Saturday, 29 August 2020

Deano's not parkie #3


         Let’s not do, not Fareham parkrun someone said last week at not Southampton parkrun. I think it may have actually been me and I wasn’t expecting anyone to join me really. I was going to get the train stupidly early. I don’t sleep anyway. God doesn’t let me for some reason.

I like the fast, flat course at Fareham and tire of Southampton not parkrun after completing the proper parkrun 80 times over the last 8 years when it started there. Anyway, Josh said he was keen and so did Di. Yay, there would be 3 of us at least. I wasn’t sure if husband Mike would be in attendance, I was hoping so though.


It had rained a lot last night and  it reminded me of a time I did proper Fareham parkrun and there was a massive puddle in the woods about a half a mile/800 metres. My feet got soaked, it was deep enough to cover my shoes. This prompted me to inform my crew of this story and to bring a change of socks and a towel. No-one listened. Which isn’t unlike most of my friends and family. Would you listen to me?


 Josh picked me up just after 7.30am. He drove us to Fareham enquiring about the right junction to turn off at. He may as well have been chatting to a two year old. People ask me for correction junction exits all the time. Instead of saying “I’m not sure/I don’t know”, I will guess and call it something like instinct and 9 times out of 10, I am wrong.

Anyway, it turns out he knew which exit to take and Di had phoned me to say that they are running a bit late. “DO NOT START WITHOUT US!”. Not only is Mike on route, we will also be joined by the lovely Patrick Joseph, another Lordshill legend.


We pull up at the Cams Mill car park and I’m reluctant to get out and warm up because it’s actually cold this morning. Autumn is here! I get out of the car in my hoody and not long after the rest of the crew turn up. It’s already time to ditch the hoody and warm up. We do the whole course as a slow warm up run. The puddles weren’t too bad. The worst ones could be ran around and avoided. There were a couple of muddy areas but nothing to worry about it. I was also a bit weary that it might be busy on the narrow gravel path. Maybe we should have got here earlier?


The warm up felt hard and I don’t feel completely empty if you know what I mean? Despite not having any breakfast. We’ll see what happens! Where Mike has no GPS watch to record a time on, I make everyone wait at the start until the exact minute of 8.18. That way, I can glance at my watch and do the maths, that’s assuming that Mike doesn’t beat me. Josh draws a line in the gravel to mark the start line and I count down. Off we go, straight down the grassy hill. Josh had blasted off ahead and ditched the path for the grass. We all shout abuse at him and call him a cheater, even though he still has to record the entire 5k or 3.11 miles on his watch. I am sandwiched between two Lordshill vests but manage to squeeze through. We run along the path next to the road and head for the trees. Josh is quite far ahead already. I knew I had no chance of catching him. I wasn’t sure how today was going to go. I had no real time in mind. I would like a sub 20 but didn’t feel fit enough. Sub 20.30 would be great though. I didn’t look back once so don’t really know how the others were getting on. I felt pretty good though as I glanced to my left to see the golfers on the golf course.


There were two cyclists ahead which Josh had obviously passed. Would they let me through. I wasn’t stopping. They heard my footfalls as I neared and they stopped on the left and let me pass. I thanked them. I hadn’t looked at my watch for 3 quarters of a mile, which was unusual for me. “Just run Dean” I kept telling myself. 6.18 for the first mile. A bit fast? I feel fine, keep going. I passed a few more people and a runner coming back towards me. I could just about see Josh in the distance “Never gonna catch him am I?” I say and smile. He laughs and looks around at Josh disappearing too.

I was hoping to see Josh on the return route by now and it wasn’t too long. Fareham parkrun is an out and back route, so you know you are halfway at the turn around point. Also, an older couple on their bikes shout “You’re nearly at the turnaround point, Well done”. I was glad to hear that as I was now suffering. Funny what a difference half a mile can make. Josh later told me that the couple also told him about the turnaround point coming up. He also told me later that when he passed me on the way back that I looked

One of the best parkrun things I have ever seen is at Melksham parkrun. They also have a turnaround point and they call it “The Bonnie Bollard” and on that black bollard is the face of Bonnie Tyler who famously sang “Turnaround”. It also stops you from running into it. Genius!

On our warm up, we decided that the turnaround point here should be around a big puddle. Just circle around it and back you go. Yay, I was halfway there and definitely living on a prayer. I think I went out too quick. Running back was good though as I got to pass Mike, Patrick and Di. I couldn’t really say too much. In fact, I think my encouragement skills were very weak. It was great to see them anyway. I hit mile 2 in 6:30. I have obviously slowed.

