All posts by mhatter67

St Albans

This week was a real pleasure to revisit St Albans parkrun, Hertfordshire located at Verulamium Park that looked beautiful bathed in early summer sunshine.

Verulamium park

This park consists of 100 acres of beautiful parkland that was originally purchased from land owned by the Earl of Venulam in 1929 by the then city corporation.

The parks name Verulamium takes it from the roman city where the park now stands on and today a small section of the city’s roman wall from AD 265 still exists for visitors of the park to marvel over. Link

Remembering your first

For me you always remember your first ever parkrun, and for me it was St Albans back on 21st February 2015 and run about two months before my home parkrun of Luton, Wardown had their inaugural event.

I’ve been back multiple times since with my last visit I volunteered as a marshal in December 2016 and here is my blog report at the time link

On the day it was a treat seeing people you know, firstly Paul a good friend from my running club Stopsley Striders who I come to see on the day.

Also, great to bump into Claire and her friends from Dunstable Road Runners who were doing some local touring and last but definitely not least Adrian good parkrun and Luton Town buddy 😊

Course

The course starts with a 500m run on grass between playing fields, you the turn left and proceed to complete three anticlockwise laps that includes running along one side of the park’s lake.

On the end of the final lap this time you turn right and right again with a short run back to where the finish funnel awaits.

The course terrain is mainly made up for well-maintained footpaths with a couple of sections of grass, first at the beginning and then a gentle rise across a small field at the end of each lap. Overall, there is very little elevation to talk about on this course.

Points to Note
  • This is a new course that replaces the old 3 laps one around the parameter of the lake itself as it was prone to burst its banks in a couple of places.
  • Great idea having a wide grass start to allow the runners to find their natural position in the field.
  • All couple of pinch points in trying to overtake at both ends of the lake.
  • Lovely running along the footpath between the lake and the river Ver

Overall, this a very good course to get a fast time on if you wish and on the day, I would like to thank the 36 minutes pacer volunteer for doing an excellent job πŸ™‚ My time was 35:49

Facilities

Travel

I decided to travel by car and used the Verulamium car park next to the start of the parkrun with a flat minimum charge of Β£2.50 for three hours Sat Nav AL3 4SW. If you want to pay in advance, you can use the Pay by Phone app station number 802745.

They also recommend Westminster Lodge car park that is at the other end of the park and charges start from Β£1.00 for up to two hours Sat Nav AL1 2DJ

Toilets

Always a bonus there are toilets available before the start of this event and are situated next to Verulamium car park.

Post run coffee

For the post run coffee, I retired the Inn on the Park Cafe for a well-earned refreshment and a lovely chat with the local parkrunners πŸ™‚

Other facilities
  • Verulamium museum
  • Splash park
  • Sports complex

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week run director Linda and team of volunteers for making it a enjoyable experience for everybody on the day, well done guys πŸ™‚

So, if you are looking to running at a beautiful historic park and has a lovely community feel to their event, please add St Albans parkrun to your tourist list πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Guildford

It’s great to be touring again after a few weeks away and this week’s event was held at Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey.

Stoke Park

Stoke Park is a beautiful 52 hectare Green Flag park that was donated by Lord Onslow in 1925 to the people of Guildford ‘with his express wish for all time remains the lung of the town.link

Looking down I think Lord Onslow would be rightfully proud of his green lung gift to the town with the local community using every inch of the park on the morning from junior cricket matches to parkrun taking place πŸ™‚

Course

The course consists of two undulating anticlockwise laps of the perimeter of Stoke Park that’s running surface is a mixture of grass fields and tarmac footpath of about equal proportion.

Tarmac uphill section

At the start due to the number of runners taking part (391 yesterday) they start line is on the main grass field to allow everyone safe room to overtake, but make sure you run to the right side of the laid-out cones.

On the start of the second lap now that the runners are evenly spread out you run slightly wider on a trial path for a short period of time to make up the distance.

Points to note.

