Runners Enjoy a Warm Winter Day on Wormwood Scrubs

And invite others to join them on Boxing Day and New Year's Day

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Parkrun 237 - December 19

A mild, mild, mild winter’s day. Who would have thought December could be so warm? The course, lacking enough water to flood puddles, had thick-gooey shoe-grabbing mud instead, and 52 runners experienced ground that was slippy but not too squelchy. With today as the warmest* December day on record, torrentially rainy thunderstorms are forecast so don’t throw away your spikes just yet.

Wormwood Scrubs will be parkrunning on Boxing Day 9am as usual (Saturday December 26), New Year’s Day at 10am so you have an hour longer in bed, and Saturday 2 January at 9am as usual. Do dust off your running shoes and come along.

Some people will go to any lengths to avoid running, though there must be easier ways than falling off your bicycle head first, on a slippery corner, and breaking your collar bone. Condolences to Peter Jordan who did just that, and who we hope to see regularly on the volunteer roster. This week: Finish Tokens. Next week: run director? The week after: who knows?

Volunteering is fun, and each time you volunteer you get one-twenty fifth of a beautiful ‘aubergine’ coloured T-shirt**, so do sign up for the Volunteer Roster mailing list at

Many thanks also to our other volunteers. Rob Ferguson run directed, Fran Santos kept time, Lan Lan Smith and Simon Madison closed down the course, Marion and Fraser Brydson manned the tea urn, Peter Gough scanned barcodes and did the most ‘valuable’ job of guarding the bags and bikes. He did a splendid job, guarding the lonely left over bike of James Malcolm, who was so focused on tea and flapjacks in the TVH clubhouse that he had abandoned it. James revealed he doesn’t look at the results or read the run report. So James, that was a lovely Fulham shirt you were wearing, a great improvement on Brentford colours, and so sorry you were beaten across the line by Poppy this week.

Nick Michael had the challenging job of putting out flags to mark the course. After last week’s controversy, he laid out five flags in a row on the disputed corner and STILL someone ran the wrong side of them. So here, for the avoidance of doubt, is a course description. Please sing in the manner of Tom Lehrer if you’re old enough to remember who he is. On the first corner run inside the flags but don’t cut the corner, on the second corner run round the outside of the final flag of the row of flags, on the third corner leave the litter bin to your left, on the fourth corner run wherever you choose, on the back straight run down the mud or through the grass, but through the mud is quicker, on the fifth corner run inside the flags, on the sixth corner run inside the flags but on the outside of the litter bin, on the fork in the path take the right hand fork (but not sharp right which would take you into someone’s front room), on the seventh corner run wherever you chose, on ‘the U-bend’ (corner no. 8) leave the sapling to your right but under no circumstances cut the corner, repeat corners one through eight, repeat the first corner, after 200m turn right to the finishing straight. Now does every body get that?

As promised to Andrea Calderwood, who is leading the women’s points table, here is the date of our fifth birthday party: 11th June, 2016, when the winner of the points table gets a glorious trophy with their name engraved on it. Andrea who experiences a Pavlovian desire to put on her running kit and come to parkrun when the alarm goes off on a Saturday morning is leading the points table, without even knowing such a thing existed. With apologies to her rivals, Marion Brydson and Kirstie Tew, she does now. She has promised to clear her calendar so that she can maintain her standing. Organise your layabed teenagers Andrea and friends, and do join us afterwards in the Thames Valley Harriers clubhouse for tea and flapjacks.

Catherine and Alex Wright came up by train from Northamptonshire to be at Wormwood Scrubs and have clocked up an impressive 93 different parkrun locations (including coincidentally Bedford, our parkrun twin). In all their parkrun experience, what was the stand out Wormwood Scrubs quality? Friendliness! Now that is really nice to know.

Also on their travels, Will Paynton is heading to Bristol for his sister’s birthday (the big Four Oh) with a tray of home baked Paraguayan Meat Loaf and Fran Santos is off to Siena for Christmas, where he swears the weather will be as bad and the days as short as in London. I’m afraid Peter Jordan and I were sceptical, we think you were just trying to make us feel better.

If we could measure enjoyment and effort we would award prizes for that. As we can’t, we measure time over the line instead. The results therefore are: in the women’s race: Marta SAWICKA was first in 23:00, Natalya SMITH was second in 23:52 and Catherine WRIGHT was third in 25:09.

In the men’s race, Matthieu PREVOT was first in 19:53, despite having run Rob Ferguson into the ground on a training run last week, Gideon REID was second in 20:18 and Alex WRIGHT was third in 20:46. So Paul WOODGATE was pipped into fourth place, and unable even to blame his advanced age.

