parkrun & GRL Reports

parkrun organises free, weekly (Saturday 9am), 5km timed runs in the UK and 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 to families of all ages, for the novice as well as the elite runner. Many Joggers regularly take part and volunteer with local events being hosted in Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Clare Castle, Haverhill, Brandon, Thetford and Wimpole Park. Once registered you can enjoy them anywhere around the country, in fact around the world!  You are welcome to walk, jog or run these events according to your preference and level of fitness.

Another free weekly timed 5km that has now appeared on the local scene is Great Run Local (GRL), which starts at the bottom of Newmarket Heath’s Warren Hill on a Sunday at 11:15am., see:  There is also the option of a shorter 2.5km run for children and adults.

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 11th Aug 2018

We’ll start with congratulations and big milestone celebrations for Jan Holmes (27:50) achieving her 50th parkrun at Telford and Giles Macrow (22:13) his 100th at Thetford.  Don’t say Telford and Thetford together too quickly after a few drinks. Telford parkrun in Shropshire is known for its very attractive setting in Telford Town Park, encircling a lake named Randlay Pool and passing along hard paths and trails through wooded parkland.  Jan was certainly in celebratory mood and finished 1st of 20 in her age group, achieving her fastest parkrun of 2018.

Giles has come to enjoy the 6 dizzying loops of Thetford parkrun, set close to the ruins of Thetford Priory in a relatively secluded area of Thetford known as Priory Gardens, cut in two by the River Little Ouse and connected by a quaint footbridge. He was in top form, coming 3rd of 17 by age group and very close to his 2018 PB time of 22:03 which was set on this course.  Greg Davis (19:19) joined the party for his first attempt at the Thetford course and put in a top performance, 1st of 9 by age category and 5th of 215 participants overall with 80.24% age grade….Sapphire standard again!

Daisy Glover (18:36) dropped by at unsuspecting Rotherham parkrun and livened things up by finishing 1st female home for the 14th time in her total of 14 parkruns and 2nd of 88 runners overall.  She equalled the female course record at this parkrun which has stood since 2014.  Rotherham parkrun is small in numbers but is a fast three lap course all along hard paths in Clifton Park, so ideal for a leg stretcher.  This was of course a warm up for Daisy’s assault on the Draycote Water 10K the next morning, where she was first female finisher of 111 and 5th of 238 overall in a time of 37:29, her best 10K time this year.

At Bury St Edmunds, Lisa Hillman (29:23) and Rebecca Hannah (30:44) were in good form, both achieving course PBs.  Emma Newman (22:46) went a stage further by achieving an all-time parkrun PB at Littleport parkrun and finishing 5th of 57 women overall. Littleport is turning out to be a good place to find your next PB…fast and flat with no sharp twists or turns.  Rob Jaina (23:33) was away on holiday or business somewhere near Grafham Water and dropped in on St Neots Pocket parkrun, a new parkrun which started a month or two ago. He came 3rd of 8 by age group and is getting back into some decent form after a lay-off.

Iain Perry (28:01), James Thomson (21:09) and Jon Brooker (20:41) opted for Clare Castle parkrun. Iain is improving his running steadily after concentrating on cycling for some months. James was just beaten for first place in his age group by 2 seconds so a good effort, while Jon is continuing to impress and came 3rd of 10 by age category with a high-flying 73.09% age grade.

At Cambridge, Stephanie Greenwood (29:43), Jim Withers (25:44), Stephen Cousins (22:27) and Richard Jones (20:38) were in action.  Stephanie did very well to duck under 30 minutes for the first time in her 9 parkruns, so a psychological barrier successfully overcome. Jim was solid as ever in the 25s. Stephen and Richard finished 3rd of 15 and 3rd of 16 respectively in their age groups, with top age grades of 71.42% and 74.47% and are both in great form.

I was at Haverhill parkrun (28:29), where part of my warm up might better be called “pigging” to match the nature of the task….pi-cking up litter while jo-gging, but it’s known as plogging according to wiki.  It’s apparently quite fashionable in Sweden where they call it “ploggning” as the Swedish for picking is plockning and for jogging is joggning. We apparently drop the offending extra ‘n’ and say plogging. But I digress. There was a tent pitched on the course which may have had something to do with the litter but they were friendly wild campers and cleared the tent away before 9am. I think they were more surprised than we were when they realised they were on a racecourse.

