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Gunpowder parkrun

The decision as to which parkrun I'd attend today was a simple one - I couldn't pass up the opportunity to attend Gunpowder parkrun on Guy Fawkes day!

The area

Gunpowder parkrun takes place in Gunpowder Park, situated just south of the M25 near Waltham Abbey. Waltham Abbey is part of Epping Forest, which also includes Roding Valley parkrun.

Gunpowder park takes its name from the gunpowder mills which were located in the area, while the park itself is a former munitions test site. While the site has transitioned to more of a nature reserve in modern times, there are lots of reminders of it's former life scattered throughout the park.

Gunpowder Park sign

The course

The route follows just over two laps of the meadows in the northern half of the park, all on tarmac, with only one left turn per lap. The parkland undulates throughout, while the paths generally weave around it.

A small paid car park is available at the main entrance, which also houses toilets, and there are a number of supermarkets within walking distance which allow parking for several hours. There is no on-site cafe, although there are many options to choose from a short walk from the finish.

The run

It seemed I wasn't the only person who couldn't resist the idea of attending Gunpowder parkrun on Guy Fawkes day, as a stream of tourists seemed to flow towards the start area from the nearby Tesco car park from the moment I arrived!

Although the event team predicted an influx in numbers, they seemed slightly shocked by just how much of an influx there was on the day, with seemingly everyone attending the first timers/tourists welcome!

First Timers / Tourist Welcome

After the initial welcome, we had the run brief where many many milestones were called out - some of the arbitrary nature, some of the real thing nature, followed by a poem to mark the day.

After the briefing, participants walked over to the start line a short distance away, near a commemorative London Olympics 2012 icon before setting off.

London Olympics 2012 logo

Being the first time I had parkwallked, I found today to be an interesting experience seeing parkrun from a different perspective. I will definitely do it again, especially if I have any injuries or niggles!

Thanks to all of the wonderful volunteer team for such an enjoyable event, and for coping so well with the influx of tourists!

After the run

I decided to briefly explore the park in more detail after today's run, although the weather did limit this somewhat. There are various sculptures around the park commemorating the park's munitions testing history.

One of the sculptures at Gunpowder Park

As it was raining, I instead decided to explore Waltham Abbey town itself. Although outside the M25, you could be forgiven for thinking you were much further away when walking along the high street.

Waltham Abbey High Street

Along the high street lies a marker to show the Meridian Line - where east meets west!

Meridian Line at Waltham Abbey High Street

It would also be remiss of me to visit Waltham Abbey without visiting the abbey. A church has stood in this location since at least the 7th Century, with the modern church being the sixth.

Waltham Abbey

Unfortunately the site of the gunpowder mills closes from November each year, and so I couldn't take the opportunity to explore it.

Links: Results | Strava

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