#spbr22 – thank you

So many lovely moments and so people to thank!

Thank you to :

  • the marshals
  • the choirs and musicians
  • the two 24 hour runners
  • all the other runners
  • all the walkers, hoppers and skippers
  • the long distance travellers
  • the walled garden and the cafe servers and cake bakers
  • the exhibition curators and looker-after-ers
  • the first aiders
  • Heeley Trust
  • the fun-runners
  • the lord mayor
  • the lantern makers and hangers
  • the kite makers and flyers
  • the fruit providers (Regather and Beanies), waterers (Derbyshire Lane Co-op) and milkers (Our Cow Molly)
  • the numerous volunteers
  • the leafleteers
  • the masseurs
  • the photographers
  • Badil
  • our interviewees
  • the writers
  • Sheffield PSC
  • the DIYers

Let’s have more next year – #spBR23 -> 17th and 18th June 2023.

The Buskers’ Hour

Last time we held small park BIG RUN in Meersbrook Park in 2019, the final hour was coined Buskers’ Hour. And it’s back! Musicians are positioned around the run circuit to encourage weary final hour participants and kicking off the festive celebratory atmosphere for the end of run rally. It will be 11.00am-noon on Sunday 19th June.

With some runners near to completing the whole 24 hours, their services will be needed more than ever! We’re delighted to have eight groups of very talented musicians kindly donating their time, efforts and happiness to us.

These include highly talented singer-songwriters, a ten piece folk band, a community choir recently returned from Palestine, a Sheffield street band, a heavy metal acoustic duo. It’s going to be a blast!

This is the complete list. Thank you all!

1 Well Dressed Band are a community based folk band based in the Peak District
2 Cobalt Tales are a female duo based in Sheffield that tours the UK and festival circuit
3 Sheffield Street Band is a well known local collective of musicians
4 Julia Waldron is a wonderful singer songwriter/guitarist from Sheffield.
5 Megatron Death is inspirational heavy metal folk.
6 Tadhamon choir is an ensemble of singers very supportive of the Palestine cause
7 John , Guy, Rob and special guest are talented Meersbrook residents
8 Chrystine Moon is another fabulous local musician and singer songwriter.

Below you can see where they will all be playing on this map and also some lovely pictures of the musicians in their element!

Hope to see you there. Don’t forget to sign up! Or simply come along and support the participants and enjoy the fun.

Where do Palestinian refugees live?

The theme for small park BIG RUN this year is Palestinians as refugees. It is central to the Palestinian experience. No where is this better expressed than in our interviews with Kholoud and Sahar, who talk in such moving way about the right of return.

Entrance to Aida camp with the iconic key of return laid above

There are diasporas all over the world – the largest outside the middle east is in Chile. But overwhelming refugees are based either in Palestine – also known as Internally Displaced Persons – and surrounding countries

You can find out more about where Palestinian refugees live here and also from Badil, a refugee rights centre in the West Bank.

Throughout small park BIG RUN we will be showing a selection of films from Badil where you can find out more about life as a Palestinian refugee. See our programme

Palestinian refugees – in their own words

small park BIG RUN organisers were enormously privileged to interview two Palestinian refugees earlier this year. The accounts they gave were moving, fascinating, frank, honest and inspiring in equal measure. We are very grateful to them for sharing their personal and painful stories.

  1. Interview with Sahar Awadallah
  2. Interview with Kholoud Al-Ajarma

Sahar Awadallah and Kholoud Al-Ajarma both told of how their families were expelled from their homes seventy years ago – and are still dreaming, three generations later, of their return.

A young Sahar pictured with her mum Reda Nateel, Dad Abdulrahman Awadallah and brother Omar Awadallah.

Sahar spoke of the insecurity she experienced as a child moving multiple times from country to country, with a bag permanently packed ready for the next upheaval. She spoke of her anger that she must seek permission to visit her hometown. And she also spoke of her annoyance at the double standards and hypocrisy that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has again revealed. Where it has now become OK to call for sanctions against a country accused of aggression and occupation – this was not the case for those calling for a boycott of Israeli goods who were often accused of racism and exceptionalism.

Kholoud Al Ajarmah

Kholoud told us of her life – where at first she didn’t realise she was growing up living in a refugee camp, she thought everyone lived like that! But slowly she discovered that although Aida refugee camp was her home, it wasn’t her homeland.

She spoke movingly of the tales her grandparents and parents would tell of their homes, now in Israel, where the cactuses tasted like honey, they ate fresh figs from the trees and they ate fresh bread from the oven. With weekly markets and friendly people all around. This memory stood in stark contrast to the refugee camp she found herself in, with its daily Israeli army raids and the smell of tear gas, rather than fresh bread, in the air.

Kholoud said that that although the stories her family told her seemed to be like fairy tales when she managed to finally visit their family homeland those stories turned out to be true. Beautiful countryside with space to live in, to return to, and air to breath.

You can listen to the interviews in full, by following the links below.

small park BIG RUN would like to thank both Sahar and Kholoud from the bottom of our hearts for their collaboration and cooperation.

  1. Interview with Sahar Awadallah
  2. Interview with Kholoud Al-Ajarma

You can find more information on refugees in Palestine here. And visit Badil (Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights).

small park BIG RUN is with other events

The week before we start the run and for a few weeks after, Sheffield is hosting a couple of major events either about Palestine or refugees.

