t really remember much from this run apart from running around the fountain. Finished in 20-33.

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Ashford Parkrun (2014)

Course no.23: Newark, Nottinghamshire, UK

On my way to the Highlands of Scotland, I diverted off the A1 to do a Parkrun in Newark, in the rain to do the two lap course around fields. Good workout and came away with a time of 21-43.

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Newark Parkrun (2014)

Course no.24: Panshanger Park, Hertford, Hertfordshire, UK

I done this course ten times and is one of my favourite scenic ones in my home county. One lap off-road, great views of two lakes, part of the course go through woodland and fields. A very popular course for visitors to come to. My fastest time here was 20-35.

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Panshanger Parkrun (2019)

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The lake in Panshanger Park
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Christmas Day parkrun at Panshanger

Course no.25: Harlow, Essex, UK

A very technical course which I have done twice. A two lap course of small hills, cycle tracks, path, and a little bit off-road. Not a good course for a fast time but my fastest time here is 20-55.

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Harlow Parkrun (2015)

Course no.26: Valentines Park, Ilford, London, UK

This was a special day in the Parkrun circuit in 2014. The date was 14th February 2014 and it was Valentine’s Day so where better to do a Parkrun than Valentines Park. With the press involved as well, a huge crowd of runners came along but I managed to get 15th place in 20-18.

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Valentines Parkrun
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Valentines Parkrun

Course no.27: Beckton, London, UK

A fast two lap course which is a mixture of concrete path and grassy fields and with great views of planes taking off from nearby London City airport, I had two stabs at this course. My fastest time being 20-05.

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Beckton Parkrun

Course 28: Malahide, Ireland

The first overseas trip for a Parkrun took me and a few others over the Irish Sea to the town of Malahide, north of Dublin. Taking a very early morning flight with Ryanair from London Stansted to Dublin then jumping in a taxi for the 09.30 start, I managed to get my Parkrun personal best time of 19-25 (which still stands) and managed to scrape in a top ten finish. We celebrated with a good pint of Guinness before heading back to Stansted that evening.

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Malahide Castle Parkrun (2015)

Course 29: Hatfield Forest, Essex

Did the very first course here near Stansted Airport in beautiful forest surroundings but unfortunately this course has now closed (but the organisers have started a new one at Castle Park in nearby Bishops Stortford). Finished this course in 20-37.

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Hatfield Forest Parkrun (2015)

Course 30: Luton Wardown, Luton, Bedfordshire, UK

Not one of my favourite courses, a three lap course around Wardown park in the north of the town. Done this course twice, fastest being 20-13.

Course 31: Hackney Marshes, London, UK

The course which many claim for anyone to break their 5m Parkrun PB, then come here. An out and back course across the famous Hackney Marshes football pitches where the turnaround point is next to the Lea Valley Canal. However I came here and failed to get a personal best. I failed to get a sub-20. My time was 20-14.

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Hackney Marshes Parkrun (2015)

Course 32: Barclay, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, UK  

Done this course four times, a nice three laper around Barclay Park. Some of it is run on path and other parts on grass. Very up and down but a fun one to do. Fastest time here is 21-42.

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Barclay Parkrun (2015)
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Barclay Parkrun (2015)

Course 33: Ellenbrook Fields, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

I did the first event here at the former runway strip to the west of Hatfield, there’s a mini loop first to complete which is on grass before a one lap around the field with the last km or so on the airstrip which can be a bloody fast finish, especially if there is an westerly wind behind you. I came away in 22-42.

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Ellenbrook Fields Parkrun

Course 34: Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK

It finally happened, a Parkrun in my hometown and a few minutes away from my front door. This course I have done the most (twenty times) with the fastest being 21-36. I also done this course a few times with a buggy with my daughter and have volunteered the most here. Two lap circuit around man-made lakes when the town was been built around sixty-seventy years ago. Tough hill at the end and very well runned by Gordon and the team.

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Kiddo at Stevenage Parkrun (2016)
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Team Kiddo at Stevenage Parkrun
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Team Kiddo at Stevenage Parkrun
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Team Kiddo at Stevenage Parkrun
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Stevenage Parkrun – Christmas Day

Course 35, Osterley, London, UK

Great course in West London, underneath the flight path of planes landing at nearby London Heathrow airport. Remember it being scenic and two laps. Think I was plane spotting more than anything. Came away with 22-46.

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Osterley Parkrun – beautiful lake on the course

Course 36: Barking, London, UK

Can’t remember anything from this course. All I can say is that my time was 22-58.

Course 37: Brentwood, Essex, UK

Done this course twice which is located on the outskirts of that town which is famous for ‘The Only Way is Essex’ television show. Nice one lap course which is mostly fields and hilly in places. First time I ran the course in 25-21 but the second time I walked it and finished in 51-43.

Course 38: Raphael, Romford, Essex, UK

When I was living in Romford for a short while, this was the local parkrun. I done it once with the buggy, walked once but ran the other times (I done this course four times). Fastest time was 24-12 on this two lap course around a lake and tennis courts in this part of Romford.

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Team Kiddo at Raphael Parkrun (Romford)

Course 39: Wanstead Flats, London, UK

Did a Christmas Day Parkrun here and by god the course was so boring. There were horrible apartment blocks overlooking the football pitch and there is a woodland section to the north. Had to do two laps of this course. God I hated the views. However the locals were fantastic and made me feel welcome. Was talking a lot to the locals which perked me up. Finished in 27-10.

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Course 40: Mersea Island, Essex, UK

I left the mainland to do a two lap course on Mersea Island in the North Sea. Had a great start until I nearly ran into the first marshall who tried to direct me the wrong way! Did this in January so the wind off the North Sea was horrible. Finished in 24-01.