Newmarket Great Run Local 12th August

 There were 3 NJs in the 5K field:  Gavin Moody (22:08, not registered yet), Malcolm Osbourn (27:42) and myself (30:26).  Gavin ran well to be second finisher in his first ever attempt and hopefully enjoyed the experience. Malcolm put in another confident run on this difficult course, coping comfortably with the uphill. Giles Macrow was run director for the day, having previously gone for an early morning run, as had Richard Jones who was also generously helping out. Tom Macrow, son of Giles,  was kindly acting as backmarker in the 2.5K. Thanks to all the other volunteers as well. The first 5K finisher was Jason Wing (21:15), veteran of over 250 parkruns, mainly at Brandon but not attached to a club. Lorraine Reeves (23:33) was first female and also not known to be a club member.  In the 2.5k run, Richard Wilkinson (13:05), plus son I think (13:00), Alan Thornhill (15:26) and Jenny Osbourn (18:01) were competing. No PBs to note here but all runs are good runs unless you step in a rabbit hole!

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report for 4th August 2018

Big news from Milton Country Park in Cambridge:   Brian Munns (21:27) finally achieved a new all-time parkrun PB, 3 years after his previous PB of 21:31 on 8th August 2015!  It is also his highest ever age grade at 71.64% from 48 parkruns in all.  So the maestro is performing at his best ever standard since his first parkrun in August 2014.  He also finished 2nd of 17 in his age group, only beaten by Richard Holland, who did a surreal time of 18:27 for an age grade of 86.18%. That’s nearly up to Paul Holley’s standard, which is definitely unfair competition!  Other Joggers at Cambridge to witness proceedings were Richard Jones (23:01) and Jim Withers (26:04).  Richard was kindly acting as 23 minute pacer and making a fine job of it too.

While talking of pacers, Giles Macrow (32:26, hovering on 99 parkruns) generously volunteered as 32 minute pacer at Thetford parkrun.  Knowing him as an accurate pacer, I would think he was maybe trying to coax the best out of some followers who were slightly slower than 32 minutes, while the faster ones had possibly already gone on ahead. So which venue will Giles choose for his 100th. Watch this space!

Over at Great Cornard, 13 was definitely not unlucky for Daisy Glover (18:13).  In her 13th parkrun to date she was first female finisher for the 13th time in succession with a new course PB into the bargain and age grade of 81.24%.  It doesn’t get much better than that, so well done Daisy!

There are a couple of tourists to report on:  Henry Hamilton (19:42) at Torbay Velopark in Paignton, Devon and Alan Thornhill (30:47) at Colney Lane on the west side of Norwich.  It was the first time at Torbay for Henry and he finished 1st of 9 in his age group by nearly a minute.  This is the 4th time he’s been under 20 minutes in 2018.  The course is basically flat with 2 laps of the hard pathed Velopark followed by one lap of a playing field.  It was also first time for Alan at Colney Lane parkrun, which started life last December.  It’s a lovely course starting at the Sports Pavilion and completing two laps along grass and trail paths.

Carol Mcintosh (35:40), Jenny Osbourn (36:33) and Malcolm Osbourn (27:47) went on an expedition to Wimpole Estate. It’s a while since any Jogger visited Wimpole parkrun, despite being only 25 miles and an easy 35 minute ride from HQ.  Maybe not unconnected with the big killer hill at 2K, not to mention cows and sheep plus their droppings to avoid.  However, it’s an attractive and challenging course and does wonders for your hill climbs, such as the one at Kedington on Thursday and Warren Hill in the Newmarket GRL on Sunday.  They don’t seem so bad after Wimpole.  Jenny clocked her best time here for 2 years while Carol took 1:25 off her course PB.  Malcolm finished 1st of 6 in his age group by one second….that must have been a ding dong battle or maybe a case of stealth from behind, as in the Suffolk XC battle with rival John Cullum last winter.  Malcolm was just 17 seconds off a course PB but previous to this had achieved 6 straight PBs in a row on this course, so in great form at present.

