parkrun

Events

I've now been to 84 different parkrun events, and often go to new locations to get my count up. My personal parkrun results are here.

The list here are all the ones I've been to with my thought and comments about them, along with a 1-5 rating of the terrain/how tough I think they are!

London

I've completed the 53 parkruns in the Greater London area - known as #LonDone

If you then include the twelve that are inside the M25 (Aldenham, Banstead Woods, Brooklands, Cassiobury, Dartford, Dartford Heath, Gunpowder, Hazlewood, Nonsuch, Rickmansworth, Roding Valley, South Oxhey) but outside of the Greater London boundary, that takes that total to 65 for London+

There are then five more (Lullingstone, Brentwood, Black Park, Homewood, Reigate Priory) which are just outside the M25 area which some people still consider as part of London++, then that brings the 'London' total to 70.

Below is the parkruns I've visited (in Green) in the London area, and (in Red) the ones I've yet to do.

Terrain

Along the way, I'm also in search of the flattest - and therefore most likely the fastest - parkrun courses. Parkruns rated '1' are the easiest, and the ones where you should be able to record your best times, those rated '4' and '5' are the hardest, and your times will be slower! There is also a separate list of other events where parkrun friends contributed their gradient ratings to other parkruns down below too - can we get all of the UK parkruns listed on here?

Terrain gradient ratings

1 - Completely flat, or so near to be flat that you don't notice a gradient at all!
2 - Looks flat, but when you run it you then realise there are some obvious gradients
3 - Noticeable gradients before you run it, that you can feel whilst running it too!
4 - A hilly course with several steep gradients
5 - Steep hill course! Lots of gradients!

I estimate that you can add on 20-30 seconds to your time for every increase in gradient over a '1' rated course.

There is also the impossible zero gradient course, but for that the course has to be as flat as a running track!

Others

Also worth looking at, is the superb blogt7 list of London parkruns here, by Steven Stockwell where he has blogged and reviewed all the ones he has been too, along with photos - an invaluable guide if you're going to a new parkrun.

London Parkruns

Ally Pally

Alexander Palace has a summer and a winter course - I went in the winter which is supposedly slightly faster, but still found it really tough going! Half on a gravel path, half on tarmac, it undulates a LOT with a tight bend, a narrow gate that everyone has to funnel through and nasty slippy downhill part as well makes this an interesting course! Good views though as you're high up.

There is a cafe and toilet but they're a walk away from the start. Best way to get there is to use Alexander Palace station, and not Wood Green on the Piccadilly Line. Gets around 150 people, good local friendly turnout with lots of regulars, and would come back in the summer to see what it's like!.

Toilets: Yes, but a walk a away Cafe:Yes, but not not near the start/finish

Barking

Two anti-clockwise laps of a the park, past a boating lake and it's all on tarmac, mostly gentle turns but one sharp bend where a post is almost in the way! I've seen people describe this being as 'As flat as they come', but there are flatter in London - and really this should be graded as a '1.5' terrain, but that might be picky as this is certainly a place to get a fast time and a potential PB, so it's a '1'.

Really nice size - averages around 80 people, super nice volunteers and there were cakes at the end too! The toilets were open but the cafe oddly was not on the day I was here. It's a ten minute walk from Barking station, or two stops on the bus from there, so easy to get to.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: No

Elevation Chart - Goes between 6 and 10 metres, an elevation of 4 metres in total

 

Beckenham Place

It's two clockwise laps of Beckenham Place park - mostly on grass, some on trail and a small part on tarmac. There's one narrow part of the course where depending on how slow/fast you are you might meet runners coming the other way!

The west side of the park is right by the railway line, so you can race yourself against a Thameslink train as they pass by.

As one of London's newer parkruns, there aren't any facilities yet, but they hope to have some in future. Ravensbourne station is really close by, less than 5 minutes walk to get to the start/finish point. I got the results through by 11am too! Fast processing.

Toilets: No Cafe: No, but there is a shop/coffee place at the station

 

Beckton

Two anti-clockwise laps of the park, including a straight 'out and back' bit, where you do a 180 degrees turn around a lamppost. The course is half on grass, half on tarmac and for the grass plus a couple of humps in places it gets a '2', but it's relatively fast course.

The start is over by the children's playground where there are toilets, and the finish is a small spur off - again on grass.

When I was there, the lovely volunteers had free teas and coffees and sweets and biscuits, and even book-swap going on! They took all day to process the results though, rather than doing them immediately after the race.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: No

 

Bedfont Lakes

Two clockwise laps of the park which is an old quarry meaning that there are several small dips and gradients. There is a car park, but no convenient nearby train station for public transport.

Toilets: Yes

 

Bexley

A surprisingly tougher course than you might first think! It's two anti-clockwise laps (with the halfway almost perfectly at the start/finish point after one lap) on a course that it mainly paths, but then goes to rough trail, and small amount of grass as well.

It is not flat though, and the winter it would get very wet. There is one strange right-hand turn in particular where you almost run into a gate, and you have to slow to turn to avoid it - and this comes immediately before a sharp uphill bit which is a slog, especially on the second time around.

The car-park is a short walk from the start/finish but there are facilities here, although I didn't use them on the time I came. A nice touch is the permanent parkrun markers on the tarmac paths which have been painted on here

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Brockwell Park

Easy to get to - the start us under five minutes walk from Herne Hill station, it's two anti-clockwise laps around this park which all on tarmac except for the last 50 metres when you turn into the grass for the finish, but that hardly counts!

I had been told this this was hilly and was expecting it to be tougher than it was, there are two hill parts easily making it a '3' but it didn't real feel that difficult!

The start is right by the Lido where they don't let you use the toilet facilities, unless you are a member, or pay a charge to get in. Same goes for the cafe too! Meanies.

Also, they don't set up the finish funnel until after the race had started. So people put coats and bags by a tree near to what becomes the finish area.

Toilets: No Cafe: No

 

Bromley

A flattish course that's half on grass, half on tarmac. I say 'flattish' because there is an almost unnoticeable slight incline just after the start, but its there. What really affects it is the grass, which makes it feel bumpy, and hence a '2' rating, although '1.5' might be fairer. It will get muddier and slower in the winter though.

They get lots of people - they average 500. but there is a nice big wide start, facilities, friendly people, place to lock bikes and they give you a free tea and coffee afterwards, which is great! On the day I went, the results came through before 10.30, which I think is the fastest I've ever got my time though, which is rather fantastic.

Toilets:Yes Cafe: No, but they offer tea, coffee and water!

 

Burgess Park

It's flat, it's fast, and I love it! One one my favourite parkruns. It's a PB course!

It's a long stretch out, two clockwise laps around a lake and then back again. It's almost totally flat, except for one small 'dip' that goes under a bridge - you do in once just after the start, and again just before the finish on the way back.

There are two 'funnels' at the start but can be crowded, it you are fussy about your time you will want to be at the front, otherwise it will take you a small number of seconds to cross the start line.

Friendly, snacks and drinks were available afterwards - there are toilets and tea and the Tennis cafe as well. One thing to note is that people meet beforehand at the finish, then walk a small way to the start-line - you can leave your possessions at the finish line.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

Bushy Park

The original parkrun! Attracts several hundred people, so the main issue is that you may not get across the starting line for several seconds.