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Mersea Island parkrun

Course 41: Highlands Parkrun, Victoria, Australia

This will remain one of the highlights of my Parkrun’s completed. Two and half hours before my flight to Malaysia from Melbourne airport departed, I took on the Highlands Parkrun in Craigieburn, which is just north of the city. Thankfully beforehand one of the guys who looks after Highlands Parkrun said he will pick me from the nearby train station and as soon as I crossed the finish line, took me straight to the airport which was over a twenty minute drive on a clear road. His name was Gary and will remain a true friend for doing this, despite the fact I only met in person for about ninety minutes beforehand. The course itself wasn’t bad, two laps around some lakes but their was no kangaroo’s getting in the way. The weather was a bit nippy and dull before the start but as soon as I started running, the temperature shot up and I was sweating like a pig. I managed to finish 18th but in a time of 24-18 as I was recovering from injury. On the way back I did see Kangaroos near the roadside and I just made my flight. Not because of Gary’s car being stuck in traffic but stupid Air Asia not having enough staff at check in! Didn’t have time to have a wash down before the departure gate and got on board smelling of sweat. Good job I had loads of wet wipes to use all over whilst in the toilet!

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Highlands Parkrun (Australia) – January 2017

Course 42: Roding Valley, London, UK

North-East London again and did this course when it first started. Around football pitches and field, nothing exciting really. Maybe I remember this more for the drizzle in the air that day. Finished in 23-32.

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Roding Valley Parkrun

Course 43: Thurrock Parkrun, Orsett Heath, Essex, UK

This run was remembered for the snow, it wasn’t heavy but it was enough to block my view. Two lap course, again, around football pitches. Made to work very hard to get a result of 23-38, and a seventh place finish.

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Thurrock Parkrun

Course 44: Basildon, Essex, UK

Another course I can’t really remember doing but I was there. Say no more but finished in 23-24.

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Basildon Parkrun

Course 45: Dartford, Kent, UK

This was a bit of a weird course, a course of two halfs I say. Two laps around a park on concrete paths then up a hill before running around a football pitch. Finished in 24-48.

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Dartford Parkun

Course 46: Bexley, London, UK

Another two lap course, hills, twists and turns, had the views and really enjoyed doing this one on a sunny winter’s day. Finished in 24-43.

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Bexley Parkrun
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Bexley Parkrun

Course 47: Lullingstone, Kent, UK

A tough cross-country course. Two laps, hills, along trails, a very tough workout in the Kent Countryside. My family come from nearby and I never even heard of this place until I saw it on the Parkrun website. Finished in 26-21 in 14th position.

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Lullingstone Parkrun
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Lullingstone Parkrun

Course 48: Wormwood Scrubs, London, UK

Yes, there is a Parkrun course at Wormwood Scrubs famous for its prison. However its not ran around the prison but the football pitches next door to it. I did this the day before the London Marathon took place in 2017 so there was a lot of tourists who came for a run out. I battled it out for a finishing time of 23-23.

Course 49: Fontainebleau, France

Over to the neighbours over La Manche and a one hour train journey south of the French capital, Paris to Fontainebleau. This course is a two laps around a very large pond on the outskirts of the castle grounds. Noticed there were actually more British runners here than locals. Did this in the heat of the summer but managed to get a time of 24-06, finishing 10th.

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Fontainebleau Parkrun
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Fontainebleau Parkrun
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Fontainebleau Parkrun

Course 50: Southsea, Hampshire, UK

Very fast out and back course along the coastline (and if the wind is not there, this can be a brilliant personal best course). Loved warming up on the pebble beach before thrashing my body out with those navy boys. Came away with a time of 24-16.

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Southsea Parkrun
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Southsea Parkrun

Course 51: Westmill, Ware, Hertfordshire, UK

Another new course I had to check out near my hometown but by god this one was tough. Two laps around Westmill Farm to which some of it runs alongside the fishing lake, there were quite a lot of uphills and less downhills. Was on all fours when I crossed the finishing line in 25-59.

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Westmill Parkrun

Course 52: Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, UK

Despite getting to the east coast of Essex in good time and having a ‘proper’ warm up, I managed to get round this two lap multi-terrain course with great difficulty. After 1km, my body went from being fit and running with ease to being shattered. Probably because of the lack of sleep this week but otherwise it was a bad day at the office.

Beautiful surroundings, great course and fantastic set up by the parkrun community here (this was run number 8 for them). Managed to complete the course in 24-57 finishing 28th out of 79 runners.

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Burnham-on-Crouch Parkrun

Course 53: Bere Island, Ireland

Returning to Ireland for my second Parkrun in the country and this one is one of the highlights. Had to drive to a small town called Castletown-Bearhaven to board a ferry to the Bere Island (which is about a ten minute crossing). Then we had to drive down this very small country lanes to the small settlement of Rerrin. I also found out on the day there is a minibus organised for runners coming from the mainland which meets the ferry and takes them to and from the course (contact the organisers for more details).

After a fantastic warm welcome on a very windy day (yes, this course is next to the Atlantic Ocean), I managed to get a good lead for the first 2.5km up a mountain (but the locals call it a hill) but by the time I reached the top, I was so battered by the weather and with the lack of race fitness, I lost my positioning and couldn’t catch up with the leaders on the long downhill stretch. Crossing the finishing line, I treated myself to a shower in the changing room before heading to the coffee shop in the settlement for a well deserved cup of tea. I finished the course in 26-24 and in 5th place.

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Bere Island Parkrun

Course 54: Newcastle West, Ireland

A week later after completing Bere Island, it was time to jog around and completed the course in 26-45 finishing 6th out of 32 runners. This was my 100th parkrun completed.  But to be honest, the joy of getting to this milestone was fantastic but I was speaking to one local lady who had Parkinson’s who managed to complete the course fast walking in pretty much no time at all, gave me a lot of thought. Seeing her at the finish with the relief on her face, I will hold that memory for the rest of my life and its moment like this we should appreciate what we have and that we should enjoy every moment of our life. She was a fighter and had so much determination to do a 5km. We had a fantastic conversation afterwards and to be honest, I forgot I completed my 100th parkrun because I wanted to hear HER story, to hear her passion about not letting Parkinson’s get her down and her determination to not let anything get in her way. I really hope she fulfills her dreams in the future and hope the Parkinson’s doesn’t get worse. I came away from here making many friends and would like to thank the Newcastle West community for making me welcome today and the encouragement given on each lap as they push me closer to the finish line to get to number 100.

