Event 64 Roding Valley

Today at Roding Valley, Loughton on a grey wet horrible Saturday morning for running I found why I love parkrun tourism so much, making new friends and seeing old ones, running so many varied types of park courses, at times I feel like I am the luckiest man alive!

Run at Roding Valley Recreation Ground is a large open space with varied sports in mind to support the local community that has the River Roding meandering around it’s parameter!

Again it was great to bump into old tourist friends in the shape of Kevin Brown, Andrew James that I first met on my Capital parkrun adventure at Valentines parkrun back in February this year! Joining them was their tourist friends Matthew Scrivin and Peter Loose, great to meet you guys!

Roding Valley tourists

It was also Kevin’s 200th parkrun event today and very soon he will be running his 100th different parkrun venue, top work sir! For the record Kevin is the pirate sporting the fetching West Ham football top ūüôā

With Kevin and Andrew


Roding Valley course map

The course is two flat clockwise laps of the parameter of Roding Valley Recreation Ground that surface is about a 50-50% mixture of tarmac paths and grass fields!

Points to note

  • As noted in the run briefing the wooden bridge crossing the river was very slippery in the wet
  • Grass was quite firm today, but I can see it getting quite boggy in places after long periods of rain
  • In the right weather conditions a very fast course!

For the record I decided run in trail shoes because of the wet conditions, it was quite an unusual situation as I decided to run the whole parkrun on grass as I did not know before that half of this course is run on tarmac so would have been hard work in trail shoes, time today was 35.41


There is a free small car park near the start point of the parkrun at Sat Nav IG10 3BS and toilets are available at the recreation ground changing rooms before the start of the event!

At the moment of writing this there is no post run place to have a coffee, but after speaking to the Event Director Paula says the council are looking to upgrade onsite facilities to include a cafe hopefully in the near future!

Final verdict

I would like to thank the Run Director Frances and her team of volunteers for not just making us all feel extremely welcome but for standing out there in terrible weather cheering us all over the finish line, you all deserve medals!!!!!

Roding Valley volunteers

So Roding Valley you are a top friendly parkrun community that shone through the most miserable of day’s and have reinforced why I love parkrun so much!



Event 65 South Oxhey 11-11-2017

Event 63 Rickmansworth

There are parkruns that are a bit special for to me, I absolutely love where water is the main feature to run around, so today Rickmansworth Aquadrome was my idea of heaven!

Based around¬†41 hectares the Aquadrome has two main lakes¬†Batchworth that is used for water skiing and Bury lake is the home for¬†Bury Lake Young Mariners¬†which is used for canoeing and sailing! The third lake Stocker’s is a wildlife sanctuary for a wide variety of birds!


The history behind the main lakes centres around gravel extraction that stopped in the 1920’s and the lakes filled in by natural springs! One of the best parts of this story is how 2 parkruns events that I have now visited Rickmansworth & Northala Fields, London have been effected by our very own national stadium at Wembley!¬†In Rickmansworth case in relation to gravel extraction to be used in the building of the old Stadium and Northala Fields the building of their parks observation mounds that were make up from the old rubble of the same stadium, brilliant!!!!

Now every parkrun I visit I try but do not always succeed in finding a story to tell about a member of the local parkrun community. Today I was lucky to run alongside Steve Gray, on only his third parkrun he managed to beat his PB by an impressive 2:46, top work sir!

Steve Gray & friends

I would also like to wish him good luck as in a few weeks as he is going to marry his fiancée Helen, the lovely lady wearing the headband in the picture, they were accompanied on the run by their friends Jess (sitting next to Steve) and Nadine! Great to meet you all and have chat after the run!


Bury lake alternative course

We ran Rickmansworth alternative course due to current path resurfacing work on the normal route, it was 3 and a bit very flat anticlockwise laps of Bury Lake that is made up of entirely well maintained tarmac foot paths!