  • Majority of the course uphill slopes are thankfully on the tarmac footpath that makes it easier to run up.
  • I have been told in the winter the lower parts of the course grass sections can get very muddy.
  • Just be weary on the tarmac footpath is divided into two by a painted line, half for walkers/runners and half for bicycles, but to be fair I don’t remember seeing any cyclist while I was running on the course!
  • Always a bonus at the end the finish funnel is on a downhill stretch πŸ™‚

Overall I was happy with my run on this course time 35:17

Facilities

Very simple with the rail strike for me the only way to get to Guildford was my car and there is free parking available at the Guildford Spectrum Leisure Centre park-and-ride and it’s free up to 4 hours postcode GU1 1UP.

There was the added bonus of toilets available right next to the parkrun start line that is always welcome to us tourists.

Post run coffee

For the post run coffee I ended up at the lovely Stoke Park Guildford kiosk for a delicious well-earned bacon & egg bap and it was nice to sit down with some local parkrunners and have a nice post run chat about everything parkrun, thanks guys πŸ™‚

The kiosk is situated by a stunning Japanese ornamental garden that simply takes your breath away the first time it comes into view πŸ™‚

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week run director, Caroline and her team of high viz heroes for making us all feel very welcome on the day, great stuff guys!

Great touch I have never seen this before is the run director calls out as a sign of appreciation all the names of this week’s volunteers at the run briefing, so we all can rightly applaud them one and all, love it πŸ™‚

So finally, if you are looking for a challenging, but beautiful course then I can highly recommend Guildford parkrun to you all πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Maldon Prom

Today it was great to visit the maritime & market town of Maldon, Essex that is situated next to Blackwater estuary and has a great history including famous Battle of Maldon between the Vikings and Anglo Saxons in 991 AD

Maldon Attractions

There are two main attractions associated with Maldon and they are Promenade park where this parkrun is situated that includes a petting zoo, splash park to name but a few of their attractions.

The other one is the famous renowned Maldon Mud Race where competitors try to cross the Blackwater Estuary and what messy fun that sounds πŸ™‚

Maldon Mud Race
Milestone mention

Big well done to Alison Flight who run her 100th parkrun on Saturday and has volunteered at parkrun over 50 separate days as well, top work πŸ™‚

Course

The course is two-and a-bit anticlockwise laps of Maldon Promenade Park that running surface is made up of about 90% tarmac footpaths and the rest is a mixture of a small woodland trail path and a grass field that you only run once at the start of this event.

There is little elevation on the course apart from a small rise to start the second lap or turn right back to the finish funnel.

Points to Note

  • The World War Two Avenue of Remembrance trail path was quite slippery with all the wet weather we had, but to be fair this was flagged up in the announcements before the start.
  • Also be aware of exposed tree roots around the same trail path as well.
  • Easy to overtake on this course with no real pinch points.
  • Very well signposted and marshalled by very friendly volunteers.

Overall, in the right conditions this is quite a good well-maintained course to get a fast time on. My time was 35:29

Facilities

Parking

We decided to take the advice from Maldon Prom own parkrun website as we wanted to explore afterwards went for the cheaper Butt Lane car park that is under 1 mile from the start, postcode CM9 5HD and the RinGo app station no is 21806 if you want to pay in advance.

Toilets

There are plenty of toilets, dotted around inside Promenade Park that are open before the start of the parkrun which is always welcome.

Post Run Coffee

This parkrun you are spoilt for choice with plenty of places for refreshments either inside the Promenade park or on Maldon high street, but we had a tip off from two local park runners we were chatting too and they recommending a lovely cafe called Bloomsburys Art Cafe & Bookshop

Love the concept of mixing having your coffee with shelves of new & used books and local artwork with the potential to purchase them when you leave.

Also, you can always bring the book back or bring one of your own for someone else to read, then they if they wish can take them home for a small donation.

In my case I had to get the Frankie Boyle book and a DVD that when I have finished with them and not being local, I will donate them to my local hospice charity shop πŸ™‚

Conclusion

I would like to give a big thank you to this week run director Dave and his team of Hi-Viz heroes for making us all feel extremely welcome on the day, great work guys!

