When coronavirus is over, and life returns to normal, Parkruns will be a great way not only to get fit again, but reconnect with your community and friends, writes Sean Russell as part of the #WhatsStoppingYou series proving you don’t need money to shoot for a PB
Parkrun has become a sensation with more than 350,000 people heading to their local parks to run 5km at 9am on a Saturday morning. Whether you’re heading there for a personal best, Strava bragging rights, to meet your friends, or just get a little bit more active, Parkrun offers an enjoyable and best of all free way to participate in group activity.
While Parkruns have now temporarily closed due to coronavirus, there’s currently nothing stopping you heading out by yourself, or with others from your household, briefly to walk or run these Parkrun routes ready for when we all get back to normal and are dying to get active again and break those PBs.
There are four Parkruns in the Eastlondonlines boroughs and here we will show you just where they are and what you can expect from each one.
This run makes great use of a beautiful areas of the borough. Sometimes it’s easy to forget where the green spaces and natural beauty is in London, but the Hackney Marshes, bordered by the River Lea makes for one of the more enjoyable Parkruns.
The run starts at the Hackney marshes centre, before heading north along the River Lea, sheltered by the trees. The soft ground underfoot makes a far more comfortable run as you meander past Friends bridge towards the Marshes Pavillion. Here you turn around and come back the way you came. Approaching the finish you turn off cross the lovely little bridge and than back again for a big finish.
It scores highly for scenery, but that little extension at the end can make for a confusing finish.
“Hackney Marshes parkrun is a great community event that brings together a range of different people, all with the goal of starting their weekend off with a run or walk in the open air. It’s success lies with how supportive the community is, to make sure that whatever you level of fitness it, there’s a place for you at Hackney Marshes.” Said Ben Wickham, co-event Director of Hackney Marshes.
Mile End – Tower Hamlets
Right alongside Queen Mary University is Mile End Parkrun. This run is a hidden gem amongst the bustle of Mile End road. It is one of the few to boast a toilets at the start just incase you need to go before setting your new PB, or maybe it will make you run fast as you head to the finish and straight for the loo!
Starting out next to the canal this run takes you through this often forgotten park heading under the shade of the trees, which is great in the summer. The jewel in its crown is the Green Bridge heading over Mile End road which is somewhat spectacular as you can see the city of in the distance.
At the top of the park you loop back on yourself and then continue all the way back to where you started and then for the second lap to complete your 5K.
A beautiful, shaded park run, with a unique bridge, easy to navigate route, and toilets to boot.
Hilly Fields – Lewisham
Hilly Fields is a confusing Parkrun consisting of three laps which are not all exactly the same. Luckily it’s not so hard to understand with all the helpful staff and seasoned Hilly Fields Park Runners.
It is well located and easy to get to for a Saturday morning start and boasts a café right next to the start/finish.
In many ways this unintimidating Parkrun is a perfect Saturday morning. Turn up, run 5K with your friends, then stop in the café for an oat milk flat white after, ideal for when the lockdown is over.
A little more of a confusing route, but a pleasant park, and nice café.
Catford – Croydon
Another fairly confusing route including one full lap of the park and one partial lap is made a lot easier by the great volunteer marshals. When they return after coronavirus the whole run becomes a lot easier to navigate.
Again this run is excellently located for Croydon in a large park which doesn’t have to be abandoned once you have beaten your friend’s time. When this is over and life can return to normal, a café and a playground here makes for an excellent start to the weekend with the whole family.
A little confusing, but café and play ground make for a nice start to the weekend.
This is day four of four of our Eastlondonlines’ #WhatsStoppingYou series. Read the rest of the series here.