Couch to 5K
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Bournemouthand Poole park runs

Has anyone done the bournemouth or poole park runs? Im so tempted to do one but im only on week 7 of c25k and I really think I should complete that first.

But I'm a really really slow runner and cant do hills so I was wondering if anyone had any experience of the dorset park runs. Are they competitive? Are they flat? How many people are there? Are people slow? And so on....

Thanks in advance

4 Replies

I don't know either route (I'm in North East England), but a quick check of the parkrun pages for Bournemouth indicates that the course is flat. There appear to be somewhere around 350 runners per week and the slowest runners (apart from the volunteer back markers) appear to complete in 39 to 40 minutes.

Poole is vey flat (it's round a lake so you can't get much flatter!). Last week there were 539 runners, 4 of whom finished between 41 and 42 minutes.

I don't know how fast you run. If you can do 3.2km (or 2 miles) in the 25 minutes for week 7 you should be able to complete the course by walking it in about 45 minutes which would be fine (allowing 20 minutes for the last mile at 3mph). The backmarkers will remain back markers, however long you take. If you want to take 50 minutes they will stay behind you.

if in doubt, take a ride out to one of the runs this week and take a look at what's happening. Ignore all the fast runners who disappear off at the front. Compare yourself to the back markers. if you think you could keep up with them, you won't have a problem another week.


Thanks. Im bang on 2 miles in 25 mins. It feels incredibly slow so I might work on upping the pace if possible.

Most helpful information :)


I don't know about Bournemouth but I'm a regular at Poole. It's one of the bigger parkruns, 500 runners or more on most Saturdays. The setting is lovely- it's a flat, fast course out to the boating lake, 2 laps then back to the cricket pavilion and a final 500 metre lap around the cricket pitch. You might find running with that many people a bit of a shock, though with the speeds you've indicated you'll be finishing towards the back. Anyone running over 30 mins can also expect to be lapped by the fast runners, in fact one of my most memorable parkrun moments was the first time I wasn't lapped! Don't let me put you off though-it's a very friendly parkrun with runners of all ages and abilities. The organisers have a huge team of volunteers on hand and you'll be well looked after - pre-run briefing for first timers, tail runners and tea & biscuits in the pavilion afterwards. Oh, and parking is now free at the civic centre opposite so no problems getting there.

An alternative that I can also recommend is the Blandford parkrun. I've only been there once but I'll be going back soon. It's quite a new parkrun and a much smaller affair than Poole. Consists of an out & back narrow-ish course starting on a woodland path which opens out to farmland. The course undulates a bit like any woodland trail but it's hardly hilly. Another friendly crowd at this parkrun too!

Good luck!

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Thanks Michael. I now think Park Runs are not for me :) when ive improved my time maybe I will reconsider but poole and Bournemouth all seem a little too serious and professional for people like me. I've had a few people say the marshalls are great at both, but the runners arent beginners and it can feel intimidating.


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