Rebeccah Hannah (31:10), Lisa Hillman (30:01), Ruth Eberhardt (24:56) and Neville Clarke (21:16) were at Bury St Edmunds parkrun.  Rebecca achieved a new course PB, while Lisa did well to finish 3rd out of 8 in her age group in her first visit here.  Ruth was 1/15 in her age category and Neville 1/12 in his, so both in great form, with Neville on 78.13% age grade.

Finally, Clare Castle parkrun was completed by Iain Perry (28:54), James Tweed (23:23) and yours truly (27:44).  I think I saw James running with his dog so a good time, considering that very few dogs actually assist their owners unless trained specifically.  Iain has been doing a lot of cycling with a long charity cycle ride recently but very little running, so will need time to reach peak running fitness.


There were several Joggers running this week in the 5K:  Malcolm McConnell (22:11), James Tweed (22:34), Giles Macrow (26:21), Malcolm Osbourn (27:09) and Sianie Painter (32:16). It must have been tough in the heat and direct sun, close to midday on the Heath, with temperatures around 28°C.  All Joggers put in brave efforts.  Malcolm M did a very fast one in his first recorded run on this course, while Malcolm O put in an extraordinary run under the conditions, taking nearly half a minute off his course PB.  So the practice over the hills at Kedington and Wimpole paid dividends, not to mention a string of successive attempts and PBs over this course in recent months.

Of interest was the first female finisher of the GRL 5K run: Elke Hausler (23:39) F55-59, a top runner for her age in the country belonging to the Eastern Masters Club of Germany. She has been based here in the local area for some years where she runs her own sports therapy and wellness clinics in Newmarket, Bury and Cambridge. Tony Bacon (18:45) of Haverhill RC and a run director at Haverhill parkrun was first male finisher.


Newmarket Joggers parkrun/GRL Report 28/07/2018

Greg Davis (21:16) made a relatively rare appearance in a parkrun on Saturday morning, at Sheringham parkrun, which is one of the toughest courses out of all 500+ parkruns in the UK, with a lot of climb and difficult tree root plagued terrain.  He came 10th of 198 runners, 1st of 12 in his age group and achieved the third highest age grade of all the runners at 72.88%, so well done indeed.

Also on parkrun tour was Henry Hamilton (20:47) at Great Dunmow in Essex, where he was 1st of 3 in his age group.  This is another quite new parkrun course, only started last April.  It’s set in beautiful surroundings, meandering beside the River Chelmer for much of the way and circling parkland and playing fields.

Other lone NJ parkrunners were James Tweed (22:47) at Clare Castle, Daisy Glover (18:30) at Great Cornard, Chris Aylmer (27:16) at Thetford and James Thomson (53:20) at Brandon.

Daisy was in her usual ace form in her 6th parkrun at Gt Cornard, first female home and 2nd out of 117 overall with 80.00% age grade. James Tweed did well to finish second by age group while James Thomson was kindly acting as tail walker….quite a nice, relaxing way of doing a parkrun with plenty of time to take in the scenery and share some conversation.

Neville Clarke (21:26) and Ruth Eberhardt (24:55) were both at Bury St Edmunds parkrun and total no less than 277 parkruns between them on this course, so should know every twist, turn and protruding tree root by now.  Ruth ran well to finish 1st of 14 in her age group, while Neville was 1st of 12 in his, sporting an age grade of 77.53%.

Numbers (441) were a little down on normal at Cambridge, as they were at most parkruns, now that school’s have broken up (not literally hopefully) and the summer holiday season has started.  Giles Macrow (23:00) actually managed a PB at this course, down from his 23:14 in April 2017, while Richard Jones (20:51) was in solid form, posting an age grade of 73.70%.  Adrian Whittle (23:07) was just behind Giles, so these two now have a very similar pace.

At the Newmarket Great Run Local (GRL) 5K on Sunday, it looks like some very fast but unknown runners had descended on the Heath, with the first finisher clocking 15:33 and 2 others in the 16 minute zone. It may be that this was a timing error, which is easily done, or we need to persuade them to join NJ.  Malcolm Osbourn (27:59) is the only Jogger shown in the field, apart from Giles Macrow (38:12) who was kindly acting as backmarker.  Malcolm put in another great effort on this difficult course.


