Event 17 Hackney Marshes

Today’s parkrun Hackney Marshes has two important meanings to me for the following reasons;

River Lea

  1. The river Lea that is a major feature flowing on the outside of this course. This river has a close meaning in my heart as it starts in my home town of Luton and is a major feature of my beloved home parkrun Luton Wardown. On the subject of my local parkrun I would like to wish good luck to Lisa, Kate, Kathy and Zena on your Luton purple parkrun today for the Willow foundation, all the best ladies!
  2. I am just a stones through away from the Olympic park that inspired me after watching a number of events at London 2012 to get fitter and live a healthier lifestyle!

Today was no exception it was again great to have company running today, along with my great buddy Martin joining us was Angelica (red jacket) who is a fellow lecturer at the University of Westminster and Gabriela one of his top students, great to have you onboard I hope you have both now have got the parkrun bug!

 

Group freinds Hackney

Course

This is one fast flat course that is simply an out and back route that is run almost entirely on tarmac footpaths around the perimeter of Hackney Marshes with the river Lea flowing by the side of the path!

 

The paths are wide enough to allow for plenty of overtaking and I love running these kind of out and back routes!

Personal Stats

My parkrun time 30:12 – My fastest capital parkrun time to date but I am slightly annoyed as I could have easier got under 30 mins if I pushed it a little bit more today!

Important info

Hackney Marshes centre

There is free parking on site very close to the start at Hackney Marshes Centre, it also boasts an excellent cafe and there are toilets facilities available before the event starts that is not always the case!

Final Verdict

This is definitely a course you should go to record a your overall parkrun PB it is very flat and fast in nature!

I would like to thank Graham and his parkrun team of volunteers for making me and my guests extremely welcome today, greatly appreciated guy’s!

Group volunteers Hackney

Finally would I recommend Hackney Marshes completely YES a must for PB hunters with great on site facilities, top location!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Run on 10-09-2016

Event 16 Richmond Park

Wow this is one very beautiful royal park that it was a pleasure to run in today, was marvellous to see the deers grazing so close to me on the run that I had to stop take in the view and take pictures!

Time seemed to stand still that I forgot that I was doing a parkrun, times like this it is great to be alive!

IMG_0942

Today was great again in the company of running friends Liz, Stewart and Philip, I hope you enjoyed your run’s today and excellent running Philip a time to be proud of posting!

Friends group shot richmond

Course

Richmond Course

This course because of the size of this park is one single anticlockwise lap of just a small section of the park.

The race starts off with a small incline up to the roundabout where you turn left down Sawyer’s Hill that is a tarmac path, then you turn left again onto Sheens Cross and this time you are running on a grass section! The final part your turn left before Sheens Gate onto Tasmin trail that surface changes again into loose gravel and follow the undulating trail to the finish!

My watch said there was a 32 metre gain on the course but it is my view that at no point did I feel that the uphill sections were overpowering to run up compared to places like Hampstead Heath!

Overall I really loved this course, great to run on a single lap parkrun, multi terrain surfaces and seeing beautiful wildlife in the shape of the parks deers!

Personal Stats

My parkrun time 37:43 – Time was not important for me today just happy to be out running and standing still taking pictures of the wildlife!

Important Info

There is free parking Pembroke Lodge, with toilets open before the start of the race and a very nice post run cafe attached as well, this is all about only half a mile from the start of the race!

Final Verdict

Richmond Park Heard shot

This is one vast beautiful royal park to run in, great to run on a single lap parkrun course, excellent wildlife, but could be challenging in the winter though if there was a prolonged period of rain on the course!

Thank you Alastair and your team for making me and my friends very welcome for today, top stuff!

Volunteers Group Richmond

Would I recommend this parkrun to a tourist, completely YES!!!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Run on the  27-08-2016

 

Event 15 Greenwich

At this moment in time with Rio 2016 games almost coming to an end it is great to run in Avery Hill park Eltham that has benefited from legacy money from our own London 2012 games!

Excellent to see legacy money spend on projects that help local communities 🙂

One of the most striking buildings is the famous University of Greenwich Winter Garden a hothouse that has many species of plants from around the world with this magnificent building perched beautifully on top of the hill!

Winter Gardens Avery

Today it has been another great day of running with friends, great to have you onboard as always Martin and love the t-shirt Cool Runnings, Ellie one of our clubs top young runners and her boyfriend Sam, good to meet you mate!

Also bumping into Lynette and Richey who I first met last week at Peckham. Hope you both enjoyed todays event!

