parkrun Reports

parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.

They are great for all abilities, from those just starting out, families of all ages to the more elite runner. Many Joggers already take part and volunteer with them on a weekly basis- locally they held in Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds and Brandon. However once registered you can enjoy them anywhere- around the country, in fact around the world!

Newmarket Jogger and keen parkrunner Chris Aylmer has kindly offered to write a weekly report on how the Joggers have got on:-

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 07/04/2018

To begin with, we can escape the continuing cool, damp, rather dull weather in the UK and catch up with Stephanie Greenwood’s trip to Queensland in Australia and her tourist parkrun adventures. Last week she was at Tamborine Mountain parkrun, south of Brisbane, where she took on 40 odd locals around a rough, hilly course…definitely not PB fodder. This week she ventured north of Brisbane past Sunshine Coast to Noosaville and put Noosa parkrun to the test. This is much more of a civilised affair along relatively flat public pathways and attracted a sizeable field of 145 runners. It’s a picturesque out and back course, starting at Noosaville State School and following paths beside a creek and along the edge of Lake Doonella, before returning home at halfway along the same paths. Stephanie posted a time of 32:59, which was a big improvement on last week’s time so well done. Interesting to note the high proportion of older runners in the field, with 18 adults over 60 and five of them over 70, equally women and men. Also there was a contingent of 21 under-14 runners, equally girls and boys, which bodes well for the future health of the nation.

Dragging ourselves away from the Sunshine Coast, Alan Thornhill (35:49) visited an interesting parkrun in Wales, notorious for its two massive uphill sections, totalling 449 feet of climb. This is Wepre parkrun by Connah’s Quay in Flintshire, not far from Chester. Out of a current 496 parkruns in the UK, only Whinlatter Forest (674 ft) and Lanhydrock (453 ft) have more climb than Wepre, but at least Wepre finishes downhill and at the same elevation as it starts, which is more than you can say for Whinlatter Forest in Cumbria, which has precious little downhill to compensate. The course itself is very pleasant on the eye if not on the legs, with stretches alongside the meandering Wepre Brook, past a waterfall, a pool and extensive wooded parkland to negotiate. Alan must have felt the vertical climb which added some minutes to his usual time of around 30 minutes but I’m sure he enjoyed the verdant scenery and the welcome downhill gradient to the Old Hall Cafe at the finish.

Cambridge parkrun was buzzing with 5 Joggers taking part: Richard Jones (20:23), James Thomson (20:45), Brian Munns (22:54), Lisa Redman (25:07) and Jim Withers (25:53), all putting in good efforts not far from their best. It was close between Richard and James with Richard just easing ahead and finishing 5/44 by age group, with an impressive 74.7% age grade. James was 9/30 in his age group, a good performance in a very competitive field of 548 runners. Brian ran well and the next day clocked 44:26 in the Little Bromley 10K, so is in peak form. Lisa did well to come home 2/17 in her age category and Jim clocked another consistent run, also running a good race in the Little Bromley 10K the next day (51:19).

Over at Bury St Edmunds, Neville Clarke (22:36), Ruth Eberhardt (24:30) and Emma Bartle (37:35) were in action. Neville showed his class by finishing 1/12 in his age category with an age grade of 73.5%, while Ruth came 3/20 against her age rivals and achieved her second best parkrun time of 2018. It was Emma’s first parkrun for 10 months, her PB standing at 29:32 in June 2017, so she was possibly taking a more relaxed run here and rebuilding her fitness after a break or running with a friend. Good luck to her in the future season. Also nice to see talented former NJ member Emily Jeanes (21:36) in peak form again, winning her age category by over 8 minutes.

Jan Holmes (28:26) and Sarah Kinston (34:23) returned to Brandon parkrun. Sarah is so close to breaking 30 minutes in a parkrun with her current PB of 30:20 at Cambridge. She’s already cracked 30 minutes with a 29:03 in the NJ 5K handicap over the winter. So she may have been taking a well-earned easier run at Brandon…that’s the good thing about parkrun…run it how you like and enjoy the journey. It was Jan’s best parkrun time in 2018 so far, so things looking hopeful for the dawning of the long-awaited spring weather.

Finally, two lone runners to report on: Giles Macrow (31:33) at Thetford and Rob Jaina (20:51) at Clare Castle. Giles paced his son Thomas JM 11-14 (31:32) at Thetford parkrun, who did very well to achieve an all-time parkrun PB by nearly a minute, so well done. Giles ran the Bungay HM the next day in 1:53 as a relaxed training run for his London marathon attempt in two weeks. Rob came out all guns blazing at Clare Castle parkrun to finish 5/101 overall and 1/6 by age group, clocking his first sub 21 parkrun since October last year. He’s had to postpone his attempt at the London Marathon this year due to a stomach bug which interrupted his training, but is clearly recovering well.

Do try out the first ever Newmarket Great Run Local this Sunday at 11:00am, which starts between Old Station Road and Moulton Road. It is a weekly, free, timed 2K or 5K run going in an anticlockwise direction, up Side Hill to the very end, looping round New Ground and coming back down Warren Hill (beside Moulton Road) to the start/finish area. Your results will be texted to phones and appear on the Great Run website within minutes of finishing. Best to order the £4.99 wristband online which is the most convenient way to get a time, though free cards are available too. However the free ones are low on stock with long waiting times.


Here’s to some spring weather!

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 31/03/2018

Hopefully the coming week will see the end of the muddy, boggy winter course conditions we have been experiencing on and off for months at the local parkruns. Wimpole Estate parkrun was cancelled due to the waterlogged state of the course, which rescued an otherwise poorer turnout at muddy, sloppy Cambridge. I’ve had the questionable fortune to run at the new Haverhill parkrun for the last two weeks, which was rated by as +6.0 course difficulty this week and +5.5 the previous week. 6.0 is the highest value that they award and only once before have I run in a parkrun with that rating….Wimpole Estate parkrun in 2016. The course at Haverhill, entirely over grass playing fields, was a mixture of slithery mud and saturated surface water resembling a paddy field in places. Spikes certainly helped get a grip on things and I would strongly recommend them on this course until the grass dries out.

Continuing on a theme, Bobby Jackson (20:14) ran at rain-soaked Moors Valley parkrun near Bournemouth, where swans were spotted swimming across the finish line before the start. Nevertheless, Bobby enjoyed a good run on this 1 lap scenic, woodland route and achieved a course PB by 11 seconds as well as being 2/15 by age category. It was his second fastest ever parkrun out of a total of 51, his all-time PB of 20:03 being set just two weeks ago at Salisbury.

We can take some welcome respite from the British weather and call in on Tamborine Mountain parkrun, south of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. This parkrun started life in 2015 and attracts quite small fields, with 40 running on this occasion, including Stephanie Greenwood (38:56) in only her third parkrun and her first attempt here. It is a scenic but challenging out and back course over rough ground and hills, so doesn’t sound like good PB fodder. Indeed Stephanie was some way from her best parkrun time of 31:29 achieved at Cambridge. She was the only person in her age category but I’m sure she must have enjoyed the picturesque run through the outback and we hope she is having a great time in Australia.