I don’t know what it is about Essex, but I have a bit of a soft spot for this county as every time I visit to one of their parkruns I get the warmest of welcomes from the local parkrun community with Maldon Prom 100% keeping up this tradition πŸ™‚

So, if want a parkrun that has great facilities and lots of things for the family to do afterwards, then I can highly recommend Maldon Prom for you to visit!

Finally for me a very special mention to my good friend Martin Ball who it is always a great pleasure of mine to tour with and long may it continue mate πŸ™‚

For me I will not be parkrun touring again until the 13th of May, but in the meantime happy parkrunning everyone πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Clare Castle

This Easter Saturday I’ve visited the picturesque and smallest town in Suffolk, Clare with a population of 2,000 that in the spring sunshine I can only describe as chocolate box vision in all its beauty.

Clare Castle Country Park

Today’s event was held at Clare Castle Country Park that was first opened to the public in 1972 and has a number of attractions for people to explore, including the main one being the remains of a hilltop castle “that was built in just after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 by Richard Fitzlink

Railway History

The park also boasts the remains of Clare railway station that was sadly closed down after Dr Beeching report “The Reshaping plan of British Railways” in the 1960’s.

Now with large help from National Lottery Heritage Fund the stations building has been redeveloped for the general public to enjoy again and learn about its railway heritage!

Tourist reunions

Always a pleasure to bump into fellow parkrun tourists again in Stuart & Fiona originally from Wanstead Flats and I will look forward to our next encounter on our parkrun adventures πŸ™‚

Course

The course is made up of three flat clockwise laps of the country park that starts near the parks cafe and running surfaces is a mixture of tarmac, gravel and trail paths.

Points to Note
  • There are a few pinch points on this course that makes it hard to overtake.
  • The event was cancelled last week due to the river Stour breaking its banks, but to be fair I have been told this a very rare event as they have an alternative section of course they can use.
  • Trail shoes definitely after prolonged period of rain.
  • They have made visible exposed tree roots by placing red fitness cones on them on the out and back trail section.
  • The course was well signposted and marshalled for us new to this event to follow the route.

Overall, a well maintained fast flat course that in the summer will look stunning especially the section running alongside the river Stour.

Facilities

Parking

On their website, they state there is no public transport to get to this event, so the only real option is to go by car unless of course you are a local.

You can either park for free on the main high street or there is paid parking at country park itself postcode CO10 8NW.

Parking tariff starts from 9 am and costs Β£1 per hour up to a maximum charge of Β£5.00 for the full day at weekends.

Important note about the parking charge, you can pay before 9am at the meter via cash or use the Ringo app. I must admit I did have trouble for whatever reason finding this car park on the app before leaving to get to Clare Castle, only way to find it is search via its location code 4467

Toilets

There are toilets is available inside the country park before the start of this event, but the only ones that were open on my visit were located next to the Station Road entrance to the park that is only a couple of minute’s walk from the start point of this parkrun.

Post Run Coffee

First for me having my well-earned post run coffee at Platform One cafe that is based in the Victorian ticket hall of the former abandoned Clare Railway station, beautiful building and location for this cafe!

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week’s run director to Ned and his team of hi viz heroes for being very welcoming on the morning, great work guys πŸ™‚

So, if fancy beautiful country park to run around and then explore the excellent attractions afterwards, then Clare Castle must now be high on your parkrun tourist list, you have been told!

What next for me, well I have already chosen the next parkrun event from my lucky dip tourist list, and I will be looking forward to seeing you next week πŸ™‚

Happy parkrunning everyone,

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Lordship Recreation Ground

So today I am back in the capital at a new parkrun that has a lot of meaning to me Lordship Recreation Ground, Tottenham in the Borough of Haringey.

Parks History

This park is over 20 hectares in size and was officially open in June of 1936 with the local community being able to enjoy such delights as the Shell theatre, boating lake.

If you would like to read more about the parks origins dating as far back from 1619 there is a great article by The friends of Lordship Recreation Ground Link

LonDone Again

Today I regained my Greater London parkrun regionnaire status also known to parkrun tourists as LonDone. So, for anyone who does not know it means currently attending 61 events in the capital.