Palfest is an ambitious festival celebrating Palestine and Palestinian resistance, with Palestinian food, dance and music.

Meanwhile Migration Matters, running from the 17th to the 25th June, is a festival of dance and music and theatre celebrating sanctuary in Sheffield.

Check them out!

Qayis Healing Centre

The small park BIG RUN has been raising funds both for women’s education as well as also for children in Gaza to have professional help in order to recover from the trauma of war.

Thanks to all our supporters in small park BIG RUN and beyond, we have built the healing centre and it is now up and running.

Now we are looking to start a complementary mobile service to reach children around Khan Younis, and beyond, who cannot get to the healing centre.

You can find out more about developments here.

Back in the park -SIGN UPS NOW OPEN!

Throughout Covid we continued to hold small park BIG RUN, but in the format of a virtual/DIY event where people did activities wherever they felt safe – be that their home, garden, or outside. After a two year gap we are delighted that the small park BIG RUN (#spBR22) will take place, for real, in Meersbrook Park, Sheffield, noon-noon, 18-19 June 2022. There will also be music, singing, poetry, tea, coffee, cake, lantern making, exhibitions and more.

SIGN UP IS NOW OPEN! With three distinct ways to participate.

  1. Sign up to participate in the event – from 30 minutes to 24 hours (we have had people do 24 hours before!) on a circular route through Meersbrook Park.
  2. Sign up to the DIY event – over the last two years small parkBIG RUN hasn’t been held in the park but wherever people felt safe to do their own DIY activities. If you are unable to attend the physical event in the park you can stull participate however you like, in a place and at at time of your own choosing
  3. Sign up to volunteer to marshal. The event depends on an army of volunteers to ensure the welfare of he runners and other park users. We would be so grateful you can spare an hour.

THE EVENT #spBR22 is a 24-hour group community challenge from Saturday 18 June to Sunday 19 June – noon to noon. You choose the time and length you want to run, walk or jog around laps of Meersbrook Park. From 30 mins to 24 hours! At noon on Sunday there will be a free one lap Fun Run link up with friends in Palestine and, all being well, refreshments in the Walled Garden.

FUNDRAISING We raise funds for the Khuza’a play and heal centre for traumatised children in Gaza and the Sheffield Palestine Women’s Scholarship fund which supports Palestinian women to study at university. Last year we raised over £12,000!
Read more about the two charitable initiatives and how you can help fundraise here.

THE THEME IS REFUGEES Each year we pick a different theme to raise awareness of a particular problem for Palestinian people. Read more about the theme here.

ALL ARE WELCOME The event will be as inclusive and welcoming as possible. We would like to help overcome the many barriers experienced by people from marginalised groups, ethnicities, religions, genders and disabilities. If you require support to help you participate, please contact us. small.park.big.run@gmail.com

STAY IN TOUCH! We publish a regular newsletter in the months leading up to the event in June – if you would like to get updates about the event, the projects we support, information about Palestine and more please sign up here!

CONTACT US! / SPEAK TO US! / JOIN US!  We have multiple social media channels! We’d love to hear from you. And remember if you share stuff please use our hashtag: #spBR22

Our channels: Facebook – Webpage – Instagram – Twitter – Email – Strava

RUNS IN PALESTINE – In 2019 seven runs took place in Palestine at the same time as ours. They were held in the spirit of friendship and solidarity. Plans are still being made for 2022 but we can happily confirm there will be a run in Nablus. Below are picture of the Nablus 2019 Run for Freedom/small park BIG RUN.

Below is a small selection of photos from our last Meersbrook Park event in 2019.

We hope to see you 18-19 June, noon – noon SIGN UP HERE!

My friend the flag part 3

Our fiend and supporter Judy walked for 50 hours over 24 days to cover one kilometre for every year of her life.

She had 150+ encounters with individuals, couples, families, friends and dogs and toiled up the hill to complete my 73rd kilometre lap where she was duly presented with a certificate by the Mayor.

You can read her final instalment here

Goodness gracious, Great Gym Sheffield!

Many people do their small park BIG RUN DIY activities in groups, with some amazingly creative and impressive efforts recorded. Since the beginning five years ago Good Gym Sheffield has put together 24 hour teams who have performed some extraordinary and inspiring efforts. Here Good Gym Sheffield member Andrew tells us what they did for #spBR21.

“Good Gym Sheffield joined Small Park Big Run on what has become an annual fixture for us. We had 18 runners – and between us we covered the whole 24 hours – often with more than one runner out at any given time.

“There were some truly amazing efforts – Dana ran for the whole 24 hours, running over 100 miles on a treadmill and raising over £1,500 for the SPBR charities; Rachel ran a mile each hour for the whole 24 hours; Celine ran the Limestone Way [46 miles]; and Katy ran the Round Sheffield Run – twice [30 miles]!

“The mere mortals in the team hit the trails in the parks, woods and streets around Sheffield and the Peak – with one or two unable to resist the lure of the Meersbrook Hill.

“At midday on Sunday a number of us joined the event in Meersbrook Park – and the weather was kind enough to let us sit out for a picnic and enjoy the singing and music. We’ll definitely be back next year – supporting the event once more – and “looking forward” to 24 hours on the hill.

“Until then our thoughts are with those in Palestine.”

From all at #spBR21 thank you Good Gym! Find out more about Good Gym Sheffield here