Back to the mud at Cambridge, there was a good turnout of Joggers at Milton Country Park this week with Naimh Mcgroarty (33:22), Sarah Kinston (31:25), Jan Holmes (28:41), Emma Newman (26:17) and Richard Jones (20:29) all in action. It was Sarah’s best time at Cambridge in 2018 and for Niamh and Jan it was their best times at any parkrun in 2018, so well done all three. Jan also came a lofty 4/24 in her age group for good measure. Emma is improving by leaps and bounds and set a new course PB by over 2 minutes and new all-time PB by 12 seconds, finishing 2/22 by age category, so firing on all cylinders after only 10 parkruns. Richard continued in top form with another fine run, 3/27 in his age group and 74.3% age grade.

Brandon was the equal next biggest magnet for NJs, where Lisa Hillman (29:35), Lisa Redman (25:24), Giles Macrow (25:24) and Neville Clarke (22:39) were competing. Lisa H did well under the difficult course conditions and was not far from her all-time PB, which is 28:21 at this course. Lisa R gained a new PB at Brandon and came 3/11 in her age group so is running as well as ever. Giles crossed the line with Lisa R but perhaps they were both more shoulder-to-shoulder than neck-and-neck. Giles is quite strict about his VLM preparation, following the training plan and focusing on hitting peak form on the 22nd April and not before. Neville was in great form, winning his age category by over 4 minutes and gaining 73.3% age grade.

Also with 4 Joggers competing was Clare Castle parkrun, where Sandra Jaina (31:37), Alan Thornhill (30:58), Rob Jaina (22:06) and James Thomson (21:23) all did well for the club. Sandra helped pace daughter Lyla to a decent time of 31:31 under difficult, muddy course conditions. Lyla was 1/3 in her age group by over 2 minutes so well done. Meanwhile, father Rob was slaying the opposition and finished 1/9 in his age group and an impressive 4/116 overall. First home for NJ and 2/116 overall was a rejuvenated James Thomson, who is set on a course to re-establish his top form of last year. He was 1/5 in his age category by over 9 minutes!

A pair of Joggers were at both Bury St Edmunds and Thetford this week. Paul Dockerill (30:51) and Ruth Eberhardt (49:15) were at Bury. Ruth was kindly acting as backmarker, officially known as ‘Tail Walker’ these days to encourage people to walk the parkrun who are not able or confident enough to run all the way. Paul paced his daughter Chloe to a time of 30:49, which was a good effort over the boggy ground conditions and helped put over 9 minutes between her and her nearest age rival! The other pair was Jim Withers (26:07) and Brian Munns (27:34) at Thetford who were running for the first time at this course. They did the right thing to run at a more steady, comfortable pace…nothing worse than not being able to get an official PB if your first time is your best.

New 2018 NJ recruit Daisy Glover (19:13) put in a sparkling performance at Great Cornard parkrun this week to finish 1st female home and 5/109 runners overall with age grade 77.0%. Apologies for failing to spot her in her two other parkruns since joining the club(not down as a Jogger on her parkrun profile yet): at Kesgrave (18:32, 1st female, 79.8%) and Fritton Lakes (20:26, 1st female, 72.4%). Before joining the club, she also ran at Thetford on New Year’s Day (19:28) and came home 1st female there too! So, 4 parkruns in all and a first female finisher in every one. That is stratospheric form…very well done. Daisy has been running in the club XC races recently and has excelled in those as well.

The free Newmarket Great Run Local (2K or 5K) is starting on Sunday 15th April at 11 am, looping round the lovely Side Hill, New Ground and Warren Hill training areas. Order your £4.99 chipped wristband now! Meet on the path between Old Station Road and Moulton Road. It should be a real treat of a run and excellent hill practice…up and down! I’m in the Cambourne 10K that day and going to support VLM on 22nd but hope to be there on 29th April. Good luck to those running in the inaugural race.

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 24/03/2018

Numbers (476) were thankfully back to par again at Cambridge this week, with the improved warmer and drier weather. Stephanie Greenwood (31:29) enjoyed a very good run and gained a PB by over a minute in only her second parkrun. Lisa Redman (24:39) was also in top form and achieved her best parkrun time of 2018 so far, coming an impressive 1/21 in her age group. Richard Jones (20:16) and James Thomson (19:57) joined in the fun and both clocked their best times of 2018, coming 3/37 and 6/27 in their age categories respectively. It was in fact Richard’s best parkrun time anywhere since Nov 2016, while for James it was his first sub 20 since July last year, so well done both. Amazing what a bit of reasonable weather can do!

Over at Bury St Edmunds, course regulars Ruth Eberhardt (25:16) and Paul Dockerill (26:53) were in action. Ruth was in great form and finished 6/68 women overall and 2/12 in her age group, beaten into second place by only 3 seconds. This was despite trying to conserve some energy for the Haverhill XC the next day, where she ran very well for the team.
Paul was pacing daughter Chloe(26:51) to her third PB in a row at Nowton park, taking 50 seconds off her previous best at this venue and finishing 1/3 in her age group by a whopping 8 minutes! This was her second best ever parkrun time, with 25:54 remaining her all-time PB at Thetford, so well done.

Alan Thornhill (31:52) was lone NJ contender at Wimpole Estate parkrun, the first Jogger to run at this challenging course for quite some time. Alan seems to have coped well with the big hill at 2K, the muddy cow fields and sheep stampedes, coming a very respectable 4/9 in his age group, over a course which can easily add a couple of minutes to your normal time. Also on his own was Giles Macrow (24:44) at Thetford parkrun, who put in a good effort, while saving something for his excellent performance at Haverhill XC the next day.

The third lone Jogger was Richard Groom (24:24) at East Coast Park parkrun, a long, long way from home. East Coast Park? I guessed it might be in South Africa. Actually, it’s one of two parkruns in Singapore…the other being West Coast Park. This one started life in 2014 and is along a beach park of reclaimed coastline on the southern shore, which sounds pretty idyllic. There were only 88 runners but they were of top quality. The first finisher’s time was 16:38 and there were 5 more in the 17 minute zone. No less than 23 runners achieved over 70% age grades with two over 80%. Richard did a good time but the standard was so high that more than half the field were in front of him. These Singapore athletes must be naturals.

Meanwhile, back on British shores, Brian Munns (22:20) and Jim Withers (26:16) were plying their trade on the sandy Breckland ‘beaches’ of Brandon Country Park. Brian clocked his best time of 2018 and finished 4/13 in his age group, so is in fine form at present, while Jim also put in a good effort, coming second by age category.

