ERR Virtual Parkrun Report by Graham Bridges

The virtual parkrun has become almost as much of a ritual as the real one used to be for some of us, although unfortunately I don't think I will be able to claim any of them in my quest to reach the elusive 250 runs.

The most memorable of the 5 virtuals that I've done was for the wrong reasons, and serves as a good lesson in trying to be too clever, something I should have learned years ago. Basically, it was a cool, windy morning, and I thought my best chance of a wind-assisted fast time, away from anyone else, was to head for South Leigh, and keep heading west. The trouble with that, as I soon realised, was that 5k west from South Leigh would pretty much take me into Witney, and would mean a long trudge back home into the wind. I gave up on the idea about 2 miles in, and the time was already looking pretty lousy, tailwind or otherwise. As it was, my run back was still 3 miles, and long enough for some people to think that it was my actual parkrun effort. It was only marginally slower, in any case.

Anyway, lessons learned, and all that, and enough of my tales of woe. Here are some numbers on the first 5 weeks of the ERR Virtual Parkrun.

Total number of runs recorded: 222

Most number of runs in a given week: 52 (weeks 3 and 4)

Number of different people registering a run: 69

Top 5 Age Graded Scores Women:

1st Kate Allred 87.42

2nd Kate Williamson 82.84

3rd Liz McAllister 75.81

4th Sheila Gascoigne 71.65

5th Jacky Pinnock 69.35

Top 5 Age Graded Scores Men:

1st Mark Tyrrell 78.48

2nd Dafydd Warburton 74.97

3rd Benedict Pollard 73.03

4th Graham Bridges 71.43

5th Matt Thomas 70.66

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Banbury 15 Report by Nick Sheard

The ‘Eynsham 13’ were among a field of 250 runners for the ‘Banbury 15’ 2020, run over a 15-mile course in challenging and wet conditions. The near 250 starters were not observing any social distancing at all as they huddled together against the driving wind and rain and set out from Spiceball on a loop course that takes in the villages of Little and Great Bourton, Cropedy, Appletree (the road amassed with water-soaked potholes) and returning via the villages to the finish at Spiceball. Some natural physical distancing did occur as the field started to string out and the miles ticked by, although Eynsham maintained small subsets of club runners grouping fairly close together throughout.

Kate Allred capped a stellar performance with a second place finish in the ladies race in 101 minutes, with Mark Tyrell first Eynsham male and twelfth overall in 94 minutes. Peter Green, Richard Hume and Benedict Pollard also flew round the course in fast times. New Club Chairman Simon proved that he is a runner as well as a Walker by pipping yours truly to the finish line, with Toby Goss also securing a sub 2-hour finish. Alastair Graham, Stan Johnston, Anna Mackin and Jane Garton all finished with very creditable times and smiles on their faces. Special mention must go to Colin Hancox, who persevered to the finish line despite picking up an injury en route. At the front of the field there was a close finish with the race founder’s son just holding off last year’s winner James Bolton (Woodstock Harriers) to take the win by 22 seconds. The ladies team prize went to Cherwell. Headington won the male team prize.

The ‘Banbury 15’ has taken place every year since 1994, apart from two cancellations owing to the weather. The threat of neither Covid-19 nor the continuing rain was enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the Eynsham 13 who took part in the 25th running of this spring event. Let’s hope we are back next year and any ban has been well and truly buried by then….

Take care, stay safe, and stay well!

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Buckingham Parkrun Report by Mark Tyrrell

59:59 slowest 3rd place parkrun ever!!

After a few years of inconsistency due to injuries 2020 has been planned for sensible training and planned races, with 2 maybe 3 big Ironman and half Ironman races planned injury is something I wanted to steer clear of!

So eynsham rr decided to do a fast parkrun January, I decided to pick one, and one weekend and see where my fitness is. Buckingham was chosen and the date was set in the diary so whatever the weather and whatever the conditions I was racing that day!! The day came and after lots of rain, flooding had cancelled most park runs in Oxfordshire but thankfully Buckingham was still on. We parked and ran to the start to do a warm up and check the route.

