Why I like my Park Run: After a post earlier... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

109,819 members141,949 posts

Why I like my Park Run


After a post earlier this week I though we could do a positive Park Run post. So if you would like to "big up" your own personal Park Run, please post below. I thought it would be good to hear about how Park Run should be so everyone gets an idea what it to be expected. I would like this to be a positive post rather than bad points as it is an organisation that is run by volunteers and I would hate it to end up a b}##ch session. As I do not think that is helpful for anyone. Anyone who has had a bad experience with Park Run should be taking it up with the organisers.

42 Replies

My local Park run is Dulwich. Right from the first outing they made me feel welcome and kept an eye on me as I am always at the back. They always clap me in and say well done as I cross the finish line with my beetroot face.

misswobbleGraduate in reply to Realfoodieclub

I have only done one but will be doing another one. It was all new to me but folks were friendly and helpful and told me what to do, and there was plenty of positive remarks as I made my way round. Everyone was cheered round

Zev1963Graduate in reply to misswobble

That was my experience too. The organisers asked if there were anyone new to ParkRun, and we gathered round while a guy explained how it all worked.

When it was time to start I just followed everyone else and waited at the back of the crowd waiting for the start signal. When everyone started I just ran at my own pace, and followed someone who seemed to be going at the same pace as me.

There were people of all ages, from Young children, teenagers, young adults people like me, and older folks too.

There were quite a few experienced club runners, and they set off at an impressive lick. But there were plenty of folk like me too, and I just followed them.

I tend to run at a fairly constant pace, and I found myself passing some of the ones that had initially set off very fast. I found some would pass me several times, as they would run past and then walk. It's interesting to see the different styles of doing the 5k.

I saw plenty of voluntiers along the way, at strategic corners , and they waved us on our way shouting friendly encouragement.

By the end the field had spread out quite a lot, and I had four or five people visible ahead of me and the same behind. I arrived at the finish and took my token to hand in to the desk with my barcode. Very straightforward. I waited for MarlyParly to finish, she was just a minute or two behind me.

There was free drink to quench our thirst.

All in all a very enjoyable morning, and one I look forward to repeating next time that I'm back in the UK.

Exactly as it should be. Sounds great!

Me, I love Parkrun. Without it, I would probably have given up running again months ago. My local Parkrun is Tilgate in W Sussex. It is probably one of the most attractive Parkruns (we have a lake, trees galore, wide-ish paths, a couple of hills and the most amazing and friendly bunch of people you are ever likely to meet. Feeling really nervous the first time I went, the first person I said hello to, finding I was new, found one of the organisers to explain the route to me. When I said Ibwas worries I might be too slow, they offered to run with me and introduced me to the tail runner, so I knew I wouldn't be last, at least! Everyone was so inclusive. I got hooked. Now just over a year on, I'm still not fast, but at another local running event (10k on the coast) who was there cheering me on at the line - Regulars from my local Parkrun. I volunteer regularly now, should make my red shirt by Christmas, am the envy of my running sister in the US who would love to be able to join in. I get quite evangelical about Parkrun as I have seen the benefit (physical and social) it provides. Try it - but be warned, it can become addictive!


I am really lucky I have two parkruns close by; Sheringham which is very hilly but has amazing views of the sea and Blickling which is a beautiful park like Tilgate with a lake, trees, fields and a wonderful cafe for afterwards. I try to volunteer once a month and I enjoy that as much as the running. It took me 6 months to pluck up the courage to go but now I can't keep away. The people are wonderful and I have made some lovely friends. My ambition is to get my three sons to run with me but 9am on a Saturday morning is not the best time for them :) Please try it you'll be hooked.

Buffy007Graduate in reply to loulou51

Hi loulou - you must be somewhere near me. I did my graduation run at Blickling a couple of weeks ago. Fantastically well run, lovely people. Amazing experience. My son did run with me on that day. Good luck with your 3.

loulou51Graduate in reply to Buffy007

We did the Christmas Day parkrun and one son hobbled on crutches (he did one lap) and middle son ran with me, he was very hungover and groaned all the way but we did it. Just need to get the youngest to try it. Volunteered there today, bitingly cold.

Buffy007Graduate in reply to loulou51

One lap on crutches is pretty good going! Yes, it was cold wasn't it - thought I would stick to my usual, local route rather than embarrass myself in the freezing cold - will come again when the wind's not in the east! Don't think I'll try Sheringham for a while 'tho - that sting in the tail rather puts me off.