Haverhill parkrun was in its third week of existence and managed to attract 88 runners, including myself (30:23) and Iain Perry (28:08)…..rather more than the 35 souls who turned out the previous week in the slushy mud and freezing temperatures, which would have been 36 if I hadn’t got lost looking for the place. Iain coped well with the sticky mud which collected on our shoes like barnacles on boats. The parkrun course on Puddle Brook Playing Fields consists of 2 laps of a small playing field followed by 3 laps of a large playing field, then another lap of the small one. It sounds a little uninspiring but the openness and space gave a certain feeling of freedom and a certain nostalgia for school cross country runs in the good old days. In the warmer weather, with the grass springy and cut short, it should be a fast and flat course.

Happy Easter to all!


Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 17/03/2018

Cambridge parkrun was well attended by NJs this week but it was one of the smallest fields for a long time….312 runners. In fact you have to go back to the 12th November 2016 to find a smaller field, when only 280 showed up. According to my records for my run at Bury parkrun on that particular day, it was raining all the night before and all through the run as well…no wonder not many turned up! This week it was probably the freezing weather, icy roads and an overnight snow that kept people away. Perhaps a fear that ‘The Beast’ had returned with a vengeance was a little unfounded, but understandable after the way the nation was crippled two weeks previously.

Richard Jones (20:44) had a great run round the squelchy, slushy Cambridge course recording his best parkrun time and age grade % since’ll never believe it…12th November 2016. So Richard was one of the 280 ‘few’ and must prefer smaller fields or grotty weather! He came 1/26 in his age group with an age grade of 72.4% so very well done, especially considering he is currently at the maximum age for his age group. In contrast to Richard’s 183 parkruns, it was the very first parkrun for new NJ member Guy Watts (22:55). Guy was well up with the leaders in his age group and should improve steadily with more experience and better course conditions. Next home were Dan Williams (25:46), Lisa Redman (25:51) and Jim Withers (26:42), all putting in solid performances. Lisa did well to top her age group of 12 runners by nearly a minute, while Jim was 2/7 in his group and shows no signs of slowing down.

Over at Bury St Edmunds, Giles Macrow (25:52) and Ruth Eberhardt (26:25) coped well with the usual muddy, boggy winter conditions of Nowton Park. It was Ruth’s first run in her new age group and she celebrated by taking first place out of 13 contenders by nearly two minutes. Giles was easing himself back after a winter bug laid him low and caused him to miss the Cambridge HM two weeks ago.

The remaining parkrunners were all lone NJ runners at their respective venues.

Tony Garth (25:23) visited Goole, in Yorkshire on the river Ouse, and ran in his first ever parkrun. He did well to finish 3/11 in his age group for a promising start to his parkrun career.

Paul Dockerill (19:46) was able to let himself loose at Thetford parkrun and go at his maximum pace, after regularly pacing young daughter Chloe to some great parkrun PBs. He put in a huge effort to finish 2/163 overall and 1/9 in his age group, achieving a new PB at Thetford by over 6 minutes. That’s going some! It was his equal best ever parkrun time, which he also clocked at Cambridge in July last year. This is perhaps indicative that more relaxed, slower-paced training runs can improve aerobic efficiency, reduce wear and tear and conserve energy for the big effort.

Rob Jaina (21:36), had a great run at Clare Castle parkrun to emulate Paul Dockerill by finishing in 2nd overall position, the second time he has achieved this at Clare. He was also 1/7 in his age group so a very good day’s work, or maybe play. I assume Rob had his trail shoes on this week, as he found his road shoes gave no grip in the mud the week before. Joining in the fun, James Thomson (22:37), often a runner at Clare, was first to finish at the new Haverhill parkrun, in the aptly named Puddle Brook Playing Fields. Only a small band of intrepid athletes took to the fray here, where the squelchy, muddy course was covered in a layer of slushy snow, so not ideal conditions. James came 1/35 overall and 1/6 in his age category so another good day’s play. That is the fourth time James has finished first in a parkrun out of 203 attempts, having achieved this feat at Thetford, Gadebridge and also at Bois de Boulogne in France, so well done.

Congratulations to new NJ member Bobby Jackson (20:03), who completed his 50th parkrun and celebrated with his best ever parkrun time, beating his previous PB of 20:25 recorded in August 2016 at Moors Valley. Bobby was 2/10 in his age group so a great effort. Salisbury parkrun takes place in Churchill Garden and looks like a very picturesque route, meandering close to the River Avon and with nearly 4 laps around the attractive park and gardens.

Let’s hope for some warm sunshine next week!


Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 10/03/2018

After the complete freeze-up of local parkruns last week, due the Beast from the East, a small band of NJs took up the cudgel once more.

This week was the long-awaited inaugural staging of the new Haverhill parkrun at Puddle Brook Fields. 123 runners and walkers turned up for the occasion. Giles Macrow (27:31) was the only NJ in attendance and reported that the course was enjoyable but very muddy and he most definitely recommends trail shoes for the job. The course is certainly living up to its name! It consists of three laps of one large field and three smaller laps around another field. So there will be lots of fun lapping and being lapped, a bit like Thetford parkrun which has 6 loops. Giles was taking it easy after a bad cold prevented him from running in the Cambridge HM the previous week….also saving some energy for the Fritton XC the next day where he put in a good effort.

Richard Jones (21:38) and Ruth Eberhardt (26:02) were the lone NJs at Cambridge and Bury respectively. Richard reports that it was exceedingly muddy at Cambridge but he did well to get a decent time despite the conditions, finishing an impressive 2/32 in his age group with age grade 70.4%. Ruth coped well in the very boggy conditions at Nowton Park and managed to finish 2/7 in her age group.

At Clare, Rob Jaina (22:28) and James Thomson (22:41) were pretty much neck and neck as usual, Rob getting the upper hand by 13 seconds on this occasion. The flood diversion route through the muddy woods had to be brought into operation and Rob rues bringing only his road shoes which quickly got caked with mud. Both Rob and James did well to finish second in their age groups, 2/10 and 2/5 respectively.

At Brandon Country Park, Meera Mahadevan (26:46), Jan Holmes (29:53) and Sarah Kinston (31:29) were competing. Nice to see Meera back in action again after a break from club running and her first parkrun for nearly 3 years. She did well to finish 2/10 in her age group. She also did very well to sneak under 2 hours in the Cambridge HM the previous week, her first ever HM I think, so obviously has been working hard to maintain her fitness levels. Jan put in a good effort to achieve a PB in her second run here and was also 3/6 in her age group so well done. Sarah was only 30 seconds outside her PB here, which must have required a good effort up the long hill over the damp, sandy soil.

Great news about the Great Run Local in Newmarket. It will start on Sunday 15th April at 11am….plenty of time to get out of bed! There will be 5K and 2K options for everyone, adults and children. I think the later time might be to avoid a clash with the odd trainer who likes to exercise horses early on a Sunday. The 5K anticlockwise course will start on the tarmac between Moulton Road and Station road. It will first climb all the way up Side Hill, following Side Hill Canter for about 3K, circle round to the left at the top of the hill and finally plunge back down Warren Hill gallop alongside Moulton Road for the final 1.5K, turning left at the bottom for a sprint finish along the tarmac towards Station Road. Sounds good!