We were notified by the organisers that the course had been changed due to flooding, and this meant an out and back including 3 laps around a small path in the park, So off we went, the 2 in front who I knew were in a different league to me, so I let them go and settled into a steady pace, we hit the first loop of the course all was fine, 2nd Lap was very busy, 3rd lap was spent mostly running on the muddy grass as the path was pretty much blocked, we peeled off to run back to the finish and I looked at my watch thinking surely that’s not going to be the full distance, and it wasnt I crossed the line in 16:12, 4.554km, well that’s a parkrun pb I will never beat!! but knowing parkrun distances are very random thought it would just stand! So we warmed down with a local runner who took us round the usual course to find no flooding and no ice so wondered why they changed the course!! Drove home happy with how I ran and optimistic that my fitness was returning, I logged in to parkrun results to find they had mis-calculated the course and decided to give the whole field 59:59 to make it fair!! Although my average parkrun time took a dive I did get a bottle of wine!! My next planned race was Newbury racecourse 10k (welcome storm ciara) and then Wokingham half, so whoever is doing that be warned I think we have snow on the way!! 

I can’t report on anyone else but well done to all who ran a parkrun.

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Ascott 10k Report by Adrian Pinnock

Race Report: Ascot-under-Wychwood  Multi-Terrain 10K

The race is set in a picturesque village in the Evenlode Valley, organised by a band of very dedicated people who put on a well organised event to raise money for their local village charities.

As we arrived at the venue the car park marshal indicated to Kate to park anywhere under the oak tree, so it set the tone for a relaxed event.

As we listened to the Race Directors instructions, Mark Creasey commented how typical it was of a quintessential English Village of a bygone age, with the talk drowned out by the sound of a Vintage Biplane engine circling overhead. 

After an horrendous rain soaked Saturday,  when the race organisers nearly called if off, the Sunday morning was a glorious autumnal day with bright blue sky. 

There were 2 race distances (5k and 10K), although the Club Championship was the 10K, due to flooding a late course change for the 5K had been necessary.

We set off along a tarmac section for a short way before crossing a slippery bridge where you were advised to walk before you started the ascent up towards the main A3061 road.  Once running along the top field there were fantastic views of the valley below.  On the way back they even provided in one field a knee deep shoe wash.

The race took me back 35 years or more when running en masse wasn’t the norm as it is today,  like the first race I did from the Newlands Inn in Eynsham in the 1980s and the Great North Run in 1989 with only 9/10,000 participants (now 57,000)!

It is great that people are out there running but this race was more enjoyable as there weren’t the mass of runners so you had space to look around, reflect and take your time (as in my case).

My race number was No 8 (which in Chinese culture is the luckiest number), so although I was unlikely to win any prizes in the race, it was a pleasant surprise to find my name drawn out for the Wine.

So all in all a great race for our car passengers, Becky who was 2nd Lady overall,  Jacky with 1st lady vet 55 and Kate would have won the 65+ category if there had been one.

To all you Eynsham runners who missed out on this scenic and well organised race, put it in your diaries for next year, a great training run for the Cross Country season.

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Runfestrun report by Sandra Jinks

RUNFESTRUN 22 – 24 May 2020

Return of this event organised by Chris Evans and well known athletes, Colin Jackson, Steve Cram, Paula Radcliffe & Natasha Evans confirmed as Team leaders over this weekend also accompanied by live bands tbc.

I went to the first one held last May at Bowood Parkland, Wilts. deciding to go just for the Friday as  it being my first festival other than food or flowers & feeling I should prepare for an element of chaos, mud and loud music, I was pleasantly surprised at the fantastic organisation together with beautiful surroundings. (2020 will not disappoint as it is to be held in Windsor Great Park.)

My Titanium knee then all of 3 months old I knew would incur consideration when seeing the queues at the race registration tents, club runs, individual and family all with chosen distances during the day time and evening twilight also moon lit neon runs. Still undecided I wandered towards the sign that showed Steve Cram was about to start his talk so took a seat in the marque for inspiration, certainly it was entertaining. After that a walk over to the tents erected for massage treatments and sports health advice, this would certainlyget me in the right frame of mind, there was even Club La Santa with encouraging details of their active holidays on offer. Nearby I could get the aromas of food being freshly cooked some with nutritional benefits, some that certainly were not! difficult to choose, but not far away were the beer tents & Gin bars, here I did spend a little time, well there was an array of flavours.. tis more like what I'm used to.

Began to notice runners making their way to the start positions even joined in cheering them to the finish flags. Razorlite began setting up on stage and people of all ages some dressed in their night clothes, well the ones being pushed in prams, gathered to listen. So with a rhubarb gin in one hand an amazing filled bap with chips in the other I settled down to enjoy the evening that was ablaze with stage technical design lighting together with runners jogging with their Neon lights. After sometime when the night was getting late I left the event for a welcome sleep at a nearby establishment, never did get back to those registration tents..................

Many running clubs were taking part last year, also very much a family event. The Saturday is very much RACE DAY  so that may well suit a team from Eynsham Roadrunners to take part also as shown on the web the programme for Friday and Sunday has much to offer.