It got me thinking that I had never sub 20’d on this course. What was my PB here? 20:05, 20:10 something like that. Some easy maths followed. 6.27 for the next mile would get me a very close sub 20. I glanced at my watch and it said 6:27. Was I being negative or realistic? I was suffering a lot, I knew that much. I can’t hold 6:27 for this mile. I am slowing and struggling. I got my head down and pushed on regardless.

I came out of the trees and to the open land where I could see the estuary to my left, there was a strong headwind. Great! Just what I need.


I was really suffering now and averaging a pace of 6.45 for the mile. Game over. There goes the sub 20. I won’t give up though, plus I really need the toilet now. I get to the point where I am wondering if I’ll finish and how long will it take to get my bag from Josh’s car for some toilet paper. But then I’ll miss taking photos of the others running in too.

I can see Josh doing a cool down. He shouts encouragement as I give a final push. I look at my watch, 20:01. Damn. I have to run back up the starting hill to get my 3.11 miles. I stop my watch and I am exhausted and gasping for air. Josh says something but I’m struggling. I ask for my bag and ask him to take some photos while I find a quiet place to empty out. I am so dizzy and struggling to breathe though. The urgency for the toilet seemed to dissipate. I walked around and cheered the others in. Mikey, then Patrick and then our first lady again, Di.


I was now having a panic attack and my vision was distorted. Maybe I ran a bit too hard today knowing I’m not that fit yet? I calm myself and then manage to work out that I am having a retinal migraine. I have only ever had two of these before and they are weird. You get a flashing of light in one eye and it messes up your vision. It is caused by the narrowing of an artery in the retina. Stress can trigger it but there are many other things too. It is nothing serious but it usually comes with a painful headache later though. Hence the name of Retinal migraine I guess. We go to Tesco and enjoy a Costa. The visuals are back to normal and so am I. Well, am normal as a Dean Jones can be. I am relaxed and happy now. I am very pleased with my time, as is everyone else. Josh flew around in 18:22. Even though he got a 10k PB last Sunday of 37:03 at St. Albans. P2 for me in 20:09. Which is actually a course PB for me as my quickest official time is 20:16. Maybe this course isn’t as fast as I thought? Although Mikey comes in P3 with a faster time of 22:45 this week. Not long afterwards comes Patrick with a time of 23:33. First lady for the third weekend in a row is Di with a sub 24 and a great time of 23:56.

It was lovely to go for coffee and chat after. Mikey reckons we had a nice tailwind on the way out on the course which probably helped with my fast first mile and it looks like everyone’s last mile was their slowest.


There is talk of not Southsea parkrun next weekend. Come and not join us for a speedy course and not breakfast. We’ll aim for 8am again hopefully. If you do come along, don’t be upset if I get your age or sex wrong. I got Di’s age wrong the other week and I’ve guessed Patrick’s this week. Currently nothing has been said in the time of writing, so hopefully I did good. Sorry that the report is mostly about me. I’ll see if I can get one of the others to write next week. Thanks to Josh for the extra photos.. Cheers for reading.x 

Thursday, 27 August 2020

The Fritham 8


      I can’t even remember the first time I ran the Fritham 8 mile loop in the New forest. I got invited along to run the 8 mile loop from the L.O.G.S. (Lordshill Old Gits). It was a wonderful honour. They usually meet one morning in the week. Most of them are retired obviously. They start and meet in the Fritham car park and finish in the same place. The walkers start an hour earlier than the runners and they all meet for beer and crisps in the Royal Oak pub when they finish. Often, you’ll hear.. “Where is so and so? They should be here by now”. There is never any panic though. As long as they have their real ale, they are happy. It is a great gathering and I love sitting there with my morning beer and listening to all the fantastic stories they share.

     I think I have run it about 8 times over the last 4 years? I usually have Patrick Joseph or Mike Letheren to lead me around. Mike is wonderful to run with as you can learn a lot of history about the route you are running with him. Patrick is also wonderful to run with too obviously because it means I don’t get lost and die.