All for now.

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 24/02/2018

Some notable performances this week. New member Bobby Jackson (20:28) gained a course PB at Richmond parkrun and was only 3 seconds away from his all-time parkrun PB from 49 runs. He was also 2/21 in his age group in a big field of 425, so a fine effort on this beautiful course set in Richmond Park, erstwhile hunting ground of Henry VIII….also only a longbowman’s arrow flight from Bushy Park, home of the first ever parkrun on 2nd Oct 2004. Good luck to Bobby in his 50th milestone parkrun to come.

James Thomson (20:37) was alone at March parkrun, the 4 lap merry-go-round with the cheeky flight of steps after each lap. He put in a good effort here to come 3/172 overall and 1/9 in his age category. It was his best parkrun time since July last year so things looking good for 2018 following injury at the back end of 2017.

Neville Clarke (21:48) and Adrian Whittle (22:55) took on Brandon parkrun and both had fine runs, with Neville gaining a PB at this course. Adrian was 2/11 in his age group with an excellent age grade of 65.3%, while Neville beat his only age rival by nearly 3 minutes, recording a top age grade of 76.2% in the process.

Stephanie Greenwood (32:42), one of the 2018 Beginners’ Group, completed her first ever parkrun at Cambridge and hopefully enjoyed the experience. She can look forward to plenty of PBs in the near future. Iain Perry (32:08) had a relaxed run and continued for 12 more miles afterwards, as part of his London Marathon training in support of COPS (Care Of Police Survivors). Jenny Osbourn (37:12) put in a good effort and has thankfully recovered well from a recent training injury when she tripped over a root on Bury Road. She continues to knock out very decent age grades of around 60%. Her husband Malcolm (27:44) is in unstoppable form at present and came 1/6 in his age group in only his second parkrun this year with 63:5% age grade. He’s been putting in plenty of training miles for the Cambridge HM so let’s hope he achieves a PB there, along with all the other NJs. Richard Jones (21:11) led the Joggers home at Cambridge, finishing 3/32 by age category with an excellent age grade of 71.9%, so his form is progressing well.

Ruth Eberhardt (25:31) had a good run in Nowton Park on the frozen ground which, although not slippery or boggy, was uneven with frozen rutted mud. She came 2/10 by age group on 61.6% age grade. Alan Thornhill (30:16) appeared by complete chance at the same parkrun as me for the third time in a row…all different courses….what chance of that? He put in a sound run and recorded a PB on this course by 24 seconds, so well done.

At Thetford, Paul Dockerill’s daughter JW10 Chloe (25:54) recorded a huge all-time parkrun PB by nearly 2 minutes and was 1/4 in her age group by over 3 minutes, with her best ever age grade of 67.7%. Congratulations to her and father Paul, who has generously and patiently accompanied her in parkruns rather than run at his own pace over the last year. Giles Macrow (22:03) also put in a great run at Thetford, a PB on this course and his best parkrun time since last September. He was 3/13 in his age group and 22/267 overall, with an excellent age grade of 66.8%. This augurs well for his Cambridge HM attempt this Sunday…his enthusiasm for running is motivating for everyone in the club and he is really looking forward to the opportunity of trying to beat last year’s time.

Re the Great Run Local (GRL), there is word that the 2K and 5K runs will start on a Sunday morning sometime in April, over a similar course to the Newmarket Heath Race on the Bury Side training grounds. More details later when it becomes official. That sounds like a much more interesting and varied course than the open, flat Kevin Henry 5K route on the Racecourse side, much as we all love it! If it’s the same as the Heath Race, the GRL 5K will start with a steep, challenging uphill and go through woods before levelling off and then gradually fall back downhill for the last 2K. Good to get the hill over with at the beginning.

Time to get off the dangerous roads in this weather and onto the snowy parks and trails!

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 17/02/2018

An early taste of spring sunshine bathed the parkrun venues this week. There was ice and frost on the ground early in the morning but by the time most people had finished their runs, the sun’s rays were giving out a burst of energy, warming backs while barcodes were scanned.

Our nearest run at Cambridge attracted Richard Jones (21:20) and Adrian Whittle (22:59). It was Richard’s best time at Cambridge since Jan 2017 and he finished 4/42 in his age group with an age grade of 71.4%, so a high class performance. Not far behind, Adrian achieved his best time here since last July and was 6/42 in the same age group as Richard with age grade of 65.1%, so a fine run too.

At Bury St Edmunds parkrun, Ruth Eberhardt (24:54)was the sole Jogger present and put in a good effort, finishing 3/14 in her age group. She was no doubt saving a little something up her sleeve for the Suffolk Winter League Bury XC the next day, where she ran very well in the slithery, muddy conditions of Nowton Park. Another lone Jogger was Giles Macrow (23:05) at Priory Meadows, Thetford. He put in a good run, finishing 2/12 by age category and achieved his best time at this course since May last year. He also performed well for the Joggers in the Bury XC the next day.

No less than 4 Joggers descended on Brandon Country Park and this parkrun is becoming one of the most popular venues for the club. It’s a lovely cross country course on the fringes of Thetford Forest, never too busy, with lots of atmosphere and with a great cafe to relax in afterwards. Neville Clarke (23:02), Emma Newman (26:22), Sarah Kinston (30:59) and Rebecca Hannah (30:59) were participating. It was Rebecca’s first time here and she promptly recorded a new all-time parkrun PB after 12 runs and was 5/10 by age group, so moving up the ranks nicely. She ran with Sarah, who took over one and a half minutes off her course PB with her best parkrun time this year, finishing third in her age group for good measure. These two are bringing out the best in each other. Emma also recorded a new PB here by over a minute, finished 3/10 in her age group and set a new all-time parkrun PB in the process. Neville ran up to his usual top class standard, finishing first in his age group by nearly two minutes and with an age grade of 72.1%. So Joggers firing on all cylinders at Brandon.

Rob Jaina (21:03) and Iain Perry (27:10) competed at Clare Castle parkrun. Rob was 8/136 overall and 1/9 in his age group by over 4 minutes with an age grade of 65.3%, so no messing around here. His daughter Lyla JW10 (28:29) had a great run too and achieved her fourth PB in a row, taking another 11 seconds off her time last week. Iain put in a good effort and finished 6/14 in his age group. He was no doubt saving something for the Bury XC the following day where he ran a well judged race…came strolling past me before halfway and I never saw him again!

At Holkham parkrun in North Norfolk, Jon Brooker (21:07) took over a minute off his previous PB on this course, came 1/15 by age category and 10/170 overall with an age grade of 71.5%. He wasn’t messing around either, even though he was relaxing on half-term holiday with the family!

