Skip to main content

Southend parkrun

With all of the terrible world events this week, one positive has been the official confirmation that Southend-on-Sea became a city as of 1st March 2022. With all of the previous 6 events I attended being off-road, I was quite pleased to see that Southend was also run on tarmac, which meant I could push for a low time too! Another bonus was that Southend will give me a "South" for the compass club challenge!

The area

Southend parkrun takes place in Gunners Park, Shoeburyness, on the outskirts of the city of Southend. Following a fatal attack on the area's MP, David Amess, the town was granted city status as a memorial. Prince Charles presented the letters patent to the county borough council on behalf of the Queen on 1st March 2022, which was then followed by an immediate vote to change the name of the council to Southend-on-Sea City Council to reflect it's new status.

Gunners Park, Shoeburyness is a former Ministry of Defence site, formerly playing host to rifle ranges specifically, while the wider Shoeburyness area is still host to Ministry of Defence training areas, with large swathes of the area (including the beach adjacent to Gunners Park) being off-limits to the public due to being part of an active training and testing site.

Gunners Park, overlooking the lake

The course

The course is a simple three-lapper around the very well marshalled paths of the park. The vast majority of the paths are tarmac, with a short section on gravel/mud path, which on the day was quite muddy. Despite being on the seafront, the park is actually quite sheltered for the majority of the route, with only a short area with more exposure to the elements.

Free parking is available in Gunners Park car park, although sat nav will suggest you try to enter the car park through a house. The main entrance to the car park is on New Barge Pier Road (not Magazine Road or Boundary Way). Public toilets are available next to Uncle Tom's Ice Cream Parlor, around 1km from the park (reachable as part of a warm up / cool down). Being close to the tourist hotspot that is Southend, a range of refreshment options are available after the run.

The run

I set out to run fast this week, which was helped from the outset of the event, with runners being asked to seed themselves based on target finish times. I had spotted some bigger puddles on my warm up, which I managed to mostly avoid during the run, however, I was suprised how slippery the gravel leg of the out-and-back section was. Fortunately, it didn't have any real impact on my run, but I did see one rather muddy runner heading back to the car park after the run, who had obviously slipped in the mud.

My efforts were rewarded at the end of the run however - I ran my official lowest time of any event this week, finishing in 22:38 according to the timers. I also managed my highest position and age-range finishes too (excluding Mersea Island, when I finished 3rd of 26 runners), finishing 10th in a field of 160 runners, and finishing 1st in my age range!

Ian dodging muddy puddles along the gravel path

Thank you to all of the marshalls and volunteers this week, your cheering and high fives definitely helped!

After the run

After the run, I took the opportunity to both run along the promenade to the fun fair, and took some time to explore some of the the military artefacts in Gunners Park.

Southend Pier is a focal point from the south.

Southend Pier from the south

Along with the beach, Thorpe Bay Gardens offers a pleasant and scenic place to relax.

Thorpe Bay Gardens

The Heavy Quick Firing Battery is perhaps the most dominant of the landmarks within Gunners Park, and as with all of the armaments on the site, it was built to help defend the Thames Esturary from unfriendly advances.

Heavy Quick Firing Battery

Links: Photo album 1 | Photo album 2 | Photo album 3 | Photo album 4 | Results | Strava

Popular posts from this blog

Markshall Estate parkrun

Having spent a number of weeks focussed on events in the north of the East of England, I decided that this week I would pay some attention to the south of the region and visit Markshall Estate parkrun while still in the best time of the year to visit an arboretum. The area The Markshall Estate (interchangably the "Marks Hall" Estate) is the remains of a former country estate located in Coggeshall, between Colchester and Braintree. The hall itself was demolished in 1950, leaving its grounds to be converted into an arboretum, featuring trees from around the world. Coggeshall has been a settled area since at least the Saxon area, and was later served by Stane Street; a Roman road stretching from modern day Colchester to near St Albans. The course The route follows just under two laps of the arboretum, starting at the top of a hill, and finishing at the bottom, meaning this is a net down-hill course. The course is run on a mixture of tarmac, concrete, gravel, trail an

Mildenhall Hub parkrun

This week I decided to make some more progress on the Fibonacci Sequence challenge by attending event number 5 of the new Mildenhall Hub parkrun! The area Mildenhall is a small market town located between Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds. The modern town's population is heavily influenced by the two airforce bases located on the outskirts of the town, with up to a third of the town's residents being born in USA! The town is also where the Mildenhall Treasure was discovered - a collection of Roman silverwar considered to be perhaps the most important and valuable Roman treasure find in Britain. Owing to its importance and value, the treasure is now on permanent display at the British Museum. To the west of the town lies Mildenhall Hub, a newly built community centre, and host of this week's parkrun event! The course One lap of the course follows an initial out-and-back section, followed a lap of the adjoining meadow, with runners following the route two and a hal

Ally Pally parkrun

Now that I have completed the UK Alphabet, my focus has turned towards the East of England region. As there are so many events to choose from, I'm going to start by working through events in alphabetical order again, with an emphasis on working east to west, which for me, effectively orders events furthest to nearest. During my initial exploration of the challenge, I did make a mistake however, which I only realised after running this event - I didn't realise that Aldenham parkrun was in the region, and so I started this phase of parkrunning by running Ally Pally parkrun instead! The area Ally Pally, or Alexandra Palace, is a purpose built community centre in Haringey, North London. Unlike other palaces in the UK, Ally Pally has no royal connection, and instead has been entirely community oriented since its conception. The palace houses a theatre, concert hall, a convention centre, an ice rink, and has facilitated BBC broadcasts an