Please note my watch GPS did not kick in before the start of the parkrun, so the start position is wrong on my map by 0.31 of a mile, with an actual finish time of 36:32

For the record below is the actual normal course map route that is a two lapper:

Normal Rickmansworth course


There is free parking at this event Sat Nav WD3 1NF and toilets are available before the start of the parkrun that is always welcome!

For the post run coffee we retired to The Cafe in the Park, very lovely it was too with a great buzz too the place!

Cafe in the park

Rickmansworth Aquadrome Facilities include

  • Boating, canoeing
  • Children’s play area
  • Fishing day tickets Batchworth Lake and the adjacent River Colne
  • Lakeside walks
  • Birdwatching

Final Verdict

I would like to thank Andy Nice and his team of volunteers for making us feel extremely welcome at Rickmansworth, top work guys!!!!

Rickmansworth Volunteer shot

So if like me you want to run a fast flat beautiful course with water being the delightful backdrop Rickmansworth is a must, you have been told!!!!



Event 64 Roding Valley 04-11-2017

Event 62 Upton Court

There are times when good fortune seems to be on your side at Upton Court Park, Slough with this actual parkrun event was bathed in glorious autumn sunshine!

With reports of high winds and rain coming from storm Brian it was like we were in the eye of it with the weather closing in within half an hour after the last runner had finished, what amazing good fortune we had!


Now for the park that takes it’s name from the Upton suburb of Slough that until 1974 was a standalone village in Buckinghamshire after that date villages like Upton became part of this ever expanding town and now is in the county of Berkshire!

The park itself is a large open space designed for sport and has stunning views of Windsor Castle in the distance.¬†This is one time I could have done with a proper digital camera to capture to splendour of this royal castle in all it’s glory, thanks to Carl for supplying this picture!

Windsor castle in distance

The reason why I chose Upton Court this week and change my schedule was to help celebrate Carl Heaps 100th Cow Cowl parkrun event and his daughter Olivia 200th parkrun! May I say very well done to you both, outstanding achievements!!!

Carl & Olivia single shot

I would also like to thank the Basingstoke crew that accompanied Carl for making me feel part very much part of the group, a real top bunch of tourist friends!!!



Upton course Map

So Upton court is two anticlockwise laps of the boundary of the park that running surface is predominately grass with 2 sections of tarmac/gravel paths!

The is no real elevations on this course only a steady small incline up to Upton Court Road and I love the kilometre marker posts around the course, lovely touch!

Upton Court 5k marker

Points to Note

  • On the first lap only there is a dog leg section around an extra field, I have been told in bad weather this can get very boggy indeed
  • OK this weekend but trail shoes should be packed in the boot of the car, just incase you are not sure of the course underfoot conditions!

My time was 37:02 that was not to bad suffering with man fu!


There are 2 free car parks for this event, the main one for the park is located at Sat Nav SL3 7LU and is a shortish jog away from the start of the event! For the record I parked in the Slough Rugby Club ground car park that has limited parking and soon gets full, also toilet facilities are available are at the clubhouse!

For the traditional post run coffee we retired back to Slough rugby club, where they offer hot food as well as beverages. I must admit they do serve up lovely a bacon roll and after polishing out Carl’s celebration cakes I think I put weight on after this event ūüôā

Final Verdict

I would like to thank David Ross and his crew of volunteers for making us all feel extremely welcome at Upton court and special mention to Iby Hussain their official photographer for sending me a group tourist photo he took, top work guys!

Upton Court volunteers groups shot

Also good luck to Carl & Olivia in your future parkrun endeavours and I look forward to bumping into you both again hopefully not to long in the future!

So Upton Court I salute you, greatly friendly event for a tourist to visit you all have been told!



Event 63 Rickmansworth 28-10-2017


Cowell Run Reports

Completed Events

Other parkrun Events

Luton Wardown 100th parkrun 02-06-2018 review

Luton Wardown Stopsley Striders Beginners Course Graduation 14-07-2018

Event 61 Gunpowder

Where do start with Gunpowder park, Waltham Abbey is it’s explosive history or the River Lea that is my home town river that starts in Luton and runs along the west side border of this park!