The reason why I chose Lordship Recreation Ground was simple my dad was lifelong Tottenham Hotspur supporter, and this park is just over 1 mile from their stadium, and this is why I am running in his spurs top today.

parkrun Loves cakes

Hopefully everyone loves to celebrate completing a parkrun with a slice of cake, but did you know Tottenham have a cake named after them?

The history of the Tottenham cake goes back to 1901 when the local quakers baked cakes for the local poor children to help celebrate the success of the football club winning the FA cup that year, brilliant story πŸ™‚ Link

There were quite a few tourists for event 22 and it was finally lovely to bump into and chat with fellow tourist friend Cal in personal and I wish her all the best in her future running adventures πŸ™‚

With Cal Jones

Course

Lordship Recreation Ground course map

The course is three and a bit laps of Lordship Recreation Ground that is run entirely on well-maintained tarmac footpaths with no real elevation to talk about πŸ™‚

Points to note

  • The course is very open and exposed to the weather that was tough running in the wind today.
  • Great to run through the heart of the model traffic area.
  • In the right conditions, this could be a very fast course to get a timer on

For me, it was just completing it today and getting my London regional status back. I know with a fair bit of training I can break the 30-minute barrier again but until then I was very happy with my time for 35:01

Facilities

Coming from Luton it was easy for me to use public transport and Turnpike Lane tube station is only a mile from the park.

There is street parking available near the park, but you need to make sure that you park in a zone B permit parking area that will give you weekend access, but I would still recommend going by public transport though.

Lordship Hub

Always great at parkrun there are toilet facilities available at the lordship hub before the start of parkrun and is located very close to the start.

For the post run coffee, we retired back to the lordship hub for well refreshments, and I loved their bacon & egg toasted sandwich πŸ™‚

The Hub was built in 2012 as part of a regeneration scheme as a place where the local community can meet up and provides services for them and is run by an army of lovely volunteers. Link

Model Traffic Area

In all the years of parkrun tourism I have never seen a model traffic area incorporated into a parks landscape.

Originally built in 1936 as a fun place for the local children to ride their own or hired bikes and at the same time learn road safely. Link here

Today it’s great to see the model traffic area still being enjoyed and a great local charity Wheely Tots using the facilities engaging through cycling with the local community.

Wheely Tots volunteers

If you are local here is the link if you wish to sign up for a session with Wheely Tots Link

It was so heart-warming seeing community cooperatives like Lordship Hub and charities like Wheely Tots using Lordship Recreation Ground to its full potential for the local people of Tottenham.

In my books you are all truly outstanding people and should be rightly applauded for what you do.

Conclusion

I would like to thank this weeks run director Sarah and her all her team of volunteers for making us all feel extremely welcome. Well done team Lordship πŸ™‚

I think you have got a great community spirit going on at Lordship, and it was a sheer joy meeting you all at parkrun.

So, I am happy signing off completing with another great London parkrun memory,

I will be thinking of my dad this weekend of how much I miss him especially as it’s my birthday on Sunday.

Finally, what next for me, try to complete my Lucky dip tourist list, keep an eye out for any new London parkrun events, but most of all be just being happy running especially at my beloved parkrun.

Anyway, take care everyone until next time,

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Stockley Country

Back in the capital today at it currently stands newest parkrun event Stockley Country parkrun that is based at Yiewsley in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

The first recorded history of Yiewsley goes far back to the year 1235 when it was originally known as Wiuesleg and today this hamlet boasts a population of over 12 thousand people. link here

Stockley Country Park itself is one of the biggest man-made parklands in London and “The parkland incorporates 11 lakes and nearly 200,000 trees and shrubs. A comprehensive footpath and bridlepath network is provided throughout the park, golf course and canal side.” ref here

Tourist Takeover

There seemed to be an unofficial parkrun tourist takeover for event 8 with number of unique attended most parkrun events covered by us all must be well over 2,000 in number πŸ™‚

500 Milestone

Very big well done to Steven Ramek who joined the exclusive 500 events milestone club at Stockley, he also finished so fast he had time to volunteer as a barcode scanner.

Outstanding effort all round sir!!!

Steven Ramek

Taking of 500 parkrun milestone I would like to wish tourist friend Dan Cale who will be running his own in a few weeks’ time all the best!

