All posts by mhatter67

Book Review – Why Running Matters

The book I have been asked to review is ‘Why Running Matters” by Ian Mortimer that depicts a man who was coming towards his 50th birthday decided to set himself a New Years resolution to run 45 parkrun events and 5 half marathons in a calendar year!

The chapters are in chronological date order with subjects covered including age grading to his ultimate running challenge. The book gives a great insight why running is such an  important part of Ian’s life and on his reasoning all of our lives who lace up a pair of trainers to go out for a run to a great extent!

Family Affair

The part of the book I really enjoyed is his running relationship with his sons Alexandra & Oliver and his joy of seeing them reach their own running goals. One specific instant I loved was when he run with Oliver at one parkrun with his son very unhappy with his performance and stormed into town after the event, while Ian had run one of the best times of the year!

Oliver while in town checked the parkrun results just posted on the website and immediately had to ring his dad to tell him he was made up for him achieving such an excellent time, priceless family moment!

Competitive Edge

For the record Ian is a naturally talented runner who regularly gets into the top 10% of every parkrun he attends and his range of distances extends up to the marathon!

A term I heard once was recreationally competitive that aptly applies to Ian and I love his running battles with his son Alexandra and other park runners, his strategies he employs in either how to beat them or shadow to get a better time 🙂

Final Verdict

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, finding out another runners perspective why running is so important in their life and inspired me to revaluate why running it is so important to me!

So, Ian I wish you all the best in your running and if you have not already broken the magical barrier of a under 20 minutes for 5K, I have faith that you will achieve your goal one day sir 🙂

Finally as Ian quoted parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt “All we are doing here is building a playground, and if you want to come and take part, you can.” who know’s one day Ian we might bump into each other at a parkrun playground, share a few stories over a post run coffee, but until then let’s just rejoice in being happy in our own respective running lives!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

 

Friary Park Juniors

So on a Sunday when my  local Wardown Junior parkrun was cancelled due to a weekend festival in our park there was only one place I was going too visit and do some parkrun volunteering tourism at with this being Friary Park, Friern Barnet, London 🙂

Childhood past

Why you may ask this specific junior parkrun and the answer is very simple, this was the  park my mum played in as a child in the 1940-50’s and in the 1970’s she took me back to it when visiting my great aunt in North Finchley on my summer school holidays, great memories 🙂

The familiar sight of the imposing but beautiful statue of the ‘Bringer of Peace‘ welcomes you on your arrival, then it was lovely to walk around the park we saw Blacketts brook again that I once paddled in and explored as an inquisitive child back in the day. I have to ask the question why do we ever have to grow up 🙂

Friary Park

So Friary park is nine hectare Edwardian park that started life when the Friary Estate was purchased in 1909 by the wealthy benefactor  Sydney Simmons for Friern Barnet Urban District Council to be used as a park for the local community to enjoy and it officially opened to the general public in May 1910.

Course

Friary park course map

The course is three and a bit clockwise laps on the top part on the park that is relatively flat in design and run entirely of well maintained tarmac paths!

Facilities

There is adequate free street parking around the park on the side roads and the toilets were available before the start of the parkrun that is always welcome!

For the post run coffee we retired to the parks Bowling club pavilion for a well earned refreshments on this warm day.

A really lovely touch after the parkrun was that the bowls club members had an introductory session for the juniors and their parents into how to learn to bowl, what a top community idea!

Other Facilities

  • Outdoor Gym
  • Children’s play area
  • Skateboard park
  • Tennis Courts
  • Bowls

Final Verdict

I would like to thank Eileen and her team of volunteers for the warmest of welcomes, was great to talk to her afterwards about everything junior parkrun and thanks for the tips Eileen, greatly appreciated 🙂

Friary park volunteers

So if you are looking for a bit of local junior parkrun tourism then Friary Park has to be high on your list, a fast course to run and beautiful well maintained park to explore, shear heaven!!!!!

For me personally this park will always have a special place in my heart 🙂

Best Mark aka Silent Runner

Hanworth

So after the record breaking hot temperatures that hit the UK this week it was great to be back running in the capital in refreshing summer rain at Hanworth, West London, shear heaven!

Aviation Past

This weeks parkrun was based at Hanworth park has a very interesting history including the park was also know as London Air park being once a grass airfield that was operational from 1917-19 and 1929-47

Would have been great to be there when the land was used as an airfield and seeing the mighty Graf Zeppelin airship land on this site!

Saving History

Soon as I arrived it became clear the rightful passion Hanworth parkrun community had for saving the parks historic Hanworth Park House from collapse!

The current house was built after the original Henry VII Hanworth palace hunting lodge burnt down in 1787 and with the work finishing on the new house in 1802.

I hope their mission is 100% successful to bring Hanworth Park house back to it’s former glory for the local community to enjoy and the dream of starting their parkrun event each week in front of this iconic building is achieved, all the best guys!!!!!

