So this week I came to Chelmsford the county town of Essex to witness the phenomenon of one of the most well attended parkrun events in the UK and try to find out the secret behind it’s success!
So Chelmsford with a population of 168,000 and is the only city in the county of Essex, with the honour being bestowed on the town as it was then in 2012 as part of the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebration.
Apart from being England’s newest city there is so much to see and do on your visit from it’s heritage to sports venues, plus Chelmsford being so close to London is a great destination for a day trip!
Secret to Success
So location is always key for a successful attended parkrun with this one in the centre of the city, but there is so much more to this single lap event that normally boasts attendances of over 600 park runners every week with 697 for event 270 this week alone, wow!!!
One reason reason could be the enjoyable essence of any parkrun is the adventure of exploring different unique aspects of a park with Chelmsford having this in great abundance that includes
- 18th century railway viaduct towering over the park to run underneath
- Beautiful River Can meandering alongside with bridges to run across
- Multi terrain surfaces to run on
- Even the urban art in the underpass connecting the parks together is a great touch to give you the feel you are running in a city!
So location and a very enjoyable course has a lot going for Chelmsford and I would like to congratulate Sarah Hawkes one of this parkrun regulars on reaching the 100 parkrun this weekend, excellent work and it was all pleasure to meet you may I add!
Not much elevation on this course except for a short sharp slope running up to Rainsford Road from the playground section!
Points to note
- The start is on grass and you run a short loopback before you head towards Admirals park, this is a bit of a bottleneck for runners for a short period of time
- As with most grass sections or courses can get a bit boggy in places during winter with this happening mainly along the straight grass section of Admirals park
- Final 30 metres are again run on grass and the advice you are given is take it steady when you come over the finish line!
My time 35:51 is now the time to beat in my fight to regain my fitness and pace!
There are two car parks serving this event with Waterhouse Lane on Meteor Way free at weekends, Sat Nav CM1 2RL that is slightly different postcode listed on Chelmsford parkrun website course page.
For our post run coffee we retired to the lovely establishment of Cake at the Lake cafe located very close to the finish in Central park. Another welcome feature the toilets behind the cafe were available before the start of this event!
Also if you like your cricket next to Central Park is Essex County ground where you can enjoy a first class cricket match in the summer, heaven even though I am a Middlesex supporter 🙂
Other facilities included
- multi use sports area
- riverside walks
- children’s play areas
- plentiful picnic areas throughout the parks
I would like to thank the Run Director Paul Brookes and his team of volunteers for making us all feel welcome, a special mention goes to how very well organised this parkrun was from the start to the finish processing of the results especially in having to deal with such a large field of runners, top work guys!!!
So did I find the answer to my question why Chelmsford is so well attended possibly not but with a central location, people and a top single lap course you can see some of the ingredients at work!
So my parkrun tourist friends if you have not run Chelmsford Central I ask you the question, why not you have been told!!!
Event 75 Woodley 03-02-2018