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parkrun tourism tips

parkrun tourism tips

The following is a collection of tips I've found useful while visiting different parkrun events each week.

General planning

Depending on the time of the year, the relative certainty of any one particular event proceeding or being cancelled varies, with much greater chances of last-minute cancellations following wetter and windier weather typically encountered during winter months. With that in mind, I've found it generally to be a good idea to plan tourism with backup events in mind.

If you're planning to attend a series of new events over several weeks, I would generally suggest trying to avoid creating lone isolated "islands", and instead try to sequence events so you always have at least one other event you can divert to if your planned event cancels!

Given the scenario in the following screenshot, I would suggest visiting both Thetford and Chilton Fields events, followed by Bury St Edmunds, with Clare Castle following the last of the series attended, as this order provides the greatest chance of diverting to another new event throughout the sequence!

Voronoi map showing Thetford, Chilton Fields, Bury St Edmunds and Clare Castle events all not attended, while surrounding events have been visited

On-the-day checks

During wetter winter months especially, it is important to check that your planned event isn't cancelled. Most planned cancellations will be announced by the Thursday prior to the event, but events can cancel at any point, so a last-minute check, along with knowing your nearest alternative route is always handy! You can check whether events are cancelled or not on the cancellations page.

Travel

It's inevitable that you'll need to occasionally find a toilet while on longer journeys. While service stations are ideal for this, they're not always located where you need them, especially if you're not near a motorway! Some places to consider stopping which provide customer toilets include:

  • supermarkets - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, etc all tend to offer customer toilets
  • fast food restaurants - McDonalds, Burger King, Costa Coffee, Starbucks all tend to have customer toilets
  • petrol stations - Many petrol stations have customer toilets, especially larger ones which service lorries as well as cars

Kit-bag

To minimise the chances of forgetting something, I've found it useful to keep a bag packed containing all of my most commonly used kit, which I keep in my car. While it may seem excessive at first, the benefits are soon felt when you're an hour from home, and the weather turns unexpectedly!

All-season kit

I tend to keep the following things in my kit-bag year-round. Not every item is used every week, but I'm glad I have them with me on the occasions I do use them!

  • Barcode wristband
  • Towel
  • 2 plastic resealable sandwich bags - great for keeping your phone and car keys dry in the rain!
  • Cap
  • Sweat towel
  • Cow cowell
  • A change of clothes, including:
    • T-shirt
    • Shorts
    • Socks
    • Shoes
  • Gels
  • Flipbelt
  • Spare (old) running shoes

I also make sure to bring the following with me each week, although these are more consumable, and so don't live in my kit-bag!

  • Headphones
  • Water
  • Protein shake

Winter additions

When the weather gets wetter and colder, I tend to add the following items to my kit-bag. If it's cold, I might travel wearing trousers instead of shorts, but it's useful to have spares too in case it is raining!

  • Trousers
  • Hoody
  • Gloves
  • Beanie
  • Waterproof jacket

Summer additions

When the weather is warmer, it's easy to forget that the sun's UV rays are also often stronger. Whether you apply before or after your run, if you plan to spend the day outside, I think it's always a good idea to keep the following items in your kit-bag!

  • Suncream
  • Aftersun

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