50 Not Out

I would just like to wish a big well done the my top buddy Martin Ball who run his 50th different parkrun event at Hanworth and the funny thing was we only found out on the drive back home 🙂

Martin it has been my pleasure to have you as a running buddy on my tourist adventures, you bring sunshine to every event you attend and being there for me in the darkest of day’s with the loss of my dad last year, thanks mate!

As always it was great to meet fellow parkrun tourist for the first time in Nigel Rose far right of picture and Tony Streams standing next to him, pleasure to meet you guy’s 🙂

Tourist group shot Hanworth

Course

Hanworth course map

The course is a simple 2 and a bit clockwise laps of the perimeter of Hanworth Park that is run on multiple surfaces including grass, gravel, tarmac and is flat in nature!

Points to note

  • Potentially a fast course in dry conditions
  • Can see the grass section being very boggy after a long period of prolonged rain.
  • Great for the confidence not to be lap multiple times by the leaders as you would find on a 3 plus lap course.
  • Beware of a few potholes on the grass paths, but to be fair this was mentioned in the run briefing!

Overall I really enjoyed this multi terrain course and the rain added to the fun running with my mate Martin 🙂 My time was 42:45

Facilities

There is free car park at Hanworth Air Park leisure centre quite close to the start Sat Nav TW13 5EG and toilets are available from the same place before the start of the parkrun with doors opening at 8am on Saturday’s.

Hanworth Air Park

Finally for the post run coffee you we popped back into the leisure centre for a well earned hot drink and to dry off. So as a tourist to Hanworth this event ticked all the most important facilities boxes for me, excellent stuff!

Final Verdict

I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart this weeks run director Leanne Murray and her top team of volunteers us the warmest of welcomes and it’s hard to believe your parkrun is only 13 events old, excellent work everyone!

Hanworth volunteer shot

So finally I throughly recommend Hanworth as an event to add to your tourist list of places to visit. So Hanworth I think you have a special community going on there and long may it continue 🙂

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Felixstowe

So on the hottest day of the year I came to Felixstowe, Suffolk on a summers mini break to visit a close relative and the sun painted a beautiful picture postcard view on this lovely traditional English seaside resort town!

Apart from tourism shipping is also a large part of the Felixstowe economy with the port being the biggest and busiest container port in the UK and is located at the mouth of both the River Stout and Orwell.

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Great to see the huge container ships leaving the port on the horizon and wondering what distant countries they are bound for with their expensive cargo 🙂

Volunteer Superstar

On my tourist travels I have been lucky to meet so many parkrun event volunteer superstars that every week they give up there time just to volunteer at their event, but I think at Felixstowe our tail walker Rory Marriott has to go down as a ultra volunteer superstar with 589 roles completed from run director to barcode scanning, 106 of them as a tourist and over a 8 years period that started at Valentines parkrun, London back in 2011, simply wow!!!

Rory you are a dream for a event team trying to fill their weekly roster, a credit to the whole of our parkrun community and jolly decent chap to have a talk to as well, we all salute you sir!!!

Small World

I had a lovely chat to a number parkrun patrons on the day including Gary Parr from Peterborough another fellow member of the unofficial UK parkrun tourist group, but Emma Hoddy who I run with at the end like me was born in Luton and noticed I was from the town as I was wearing my apricot Luton, Wardown parkrun vest, a very small world 🙂

For the record it was Emma’s first parkrun and I hope one day if she reads this article will join us back at my beloved home event of Wardown park 🙂

Course

Felixstowe course map

The course is a single lap of the promenade that starts and finishes by the distance marker next to the leisure centre and surface is entirely made up of tarmac! The run starts off in a South West direction for 1.2km and your turning point is in front of the Martello tower, once you have got back to the start/line your run 1.3KM in North East direction until you reach the final turning point and then run back to the finish funnel.

In the right weather conditions this has the potential of being your of being one of your fastest ever parkrun time!

My time was 40:54 OK for the hot weather and where I am fitness wise at present!

Points to note

  • Position yourself at the start where you think time wise you with finish the event as it is a bit congested to overtake for the first couple of minutes
  • Definitely trainers running shoes kind of course
  • Very slight incline towards both turning points of the course!

Facilities

There is pay and display parking at Undercliff Road West that is right next to the start, post code IP11 2AE or about half a mile away there is free parking at Garrison Lane Car Park post code IP11 7SH.

There are toilet facilities at Broadwalk cafe on the pier and is a great location for the post run coffee afterwards!

Boardwalk cafe

There is so much to do in the town after this parkrun, I would recommend taking a look at their visit Felixstowe tour guide and explore!

Final Verdict

I would like to thank this weeks run director Caroline Stafford and her team of volunteers for the warmest of seaside welcomes and done a great job managing the 274 strong field of running, outstanding effort guys!!!!

Felixstowe volunteers

So finally if you are looking for a flat fast course in a lovely traditional seaside town setting then Felixstowe parkrun has to be high on your to do list of touring!!!!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

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