Friends Group shot

Last but definitely not least I met Francis Lee Greenwich parkrun director legend who retired today. Top service sir and from the applause you got you will be very fondly missed!

Francis Lee

Course

Greenwich course map

The course is run over almost 3 anticlockwise laps, starting by the cafe and finishing in front of the Winter Gardens. The running surface is almost a 50/50 split between grass and tarmac paths, the first section is run downhill on grass followed by an uphill tarmac around the back of the course with the small section to the finish back on grass again! Overall my watch says there was a noticeable steady rise of 36m gain around its entire length!

Today the wind made it difficult to run with strong gusts what seemed permanently head on! The challenge I see from my point of view is what running footwear would you use if there was a prolonged period of rain on the course leading up to the event?

Personal Stats

My parkrun time 40:49 (pacing Martin)

Important Info

There is parking available inside the park that is very close to the start, excellent post run cafe and you can use it’s toilet facilities before the race!

Final Verdict

Volunteer Group shot

It is very good to run  on this very interesting multi terrain course that will test you! Special thanks to Francis, Connor and all the volunteers to make me and my friends extremely welcome, top work guys!

Francis enjoy your retirement as Connor says go for that 200 parkrun target, been a pleasure to meet you and commitment you have shown to your parkrun community is one of the main reasons why I love parkruns so much, sir!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Run on 20-08-2016

Event 14 Peckham Rye

This is a beautiful park to run in with a lot going on from open playing fields, ornamental gardens, common land, a woodland section with streams running through it. An excellent place to unwind and take your family!

Playing fields

The additional pleasure to running in great London parks is that you get to make new running friends and today was no exception!

new friends

I had the pleasure to chat and have a coffee with Lynette and Richey who are friends through running and parkrun directors of their respected events with Lynette is Chichester and Richey is Dartford.

Who knows when I finish this challenge I might take up our offer of running your parkruns and you are always welcome at Luton, Wardown anytime!

Course

Peckham course

This is a 3 anticlockwise lap takes in the scenic parts of the park that includes ponds bridges and gardens.

As stated on their website it is run entirely on tarmac footpaths and almost entirely flat along its length, there is only a slight uphill section towards the end of each lap. I am still struggling to work out where the 14m elevated gain is coming from on my sports watch!

Only thing you have to be careful on this course is the downhill section to the pond that in a couple of places tree roots are breaking up one side of the path. This was make very clear in the new runners briefing so you knew what to look out for!

Personal Stats

My parkrun time 31:45

Total accumulative miles 82

Important Info

Always welcome a free car park inside the park and next to that an excellent post race cafe called Cafe on the Rye

The park toilets for some reason were closed but the staff at the cafe kindly let me use their toilets even though it does not open to 9am, thank you guys!

Final Verdict

Volunteers peckham

This is a hidden gem of a parkrun with a lovely course that is definitely PB territory if you are looking for a fast time, also there was just about the right amount of runners not to get in each others way!

As alway I was made very welcome by the Peckham team, thank you David and Kevin and all the volunteers to making this an enjoyable event! Special mention to the volunteer who cheered us all on even though her leg was in a cast, this is why parkruns are a such a great positive advent!

Definitely recommend Peckham!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Run on the 13-08-2016

PS

No I did not find Delboy’s Peckham Spring but there was a streams running through the park 😉

Peckham Stream

Event 13 Fulham Palace

On a beautiful sunny day to run Bishop’s park that is a lovely well maintained park next to the river Thames. This park  is very close to two iconic London landmarks in the shape of Fulham football ground and the start of the University boat race at Putney Bridge between Oxford v Cambridge.

Bishop_s Park

Craven Cottage

It was again great to run with company from my club Nikki Cox & Kelvin Chadwick, I hope you enjoyed the parkrun today guys!

A special mention to Fulham Fire station that kindly allowed us to park in their car park and made us feel very welcome, for the record Nikki is a fire officer with the London fire brigade, you do a brilliant job in keeping us all safe!

Fulham fire Station

Course

Fulham Palace course

The route is almost 3 anticlockwise laps of Bishop’s park that is entirely run on tarmac paths, just after the start you run alongside Fulham Football ground then along the footpath that is treelined by the river Thames, at the end of the third lap you finish in the central court area.

Fulham Palace is a very flat course with only a 4 metre gain on its entire length, it gets a bit congested at the start but soon thins out, defiantly a PB course to set a fast time though!

