All posts by mhatter67

London Luton Airport Charity Runway Race

On the longest day of the year and being a Lutonian born & bred there was only place I wanted to be at 4:30am was running on London Luton airport runway with the sun coming up over the horizon!

Course

Airport runway course map

Very simply it is out and back course along the length of London Luton airport runway with a total distance of about 2.6 miles covered! The bizarre thing is that is not flat with a gradual raised high point on the runway!

Also, there was a sticky tar section on the runway that I can only put down to where the planes first hit the tarmac when landing!

Points to note

  • This is not a timed race
  • Maximum time of 1 hour to complete the course
  • Required to either produce a passport or photo ID driving licence to get through the security check
  • As they say travel light through the security gate

This race was a great social event to attend and make sure you do the obligatory plane wings when you come into the finish with a cool waiting for you 🙂

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Facilities

There was free parking available before the start of the race and was about 10-15 minutes walk away from the meeting point at gate 6. Please note there are no toilet facilities available at this event!

Final verdict

I would like to thank everyone involved in organising this event both before and on the day for a very professional job well done! The most important thing is all the proceeds went to one of the noblest of charities in Macmillan Cancer Support with the current total standing at an excellent £4,390.00, brilliant!!!!

Group final photo

For me it was great to be around so many local running friends on a perfect summer morning with the sun rising as we run along the runway it was sheer heaven!

So finally as the famous 1970’s Lorraine Chase advert line said, “Were you truly wafted from paradise? No Luton airport!” Well for me it was paradise and will last long in the memory!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

500 Not Out

All my time of parkrun I have met so many amazing people and tried to tell their stories, so today 15th June 2019 I arrive back at Basingstoke parkrun to help celebrate with my very good parkrun tourist friend Carl Heaps in the running of his 500th parkrun, simply wow!

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500 Club

This is the one parkrun milestone award that simply stands out as an amazing achievement for any parkrunner to obtain, the thought of almost 10 years of continually running each and every Saturday without a break is simply to mind-blowing to imagine and shows the runners commitment to parkrun. Again what a brilliant and inclusive concept parkrun is to us all!!!

For the record it does help that your event is an early adopter to the parkrun UK family with Basingstoke first event taking place on 5th July 2008, but according to distinguished parkrun stats man Elliot Line there are only 50 runners that have who have achieved this milestone before Carl, so a very elite club to join!

I have been lucky to know other members in the 500 club including Dave Williamson (right picture below) and Danny Norman (left picture wearing blue top) with these guy’s being great advocates of parkrun with Dave he tries volunteer at every tourist parkrun he attends and Danny has produced a great parkrun podcast called “With Me Nows” that is well worth a listen!

So finally on this matter at Basingstoke I met this fine gentleman Andrew Wyeth who has run all of his 567 parkrun at home and I can completely understand why Andrew with this top parkrun community to run around with each week sir!!!

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Conclusion

So I say to all the runners who attended parkrun events today from first timers to seasoned members of the 500 club, I doth my cap and salute you all 🙂

Happy park-running everyone 🙂

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Extra News

Well done to my very good friend Geoffrey White who run his 150th parkrun today back at my home event at Wardown, Luton. This man sets up our course every Saturday morning without fuss and is a cherished member in our parkrun community!

Shame I was not there Geoffrey to celebrate with you, but those cakes looks delicious, sir 🙂

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MK Rocket 5K

The Rocket 5K is part of the Milton Keynes Marathon weekend that takes place over the first May bank holiday weekend every year! The rocket 5k race is run on the Sunday with the marathon, half marathon, marathon relay races and super hero fun run all take place on the bank holiday Monday!

Course

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The Rocket 5K is predominantly a fast steady downhill point to point road race that is run entirely on tarmac roads, starts in the Town Centre on Midsummer Blvd with the finish just outside MK Dons football Stadium!

Points to Note

  • This is a closed road race
  • The surprise is the first short section is a steady incline along Midsummer Blvd
  • Time limit of 45 mins is imposed as they need to reopen the roads
  • Time chipped race
  • Position yourself at the start line where you think you will finish in the race as even with the wide roads it might be still difficult to overtake with over 2,000 competitors taking part on course!
  • Water and snacks are provided at the end of the race

Facilities

They recommend car sharing if at all possible with the competitors being dropped off at the start post code MK9 1EA and the car being then parked at the finish at the Stadium car park. If this is not possible there is ample paid parking near the start and if you wish they offer a £5 bus return journey that leaves the stadium at 10:30am sharp!

There are portable toilets available next to the start and you can use the facilities inside race HQ that is based inside Wetherspoons, also this is where you collect your race numbers on the day itself.

For toilet facilities at the end of the race they recommend either KFC or McDonalds restaurants!

