All posts by mhatter67

Event 32 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace did not let me down today as one of the toughest parkrun courses to run in London. It was always going to be a battle with me today trying to get over a virus, do I run or not and I am glad the answer was YES!

For the record this is a lovely 200 acres of Victorian park built-in 1854 on a hillside that boosts the National Sports Centre inside it’s boundary! This brings back happy memories for me watching the London Grand Prix two years before the Olympics! Complexes like this deserve to survive, flourish to support the community and future Olympic stars of our country!

National sports stadium

It was great having the company of 4 good running friends on my challenge Martin, Alan, Kathy and Adrian. I hope you all enjoyed the parkrun experience today at Crystal Palace!

Tourist group picture with Alan & Kathy

It was a great pleasure of mine to meet new people on my challenge, great to see you today fellow tourist Robert Kidd, Sam Oliver glad you like reading my blog and yes it is quite a challenging course! last but definitely not least the lovely Carol one of the official pacemakers helping me around today!


Crystal palace course

The route starts at the Thicket Road entrance to the park, then you proceed to run two and a bit figure of eight clockwise laps of the park which includes a lake which features the dinosaurs and the farm!

This will be the first time that I disagree with the official course description in part, This is a course of two parts, with the first being a steady but challenging climb of 89 metres gain from the start to the back-end of the course, followed by a relieving downhill section back to the start!

Course image from high

Please note as they say the gravel section could get very slippery with prolonged rain and the finish is halfway uphill section!

Personal Stats

Time was slow at 35.59 that did not surprise me how I felt, oh well onwards and upwards!

Important info

The most important facilities were included for the tourist

  • Free car park at the Thicket Road entrance
  • Toilets were available before the start of the parkrun
  • The Crystal Palace park cafe seemed to be closed for the winter, but there were 2 mobile cafe inside the park, we joined the volunteers in the Pride of Venice cafe on the  main road and lovely it was too!

Final Verdict

I would like to thank Daniel Humble and his team of  volunteers for making me and my friends extremely welcome today it was greatly appreciated! Also I would like to thank  Posy Laryea for your kind donation to my charity!

Volunteers group shot

Fellow parkrun tourists if you like a hill challenge Crystal Palace will not let you down, you have been told. Will I run this course again definitely in the future!


Mark aka Silent Runner

Run on 07/01/2017

Event 31 Old Deer Park

There was only one place that I was going to don the Santa suit one last time today and that had to be the fetchingly named Old Deer Park, North Richmond by the river Thames!

A total of 66 souls braved the cold to run this event and I salute you and all the volunteers! It is so easy to give up with more illustrious local parkruns like Richmond and Bushey taking a majority of the runners each week!

I love the idea of choice and the patrons of this event make sure with their hard work and dedication that parkruns like Old Deer will never fade away because they are loved. Top work guys!

Glad to have my wingman was on board again today, Martin you bring sunshine and laughter on the coldest of Christmas Eve days mate 🙂

Martin Celebrating xmas early


Course map ODP

The course entails running just over three clockwise laps of the parameter of Old Deer park with a small dogleg at the far end! It is almost entirely run on grass apart from a small section that can be run on a tarmac footpath when the lap crosses by it!

Course image ODP with obelisk

It was passable to use normal trainers today but in hindsight with moisture on a winter course it is probably a safer bet to use trail shoes, lesson learned!

Personal Stats

Today I just needed to finish the event with a touch of man flu, running on a grass course in a Santa suit it was always going to be a tough gig, time 40:10

Important Info

As always I use my car to get to these events and was surprised to see the higher tariff for this parkrun designated car park against other free or cheaper subsidised ones I have used so far on this challenge!

Toilets are available before and after race from the local adjacent swimming pool! The swimming pool cafe also had an outside hatch to serve the runners and had a nice touch of a bell you had to ring for service!

Final Verdict

I would like to thank Clive and his team of volunteers in making us feel welcome today and the cakes and Christmas Eve drinks afterwards were a lovely thought, top work guys!

Volunteer Goups shot ODP

Extra News

As I have mentioned in other blog posts this challenge has taken me away from beloved local parkrun Luton, Wardown where today

  • Stopsley Striders my running club organised a takeover of the event with 48 members taking the call to run!
  • There was record attendance of 275 parkrunners
  • Top running friends reached the personal milestones of 50 parkruns!

I miss you all and look forward to be back again in June 2017!


