Close to Heathrow Airport you can find Bedfont Lakes parkrun, tucked away in Bedfont, a suburban district of Hounslow in West London.
Core team member Emma Moreton tells us the story behind this hidden gem.
Bedfont Lakes parkrun launched in May 2009 and current Co-Event Directors are Ian Cockram and Claire Crook. Ian started parkrunning in 2008 at Bushy parkrun, which was the first time he had ever taken part in an organised run! When Bedfont Lakes launched a year later he started volunteering and running here, eventually becoming co-ED with Rory Murphy.
Claire first discovered parkrun when she came to Bedfont Lakes to cheer on her husband Kevin completing Couch to 5k. She was handed a hi-vis marshalling vest and the rest, as they say, is history. Claire joined the core team in 2016 and is also a Run Director at Laleham junior parkrun, encouraging son Henry to stay active, and became Co-ED at Bedfont Lakes in 2017.
The friendly and supportive environment feels like we’re all part of a (very) big family, encouraging each other with whatever our individual goals are. It’s hard to remember Saturdays before parkrun!
Our two-lap course is set in a beautiful country park with lakes, children’s playgrounds and plenty of wildlife. The 5k route travels along trail paths that can get puddley in autumn/winter which all adds to the adventure!
The most famous landmark at Bedfont Lakes would have to be the hill that we have named ‘Mo Hill’ – some people think it is not steep enough to be called a hill, but as we have to climb it twice it definitely feels like a hill the second time round!
Tourists can find us easily enough as we’re well connected by main roads, and close to Heathrow airport but our parkrun is a little haven that you wouldn’t know was there. Most first timers are blown away by the scenery, and we also think we’re super friendly!
After parkrun, our meeting point of choice is The Orchard Cafe just a short drive away. Great for post-run breakfast, brunch and a chat while we process the results.
Our moment of fame came in 2014 when Mike Bushell from BBC Breakfast came to Bedfont Lakes to film a feature for parkrun’s 10th anniversary celebrations. He ran the course whilst interviewing parkrun Founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE and some of our participants. You can watch the video here.
There have been a number of fantastic stories to come out of our parkrun. We have a really nice family story of three generations of parkrunners. It was after mum, Theresa, completed her 100th parkrun that daughter, Sarah, started parkrunning, and has now clocked up over 100 parkruns herself…
And in the meantime granddaughter, 10-year-old Mia, has now joined in so we see all three generations some weeks. On top of that, Grandpa has volunteered over 200 times, and between all of them nearly 350 times!
However, the greatest thing to come from launching Bedfont Lakes parkrun has been friendships. Countless lasting friendships have been made over the eight years that we have been parkrunnning at Bedfont Lakes.
If you’d like to find out more about bringing parkrun to your community, click here.
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