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Meet the Member – John Tovell completes his 200th parkrun

Q) For members who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself?

A) I retired last year and since then have enjoyed some travelin the UK and abroad.  Previously, mycareer as an accountant took me to various parts of the world, including Brazilwhere I met my wife, Janete.

Q) How and when did you get into running?

A) Although I did athletics and cross-country at school, Inever had any interest in running afterwards until 2006, when a friendsuggested we do the Reading Half Marathon as a challenge.  However, I didn’t make it to the start linethat year or the following year because of ITB problems.  My running career might have ended before itbegun if a work colleague had not explained to me that there were shorterevents than a half marathon! So we entered the Wargrave 10k in 2007 and I soenjoyed the experience that I was hooked from then on.

Q) What do you enjoy most about being a member of Sandhurst Joggers?

A) It has got to be the friendliness and sociability.  When I joined Sandhurst, I ran with theTuesday and Thursday social runs and was struck by how much more fun it was torun in a big sociable group, especially those led by Ron Howlett.  The fact that the club offers activities onalmost every day of the week is amazing. I think the Joggers Journal and the Facebook group are also great forkeeping us all feeling a part of the club.

John in action at Endure24

Q) On which of the weekly runs are we most likely to bump into you?

A) I used to be a regular at the intervals session on Tuesdayand the threshold run on Thursday but, since I moved to Twickenham, I don’t getto visit the weekly runs very often.  However,I am still very much a regular at our cross-country events and at the Grizzly.

Q) You are regular at Crane Park, tell us more about that event?

A) Crane Park is just 1 mile from my house so I love that I canleave at 8.45am and still get to the start in plenty of time.  The route is very pretty as it runs for the mostpart through woodland.  It has good PB-potentialas it is flat and entirely on tarmac or packed gravel, with just a few tightcorners to slow you down.  The maindrawback is that there is no local café for afterwards.  For tourists, it is right next to the A316 sois really easy to get to.  I hope to seemore SJ tourists there in future!

Q) I see you’ve ran at 6 other parkruns, which was your favourite and why?

A) Cirencester was particularly enjoyable because it takesplace in the grounds of the Royal Agricultural University.  While the route is nice enough, the Victorianbuildings of the university are remarkable, resembling a public school.  Parkrunners are invited to use themodestly-priced university canteen afterwards for anything from a coffee to afull English breakfast.  The dining roomis very ‘olde worlde’ with its flagstone floor and wood-panelled walls.

Q) What other events are on your programme for the rest of 2018 and 2019?

A) So far, I have entered the Cliveden cross-country inJanuary, plus the Grizzly and Endure 24. And I will be doing the remaining Thames Valley cross-country fixtures.

John ran his first Parkrun on 28th May 2011 at Reading, here’s some more achievements for the statos taken from the ‘Parkrun Challenges’ Chrome Extension:-

200 x Parkruns in Total

184 of those at Crane Park

7 x Personal Bests (fastest ever is 22:13 set at Crane Park in 2014 )

7 x Different venues

Bushy Park Pilgrimage completed on 3rd January 2015

44 x parkruns in a single year (2015)

57/60 scored in Stopwatch Bingo

Experienced Groundhog Day on 4 occasions at Crane Park

29 x Volunteering in 6 different roles


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