Mark Layzell aka Silent Runner

Run on 24/12/2016

Event 90 Harlow

Today at Harlow, Essex I reignited my love affair with this part of the world that people warmth of welcome and hospitality is nothing short of the feeling of being at your home parkrun!!!

So Harlow with a population of 86,000 is whats known as a new town that was created after the second world war from Harlow and a number of neighbouring villages, which was back then part of the governments masterplan of building new urban towns to relieve the overcrowding of our capital!


The site of todays parkrun is the beautiful 164 acres Harlow Town park that was originally designed by Dame Sylvia Crowe and opened in 1957. There has been in recent years £2.8m of restoration work to the park funded by both Harlow council and National Lottery Fund with work finished in 2016.

This park has now received the prestigious Green Flag Award status for the last two years showing this is a now a must visit family detination!


The beauty of traveling to all these events is that parkrun encapulates life, the fun, the inspirational stories and a community coming together to support one of their own in desperate need, I found this all out after just 1 hour in Harlow parkrun company!

The Fun

If you are celebrating your 100th parkrun at home what better way to run it than in fancy sporting fancy dress costumes!

So it pleasure to bump into Darren & Paul natty dressed as a cricketer and wrestler with a few friends to had add to the party atmosphere, even Robin the run director came as a tour cyclist, I salute every one of you!!

100th celebrations with Darren & Paul

Also great to meet fellow tourist from Birmingham Chris Wills, who was down in the area visiting relatives, nice to meet you Chris!


Well done to super Harlow parkrun volunteer John Gillespie who has knocked up 250 parkruns for his community! Outstanding selfless achievement John, you are a credit to us all sir!

Harlow super volunteer John Gillespie

Team Kaleigh

One thing that stands out is the generosity of human spirit found at every parkrun that I have visited, the willingness to support charities and families in need. So I was humbled to meet the Team Kaleigh fundraising and raising awareness for a young very brave lady who was suffering from a rare form of brain cancer!

Team Kaleigh

A truly moving story that touched my heart and soul! So if you want to know more about Kaleigh and the tireless work her support team are doing, here is their website link


harlow course map

This course is made up of large two anticlockwise laps of Harlow Town park, then a shorter lap to make up the distance!

The large laps consist of a long out and back section run on cycle/footpaths that is covered by a canopy of beutiful trees! Next you then run around a perimeter of the park down to Edinburgh Road entrance, then run up the infamous grass short sharpe Harlow parkrun hill, across a small bridge to start of your second lap!

On the third and final lap is a short retracing of the route minus the cycle paths and the hill, cross the small bridge one last time just afterwards turn right to run back down to the finish funnel where you started!

The course is very undulating in nature and surface is run on a mix of about 70% tarmac footpaths 30% on grass!

Points to note

  • Overall definitely a running shoe course, not enough grass to warrant using trail shoes
  • The uphill grass hill section would probably be very challenging in wet conditions

This is definitely not a course for the faint hearted, but I like a challenge and you really get a sense of achievement well done once completed! My time was 36:32 happy with that on this course!!!


There is free 1 hour parking in Harlow Town park Sat Nav CM20 2QD and at the pay & display machine, press the yellow button twice and then the green button.

There are public toilets open before the start of the parkrun near pets corner that is a 3 minutes walk from the car park!

For the post run coffee they retired to Spurriers House Café , sorry I did not have the time to come and join you all.

Other Facilities include

  • Pets corner
  • Skate Park
  • Outdoor gym
  • Bandstand
  • Adventure playground
  • Incorporating a variety of beautiful gardens

Final Verdict

I would to thank RD Robin Peter Lozeau and his team of volunteers for making me feel like part of your community, thank you guys much appreciated!! I need to say Robin apart from being a true gentleman you are great character and it was all my pleasure to be their at your run briefing sir, long may it continue!!!

Harlow Volunteer shot

So finally, if you like the idea running on a challenging course in a beautiful park then Harlow is definitely the parkrun event for you!!!


Mark aka Silent Runner

Event 30 Lloyd

On a cold foggy day in Croydon I finally met the challenge of Lloyd park that was always mentioned as one of the toughest parkruns in London and it did not disappoint! I just had to make it harder by running in a Santa suit for charity that did not help my cause!

The beauty of this capital challenge is you can test yourself in so many different ways running 5K from a hilly grass courses like Lloyd to only 5 mile away flat very fast tarmac ones’s like Dulwich! The variety is what I look forward to each week, each event is a adventure!


