In Elstree & Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, tucked away is a truly beautiful parkrun event where, as well as parkrunners, you’ll also find 100 Aker Wood, the home of Winnie the Pooh and all his friends!
Event Director James Robinson tells us more…
Aldenham parkrun launched in June 2015. Before I got involved, I hadn’t run since school, which was about 30 years ago. I used to watch while my wife ran around, so I decided to give it a go!
Since then I have been hooked. Now I run regularly – and not just at parkrun, I have even completed a half-marathon and now I’ve become a Run Director. Our event is really friendly, with lots of encouragement for all the participants.
The Aldenham parkrun course is a good mix of road, grass and trail and involves two laps around the lake. The mix of terrain makes the run a bit unusual for those used to nice tarmac paths!
The first lap contains a loop through the woods, which means it’s a bit longer. The second lap has a short-cut to the finish. It can be a challenge in the winter when it gets wet and muddy, but that’s part of the fun!
Our parkrun takes place inside Aldenham Country Park, where there is also a small farm, playgrounds and all sorts of animals you see on route like ducks, geese, sheep, alpacas, goats, ponies and cattle.
One week we even had to run round a swan, and occasionally we have to shepherd sheep off the road to access the car park!
The route also takes you around Aldenham reservoir which is often a fantastic view, even on a misty morning.
However, the most famous landmark on our course would be the 100 Aker Wood. Just after the start you run past 100 Aker Wood, which is the home of Winnie the Pooh and all his friends.
After parkrun, you can go and play “Pooh Sticks” at Pooh Bridge, find houses for Pooh, Piglet, Owl and Eeyore, and even make it all the way to the North Pole!
We get a lot of tourists visiting our event, often when people are visiting London, prior to big events like the London Marathon. Tourists seem to enjoy the route, and often comment about the views across the reservoir.
We are spoilt for choice with post-parkrun refreshments and results processing. There are two cafés on site, so depending on the weather there’s the Clock Tower, or the café near the adventure playground
We love entertaining tourists, but the most special part of Aldenham parkrun has been the impact on the local community. We have grown into an event that attracts a nucleus of 50 people, but often tracks over 100 and our numbers are still growing.
We have many people from the community who’d never otherwise have met, and they have formed friendships so that Saturday is a highlight of the week to meet up for a run and enjoy each other’s company.
We are also part of the annual ‘town run’ as part of the annual Borehamwood Festival, which sees the mayor come down to the lake and congratulate all our participants as they pass through on the first lap and again at the finish.
We really do love our event, and we hope to see you at Aldenham on day soon!
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