This week at Oxford there were a couple of parkrun firsts for me from running in a new county of Oxfordshire and seeing first hand a small piece of the hard work that goes into the development of a new parkrun event!
So Oxford the county town of Oxfordshire with a population of 170,350 and home for the world renowned oldest university in the english speaking world. The city name originally came from Saxon times calling the original settlement Oxenaforda meaning, “Ford of the Ox”, with the resulting name derived from a river crossing used by the settlements oxen back in AD900
Today’s event was Oxford parkrun one of two parkrun in the city and with this one based in the northern part at Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park, which is the largest park in Oxford at 42 hectares
It was great to see that event no 320 that Oxford invited members of Witney core team to run this event for the day giving them vital training before the launch of their new event in the near future!
I can only imagine the hard work that goes in from a local running community starting from the initial idea to the birth of a new parkrun event!
Under the excellent supervision of local parkrun ambassador Dominic Guinness, the Vi-Vis hero’s from Witney done a brilliant job expertly lead by their very own run director Punam Owens, you were all naturals and run the event seamlessly!
Run on the winter course that comprises of 3 anticlockwise laps of Cutteslowe and Sunnymead park that running surface is a mixture of tarmac, gravel and grass!
Not much elevation on this course apart from a minor incline starting at the backend section near the lower pavilion to the finish!
Points to note
- Near the start there is a small bottleneck at the southern corner where the grass meets a track alongside the A40 that soon clears though!
- As with most courses this time of year there was lying water in a couple of small sections particularly muddy was a short grass stretch just before the lower pavilion
Time today was 36:02 now I know where my current fitness level is on this flat 5k course!
There is paid parking at this event, but interesting fact is that charges do not come into effect until after 10am, so for most park runners that makes it free to park, even if you stay for an extra hour it is only 60p. So very friendly for tourists having to come by car to this event!
For easy access for the start of the parkrun the northern car park is best, but I suggest using the post code OX2 8LH for Harbord Road that leads straight onto the car park. The other post code OX2 8NP sends you into Park Close that unless you know their is a small private road off this close that double backs into the park, quite confusing for none locals!
Odd thing there are large amount of toilets available at this park but for some reason were closed before the start of the parkrun, a kind member of staff did though let me use the inside toilet at Cutteslowe pavilion though!
For the post run coffee we retired to the lovely The San Remo café that is very close to the parkrun finish line and a miniature railway is available between April to October on Sunday’s, bank holiday and Wednesday throughout August 🙂
Other facilities Include
- Football/cricket pitches
- Children’s play area
- Tennis/Basketball courts
- Mini golf course
- Sri Chimnoy Peace Mile
I would like to thank Oxford parkrun community for making us all feel extremely welcome on the day, top stuff guy’s!
Also good luck to the volunteers from Witney, I am positive when your event goes live it will be a great addition to parkrun UK community and I promise to visit you one day!
So finally if you are looking for a fast flat multi-terrain course then Oxford is definitely the parkrun for you!!
Special mention to Evelyn Lutterodt who celebrated her 100th parkrun at Luton, Wardown, but this is no ordinary lady as she has run every distance from 5K to Marathon and as I am writing this is on day 410 of her running streak, wow!!!
She also writes a successful blog called This Runner Loves Purple and we are very lucky to have this lady at our running club and is an inspiration to everyone who knows her, outstanding achievements Evelyn!!!!