Lloyd course map

The course is two undulating anticlockwise laps of the parameter of Lloyd park that is run entirely on grass with the start and end near the pavilion!

I felt today I entered the world of cross country with a steady incline for the first part of the course that after a sharp dogleg turn right when you run to the highest point of the park! The rest of the course steadily declines back to the finish of the lap and at the end of the second lap you run through the finishing funnel.

High point Lloyd

There are two observations I would like to make, firstly if you are unsure about the underfoot conditions of the course I would definitely pack a pair of trail shoes as an option! Secondly there are a few exposed tree roots dotted about that could be a trip hazard for the unexpected runner, so be careful!

Personal Stats

Time 42:24 as always going to be slow today running in fancy dress on a tough grass course!

Important Info

The park boasts excellent facilities for the parkrun tourist including

  • Free car park up to 2 hours from ticket machine
  • Toilet and changing facilities (available before the start of the race)
  • Lovely Cafe

Cafe Lloyd

Please not the post code for your SAT Nav for the car park should be CR0 5RA not the one listed on their parkrun website that is CR0 5RB, if it could be changed it would be greatly appreciated.

Final Verdict

I would like to thank Richard and his team of volunteers for organising an excellent event making me and my friend extremely welcome, it was a lovely touch to offer water and free cake to the patrons at the end. Top work guys!

I would like to thank the patrons who donated cash to my charity fund today it was very heartwarming and will be added to the current total 🙂

Group Shot Lloyd

So if you like a testing challenge on a cross country style course then Lloyd is definitely the parkrun for you!

Run on 17-12-2016

Event 89 Castle Park

Amazing how time flies by its almost 10 months ago I run one of the last events at the stunning location of Hatfield Forest on 26th August 2017 and then decided from that point on to target reaching 100 different parkrun events locations!


So today I am running at the lovely Castle Park, Bishop Stotford in Hertfordshire their new relocated home for their event no 38 and my 89 different one!


Development plans – Castle Park

I always find great deal of delight when local councils with the aid of lottery funding council work together to create a masterplan to improve local green spaces for the community can relax and enjoy!

So in this instance they have combined the two parks of Castle Gardens & Sworder’s Field into one park namely Castle park with the aim of creating as they say a community hub. This is to promotes wildlife and celebrate the rich history of Waytemore Castle that is on these grounds through conservation and different organised events!

Top work and I hope you get the additional lottery funding applied for to finish off this noble project!


Pirate challenge –  complete

Just in case you were wondering why I was dressed as a pirate at this parkrun it was to complete one of the parkrun running challenges, which entails running 7 parkruns starting with the letter C and 1 with R 🙂

Me with percy the parrot

These challenges are great fun for any self-respecting parkrun enthusiast, but I must admit I am struggling at the moment in completing the stopwatch-bingo challenge 🙂


It was good that parkrun UK this weekend celebrated the upcoming NHS70 day by inviting parkrun events around the UK to give a huge thanks for the sterling work the NHS do in our communities!

In Castle Park’s case at the run briefing the run director Kevin asked all NHS staff attending this event come up in front of everyone so we could all applaud the selfless work they do in their daily lives, class touch guy’s!!!!

NHS 70th Birthday

Also I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Marsh and his son Timothy aged 5 who was running his first parkrun and he run an excellent time of 34:45

I know you enjoyed it and I hope you have the pleasure of running many more parkruns in the future, young sir!!

With the Marsh family


Castle Park course map

This course starts off by the bandstand, then after a short stretch of grass you run two clockwise laps of the perimeter of the park, at the end of the second lap run back to the way you came from to the finish funnel!

The course is relatively flat and surface is about 60% grass 40 tarmac paths!


Points to note

  • After a prolonged period of wet weather I have been told the some grass sections can get quite muddy in places!
  • On the start of each lap the short tarmac footpath there are a number of bollards that you need to be wary of running into, in the running briefing you are asked to shout out a warning to fellow runners for them to avoid the change of any collision that otherwise could occur, which is good advice especially at the start of lap one!

So in dry conditions with a firm grass surface this is a very fast course with the slowest time today in a field of 309 runners was 45 minutes. My time was 35:04 happy with that at the moment!


The closest car park to the start of this parkrun is Link Road Car Park Sat Nav CM23 2BA with parking tariff of £2.60 up to 3 hours. Unfortunately there are no public toilets inside this park, but they promote you using the nearby toilets located at the Jackson Square shopping centre.