Finally, a special mention to fellow parkrun blogger & friend Steven Stockwell who achieved 200 different parkrun events last week here at Stockley and you can find his excellent detailed blog report here.

Course

The course consists of one small anticlockwise lap around a football pitch then followed by two large clockwise laps of the park. At the end of the second lap this time you turn left to head back down to the football pitch where the finish funnel awaits!

Is it is undulating in nature with a long incline at the start of each large lap and surface running surface is mainly a mixture of gravel & compacted earth footpaths that are remarkably in excellent condition.

Points to Note:

  • If you are looking for a fast time, please place yourself in the events field where you think you are going to finish time wise as in places it is hard to overtake on this course!
  • As they state some faster runners may overtake you on the second long lap, so just very be weary of this when they are coming round at high speed.
  • The course is easy to follow with well placed directional arrows.
  • Always a plus point the final stretch is downhill to the finish πŸ™‚

So, in summing up this course is quite tough to run with its undulations, but I love a challenge and was so happy I did not slow down to walk at any point. Time 35.:35

Facilities

Decided to drive down to the Stockley Country with free car parking available that is very close to the start of the parkrun sat nav UB7 8BU.

As stated on their event website there is no toilet facilities or cafe available at the park. The closest toilets are at Tesco Superstore that is about 1 mile away from the park and opens at 7am on Saturday’s sat nav UB7 7FP.

While on the subject of toilets I found this very useful website called fetchingly The Great British Public Toilet Map that is great asset if you urgently need to spend a penny and here is the link

For the post run coffee, we returned to Tesco where there is a Costa inside for well-earned refreshments after our parkrun endeavours πŸ™‚

Conclusion

I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart this week’s run director Jeremy and his team of hi vis heroes that’s ranks were swelled not only by Steven, but fellow tourist including Danny Norman as run report writer and Rosemary Egbe course event set up, top work team Stockley!

Had to smile in completing Stockley Country without knowing at the time I completed the fun Snakes challenge of visiting 10 parkrun events that start with the letter S, brilliant bonus πŸ™‚

So now I’ve completed 61 of the 62 available parkrun events in Greater London I am looking forward to regaining my regionnaire status at Lordship Recreation Ground parkrun in a few weeks time.

So, until next time happy parkrunning everyone πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Charlton

Always a pleasure to be back running again in the capital and today I attended Charlton that is in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

History of Charlton House & Park

Charlton House was built in 1612 by Sir Adam Newton and this Jacobean mansion is unique in London. The adjacent Charlton Park is what remains of the house’s original grounds.

Be great to have visited their house and gardens in the summer as I am sure it would to a beautiful place to explore and relax in after the parkrun link here

Football Memories

Last time I was here at Charlton, was when my hometown team Luton Town play them in the FA cup on 27th November 2011 that ended up as 2-2 draw, but sadly we lost the home replay 1-3 😦

I do love this Addicks mural adorning the bridge as you leave Charlton railway station this was commissioned to commemorate 100 years of playing at The Valley.

Course

The course consists of three clockwise laps of the perimeter of Charlton Park that almost has no real elevation and running surface is a mixture of mainly grass with small sections of linking tarmac footpaths.

Points to note.
  • Even though this is largely a grass course, I have been told by one of the locals that it drains well and never gets to muddy.
  • Very easy to overtake on this course with no real pinch points.
  • Love the long gentle decline from furthest point away of the course down to the border of Charlton house πŸ™‚

My time for the event was 33:24 very happy with that on a very cool blustery day.

Facilities

I decided to take the train from Luton with one change at London Bridge to Charlton, then there is a 15 minutes walk to the park.

Driving there does seem to be free street parking for maximum stay of two hours on the road leading up to Charlton Park.

Always good news is there are toilet facilities available inside the park that are open before the parkrun starts.

Post run coffee

We retired to the lovely community cafe inside the park called The Old Cottage Coffee Shop and I can say as well as great friendly service they do a delicious bacon & sausage roll πŸ™‚

They guys need to be championed for all the brilliant work they do for the local community from supporting elderly residents having a Christmas meal to charity fundraising for local good causes. You are a true inspiration to all of us! link here

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week run directors Gavin Hose and Martin Edwards and their team of Hi-Viz heroes for making as all feel very welcome on the day.