Alan Thornhill (29:53) unexpectedly joined me at Gt Cornard parkrun where the conditions were very good…hardly any mud at all. When I arrived there was frost on the grass but the sunshine afterwards was warm as toast on your back. We’re both in the same age group and, by coincidence, both achieved exactly the same age grade of 58.34%, so we need a decider! It was Alan’s best time here since May 2017 so he will be pleased with that run.

The clock’s ticking on the first Haverhill parkrun at Puddle Brook Field (west side of the town) so mark it in your diary for 10th March along with the final two Suffolk Winter League XC fixtures at Fritton Lakes (11th March) and Haverhill (25th March).

Happy running!


Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 10/02/2018

Rather better conditions this week with the cold weather at least semi-freezing the mud on the courses and allowing some foothold. Although no Joggers headed that way, Ipswich parkrun at Christchurch Park had to be cancelled due to icy tarmac paths on the hilly winter course, so you can’t win them all. Clare Castle also had to use a special diversion route through the woods to avoid the flooded towpath alongside Mill Cut. This made it more of a scenic trail run but hillier and muddier than normal, so not good for PBs.

Staying with Clare Castle parkrun, James Thomson (21:00) put in a fine run, finishing 2/7 in his age group and 8/153 overall. Rob Jaina (21:43) was not far behind and came 1/12 by age category so will be very pleased with his preparation for the London Marathon. Alan Thornhill (31:00) ran well despite the muddy conditions through the wood, which slowed nearly everyone down compared to the normal route. Not Rob and Sandra’s daughter Lyla Jaina (28:38) though who managed a third PB in a row here, apparently with nonchalant ease. She was also 2/6 in her age group so very well done.

Moving to Brandon Country Park, Giles Macrow (23:52) was right back in the money with a fast run on this difficult course and finished 3/8 by age group. Iain Perry (27:57) coped well with the course conditions which were a little tougher than normal. The sandy lumpy soil is pretty unyielding in the frost with poorer grip. It was Emma Newman’s (27:40) first run here and only her eighth parkrun overall. She did well to come 2/6 by age group in a very decent time. Sarah Kinston (32:37) is improving all the time and managed a very welcome PB by over 4 minutes on this course.

Ruth Eberhardt (24:23) was a lone contender at Bury St Edmunds parkrun, where the conditions are still pretty muddy and boggy. She did very well to come 2/8 in her age group and 8th woman home out of 53.

At Milton Country Park in Cambridge Richard Jones (21:32) put in a top class run to come 1/28 by age group with age grade of 70.7% so in great form. Stephen Cousins (23:16) was also firing on all cylinders, finishing 3/20 in his age group with an excellent age grade of 68.3%. Jim Withers (25:44) continued to impress with another of his determined and consistently paced runs, coming home 4/12 by age group with 63.9% age grade.

Don’t forget the Bury XC Suffolk Winter League fixture this Sunday…lots of fun around Nowton Park, snaking through woods and down a small crater on this undulating cross country course.

Haverhill parkrun is expected to kick off on 10th March so put it in the diary. It’s to be run at Puddle Brook Fields, so maybe best to bring trail shoes unless we get a heat wave! It will now be my nearest parkrun at 11.5 miles but I guess more like 15 miles from Newmarket town. Cambridge parkrun remains the nearest from Newmarket at about 13 miles.

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 03/02/2018

Just a small troupe of Joggers ventured out into parkrun territory in the damp, cold and rather dreary weather on Saturday.

Stephen Cousins (23:01) ploughed a lonely furrow through muddy, soggy Milton Country Park, Cambridge while Giles Macrow(23:12) took on a similar task in the Priory Meadows at Thetford, ameliorated somewhat by the ample provision of hard paths over much of the course. Ruth Eberhardt (26:35) and Alan Thornhill (30:40) had to abandon the tractor and relied on a horse drawn plough at Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds, while at Clare Castle Country Park, James Thomson (21:15), Rob Jaina (21:19), Jon Brooker (21:47), Sandra Jaina (28:49) and daughter Layla (28:45) slithered through the Mill Cut bridge slurry and over the muddy grass field near the car park. Apart from that, everyone had an invigorating morning’s run.

It was success for Sandra and Layla at Clare, who both achieved course PBs by 14 and 12 seconds respectively, so very well done. It was a first time on this course for Jon who put in a powerful run to finish 1/12 in his age group and 10/130 overall with an impressive age grade of 69.3%. James and Rob were also in top form, both finishing first in their age categories and coming home in 6th and 7th position overall, just 4 seconds apart.

Stephen’s plough was in prime working order at Cambridge where he came 1/24 in his age group with an age grade of 69.0%, so a fine run. Meanwhile at Thetford, Giles revved his tractor and upped his pace significantly to achieve his best parkrun time over this course since May 2017, also finishing a very able 4/17 in his age group for good measure. His current disciplined application to a distance training plan is paying dividends.

At Bury St Edmunds Ruth and Alan latched on to enough horsepower to get themselves round Nowton park in decent times. Alan had another of his ultra consistently-paced runs which hover very close to 30 minutes, while Ruth managed 2/11 in her age group, despite being slowed noticeably by the conditions.

We can allow ourselves to look forward to some more clement weather in the spring and summer as well as some lovely bright, cold, crisp, sunny winter weather still to come.

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 27/01/2018

A veritable army of NJs swarmed in on Cambridge parkrun this week…ok, well maybe enough for a small platoon? No, according to Google, 10 troops could have been a small squad or a section. So that’s sorted! Nevertheless, it’s big numbers for NJs in a parkrun. The number of participants overall was huge at 647, swelled by the cancellation of Wimpole Estate parkrun which was waterlogged. That’s a veritable battalion…oh yes it is, ‘cause Google says so. The course in Milton Country Park was very muddy and sloppy and running shoes were not a pretty sight after this run while PBs were hard to come by….much harder than PWs. For reference the times were: Richard Jones (21:22), Brian Munns (22:55), Stephen Cousins (23:30), Adrian Whittle (23:31), Jim Withers (25:21), Malcolm Osbourn (27:58), Giles Macrow (29:30), Sarah Kinston (32:35), Jan Holmes (32:39), Niamh McGroarty (35:45).

Niamh had a good 2017, working her way down from 38 minutes to 31 in her various parkruns, so not to read too much into this slower time over difficult ground conditions. There is plenty of scope for more PBs in 2018 and for going sub 30, when you consider that 3 years ago she achieved her all-time parkrun PB of 28:19 on this course, before taking a year out of running. It was Sarah’s second best time at Cambridge, quite an achievement under the prevailing course conditions and showing how much she has improved. Jan may generously have helped to pace Sarah, going by the closeness of their times and that Jan’s current times are usually around 27 or 28 minutes. That’s the great thing about parkrun…you can go for a PB or just enjoy a relaxing run with a friend or just enjoy the scenery, at the same time getting fresh air and exercise. There is no pressure.