I met up with my friend Vicky and her lovely dog Articulus before I moved to Wales and we tried to walk the route. The weather was very challenging though with strong winds and torrential rain. I had also forgotten my gloves that day. We got halfway around and we didn’t get lost. We chose the correct paths and gates to go through but sadly the amount of rainfall meant that we couldn’t get across the river and to the bridge to complete the loop. We can no choice but to turn around and head back to the pub. By then my hands were bad. I get really severe Raynaud’s diesease. They were pale and numb, there was no feeling left in them. I couldn’t even untie my show laces or take my t-shirt off. My hands were unless. It was a scary moment. Eventually I managed to get them warm by whacking them on things and rubbing them intensely. Ha. What a day, but no regrets. It was still a great adventure and it’s so rewarding when you sit by the open fire drying off, drinking beer and eating a vegan ploughmans.


Fast forward to today. Kevin Willsher and myself had been chatting about running the loop for a while. I was pretty confident after Vicky and I went around that we wouldn’t get lost. He picked me up just after 7.30 in the A.M and he drove us to Fritham. We parked and got ready. The sun was out, it was a nice day. Shorts and t-shirt weather. A vast contrast to my last visit. We started the Garmins and ran from the car park and headed to the left. Easy gravel trails to follow with an open land of gorse bushes and ponies. We got chatting and Kev mentioned a big, white house. “Do we run towards the big, white house?”. “Yes, Kev” I said. We went left at the first fork and then had to walk a little bit due to Cows and calves on the path. The running soon resumed. We headed downhill towards the white house. It was then that I realised that my surroundings were unfamiliar, yet Kev had run this way before another time. We stopped at the bottom of the hill and paused the watches for a discussion. Do we continue along the path or turn around? We decide to head back which means running uphill and back to the junction. We take the path on the right this time (now our left) and head through the gate.


Back to familiar land. We cruise down another hill with piles of tree trunks bundled on top of one another and a forest of very tall trees on our right. I keep an eye out for any deer as I have seen them here before. Nothing, but there are no people either. Very peaceful with just the sound of our breathing and footfalls. Not entirely true though as I am not long chattering away about my birthday weekend in Weymouth in two weeks time on the 12th of September. My friend Carl from Cornwall is coming down and we’re running a 16 miler or so from Weymouth beach to Portland lighthouse and back, followed by lunch and lots of beer and staying in Weymouth on the Saturday night. Anyone is welcome to join us for either activity, or both.


Anyway, all this chatter and we come to unfamiliar ground again. Not unlike last time, it’s only until we have run down a big hill that I notice this. Kev mentions that he did see a gate on the left a while back. We jog back up the hill while I feel embarrassed to have got us lost twice already in the space of about three miles. We jog back up the hill and sure enough, now on our right is a turning with another gate. I recognise it as it has a little mosaic of mirrors on it. The surroundings open up again and we are back to running in fields of gorse bushes and more ponies. I can also hear the Stonechats with their distinctive calls. The route isn’t so obvious here but I remember this bit well as we run on a narrow sandy track and then up another little hill. Ahead is a big forest of trees. We run towards them as we rejoin a gravel trail. The Heather looks at its best today. Such bright purples everywhere. You can now see the ridge we will be climbing and running on top of on the right hand side. It looks far away and I guess it’s about another three miles away if you run the correct L.O.G.S route.


We come to another gate and enter an enclosure. It’s a nice change again as it’s dark because of all the towering trees covering us. The air smells so pure and clean here. Last time I was here Articulus was chasing deer into the woodland. We should have run about 5k now but we’re over 4 and a half miles in. We were both running/jogging at an easy pace  as Kev did his first 3k time trial last night and got under 10 minutes! I also did some speedwork.

I was breathing a bit heavy today but enjoying the run so much. We exited through another gate and continued. We were looking for the bridge to cross the river now. This should be the halfway point at 4 miles. However, we had done 10k already but neither of us were too bothered. And then… I got us lost again. We should have turned right earlier to the bridge. We found another, newer bridge but it was the wrong one. So we backtracked and followed the river and had to jump it getting slightly wet feet but not soaked. Yippee. We found the small bridge. We ran uphill and passed a house/farm on the left and at the top of the climb is a road. You now turn right and downhill before the big hill climb arrives. Now I was sure that we couldn’t get lost as there are no more paths to choose from. Just this one gravel path. We climb and climb onto the ridge and it’s worth it as we get to my favourite part. You look to the right, where we were three or so miles back and you can see for miles. Lots of lovely scenery. Mostly a greenery of trees and scrubs. Wonderful! Sadly, the sun had now gone in for the photos.