Final Verdict

I would like to thank everyone involved in organising and the volunteers supporting this race, top effort guys! Also very well to my club Stopsley Striders friends with some of them who run some brilliant times, top running guys!!!

Striders group shot

So finally if you are looking for a fast 5k time for the year, then the MK Rocket 5k has to be high on your race to do list, you have been told and plus I love the cool finishers medal 🙂

Rocket 5K 2019 medal

Best

Mark aka Silent RStopsunner

 

Sunny Hill

On a beautiful spring Easter Saturday morning we arrived at Sunny Hill park that aptly matched the weather for this event to run the newest Greater London parkrun event!

So Sunny Hill is a 22 hectares park located in Hendon in the London Borough of Barnet and was formally known as Sunnyhill Fields before Hendon council brought the land off the church farmhouse back in 1921 and opened up as the park in 1922.

At the highest point of the park you have great views of the city below and even see the now famous arch of Wembley stadium, shear heaven to behold!!!

parkrun Tourism

I always find great pleasure in meeting like-minded runners who enjoy parkrun tourism as much as I do and amongst the tourists was good friend Scott Clarke, David Piper (who has run 264 different events) and Rams Nanda. Apologies for all the other tourist I have not mentioned by name, but it was great to meet you all 🙂

Tourist group shot

Friends on Tour

Another joy is running with very good running friends from my local club Stopsley Striders and both senior & Junior Luton, Wardown parkruns! So Jen, Julie, Rickey, James, Stephen, Kathy and my old mucker Martin, it was my sincere hope that you enjoyed yourselves and thanks from the bottom of my heart for joining me on one of my parkrun adventures!

Finally on this subject I would like to congratulate Jen Avis on running her 20th different parkrun event at Sunny Hill and in doing so add her name onto the parkrun UK most events table roll of honor, top stuff Jen 🙂

Running with Jen

Course

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The course comprises of 1 small clockwise lap, then 2 big figure of eight shape laps of the park. The surface in made up entirely of tarmac footpaths and the geography of this park makes for a very tough course to run!

There are two main inclines that have to be navigated twice on each figure of eight lap, the first is at the start of each lap with a hard short incline to the top of the park, then after turning right to drop down to the bottom of the park. Next is a steady prolonged incline around the perimeter of the park towards Church Terrance, then an undulating section along the top of the ridge with stunning views of the park and beyond!

Finally though at the crossover point again at the top of Sunny Hill park you turn right and there is a very welcome decline around the bottom part of the figure of eight to finish the lap, then at the end of the second lap you run into the finish funnel

My time showed how unfit I was running this course 40:02

So in summing up Sunny Hill has to be easily one of the toughest courses in all the 54 Greater London events to run, but please to not let that put you off as it is always great to challenge yourself and improve your times overall by running these kinds of courses!!

Facilities

I decided travel by car for this event with a small free car park available just inside the parks main entrance Sat Nav NW4 4XA

For the post run coffee we retired to the lovely Sunny Hill cafe situated inside the park with its speciality of serving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Cuisine, also there are toilet facilities at the cafe available before the start of this event!

Sunny Hill Cafe

Other Facilities include

  • Tennis courts
  • Football pitches
  • Children’s Play Area

Final Verdict

I would like to thank on mine and my friends behalf todays run director Simone Smith and her team of volunteers for making us feel extremely welcome and doing an excellent job, who would believe that you are only 4 events old, outstanding stuff guys!!!

Sunny Hill volunteer shot with friends

So finally I recommend Sunny Hill park to you all, a tough but beautiful course that is an excellent addition to the Greater London parkrun community!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Extra News

I would like to wish my home parkrun of Luton, Wardown a very happy 4th birthday and you have gone from strength to strength with now averaging over 300 runners each week, but still keep that very friendly community feel that I always look forward to on my visits home!

4th Birthday Luton, Wardown

Lucky Dip Tourism

Currently a majority of my future parkrun tourism adventures will be via a lucky dip raffle method of my closest not yet completed top 50 events according to the parkrun tourist tool with the first attended event was at Jersey Farm ticket No 2 on the 9th March 2019!

So as of the 8th March 2019 the lucky dip parkrun events list is fixed and I will not be updating it to include any new future starting events!

Stats

Fastest time Jersey Farm 38.14

Still to complete 49

Key info

On the Lucky Dip Events list below the first number depicts the closeness of the event to me, then event name and finally distance from my house in miles, measured as a straight line!