Park run has been a regular fix for me on my C25K journey. I have gone from 50 minutes to 35'24". The volunteers and fellow runners have all been supportive of my efforts.

My home run is Ormskirk but I have done Southwark Park when visiting my younger daughter. Last week on visit to my parents did inaugural run atvPenrhyn Castle. This week off to N Wales again to see parents and I am calling to do Ellesmere Port on my way. On the past I had to miss a run on such days but as the atmosphere is so friendly everywhere I have been I am happy to turn up. No idea of course other than two laps around the park so hope for 36' and see what happens.

Also I join the Facebook page and twitter for my park run places too and that helps. Go and get ready now everybody and try your Parkrun.


Enniskillen Parkrun is mine - set in the grounds of a National Trust Stately Home the scenery is breathtaking (if you slow down to look).

The National Trust have even started offering special ParkRun healthy breakfasts for after the run. The runners are very friendly (but that's sort of a given as us Northern Ireland people say hello to complete strangers in the street as a matter of course) and welcoming as are the organisers.

I probably (make that definitely) wouldn't still be running this far on in the year if it weren't for the motivation of Parkrun Enniskillen. *****


Presuming that's me in trouble. I shall remove the post if necessary but did appreciate all (apart from 1) of the supportive comments I received. it wasn't meant to turn In to a bitching session. Didn't think it had. I was just sharing my experience.

BarbarajsGraduate in reply to Toonlou24

It's nice to see both sides. I think it's only fair to get a balanced view. Not every Parkrun will be good for every person. I don't think you should have to remove your post Toonlou

Hidden in reply to Barbarajs

Me too Toonlou, I started it! I don't agree that this site should only be about positive things, and I won't stay if that's the case. I agree with RFC if someone has a problem with PR that they should contact the organisers, and in fact I was quite touched that the organisers bothered to contact me, although I would like to know who felt it was a good idea to inform them of my post on my behalf, I could have done that myself if I had wanted to, but I didn't have a problem as such, I just didn't like it.

People talk about all sorts of things her, positive and not so positive, health issues, bad runs, smoking etc, I thought that was the whole point of this site. If we are only allowed to post positive things, that means someone will be policing all posts and presumably removing ones they don't feel appropriate. Not where I want to be at all.

Toonlou24Graduate in reply to Hidden

Agree curly girly! I didn't have a problem with them as an organised thing. Just wished it had been more beginner friendly!!! Yes we do need both sides, we are all here to support each other and we both got lots of that didn't we! No harm in that surely?!

Toonlou24Graduate in reply to Barbarajs

Thanks barbarajs. That's what I thought too! I went as I agree they are a great thing. I wouldn't have been so disappointed if I didn't think they were! Just not for me.

RealfoodieclubGraduate in reply to Toonlou24

No ones in trouble, it's because of the couple of post we have had, I thought it would be nice to have a list of "good park runs". So people would know which ones has a nice atmosphere. With so many park runs all over it would be very difficult for them all to be perfect. I just didn't want to make a negative post to pin for future graduates, if you know what I mean.

St Helens in Merseyside has a ParkRun at Victoria Park. Their Facebook page keeps you updated too with news of special events like the Spooky Run for Halloween. They show photos of the runners one week for example it was the oldest and the youngest, an 80yr old man stood smiling next to a young woman and her baby. They have great friendly volunteers and it's a new run only set up in July this year. #BYOB bring your own brew has become brew at the Bandstand as they now have a volunteer to make a cup of tea when everyone finishes! Must be a northern thing?!! No fancy energy drinks here

totalbeginnerGraduate in reply to Curly123

That's so cool with the tea! Maybe I should suggest that at mine! Bet hard to estimate how much hot water!

I'm lucky that I actually have a range of park runs nearby from flat to hilly. Erm I've only visited 2. My home one is Beeston and Ferd and me are always made to feel welcome we run alongside the canal and then the river Trent, though the switch back at the end is a killer as you run past the finish and back down the canal before heading back to the finish.

The other one Ive been to is colwick - a bigger one but then it's been going longer - and we run around lakes with me hoping that Ferd will not shuddenly take off after some coots as I don't fancy a swim. Again everyone is welcoming.