So Gunpowder its great to see with London 2012 legacy funding help part of the South Site of Royal Gunpowder Mills has been converted from over 300 years military use producing explosives to a new park opened in 2004.

I always love the idea coverting disused as in this case contaminated land, giving it a new lease of life for wildlife to thrive and the local community to enjoy, another brilliant example of how to use in a positive way!!!


One of the joy’s of this challenge is to meet new people and celebrate the success where I can of a member of the local parkrun community. So today it was my pleasure to meet fellow avid parkrun tourists Pat & Peter Jackson and Linsey & Phil Pearson from Huntington, Cambridgeshire!

A very well done to Danelle Edwards who celebrated her 100th parkrun today, may I say your celebration cake was delicious too after the run ūüôā



Gunpowder course

The course is 2 and a bit slightly undulating clockwise laps of the park that is run on well maintained gravel paths!


Points to note

  1. The only short notable 58 ft evaluation is the wonderfully named segment, A blast of Gunpowder
  2. On their parkrun website they state, “Some sections of the course may accumulate mud, leaves and puddles after rain”

My time was 36:05 now know where I am in current fitness to improve upon!


There is on site car parking available Sat Nav EN9 3GP and this is right next to the start of the parkrun, but it is important to note that from Monday 23rd October new parking tariffs will come into force with a maximum daily parking charge of £2.50

For the record the car park opens at 8am and toilets are available before the start of the parkrun at the field station next to the car park!

Unfortunately there is no set location for a post run coffee that is a real shame, possibly just a suggestion creating your own pop up cafe like Beckton parkrun and use the amenities of the field station building has too offer!

Update: I have been informed by Jane Mann of Gunpowder parkrun that they have a community cafe there once a month and it is announced on Facebook!


Gunpowder Park Facilities include

  • Environmentally friendly field station for art & wildlife groups to use
  • Park has nature 4 bioregions Cob Fields, Cob Meadow, Osier Marsh and Cob Fields for you to explore
  • Great paths for dog walkers and runners
  • If you have the time to visit the nearby¬†Royal Gunpowder Mills¬†it will explain the history before this land was used as a park


Final Verdict

I would like to thank Jane Appleton and her team of volunteers for making us feel extremely welcome today, top work guy’s!!!!

Volunteers groups shot Gunpowder

Will be great to come back in the future to see how your park matures and I have know doubt a goto location in all of Lee Valley Regional Parks!

Finally I would like wish all the best next week for your events 6th birthday, have a great time and let there be plenty of cake!!!



Event 62 Upton Court 21-10-2017

Event 60 Daventry

The beauty of this challenge is the diversity of the parkrun venues that you run and Daventry, Northamptonshire is no exception! Located at beautiful Daventry Country Park it offers you the opportunity of running a single trail lap that is not that common in parkrun courses!

This 66 hectare park is centred around Daventry Reservoir that feeds the nearby Grand Union Canal and is a great place to take your family!

Daventry Reservoir cover


Daventry course

As stated this is a single anticlockwise lap of the park that surface is predominately made up of shale or earth paths, the exceptions are short sections of tarmac paths at the start and near the finish, with a very short section of grass to run up to the finishing funnel!

My time was 39:48 just happy to get round with this chest infection!

Points to note

  • At the start place yourself where you think you are going to finish in the event as overtaking is at a premium over the first half mile!
  • With all trail courses after prolonged periods of rain probably advisable to wear trail running shoes
  • The wonderful named Woods of Doom section near the end of the reservoir lap needs to be given respect as there are a few exposed tree roots, short boggy section and a number wooden foot bridges that can get slippery in the wet!
  • Finally the finish is on grass and has a steep little dropdown slope that could catch out the unwary!


