Sheffield runner notches up 41 miles between city Parkruns - as well as passing 42 chip shops

On the day ordinary Sheffield runners were celebrating the announcement that the city’s 3.1 mile parkrun events are scheduled to return on June 5th, teacher Nick Burns was reflecting on one of his typical Sunday runs: 41.15 miles, covering all six Sheffield parkruns, and the gaps in between them.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 10:50 am
Forty two chip shops were notched up on one of his previous runs

“I just like running,” he said.“The day before I’d run a 5 mile virtual race as fast as I could, and I felt a lot worse after that, to be honest,” he said. “Running 40 miles is a different kind of pain,” he laughed. “A much more enjoyable pain.”Nick, like many of his colleagues from the Steel City Striders running club, is a big supporter of parkrun.“It’s vitally important that people are out exercising just now, and parkrun is one of those things that drives a lot of people to exercise,” he said.His partial co-runner on February’s ‘reverse parkrun ultra’ was Ben Heller, who ran 4½ hours and 26 miles of Nick’s 7hr ultramarathon covering the reverse direction of each city parkrun route.

Ben is also a run director at Endcliffe parkrun, one of the largest parkruns in Yorkshire with over 450 people usually attending.“We’d made a lot of preparations at Endcliffe last October when it looked as if parkrun was going to return, before the new lockdowns changed the plans, so we’re very excited we now have a return date,” Ben said.The Endcliffe run, formerly called Sheffield Hallam parkrun, will now take a new course, including some of the rougher paths on the north side of the River Porter.“We’re sure there’ll be a big turnout, and it’ll be challenging for the volunteers but we’re really pleased it looks like parkrun will be back in a few month’s time.”Ben also joined Nick for an earlier lockdown challenge organised by Steel City Striders, where the pair had to find a route to pass as many fish and chip shops as they could in a single run. Ben managed 34, whereas Nick ran an extra 5 miles to bag 42 chippys in 42km - a fish and chip marathon.“He battered me,” said Ben, who added that further parkrun courses could appear in Sheffield before too long, with local runners eyeing Crookes, Forge Dam and Parkwood Springs as possible future locations.Nick has his eyes on longer runs, however, aiming for at least one ‘ultra’ run longer than a typical marathon every month. He’s not going to win any prizes for speed, he says. “But if you do 40 miles, you feel like a winner anyway.”There was no awestruck welcome on his return home from last month’s ultra, he said. “My wife was out at the allotment. and the kids were upstairs, they just shouted down. ’Hiya, did you have a good run?”He did get a lot of positive social medium comments from fellow runners. “But my favourite was from one of my club mates,” Nick observed.“He just posted: ‘Idiot!’”

Nick Burns during the Steel City Striders chip shop challenge where he ran past 42 Sheffield chip shops in 42km
Nick Burns running on the streets of Sheffield