Giles looked to have clocked a lot slower time than usual but according to his activity on Strava, he went on a nearly 6 mile run through Cambridge Business Park beforehand and then unfortunately arrived back in Milton Country Park some 2 minutes after the parkrun had started. So he spent most of the time overtaking tail runners and trying to catch up! It’s happened to all of us or will do one day. Malcolm ran really well to finish 1/8 in his age group and is in great form at present. He also has a good chance of winning his age group in the Suffolk XC League this year, having recently jumped to a new age bracket. It would be well deserved after being held back by 2 to 3 years of niggling injuries. Jim ran very consistently as always, eating up the ground with every stride, while Adrian also continues to put in excellent parkruns. Stephen made a welcome return to parkrun after a three month absence and immediately stamped his class, finishing 3/19 in his age group with a top run. It’s good to see Brian continuing to perform well and consistently, another NJ who has had more than his share of injury problems over the years. Richard has been running at Clare Castle parkrun recently, but Milton Country Park is the scene of 155 of his parkruns to date and is where he set his all-time PB of 19:32 in Oct 2016. Some injury problems required a 5 month rest from running in mid 2017 but he is definitely back in business now and enjoying his running again. He put in a classy effort and finished 4/45 in his age group in a very competitive field, with an age grade of 71.2%.


Clare Castle is a conveniently situated parkrun for Rob Jaina (21:02) and Sandra Jaina (29:03) who live in Stoke-by-Clare. It was very messy and muddy going over the Mill Cut bridge but Rob put in another top class effort in his fourth successive run here, not far from his PB (which stands at 20:37) and finishing 3/10 in his age category. Sandra was running with their daughter JW10 Lyla (28:57) who is showing great promise in only her second parkrun and gained a PB by nearly a minute and a half, moving safely inside 30 minutes for the first time.

Four NJs were single representatives at four different parkruns. Alan Thornhill (30:04) had a tilt at Maldon Prom parkrun for the first time in his total of 33 runs to date. This is a very attractive course, passing around a boating lake, through a wooded area and alongside the River Chelmer to a seawall promontory, for a lovely panoramic waterside view. This was another consistently paced run by Alan.

Paul Dockerill (28:14) made a fun day excursion to Great Notley parkrun in Essex along with daughter Chloe(28:13). This is the parkrun where you have to “touch the bird” at the top of the hill as you go by…that is, touch the plinth of a metal statue of a kestrel on top of the hill. That proves you didn’t cheat and take a shorter course! Chloe was in great form and put in her second best ever parkrun time, following on from last week’s big PB at Bury St Edmunds, also finishing 2/6 in her age group.

Iain Perry (26:44)went to Brandon parkrun, which is one of his favourite haunts, partly due maybe to the excellent cafe and choice of cakes J. It is also seldom muddy here due to the sandy soil but you do have to like going uphill or at least be good at it. It’s over 2 years since Iain PB’d here with 25:57, but he has been very close to that target recently with a string of 26 minute times since last August, down as low as 26:05 in Sep 2017. That particular run gave him his best ever age grade % at Brandon.

Finally, Ruth Eberhardt (25:41), a very loyal regular at Nowton park, put in another solid run at Bury St Edmunds parkrun, despite the very muddy and boggy conditions of the course. Ruth was 2/12 in her age group so a very able performance against her age rivals. The times will soon start to come down “when spring creeps over the windowsill”.

Another Great Run Local (similar to parkruns but on Sundays at 9:30am usually, and over 2K or 5K) will be starting soon at Holbrook, south of Ipswich. Needham Market is still the nearest one to us at present but one is also in the pipeline for Newmarket Heath. That’s very good news for us all in the club, especially those in the racing industry who are unable to get Saturday mornings off. The option of a free timed Sunday run is also handy for families when a lot of children tend to go to sports or dance classes on Saturday mornings. There are very few classes on a Sunday morning so the whole family can go together.

Now the haggis is out of the way after Burn’s Night on 25th Jan, we can look forward to pancakes on Shrove Tuesday Feb 13th . Good carbohydrate for runners!

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 20/01/2018

It was pretty dull, wet and muddy going at most of the local parkruns plus drizzly rain falling off and on. Numbers were a little down on normal but Cambridge still managed to attract 497 runners. In action here were Brian Munns (22:57), Dan Williams (25:05), Jim Withers (25:36) and Iain Perry (27:20). They all put in good efforts but were slowed down a minute or so by the mud, so far from ideal conditions for a PB. Brian was 10/42 in his age group so a good performance against his age rivals.

At Bury St Edmunds, Alex Swarbrick (20:46), Giles Macrow (24:47) and Paul Dockerill (27:42) were competing, along with Paul’s daughter Chloe (27:41). Chloe achieved her second PB in a row at Bury as well as a new all-time parkrun PB and knocked almost a minute off last week’s time. She was also first in her age group by over 9 minutes, so very well done, especially on the difficult ground. Giles put in a good effort and was 9/25 by age category while Alex ran in top form to finish 2/259 overall, just behind another speedy young runner in the same JM15-17 age group and only 27 seconds outside his PB on this course.

Neville Clarke (22:16) and Alan Thornhill (29:28) were single NJs at Brandon and Thetford parkrun respectively. Alan pulled one out of the hat at Thetford with his best parkrun time and age grade (59.1%) since last September. The September run at Thetford remains his all-time PB for time (29:06) and age grade (59.9%), so a good chance of a sub 29 minute time and 60%+ age grade in 2018, especially when the nice weather begins! Neville has taken to the Brandon course as a new challenge after many parkruns at Bury St Edmunds. He can now look forward to setting some course PBs here as well. He put in a top class performance, just 22 seconds outside his current PB at this course, finishing 1/3 in his age group with 74.6% age grade.

Clare Castle parkrun was very muddy over the bridge and up and down the disused railway, but thankfully no flooding of the Mill Cut to necessitate a diversion through the woods. The start and finish have been altered since the 13th Jan, so that the start is right by the Platform One Cafe and the finish not far past it on hard path. This is to prevent cutting up of the grass field where the finish used to be. The Three ‘Marketeers were here in force in the form of Rob Jaina (21:09), Richard Jones (21:24) and James Thomson (22:23). James came home first in this encounter the previous week but suffered a slight injury to his calf half way round so had to ease off to let the other two fight it out. Nevertheless, James was still 1/6 in his age group by over a minute, so a good effort. Richard was firing on all cylinders and came home 3/8 by age group with 71.1% age grade. Rob also had a great run, leading the trio home and finishing 2/11 in his age group. The out and back railway section at Clare is great for saying hello to your team mates and seeing who is ahead of you and who is behind. Just as I entered the railway section on the first lap, the three NJs came storming past me in the opposite direction and I never saw them again until the finish! Nice to witness some speed.

Let’s hope for some sunshine next week and not too much mud.