There are multiple funnels and many bar code scanners at the end to cope with the large number of people. It also gets even busier on the date of its anniversary.

Toilets:Yes Cafe:Yes

 

Gradient 1Canons Park

This is a three lap course in an anti-clockwise direction, with half on tarmac, half on hard trail - oh and a small piece of grass too that doesn't get too muddy in the winter.

The start is right by some toilets and there is a serving hatch when you can get tea and cake and crisps - sometimes open before nine o'clock!

I think this is the only parkrun in London, where you can see and hear tube trains rattling along beside you at the Jubilee line up to Stanmore passes right alongside, this making it a doddle to get there on public transport.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Gradient 1Catford

"It's not as hilly as Hilly Fields!" joked a friendly volunteer to me as I arrived at the inaugural opening - but it does feel like the 'sister' run to Hilly Fields, a mini version of it. Twisty, undulating, twisty again, and a lot on grass - going to be muddy in winter - meant that this fair weathered runner who likes tarmac did not enjoy this course, and it's not for me. Doesn't mean that it's not a good parkrun though, great to have another one in south east London, and there was an excellent first-day vibe and enthusiasm amongst the volunteers and runners, great stuff!

It's a two-and-a-half lap clockwise coursem with the start/finish by a bandstand with a cafe and toilets right nearby.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Clapham Common

Two clockwise laps around the outside of the north part of the common. The start is a short walk from the finish, and the course is 80% on trail, the rest on a tarmac path. The week I went (event No. 3!) it was really well Marshalled which is good, because there are several points where you could take a wrong turn, so this event really does rely on lots of great volunteers.

There's not cafe or toilets near the start/finish in the park, but there are facilities elsewhere, and the shops nearby at Clapham South tube (the nearest to the event - not Clapham Common!) provide everything you might need.

It's a '2' for terrain, but in the winter/wet/rainy conditions this will get really muddy, so you may only want to do it in the dry. Great to have a second parkrun in Wandsworth borough, the push to get one in Battersea Park continues!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes - but not near the start/finish, a short walk away.

Gradient 1Crane Park

One and a half laps of a lovely park on paths, with a small amount of on-street running on the pavement by the roads at each end. Almost completely flat the whole way round, there is a sudden sharp turn to finish at the end. The start and the finish are not at the same place, but the volunteers kindly move any coats/bags to the finish for you.

Getting there by public transport is tricky, better to drive with limited on street parking.

Usually gets under 200 runners with a narrow start, and one short funnel with one bar code scanner.

Toilets: No Cafe: No


Gradient 1
Crystal Palace

This is a hilly one! It used to be two clockwise laps all on tarmac and paths which took in a really steep hill which let you speed on the way back down. You repeated it twice,

But in 2017, the course was changed and goes up the big hill only once, around a flat part at the top then back down and loops around the lake and the dinosaurs. It's not much more complicated - I got lost and went the wrong way due to their being no marshall at one point - and the course now feels longer than 5Km, several people on their GPS watches are now recording it at 5.1 and 5.2Km, which means I no longer enjoy this course.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Dulwich Park

A three-lapper, going anti-clockwise around the lovely Dulwich Park. There is a slight incline immediately after the start (and every lap) which is why this is a '2' and not a '1' - maybe it should be a '1.5' ! As it's certainly mostly flat, all on tarmac and fast times are possible here. Friendly people and a cute cafe afterwards too to grab a cuppa.

Usually gets around two hundred people, two bar codes scanners at the end with a funnel.

Toilets:Yes Cafe:Yes

 

Finsbury Park

Three anti-clockwise laps of the park - it is all tarmac but has a few gradients along the way. No shade on a hot day along one long back straight - too warm to be in the open if you run it in the height of summer!

Toilets:Yes Cafe:Yes

 

Foots Cray Meadows

London's 53rd parkrun started in July 2019, it's almost all on grass and trail with only about 100m on tarmac path. A big clockwise loop, with then a smaller clockwise loop, and on the dry summer week that I went they were struggling for volunteers to be marshals, and I went wrong and started onto a third loop when I should have been heading for the finish! It's 'flat', but it's mostly on bumpy grass which could churn up into mud during the winter, hence it's a '2', but I'm giving it a '3' for it's bumpiness. Nearest station is Albany Park but it's a a walk from the station, most people that went drove and parked in the car park by the farm shop.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes - as part of a delightful farm shop, that also give you 10% off if you show them your parkrun barcode!

 

Fulham Palace

Taking place in Bishop's Park between Fulham Palace and the football ground, it's three anti-clockwise laps of Bishop's Park. It is all on tarmac and flat and nice and fast, partly along the River Thames, although the path by the river is narrow, and has a few twists and turns.

There's a short walk to the start - which is also narrow - and that's the only negative thing about this parkrun. Leaving your bags in the finish area is safe to do, and the results are processed in the cafe afterwards. Get there by using the 220 bus.

Toilets:Yes Cafe:Yes

 

Gladstone Park

Two anti-clockwise laps in a hilly park - three points where there are loooong uphill gradients which take their toll! I did not enjoy this one at all ...it's mostly on tarmac though with a short stretch on grass.

Dollis Hill on the Jubilee line is under a 10 minute walk away from the park/start point.

Toilets: No Cafe: No

 

Greenwich

Gradient 1Nowhere near Greenwich town centre or train station! it should really be called 'Avery Hill' parkrun. It's a three lap course, ran anti-clockwise, which starts and stays on grass around some football pitches, then onto a smooth flat path, and then onto grass again for the uphill section with undulation. Certainly a stunning park, with good facilities. Free parking on the weekend too if you drive there..

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Grovelands

Gradient 1A straightforward three anti-clockwise laps around the park with a lake in the middle. It undulates a fair bit with a steep hill at the beginning of each lap. All on tarmac, but I wouldn't say it's a PB course. Went to Southgate tube on the Piccadilly Line to get there, and although there is a cafe in the park, I was told that it doesn't open until 10.30! Couldn't see any toilets either.

On the week I went thought, there was frost and ice on the paths, so we ran on the grass alongside the tarmac! Would love to go back on a summers day when it won't be such a slog.

Toilets: No Cafe: Yes, but not open at 09.30!

 

Gradient 1

Gunnersbury

My spiritual parkrun home! The first parkrun I ever did was here, and is the course I've run most - over 100 times.

The original course was a figure of eight (one lap) course that went in a clockwise direction around the edge of the park. This would change during the winter when it was too muddy to be an anti-clockwise course.

Then a combination of works in the park, and it becoming so popular that it now regular gets 500 people mean that it's been changed again, and involves two different clockwise loops - done twice, all on tarmac with a small undulation. There is a brand new cafe too which give you 10% off with a parkrun barcode.

There is a car park, but the E3 bus stops right outside, and Acton Town tube station a five minute walk away.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes, where the organisers go to, to process the results right after the race

 

Gradient 1

Hackney Marshes

A simple 'there and back' course (later changed - now has a short dog leg section too) along a tarmac path, a small part of trail that takes you to more tarmac by the canal and back again - all in the shade of trees. It's super flat, and you could likely get a PB here ... as I did, when I came! I got my fastest time in over two and a half years when I came here, this is the second fastest course in London, and I loved it - everyone was very friendly.

