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Chelmsford Central parkrun

Continuing with my focus on Essex events started last week at Billericay parkrun, this week I decided to attend Chelmsford Central parkrun.

The area

Chelmsford is a very young city, having only recived its letters patent in 2012 (6 June 2012), although this does mean it could technically claim to be the oldest city in Essex, ahead of both Southend (1 March 2022) and Colchester (23 November 2022).

Chelmsford Central parkrun takes places in three of Chelmsford's main parks - starting in Central Park, before heading along the River Can, joining Admirals park and Tower Gardens, before returning to Central Park. An 18-arch Victorian Railway viaduct crosses through central park.

Lake, fountains, and Viaduct at Central Park

The course

The route follows a mixture of tarmac paths and grass walks through Central Park, Admirals Park, and Tower Gardens, using the River Can to connect them. The route is mostly flat, with only one minor hill at around the half way point.

A number of pay and display car parks are available near to the event, each with different costs and rates, so it is worth considering alternatives depending on what other activities you have planned! Toilets are available in the park, along with a cafe for post-run refreshments.

The run

With so many people attending this event, the start felt like a cross-country meet!

Having decided to walk today's event while I am still recovering from injury, I hadn't realised that this was the first single-lap course I've walked. The route does include the same section of tow path along the river in both directions, but having seen how many marshals were involved in the event (and having chance to recognise them, which you don't always get when running), I see why many events prefer multiple lap courses - they require many fewer volunteers!

Reflecting on the event reminds me of Sloughbottom parkrun, in that both events include laps of fields and parks, connected by a popular public cycle path.

Path along the River Can connecting Central Park and Admirals Park

Thank you to all of the many volunteers for hosting today's event!

After the run

As the finish is in Central Park, I took some time to explore the park a little more. The park includes an avenue of oak trees, which were planted each time a new mayor was elected each November from 1917 onwards.

Centenary Avenue oak trees at Central Park

As the start finish area is essentially in the city centre, I took the opportunity to explore the city centre a little, which was very busy given how cold and damp it was!

Chelmsford city centre

Chelmsford Cathedral is only a short stroll away, which has been a place of worship since the 11th century.

Chelmsford Cathedral

Having wandered the city centre, my plan way to head slightly out of the city to explore the Hylands estate - the parkland surrounding a Georgian mansion house. The house itself is open to the public for free every third Sunday of the month, although this is of little use to parkrun tourists. Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worst and started raining, and so I decided against visiting

The landscape of the estate was designed by Humphry Repton, who was also responsible for the landscapes at Holkham parkrun, Sheringham Park parkrun, Blickling parkrun, Catton parkrun, and Wimpole Estate parkrun.

Links: Results | Strava | Hylands Estate walks

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