Bethlem Royal Hospital

Always a personal pleasure to be back in the capital running a new parkrun event for me that has a great history attached to it with today’s event being no exception at Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham.


The history of Bethlem Royal Hospital dates back to its foundation in 1247 in the reign of Henry VIII and was originally located in the Bishopsgate ward of the City of London that is now is the site of Liverpool Street Station.

In 1930 the hospital moved to Beckenham where it is today based in 270 acres of beautiful green space parkland that’s where today’s parkrun event is held!

For the record the hospital remit is to help as they state “We provide the widest range of services in the United Kingdom (UK) for people with mental health problems or an addiction to drugs or alcohol.


It was great to see Bethlem Royal Hospital as a pioneer for being the first parkrun in the UK to be run inside NHS grounds. I cannot hide my admiration of this hospital trust to promote their goal of the benefits of running to one’s mental health and wellbeing, allowing parkrun into your beautiful grounds after I found this out when a spoke to Mary this weeks tail walker who works at the hospital!

This has to be one of the most heartwarming stories that I have ever written about on my parkrun journeys!

Special Mentions

I need to say how proud I was in running at the same event as Kevin Burnett he may have been a first timer at Bethlem, but he still running strong in his eighties with only has 6 parkrun events left to run from reaching the outstanding milestone total of completing 500 parkrun events!

Kevin you are a true legend and ambassador to us all and this is why we all love parkrun so much sir!

Also a pleasure to bump Andy Bond who I first met at Southwark parkrun back in July 2016 near the start of my capital charity parkrun adventure!

He had a brilliant run, then barcode scanned afterwards and I would like to wish you Andy all the best in your future running sir!

Votes Cast

A bit of fun over the past week I decided to let me tourist friends decide for one time only vote on which parkrun to run on Saturday between Bethlem Royal Hospital and East Grinstead.

The result was close as you can see with Bethlem finishing as a narrow winner, but don’t worry East Grinstead I will run your course in the new year to complete the parkrun tourist challenge of joining the Compass Club 🙂

Voting result for 21st September parkrun


Bethlam course map

The course is two anticlockwise laps of the parameter of two fields with a short narrow connecting woodland path between them with a short run down a path to the finish at the end of the second lap. The surface is entirely run on grass which is gently undulating in nature that as they say is also uneven in places!

Points to note

  • No dogs allowed on this course
  • In wet conditions it would be advisable to wear trail running shoes
  • When the ground is firm this can be a fast course to run with wide paths to overtake

Enjoyed my run with a good time achieved by me for where I am at the moment fitness wise 37:43


There is limited parking available at the hospital Sat nav BR3 3BX, but I decided to travel by train from Luton with the closest station to the hospital being Eden Park station.

Please be aware though that Eden Park is easily a good 10 min walk away from the start of the parkrun, so allow effort time to get to the start line!

For the post run coffee we retired to the hospital’s Community Centre Cafe and there are toilet facilities there as well, but please be aware they only take cash only payments for refreshments!

Final Verdict

I would like to thank this weeks run director Paul Cregg and his team of volunteers for making us all feel welcome and doing a great job! Good luck to Colette Short who will has her first stint as run director at Bethlem next week 🙂

Bethlem volunteer shot

Finally a very big thank you to everyone concerned at Bethlem Royal Hospital for opening up your lovely grounds to allow parkrun to hold an event here, absolutely brilliant guys!!!

So for me it is Londone again 56 Greater London parkrun events completed and everyone has a special place in my heart!

So London it is goodbye for now,


Mark aka Silent Runner



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