Where do you start on a review that spans a year with so many highlights you could quite easy write a book about this Capital parkrun adventure!
You start with a brilliant concept in parkrun and let it spread all over the country and now it’s gone international. Next you let local communities built up around these events so every Saturday morning at 9am from Penrose to Inverness it’s great like you are running will your extended family!
So each Saturday at 9am starting at Dulwich it was like a mini adventure running all 47 Greater London parkruns, it could be down to the beauty of the course, the friendliness of the local community or the history of the park!
Fancy dress parkruns
Well I have to apologies to the unlucky parkrun events that hosted my fancy dress runs, you were great sports and made me feel welcome even though I looked very odd running around your parks
- Man in a dress: Harrow
- Santa tour: Walthamstow, Lloyds Park and Old Deer Park
- Wonder Woman: 50th birthday parkrun at Bushy park the birthplace of parkrun in 2004
There were very kind gestures from some of the people that I have met and they were
- John Curran the RD at Groveland’s kindly let me start their event
- The fire brigade at Fulham kindly letting us park at their firestation car park thanks to Nikki good running club friend (fire officer) who organised it and run with me & Kelvin that day at Fulham Palace!
- Lucy of Harrow Lodge bought me a welcome coffee after a bitterly cold parkrun
- Kind gesture repaid by a kind gesture on a very wet parkrun at Gunnersbury I kept the change of clothes dry for a young Scottish couple by keeping them in the boot of my car as they were travelling back home afterwards, they repaid my kindness with donating to my charity!
- Nuffield Health Gym kindly let me use their gym facilities for free after a hot parkrun at Bromley
- Will never forget on my final London parkrun where Jennifer from Pymmes who run home to bring back a beautiful test cake for her upcoming son’s wedding so we could celebrate with after the run and my challenge!
I kept getting asked on this adventure what is your favourite parkrun, that is a loaded question as each of the 47 Greater London parkrun are worth a visit, but I will try be categorise some of the best into certain categories
If you are trying to get a fast time you cthen these events are for you
If inclines are your thing then these are are good test of your climbing ability
There are some courses that are run on just trail paths or fields, so in the winter it would be like running a 5k cross country race!
These are events that the park contains an interesting feature or has a unusual past history
- Kingston running by the river Thames and past the famous Teddington Lock
- Ally Pally with some of the best views of the capital skyline
- Mile End with the Green bridge that you run over and it spans the high street below!
- Northala Fields with the 3 mounds constructed from the rubble on old Wembley football stadium
- Crane park used to be a gunpowder factory, now is a lovely park with nature reserve on an island
- Bedfont Lakes was once a grave pit and landfill site, now been transformed into a beautiful park with multiple lakes for the local community to walk around!
- Francis retiring as Run director at Greenwich
- Walthamstow 200th parkrun
- Maureen’s at Burgess 50th birthday celebration
This is a tough one as every parkrun event has treated me like gold when I visited them but for some reason these parkruns especially touched my heart
I will allows have great memories on this year through the taken pictures, but some stand out more because they capture the moment
- The whole of Harrow parkrun community lined up outside the cricket pavilion on my crazy fancy dress run!
- Selfie with the volunteer team at Finsbury Park as it was a cold day and nobody was left to take the picture
- A pirate selfie with two of my good tourist friends Kevin Brown & Andrew James at Valentines Park
I would like to thank everybody who has supported me in this adventure from the generous donations from friends and members of the parkrun community to my beloved charity Keech Hospice Care! The new and old friends who run with me in this adventure especially my wingman Martin Ball who kept me cheery when I was feeling rubbish!
I need to mention the staff and students at the University of Bedfordshire who out of the kindness of their hearts and the giving of their time made me feel so humbled, plus the final charity total would never been this high without you all!
Finally all the parkrun communities that I visited on this Capital adventure you all treated me like family and were the most brilliant of hosts, I salute you all!
All I can say is this Greater London parkrun adventure that was a year in the making has been great for my soul in running some of the best parks the capital has to offer and meeting of the most loveliest people you could ever wish to meet!
So my recommendation is a simple one, enjoy your park running and if you can visit the lovely parkrun communities of our great capital, you are in for a treat!
Finally I might now class myself as a parkrun tourist but I will always have a special place in my heart for my home parkrun of Luton, Wardown!