On a very cool crisp autumn morning where do you start with Central Park, Dartford Kent with so much happening in the 2 hours I was at this event, maybe meeting up with very good parkrun tourist friends or chatting to an inspirational lady who run her 100th parkrun or a running blogger legend that I can only admire, but as always I will start with the park itself that has very interesting history!
The parks origins date back to 1903 when a very kind gesture by one Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Newman Kidd offered 5 acres of his land to Dartford council for recreational purposes to the local community! After a lot of toing and froing the council finally excepted the offer in 1905 and this became the start of this lovely park that we see today with the River Darent cutting a path through it!
I had the great privilege to meet Kayley Loft who was celebrating her 100th parkrun! This is no ordinary lady though as Kayley back in 2015 saw parkun as a safe friendly supporting way of getting fit with friends support!
Wow in just over 2 1/2 years Kayley has lost 8 stones in weight and knocked 22 minutes off her home parkrun time, you are amazing my dear and I take my hat off to you as a role model to us all, with your determination and dedication shows what results can be achieved, truly outstanding achievement!
I also had the privilege of finally meeting Steven Stockwell of whom I am a great admirer of who apart from being an excellent runner writes the most brilliant of running blogs Amazingly he wrote a report of my home parkrun Luton, Wardown just last week and for the record he is a great guy to have a chat with to boot!
Last but definitely not least it was great to be in the company of so many good tourist friends with a special mention to Kevin Brown, Andrew James, Dave Thomas and last but definitely not least Robert Kidd 🙂
This course is 2 1/2 anticlockwise laps of Central Park that start and finish by Central Park Athletics track. First small lap is 700m around the playing fields, the 2 large laps includes a trail section and a run around the parks garden area!
Terrain is a mixture of tarmac paths, small section of gravel and a large loop section on grass/trail paths, mainly flat in elevation up to the backend of the trail section that has a short sharp little hill.
Points to note
- Even though the course looks complication in design it is straightforward to run with it being well well sign posted and marshalled!
- Difficult to chose which running footwear especially in well conditions because of the multi terrain nature of the course, I went with trail shoes because of the recent wet weather we have had!
- Be very aware of the exposed tree roots on the short uphill section as they are difficult to pick up visually when running!
So if you like the challenge of running on multi terrain surfaces the Dartford is for you, my time was 35:07
There is a free car park at Central Park Athletics Track Sat Nav DA1 1JP but please be aware they like to lock the gate to the car park after 11am. Also that is good to know is a free well maintained public toilet open before the start of the parkrun, all these facilities are very close to the start of the event!
For the post run coffee we all retired back to the Dartford Harriers clubhouse for a well deserved hot drink on such a cold day 🙂
Before I left I had to find the famous son of Dartford lead singer of The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger statue in the park and he was accompanied by two other of the towns sound makers Vox Amplifier invented in 1950’s and the Dartford warbler, well worth having your picture taken by it, lovely touch!
Other Facilities Include
- Visitors Centre
- Central Park Bandstand
- Building Bridges
- Fresh Air Fitness Equipment
- Princes Tunnel
I would like to thank the run director Barry Nicholson and his team volunteers for all making us feel extremely welcome! Good luck to Kayley on her future running adventures and Steven look forward with relish to your next blog post mate!
So Dartford I think you have something special going on there, the community spirt and hospitality rivals some of my most memorable parkrun events I have visited, now feeling homesick now!!!
Event 68 Banstead Woods 02–12-2017