There is toilets and a cafe nearby which does excellent bacon sandwiches! Oh, and it's by a canal - you can't beat running alongside a canal in London.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes, including excellent bacon sandwiches!

 

Hampstead Heath

An interesting one this, they have two courses 'A' and 'B' shown on their page and I assumed that course 'B' was their winter course.

But their preference is to use start 'A' and is the one use most weeks. The course 'B' start is used when when the Heath authorities let the space around start A for other activities (e.g. fairs and school activities) which maybe 6-8 weeks of the year.

The week I went, I think I got a course 'B' week, which starts on a downward muddy trail, then two clockwise laps - most of which is on tarmac which is nice - but then you have to run up the muddy slope again to the finish and that was hard!

The nearest station is Hampstead on the Northern Line, but everyone goes to a cafe down by Hampstead Heath on the Overground after - there are NO facilities on the heath itself.

A challenging course, you won't PB here but definitely has great and varied scenery.

Toilets: No Cafe: No

 

Harrow

Three laps (anti-clockwise) of the park, including an additional smaller loop the first time round to make up the distance to 5Km. A lovely park - all on tarmac, but a couple of long gradients which you end up doing three times each - six in total.

Takes less than 10 minutes to walk from Harrow-on-the-Hill station, and starts and finishes by a pavilion where you can leave your coats and bags and has facilities, great little setup..

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Harrow Lodge

Not to be confused with 'Harrow' (above!) Harrow Lodge Park is out in East London - nearest tube is Elm Park, it's a 5-10 minute walk. The course is a beautiful one-lapper (which is rare in London), on mostly grass (which gets muddy when wet) but small parts of it also on tarmac. There's a lake in the middle with ducks and swans which you come round at the end as the finish is in sight which is lovely.

I was told that a white building in the middle of the park was a cafe with toilets, but we we checked it out after the run, it was all closed with no sign of life, so no facilities here as far as I could see! I ran this in the winter, and would definitely love to come back and do it in the summer again.

Not flat, lots of undulating parts, gets a '3' for its rating therefore.

Toilets: No Cafe: No

 

Highbury Fields

Five (yes, five!) anti-clockwise laps, where the first half is slightly uphill, and then the other half of the lap is all downhill. There's then a small 'leg' at the end to complete the 5Km. Can be dispiriting if you're not the fastest runner as it's quite likely that you will get lapped!

Really near the tube station - easy to get to - no facilities in the park, but loads of places nearby to get fed, watered, and use the loo. It's all on tarmac, and despite this being a '2' you can get a fast time here if you push it a little on the downhill stretch.

Toilets: No Cafe: No (But lots of local shops nearby)

 

Hilly Fields

"The clue is in the name!" joked the lively, and very fun run director as we lined up for the briefing here. I ran it on the hottest Saturday of the year, and I was feeling it by the end ...

It's three anti-clockwise laps around the delightful Hilly Fields, which is a mix of tarmac, trail and grass, it undulates throughout and at the each of each lap there's a nasty sharp uphill section which by the third time is so so draining and I almost walked it!

Superb cafe here as well with toilets, and some lovely friendly organisers here too. If you're OK with a non-flat course, I thoroughly recommend you visit here, it's great!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Hoblingwell

Get the train to St Mary Cray, and it's a ten minute walk (good warmup!) up the hill to get to the grassy area where it's ran. Yes it's 90% on grass, a small amount of tarmac paths meaning that in the winter .. yes it churns up quite badly with mud, so maybe it's one for the summer.

The course make two short loops around by the start, and then two longer loops around the muddy section and then you finish by running the small loop that you did at the start again but this time in reverse, back to the finish.

I went on a day when there were less than 50 people there, and there is something delightfully charming about going to a 'small' parkrun again that doesn't feel like it's swamped with people, and this made me love the course, even though I struggled with the mud!

There is a club house nearby, with toilets and tea and drinks for afterwards.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

Kingston

It's a simple 'out and back' (with a loop when you turn) course which is run alongside the river Thames. You don't actually run along the towpath, but a path next to it slightly higher up. It's not totally flat, and it's all on a path/trail, and some bits that would get muddy in winter, so hence it's a 2 and not a 1.

It's right by a sports centre though with cafe and toilets and seating area, and on the day I went they were handing out free bananas to people at the end!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Lloyd Park

Two anti-clockwise laps of an extremely hilly and rugged landscape in a park that is also used for cross country running. Even more horrendous to do when muddy after it's been raining. You have to climb through a rise of 44 metres all on muddy grass ... ouch! Averages around 200 people.

Lloyd Park tramlink stop is literally 60 seconds walk from the park entrance and the start position, the trams pass by you to your right at the start of the run. The organisers are brilliant here setting up early with everything in order, and free drinks and sometimes cakes to snack on too, and if that isn't enough, there's a really good cafe immediately next to the start/finish.

Yes, it's London's toughest course - but a very rewarding one once you've done it.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes


Mile End

As part of this parkrun in east London is by the canal you'd be forgiven for thinking that it would totally flat, but it's not. It's a two loop 'out and back' run which takes in two gradients, and then one small but steep hill (the green bridge) that goes over a road - and you run that four times in total! Only a short part of the course is flat, near to the canal, and because of that, Mile End get a '3' rating. It is all on tarmac though, no problems here in the winter.

The organisers were superb, and whilst there's no facilities (I couldn't find any toilets!) a Coffee Cart van comes along especially to cater for the runners and do good trade. Nearest station is Mile End, a couple of minutes walk to the top end of the park, then a couple more minutes to walk down to the start/finish area..

Toilets: Couldn't find any...
Cafe: No, but a Coffee Van Man comes along!

 

Northala

Two laps of a nice flat park, with one odd part where you have to 'dodge round' a piece of mental fencing that is in the way on the footpath.

Northolt tube is about a ten minute walk away from the entrance to the park. There is a great little cafe to go to afterwards, and a couple of nearby 'mounds' to climb for a view and a good warm-down exercise afterwards.

Toilets:Yes
Cafe:Yes

Oak Hill Park

In north London lies a parkrun with the world 'Hill' in its name that is not at all hilly! In fact, it's easier than Wanstead Flats, which has go the world 'flats' in its name. It's all on tarmac, it's three anti-clockwise loops, and there is a slight gradient up towards the end of each loop, but it's not a lot of effort.

I came by car, ample parking space and people gather at the end point, and at 9am prompt there is a 5-minute walk down to the start point. There is a building with toilets and cafe, and the usually get around 150 people. One tricky part of the course is where you 'S' bend across a narrow bridge, apart from that, it's all on tarmac and is a straightforward lovely run, and I definitely want to come back here and do it again.

Toilets : Yes
Cafe : Yes

Elevation - Goes between 42 and 50 metres, an elevation of 8 metres in total

 

Old Deer Park

Oh how I loved this one! It's a three-lap clockwise course around the grass of Old Deer Park in Richmond, with a tiny part of the course on tarmac path - mostly flat - and doesn't get too muddy in the winter either. It's on the flight path to Heathrow though so expect planes roar above you as you do your laps!