Ferd an me generally try to stick the the back (I'm slow anyway) because I don't want anyone to get tangled up in his lead and it doesn't matter slow or fast everyone is cheered and encouraged.

I love parkruns tone you start it's hard to stop, and I can wait to be running fit and back at my local one, I urge everyone to give it a go


I did my first park run this morning at Perry Hall park in Birmingham. Everyone was friendly and supportive and even though I was last but one I got a round of applause as I crossed the finish line. Will definitely be going back next week. Was a really positive experience.

loubee33Graduate in reply to MotherGoose

Hi mother goose. I am planning on running at Perry Hall on Saturday. It is much closer to me than Walsall x

MotherGooseGraduate in reply to loubee33

Hi loubee33 enjoy your run it is a really nice course and people there are lovely. Won't be able to make it this week I'm coming down with a nasty cold

loubee33Graduate in reply to MotherGoose

Hi mother goose, hope you are feeling better soon. I managed to get there and really enjoyed it. As you say nice course, nice people and much easier to get to. Will be doing the New years day run if all goes to plan.......if not I will be running there as regularly as I can.


Well MotherGoose I was feeling down in the dumps because I was the last but one over the finish line at Kingsbury Water Park - and my time was slower than the first (my last) time doing it in April. But your posting cheered me up - at least we were not sitting on the couches.

Your enthusiasm has pushed me into promising myself to go back again next month. Thank you.

RealfoodieclubGraduate in reply to moonmar

I am always either last or second from last. Your definately not alone. And my couch misses me with all this running lark.

MotherGooseGraduate in reply to moonmar

Every week as a challenge but you are right getting out and about and off the couch is the most important thing! I love my running but I don't beat myself up about my times


When I feel confident enough I'll try my local Parkrun. It's at Lyme Park,Disley,Cheshire. By all accounts it's the toughest and hilliest in the country. We go there lots with the dogs so I can picture the route. I have friends who do it who say it's great but hard. One day! I've got lots near me but that's the most beautiful. They get about 120/130 runners. The others near me get nearer 300 so I think I fancy the smaller one. But it'll be months yet I think depending on how I manage my two fun runs next month :))

Milton Keynes is my local Parkrun, which attracts in excess of 450 runners! I've only done it twice, and my first time I found it a bit intimidating, as it is so busy (especially at the start) that there is a serious danger of tripping over each other and the occasional tree root. However, the other runners were very friendly, and the volunteers cheered us on with enthusiasm as well. It helps that it's a nice route, with one climb, but the majority of it is around Willen Lake, with small sections of canal towpath and woodland to run through.

I haven't had a chance to do it the last few weeks, so have been running after work on Friday instead. Hopefully next Saturday I can get out there again.


Right everyone - imagine the 'Perfect' ParkRun....

It's flat (no hills), is just one lap (no-one overtaking you), has free parking, is attractive (good views, cows grazing), run on a good surface (not concrete, not grass), has 400 runners with a very wide range of abilities (15 minutes to one hour), is friendly.

Welcome to Newbury ParkRun in West Berkshire.

Only comment to make is that there is a very gentle incline towards the end, and the path can get quite puddly after rain.


My local park run is Ashton Court in Bristol. I first went with my son just after I graduated from C25k. I found everyone really friendly and there was no pressure to go fast etc. It is a tough route...all up then all down, but its in a beautiful place with deer, trees and amazing views of Bristol. I have also volunteered and I really respect all the effort that the volunteers go to to make it a great run every week.....


MY local Parkrun ( actually I have about 7 of them , but this one is the very closest) has this old railway bridge in the middle of it . australiafound.com/images/l...

I HATE THIS BRIDGE!! The rising lead up to it starts at around 3.5 K -- it really isn't all that high or steep - but it sits there just waiting for me, smiling and knowing what it is about to do to me. After I have run up the rise and enter the bridge, I can see across it to the turn-around point , across the river - it feels to me like looking down a long tunnel that never seems to end. By the time I get off that bridge , I have another1K to go -- but by then that bridge has sapped much of my remaining strength. Why , oH why- can't they make a new route??? :)

Has anybody seen the movie/read the book "Christine" by Steven King? He should make a movie about this bridge!!!