I got my breath back and we carried on. It’s fairly flat now for a while until you get a nice blast downhill into the trees again a mile or so later. We followed the path which veers one way and then another and we cross another bridge. Back amongst the tall trees until we climb again. I tell Kev that we are nearly there but this isn’t the final climb. It seems to take a while until we encounter it. One more slog uphill to the finish of the car park. It is usually exactly 8 miles but today I get 10.6 miles. Although we got lost and stopped to take some photos, it is the quickest I have run the route. I averaged 7.59 pace which surprised me. No wonder I was struggling with the breathing despite the stops.


  On the way around I was chatting to Kev and telling him how I wanted to organise a small race here. A perfect start with a car park, hardly any people around and a finish with a pub! I reckon I would need a few marshals though but then I thought I could cycle around before the race or jog and just put out some signs with arrows on. Maybe print a map or recce the course with people a few days before the race. Maybe create a gpx file? No-one to open the gates though, but you can do that yourselves. It would just be similar to the little “Not parkruns” though. Turn up with your Garmin. Run the 8 miles, upload to strava and I’ll steal the times and process a leaderboard/results page. Maybe a prize for 1st place? If we have 10 runners and everyone pays £1, the winner will get 2 pints and a bag of crisps at the Royal Just a bit of fun really. I definitely want to see how fast I can run the loop. It does get very muddy in the winter, which will add to the fun. Let me know if you’re keen or have any ideas and hopefully I’ll sort something out.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Deano's not parkrun #2

Welcome to Deano’s Not parkrun #2 race report. Back on Route F at Southampton because it’s the easiest route to remember. We were expecting a few others this week as they had messaged me in the week. Disgo Dan was probably relieved that he didn’t have to “not parkrun” this week and did a very hilly run in Sidmouth instead. Must be on a “Staycation” or something? I hate that word but I’m using it anyway because of its popularity and it makes me feel slightly youthful and in touch with modern society. Where was I?

For fear of being late again, I left a bit earlier this morning. My hamstring has been a little tender and sore this week. I couldn’t decide whether to run it slower than normal and not race it or just take some photos. I was tempted not to go at all and just wait to find out how long they waited for me to show until they ran it by themselves. I would like to think they were clueless and that the event or non event would have to be cancelled and they all walked home moaning about how they never got to run. 

Anyway, I half ran to the common from home after eating two crumpets for breakfast (I definitely wasn’t racing!). I had a backpack on with my Nikon camera and two lenses. I was also wearing a hot hooded top which I was now questioning why I had brought it along. The weather was looking good. Dry and sunny with a bit of a breeze but 40mph winds were predicted to ensue.

I couldn’t believe it. I was the first one to arrive at the start line at 7.50am. Was anyone actually going to show? I wasn’t even sure if I was going to run myself yet. The hamstring felt okay to run though. It hurts to touch it though but then I heard one of Mike Mattingly’s classic quotes in my head “Don’t touch it then”. Makes me laugh. My favourite is still the time I said “I haven’t been to Scotland for 20 years!”. “It’s still there” he replied. Haha. Brilliant. 

A few minutes pass and Josh comes running over from the Avenue direction. He has a 10k race in St. Albans tomorrow so is taking it easy. This makes me decide to run with him and chat with my heavy backpack on. Di arrives from the right on the path while Mike is coming from the other direction on the path. It’s almost like a red arrow display of Mattinglys. That’s four of us. No sign of Khalid, James, Rob or Trevor. And then fashionably late again comes Kevin Willsher from the East. We chat for a bit and think about getting started. Yay, Khalid,James and Yusuf arrive. Looks like that’s it. James will be guiding Khalid as he is partially blind if you didn’t know. Don’t let that fool you though, he is a true racing snake and stole my third place at Southampton 10k in 2017. I still talk to him though. Yusuf is his 7 year old son and he’s on his bike. It looks like we have a lead cyclist today! Still no Rob Callen or Trevor Hillier though. It’s almost 8.10am and Di is getting impatient. We had better start before someone dies and Di goes to prison. At least they have parkruns now! 5-4-3-2-1…..

Off we go again. Josh and I watch as everyone else darts forward ahead of us. Kev is on a tempo run today. The only real runners we got here today are the Mattinglys and Khalid. Both Di and Khalid are on their comeback tours and hoping to beat one another. I don’t really pay too much attention to what is going on really. Josh and I chat away (like a pair of old ladies according to Di). Di is still ahead of us with James guiding Khalid just ahead of her. No sign of Mike and Kev. The weather is perfect while Josh and I gossip away. We see a few runners we know. Rob and Kim Kelly again. Rosie Essery and Alice Jones. Martin Stevens. Dave Keates. Claire Mcerlean and so on.. 