Newmarket Joggers parkrun report for 21/07/2018

Henry Hamilton-Gould (19:31) had a nice opportunity to visit Mountlucas parkrun in Co. Offaly in Ireland, presumably lucky enough to be over on horseracing business at nearby Kildangan Stud in Co. Kildare, where he did a training run the day before.  That’s the centre of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley and Godolphin horseracing operations in Ireland, about 40 miles south west of Dublin.  To the north west of Kildangan, towards Tullamore, is the Mountlucas parkrun, a one-lapper course along trails around a wind farm, fairly flat but surrounded by attractive countryside and perhaps offering an exciting visual perspective on the massive rotating turbines.  It’s a small parkrun, attracting just 36 participants on this occasion, but Henry was in great form and was first finisher for the third time in his 115 parkrun career, clocking his best time since Christmas Eve 2016.


Giles Macrow (22:55) was also a lone tourist, much nearer home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire.  He was in good form and finished 3rd/15 by age category. This venue is called Pocket parkrun after Pocket Park in the centre of St Neots.  It only started about 6 weeks ago, not long before Littleport, but is already attracting around 200 runners a week. St Neots is around 32 miles from Newmarket, only slightly further than Huntingdon, so well worth an occasional visit.  I’m in the St Neots 10K on August 5th so hope to try it out the day before.


Talking of Littleport, a relatively large contingent of 8 Joggers gathered there to try out the new parkrun for the first time, more by chance than design:  Rebeccah Hannah (30:56), Alan Thornhill (28:45), Chris Aylmer (26:47), Jim Withers (25:26), Emma Newman (24:09), Brian Munns (21:49), Richard Jones (20:49) and James Thomson (19:53).  Emma had notable success, coming 1st/12 in her age group, as did Richard who was 1st/6 in his, while James came 2/14 by age and an impressive 6/183 overall to lead the Joggers home. Brian and Richard achieved top age grades of 70.44% and 73.82% respectively.  We were all very impressed by the parkrun, set around a brand new complex of a school and leisure centre with lots of free parking, toilets and changing facilities. There is a lovely, good value cafe to relax in afterwards with outside seating.  The parkrun itself is a flat 2-lapper with an extra loop to make up the distance and offers good PB potential.


Cambridge parkrun was as hot and busy as ever with 536 runners, including 5 Joggers:  Jenny Osbourn (35:24), Carol McIntosh (34:58), Malcolm Osbourn (27:12), Chris Howell (19:51) and Simon Harris (18:51).  Jenny was first in her age group by over 4 minutes, while Carol achieved a new course PB.  Malcolm ran well and was edged into 2nd place in his age category by just 8 seconds. Chris and Simon produced top class age grades of 71.96% and 73.47% respectively, with Simon 2nd/38 in his age group and Chris 3rd/27, so both in great form.


Finally, at Bury St Edmunds, Neville Clarke (21:19), Ruth Eberhardt (24:10) and Sianie Painter (32:15) were in action.  Sianie was not far from her course PB of 31:53 while Ruth ran very well in the heat to finish 1st/17 in her age category. Neville was also 1st of 11 in his age group with a top-notch age grade of 77.95%.


At the Newmarket Great Run Local on Sunday July 22nd, Jason Wing (20:43) took the honours in the 5K, a local Brandon runner and veteran of 251 parkruns to date, most of them at Brandon Country Park.  It was likely his son Callum, who did well to finish 2nd in the 2.5K run in 12:02, behind Tom Wilson (11:38).  Anna Whatling (28:56) of Sudbury Joggers was first female home in the 5K.  NJs Malcolm Osbourn (28:04) and Chris Aylmer (28:41) took on the 5K plus Carol McIntosh (38:17) kindly acting as sweeper. NJ Giles Macrow was also helping among the loyal band of volunteers.  In the 2K, NJ Jenny Osbourn (18:04) was the first and only named female finisher and not far from her best time of 17:54, so congratulations are due!