Finally for the post run coffee they retired to the local Wetherspoons – The Port Jackson

Final Verdict

I would like to thank the run director Kevin Watson and his team of volunteers for making everyone feel extremely welcome, top stuff guy’s!!!

Castle Park volunteers

So finally it was great fun being a pirate for the morning and even though I was not by the sea, I could not think of a better place to be than Castle park with this lovely community on a runday morning 🙂


Mark aka Silent Runner

Cowell Club reports

Here is a list of completed parkrun events in chronological order of the date I first run them!

  1. St Albans – 21/02/2015
  2. Luton Wardown – 30/05/2015 report
  3. Wormwood Scrubs – 06/06/2015 report
  4. Bedford – 27/06/2015
  5. Aylesbury – 01/08/2015
  6. Stevenage – 28/05/2016
  7. Dulwich – 25/06/2016 report – Capital adventure start
  8. Oak Hill – 02/07/2016 report
  9. Kingston – 09/07/2016 report
  10. Southwark – 16/07/2016 report
  11. Hampstead Heath – 23/07/2016 report
  12. Wimbledon Common – 30/07/2016 report
  13. Fulham Palace – 06/08/2016 report
  14. Peckham Rye – 13/08/2016 report
  15. Greenwich – 20/08/2016 report
  16. Richmond Park – 27/08/2016 report
  17. Hackney Marshes – 10/09/2016 report
  18. Ally Pally – 17/09/2016 report
  19. Riddlesdown – 24/09/2016 report
  20. Harrow – 01/10/2016 report
  21. Tooting Common – 15/10/2016 report
  22. Osterley – 22/10/2016 report
  23. Northala Fields – 29/10/2016 report
  24. Harrow Lodge – 05/11/2016 report
  25. Gunnersbury – 12/11/2016 report
  26. Burgess – 19/11/2016 report
  27. Highbury Fields – 26/11/2016 report
  28. Barking – 03/12/2016 report
  29. Walthamstow – 10/12/2016 report
  30. Lloyd – 17/12/2016 report
  31. Old Deer Park – 24/12/2016 report
  32. Crystal Palace – 07/01/2017 report
  33. Grovelands – 14/01/2017 report
  34. Mile End – 21/01/2017 report
  35. Raphael – 28/01/2017 report
  36. Valentines – 04/02/2017 report
  37. Finsbury Park – 11/02/2017 report
  38. Beckton – 18/02/2017 report
  39. Roundshaw Downs – 25/02/2017 report
  40. Bexley – 04/03/2017 report
  41. Gladstone – 11/03/2017 report
  42. Bushy Park – 25/03/2017 report – 50th birthday & milestone
  43. Orpington – 01/04/2017 report
  44. Bromley – 08/04/2017 report
  45. Wanstead Flats – 15/04/2017 report
  46. Hilly Fields – 22/04/2017 report
  47. Crane Park – 29/04/2017 report
  48. Bedfont Lakes – 06/05/2017 report
  49. Brockwell – 13/05/2017 report
  50. Beckenham Place – 20/05/2017 report
  51. Canons Park – 27/05/2017 report
  52. Pymmes – 03/06/2017 reportCapital adventure finish
  53. Aldenham – 10/06/2017 report
  54. Ellenbrook Fields – 17/06/2017 report
  55. South Norwood – 05/08/2017 report
  56. Hoblingwell – 19/08/2017 report
  57. Hatfield Forest26/08/2017 report
  58. Inverness02/09/2017 report
  59. Heartwood Forest – 23/09/2017 report
  60. Daventry – 30/09/2017 report
  61. Gunpowder – 14/10/2017 report
  62. Upton Court – 21/10/2017 report
  63. Rickmansworth – 28/10/2017 report
  64. Roding Valley – 04/11/2017 report
  65. South Oxhey – 11/11/2017 report
  66. Cassiobury – 18/11/2017 report
  67. Dartford – 25/11/2017 report
  68. Banstead Woods – 02/12/2017 report
  69. Nonsuch – 09/12/2017 report
  70. Linford Wood – 01/01/2018 report
  71. Milton Keynes – 01/01/2018 report
  72. Great Notley – 06/01/2018 report
  73. Oxford – 13/01/2018 report
  74. Chelmsford Central – 27/01/2018 report
  75. Woodley – 03/02/2018 report
  76. Billericay – 10/02/2018 report
  77. Reading – 17/02/2018 report
  78. Homewood – 24/02/2018 report
  79. Kettering – 10/03/2018 report
  80. Henley-on-Thames – 17/03/2018 report
  81. Haverhill – 07/04/2018 report
  82. Cambridge – 14/04/2018 report
  83. Victoria Dock – 21/04/2018 report
  84. Great Denham – 28/04/2018 report
  85. Huntingdon – 05/05/2018 report
  86. Buckingham – 12/05/2018 report
  87. Black Park – 19/05/2018 report
  88. Wycombe Rye – 26/05/2018 report
  89. Castle Park – 09/06/2018 report
  90. Harlow 16-06-2018 report
  91. Brentwood 23-06-2018 report
  92. Clacton Seafront 30-06-2018 report
  93. Barclay 07-07-2018 report
  94. Westmill 21-07-2018 report
  95. Tring 28-07-2018 report
  96. Panshanger 04-08-2018 report
  97. Rushmere 11-08-2018 report
  98. Gadebridge 18-08-2018 report
  99. Letchworth  01-09-2018 report
  100. Houghton Hall 08-09-2018 report – Cowell Club completed