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Newcastle West Parkrun
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Newcastle West Parkrun (2017)

Course 55: Hockley Woods, Essex, UK

Did the two lap course through woodland today on a course near Southend. 5km off road and so glad I choose a tougher course. Fantastic workout. I also managed to knock one minute and twenty-two seconds of my 5km time last week and this was more harder and hilly. Finished in 71st out of 276 runners in 25-23

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Hockley Woods Parkrun

Course 56: Maldon Prom, Essex, UK

I AM BOUNCING RIGHT NOW! Managed to take off ninety (90) seconds of my time from last week as my fitness levels went to the next level. Completed my 53rd different course at Maldon Promenade Park on the North Sea coastline in Essex.

Brilliant flat course, two laps on the sea front and along woodland and there was great support from the locals. Completed the 5km course in 23-53 finishing 48th out of 261 runners.

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Maldon Prom Parkrun

Course 57: Mile End, London, UK

Job completed and still on track with getting my fitness and race levels up. My target today was to shave some time of last weekend’s 5km (which was 23-53) and despite doing a half marathon (also last weekend), I managed to achieve this. Today I was in Mile End in East London and enjoyed the two lap course around the Mile End Park, with two hills to conquer (but done four times!). Not a bad course which some of it runs alongside the canal. Today was also a special occasion as the parkrun celebrated their 300th event today. Completed the 5km course in 23-42 finishing 133rd out of 356 runners

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Mile End Parkrun

Course 58: Hadleigh, Essex, UK

After five hours sleep, bad weather conditions and not feeling the vibes this morning, I could say this was a bad day in the office. However I love this 5km course in Hadleigh County Park on the Thames Estuary this morning. Cross-county course, it is. The hardest course I come across (personally), yes it was. There is about a 2.5km of downhill from the start, on gravel paths, with lots of twists and turns. Then there is about a 1km to run near the railway line which looks flat but stuff going, but the remaining 1.5km is all uphill, lots of twists and turns and I have to admit, I walked some of it. I was so tired.

The last 100 meters however I overtook a lot of runners who also had no gas in their tanks to do the steepest uphill finish I ever come across (Its 10 times worse than Stevenage finish approach).

I was happy to do this, to take in the amazing view over Canvey Island and out towards North Kent and I will do this course again in a few months time when I am a lot stronger and need a good workout. I was drenched afterwards, not because of rain but of sweat. TOUGHEST PARKRUN COURSE YET! Completed the course in 27-29, finishing in 37th out of 103 runners.

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Hadleigh Parkrun

Course 59: Billericay, Essex, UK

Wasn’t really up for a Parkrun this morning as my body is so tired this week after all the travel blogging stuff. Still I got out of bed and went to nearby Billericay. However I wasn’t really up for a FOUR lap course (I hate laps, still, this doesn’t beat Highbury Fields Parkrun in London where it’s five laps!). The course is mostly flat with a few uphill bits (nothing to slow down the runners) and there is a part where runners run across a field (the bit I love, I always run faster off-road!).

First lap was good, I was doing race pace, second lap was a little bit slower but couldn’t beat the time of the first lap and the last two laps I turned it into a steady run as my body told me to “f*** off, I don’t want to race today”.

Completed the 5km (3.2 mile) course in 24-04, finishing in 49th out of 184 runners.

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Billericay Parkrun

Course 60: Chelmsford Central, Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Latvia’s 99th birthday today so to celebrate, I did the parkrun course at Chelmsford today. Took it steady as I have been nursing a slight niggle on my right leg this week and had no problems with it this morning. First mile (1.6km) I did in 7 minutes before slowing up a bit for the next mile before turning up the pace on the last mile with a power run in the last 200 meters. Happy with the performance.

Completed the course in 23-37, finishing in 125th out of 561 runners. Like to say a huge thank you to all the guys behind the event at Chelmsford Central Parkrun today. Loads of people involved for this beautiful one lap course around two parks in the centre of town, along rivers, under a beautiful railway viaduct and lots of golden colours of leaves as it is Autumn. Well organised and they have the longest funnel I have come across at the finish line as well. Very well organised!

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Chelmsford Central Parkrun

Course 61: Harwich, Essex, UK

Drove up the A12 from Romford today to the ‘northern’ end of Essex to Dovercourt, on the outskirts of Harwich, a major port town on the East coast of England.

Welcomed by the locals there who told me ‘if you want a speed session on a day like today with no wind coming of the sea’, then go for it. Well, I did it and just managed to hold it together. After 500m running around a small park, it was onto the seafront to do an ‘there and back course’ before finishing back in the park. Lovely views of the coastline and the sea on this really chilly morning. Had three small uphills on the course which kinda knocked me back a little as I was trying to do a fast pace. Enjoyed the run out today.

Completed the course in 23-19, finishing in 18th out of 90 runners

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Harwich Parkrun (2017)

Course 62: Colchester Castle, Colchester, Essex, UK

Took the train from Romford to Colchester this morning to complete another Essex course. Very good workout this morning on this three-lap hilly course, where I ran around the castle three times. My fitness is getting there, I don’t feel as tired when I get to the top of long drags of hills but I knew from the start that I wouldn’t get a fast time or at least, beat my time from last week. It’s a tough, hilly, technical course but was enjoyable. Completed the 5km (3.2 mile) course in 24-08, finishing in 79th out of 271 runners.

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Colchester Castle Parkrun (2017)

Course 63: Crissy Fields, San Francisco, CA, USA

Well, I couldn’t go all the way to San Francisco and not do their Parkrun course. In fact, it was their 150th time they have done the run since 2015. Also it has to be one of the best courses in the world for sightseeing, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

With all the training this week I was feeling upbeat. Lead from the start but was eventually overtaken by the winner after 600 meters (and he came in at 16-04!) Course was very flat on gravel and a little section on road. Pacing was very good and kept on pushing in the heat. Crossed the line very happy and the legs were not feeling like jelly which means my legs are getting stronger. Very happy about the way I gone about things today and got the job done. Really loved this course, love the welcome here and love San Francisco.

Completed the 5km (3.2 mile) course in 22-13, finishing in 21st out of 107 runners.

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Crissy Fields Parkrun (2017)
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Crissy Fields Parkrun (2017)
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Crissy Fields Parkrun (2017)
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Crissy Fields Parkrun (2017)

Course 64: Northala Fields, London, UK

It was time to do a tempo run around the Northala Fields Parkrun course in Northolt, North-West London. With a heavy chest (just got a nasty cough at the moment), and drizzle with strong winds in places, I had to take off glasses as I couldn’t see out of them for the final mile. Managed to maintain the same pace thereabouts throughout which is a huge bonus and felt comfortable.