What's great about it is that it's one of the few London parkruns to still get less than 100 people, so it's still got that beautiful friendly small vibe about it, which other parkruns used to have but have lost as they've grown too large Many friendly people here, and they even have a 'Tea & Coffee Kitty' meaning that you might get a cup of tea free one week! Or you can contribute to that fund as well. One that I will definitely go back to in the summer once I've completed all the London parkruns.

Toilets: Yes, in the sports centre
Cafe: Yes, through a serving hatch outside

Orpington

Steeper than it looks! This is mostly on grass, clockwise around the park, and the first two laps you run around the rugby pitch, which you don't need to do on the third lap - you just head straight for the finish! In the winter, it gets muddy and would easily make it a '3' in terms of terrain.

The park is quite a way from Orpington station, you have to get an R9 bus if you're using public transport. Once there, the start finish is by the local football club building, and inside there are toilets and a cafe which sells snacks and drinks and is open before the run.

On the course, there are three odd moment where a small piece of tarmac has some concrete and wooden bollards are right in the middle of the path! They stick up huge bright yellow 'Mind the Bollard' signs though, so that you don't run into them!

Toilets:Yes
Cafe:Yes


Osterley Park

Three anti-clockwise laps ran along woodland paths, with a few tree stumps to avoid in places which makes the course bumpy and tricky, and definitely not great in the winter when it's muddy.

There is parking and is easier to drive here, if you go to Osterely tube it is about a 10-15 minute walk away from the station. There is a great cafe area in the grounds to gather afterwards.

2018: There is speculation that the Osterley course may change at somepoint to not go through the wood at all, to be a completely different route and probably a lot easier!

Toilets: Yes
Cafe: Yes


Peckham Rye

On the Parkrun website, the course description is '...entirely on tarmac is mainly flat and therefore a potential PB course' - which is not the case, as there's a significant slope at the end of each lap by which the third time, you feel it! It's a delightful park though, but the course is very twisty-and turny, which also makes it a non-PB course. Dulwich has less bends (as is nearby) and Burgess and Southwark are almost certainly faster, but a great park, friendly setup and one I'd go to again.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Pymmes

Three anti-clockwise laps in a small park, very flat and all run on tarmac. Usually gets only about 60 runners, a small but super-friendly parkrun!

The first time I went here I'd hoped for a low-numbered placing as its London's least-attended parkrun, but on the Saturday that I went a local school was doing a charity run and they had their most runners ever! I still managed to finish 21st though, on another week I might have been in the top 10! Definitely one I am coming back to once I have completed all of London.

There is on street parking, and the nearest public transport is Silver Street Overground station which has trains every 15 minutes.

Therea are toilets in the park which are now closed, and no cafe in the park .. but the there is a cafe a short walk back by the station.

Toilets: No Cafe: No

 

Raphael

Pronounced 'Ray-Fell' this is an undulating course that is all on tarmac. It's two clockwise loops, then half a loop back to the start/finish. At one point the volunteers put out guiders to stop you running into people coming the other way! The friendly team meet you at the the parks bandstand, and there is a great atmosphere.

But it's not as flat as I thought it was going to be! There are TWO cafe with toilets in the park, only the northern one was open before 9am. Parking is to the south, across the other side of the road, or the nearest station is Romford from where you can walk in under ten minutes. Definitely one for the summer.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Richmond

One of the earliest (fifth in the country?) parkruns to be established, set in stunning Richmond park too with the chance of seeing some deer as you run round. It's a one-lap anti-clockwise course that is all on trail, with some grassy bits, no tarmac at all - this is not a a fast/PB course. It undulates, although it mainly on a downward slope for the first half on the way out, and then it curves around and is then obviously on a mainly uphill slope towards the finish, with a small steep section just before the end!

The nearby toilets cost 20p to use, and they meet after in a cafe outside of the park. It was strange that almost no one was there at 08:45, but by 08:55 everyone had showed up. I heard one of the event organisers mention that they're not always the promptest of parkruns!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: No

 

Riddlesdown

'1.6 laps around the top of the hill!' it was described to me - and it is. Mostly on grass trail which can get muddy, and terribly muddy in a wet winter. There is no tarmac at all here, and some undulation making at least a '2', but the tough terrain take it to a '3'.

It's flattish - but to GET there you have to come up a steep hill, which is hard if you're on foot or bike! If you drive, park in the school opposite.

There is a 'registration' desk right by the entrance to the park, but the start is a good 10 minute walk away, The finish is also a 5 minute walk back to the 'registration' desk area.

Small though, and VERY FRIENDLY on the day I went, the numerous volunteers were all great to chat to. Liked that.

Toilets: No Cafe: Not in the park, but just down the road there are various shops and cafes to meet afterwards..

 

Roundshaw Downs

Two anti-clockwise laps around grassy trails and some woods - none of this is on tarmac, and there are some definite gradients here! I wouldn't like to do it after it's been raining either, thankfully it was mostly dry on the day that I went.

It's a small setup, but I liked how low-key it was, not over-organised like others I've been too, really liked it. And as the 19th Parkrun to be setup in the country, it still has one of the original timers - a box that's the size of your hand!

Toilets: No Cafe:No, Instead the lovely and friendly organisers go to the nearby LA Fitness, or McDonalds to get a coffee and process the results.

Southwark

Three anti-clockwise loops around the edge of the park. Almost totally flat with several bends - one hairpin. Completely on paved fasts, a nice fast circuit, one of London's fastest and a favourite of mine.

Averages arouns 250 runners each week, with a short funnel and two barcode scanners. There nearest station to the entrance is Surrey Quays on the Overground, it's less than a 5 minute walk from the station to the start point.

Toilets: No Cafe: No, but it's a really short walk (back by the station) to The Surrey Docks Wetherspoons pub who serve breakfast and where everyone gathers afterwards to process the results.

 

South Norwood

One of London's newest runs, it's small and I hope it grows in numbers and volunteers - because it needs them. On the day I visited, there was confusion about where the finish was, if it was safe to leave bags and coats anywhere, and the run director was so quietly spoken most people couldn't hear them speak.

The run though is two clockwise laps of the park on rugged terrain with some paths, and I'm certain that it would not be fast in the winter after it's been raining!

Sadly, there's no nearby cafe here afterwards, people just drifted off at the end, and I don't know if or where people gathered for a post-run tea or process the results.

Toilets: ?? Cafe: No

 

Tooting Common

Wandsworths first parkrun - finally! It's a simple three anti-clockwise loops in a triangle shape with a small 'leg' which you do at the start and finish. It's almost all on tarmac apart from a short section on hard trail, and one odd part where you have to jump over a kerb and avoid a bollard. The paths though ARE narrow, meaning a very squashed start, and if you're trying for a PB here you'll have to fight your way to be at the front. There is an excellent cafe though and toilets too, good facilities.

Toilets: Yes Cafe:Yes

 

Valentines Park

Jump on the tube to Mile end, or the train to Ilford and Valentines Park is in-between. It's two anti-clockwise laps pf the park with a spur at the start and the end to take you from/to the start finish in the middle of the park.

There's one part across a tiny wooden bridge which gets icy in the winter, and one part which reminded me of Northala - where you have to run around a gate the blocks the path. But it's all on tarmac, and hardly undulates - in other words, it's a fast flat course - which may just be the only place though where I've to avoid Geese waddling about from the nearby pond!