100 not out!!!

Over the last 10 months I cannot describe my family’s sadness, but there has been one bright shining light in my life that has been parkrun, with the people and beautiful parks I have run have touched my soul!

So, after 2 years of parkrun tourism I had to come back to Luton and Wardown park my home parkrun to run my 100th parkrun milestone!

Community parkrun Heroes

There are some people who are the mainstay of any parkrun community that are a credit to us all with Luton is no exception.

Here is just a simple of some of the selfless people at our parkrun!

  • Our very own Peter Brown super volunteer who cheers you on from Pete’s corner
  • Malcolm Rankin whose great pictures week in week out come rain or shine, gives us all happy memories to cherish!
  • Geoffrey, Ivor and Reg who are regularly volunteers, but in Geoffrey case when he walks parkrun faster with his walking stick than a lot of other people can run!
  • Leroy through his sterling work looking after the cafe at the cricket club and Ajit Vice Chairman of the cricket club who supports our use of their top facilities!

Last but definitely not least is Kate Neale without her hard work and determination there would never been a Luton parkrun, thanks Kate!

With Friends

On Saturday I was so lucky to be around so many close friends from tourist from Basingstoke, Darlington and St Alban’s, to both my running club and the local parkrun community, I feel truly blessed to know you all!

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Event Results

50 Club : John YOUNG, Paul BRADY, Sam WHALEY
100 Club : Mark LAYZELL

Luton Wardown parkrun
Event number 161
2nd June 2018
This week 282 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 25 were first timers and 50 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 24 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 29 volunteers:

Liz DAVIES • Kate NEALE • Ash NEALE • Mark LAYZELL • Philip DAVIES • Carly STRAUGHAN • Malcolm RANKIN • Peter BROWN • Geoffrey WHITE • Robert BARNES • Frank GICQUEL • David BULL • Endre CZIRBESZ • Emily FEASEY • Ivor WEBB • Heather CHANDLER • Rick HARES • Eliott HARES • Kate POTTER • David WYNN • Nicola ABUBACKER • Claire WORBY • Chloe BAXTER • Durcan WORBY • Aiden WORBY • Katalin CZIRBESZ • Amani CHOUDHURY • Lena CZIRBESZ •

Final Verdict

I would like to thank Carly Straughan and her team of volunteers for making us all feel extremely welcome, plus at announcements a great plug Carly about my milestone run 🙂

With Wardown volunteer

For the record I have dedicate this run in the honour of my dad and good friends close relatives who have sadly passed away very recently!

I share your loss and despair, we should remember the good times with them and smile! On this point a special mention to friend and fellow tourist Ken Thomas who I run with at this event. I think our dads would have been proud of us today mate!

With Ken Thomas

So finally Luton thank you all from the bottom of my heart for making this a day that will live long in my memory!


Mark xxxx

Event 89 Castle Park 09-06-2018

Extra news

Wow what a lovely celebration cake from Novelty Cakes of Luton. I now know where to come for my Cowell Club 100th parkrun cake, delicious 🙂

100th Celebration Cake

Finally I would like to thank my work colleagues at the University of Bedfordshire  Rachel Hunt, Danielle Roberts, Mary Ferguson, Paul Hannington and Martin Thurlow that was a truly touching gift of a Luton Town FC personalised shirt. I run my 100th parkrun in this top and will wear it with honour in future whilst watching all the Luton Town games from now on!