We pass Di but don’t catch Khalid and James. The lead bike nearly runs me over as Josh shouts “Bike”. Jusuf is flying down the hill behind us. Apparently he got a bit lost and doesn’t know the route. Shame Kev didn’t follow and DNF really. Kev knows the route very well. We come to the flats and speedy V60 Mike has already finished. He said he was worried that Khalid and James were going to catch him. They didn’t though. Just as we were about to hit the third mile, the rains pours down from out of nowhere. Well, I guess the sky actually. It didn’t look like it was going to rain. It was pretty heavy rain and a bit of a surprise. Josh leaves me in a sprint finish and Di isn’t too far behind. We stand and chat in the downpour and it feels quite refreshing although a little cold. Not long until it stops though and the sun is back out. Then we see Rob Callen on his parkrun. He was a bit late. Because I said “8-ish” people tend to be in no rush for the start (or so Di reckons). Kev carried on his tempo run and we saw him pass us a couple of times. He later told me that Trevor was waiting at the parkrun start line just before 9am. I should have stated our 8am start time I guess. It was another fun one though. I enjoyed it just as much as when I raced it the previous week and the hamstring feels okay (unless I touch it!). 

Kev comes in first place with 19.40 on his tempo run.

Speedy V60 Mike in second with 22.59 again, according to Khalid who calls him “The Garminless man”.

Khalid lying about his slow 27 minute parkruns and beating Di with 23.30. We obviously can’t let the guide runner beat the runner. James Fanning comes in with a close 23.31. Josh Chivers beats me on the gravel for a 23.45. Some sprint finish to beat me by 15 seconds with a time of bang on 24.00 minutes and last but first lady again is Di Mattingly with another improved time of 24.21.

During the results, I had to do some research and look up some ages. Especially as I got Di’s wrong last week! So, a quick look on “Power of 10” unveiled this:

Diane Mattingly parkrun PB 22.34 in 2018

Michael Mattingly parkrun PB 20.36 in 2013 (Slacker!)

Khalid Elkhereiji parkrun PB 19.18 in 2019

Dean Jones parkrun PB 19.02 in 2017 (Another slacker)

Josh Chivers parkrun PB 18.24 in 2019

Kevin Willsher parkrun PB 17.12 in 2018

James Fanning parkrun PB 17.04 in 2018


I didn’t realise that Khalid and James had such fast times. I did know that both Josh and Kev have beaten these 5k times during lockdown but they don’t I’m yet to train Di and Mike.


Not sure what to do next weekend but will be heading to the Fareham parkrun course one Saturday morning for an 8am start soon.

Thanks for reading. Happy running. X


After the parkrun, Di told me the sad news that legendary Ron Trodd passed away. Great memories of Ron cheering me on at Eastleigh parkrun. Always smiling, shouting words of encouragement to everyone while sat in his chair on the corner and ringing his bell. I also enjoyed listening to stories from Roger Bradley when they used to race each other. Hampshire running has lost a great. R.I.P Ron. You’ll always be in that corner ringing that bell at Eastleigh parkrun. xx

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Deano's Not parkrun #1

On Saturday March the 14th, little did I know that it would be my last parkrun for a very long time and for a change, not due to an injury. I moved to a village in Wales and spent 3 months in isolation not knowing anyone and decided to come back as I was also spending too much money on rent. It was great to see some familiar faces after 3 months of loneliness, although the views were spectacular and the animals on the marsh road become my best friends. Anyway, 5 months after my last parkrun and still no signs of any return, just rumours and maybes..    


I have been doing “Not parkruns” or “Non parkruns” still when I was residing in Wales and this is all thanks to the Vegan runners parkrun community. They, or should I say Mike Harper, fellow Vegan runner and Fareham Crusader gets everyone from Vegan runners to post their timed “Not parkruns” either on the parkrun facebook page or he’ll take your stats from the parkrun strava group. I get to see my fellow Vegans posting their selfies with their times and a little story attached to it and where in the UK they are. It is very inspiring. Mike collects those details and writes a fantastic race report with everyone included in the post. And it is very detailed and sometimes very random facts but I absolutely love them and look forward to them each week. Mike actually becomes a V60 today and he’s still speedy too!