There's an excellent cafe at the end, and a proper toilet block too - so good facilities.

 

Victoria Dock

London's fastest parkrun! It's so flat! It's so fast! In fact ... I'd dare to suggest that it may just be the fastest course in the whole of the UK! Come here if you're trying for a PB ...

A parkrun that's not in a park! Instead you run along the tarmac of the north side of Victoria Docks, all the way past the ExCeL centre, do a 180 and come back again, and then an 'out and back' along the south side too, to the finish. And you get to run under the Dangleway! (Cablecar). Actually, that's quite a fun way to get to this parkun - get the tube to North Greenwich then get the Dangleway over.

The course is all on street-paving, and dockside tarmac with 'street furniture' (bollards, benches) along the way to avoid, it's not a path, the course is quite open! But it's well signed, and coloured cones are put out. There are toilets, and they provide free tea and coffee at the end which is great!

As it's super flat and all on concrete, you will get a fast time here if that's what you're after.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: No, but free drinks are organised, and there are shops nearby.

 

Walthamstow

Good things: The people here are warm, welcoming, lovely, community driven and they make an excellent atmosphere.

Bad things: The course isn't in a park, it's three anti-clockwise laps of a rather dull football playing field (parts of a sports centre) all on muddy grass, with no interesting views and leaves you feeling a little uninspired. The course is rugged and slopey, and has one 'mound' which I found difficult to negotiate up and be careful not to slide back down! I have to have a least favourite course in London, and this is probably it.

There are toilets (and even changing rooms!) that you can use in the adjacent sports centre though, but no cafe ... there are vending machines though.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Vending machines

 

Wanstead Flats

Wanstead Flats is two laps of the flats, half on playing fields and half in woods. Although it's flat it's not a tarmac course meaning it will slow you a little.

Also it is terrible when it's been raining as it's horrendously muddy. The best time is in the spring and autumn, at the height of summer it is too overgrown. Friendly though, with home made cakes for free when we visited!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: No

 

Wimbledon Common

Two anti-clockwise laps in the woods and shadows of the trees. It's all woodland trails, with several tree stumps to avoid in places! Not the fastest of courses, and the '2' becomes a '3' in the winter when it's been raining, as it gets muddy - none of it is on tarmac.

There's a short walk from the meeting point to the start, the finish is back near where people congregate for the briefing.

Toilets/Cafe: I forgot to look!

 

Wormwood Scrubs

Two laps of grassy paths that gets very muddy and cross-country like in the winter - so probably easier in the summer. Usually gets less than 50 people, a small but friendly event. The course is rugged though, and I would say a little uninspiring - I've run here twice though, and have run it in reverse as well which they did on their first anniversary.

Toilets: Yes Cafe:Yes

 

How to get there

Also, just for fun I created a parkrun tube map, that show you also the nearest tube stations to the London parkrun venues.

[Click on image here for a much larger version!]

 

London+ Parkruns

These are the parkruns that are outside the Greater London boundary, but inside the M25.

Banstead Woods

I visited in November in a week when it had been raining and anticipated it to be much harder than I thought it was.

In the end, the trail course was covered mostly in autumnal leaves rather than mud, and it wasn't a problem at all getting round, and I really enjoyed it.

It's two-lapper (anti-clockwise) that starts by gong uphill! There's then a nice long down hill part, but then a sharp uphill section, followed by the long uphill section again, and some people chose to walk it.

One of the best run directors I'd ever witnessed was here, giving clear, concise and friendly instructions beforehand which was really good. It was also nice to see a sign politely asking runners with dog to start to one side - rather than being in the 'huddle' group at the start which can sometimes cause problems. You can get the train to Chipstead to come here, but most likely you would drive. No facilities sadly (which would make it perfect) instead everyone meets afterwards at the pub down the road.

Toilets : No, but there are a lot of trees in the wood ...
Cafe : No

Dartford

Two anti-clockwise laps of the delightful Central Park, a less than 10 minute walk from the railway stations.

It is on tarmac, and then with some section on grass/trail which I imagine would be sticky in the winter on a wet day. On the second lap, you do an extra 'leg' down to the Marshal known as Mick Jagger - you'll have to go here to see why! Am giving it a gradient rating of '2' but on a bad weather day this might be a '3'.

The start/finish is next to the Dartford Harriers running track and building where there are toilets and a cafe which is open before the run! Get a cup of tea beforehand if you like.

On the day I went, I got my results email by 10:07, and results text through by 10:12, which is the absolute fastest that I have ever have it come through! Great stuff.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

Nonsuch

Two laps of a nonsuch park, a rugged course mostly on a dirt trail - some section of which obviously get really muddy and slow you down after it's been raining, and then several section on grass too. This is not a fast course!

A large friendly turnout of people though, often attracts several hundred and gets very busy. There is a great cafe though, toilets and facilities..

Toilets : Yes
Cafe : Yes

 

 

London++ Parkruns

These are four parkruns which are just outside the M25, but people still see as being 'London'. These are the ones I've been to.

Black Park

A long course ran along a woodland path surrounded by tall trees. There is no convenient public transport though, but there is a car park which you have to pay for!

There is a seating area/cafe at the end, but there is no good place to put your bags/coats unless you leave them in your car, as the start and finish points are at different places.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

Reigate Priory

It's a tough one, and I went in the winter when it's even tougher! At one point I slipped, tripped and fell and cut my leg open. It starts flat, but soon goes up a hill into the woods, through a rugged landscape that undulates and gets muddy and then down an awkward sloping hill the other side... oh, and you do it twice, anti-clockwise.

There is a paid-for car park in the nearby Morrisons, but a great cafe and toilet in the park itself..

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

Lullingstone

You can get there by train to Eynsford station, but most people drive - and it costs £2.50 to park in the car park. The course is 90% on grass, a little on trail no tarmic and it's so hilly! But yet brilliant! It's two clockwise laps and you run up into the woods, and come out for a stunning view .. down the hill, loop around up the hill again to pass the start, and do it again, and I loved it. The organisers here that no one comes here for a fast time, they do it because it's a challenge, and in a superb location.

It's within the ground of a Kent Country Park which mean good toilets and a posh cafe - they give you 10% if you show a parkrun barcode. I ran this on a dry/sunny September day, it must be bad in the winter when it's all wet & muddy! One for trail shoes if you have them.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

Other UK Parkruns

Other parkruns I've ran at around the UK ...

Bognor Regis

Set in the delightful Hotham Park, this is four-lap course, clockwise except that the first lap is a shorter than the three that follow which may catch you out! Extremely flat, all on tarmac, the course does twist and turn quite a lot and if you go on a day with several hundred people it can get a bit congested in the pinch points. I love a varied course in a park with changing scenery though and so lapped it up with a fast time! There's also a miniature railway in the park as well, and you run over the tracks several times!

The most bizarre thing happened at the end though - they give you your token, and then scan it inside the funnel as well! which is nothing short of ridiculous because I do not run around with my barcode on me. So i had to go and get it an rejoin the finishing runners (who were still coming in) to get my barcode scanned. I cannot see any logic in doing this at all.

