Age graded stats

22 12 2015

I’ve never really paid much attention to age graded stats…until this week. For the first 2 years of parkrun, it was all about trying to get a PB. Then I started doing half and full marathons and my 5k times started trailing off – a pity because I love having a goal that is just out of reach. I’d hate to think I could NEVER get another PB but there’s a much better option (for me) and I’ve only just thought about it. My age graded percentage, when I got my last PB, was nearly 73%. My last run was almost bang on 69%, only 4% lower – so that’s my next challenge – to achieve an age graded ‘PB’.

There’s a handy Age Graded calculator at Running for Fitness that’s close to the one used by parkrun. You can pop in your target age graded percentage and it will give you the time you need to get it.

And if that is still too much of a challenge – just maintaining my current time will automatically give a me an improved Age graded result. At age 70, I’ll be over 80%. Happy days!



X,Y,Z and A

14 12 2015

As the volunteer coordinator at Brighton parkrun I’ve been experimenting with an ‘ABC’ volunteering system. By choosing a different letter each week, runners get 3 prompts to volunteer during a calendar year – it’s more of a nudge than anything  and it means we don’t get swamped one week and bereft of help the next. This coming Saturday marks the end of the first year with X,Y,Z and A surnames taking up the many and varied volunteer roles.

If you’ve never heard of parkrun, I urge you to look it up and then take part. It’s free and requires the minimal of effort to comply with the ‘admin’. All you need to bring, other than yourself and running gear, is a printed barcode. That little barcode acts as your lifetime parkrun ID and it will enable your results to be recorded at any one of 376* events – worldwide! (*as of 14/12/15) One of the first things I remember when I joined parkrun was the amazingly friendly briefing at the start:  a welcome for parkrun ‘tourists’, applause for first timers, cheers the volunteers and so on.

With parkrun growing at a pace, you might wonder how it can be sustained if the event is totally free to runners. Two things: sponsors and volunteers. The volunteers are mostly runners who give their time to volunteer in the staging of a weekly event.

There are times when we are a bit short of help but when you consider that in 8 years (it was our 8th birthday in November 2015!) we’ve held 426 parkruns at Hove park – there’s been a huge amount of commitment from our running community and management team. I can’t think of many other sporting events that have kept going without a break for that long – every Saturday!








13 12 2015

A few years ago when I had really caught the running bug, a friend suggested I try the Brighton Trailblazer, a 10km trail run near Woodingdean in Brighton. I vividly remember the outgoing 2 or 3  miles with the fantastic views looking out towards Lewes. It starts with a gentle downhill with time to look around and take in the stunning landscape.  That’s the bit I remember most and then, of course,  the harsh uphill known as Snake climb to the finish. What I didn’t realise was that the mid section ran through a secluded valley that was once home to a hamlet called Balsdean.


Balsdean, near Brighton.

Balsdean near Brighton: Photo by Bill Hunt



Fortunately, my renewed interest in running on the South Downs took me back to the same area.  I love studying a map and picking out new routes  so I set off from Preston Park towards Rottingdean via Hollingbury golf course, Moulsecoomb, Bevendean and Woodingdean. I ended up running down Snake climb, the opposite way  I’d done before. Being a descent, rather than a gruelling uphill, you get to see so much more. The trail runs along the side of a valley and down into the heart of Balsdean.  There’s a small visible clue to the hamlet in the form of a derelict farm building – you can just make it out in the image above – but everything else was demolished after the hamlet had been used for target practice by the army during WW2. This blog by David Cuthbertson, is particularly informative about Balsdean before and during the war.

From Balsdean, a track leads to Rottingdean, past a water pumping station. To get a better feel for the area, take a look at this collection of photos by BrightonDJ on Flickr that really captures the isolation and beauty of the valley.

As I searched for more information about this intriguing area, I came across a map on  Ernest blog. I recognised the map of Balsdean immediately but the accompanying article features the Brighton based band Grasscut who released   1 inch/1/2 mile in 2012,  a collection of tracks inspired by a walk around the Balsdean area. I clicked on the map which links to Curlews.

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