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 13/01/2018

It was a rather dull, dreary winter day at the local parkruns but the rain held off for the most part. Adrian Whittle (23:09) tackled Brandon parkrun which he has completed now on 11 occasions. A PB has escaped him here since last July (22:07), but he put in a spirited performance to finish 2/11 in his age group.

Two Joggers made the trip to Bury St Edmunds for another two lap trek around the mud of Nowton Park: Giles Macrow (24:20) and Ruth Eberhardt (26:01). Ruth maintained top spot out of 12 in her age group by over a minute, so a good performance despite the conditions which slowed everyone down. Giles also put in a good effort, at the same time no doubt saving something for the Stowmarket Winter League XC the following day. There he ran a very good 5.3 mile race through the mud and puddles, round the twists and turns, over the ups and downs, not to mention ins and outs of craters in Haughley Park. Well done to all the other Joggers (Newmarket Joggers and Sudbury Joggers combined team) who took on this formidable XC challenge.

There was no doubt some friendly rivalry at Clare Castle parkrun where James Thomson (21:04), Rob Jaina (21:17) and Richard Jones (21:35) were in action….only 31 seconds between the three of them. James did well to lead the Joggers home and finish 3/13 by age category, not far from his PB at this venue which remains at 20:42. Rob also put in a top effort to finish 1/9 in his age group and similarly close to his PB which stands at 20:37, just seconds quicker than James. Richard ran in great form and was also the fastest of 13 in his age group with an impressive age grade of 70.5%, one of the highest in the club at present. For the record, his PB currently stands at 21:01, so all three distinguished themselves in this run. Rob’s training focus is now mainly on the London Marathon in April but some parkruns can maybe help to hone his sprint finish down The Mall.

Bit of local news: ‘Great Run Local’ free 5K weekly timed runs may be starting soon on Newmarket Heath. These runs are organised by the Great Run company with the help of local volunteers, much the same as parkruns. There are about 19 of them in the UK, the nearest to us currently being Needham Market. The Great Run company puts on the Great North Run (Newcastle HM), Great East Run (Ipswich HM) and all the other Great Runs at various locations and distances in the UK. These runs are generally at 10am on a Sunday and over a choice of 5K or 2K for children and adults. So may be useful for training on a Sunday you when we are not competing in a race.

Hope to see lots of Joggers at the next club cross country league fixture: Bury St Edmunds XC at Nowton Park on 18th February….running in the raw and harking back to school days!

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 06/01/18

A few single runner satellites to report on first. Adrian Whittle (22:50) took on Southampton parkrun for the 7th time and did well to get within 44 seconds of his course PB, which was set in March 2014. The field here was a massive 1067 and Adrian was 13/65 in his age group, so a good result.
Emily Jeanes (25:40) completed her 22nd run at Gladstone parkrun in North London, putting in a good consistent performance to finish 3/14 in her age category. Meanwhile, up at Thetford parkrun, James Thomson (21:13) looks to be back into top gear after recent injury and finished a competitive 5/14 in his age group.
Iain Perry (27:43) trod off to the wilds of Lydney, on the north bank of the River Severn estuary. This is a picturesque parkrun set in Lydney Recreation Trust Ground and meanders around a lake, along a canal tow path and through woods. It can get pretty dire in wet weather, resembling something like a swamp on this occasion, so Iain did well on his first attempt at this course.

Moving nearer to home, Richard Jones (21:01), Rob Jaina (21:10) and Alan Thornhill (30:34) visited Clare Castle parkrun. Thankfully, the new officially measured flood diversion route was not needed on this occasion with the stretch down by Mill Cut nice and dry, unlike last week when the parkrun had to be cancelled. Apparently it was due to a blocked sluice gate. Alan put in another consistent run, only a minute outside his PB here. It was close between Richard and Rob with Richard just prevailing by 9 seconds. Rob is currently in training for the London Marathon so trying to resist the urge to run at PB pace. He was however, 1/11 in his age group and 5/111 overall so looks in great form. Richard was 2/13 in his age group, 4/111 overall and achieved a PB at Clare Castle by 10 seconds, his 6th straight PB in a row at this venue. Also his best ever age grade here of 72.4%….can’t ask for more than that!

Alex Swarbrick (20:33), Ruth Eberhardt (24:54) and Paul Dockerill (28:39) were in action at Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds. Paul ran with daughter JW10 Chloe (28:38), who posted a brand new PB at Bury by 6 seconds, her first PB at this course since June last year, so congratulations to her! She was 1/4 in her age category by nearly 5 minutes. Ruth is coming back into gear now that the muddy, boggy conditions have eased a little and put in a good time to finish 2/7 in her age group. Alex doesn’t run parkrun that often but always delivers a top performance: 7/259 overall and 3/6 in his JM 15-17 age group, there being some very speedy youngsters in the vanguard today…..parkrun is certainly helping to bring on the young running talent in the UK and we will surely benefit in athletic achievement as a nation….these young runners are the future British Olympic medallists.

Three Joggers took on Cambridge parkrun at Milton Country Park: Brian Munns (23:40), Dan Williams (24:44) and Jim Withers (25:25) while Jan Holmes (55:59) kindly volunteered as Tail Walker, otherwise known as backmarker. Brian is looking in good form and has put his long sequence of injuries behind him for the time being, hopefully forever. He was 8/30 by age category in this large field of 579 runners. Dan was only about a minute behind Brian and, after only 3 recent parkruns, all at different venues, this was a new all-time parkrun PB for him by 44 seconds. His times have dropped from 26 to 25 to 24 minutes, so lots of improvement on the cards for 2018. Jim was close behind Dan and continues to put in consistently high standard runs, 6/17 on this occasion in his 60-64 age group.

Keep those New Year resolutions alive!


New Year’s Day 2018

Apologies for those missed off who did parkruns on New Year’s Day outside of the local area. There is no consolidated parkrun report for running club members for New Year’s Day, only for 30/12/17. So it’s not feasible to individually check every parkrun in the UK and abroad for Newmarket Joggers who might have run!

There were local New Year’s Day parkruns only in Thetford, Brandon, Gt Cornard, Kesgrave and Ipswich…no parkrun at Cambridge, Wimpole, Bury St Edmunds, Huntingdon or Clare Castle.