   I am back from a hip injury now and the last few weeks I have been running proper parkrun courses at Southampton common. Well, one course in particular, Route F. Well, I think it’s route F! It starts on the “Flats”, you head towards the Bellemoor pub, take the first right, over the little bridge and then turn right at the crossroads/junction and head downhill towards the Cowherds pub. Before you get there though you turn right onto the new-ish gravel path and behind the play park where the paddling pool used to be. Follow that black fence around and veer off left until you are back to where you started. 1 mile done!


Repeat the “Flats”, turn right again as before, over the little bridge but you turn left at the crossroads/junction this time and head up hill instead of downhill. This is the hardest part in my opinion and probably most other people’s. Anyway, no-one cares about opinions, right? 

Take a left after the climb and you have now completed mile 2. Mile 3 is the quickest for most. A nice descent on the hill that you once had to climb twice on one of the old parkrun routes. Route C maybe? Continue on the path and past the pond on your left. At the end, take a left and then head back to “The flats”. It still seems a long way as you have to run all the way to the start and you only turn right onto the gravel path finish when there are no more exits. Do not take the first right onto the gravel path! That’s it, simple course even for me to remember.


The first route F I did was 3 weeks ago. I ran a 20:30 and it nearly killed me. I was hoping to pace more comfortably until my fitness returned. It never happened. It was a good idea to run it at 7am though. Fewer people around and not as hot.

Last week, I returned but with Di Mattingly at 7am again. I ran the course with Di. Di put in a really good effort and we finished with a sub 25. Di was really surprised how bad her fitness was over the 5k. Parkrun sure has a big part to play in some of our fitness and speedwork. Not the people who train properly though obviously!

Roll on to this week. Di was keen to return with me and race it again. This time I messaged Josh, Disgo Dan, and Kev. I was surprised when I turned up everyone was there apart from Kev but he had been replaced by our guest of honour.. Mike Mattingly. Aka Di Mattingly on That winds her up.


I somehow slept through my alarm and woke up 15 minutes later than planned. I made a coffee, drank it and ran 2 miles to the start. I had got there at 8:01 rather than the arranged time of 8am. Doh! Luckily they hadn’t started without me. We chatted for a bit then an even later Kev came running over. I knew he was on his 4th beer when he messaged me last night telling me that he was on his 4th beer. I knew he would be okay though as we once got hammered on Spingo in Helston, Cornwall the night before my favourite parkrun at Trelissick. He still came in 2nd place behind a rapid 15 year old kid. (Probably in his 20’s!).

   I’m not really good in crowds, despite them all claiming to be my friends, so there wasn’t really a race briefing. I just told everyone that they had to run 3.11 miles if they were in miles and not 3.10 as its not 5k. Another thing I learned from Mike Harper on the Vegan runners not parkruns. I did a quick 3-2-1 countdown and the garmins did their beeping and buzzing.

  We were off. I went out pretty quick trying to keep up with an imaginary Alan Graham and the other speedsters I’m used to seeing. A glance at the watch says 5:40 pace. I sensibly slow and let Josh and Kev pass me on either side. I could still get a podium finish though right? My breathing feels laboured already and I tell Kev so, who is ahead but says he will pace me. My plan was to run 7’s again, like when I got that 20:30? The air was nice and cool though, this was PB conditions but not for any of us today. Maybe Josh? Josh is now well ahead and shows no signs of slowing. I talk to Kev in small sentences and say Hi to Kim Kelly as we pass her and turn right towards the Cowherds. Ah, love this downhill bit. I turn right onto the gravel path and can see Josh through the other side of the black railings. That would be the last time I would see him until the end of my 5k on the “flats” to the finish. No P1 for me today.


Kev was telling me to speed up despite me telling him I only wanted to run 7’ First mile 6:38. Now for that tough 2nd mile. I could no longer talk to Kev as I was breathing harder. I told myself to relax and take it easier on the 2nd mile, although I still wanted a sub 7. We repeat the run towards the Bellemoor, right and over the little bridge again. We then turn left and up the hill this time around. This is bloody hard and going on forever. Keeping pushing Deano. Was that Kev or me who said that? I look at my watch, get my head down and drive forward. I want that sub 7 on this mile and scrape by with a 6.56. Okay, relax the breathing and take charge of this downhill. Last mile and downhill with a lot of flat. Push dude.


