Now that social distancing restrictions are easing, many runners are eager to get back to starting the weekend at their local park run. With big marathons being cancelled and mass gatherings still ruled out, it’s no surprise that parkrun organisers are taking caution when it comes to restarting.
Although there are no plans to resume, barring New Zealand, here are some great parkruns (near and far) which should be added to your parkrun bucket list.
Sherwood Pines – Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
This 5km course takes place in Pines Park. This parkrun lives up to its name and you’ll find yourself running along avenue-like trails and stone paths lined with pine trees. What makes this parkrun rare is not only that it’s a relatively flat route but also only has one lap, making it great for first timers, beginners and those wanting to knock out a PB. They even boast a cafe for a post parkrun coffee!
Wollaton Hall – Wollaton Hall & Deer Park, Nottingham
Another Nottingham favourite, this one-lap parkrun will take you through the Deer Park where you will also get to see the beautiful Wollaton Hall. It’s close proximity to the city centre also makes it ideal and easy to access. If you’re lucky, you may ever get to meet Virtual Runner owner Susan Wheatcroft.
Bushy Parkrun – Bushy Park, Teddington
This London-based parkrun was the original and founded in 2004. This fast and flat parkrun is ideal for getting a PB or taking it easy. Avid parkrunners or first timers will love this course and being the original surely gives it extra credit to be added to your parkrun agenda.
Dalby Forest – Low Dalby, Pickering
Another ‘foresty’ route, Dalby Forest parkrun is in Dalby Forest Courtyard and the route will take you along a mixture of forest roads, gravel paths and wooden bridges. Although there are a few little hills, this course is mainly flat – another incentive to try this beautiful parkrun. Although it could be slightly muddy on a rainy day, this only adds to its character and won’t take away from the river and nature of the forest you’ll get to appreciate on your run.
Brighton & Hove – Hove Park, Brighton
Brighton & Hove could be a holiday parkrun or one if you’d like to escape the city, especially since it’s only an hour train ride from London! This run takes place on the Brighton Promenade along the beautiful shoreline showing views across the English Channel. You’ll be mainly running on asphalt paths where you’ll follow the course of a smaller lap followed by two slightly bigger ones. However don’t let the layout put you off as along the way you’ll be able to see some popular Brighton landmarks such as the pier and observation tower.
Edinburgh – Cramond/Silverknowes Promenade
This course will take you along the Cramond Foreshore entirely on a tarmac footpath. The sea breeze makes it an ideal running location as well as the lovely natural scenery. Edinburgh parkrun would be an ideal post lockdown park run especially if you’re just getting back into running as the course is designed to be enjoyable rather than for pure PB speed.
Being an international event, it wouldn’t be right not to mention a few of the other popular parkruns from around the globe.
Kangaroo Island – Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, Australia
Kangaroo Island parkrun finds itself on the Guardian’s list of the top 10 parkruns in the world. If that’s not incentive enough the island is the home to an abundance of native Australian wildlife. The course will take you entirely along permanent paths which start and finish at the Tidal Pool in Kingscote and follow the coast towards Brownlow. Not only is this a uniquely beautiful parkrun but one which will not leave you disappointed if you ever decide to try it out.
Crissy Field, California
Also finding itself on the Guardian’s list, the parkrun team at Crissy Field parkrun have said they’ve seen an interest in tourists attending from the UK, Australia and many more. This is because of the beautiful views the route offers. Runners taking part will see iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts and the San Francisco Skyline. If travelling to this side of the world is on your post-pandemic agenda then this parkrun should be an essential stop.
The Virtual Runner UK community have also suggested some great parkruns to visit once the weekly 5km timed run is back:
- “Bournemouth Parkrun – nice open start so no congestion with plenty of ups and downs to keep the interest up. Two passing’s of the Vitality Stadium and finishing by the athletics stadium too!” – Martin Coombes
- “Whinlatter Forest (in the lakes) – highest elevation of any parkrun in the country. Amazing scenery with beautiful views while you try to breathe and climb the hills. So much to do afterwards too like going to the cafe, Gruffalo Trail, mountain biking and loads of walking.” – David McGarry
- “Aberdeen! Fast, flat, beautiful sea view and (as long as things return to the way they were), a full Scottish breakfast with bottomless tea and coffee at the end!”