The course is one lap long and love the gravel paths around the four huge mounds (which can be seen off the A40 and in my photo to which I did a warm up on one of them, round and round I go!). Completed the 5km (3.2 mile) course in 22-25 finishing in 56th out of 277 runners.

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Northala Fields Parkrun (2017)

Course 65: Gadebridge, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, UK

New Years Day special Parkruns meant that I could complete two new courses as part of my marathon training and I choose two which are hard, muddy, dirty (otherwise known as Cross Country).

First 5km kicked off at 9am at Gadebridge Park in Hemel Hempstead for a two lap course around a field. Couldn’t do race pace as I was sliding everywhere but was very happy to finish in 25-41, finishing 38th out of 146 runners…..

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Gadebridge Parkrun

Course 66: Tring, Hertfordshire, UK

…. Then one hour later I was in Tring in the beautiful surroundings of Tring Park. This one lap course was even more hilly, even more muddy and more challenging. Despite slipping over a few times, sliding backwards up the first major hill, I still managed to finish this course in 27-36, coming in 89th out of 353 runners. Wasn’t going for times but was after two good workouts which I got.

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Tring Parkrun

Course 67: Gunnersbury, London, UK

I was believing that I could go under sub-22 minutes for the first time since 13th July 2016! The motivation was there. Training has been near excellent this week. The mentality was there. My plan was to go Gung-Ho this morning and thrash my body to try and get a fast time. I found it hard don’t get me wrong, I still got quite a of weight to shift and lots of body strength workouts to do that but I went to Gunnersbury Park in West London with the aim of just going for it. And I did. (The course is a flat two lap course, the only worry was the amount of potholes).

First mile – 6:40 – good fast pace, didn’t shoot off from the start and kept it steady. Second mile 7:13 – slowed down a touched for about thirty seconds but managed to get a grip off myself and pushed towards the end of the mile. Third mile 7:06 – continuing on from the second mile, just kept pushing but getting faster towards the end.

Last 400 meters – gung-ho!!!! Sprinted like hell, faster than I did at Tring Parkrun two weeks ago and overtook so many other runners! Contender for best sprint ever by me! I finished the course in 21-47, finishing 57th out of 548 runners.

Course 68: Heartwood Forest, Herts, UK

Taking it easy today as I got a 10km race on Sunday to do so did the 5km (3.2 mile) course just north in St Albans in the village of Sandridge. The route is 60% gravel path and 40% cross-country and didn’t I know. On the second lap I slipped over twice and well….I never finished an event looking so soaked in mud but still walking away with a smile.

Stats. Time: 26-17. Position: 32nd out of 96 runners. Pacing: 8:36 per mile. Kcal burnt: 471.

Running, Parkrun
Heartwood Forest Parkrun
Running, Parkrun
Heartwood Forest Parkrun
Running, Parkrun
Heartwood Forest Parkrun

Course 69: Bedfont Lakes, London, UK

Second run after returning from a minor ankle injury and made it through another 5km. A bit of mix and match today as I for the 1st half of the 5km I did at 5km pace (wanted to test myself out) but second half I slowed it right down and took it easy (apart from the last 300 meters I decided to fight it out for 30th place but missed out by a millisecond).

The two lap course was around the beautiful Bedfont Lakes (and the railway line which isn’t so beautiful) next to Heathrow airport (good job as I needed to be there less than thirty minutes after crossing the finishing line). The course was all gravel, mostly flat but in places the puddles were huge and got a complete soaking. Well organised Parkrun and a very good workout completed.

Stats. Time: 22-45. Position: 31st out of 235 runners. Average Pace: 7:18 per mile (1.6km). 1st mile – 6:49, 2nd mile – 7:25, 3rd mile – 7:47 and last 200 yards: 6:03. Kcal burnt: 461.

Running, Parkrun
Bedfont Lakes Parkrun
Running, Parkrun
Bedfont Lakes Parkrun

Course 70: Rushmere, Beds, UK

Longer training session than planned as the serious part of preparations for Riga marathon has commenced. Today it was a 45 minute drive to Rushmere Country Park which is located between Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley and Woburn. I got the training session slightly wrong as I choose an off road course and not road. But what I did needed was hills on the course or somewhere nearby to do a bit of hill training after the 5km parkrun. So I got 50% of the planning right. Doh! But still, doing the training session all off road might come in good stead later on as afterwards I was feeling fantastic, glad I put in a good performance and a lot of effort. All the water on my chest wasn’t from the rain either!

The two lap hilly off-road course around Rushmere is one of the scenic woodland courses I have done in a long time. Good workout but not sure if I liked that huge descent on each lap. Felt like it was lasting forever as I kept running down, and down, and down…..you get the story.

Stats for the Parkrun. Time: 23-14. Position: 16th out of 133 runners. Average Pace: 7:37 per mile (1.6km – and the target was to do an average of 7.45). Kcal burnt: 448

Running, Parkrun
Rushmere Parkrun

Course 71: Harrow, London, UK

Easy run out and gentle stroll today as I headed down the A41 to Harrow (from Watford). Plan was to enjoy it, take it easy, and have a chat with the locals (whilst ticking of another course). Three laps on paths (with a mini loop on lap one), mostly flat, with a slight uphill for 300 meters (not too steep either), so this for me is a fast course. It was very tempting to get carried away and race it but I managed to hold the pace.

For most of the 5km run, I was speaking to a young Indian chap who was doing the same as me, take a stroll and get ready for a race tomorrow. A few months ago if I was doing a 5km (or any run at any distance), I would be struggling to talk, out of breath etc, today it was different and was able to hold down a conversation whilst running. Also felt very strange to pace alongside with somebody during a Parkrun but we had a great time and before we knew it, event over. Also the marshalls and event organisers are fantastic, welcoming and all of them have a good sense of humour. There is a very good community feel to this course which I don’t see often at Parkrun’s in London. Hope to be back here one day. Came away from a good runout feeling very positive and feeling good. No sweat. Didn’t push hard.