Benjamin Pollard had expressed his interest in encouraging a team so please do speak to him or myself to show your interest.

First release of Tickets: 25th Sept to 31st Oct. (2019 prices) second is 1st Nov to 31st Jan. Final 1st Feb to 21st May


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Woodstock 12 Report by Jacky Pinnock

Woodstock 12 (The Golden Loo Heist)

A lovely sunny September morning as we set off from Eynsham to Woodstock.  Kate had suggested cycling over but although our legs would have been warmed up for the race, the thought of cycling back after 3 laps of the “Hill” might have been too much for the journey back, so we took the easy option by car.  Luckily for us as the original plan was to enter via Bladon Gate, but as we drove past it was taped off with Police Vehicles present, unbeknown to us it was the result of the  “Golden Loo Heist”.

When we arrived a few hardy Eynsham runners were already warming up and getting in those extra miles in preparation for their various Marathon challenges later in the year, Kate and I had a short jog deciding to use the first lap as a warm up rather than set off too fast and then struggle on the next two laps. 

Kate and I chatted our way round the first lap taking in the views and enjoying the lovely surroundings.

On the 2nd lap Kate had dropped back a little and I was feeling good so pushed on and overtook a few runners only to be caught by Simon Taylor (lead bike) and James Bolton finishing his race on the final stretch.  It was quite interesting to see James finishing for a change, he certainly didn’t seem to be feeling the effects of 3 undulating laps but then he probably trains there all the time.

The third lap started well but by the time I reached the Combe Gate Hill I could feel my legs tiring.  I guess it will be more Hill Training at Botley this winter for me.

There was good support from Eynsham spectators around the course and the Woodstock marshals which helped to keep me going.

We were rewarded with an Acorn (now planted in pot) and another fabulous Mythakulon T-Shirt for the collection (thanks Benedict).

It was another successful day for Eynsham Roadrunners with Kate Allred winning the ladies race, Robert Storey was 2nd Male 50 and Kate Williamson and I winning our respective age categories.

All round a very pleasant race.

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Hooky 6 Report by Alison Craggs

All I can remember about this race was the booze.

Ian’s plan had me down for 15 miles that day, but I had entered the Hooky 6, so went for a long warm up and stumbled across the Hook Norton Brewery, before finding my way back to the start line.  It was a two lap course and 6 miles later we ended up back where we started.

The race, which is in the Club Champs and is the reason why I had entered, sells out quickly and unfortunately quite a few people were not able to get a place.  There was a bar at the finish and although Adrian and other Eynsham Road Runners had missed out on getting a place they did not miss out on getting a pint ready for the presentations.

Kate finished second lady overall and won a box of 3 Hook Norton beers and a beer glass.   She didn’t like beer so promptly gave the beer away to Jackie and Adrian, but kept the beer glass – because having won the race last year she now has a matching set.  Top tip, if you like beer make sure you are near Kate at the presentations.

Jackie was then declared second in her age category and won more beer. 

Jackie and Adrian had kindly given me a lift and on the way home talk was about the Hooky Christmas Canter, which again sells out.  Adrian was telling us that he enjoys that race because as you run round you pop into the church and get mulled wine and mince pies.  Jackie didn’t know of this, as she’d always sprinted past the church to win the race!

I did not win any beer that day, but did complete the 15 miles and won the wine 3 weeks later.

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Race to the Stones Report by Tess Evans

Racing to the stones – Avebury that is, not to some gig somewhere.

Ok, its an ultra of sorts, an ultra with options. I had been looking at this event for some time, picking it up and putting it down like some kind of ornament I had no use for. I had my reasons for dithering, these were significant, so when Colin, whilst walking his dog said he didn’t know what sock to wear for this event he signed up to, I decided.

It wasn’t about the socks, or even Colin. It was about getting back on the event waggon.

After running my first and very enjoyable marathon in October; I hadn’t been my usual active self. Maybe I needed to recover longer than I did. Possibly, it is said you need to have more of a break than you think, but not stop completely. Well, I didn’t quite do that.

I had a few medical issues and health scare which slowed me down, likely at the point I should have picked up. I fully understand what it is like to wait for a diagnosis, mulling over uncertainty and possibilities. In the end I decided to keep busy, I called the problem ‘Jeff’, as anything would be an assumption which could embody misdirected fears; I went on holiday and did a few nice things I wanted to do. Jeff is still with me as a passenger and is not too disruptive, although a concern. I wont bore people with the detail, but learning you have a benign tumour in your lung doesn’t relieve you, or excite you. Just exhale (metaphorically, because actually it effects breathing) that ‘it could be worse’.