In the women's annual points competition Marion BRYDSON has 1703 points, pushing Andrea CALDERWOOD into second with 1633 points and Kirstie TEW, who we were sorry not to see this week, into third with 1591 points.

In the Men's annual points competition Manuel CORRIENTE has 2133 points, James SPENDER has 2019 points and Nick MICHAEL has 1946 points. James Spender is in Dubai for Christmas so Nick you have an opportunity. With 24 more Saturdays in the points table year there is everything to play for.

John Gregory Luke Bardsley achieved the day’s only personal best of 22:43 in his second outing on the Scrubs. A warm welcome to Luke Canvin, Annabel Turner, Natalya Smith, Paul Smith, Andrew Jackson, Vin Lam, Elen Baugh, Neil Fairbrother, Douglas Armstrong, Simon Mayo, Hannah Milton, John Leonard, Alex Wright, Catherine Wright who all ran with us for the first time. Lovely to see you and do please come again.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year


* well, almost the warmest
** renamed ‘purple’. Collect all 25 to win a volunteers T-shirt

Parkrun 236 - December 12

It was 7 degrees and overcast on Wormwood Scrubs this week with an 8kt southerly wind. The forecast had become vague about the chances of heavy rain and while it threatened a few drops as we laid kit out only very light moisture was forthcoming. Decision to wear Goretex jacket was generally considered to be the wrong one! As Charlie's sister Katie and brother-in-law were visiting the mud was laid on fresh and thick but not too puddled. Forecasts and mud did not put off 46 runners turning out for the parkrun including another 12 First Timers!  Run Director Rob Ferguson started us off at a slightly delayed 09:03, due to Poppy trying to drag him back to the Finish line. Announcements included the New Year' Day Scrubs ParkRun arrangements which is planned to start at 10am and we expect to have the normal Saturday Scrubs ParkRun at 9am on 2nd January. Make your resolutions now to set an extra alarm clock!

An Unknown runner in a red singlet [Some issues with the results this week - the now reinstated unknown runner was Will Edward Cullen] set the pace from the start and nearly led us off to the right at the top Scrubs boundary. Fortunately Matthieu Prevot of Clapham Chasers RC was close enough to be able to call a warning but may have regretted this as he then came second by 7 seconds in 19:29. We then had 2 more Unknowns (although one was apparently Charlie's brother-in-law [and Gideon Reid]) before James Spender in 20:40 and James Malcolm in 21:42. I am blaming the Goretex jacket, a sore throat and my wife's Christmas party last night!

The Ladies were led home by Jasmine Sandalli of Clapham Chasers RC in 26:43, followed by Katie Taggart of St Helens Striders in 27:22 and Kate O'Donoghue of Thames Valley Harriers in 27:32.

On an age-graded basis Matthieu Prevot scored 68.52%, Simon Rubens 67.69% and James Spender 66.53%.

There were no PBs this week. Of the First Timers, Edd Saunders came 10th in 22:25. Neil Hunter was close behind in 22:41 and achieved 61% on an age-graded basis. Simeon Williamson, Katy Parkes, Ana Das and Victoria Austen ran their first ever ParkRuns. Special mention to Victoria for running her first 5km! Thank you for braving the mud and hope to see you all again soon!

Many thanks to all the volunteers: Run Director Rob Ferguson braving the Scrubs without his gloves, TimeKeeper Ben Le Rougetel, Barcode Scanner Aidan McKay, Finish Tokens Paul Taylor, Pre-Event Setup Mud-Slinger Kirstie Tew, Post-event Close Down George mud-surfer Robert Barnes.

In the Thames Valley Harriers clubhouse afterwards a fine crew of volunteers, Charlie Le Rougetel, Katie Taggart, Fraser Brydson and Isaac Taggart dished out tea and flap-jacks. Charlie went so far as to dish out some wild allegations of shortcuts by Katy Parkes in her first ever ParkRun. Luckily Charlie isn't writing the Run Report this week or they might have been repeated! Harry also got into the Christmas Spirit with a Bah-Humbug hat (see Flickr).

We raised £14.40 towards the Kipepeo Foundation Christmas library building project. To see the new children's library at Koguta near Lake Victoria and for more information about the charity surf your way to

Upcoming events include Boxing Day ParkRun featuring Hugh Ferrand's 100th! I however will not be back until the New Year as we are swapping the Scrubs Mud for Dubai Sun! Happy Christmas!