We’re Geoff and Kathy Brown, two parkrunners from Surrey who love to travel, run and explore new places at home and abroad. This blog tells our tales of parkruns visited and the cities, towns and villages we venture to along the way. As we go, we are discovering the hidden secrets of the UK with the help of Treasure Trails, wherever they are available. Treasure Trails are fun clue hunts designed to help everyone look more closely and find out more about the places around us. There are thousands of Treasure Trails across the UK, so this should work really well alongside our parkrun ambitions!
We met at Sheffield University in 1986 and in 2017 will be celebrating 25 years of marriage. Running together came much later, after the arrival of Polly in 1993 and Lucy in 1997. The girls are all grown up now and pursuing their own life journeys – Polly is an actor with BA Hons Physical Theatre and Lucy is also, strangely enough, at Sheffield Uni.
Geoff is the more sporty of us, so, perhaps surprisingly, it was Kathy who first got into running and discovered parkrun thanks to her friend, Marjory. In 2008 we registered at Basingstoke parkrun, at that time one of the few in existence outside London. We’re proud to have barcode numbers in the first 20,000, when today new registrations are in the two-million-and-somethings. Kathy is A19994 and Geoff is A19998. After a spell attending Frimley Lodge, where Kathy got her 50 club tee-shirt, we both changed our ‘home’ parkrun to Alice Holt, just on the Surrey/Hants border. We’ve done well over 300 parkruns between us and are verrrry slowly working towards our 250 tees. In 2014 we both became core volunteer team members. We participate in the Alice Holt parkrun RD rota, plus Geoff does setup from 8am and close down most weeks (when we’re not touristing) and Kathy has done a stint as ED.
As we’re quite local, we made our Bushy parkrun pilgrimages early on and have been back a few times. In 2009 Kathy also ran Morden Hall, one of the rare one-off official parkruns. After that, touring only really happened when we were ‘away anyway’, visiting friends and family. Friend Marjory had worked her way onto the ‘Most Events’ table so Kathy became aware that was ‘a thing’ and made efforts to get to twenty different events too. As soon as she’d achieved that and gained entry to the UK parkrun Tourists Group on Facebook, a whole new world of possibilities opened up. So many ways to ‘play’ parkrun!
After a short while Geoff was in the group too. We love hearing about other people’s travels with parkrun, love the nerdiness of the tourists, and we’ve even faked our own impromptu event while on holiday in Santorini! Here’s a list of parkruns at least one of us has done at least once.When possible, we’ll write a short summary guide to each one. It’s a while since we visited them all so we may have to do some revisits in due course, to remind ourselves!
Treasure Trails: a disclosure
Exploring with Treasure Trails is more than just a fun pasttime for us. Kathy joined Treasure Trails as the licensed trailwriter for Greater London in 2010. Since 2013 when the business changed hands, Kathy’s company Discovery Games UK has been a gold partner of Treasure Trails. Kathy is now responsible for writing and maintaining Treasure Trails across London and the South East of England. Discovery Games UK also designs clue hunt games for groups for all occasions- school trips and students visiting the UK, team building, private parties and promotions. Kathy also designs commissioned treasure hunt trails for communities and commercial clients.
Some cool facts about Geoff and Kathy
- In 2015 we appeared on Pointless. We got through to the final and won the trophies – but sadly not the cash!
2. In 2012 Kathy designed the treasure hunt used in the (then) Guinness World Record for ‘Most participants in a Treasure Hunt’ held by Team London Ambassadors prior to the 2012 Olympics.
3. Kathy designed and set up sales of the ‘cow-cowl‘, the yellow, black and white tube apparel as worn by parkrun tourists to recognise each other. The cow-cowl has really taken off now, with (at time of writing) around 500 sold. No profit is made from the sale of these items. Instead, Kathy donates a portion of the revenue generated to parkrun’s New Events Fund, keeping the love for parkrun rolling!
4. Sporty Geoff has previously played football at Wembley, rugby at Twickenham and cricket at Headingley.
5. He’s also combined sport and clue-finding before …. in international Adventure Racing during the ’00s which meant competing in Ireland, Belgium and Germany.
6. Geoff once appeared as the villain in a Viz ‘photo-love’ story. It’s in one of the classic Viz Annuals, but we’re not telling you which one!