2. Jersey Farm 9.3m 09/03/2019

Finally all events that are coloured green with dates attached have been completed 🙂

Lucky Dip Events

  1. Dunstable Downs 7.0m
  2. Jersey Farm 9.3m 09/03/2019
  3. Wendover Woods 16.8m
  4. Wimpole Estate 21.9m
  5. Pocket 22.2m
  6. Maidenhead 30.3m
  7. Watermeadows 30.4m
  8. Coldham’s Common 31.3m
  9. Great Dunmow 31.9m
  10. Northampton 32.1m
  11. Bicester 32.5m
  12. Sixfields Upton 32.8m
  13. Dinton Pastures 38.2m
  14. Brooklands 38.4m
  15. Bracknell 39m
  16. Dartford Heath 40.4m
  17. Harcourt Hill 40.4m
  18. Prospect 41.1m
  19. Woking 41.3m
  20. Abingdon 41.4m
  21. California Country 41.5m
  22. Dicot 41.6m
  23. Banbury 42.0m
  24. Thurrock 42.7m
  25. Clare Castle 42.9m
  26. Corby 43.1m
  27. Basildon 43.9m
  28. Firmly Lodge 44.0m
  29. Lullingstone 45.0m
  30. Mole Valley 45.1m
  31. Guildford  45.7m
  32. Market Harborough 45.8m
  33. Peterborough 46.1m
  34. Manor Field, Whittlesey 46.4m
  35. South Woodham Ferrers 46.5m
  36. Reigate Priory 46.6m
  37. Rushmoor 46.6m
  38. Maldon Prom 47.4m
  39. Haleigh 48.4m
  40. Littleport 48.5m
  41. Shorne Woods 48.6m
  42. Witney 48.8m
  43. Rugby  48.8m
  44. Hockley Woods 48.9m
  45. Great Cornard 49.1m
  46. March 49.1m
  47. Rutland Water 52.4m
  48. Bury St Edmunds 52.4m
  49. Cranleigh 52.8m
  50. Newbury 53.0m

 

Jersey Farm

So my tourist journey has taken me this week to Jersey Farm in the Parish of Sandridge, Hertfordshire.

For the record this is the new home of Heartwood Forest parkrun that run its last event no 47 on 6th October 2018 with the core team making the very difficult decision to relocate from Heartwood for the guaranteed longevity of an event to be held in the Sandridge area!

Jersey Farm Woodland Park

So this park covers 55 acres of beautiful woodland (about 10,000 trees planted by volunteers for the millennium) and meadowland with the name Jersey Farm coming from a Jersey dairy herd owned by Doctor Corner who’s cows provided milk for the local community back in the mid 20th century!

parkrun challenges

One thing I love about parkrun tourism is the challenges that other tourists create and at Jersey Farm I ticked the letter J off the Alphbeteer that is someone who has done one parkrun for each letter of the alphabet!

Great for me because in the past the letter J would have meant a long trip to Jersey in the Channel Islands, but thankfully today it is a short journey of 8 miles trip from my home in Luton 🙂

Also for the next few years I will be mainly touring via a lucky dip raffle method of the 50 closest events I have not yet run. This is now fixed to the current listed 50 events of 9th March with the first one picked out of the hat this week was number 2 Jersey Farm 🙂

Finally always great for me to be around kindred tourist friends Martin, Dave Thomas (right of picture) and Dave it was lovely meet your better half Sue mate!!!

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Course

Jersey Farm course map

This winter course is just over 2 clockwise laps of the parameter of Jersey Farm that is steadily undulating in nature with the surface predominantly made up of trail paths!

The start is uphill just before the brow of the hill and then you run down the other side to the back of the course! Next you run a short section around the parameter to start the first lap and at the end of the second one you turn right with the finish funnel just a short distance ahead of you!

Points to note

  • Trail shoes are recommended in wet conditions with mud forming on sections of this course!
  • No issues with exposed tree roots on this course.
  • Be wary of flint stones in a couple of parts of the course as they are always a potential trip hazard
  • Couple of single track parts hard to overtake for the faster runners

Love running this trial course around the farms woodland paths, a shear joy to run, my time 38.14

Facilities

There is no parking or toilet facilities at Jersey Farm, but there is though small free car park at Sandridge village Sat Nav AL4 9DD that is about half a mile from the start and the public toilets are situated next to the car park and are open before 8am that is always a blessing for us tourists!

For the post run coffee we retired to the lovely Heartwood Tea Rooms for a delicious full English breakfast 🙂 Love the touch of the sand timer placed on your table to let you know when your pot of tea has brewed enough!!

Final Verdict

I would like to thank this weeks run director Howard Bull and all the volunteers for a great job on a bitterly cold Saturday morning! Special mention to the finish funnel cheer squad to give that level of positive support to all the park runners at the end of the 5k is always very welcome, thanks guys!!!

Finish funnel crew

So Jersey Farm has a very enjoyable trail course to run, top community, lovely cafe to frequent, what’s not to like you have been told!

best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Extra News

Very well done to my home parkrun of Luton, Wardown who celebrated their 200th event this weekend, you are all very close to my heart and a brilliant community to behold!!!!

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