My local park run is Edinburgh and is on completely flat prom with lovely sea view. There is always a 10 min talk for newbies just before the start. The guy who does it is really funny and explains route , bar codes and what to do at end etc. But he says he really does it to try and relax runners who are nervous and to make everyone feel welcome. Volunteers are supportive - clapping and saying well done, especially to those slower runners as they go round. If you are thinking of doing Edinburgh park run don't be put off by the big numbers - sometimes can be 500+ . You honestly don't even notice how many people are running. Lots of the faster runners cheer on the slower ones as they finish. I am passionate about park run and would encourage anyone to give it a go.

I have also done 2 junior parkruns - Whitley Bay and Helix park near Falkirk- with various grandchildren and can't recommend them enough. The volunteers are so enthusiastic. They both had a warm up before the start which the wee ones really loved. The format is same as Parkrun but course is only 2 k so more achievable for some younger children. The children can get wristbands when they complete so many runs. If you have children or grandchildren give it a go - you will enjoy it as much as they will.


Cambridge park run at Milton Park is brilliant, friendly atmosphere, all ages and abilities, encouragement all the way round. They did a junior take over this week, where all the volunteer roles were taken over by junior participants, they did a fantastic job, I loved the two high fives I got ! Even though I am near the back, and one of the last to finish, I have never been made to feel inadequate, just pure enthusiasm and kindness, I'm hooked!

that 50 t shirt seems a long way off, but 4 down, 46 to go!

I agree with all previous advice here, remember it's not a race, start near the back, take your time, relax and enjoy it!

I am running with the Edinburgh Park Run - have done approx. 9 now and am enjoying it. My speed is approx. 35 minutes but I am not interested in speed I just want to run and be healthy. Everyone is very friendly and supportive and it is a great location for the run - along the promenade at Silverknowes beach.

I have also run in the Crystal Palace Park Run because my daughter has moved to London and has a flat there. She didn't warn me that it was hilly but we both still completed the run which was fun to do together!



Attracting an average of 141 runners with a maximum recorded 367, Killerton is a one lap cross country course on grass, rough forest and farm tracks with a very small section of potholed tarmac.. Quite hilly and often muddy but very beautiful, especially in the spring. There is free parking and a coffee shop just 100 metres from the finish line. Always friendly and supportive, my favourite part is the attendance of so many families.....so runners of all ages.....including that seven year old girl who beats us all at every parkrun, wherever we run.

TutleyMutleyGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

I'd like to come to this Parkrun some time - is there another Parkrun down by the Quay or is Killerton the only one in Exeter?

My local one is at Parke, Bovey Tracey… only 17 miles up the road.

IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to TutleyMutley

There is a parkrun starting on the quay at Exeter and going along canal/river, though playing fields, all on the level and good for 5k PBs I suspect, though I haven't done it yet. There is nearby paying parking and plenty of cafes in the area.


I've only been twice but my local Park run is great! It's at Parke in Bovey Tracey and is mostly flat and off road along (muddy) trails through a gorgeous wooded valley - there is one steep hill to start (up which everyone usually walks, except the tough ones at the front of the pack).

It's attended by all ages - several octogenarians and a few under 10s too. The volunteers organising us are all friendly and there was an encouraging chat for the newbies when I first went a couple weeks ago.

There's also a place to go for bacon butties and a coffee afterwards just a short stroll from the starting/finishing line.

I was so impressed that I got all these statistics via email as soon as I got home and logged on.

I ran both of my Parkrun 5Ks in 38minutes - which I'm pleased with - I'm not right at the back but close to it. it's a great way to start the weekend and I'm definitely going back for more.

I'm lucky there are three all within 30min drive away. Im gutted I can't make it more often but with working during the week the weekends are my time with the kids. I'm going to try and make every other one in the new year I'd love to get to 50 runs but I am only at 10


My local Parkrun is Parke, Bovey Tracey, Devon also. Extremely well organised and friendly - I've volunteered a couple of times also. There is a short briefing for new runners, and it attracts a wide range of ages and abilities, from those in running clubs chasing PB's, to others who "just want to get round". As TutleyMutley says it's quite up and down but the course is through the beautiful grounds of the National Trust estate. Free parking and a cafe which some of us frequent afterwards for a chat. The cafe also does a Parkrun special - bacon buttie and a coffee!

Brentwood, Essex is my local run and the organisation was first rate. They course was tough, but if you like it that way, you will enjoy it. How tough? read my review here:


You may also like...