Thetford (9:00am) and Brandon (10:30am) was the most convenient local double parkrun possibility. Brandon attracts more and more each year on New Year’s Day and this year 392 runners took part, around 150 up on last year. A normal event would attract around 100 on average. There were 5 x NJs running at Thetford, all of whom were later to make the journey to Brandon for the double: Richard Jones (21:37), Neil Williamson (23:36), Adrian Whittle (24:02), Ruth Eberhardt (25:32) and yours truly (28:24). Richard had a great run, finishing 2/21 in his age group with an impressive age grade of 70.4%. It was the first run at this venue for Neil, Adrian and Ruth and it is a complicated 6 loop course to navigate for first timers! So complicated that the eventual first finisher Chris Darling appeared to have clocked an astonishing 14:27 but had inadvertently left out one of the loops. He still had plenty of time to spare over the second finisher though and in true parkrun spirit he appears to have been awarded the race at a recalculated time to allow for the missed loop. Neil did very well to clock his best parkrun time since August 2014 and Adrian was in confident mood not far behind him. Ruth ran as well as ever to finish 2/15 in her age group. Before we leave Thetford, it was nice to see local Newmarket lass Daisy Glover finishing first for the women in 19:28 in her first ever parkrun and 6/299 overall. Hopefully she will have caught the parkrun bug. She is often seen pounding the streets of Newmarket at an unbelievable pace…would that she were a Newmarket Jogger!

Moving on to the second phase of the double at Brandon, the NJs running were: Richard Jones (22:18), Neil Williamson (24:07), Adrian Whittle (25:24), Dan Williams (25:27), Ruth Eberhardt (25:32), Jim Withers (26:23), Lisa Redman (27:12), Uncle Tom Cobbly (DNF) and me (28:51). Richard clocked another great time to finish 3/20 in his age category and Neil put in another fine effort. Ruth miraculously clocked exactly the same time as at Thetford and again finished 2nd in her age group, out of 23 this time….that’s consistency! Jim ran very well to finish 4/16 in his age group, not having run at Thetford, while new member Dan set an all-time parkrun PB by 51 seconds in only his second ever parkrun, the first being on Christmas Day. Lisa ran an excellent race to finish 2/23 in her age category, even though she started right at the back and had to work her way through. Nicky Chapman (26:56) and Kevin Connolly (26:55) were also running with their dog, having started right at the back and were absolutely doddling round at a relaxed but impressive pace from my perspective.

On to Kesgrave parkrun, 6 miles east of Ipswich, which was the first leg of the other local New Year Day parkrun double; starting at 8:45am and synchronising with Ipswich parkrun for the second leg at 10:30am. Kesgrave is a very flat parkrun and most of it is in a long narrow out & back section plus a short detour through woods and a circuit of a football field. This contrasts with Ipswich which is very hilly in comparison. Giles Macrow (26:06, 26:12) and Mark Hayward (18:06, 18:29) competed for NJ and both completed the double with very consistent times, despite the extra challenge at Ipswich. Giles has completed a remarkable 2017 and come on in leaps and bounds from where he was in his first parkrun in 2016 when he had to persevere for several weeks to get under 30 minutes. His all-time parkrun PB now stands at under 22 minutes. Mark did exactly what he did last year: completed the Kesgrave parkrun and then ran straight away to Chantry Park the centre of Ipswich to do the Ipswich parkrun…’just like that’ in the words of Tommy Cooper. That’s over 12 miles running in all and quite an achievement, especially losing no speed all in the second parkrun. Mark was 2/23 in his age group and 6/378 overall at Kesgrave and 1/24 and 5/370 overall at Ipswich, so really flying at present. There was a notable runner who finished first in both parkruns at Kesgrave and Ipswich…none other than Andrew Rooke, an exquisite runner with impeccable form who really does make it look ‘effortless’ in the words of our coach Mick Graham. I recall that he won every one of the 5 x Friday 5 mile races when he competed in 2016 yet never appeared to be extended or under pressure in any way.

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 30/12/2017

Flood, if not famine, affected some parkruns on the 30th December. Thankfully there’s always some cake in the cafes. Clare Castle, Gt Cornard and Huntingdon were three parkruns to be cancelled at the last minute, due to flooding or waterlogging of the course. I resorted to a Freedom parkrun at Clare where the River Stour was flooded (a 5K run over the parkrun course run in your own time and timed by you). These Freedom runs can be entered on the parkrun website by going into your profile and clicking on Freedom from the dropdown list. They don’t count on your normal parkrun total, nor towards a milestone t-shirt, but they do help to motivate you and set you a Freedom PB target to beat next time. Also you don’t waste the journey and get your 5K run in regardless of the weather, though you may need to divert to avoid flooded areas. When volunteering at a parkrun, it’s a good idea to go in your running gear and do a Freedom run after the actual parkrun, so that you always get a 5K run whether volunteering or not.

Niamh McGroarty (33:55) was a tourist at Woodley parkrun near Reading for the second time and put in a steady time. This is a 3 lap course around Woodford Park, an attractive leisure park with lakes and sports facilities. There are some very talented local runners here, with a JM15-17, SM18-19 and VM 45-49 all clocking in the 16 minute zone and a SW18-19 coming home in 18 minutes, all of them earning over 80% age grades.

At Brandon, James Thomson (22:51) put in a spirited run to finish a close third in his age group, with the sandy soil keeping conditions relatively good underfoot. Meanwhile, down at seriously muddy and puddly Cambridge, a regular campaigner Jim Withers (26:40), an occasional parkrunner Joe Richer (23:14) and complete novice Ellie Bithell (26:19) were all in action. Battling the ground conditions, they all put in creditable performances. Jim was consistent as ever and Ellie managed 1/12 in her age group in her very first parkrun, so very well done to her…hopefully the start of many more for NJ. Joe, with 24 parkruns to his name, was running in his first parkrun for over a year so did well to get in the 23 minute zone on this ground. His all-time PB stands at 19:25 at Cambridge back in 2012.

Finally, at an even more muddy, not to mention seriously boggy Bury St Edmunds, Giles Macrow (24:50), Ruth Eberhardt (31:27), Paul Dockerill (32:12) and Paul’s daughter Chloe JW10 (32:12) were waging parkrun war. Chloe and Giles did well to get within 4 minutes of their PBs on this course. It’s just possible that Ruth decided to call a truce, together with age group rival and local runner Hannah Jewers, as they both finished on the same time and were running at a noticeably more relaxed pace than usual.
It’s great to see the youngsters coming through the ranks, surely helped by the success of parkrun and its ability to particularly attract young runners as well all other age groups. The first finisher at Bury was Joe Robson JM15-17 in 19:48 (son of the legendary Odette Robson VW45-49 of St Edmund Pacers). He was just seconds ahead of Kieran Moody (19:55), another JM 15-17 from the local Bury club. Third overall and first female finisher was Odette Robson herself (19:56), just 2 seconds ahead of Maddie Jordan-Lee JW15-17 who was 2nd female home and came fourth overall on 19:58. Maddie’s twin sister Millie JW15-17 was 3rd female finisher in 20:35, 6th overall. So 4 x 15-17 year olds made up the first 6 places, two girls and two boys..amazing to see. Overall, 3 women and 3 men made up the first six to finish…excellent progress for women’s running. To cap it all, Amelia Taylor JW10 coming home as 5th female finisher in 22:44 is pretty stunning….especially on this ground. Things have changed since my days at primary school when 100 yards was the furthest we were allowed to go.

Happy parkrunning to all!

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