Coming up from Luton I did a pit stop at Northampton services station on the M1 that is only 9 miles from Daventry parkrun! At the event itself I chose the free parking at Daventry District Council Offices Sat Nav NN11 4FP that is very close to the start!

The cool thing for us tourists is that the local leisure centre allows free access to their facilities including both changing and toilets on the production of your parkrun barcode!

For the post coffee that I unfortunately missed is at¬†Abbey Retail Park,¬†NN11 4GL¬†that kindly offer a discount again on the production of your barcode, how very civilised ūüôā

Daventry Country Park Facilities

  • Nature walks
  • Adventure playground for the kids
  • Bird hides to watch the wildlife
  • Cafe

Final Verdict

I would like to thank Karen and her team of volunteers for making as all feel very much at home and cheering everyone around the course, top work guys!!

Daventry Volunteers

So Daventry is a must for all parkrunners, a single well maintained trail lap around a beautiful reservoir teaming with wildlife, you have been told!!!

Event 61 Gunpowder 14-10-2017

Event 59 Heartwood Forest

Where do you start with Heartwood Forest, what a brilliant idea of converting old farmland into a brand new forest, for the wildlife to thrive and the public to enjoy, wow!!!

The thought of running through this 347-hectare forest in the making is quite inspirational! Now owned by the Woodland Trust they have already planted 500,000 trees and this all links together with existing pockets of established Bluebell woods and hedgerows!

Also it was my pleasure to attend Scott Clarke and David Llewellyn 100th parkrun different event celebration with them now entering the exclusive Cowell club of park runners on the most events list, brilliant work guys!

May I say David you looked very fetching in cow costume by the way mate ūüôā

Me with Scott & David Llewellyn

To celebrate this feat quite rightly there was a large gathering of fellow tourist to honour this milestone! Amongst the fold it was great to be reunited with tourists I have met on my Capital Challenge including Dave Thomas from Oak Hill, Mike Bristow who was the run director at Wanstead Flats, not forgetting Paul Bliss and Daniel Pudner for being at my Lon-done final event!

I have to give a special mention to Chris Cowell who graced this event as he was the first person to reach the hollowed 100 parkrun events milestone back in August 2012, it was all my pleasure to meet you and have a chat with you sir!

Me with Chris Cowell
With Chris Cowell


Heartwood Forest course

So to the course it comprises of just under 2 undulating anticlockwise laps of Heartwood Forest that surface comprises of both grass and gravel paths!

Points to note

  • The start is halfway up the main slope
  • There is a section that you run on a bridal way, so be weary!
  • Brilliant to run between newly planted woodland section
  • In winter or after prolong rain it may be wise to run in trail shoes
  • Finally great to finish with a long steady downslope

Time 35:43 not to bad on my road back to fitness that seems slowly to be coming back!


There is parking next to the start, but due to the limited number of spaces the preferred free car park is just five minutes walk away at the Sandridge village hall plus there is a public toilet located on that site!

With a stunning view over Sandridge village it is great to take your family for a walk along one of the forest specially designed routes from Wildlife Wander to Heartwood Hike, you have been told!

For the post run coffee they go into the local pub The Queens Head in Sandridge Village.

Final Verdict

I would like to thank Fraser McCullum and his team of volunteers for making us feel all extremely welcome. Top professional job from a parkrun that is only 8 weeks old!

So would I recommend Heartwood Forest most definitely, with stunning views and being privileged to see the work they are doing to create this beautiful forest, this is just another reason why I love parkrun!

Event 60 Daventry 30-09-2017

Extra News

This Sunday 24th September I run the Hitchin 5K Town Centre race with a good few of my club Stopsley Strider friends! A great little 2 lap anticlockwise course that takes in the picturesque parts of the town! I would like to thank Hitchin Hares for putting on a very well organised race!

Hitchin 5K course map

Time for this was 34:34 getting ever better and I would like to my work colleagues Martin Thurlow & Dave Green who came along to cheer me on ūüôā

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