So. I’m doing this event and others to push against Jeff. Unwanted passenger who seems harmless who might get me in the future. I should currently be struggling to breathe going up stairs, but I’m not. Why – because I have been active most of my life, and I’m little. Fortunate still.

Enough about me and why.

The event – a well organised machine, very accessible to all abilities. Weather for some was good, a little on the warm side for me.  We had more snacks available than was sensible, drink possibilities that were endless, and; So. Many. Stops.

Colin valiantly declared he would follow me as he had not done something like this before (I don’t remember being a) an expert, b) er, likewise?). Never mind. I hope he understands how I operate…

An hour into the event walk/ jogging to get out the way of people and chatting – I realised that it would have been better to do the whole thing in one go, especially as I was talking to walkers who were saying my pace was good walking speed and they were going to go through the night. Haha.

Lesson no 6. This is a different race to other events, and it will be down to technique as well as endurance and speed.

Lesson no 7. No matter how bright your t-shirt is, some t*@* will step on you.

Lesson no 8. The food at the stations is free to help yourself, but don’t eat 4 times as much, or you’ll look like that person who is shamelessly building another camel hump.

Lesson no 9. This might be a trail path, but the sun has packed it hard like concrete, trail shoes not needed (ouch!)

Lesson no 10. Feet swell, they keep swelling and want to escape the shoe.

Lesson no 10b. running uphill is better for you and was easier (tiny hills)

Lesson no 11. Ibrobufen gel is a mistake. My hand was numb from applying it, but it didn’t help with issue I had, haha.

Lesson no 12. This is a tough event, but you need to suit yourself; being polite to someone will fail for the 5th time they want a nice cup of tea and a sit down, and you are in agony.

Lesson 13. You have to physically do this event, but unless you tell yourself you can, you won’t. Psychology against yourself is a mean battle.

Lesson 14. It was a great event, well organised, beautiful timing, beautiful route; I have another chapter in my physical achievements.

Lesson 15. How can anyone wear flipflops after an event like that?

Thanks to Colin for the company, the lift and the distraction. I hope you understand that you are a better athlete than you think, because you are competitive, although stamina is your enemy.

Lesson 16. Do it once, you can then decide to regret it, or realise what you really can do.

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Standish Woodlands Chase Report by Al Graham

Sat in my car waiting out the rain, and looking at all the other runners in their cars doing the same, I have to say that it looked like it might be an endurance rather than a fun race. But then, with 10 minutes to go before the start gun, the rain lessened to a drizzle, and by the time we’d reached the top of the first hill the sun was trying to make a break through. The race is organised by the Stroud and District Athletic Club and is part of a memorial series for one of their former runners, Roger Briers, and if you complete the series you can join the medals together to form a plaque (which is a nice touch). The Standish Woodlands Chase 10(ish) miler ( is a runner’s race! From the start line you go straight up! For quite a long time. Infact, ‘up’ (and steep ‘down’) is a common feature of the race. However, the woods are stunning to run through and by the time you are on the second loop then you know where you are going and can start to enjoy yourself. The views of the Severn valley across to Wales and into the Stroud valley really take your breath away as you come out of the woods ready for the fast descent to the finish line. The race was really well organised, and all the local runners I met were really friendly. It was a small field with 153 finishers (in which I came 40th) but I don’t think it should become much larger - sometimes a smaller challenging race is really satisfying. I think I’ll be looking to do this again some time! 

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Hornton 6 Report, by Graham Bridges

Hornton 6, by Graham Bridges

As I told just about anyone who would listen on the day, my preparation for this race was unusual to say the least. I did the Oxford Parkrun in the morning (starting slowly before building up speed towards the end), then went to London for a drinking session with some old friends (started reasonably quickly before slowing right down), before arriving back at Oxford Parkway some time after 5, ready to whisked up to the wilds of the North Oxfordshire border country.

With all this behind me, I wasn’t sure how the famously challenging hills around Hornton would feel. The answer was ‘not too bad’, or no worse than usual, at least. There were a decent number of ERRs there, but with Witney out in force we didn’t quite clean up trophy-wise as we had in recent years. Well done to Robert and Jacky for winning their categories, and to our men’s team of Robert, the Baker boys and, er, me for finishing a notional 2nd men’s team, which was still handy for Grand Prix points.  

The trophy presentations were quick and efficient which, whilst lacking the comic value of last year, did mean we were in the pub in good time for our post-race meal, organised by Tom. About 15 of us, runners and supporters alike, crowded into the Dun Cow for some excellent food, and yes, more drinks. So maybe this regime of race, beer, race, beer has something going for it.

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