Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2020

Queen Elizabeth parkrun

There was a strange feeling to this week's event. News of a new virus has led to lots of whispers that this could be the last event for a while. Storm Jorge also didn't want to pass by unnoticed, resulting in lots of events cancelling due to flooded courses and high winds. I had booked my hotel for Queen Elizabeth parkrun previously, and so all I could do was turn up and see what happened. This was to be the first time I had booked a hotel with the main purpose being parkrun tourism, and so I arrived in the town of Horndean the night before, which meant my shortest trip to a parkrun on the morning so far. The area Queen Elizabeth Country Park is located on the outskirts of Horndean, near Portsmouth. The park forms part of the South Downs National Park, which is a form of chalk hills stretching from Hampshire to Eastbourne. The area comprising Queen Elizabeth Country Park is a mixture of downland and woodland, with most of the resident beech trees being planted in the

Jersey Farm parkrun

This week, I wanted to tick off another event with an uncommon letter. I have booked my hotel for Queen Elizabeth next week, which only leaves "Y" and "J" of the uncommon letters to focus on. The weather this week has been very wet, and so I didn't fancy a 3+ hour drive to York or Yeovil, which left "J", and Jersey Farm, so through a process of elimination, Jersey Farm it is! The area Jersey Farm Woodland Park is located within the city of St Albans, slightly north of London. The city of St Albans (formerly known as Verulamium during Roman occupation) is a popular home for many commuters into London. The city's residents were revealed to be the 10th most active in England in a 2007 study by Sport England, with over 30% of residents performing more than 90 minutes of activity at least 3 times a week. Jersey Farm Woodland Park itself is part of the remains of Evans Farm, which was a dairy farm situated on part of the much bigger Marshalswick

Ellenbrook Fields parkrun

After climbing mount Tring last week, I wanted to experience a flatter course this week, and so looking for flat courses at the events starting with less common letters led me to Ellenbrook Fields. The area Ellenbrook Fields parkrun takes place in Hatfield, on the former site of Hatfield Aerodrome. Hatfield has a rich history, having been a settlement since at least the period of Saxon occupation (500-600AD), and is home to a large commuter community due to its transport links and close proximity to London. The area of Ellenbrook Fields was used as an Aerodrome between 1930 and 1990, before the owner (British Airways) ceased production of the last of their planes at the site, and the space was opened to public access. The course This week, in celebration of the fact that today was the only day in the next 50+ years that parkrun will take place on the extra day in a leap year, the course was run in reverse. Apart from the direction however, the course was identical to the &quo

Tring parkrun

With a limited number of events left to complete before I considered which event I wanted to complete for each letter. While I have limited options for some of them, there are some very lumpy ones I want to do amongst them - Wendover Woods, Queen Elizabeth, and Tring being the big three! These three presented a real challenge though, and so I wanted to spread them out so I had chance to recover properly between each. I could also use the less common letters to spread the lumpy runs out too - two uncommon letters, one lumpy course, rinse and repeat until we're done! This week I wanted to test the plan out, and so Tring it was! The area Positioned amongst the Chiltern Hills, Tring is a market town whose lineage can be traced back to prehistoric times. Many of the towns streets are very narrow by modern standards, which reinforces the historic nature of the area. Tring Park is located to the south of the town itself. The park was previously part of the Tring Park Mansion es

Valentines parkrun

I am still targeting the less common letters of the alphabet. I couldn't overlook the fact that it was the day after Valentine's day, and I had the opportunity to run at Valentines Park, so the decision around where to run was quite a simple one this week. One factor that I did keep in mind was that Storm Dennis was due to hit most of the UK this weekend, which had already resulted in a number of cancellations, so I did keep a watchful eye on the cancellations page in the run-up to the event. The area Valentines Park is the culmination of the merging of a number of parcels of land in Ilford over a number of years in the early 20th Century. Areas of the park were formerly part of the Valentines Mansion estate, which was built in 1696 and is now accessible to the public 3 days per week, though not on Saturdays. The park itself comprises a mix of landscaped open fields, formal gardens, lakes, and 26 tennis courts. The course Runners start the run in the centre of the p

