On The Run: Carl Marston takes part in the March Parkrun but fail in his quest for furniture

Out for a stroll: The scene of the March Parkrun last weekend

Out for a stroll: The scene of the March Parkrun last weekend - Credit: Archant

Athletics correspondent Carl Marston is travelling around the region (and beyond!), running in different Parkruns.

I had planned to nip down to the Tendring peninsular to take part in the landmark 50th Clacton Parkrun last Saturday, but ended up in the depths of the Fens instead.

My eldest step-son, Jack, having spotted a chest-of-drawers for sale (on the Internet) in Littleport, but with no means of collecting it, persuaded me to tinker with my Parkrun ‘tour’ by paying a visit to March instead.

My only previous experience of March had been, like many others, from the comfort of a train carriage on trips between Ely and Peterborough.


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You can almost get dizzy taking part in the March Parkrun, because the five-kilometres are squeezed into a four-lap route around the West End Park, near the George Campbell Leisure Centre.

There’s certainly no danger of taking a wrong turn, or veering off course, with most of the course on grass, combined with a stretch along a path beside the River Nene, and even a small flight of steps.

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This was the 86th staging of the event, which was first held back on January 23, 2016. The 242 who toed the line that day remains the record field.

- Carl Marston at the Ipswich Parkrun

Ilford AC’s Malcolm Muir, a regular winner on the Essex and Suffolk scene over the years, especially in the popular Friday Five Series, won that first race in 17:59. It remains the fifth fastest time over the course.

Last Saturday’s Results

Veteran runners dominated last weekend’s race, which attracted a field of 158.

Peter Ward, an over-50 veteran from Thorney RC, won in 19mins 20secs, followed by Ely Runners’ over-40 veteran Chris Leech in 19:43. This was Leech’s 198th Parkrun.

Rachael Wheeler, in the 55-59 year-old age group, was first lady in a personal best of 23:14. Ely’s Sarah Starr was second in 25:27.


Glen Watts, of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, holds the course record with a swift 16:12, which he posted in the 36th event on October 1, 2016.

I recall Watts from his days as a student, at the University of East Anglia, when he used to compete for UEA on the cross country circuit during the winter months.

Watts’ time is 40 seconds quicker than the next best of 16:52, set by Ben Trigg (Erme Valley Harriers) just over a year ago.

- red wine does the trick for Carl Marston at the Cheltenham Parkrun

Lisa Marriott, of Ramsey Road Runners, holds the ladies’ course best of 19:08 from May 21, 2016. She was second overall in that race, and in fact is one of only two females to have ducked under 20 minutes on this course – the other is teenager Chloe Wheeler (15-17 years) who clocked 19:50 only two months earlier.

Carl’s Experience

It was certainly an interesting morning.

I was greeted by a stranger in the park who asked me whether I had seen an owl? Not the sort of question I was anticipating and, I don’t mind admitting, it caught me off guard. For the record, I hadn’t.

March didn’t look at its best, due to the drizzle and generally gloomy conditions, but it was a very friendly event.

Not surprisingly, for a four-lap course, there was plenty of over-taking and ‘lapping,’ which added to the fun of it.

Having posted a sub-20-minute time the previous weekend, at sunny Cheltenham, I regressed last Saturday with a time of 20:08. Still, not bad.

But what was frustrating was dropping in at the address in Littleport, on my return journey, to pick up Jack’s furniture, only to find no one at home.

No money had changed hands, but Jack is still looking for a chest-of-drawers.

Goodness knows where I will end up tomorrow. It might be determined by the location of a tacky piece of furniture!

Clacton Parkrun

- The landmark 50th Clacton Parkrun, on the seafront, ended with a victory for Ben Seldon in 18:12.

It was Seldon’s fifth win on the trot at the Clacton event, with all his winning times of the last five weekends ranging between 18:10 and 18:16, an impressive show of consistency.

He has won on 18 of his 23 Clacton Parkrun appearances.

Young Phoebe Young (10-year-old age group) was the first female in a big personal best of 22:41. The experienced Nicola Ranson, an over-50 veteran from Springfield Striders, was just two seconds behind in second. Ranson had won the previous weekend.

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