STOP PRESS!:  A new parkrun is coming soon to Cambridge on Coldham’s Common, which should help to relieve the pressure and overcrowding at Milton Country Park.



Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report 14/07/2018

Brandon was the most popular parkrun among Newmarket Joggers this weekend, attracting Stephanie Greenwood (31:40), Dave Price (27:44), Jim Withers (26:34) and Brian Munns (23:11). Dave set a 2018 best parkrun time, while Brian at last deservedly came top of his age group after two weeks filling the runner-up spot, so well done both of them. Stephanie and Jim also put in good efforts, not far from their best.

Over at Bury St Edmunds, Neville Clarke (21:06) was really on song with his best parkrun time of 2018, finishing 1/11 in his age category with age grade of 78.75%. Ruth Eberhardt (26:37) also ran well taking second spot in her age category, even though she was finding the hot conditions difficult.

Down at Clare Castle, James Tweed (21:31) was near his best form of 2018, coming home 5/78 runners overall and 1/4 in his age group. He also had the extra pleasure of watching his son Bertie come home as first finisher in 19:11, so well done to him too.

Meanwhile, Daisy Glover (18:14) was back at Great Cornard parkrun, showing all but one of the 118 other runners the way home and taking top female spot for the 11th time out of 11 parkruns to date with 81.17% age grade. It was also a course PB for Daisy by 6 seconds. That’s phenomenal running.

Giles Macrow (22:42) and Sianie Painter (32:06) tried out the new parkrun in Littleport, north of Ely. Giles was 2nd in his age group and looking in good form, while Sianie was not far from her all-time parkrun best of 31:10 after 4 parkruns in all. Giles is getting on well with his Stryd power meter, which keeps his effort (rather than his pace) equal up and down hills.

At the Newmarket Great Run Local 5K on Sunday 15th July, Giles Macrow (29:21) was the only Newmarket Jogger, kindly acting as backmarker. A lot of NJs were at the Ekiden Relays in Woodbridge, near Ipswich. There may have been other NJ volunteers at the GRL and a big thank you to them and to all the priceless helpers who keep this delightful and challenging run over Warren Hill training grounds afloat. First finisher was Richard Suswain in 22:40, a local unattached runner who specialises in half marathons. It was likely his son Edward Suswain who was first finisher in the 2K(=2.5K) in a very impressive time of 10:54. Congratulations to him too. First female home was Claire Acklam in a very decent time of 26:17, currently a bit of an unknown quantity to me but obviously a very able runner.

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report 7/7/2018

Well, well….celebrations are in order! We have another parkrun to choose from now at Littleport near Ely, which seems to have been kept a little bit secret and is already in its third week. It was raided by Daisy Glover (18:06) who put in an all-time parkrun PB, finished 2/136 overall and was first female home from 61 runners, over 4 minutes ahead of the second female home. Very well done indeed and worth an age grade of 81.77%, the highest of any participant in the parkrun.
The course starts at Littleport Leisure Centre and is a 2-lapper going around a football field and an arable field. This is where the Littleport 10K starts and finishes in 2 week’s time. The first event attracted 136 participants and the next two 168 and 136, so holding its own nicely. It’s 20.1 miles from Newmarket by car via the A142, taking 33 min, so about the same as Thetford (19.6m, 25 min) and Brandon via A11 (19.4m, 24 min). The distances/times from Newmarket of other local parkruns for reference are: Cambridge (12.9m, 20 min), Haverhill (15.0m, 26 min), Bury St Edmunds (16.6m, 22 min), Clare Castle (16.6m, 32 min), Great Cornard (25.0m, 53 min), Wimpole Estate (25.4m, 34 min), Huntingdon (31.0m, 47 min), March (33.5m, 52 min). So Littleport parkrun is a new local tourism opportunity.

Talking of tourism, Henry Hamilton (20:21) stopped by at Richmond parkrun, which is a picturesque one-lapper around part of Richmond Park in Surrey, along wooded paths and open parkland. Henry recorded his best time since February and finished 5/23 by age group, so a good effort in the heat. Giles Macrow (28:08) did another of his excellent pacing jobs at Thetford parkrun, this time as 28 minute pacer, bringing his total parkruns to 95 and counting.