There is a GREAT cafe right in the park with toilets too, open before 9am as well which is nice. And once you've done your run it's just a short walk to the seafront for a walk along the beach!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: No

Conwy

My first Welsh pakrun, it's really to the east of the river by Llandudno Jubction - which is where you go to if you're getting there by train, and it's down by the water by the RSPB reservce. It is fast, and flat, on solid trail paths except for one fun part where you have to run over the railways on a sloped pedestrian footbridge! You do it on the way back as well. It's by the water, and you get a glorious view of Conwy castle too before the halfway mark. Say "Hello" to Bob at the Bend! (The 180 turn), and when you get off the ramp on the way back, use the momentum to spring all the way to the finish for a fast time. I loved it!

There are no facilities, but there's a retail park and supermarket nearby-ish which you can use.

Toilets: No Cafe: No

Eastbourne

First thing to note about Eastbourne - it's not really in Eastbourne! The nearest station is one up the line - Hampden Park - and even then, it's a good 20-25 minutes walk from there to the park.

The park is great though, and I came here because I was told it was very flat and very fast - and it is! 80% of it is on tarmac, but the first 800m and last 800m (repeated) are on grass which can't get a bit bumpy in dry summer months, and because of this I'll grade it '2', and not '1'. (Only courses which are 100% tarmac/paths can ever be '1')

In the winter if it gets muddy they change the course slightly so that it IS all on tarmac, but it becomes a more boring 'out and back' but I'd be interested in going back and doing this and see which I prefer.

On the day I went though - in the boiling hot sunshine of the heatwave of summer 2018 - I got a Season's Best, my fastest time of the year, so yes .. it IS a fast course! And to cap it all off, one of the lovely volunteers gave me a lift back into town afterwards.

Sadly there's no facilities here, no cafe or toilets (use the loo before you come!) but the great course more than makes up for it.

Toilets: No Cafe: No

 

Edinburgh

A 'run out, turn around and run back' course all along the coastline - almost totally flat on tarmac, but it's cold in the winter when the wind whips in! Note that as a Scottish parkrun it also starts at 09.30, and not at 09.00. Don't do what I did and turn up at 08.30, and be an hour early ...

But the setup is weird as it's actually over organised with music blasting from a P.A. which is odo, and tents that make it feel like you're at a fairground and not a parkrun, and it feels like you almost get berated in a literal 'Repeat after me' fashion to "Not forget your barcode" by the person who gives the first time brief who also spends time bragging about all the parkruns they've completely which is totally unecessary.

It therefore unfortunately completely lacks the charm of a 'local park' parkrun, and feels more like a paid-for run or marathon event, rather then the free parkrun which we all know and love.

Toilets: No Cafe: Yes

Exeter Riverside

"It's nice and flat!" someone told me just before we set off, and they were right! Run down next to the retail park and river to the south side of Exeter City, this splendid run starts on (an admittedly narrow, be at the front at the start if you don't want to get caught up in a crush for the first part) tarmac for 1Km, then shaded trail for half a Km, a clockwise 2Km loop round the grassy university playing fields, then back down the trail and hit the tarmac again for the final 1Km to the finish back where you started, and apart from a slight hump over a bridge, it's all flat, and a great great course.

Oddly, the results/barcodes/scanning are processed a short walk away down the road at the nearby climbing club, where there is also an excellent cafe and toilets. Definetely one I want to come back to - i did it on a hot day, and would have done faster had it of been milder!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes - but in the cafe that's a good five minute walk from the start/finish point.

 

Hastings

One of the things that's hard to get right at parkrun events is the right level of welcoming people, and repeating the same-information-week on week, without it sounding too repetitive. Hastings have got it spot on with some of the best volunteers I've encountered. And I love the course, a flat out-and-back along the tea front (with two small slopes), this will obviously be chilly in the winter right against the sea, but I went on a lovely sunny September morning. I liked to the the 180 turn happened in an anti-clockwise direction too, not clockwise as with all the others you usually encounter, and I preferred it. Nearest train station to get there is West St. Leonards, although can be walked from Leonards Warrior Square as well.

It's flat, it's fast. it's one get a good time at, it's the superb Hastings parkrun!.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes, in the local 'BoBeep' cafe where the results are processed afterwards.

 

Hove Promenade

One of three parkruns in Brighton & Hove, this one is right on the seafront and probably as flat as they come! Flatter than Southsea? Maybe the magical '0' terrain? Well, no - but it's clearly a '1'. Two laps where you head west first, do a U-turn, run back past the start and for a bit, and then another U-turn back to the start again, and that's half way - do it again for the whole 5Km.

I went on a nice day in September with little wind. I bet come winter this is going to be cold with the wind coming in off of the sea! But a great course for fast times if that's what you're after.

There's a cafe here too, and the registration area uses one of the beach huts which is a fun touch!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Ipswich

One of only two letter "I" parkruns in the country (along with Inverness), so people often come here if they're trying to complete the Alphabet challenge. The park it takes place in has a wonderful cricket pavilion with full facilities and even sells tea and coffee before the run starts which is great!

The first two minute you "loop round" and repeat around the cricket pitch and then you're off around the lovely park, with 90% of the course being on grassy or woody trail, only 10% of it on tarmac. I took my trail shoes which worked wonderfully well, and it undulates a little, until the 4Km mark where there's a small hill to get you back up to the top by the finish!

It can get really muddy in the winter months though, and then it does they go to a different park altogether - so do check their website for news before going there. Got a really friendly welcome from Graham the event director, and had a great time (and a fast run time too!)

Oh, and it's a 30 minute walk from the station if you're getting their by train.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

Kings Lynn

Three anti-clockwise laps of The Walks in King's Lynn, couple of tight turns and momentary gradients but mostly flat. Averages around 100 runners a week, with a cafe afterwards. Lots of local streets for on-street parking.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Milton Keynes

This parkrun is now on its third course iteration. It's a one-clockwise lap which undulates a little, takes you over a footbridge over a road, past some lakes, and would be a '2' were it not for a 'ZigZag' section that is quite steep, and thus it becomes a '3'.

It gets very busy with around 500 people, and it quite a distance from the train station if you come by public transport.

Toilets: Were closed when we tried to use them!

 

Poole

One of the flattest parkruns in the country, it takes place in Poole Park with a superb course that is two anti-clockwise laps of a Boating Lake, then run back through where you started and do one quick perfectly circular lap of the cricket pitch to finish by the pavilion.

It's really popular event and gets between 700-800 people a week, meaning though that the start is congested, and even some narrow points on the boating lake on your second lap can be a little congested too.

At the end, there's free water, and other drinks and snacks in the pavilion where there are toilets too.

The one bizarre thing I found is that it took me ten minutes of walking around to find the bar-code scanners. For reasons that I cannot figure out they hide them round the side/back of the pavilion, where it's not obvious to a non-regular that that is where they would be. Make your scanners more prominent please, Poole!

Toilets : Yes
Cafe : Yes

Portobello

Three laps of a a lovely cut path, with a a river run it through it which you cross a few times. The start is on an immediate downward slope, but you have to run up it later! Gets a bit narrow under a bridge by the river, and an uphill slope to the finish! This might arguably be a '2.5' on the terrain rating.

There are no facilities though which is a bit of a pain, but a great park. Come here instead to avoid the crush of 500+ people at the main Edinburgh parkrun, which has now grown too large.

