Gadebridge parkrun in Hemel Hempstead, in the county of Hertfordshire, joined the parkrun family in May 2015.
Event Director Carol Skates tells us more about this hidden gem of a parkrun…
We decided to launch a parkrun in Hemel Hempstead because the park is the perfect setting for a Saturday morning run, jog or walk.
As well as that, the core team get so much out of volunteering and we all work together to provide a great free event each week for the local community.
Our event takes places in Gadebridge Park, Leighton Buzzard Road, in Hemel Hempstead. The course starts in the south-east corner of the park, on the path that runs alongside both bowling greens.
After a 400m opening stretch along the path, the course then consists of two anti-clockwise loops of a section of Gadebridge Park.
The course then crosses the River Gade, before running through the underpass which is our most famous landmark. We have segregated ‘running lanes’ and a high five marshal on hand to direct traffic!
The course is hilly, but that includes downhills too! The route includes mud, grass and tarmac – every surface in one perfect 5k package.
If I had to try to sell our event to a parkrun tourist, I would say “okay it’s challenging, but we all need a challenge!”.
The most important thing is we are a friendly bunch, and everyone is welcome no matter your age or speed.
We have had people of all ages join us, from babies in buggies, to 85 year olds. Remember to enjoy it!
And as well as that, after parkrun we go to a quirkily named café called ‘Elbows Off The Table’ in the Old Town, where we are welcomed by Joe and his team as we process the results, with the bonus of great coffee!
The impact on the local community has been really special. We average over 150 participants each week, and it’s great to see whole families joining us every week.
We have our regulars, as well as first timers – one week we had over 20 newbies which was fantastic.
We have a very supportive community who realise the event can’t go ahead without their support and we very rarely struggle to fill the volunteer roster.
Participating at parkrun, whether that be walking, jogging, running or volunteering, is such a brilliant thing, and we try and work with local mental health initiatives to promote exercise as an aid to positive mental health.
Next time you’re passing through Hemel Hempstead, be sure to stop in and say hello! #DFYB
If you’ve been inspired to bring parkrun to your own community, we’d love to hear from you using this form.
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