Time: 24-00. Position: 39th out of 182 runners. Average Pace: 7:47 per mile. Kcal burnt: 463

Running, Parkrun
Harrow Parkrun

Course 72: Canons Park, London, UK

5km (3.2 miles) tempo run today and first time in five weeks to be let loose and go for it in a parkrun. Had targets, some of them were reached, some didn’t but will reflect on them and sort them out in training. There were pro’s, there were cons but overall, it was a good workout on this beautiful wintry sunny morning in Stanmore, North London.

Three laps around Canon’s Park (next to the underground station in Stanmore), all flat, some of it in woodland and to be honest, this was more scenic than I thought it was going to be so I had an enjoyable run out. Didn’t sprint off at the start, was able to keep the same sort of pace throughout until 2.5 miles where I slowed down a bit and let myself down at the finish as I just couldn’t up the tempo and let some guy overtake me with a few meters to go. (This guy was also shouting at me 200 meters beforehand ‘I am coming for ya’ and ‘Im gaining on ya!’) – what a frigging muppet.

Time: 21-44. Position: 10th out of 120 runners. Average Pace: 7:13 per mile. Kcal burnt: 444

Running, Parkrun
Canons Park

Course 73: South Oxhey, Herts, UK

I turned up at South Oxhey park, just south of Watford on a very cold (but sunny) winter morning with ten minutes before the start, I was wondering if the event was on or where is everyone? A few minutes later, briefings done for this week’s 5km (3.2 mile) Parkrun and I am still wondering where the runners are? Got to the front of the start line and there must have been about 20-30 people. I thought, this can’t be it, surely. Then the mindset changed and I thought bugger it, I see what I can do.

It was a three lap course, all grass (FROZEN GRASS), most of which was flat, apart from a slight uphill half way through the lap and a long downhill straight after that. The run started, I was with two other runners for the first 1/4 mile but then they turned up a gear and went of into the distance. I thought bugger that, slow it down now as I wasn’t gonna play silly buggers with those two. Halfway round the first lap, I turned round and fourth place was quite a way back and fifth place, well, I couldn’t see him or her.

End of first lap, got a nice pace going, not too fast and not too slow. The frozen grass and mud wasn’t slowing me up. Got around the second lap with ease but before I started the third lap, I could see across the field to check where 1st and 2nd place were. Well, I couldn’t see them. By now they must have been 800 yards ahead. Fourth place was about twenty seconds behind, he was trying to huff and puff and chase me down but I kept thinking to myself, (despite it not being a race), head strong, keep the same pace, don’t f*** it up like last week on the last hurdle and you have got third. Also fifth place was still not to be seen.

Third lap, same pacing as the last mile and half and got it comfortable at 7:25 per mile. Had another look at halfway across and fourth place guy, well, he was trying but I knew if I kept it together, I be ok.

Crossed the finish line, finishing 3:52 behind the winner, 2:59 behind 2nd place and 15 seconds ahead 4th place and for the record 35 seconds ahead of 5th place. Feeling great and happy with the workout. Bit faster than expected but really enjoyed it. Afterwards knowing a top three place was secured, it boosted the positive feeling inside me but the hard work is tomorrow.

Anyway, the stats for today. Time: 22-24. Position: 3rd out of 33 runners. Average Pace: 7:12 per mile. Kcal burnt: 457

Running, Parkrun
South Oxhey Parkrun

Course 74: Rickmansworth, Herts, UK

Gentle jog around the Aquadrome in Rickmansworth, tucked away in the south-western corner of Hertfordshire. Today the officials used the three lap course and not the longer two lap course (not sure of the reason why). And it rained but on the bright side, it was Rickmansworth Parkrun’s 1st birthday! Whoop whoop! I have ran around these lakes before as part of my marathon training so was no stranger to the place, but it was my first parkrun here.

Today was a gentle jog and didn’t break sweat. Anyway, had a great morning out in the rain and really love running around these lakes. Time: 24-42. Position: 117th out of 428 runners. Average Pace: 8:00 per mile. Kcal burnt: 464.

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Rickmansworth Parkrun

Course 75: Cassiobury, Watford, Herts, UK

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Cassiobury Parkrun

Course 76: Ally Pally, London, UK

Time: 25-08. Position: 86th out of 308 runners. Average Pace: 8:02 per mile. Kcal burnt: 452

Splits during parkrun: Mile 1: 7:59, Mile 2: 7:59, Mile 3: 8.05.

Running, Parkrun
Ally Pally Parkrun

Course 77: Aylesbury, Bucks, UK

Miles: 3.1 KM: 5, time: 22-34, average pace: 7:12 per mile, position: 15th out of 150 runners. Kcal burnt: 452

Splits during Parkrun: Mile 1: 7:10, Mile 2: 7:22, Mile 3: 7:22.

Running, Parkrun
Aylesbury Parkrun
Running, Parkrun
Aylesbury Parkrun

Course 78: Aldenham, Herts, UK

20 MILE TRAINING RUN and Parkrun? Awesome!

The last ‘mega’ long run before the Riga Marathon 2018 back in April 2018, a 20 mile (32km) steady run around Bricket Wood, Watford, Bushey (all in Hertfordshire) and taking part in the Aldenham Parkrun. The pace was set at 9 minutes a mile and I couldn’t even get it more spot on when I saw my times afterwards.

By the time I got to Aldenham Parkrun, I already ran 11.5 miles and made it with less than two minutes to spare before the start of the 5km (3.1 mile) event so I kept running up and down the parkrun to keep the legs going. Two laps around the beautiful lake and managed to keep the same pace throughout. Here’s the stats for the Parkrun:

Miles: 3.1, KM: 5, time: 27-05, average pace: 9:02 per mile, position: 42nd out of 121 runners. Parkrun courses completed: 75

After passing the finishing line, stopped for 15 seconds to get the barcode scanned and I was off again for the final 5.5 miles towards home and still managed to keep pace despite the cold and rain. The last two miles I felt sluggish but managed to hold it. Looking at the stats afterwards, I was very satisfied, pleased and with three weeks to go, I am sure I can achieve the target time on my marathon comeback.