Is that Rob Kelly? Of course it is. I have never been in front of Rob Kelly in a race. Although parkrun isn’t a race right? I’m still in 3rd though as we chat to Rob. This surprisingly helps me relax my body and breathing and I’m still running a sub 7. Rob veers off to the Bellemoor entrance to meet up with Dave Keates and Ian Howard. I know this, because we see them later on after this pain and misery is over. I tell Kev that I “should” run an average pace of 6.45. I have worked this out based on my 2 previous mile times and what pace I’m currently doing. To be able to work this out so well, I can’t be putting enough effort in right?


We hit the flats and pass Kim Kelly again. I can already see Josh running into the finishing straight. I shout encouragement although it’s probably inaudible. He probably thinks I’m just calling him a tosser anyway. I’m only going to run 21 minutes and it’s still bloody painful! I keep telling myself that I need to sort my diet out and stop eating the crisps every night! I need to lose a stone in weight at least I reckon. I may not look fat but I feel fat and my tummy tells me so. Okay, I have come a long way from 18 and a half stone and a waist size of 44 inches.

Di reminds me of this when I give myself a hard time but without my anger and annoyance I will just get fat again. They are useful tools.


I hit the final mile in 6.37. A bit quicker than I expected. Kev hasn’t told me but it’s then that I realise that I am really close to 20:30 again. I decide to blast it for the 0.11 but sadly, just over the 30 second mark with 36 seconds. Really pleased with 20:36 though but a long way from that 19:02 PB back during the second world war, or was it the first?

I stop the watch, congratulate Josh on the P1. Thank Kev for the pacing and just lay on the wet grass breathing heavily and looking up at the sky. After a minute or two I sit up and get ready to snap a photo of the awesome V60 Mike Mattingly. Mike doesn’t wear a Garmin though or do social media or even Tik Tok! I ask around frantically for the time even though I’m wearing a watch myself! 8.30am bang on. That gives me a Guessitmate on his time when I look back and see what time we actually started our watches. Not long after, is Disgo Dan. Not with quite the smiley grace that Mike presented to us. You can tell Disgo has put a lot of effort into this 5k. And did say that he, like Di is not producing his best 5k times lately, with the exception of Josh who ran a 17:54 or something PB a couple of weeks ago.


The first thing Disgo says when he grinds to a halt and pauses his Garmin… “Have we really missed parkrun though?” This make me laugh a lot. Just waiting on Di now who was hoping to do better than the previous week. She knew she was going to be last but she always puts in 100% and will still be first lady anyway. She races in and we all beam with smiles once the pain subsides and we chat away. It was so nice to catch up and race these people. I wish there were some more people though. We had 6 which is the maximum I guess but we were so far apart because of our abilities and times today. I’m sure we could squeeze another 4 people in there or do 2 waves of 6 based on times.

  We also got to chat to Rob Callen after his not parkrun and saw Khalid running with James. Oh and Alex Beaton showed up for a not parkrun as we were leaving. Was really nice to chat to him as I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years. What a great morning with a nice cool breeze and some great people.


Josh Chivers was P1 today. A real good friend from skateboarding. Loves his running now and looking to join a running club and train with some people.


Kevin Willsher was P2 today. First met Kev at an RR10. Stoney cross I think? Seems like many summers ago now. A V40 inspiration for me.


Me in p3. Working on getting those sub 20’s back for the Autumn.


Mike Mattingly p4. Semi-retired mechanic and my better father figure in life. I want to be like Mike but not actually Mike. Could you imagine me with an afro?


Disgo Dan p5. Beaten by a 60 year old and only ran to 3.10 miles Known Dan since the early days of skateboarding and getting drunk. We were a nightmare once! Disgo Dj’s a lot in places like Belgium and Blues/Overdraft etc.. Nearly got married this year as


Di Mattingly p6. First lady and lives for running marathons. I think she’s gonna be in the 100 club before we know it! She looks after me in a societal role and also gives me the occasional moral to think about. I also let her car share with me from time to time.


The fastest average pace today was 6.00 minutes per mile, the slowest 7.52. Which is still pretty impressive I think!


 I had the highest average heart rate of 162 BPM.

Di had the lowest with 134 BPM

In the middle we had Kev with 135, Dan with 137 and Josh with 154.

Mike sadly had no pulse.

Some of these stats may actually not be true!  

The rest of the results can be seen in the photo above that I put together.

Thanks for reading. See you next Saturday at 8am maybe? I’m off to the pub….