Personal Stats

My parkrun time 32:04

Important info

There is an excellent cafe for a post run coffee inside the park, not the one they normally use as that was closed for an event. There is also toilet facilities but were closed before the start of the race, we think due to tidying up after the football match that happened the previous night!

Lucky I did not need it on this occasion but if you come by car street meter parking is available on Bishops’ Avenue next to the park.

Final Verdict

Group photo Fulham

A beautiful park to run in and is definitely a flat fast course to get a PB on! Thank you very Richard and all your volunteers in making me and my friends very welcome today, top stuff guys!

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

Run on the  06-08-2016

Event 12 Wimbledon Common

Wimbledon Team photo

Review

Today running around the beautiful Wimbledon Common parkland was nice and refreshing in cooler conditions than of late with a light drizzle in the air at the start of the race!

With Peter _ Patrick

It was great to meet Peter Collins (in red) today in the flesh after chatting to him on a post that I placed on Runnersworld.co.uk website about my parkrun adventure! I ended up running with his brother in law Patrick (in white) in this race and trust me it will not be long before you break that 30 minute barrier, well done in getting a new PB today!

Special Mention to Liam todays run director apart from everybody making me feel welcome you have a great dry wit! The line that i loved when you introduced me to the Wimbledon parkrun community will stick in my mind forever, “Mark is running all 45 parkruns in the Greater London area in one year and this is event 6 and as you can see he is not running them in alphabetical order 🙂

Course

Wimbledon Route map

Run over two and a bit anticlockwise laps of trail paths that is for a large part run under a canopy of trees. This is a very flat course with only an 8 metre gain through its entire length but as stated on their course description with a large amount of rain it would be advisable to run in trail shoes!

Also an important note be very aware of the exposed tree roots on the course as the could be a potential trip hazard, to be fair to the team though they have sprayed white the most dangerous ones on the course!

Personal Stats

My parkrun time 31:57

Important Info

Park Facilities

Wimbledon Windmill Museum

There is amble free parking catering for 300 cars and toilets are available before the start of the race. There is the windmill cafe available for a post race cuppa and all of these facilities are very close to the finish of the parkrun that is great!

Shame that the windmill was shrouded in scaffolding today due to the fact it’s blades are being refurbished with a lottery grant, been nice to have looked around the museum!

Final Verdict

Thank you for the very kind reception from everyone that I received on my visit today, keep reading my blog Peter and Liam do not change you have a priceless rare sense of humour that should be treasured!

Will definitely recommend,

Run on the  30-07-2016

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

 

Event 11 Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Team photo

Review

Very beautiful but hilly heath parkland to run my event 5 on a hot sunny day, there was is a large amount of construction work taking place at the moment with diggers and fenced off areas that is part of the Hampstead Heath Ponds project which meant that we had to run the alternate route B

It was very lovely to have company today running with my fellow Stopsley Strider Claire Frost it made the pain of running beside the famous Parliament Hill quite bearable 🙂

Hampstead Selfie

Special mention to all the beginners completing in our own Stopsley Striders graduation run today at Luton, Wardown Park parkrun we are all proud of what you have achieved!

Very well done to my team that comprised on the day Louise, Anna, Cindy and Claire with the able assistance of Mariaand Amanda that supported me coaching throughout the 12 week course, brilliant running ladies!

Wardown Graduation team photo

Finally need to send a memo to myself I don’t care how confused I get trying to find the start of a parkrun need to make sure that I am running in my trainers (that were in the car) and not my summer plimsoles 🙂

Plimsoles Hampstead

Course

Route B map

Route B is the current section of the parkrun team due to the building work taking place and is known to be the harder route as it has a hill up to the finish line!

The route comprised of a start that was a downhill that opened up into 2 clockwise laps that at one point run beside the famous Parliament Hill used in the national cross country!

Once you have finished the last lap you turn left to run back up where you come from with the finish 50 metres further on when you reach the top!

This is definitely one of the most challenging parkruns that I will encounter on my capital adventure but one I would like to come back and run it again and take that overall 68 metre gain!

Personal Stat

My parkrun time 35:19

Important info

Park Facilities

There are a number of cafes available toilets on the park, but one of its biggest draws is the availability of a number of bathing ponds that allows for public swimming!

Parking is available on street paid metre £2 for 2 hours that is close to the start, postcode NW3 1NT

Final Verdict

Very beautiful park that is an excellent parkrun challenge, thank you very much to run director Andi and her team for making me welcome, greatly appreciated guys!

Next time I will bring my hill legs and swimming trunks and go for a swim!

Run on the 23-07-2016

Best

Mark aka Silent Runner

 

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