Stats: Miles: 20 KM: 32, time: 03-00-59, average pace: 9:03 per mile, Kcal burnt: 3,074

Splits: Mile 1: 8:37, Mile 2: 8:53, Mile 3: 9:01, Mile 4: 9:14, Mile 5: 9:25, Mile 6: 8:47, Mile 7: 8:45, Mile 8: 8:50, Mile 9: 8:50, Mile 10: 9:07, Mile 11: 9:16, Mile 12: 10:33, Mile 13: 8:49, Mile 14: 8:39, Mile 15: 8:47, Mile 16: 9:09, Mile 17: 8:49, Mile 18: 8:45, Mile 19: 9:12, Mile 20: 9:03.

Running, Parkrun
Aldenham Parkrun
Running, Parkrun
Aldenham Parkrun

Course 79: Black Park, Bucks, UK

A short trip around the M25 (from Watford) for me back in May 2018 on a glorious sunny day to Black Park located between Slough and Denham. What a choice! I mean, what a choice! Probably one of the most scenic woodland I have ran through in a very long time and is now probably one of my favourite Parkrun courses because of this. It is that good I am already thinking about training runs here in the summer months and check out nearby Langley Park also. Has a few small lakes and a nice cafe (as well as an outside Go Ape treetop park for the kids)…but anyway… great one lap course through woodland, running on mud paths (so don’t come here if there has been heavy rain, everyone gets plastered in the brown stuff). Fantastically run and a huge thank you to everyone involved behind the scenes to make the event a success. Also 732 runners! This makes it the biggest Parkrun event I have been involved in so far!

Miles: 3.1, KM: 5, time: 23-46, average pace: 7:29 per mile, position: 98th out of 732 runners.

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Black Park – Parkrun

Course 80: Houghton Hall, Beds, UK

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Houghton Hall Parkrun

Miles: 3.1, KM: 5, time: 22-02, position: 8th out of 186 runners. Average Pace: 7.20

Course 81: Richmond Olympic, BC, Canada

Nice workout in the heat next to Vancouver Airport back in June 2018. Flat course, mixture of gravel and tarmac. Tried my best in the heat but was struggling towards the end.

Miles: 3.1, KM: 5, time: 22-27, position: 11th out of 59 runners. Average Pace: 7.17,

Running, Parkrun
Richmond Olympic Parkrun

Course 82: Peacehaven, East Sussex, UK

Getting back in the groove and headed to the south coast to the town of Peacehaven near Newhaven back in July 2018. The queue to the ferries for Dieppe, France near the course may have been very busy on the first day of school holidays but my mindset was not on holiday mode, but training mode.

Found it very difficult with no breeze off the sea, the humidity and the heat, but this three lap hilly course which is part gravel path and part dead grass was a good workout season. I may have felt dead at the end but its what my body needed.

Miles: 3.1, KM: 5, time: 23-26, position: 17th out of 114 runners. Average Pace: 7:33 per mile, KCAL Burnt: 463

Running, Parkrun
Peacehaven Parkrun

Course 83: Wycombe Rye, High Wycombe, Bucks, UK

Back in July 2018 I did my 80th different Parkrun course so I made the short trip over the county border into Buckinghamshire today to the town of High Wycombe. My impressions of the town aren’t that great everytime I drive through there over the years and seeing it from the train but the park itself is actually not that bad. One side of it is the usual big huge open space with lots of (dead) grass but on the southern side along a stretch of water are mini waterfalls, lots of trees (so lots of shade to keep the sun away) and a section of 25 meters where the only hill came into play (and we all had to run up a staircase which is not often found on the Parkrun circuit).

This was my first run in seven days due to niggles on my lower back and left calf. Still not 100% but gave it a go this morning. Didnt race or anything like that, just a steady jog for most parts of the course but did up the tempo in sections to see if my back could take it. I got through the run ok but still niggles there so will be seeing a physio in the next few days. Still felt great afterwards and just glad to get the legs moving again.

Miles: 3.1, KM: 5, time: 24-11, position: 86th out of 415 runners. Average Pace: 7:53 per mile, KCAL Burnt: 454

Running, Parkrun
Wycombe Rye parkrun

Course 84: Pocket, St Neots, Cambs, UK

A trip up the A1 this morning to St Neots, which lies between Bedford and Cambridge. Two laps of cross country awaited myself, Ollie Garbas and Ken Marshall from Stevenage Striders with Thomas Sauka in tow from the Spartans.

We ran across fields in the heat, a little bit of cycle track and over bridges and a few twists and turns in the woodland area which runs alongside a pretty river. Tough course despite the flatness but glad to get a workout session like this. Plan was to do the first lap at a faster pace then second lap slower, just to see how my back would cope. That was fine with no niggles but the fitness levels are a long way off.

Miles: 3.1, KM: 5, time: 23-43, position: 36th out of 199 runners. Average Pace: 7:43 per mile, KCAL Burnt: 454

Running, Parkrun
Pocket Parkrun

Course 85: Letchworth, Herts, UK

Another short trip up the A1 to the World’s first Garden City, Letchworth. After two days of hard rain, I was wondering if this course (which goes through fields and gravel paths) was going to turn into an muddy affair but somehow the ground remain hard(ish).

A good workout was to be had, was keen on that long drag of a hill (twice as it was a two lap course) and in places was able to quicken the pace without any problems with recent injurys or fitness.

Parkrun, Running
Letchworth Parkrun with Ollie – August 2018

Miles: 3.1, KM: 5, time: 23-59, position: 24th out of 103 runners. Average Pace: 7:47 per mile, KCAL Burnt: 462

Course 86: Higginson, Marlow, Bucks, UK

Returned to Marlow as my previous visit two weeks ago, this event was canceled so came back to tick it off. Today was an easy run as I return to race action tomorrow with a 10km. Nice steady (but slighter faster) pace and just about managed to hold it together. Nice couple of laps around the park before hitting the gravel track down the Thames Path southwards and back again.

Parkrun: time: 24-17. Finished 42nd out of 203 runners. Miles: 3.1, KM: 5, time: 23-42, Average Pace: 7:41 per mile, KCAL Burnt: 462.

Splits: mile 1: 7:31, mile 2: 7:42, mile 3: 7.43.

Running, Parkrun
Steve Redgrave Statue in Higginson Park, Marlow

Course 87: Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, UK

A trip to Henley-on-Thames in October 2018 which I always thought it was either in Buckinghamshire or Berkshire but found out as soon as I crossed the mighty Thames River, I was in Oxfordshire.