Toilets: No Cafe:No

 

Portsmouth Lakeside

By the 1000 Lakside business centre, this nice course starts out on flat tarmac with a 'dip' under a road (which you do twice) and then an "Out and back" along the lakside .. meaning that in wet weather, or if it's been raining, there are puddles eveywhere which are difficult to avoid. A nice simmer course, but not graet in the winter.

Toilets: Yes Cafe: There's a Starbucks right by the start/finish.

 

Preston Park

There are four parkruns in Brighton and this is one of the easiest ones with it all being on tarmac, and only one short (100m) section that goes uphill slightly.

You run anti-clockwise to begin with, do a U-turn, and then two clockwise-laps back past the start and do the U-turn again two more times before finishing hear the start. Gets about 400 people, and there is a cafe and toilet immediately next to where everyone meets to start and finish. Nicely organised too with a good vibe.

Toilets : Yes Cafe : Yes

 

Reading

A nice flat course - albeit on grass and not tarmac! It's two clockwise laps with a short straight at the start that you then repeat at the end as well, around a grassy field which is right by the river. It's about a 30 minute walk to the railway station though and I elected to get a taxi there to make sure I arrived on time!

A fast course in a nice setting, although I went on a rainy/drizzly day, I bet it's gorgeous in nicer/sunnier weather.

Toilets : No Cafe : No

 

Sheffield Castle

Three anti-clockwise laps with a long slog uphill on the last lap which is very hard to finish on! All on path/tarmac it undulates a fair amount, making this a reasonably challenging course.

It's a lovely cute little park (with no actual castle!) and afterwards there is a kitchen/lodge area which serves up tea and biscuits and a nice garden with benches to sit on and chat to people and recover!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

 

Stretford

Where I talk about gradient ratings (above) I mention the impossible '0' course that would have to be as flat as a running track. Imagin my joy and surprise then when I turned up to this parkrun in Manchester to discover that it starts (and you do one lap of) a running track, before going two laps around an all-tarmac and flat route in a beautiful parl, and then you end up doing one lap again on the running track for the finish! It's just brilliant, has instantly become a favourite and you will get a fast time here.

The running track is part of a sports club at the stadium so there is loads of facilities - toilets, cafe, etc .. and is just a few minutes walk from Stretford Tram stop to get here. Love it!

Toilets/Cafe: Very much both, yes!

 

Southsea

A 'run out, turn around and run back' course all along the seafront - almost totally flat on tarmac, but in the winter it is cold when the wind blows in off of the sea. Might this also be the closest parkrun to a possible '0' in terms of gradient, because it is extremely flat! If you can't get a fast time here, then you can't get a fast time anywhere...

Toilets: Yes Cafe: Yes

Southwick County Park

Three and a bit laps around this delightful county park, it was a brilliant course in terms of it not being dull and you never knew what was going to be around the next bend - all on trail paths and a little bumpy in places. There are also wooden posts along the way to permanently mark how many K's you've run.

On the week I went, it started really late at ten past nine, after a long rambling introduction from the run director who then at the end without any fanfare just said "3 2 1 Go" in such a monotone that it caught me off guard and for a split second didn't realise that we'd started, but once up and running, really enjoyed the course.

It's about a half an hour walk from Trowbridge town centre/railway station with an irregular bus service, everyone who got there appeared to have arrived by car, and there didn't appear to be any facilities either - but many people had brought cakes and snacks.

Toilets: No Cafe: No

 

Tonbridge

A lovely beautiful, scenic, flat course around a park and a lake. There are a couple of narrow bridges and one slight hump bridge that you run over near 1Km going out, and 4Km coming back. Had an odd 'spur' with a sharp 180 turn, but it nicely marshalled, well organised (in danger of perhaps being too organised?) although the start is on a narrow path, and a lot of people have to run on the grass until it spreads out, and then it's mostly on tarmac, some rough terrain paths which might get muddy in the winter.

The week I went they were selling cakes, and there was a mobile coffee cart too! Very friendly atmosphere, and a short walk from the station if you're going by train to get there.

Toilets: No Cafe: Coffee van

 

Upton Court

Although close to the M25 this one doesn't count as London, nor London+, nor even London++ !! It's outside of London, but people come here to tick of the letter 'U' for the parkrun alphabet challenge. Located in Upton Court park, there are no railway stations really nearby, to get here I came by car. The start/finish is in the eastern side of the parl by the rugby club pavillion, which is where the barcode scanning takes palce, they sell tea and coffee and bacon rolls and toilets too!

It's a two lap anti-clockwise course about three-quarters on grass, and the rest on tarmac paths. The second lap is slightly shorter than the first, but the best bit is that terrain wise, there's almost no elevation at all! So it's a flat course. If you go in the winter/rain though, it does get slippy undefoot, but on a dry day this is a fast-grass course, and I really enjoyed it!

Toilets : Yes
Cafe : Yes

 

Worcester Pitchcroft

There are two parkruns in Worcester - the main one which has been running for several years, and then this one which started in the summer of 2017. It's simple laps around the racecourse (after which it takes its name) and the website describes it as being 'As flat as a pancake'. Well - it's not, almost! But no, because part of it is on grass, part on woodshaving over the racecourse, and then a tarmac part which is on a sideways slope, and the end is on grass too. So no magic '0' gradient (which is what I was hoping for), but a flat fast '1' instead, and a good place to come to get a PB - perfect because they have a PB 'Bell' which you can ring if you do indeed get a best time, which is brilliant!

Toilets: Yes Cafe: No

 

York

A very fast course! It's based around the inside path of York racecourse, and it's one and a bit clockwise loops around the inside of the track. It can get quite busy with 500-600 people as it's the only parkrun in the whole of York - a lovely city - people told me that they were looking to add another. There are however no facilities - people (men and women!) were taking a pee in the trees & bushes nearby before the run. A coffee cart/van does turn up though to serve drinks at the end.

Unfortunately, on the week I went (April 1st) the organisers decided at the last minute to run the face in reverse. There was no mention of this on any of their social media, and just when everyone was geared up and warmed up at the start (marked with a permanent line) at 9am, we were then walked 500m down the course - but not told why at first - and then told to turn around, as we were running it in reverse, and started very late at 9.15

This caused much confusion, people were out of place, and got cold in this time, and lost my concentration for having a good run, and I hated it. At the end, the barcode scanners were then immediately after the finish funnel, and asked you to be scanned the moment you've collected your finish token. This is ridiculous - most people i know don't run with their codes (I don't - and went to go and get it so that it could be scanned). The queues for the scanners were then getting in the way of people finishing. Not the best organsied parkrun I've been to.

Toilets: No Cafe: Coffee van

 

International Parkruns

Parkruns that I have done outside of the UK, when I've been on international travel!

Bois de Boulogne (Paris)

Started in 2016, this had only been running a few weeks when I made a trip over specifically so that I can here here.

It's a 'heart shape' run where you run a clockwise loop 'outside' first, and then two small 'inside' anti-clockwise loops. It's in park with trees and is part on path, then trail, then a wide road-like stretch. Small but friendly, and there are usually more English people there than French!

Couldn't see any facilities nearby. The start is also a 10-15 minute walk from the Metro Station Porte d'Auteuil (on Line 10).