Upton Court parkrun

My target for this week was a "U" event. Of the few events that exist which begin with a "U", several are in the south east of England, and therefore a relatively short distance from me, while the other "U" events in the UK all seem to be in Scotland! With my goal settled, I selected Upton Court parkrun, both based on convenience, but also due to the fact that should it be cancelled, neighbouring events begin with letters I also need to tick off. The area Upton Court Park is located in Upton - a suburb of Slough. Positioned within commuter distance to London, Slough serves as home for many global company headquarters, having the highest concentration in the UK, outside London. Upton Court Park is located in the south east of the town, and adjacent to the M4 motorway. The park is in the process of being renovated to its Victorian prime, and has views of Windsor Castle to the south. The course The course follows two laps of the park, primarily o

Oxford parkrun

My progress towards completing the alphabet challenge is going very smoothly, however, I was reviewing which letters I still need to complete, and noticed that I had been ticking off a lot of the more common letters, and letting the less common letters build up. That wouldn't be a problem in isolation, but as we're entering the time of year when cancellations are going to be more common, I realised that I was making things harder for myself. In order to manage the difficulty of the challenge, my intention going forwards is to hold off running events starting with "D", "P", "T", or "W", only running them if I can't reasonably avoid it, purely because if one "W" was cancelled, I'd have plenty of alternative "W"s to consider, but if one "Y" is cancelled, I would have to travel a long way to get to the other (if that wasn't cancelled too!). With my new focus on ticking off some of the less comm

Aylesbury parkrun

I was a little nervous attending Aylesbury parkrun this week. It had been cancelled the week before due to flooding, and so I wasn't completely sure it would be going ahead this week. Fortunately, the event never appeared on the Cancellations page, and so I headed towards Aylesbury! The area Located in Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury has been a settlement since at least the 4th century BC, and has a long and storied history, playing key roles in many major events through the years. Plans are in place to increase the population from roughly 75,000 people to over 100,000 by 2023, which includes the building of hundreds of new homes around the town, including the Buckingham Park area, located to the north of Meadowcroft Open Space where the course normally takes place. Meadowcroft Open Space is an area of land adjacent to the River Thame, and acts as a floodplain during times of peak rainfall. The course While the flooding had allowed the event to take place, it took place on the

Fulbourn Hospital parkrun

I had heard a number of conversations around recent events about the new kid on the block - Fulbourn Hospital, and so this week I decided that I wanted to explore it myself. The area The village of Fulbourn is located to the south-east of Cambridge, separated by farmland and Fulbourn Hospital. Evidence suggests the area has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, with the current name of the village dating back to at least 991. Fulbourn Hospital is a mental health facility, and has been at the forefront of practice developments for many years, making the hospital internationally prominent with it pioneering the concept of therapeutic community in the 1960s. The concept is at the heart of the reason for why the hospital hosts parkrun, where the event is seen as an informal extension of the community. The course The course follows 3 laps; the vast majority of which is on grass. There is very little elevation, but there are rabbit holes to be aware of, so be careful with you

Rushmere parkrun

It has been a while since I last ran an offroad course, and longer still since I ran a hilly course, so this week was time to take up both challenges at the same time. The area Rushmere Country Park, is a collection of woodlands and heathland located in the south of Bedfordshire, and at the northern edge of the Chiltern Hills. The Country Park is specifically located on the Greensand Ridge, a long chalk escarpment stretching from Buckinghamshire to Cambridge. The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, and is a breeding ground for herons. A purpose-built heronry has been built near the nesting site to help visitors get a sight of the herons in their infancy. In addition, there is a maze of trails to explore should you still be feeling adventurous after your parkrun! The course The course is two laps of undulating trails, starting on the path near the cafe, and finishing on the meadow near the car park and the cafe. Paid parking is available on-site, and free toilets