Really didn’t do my research on this course today. When I arrived it turned out it was a two lap course around the countryside, through woodland and had a killer steep hill to conquer. Cross-country session then so I took it easy. The rain fell, in fact, it pissed it down. Oh well, it’s a Parkrun, let’s do this.

I struggled up the killer hill (so did everyone else, so this means I am not ready for ‘that’ Parkrun in Scilly, Italy up the Etna!) but the rest of the course, was enjoying the views as well as watching out for tree roots. Love running through the woodland with the leaves changing colour. Beautiful sight.

Parkrun: time: 25-12. Finished 12th out of 46 runners. Miles: 3, KM: 4.8, Average Pace: 8:21 per mile, KCAL Burnt: 446.

Splits: mile 1: 8:37, mile 2: 7:46, mile 3: 8:37.

Running, Parkrun
Henley-on-Thames Parkrun

Course 88: Great Denham, Beds, UK

The confidence and positive training sessions from a strong end of 2018 was taken into the new year and was totally focused on doing a faster pace today (New Years Day). Great Denham in a new housing estate on the western side of Bedford. Totally flat course, two laps, 50% was tarmac, 50% was hard mud (but lucky the ground has been dry for a few days). Maybe a little bit fast at the start but managed to stay strong throughout and managed to grab my fastest time since March 2018.

Great Denham: Time: 21-49, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 31st out of 260 runners, Average pace: 7:04, Kcal burnt: 454. Splits: Mile 1: 6:39, Mile 2: 7:08, Mile 3: 7:23.

Running, Parkrun
Great Denham Parkrun

Course 89: Jersey Farm, St Albans, Herts, UK

Short journey down the A1(M) to one of the newest Parkrun courses in the area, Jersey Farm which is located north-east of Saint Albans (which borders onto Sandridge village). This course was the replacement for Heartwood Forest which had to stop operations due to the ground getting ruined.

Despite the excellent training recently, I was a bit tired this morning. The course was two-laps, a few hills, muddy paths (but it has been dry recently so great paths to run along), a few gravel paths, woodland, so I knew this course wasn’t going to be fast but it was going to be a great workout. First mile (despite ‘that’ uphill start) was perfect, second mile was keeping the pace but slowed down a bit with those hills but the third mile I have to admit, I was a lot slower, just felt tired.

Seriously, after crossing the finish line, I was still upbeat. I love a hard workout like this and can’t wait for some more like this in the next few weeks as marathon training is now truly under away.

Time: 23-36, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 23rd out of 208 runners, Average pace: 7:37, Kcal burnt: 463.

Running, Parkrun
Jersey Farm Parkrun

Course 90: Wendover Woods, Bucks, UK

Cross country action today on a very hilly course through scenic woodland. First 1.5 miles was all downhill but then it was all uphill on the way back. Very good workout, gave it my all, tired afterwards, but feeling great.

Time: 24-27, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 27th out of 132 runners, Average pace: 8.01, Kcal burnt: 459.

Running, Parkrun
Wendover Woods Parkrun

Course 91: Coldham’s Common, Cambs, UK

After suffering a stomach bug since Wednesday, managed to get out of the house for some fresh air and did an easy run around the second Parkrun course to hit the university city of Cambridge, Coldham’s Common (located next to Cambridge United FC). All off-road, flat, two laps around a common and very enjoyable.

Took it very easy, felt very good, could have pushed it after but after an illness it wasn’t worth the risk and glad just to get three miles in the bag today. The course maybe not that scenic, but its a fast course (unless there is a huge downpour which could turn this course into a mudbath), and very well organised.

Time: 23-35, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 88th out of 309 runners, Average pace: 7:39, Kcal burnt: 460.

Running, Parkrun
Coldham’s Common Parkrun with fellow team mates, Ollie and Ken Marshall

Course 92: Haverhill, Suffolk, UK

It was all fun and games in the small town of Haverhill this morning. One of a few Parkrun’s in the area which was ON after a course inspection, the ground was heavy going, still frozen in places and a snowstorm also showed up for a few minutes.

From the start I was in first-second-first-second which was the theme for the first lap but the ground did it for me, found it too heavy going and slowed up the pace. Happy just to finish the course but slipped into 7th place before the finish line. I also came FIRST in my age category for the VERY FIRST TIME – age group being VM35-39. Well chuffed with that.

Time: 22-39, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 7th out of 43 runners, Average pace: 7:24, Kcal burnt: 454

Running, Parkrun
Haverhill Parkrun

Course 93: Linford Wood, Milton Keynes, Bucks, UK

Great little jog in the woods this morning with buddy Justin Stockwell, nice easy pace without breaking sweat. Great course, mostly flat with a few uphills, love the woodland section.

Time: 29-29, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 129th out of 274 runners, Average pace: 9:21, Kcal burnt: 497

Running, Parkrun
Linford Wood Parkrun

Course 94: Manor Field, Whittlesey, Cambs, UK

A great workout this morning in the Fens, tried to up the pace a little but with the ground being muddy, boggy in places, and all on grass, it was hard going in places. Lead from the start for the first 500m, then stayed in second until 3.6km trying to play catch up with the leader, was always about 20-30 meters in front of me but he turned on the style after the halfway mark. Lost my composure in the last KM, found it tough towards the end, lost out fifth place right at the finish line so I finished in a disappointing sixth.

Also for the 2nd time in three weeks, I came first in my age category VM35-39! Whoop whoop!

Time: 21-55, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 6th out of 81 runners, Average pace: 7:04, Kcal burnt: 450

Running, Parkrun
Manor Fields Parkrun with fellow team mates Ken Marshall and Greg Bradbury

Course 95: Castle Park, Bishops Stortford, Herts, UK

All Hertfordshire parkruns completed (until a new one pop’s up) as I completed the Castle Park parkrun course in central Bishops Stortford, consisting of two flat laps of mostly running on grass around football pitches and a park.

Today I was just jogging the course, ahead of my 19-mile (31km) run (which 13.1 miles – 21km – of it will be at the Baldock Half Marathon). So it was just nice to enjoy the run, talk to some of the locals and pacing alongside teammate Ken from the Striders on this foggy morning.