For the record this was Martin’s first stint as run director and I think we can all agree he done a splendid job on event no 73.

Also thank you for giving me a volunteer credit for the small part I played in course set up for the event it was greatly appreciated.

So, if you want to run on a fast flat course with a lot of room for overtaking, friendly community to welcome you then Charlton parkrun must be high on your tourist to do list, you have been told!

Best

Mark aka Silent runner

Covid Fitness Recovery

This is just my own take of recovering my fitness from a mild case of covid that for me was the first time I have caught this virus!

At the start I let my body fight the virus and I did not contemplate thinking about exercising until I returned a negative lateral flow test result.

Important if you are not sure in anyway, please consult with your GP to see if you are fit enough to start exercising again!

Take it Easy

Walking

So, I started to exercise to see where my fitness with gentle paced walking sessions very close to my home.

These sessions started with 30 min walks and grow into 1 hour long, all the way through I was monitoring how I was feeling and if I felt like I was struggling at any point would abandon the walk.

Running

I knew that I was not going to run at the level of running fitness before I contracted covid and I needed a personal plan to ease my way back to full fitness.

So, I decided use the NHS Couch to 5Km plan at an appropriate week to start running again and in my case I started on week 5.

I mixed my sessions between treadmill and outdoors and decided even to incorporate one of the sessions into a parkrun at my local event of Luton, Wardown.

Conclusion

I am so glad I have decided to take this recovery slowly, listen to my body, but I am happy with my progress so far!

I have now completely run a parkrun and a attended a 10 miles guided walk with a lovely local ramblers’ group that I am a member.

Finally, I look forward to continuing parkrun touring, writing about your lovely events and the most important thing is to be happy in what you do πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Links

  • NHS Your covid recovery link
  • Bupa Returning to exercise link

Southall

Always great to be back in the capital with today’s event located at Southall, West London.

Southall Park History

This park has a very interesting history where once the Merrick family owned a house, they call Southall Haw that later become known as Southall Park.

Then in 1839 it changed from a privately owned house to an asylum until 1883 when it was burnt down to the ground.

Finally. from 1910 onwards the council took control of the park and have been making improvements ever since for the benefit of the local community to relax and enjoy in. Link

It was lovely chatting into fellow tourist Amanda & Bill from Wanstead and it’s always a great pleasure in mine being accompanied by my best buddy Martin πŸ™‚

Me with Martin

Course

Southall course map

The course starts with a small loop back, then you run three fairly flat clockwise laps of the perimeter of Southall Park that’s running surface is mainly made up of a tarmac footpath, and a small section of Hoggin path.

On the final lap, you turn off onto a short grass section to where the finish funnel awaits.

Hoggin path

Points to note

  • There are a couple of places where the tree roots have slightly lifted the tarmac path that you have to be aware of
  • The course is a bit narrow around the short hoggin section that could cause a pinch point for overtaking, but to be fair the field of runner is very stretched out when you reach this point.

So in summary, this is a very fast course if you’re looking for a time on the day. I was very happy just been able to run a parkrun without stopping for the first time after contracting covid just before Christmas, time 35:31

Facilities

As stated on their parkrun event website, there are no toilet facilities in this park.

Travelling by Car

There is limited permitted parking around Southall Park, but you need to be gone before 10 am.

There is no parking restrictions though on Green Drive postcode UB1 3AZ. I would get there early though as when I was doing my recce around the park at 8:30am there seemed to be no spaces available!

By Train

For me, it was a no brainer as ever since it’s opened. I’ve wanted to travel on the Elizabeth line. It was very simple journey to make from where I live in Luton with just one change at Farringdon, then onto the Elizabeth line to get to Southall with the train station just a 15-minute walk away from the park.

Post Run Coffee

For the post run coffee, we went to a Chaiiwala restaurant on The Broadway postcode UB1 1QF for a lovely breakfast at as you could see, highly recommended.

