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 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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