Haven’t actually been to the town of Bishops Stortford since about year 2000 I think, so I was quite surprised that there were ruins of a castle on top of a mound in the park. Built in the 12th century, Waytemore Castle eventually became a prison before being left to crumble. Just a bit of history there for ya all.

Time: 26-02, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 130th out of 363 runners, Average pace: 8:29, Kcal burnt: 472

Splits; Mile 1: 8.09, mile 2: 8:39, mile 3: 8:42

Running, Parkrun
Castle Park – Parkrun

Course 96: Rutland Water, Rutland, UK

Yes, I done it, I completed all the Parkrun courses in the county of Rutland today. Yes, the smallest county has been completed! I am so happy. But there is only one course so far in the county.

But that’s not why I am on a high today. After hard work, keeping focused and stepping it up a gear this week in training, I managed to get my fastest 5km (in a Parkrun or an official 5km event) since 8th August 2015 (that’s when I did another fast course, Hackney Marshes in East London). This course was fast, all tarmac, flat, and alongside the lake at the eastern end. It’s a out and back course with the halfway point on the dam.

I took full advantage this morning and I was feeling very confident after the two 5km’s I did in training on Thursday (which were good times on a hilly course). No headwind on the out leg but a slight headwind on the return. Not a problem. I kept focused, I pushed and pushed. When I got to half way (1.55 miles – 2.5km) at dead-on 10 minutes, I know if I kept my head up, focus and don’t mess up, I knew I was on for a fast time.

And it was done. I crossed the finishing line in 20-50 in 14th place, also finishing 2nd in my age category VM35-39.

Time: 20-50, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 14th out of 325 runners, Average pace: 6:43, Kcal burnt: 460

Splits; Mile 1: 6:14, mile 2: 6:51, mile 3: 7:02

Running, Parkrun
Rutland Water Parkrun

Course 97: Trout Pond, AB, Canada

I FINISHED FIRST IN A PARKRUN FOR THE FIRST TIME!

I finished first! What was that? That never happens? I finished second a few times in the past but to be first runner home….eh? I couldn’t believe it, in -11 to -15 temps (windchill -22 according to modern pieces of technology), I worked hard this morning and I mean I worked hard. My lungs have never worked so hard in these conditions since I came 2nd in a 5km in Riga, Latvia in 2016 in the harsh wintry conditions. My sweat was turning into ice as well towards the end.

The course itself is flat, on tarmac path (which 99% of it was clear of snow and ice) and runs alongside a golf course and a park plus the Alberta Route 3 on the other side. It’s a there and back course, so from the start I went into crazy 5km race mode and noticed after 300 meters that I left everyone behind. There was a huge gap…and it got bigger….and bigger. In the end I saw the 2nd place runner when I was at 1.9 mile mark and he was at 1.2 mile mark! That’s how big the gap was! I couldn’t believe it!

STATS: Time: 21-32, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 1st out of 17 runners, Average pace: 7:10, Kcal burnt: 459

Splits; Mile 1: 6:46, mile 2: 7:20, mile 3: 7:24

Running, Parkrun
Crossing the finishing line at Trout Pond Parkrun
Running, Parkrun
Celebrating being 1st runner home at Trout Pond Parkrun
Parkrun, Running
All the first finishers from all the Canadian parkrun’s that weekend – and I am on the list!

Course 98: March, Cambs, UK

MARCH PARKRUN DONE IN MARCH!

After the last two weeks of crazy Parkruns where I got my fastest time in nearly four years and came first in a Parkrun for the first time in Canada, it was back to easy jogging mode. with adjusting to the temperatures (and getting rid of that last bit of jetlag), from -22 last weekend to +12 this morning. Thats a huge jump!

March, haven’t been to this part of the Fens for a very long time, not since my grandparents used to live up here. The town hasn’t changed much. I only noticed that Woolworths has gone, that’s all!

Anyway, took it easy on this four-lap, grassy/muddy course with a staircase, didn’t break sweat and when I finished, I was gobsmacked at the time. I am pretty sure I was slower than 22-46.

Also I was first finisher in the VM 35-39 age category. That’s the third time in the last seven Parkrun’s. Before that, I was never first in any age category!

STATS: Time: 22-46, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 11th out of 154 runners, Average pace: 7:23, Kcal burnt: 458

Running, Parkrun
March Parkrun

Course 99: Millennium Country, Marston Moretaine, Beds, UK

Parkrun, Running
Millennium Country Parkrun

Good runout in the Spring sunshine in Central Bedfordshire in March 2019, on an flat out and back course on gravel. Not much view of the lake because of all the trees and brushes but loved this fast course. This was the second time the event has been held here. Also came second in my age category VM35-39. And that’s it…my 99th different Parkrun course completed. When and where will be the 100th?

STATS: Time: 21-10, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 24th out of 179 runners, Average pace: 6:54, Kcal burnt: 449

Course 100: Montsouris, Paris, France.

And course 100 was done to the south of Central Paris in the beautiful park of Montsouris. I thought this park was actually quite beautiful for one surrounded by universities, houses and roads plus a railway line but whilst running around the course, it didn’t feel like I was in a city. This was a three lap course starting in the southeastern part of the outer path which goes around the edge of the park, going in an anti-clockwise direction. However the only snag to this course from the off (which wasn’t a problem for me), was that there is a long drag of a hill from the northeastern point to the western point of the park. At the top the path does go downhill and this is the best point to pick up speed. I actually do love this course, a challenging one, however as I was only jogging the course on this day I was taking it all in my stride.

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Parkrun de Montsouris

I attended this course the day before the Paris marathon so the course received it’s biggest attendance from the usual twenty runners to over one hundred. It was like a British (and South African) invasion and hardly any French runners. Fantastic welcome to the guys who run this course and during the announcements before the start, I was the only milestone to get a shout out, which a lot of people gasped I have to admit. It’s not hard to get 100 parkruns done (if people get out to a parkrun every saturday and do their best) but to do 100 different parkrun courses which includes going to Canada, USA, France, Australia, Ireland and a heck of a lot of them in the UK, is an achievement in itself. I met a lot of fantastic people whilst on the road and hope to meet more on the way (as well as exploring new parts of the world and running them!).

STATS: Time: 24-24, Miles: 3.1, Km: 5, Position: 27th out of 91 runners

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Parkrun de Montsouris

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