Crissy Fields (San Francisco)

The world's most western-timezone parkun! If you are the person to finish last here, you have the dubious honour of knowing you are the last parkrunner in the whole of the world that weekend.

So this is down by the water, right by the Golden Gate bridge and attracts a small number of runners. The course is a simple out and back with a loop at the end and on a stoney trail a little bumpy in places, but is extremely flat! The day I went it was hot already which slowed me down otherwise you can easily get a very fast time here.

Afterwards there is a coffee/donut kiosk where everyone congregates afterwards.

Elevation Chart - Goes between 1-7 metres, possibly the flattest parkrun I have ever run

 

Additional parkrun Reviews by Andrew Chilcraft and Matt Scrivins

Aberdeen is a 2. You run along the bleak, exposed shoreline. Upward slope to start, then flat along the top prom, down to the lower prom with a few ramps to negotiate. Also - the lower prom is covered in sand which can get thick & tough to run on

Aldenham is a 1. Two loops of a reservoir, taking a shortcut on the second lap. short section on grass (where the run starts). very shaded course with some nice views over the lake. very small & friendly, but beware the unfortunate £4.50 parking charge. 

Aylesbury is a 2. No proper hills in sight but somehow you finish 20ft higher than you start. just one rise to go over a wooden bridge, which you do twice, as it's on the loop. The course is out, 2 laps and back all on hard paths, the course has permanent parkrun km markers!

Barnsley is a 4. Two significant climbs per lap on a three lap course. All hard surface.

Birkenhead is a 2. Three laps - mostly flat and thus fast. It has the gentlest of slopes which is why it's not a '1', and there's one right turn per lap.

Buckingham is a 2. Starts high, the out is downhill, 2 laps, then the back is uphill to finish, entirely on tarmac.

Cassiobury is a 2. Most of 3 laps on hard paths. really simple route in a nice park, and with a nice cafe. the park is on a slight slope, so you run gently down before gently back up again.

Colby is a 4. A hilly, three-lapper, but in a beautiful and atmospheric woodland garden. also has a hairpin turn on each lap, it's a challenging course that is all on gravel paths and the cafe is great- right by the finish and to National Trust standards.

Coventry is a 2 Only grass was the start/finish, with gentle slopes.

Cheltenham is a 2. A small but pretty park- meaning laps. 4 laps in winter all on hard paths- though the summer (normal) route is 3 laps including a grass section. pretty flat, but not quite pancake flat.

Daventry is a 2. The single lap is pretty much flat, but both the start & finish are a bit uphill, though nothing too taxing. pretty, mostly on trail paths- could get muddy in winter.

Delamere is a 4. Undulating but gets a 4 due to one particularly steep hill. Very scenic, a wonderful course. Trail paths, out, one long lap round a lake, then back. Very sheltered, in woodland. For a very rural area, Delamere railway station is remarkably close.

Ellon is would be a 2. Pretty fast all tarmac route until you get to the uphill finish. Beautiful riverside location, you run over a great bridge, and on narrow winding paths by the river, plus an 800m loop round the town's small grassy park. Prone to cancellation due to both floods & ice, being so far north.

Gadebridge is a 4 - A very tough run, 80% grass, and a hilly course which features a narrow underpass under a road, which is marshalled with running lanes either side with a small space for pedestrians in the middle. It's two laps long. A small river runs between both sections of the lap. The cafe overlooks a grand 12th century church.

Hatfield Forest is a 4. There's no huge mountain to climb, but the whole thing is VERY cross country, and is never flat! you are running and no two feet land at exactly the same elevation, it seems, as the ground is so bumpy and undulating. 95% grass, with the option at one point to run on a wooden boardwalk (and the leap off!).  There is an energy sapping slope right near the end, too. Just the one lap though. Oh, and mind the ditch!

Hazlehead is a 3. Generally upwards on the way out & down on the way back. compacted gravel paths round the edge of a golf course, through truly beautiful woodland

Long Eaton is a 1. Two laps - very flat, and on hard surfaces. Mostly tarmac, with a short (and unexpected) trail section! The hills consist of a bump not dissimilar in size to a speedbump. great course, and fairly close to the station.

Luton Wardown is a 3. It's a three and a half lapper, that's all on tarmac except for the hill- which you do four times! The lap encircles a lake, and the Wardown Museum, which you could visit afterwards. The cafe is at the cricket club. Oddly the meet is the other end of the park to the start - partly due to the noise from the road adjacent to the start. 

Ormskirk is a 3. Two laps of two sections on various hard surfaces (trail, brick and some weird rubbery stuff), including a short switchback climb. Noticeable slopes but nothing that'll make your legs fall off.

Panshanger is a 3. Has a very nasty finishing hill but is actually mean-downhill. One lap round an expansive park- on trail paths and grass. Another great venue.

Penrose is a 5. Totally scenic, but very tough! The first 400m are up hill then it undulates but gradually climbs around onto the coast path then from just after half way you start the climb with the worst of the climb just after you turn off the coast path. You climb from 75ft to 215 ft in half a mile with the steepest grade at 15%. Once you reach the highest point it undulates down to the finish with the finish line 200ft above sea level.

Perhyn is a 3. Two big laps and two small laps, with the top section shared by both. Has an awesome start and finish utilising the castle gates, with magnificent views. All hard surfaces, gravel and tarmac. steep-ish slope down on the shorter lap, the rest is more gentle but definitely not flat!

Princes is a 2. Most of three laps, a little bumpy. Bizarrely seemed to be more downhill than up, but it couldn't have been as they were laps! Completely paved and in a nice park.

Preston is a 3. A fairly nasty hill near the start of the lap (3 lap paved/gravelly course) but it's all down and flat thereafter. Really friendly bunch, recommended if you're in the area!

Skipton is a 3. Thankfully now all-tarmac, it's a four-lap course that climbs for the the first part of the lap, drops down and then climbs again before the end of the lap.

Tring is a 5. Oh yes it's a '5' ! But an absolutely stunning parkrun & a must visit. There's a stunning view to have but you have to climb for it. The first Km contains a massive hill, and once you have done the massive downhill to compensate the rest is undulating. Permanent Km markers here too, and a very swish cafe to visit afterwards. Mostly on grass one lap, and did I say the park is stunning?

Whitley Bay is a 3. You'd think a seaside parkrun would be flat! really nice route mainly on hard paths, but also some gravelly paths at the far end of the course. sort of 2 laps, but the end is slightly different meaning you only run over (yes, literally over!) the cafe once (although the meet is at a different cafe after the event). The steepest climb is to rise above the cafe, but there are more gentle slopes elsewhere too.

Worcester is a 2. Two laps of the woodland country park with shaded trail paths except for the start which is in a field! Gets quite busy and is congested at one part over a narrow bridge.

 

parkrun

 

parkrun is a free 5Km that takes place every Saturday morning in local parks all around the UK (and in fact now, all over the world)

It started out as the Bushy Park Time Trail in 2004, and has since grown from there, completely run by volunteers, and gives everyone an opportunity for everyone - no matter what your running pace is - to get out, be active, social, and best of all be healthy every weekend morning!

Many people just run at their local parkrun, but others (like myself) have become a little more obsessive about it, and are being parkrun 'tourists' and running at as many different venues as possible.

At the moment, I'm just trying to get round all the London ones, and list/map them all here...