Paul Dockerill (19:55) and Sianie Painter (31:53) opted for Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Paul achieved a course PB and was 1/9 by age category so a fine run in the hot conditions. Sianie did well to get close to her best which stands at 31:10 after just 3 runs. Lots more PBs to come from her no doubt.

At Cambridge, Jim Withers (26:25) and Brian Munns (22:17) were in full parkrun mode, despite having both achieved 5 mile season bests in the Great Bentley Friday 5 (the final one of the series of 6 races over the last 7 weeks) in the heat of the evening before. In the heat of the morning after, they were still in top gear and close to their best parkrun times this year. Brian came an impressive 2/22 in his age group for good measure. Despite the very warm conditions, James Thomson (20:15) was also running near his best and led the Joggers home, finishing 6/28 in his age group out of the large field of 454. Adrian Whittle (23:25) was just over a minute behind Adrian and in good form.

Newmarket Great Run Local 8/7/2018…Hot, hot, hot.

Having an 11:15am start, the Newmarket GRL has been getting considerably hotter weather than the local parkruns. According to the Met Office, the temperature was between 25 and 26°C by the time the handful of runners set off on the 5K and 2K course, exposed to the overhead sun nearly all the way.
Here are the Newmarket Joggers 5K results: Richard Jones (21:50), Malcolm Osbourn (27:45), Chris Aylmer (29:02PB). Alix Jones also put in a good effort of 27:16, and has 25:11 as a current PB.
In the ‘2K’ (~2.5K) Jenny Osbourn finished in 18:25, near her PB of 17:54. Helen Wass and Giles Macrow kindly helped volunteer along with a number of other generous helpers, including Debbie Read, Charlotte Read and others whose names are not currently known to me. I think the volunteers deserve a credit on the website every week, just like parkrun volunteers!

This week is the Kevin Henry Carver Barracks 5K club race. It’s a very quick course, probably the fastest of all, so PBs for the taking on Thursday evening! Good luck to everyone.

Newmarket Joggers parkrun Report 30/06/2018

James Thomson (19:46) and Giles Macrow (22:30) were no doubt glad they tested out the superb ground conditions at Haverhill parkrun, which follows three large, beautifully mown laps around the extensive playing field area of Puddle Brook Fields. It was a course record for both of them and a best 2018 parkrun time for James, while for Giles it was his third fastest parkrun of the year. Come all ye who travail and are heavy laden and Haverhill will refresh you with a brand new parkrun PB! James was 5/101 overall and 1/9 in his age group for good measure.

Joe Richer (21:57), veteran of 25 parkruns to date, enjoyed an absolute jaunt in his first attempt at Holkham parkrun, recording his best time since 2016 and finishing 4/25 by age group. Also a lone Jogger was James Tweed (21:25) at Clare Castle parkrun. He was close to his best time here, 2/7 by age group and 7/106 overall, so a fine effort.

Up at Bury St Edmunds, Henry Hamilton (20:49) was trying out the Nowton Park course for the first time. He did well to finish 4/15 in his age category. 19:47 remains his best parkrun time so far this year. Ruth Eberhardt (25:41) appeared to be taking it a little easier in the heat but still came 2/16 in her age group so is in good form.

Over at Milton Country Park in Cambridge Stephen Cousins put in his best parkrun time of 2018, came 2nd out of 15 in his age band and scored an age grade of 71.52%. Brian Munns (22:00) was slightly ahead of Stephen and is also in top form, coming 2/23 by age group, not far from his PB this year. Jim Withers (25:51) put in his usual fast and reliable performance, nice to see after his many injury problems some years back. Adrian Whittle (23:21) was spotted not far behind Brian and running well.

There were no NJs at the Newmarket GRL this week, due to the Marcus Gynn Newmarket 10K race in Stetchworth relying on their support for marshalling and others duties. The run did take place though and regular Stephen Croft (21:21) of Ely Runners came home first with top veteran from Sudbury Joggers, Sally-Ann Bowen (22:39) finishing first female home in her first GRL.