Conclusion

I would like to thank this week run director, Pardip and his team for volunteers for making us feel extremely welcome on the morning.

I hope I have got this right Pardip told me he is going for a world half marathon fancy dress record dressed as a banana, brilliant stuff and all the best on this challenge sir πŸ™‚

Southall Hi Vis heroes

I don’t say this often, but this is one of the loveliest parkrun communities that I’ve ever had the fortune to visit and should be rightly applauded for the warmth of their welcome.

So, if you’re travelling to London, why not pop down to Southall parkrun for a flat fast course, supported by one of the friendliest communities in the country, a simple winning ingredient.

For me, I now have just three events left to do to get my LonDone status back and I’m really looking forward to my next capital adventure πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Review 2022

This year was when I had enough confidence to come back to parkrun and coaching again.

Virtual Ending

One thing that helped me keep up good mental wellbeing and fitness during the pandemic was virtual challenges and I finished my last booked one back in March that was The Trafalgar Way 271 miles long.

I decided though to continue logging my distances travelled on a personal spreadsheet until the date of my second virtual challenges anniversary on June 17th clocking up an overall distance of 2,380 run/walk miles over this time πŸ™‚

parkrun

Tourism

I badly missed parkrun tourism during the pandemic and writing my blog reports about their events. So, it was not until this year I started touring again with the first event being Corby back in March.

I have attended 12 events in total this year including mini break holiday at Margate and it was great to be back in London at Sutcliffe on the path to regain my regionainaire status. I now only have 3 left to do again in Greater London πŸ™‚

parkrun milestones

Also went to Stevenage for their 250th event 6 years after attending their inaugural one back in May 2016.

In August visited good tourist friend Lynette for her 250th event held in the beautiful city of Chichester

Local parkrun friend’s milestones included Evelyn, Terry completed 250th events, the legend Geoffrey notched up 250 days volunteered almost entirely made up of Luton event set up. Finally last but definitely not least Dawn who celebrated her 100th parkrun.

Not a parkrun milestone but a massive shout out to Shelah who recently completed 1000 days continuous running streak, outstanding effort!

Volunteering

As anyone knows me, I love to volunteer at parkrun and this year I added two more roles under my belt:

Visually Impaired Guide

I was very honoured to be invited by Will one of our visually impaired students at the University where I work to be his visually impaired guide at Wardown, Luton parkrun.

Simon left Will right

Since then when required support both him and Simon as a guide at parkrun & the athletics track where they are completing their Couch to 5K programs

Park walker

Love this role where you are simply walking around the course ahead of the tail walkers supporting/cheering on the athletes taking part.

On the day I tried out park walking at Houghton Hall parkrun I could not have asked for a better co-volunteer to walk around with than Laura, we talked about everything parkrun, lovely morning spent.

Races

Run 3 races this year starting off with 5K Bedford Autodrome in March where I bumped into good parkrun friend Val, then run the iconic Westminster Mile in May bumping into quite a few parkrun tourist’s friends.

Finally, an annual tradition for me is to run the Love Luton 10 km at the end of October that is alway one of the highlights of my year for me being with local running friends especially in my top buddy Martin Ball πŸ™‚

With Martin

Coaching

I always enjoy coaching and it was a real pleasure again to be able to support my club Stopsley Striders on our annual beginner’s course that was the first we have held this since 2019 before the pandemic.

I was co-coaching team red with one of our excellent new crop of coaches Nicola who was a natural.

Stopsley Striders beginners course 2022

Walking

One joy I did find over the last few years was walking and this summer decided to join local organised walking groups to me in Bedfordshire.

One group I joined was the Bedfordshire Walking Club that I attend one event with them every month. They state on their profile page they are not a gentle rambling group and averagely walk over 3 mph this is great for me as it helps with my base fitness with average walk lengths are over 11 miles.

Bedfordshire Walking Club

Conclusion

It’s been quite a wonderful year and I have been honoured to meet me so many brilliant people throughout 2022.

So what for me 2023 I will carry on completing my lucky dip tourist list, coach, attend organised walks and just be happy.

Have a wonderful New Year guys πŸ™‚

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner