News - 18th July 2018

The A-Z of parkrun

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Think you’ve mastered your ABCs? But have you conquered the parkrun Alphabet, which involves trying to complete a parkrun beginning with every letter of the alphabet!

 

There are more than 540 parkruns in the UK, so we’ve put together this handy guide to completing the 24 letters in the parkrun UK Alphabet covering the length and breadth of the home nations.

 

A is for… Ally Pally parkrun, London

 

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Our journey begins in north London. Ally Pally parkrun launched way back in December 2011 and is a two-lapper which definitely falls into the dreaded “undulating” category! Wood Green is the nearest underground station, just 20 minutes from Piccadilly Circus, making it a popular spot for tourists to the capital.

 

B is for… Bressay parkrun, Scotland

 

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From north London, to the most northerly parkrun in the UK! Bressay parkrun is located in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, and is the first of the island parkruns to feature in our alphabet.

 

Bressay is a small community of less than 400 people, but parkrun has been embraced by tourists and locals alike, and you can travel to Bressay on the inter island ferry which arrives conveniently in time for parkrun!

 

C is for… Clifton parkrun, East Midlands

 

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Clifton parkrun in Nottingham is definitely one for you to ‘C’ – see what we did there? Clifton is a relative newcomer to the parkrun family having launched in January 2018 and involves two laps of the playing fields, followed by one shorter lap.

 

It’s already proved popular with the local community; in just seven months, almost 1,000 different women, men, girls and boys have had their barcodes scanned at Clifton!

 

D is for… Derry City parkrun, Northern Ireland

 

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From Nottingham to Northern Ireland, the next stop is Derry, Northern Ireland’s second largest city. In 2013, Derry was the inaugural UK City of Culture, and it was also the year that Derry City parkrun came to fruition.

 

This out-and-back course certainly offers some PB-potential, following the promenade adjacent to the River Foyle towards the city centre, before crossing the Peace Bridge to the Waterside and the 2.5k turnaround point.

 

 

E  is for… Ecos parkrun, Northern Ireland

 

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From D to E, but staying in beautiful Northern Ireland for our latest stop, Ecos parkrun in Ballymena. This event takes place in Ecos Park, which is an oasis of wildlife close to the heart of Ballymena town centre, and is one for those who like some variety on their 5k. 

 

It’s an off-road, varied, scenic course with a river, lake and birds on view, and for those looking for a new PB, it is also a very flat and fast course.

 

 

F is for… Flatts Lane parkrun, North East

 

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Flatts by name, but definitely not be nature! As you can see, the two-lap course features hills that offer panoramic views, something which invariably means the inclines are definitely more than “slopes” – however this event has grown steadily since launching in September 2017.

 

The Flatts Lane Woodland Country Park visitor centre, which is the meeting point for the parkrun, also has a post-parkrun cafe! What more could you ask for?

 

G is for… Guernesey parkrun, Channel Islands

 

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The first of two parkruns in the Channel Islands, separating the UK from France, Guernsey parkrun, on the beautiful island of Guernsey joined the parkrun family in April 2016.

 

The two-lap course takes place in an area of natural beauty. As well as that, the route is sandwiched between a golf course on one side and a rifle range on the headland at Fort Le Marchant, which is often “in session” whilst parkrun is underway. Therefore, it is particularly important that parkrunners do not wander off the course!

 

H is for… Haigh Woodland parkrun, North West

 

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Haigh Woodland parkrun takes place in Haigh Country Park in Wigan, Lancashire on a mixture of woodland and tarmac paths. The team at Haigh Woodland describe their home course as “challenging, fun and rewarding” and the park also offers a cafe where you can grab a drink after your parkrun and talk about all the mud you did or didn’t see, and just how “challenging” some of those undulations really were!

 

I is for… Inverness parkrun, Scotland

 

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From the north west of England to the north of Scotland, you will definitely want to cast your ‘I’ over Inverness parkrun! Inverness parkrun takes place in the city’s largest park, Bught Park, and is located less than 10 miles from world-famous Loch Ness.

 

This three-lapper is a monster (sorry we couldn’t resist that one) and is one of Scotland’s oldest parkruns, having launched back in 2011. Sightings of PBs may be as rare as catching a glimpse of Nessie, but whatever happens you can enjoy post-parkrun coffee at the nearby Floral Hall Coffee Shop.

 

J is for… Jersey parkrun, Channel Islands

 

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Ah the elusive letter ‘J’ -  Jersey parkrun features high on the must-run-list for many parkrun uber tourists. The scenic two-lapper has proved popular with regulars from the local community, and with a minor international airport on the island, Jersey parkrun features high on the must-run-list for many parkrun uber tourists keen to tick ‘J’ off their parkrun alphabet!

 

The second Channel Islands parkrun to be featured takes place on the island of Jersey, which is the largest and southernmost of the Channel Islands located near the coast of Normandy, France.

 

K is for… Kirkwall parkrun, Scotland

 

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From the Channel Islands we head north of John O’Groats to Kirkwall, the main settlement of the Northern Isles and capital of Orkney. 

 

Getting to this event is a little different from your usual parkrun, but the nearby harbour and airport offer an arrival point for ferries from Shetland and Aberdeen, cruise ships, and flights from around the UK. Once you set foot on dry land, the event takes place entirely on concrete path and takes in the sea wall and the Peedie Sea.

 

L is for… Lowestoft parkrun, East of England

 

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It may be one ‘L’ of a journey from the north of Scotland to the east of England, but Lowestoft parkrun in Suffolk is a seaside adventure not to be missed.

 

The course is described as a “one and three quarter lap” on tarmac, concrete and gravel, but beware the “slope” which needs to be conquered twice! Your reward for doing so is a family-friendly day at the beach, with plenty of entertainment for everyone.

 

 

M is for… Medina I.O.W. parkrun, South East

 

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We are island-hopping again! The Isle of Wight lies in the English Channel less than two hours from London via the Isle of Wight Ferry.

 

The island is popular with families, and Medina I.O.W. parkrun offers something for everyone on Saturday morning. As well as your bucket and spade, just remember to also bring your barcode!

 

N is for… Nobles  parkrun, Isle of Man

 

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From one island to another, and this time to the Isle of Man, which sits in the Irish Sea. It’s known for its rugged coastline, rural landscape and an annual motorcycle race around the island. More recently, the talk of the island has been about Nobles parkrun!

 

The event takes place in Nobles Park in Douglas, the capital and largest city on the Isle of Man with a population of around 28,000. The course itself is two main figure of eight laps completed by a final circuit of the top park area, mainly on grass with some concrete sections.

 

O is for… Oakwell Hall parkrun, Yorkshire

 

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O hello Yorkshire! Our latest stop takes us to Oakwell Hall parkrun in Batley to the south of Bradford and Leeds. The event takes place at Oakwell Hall Country Park, which dates back to the 1690s.

 

The parkrun itself is not quite so old, having launched in July 2014, but in that time more than 6,000 people have completed the course a total of 36,556 times!

 

P is for… Penrose parkrun, South West

 

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Next up, it’s the most south-westerly parkrun in Britain: introducing Penrose parkrun! Located in Helston, Penrose takes place in the grounds of the National Trust Penrose Estate.

 

The team had to change from their original hilly route as the course, which took in the coast path, was in danger of falling into the sea! You can now find one of the flattest routes you are likely to find in Cornwall.

 

Q is for… Queen Elizabeth parkrun, South East

 

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From the south west of England to the south east, next up is Queen Elizabeth parkrun, which takes place in the self-titled Country Park on the South Downs, to the north of Portsmouth. This two-lapper falls into the “undulating” category with a mixture of gravel paths, grass and forest trails.

 

R is for… Rogiet parkrun, Wales

 

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The first Welsh parkrun in our alphabet and our letter R sees us arrive at Rogiet parkrun in Monmouthshire, just across the Second Severn Crossing from Bristol. Rogiet parkrun is less than a year old, but this three-lapper is already one for your to-do-list.

 

Taking place on grass and trails, the shape of the course means there are plenty of opportunities to see and cheer on your fellow parkrunners

 

S is for… Stratford Upon Avon parkrun, West Midlands

 

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For our S there was an obvious option - Stratford Upon Avon and Shakespeare! Stratford Upon Avon parkrun in Warwickshire is known across the world due to being the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and millions of tourists flock to the town every year. Thankfully they don’t all turn up at parkrun on Saturday morning, otherwise we may run out of finish tokens…

 

The parkrun itself is less gruesome and dramatic than Titus Andronicus, Hamlet or King Lear (phew!), and this scenic three-lapper also enjoys a stretch along the River Avon. To PB or not to PB, that is the question!

 

T is for… The Wammy parkrun, West Midlands

 

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We stay in the West Midlands for our next destination, but head north of Birmingham to find an event that will suit you down to a T. As well as having one of the coolest names in the world, The Wammy parkrun is also one of the newest parkruns on our list.

 

The Wammy launched in March of this year, and is a straight out-and-backer entirely on tarmac paths, located just a short distance from Newcastle Under Lyme town centre.

 

U is for… Upton House parkrun, South West

 

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U will love our next stop! It’s Upton House parkrun in Poole, to the west of Bournemouth. Upton House have recently celebrated its first birthday and almost 4,000 people have taken part in the event so far.

 

It’s definitely one for trail fans, as the course takes place completely off-road. The event gets its name from the venue, Upton Country Park which boasts a Grade II listed Georgian Mansion House, and the on-site Tea Rooms warmly welcome parkrunners each week for post-parkrun tea and coffee.

 

V is for… Valentines parkrun, London

 

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We are V excited about the second London to feature on our list – it’s Valentines parkrun! This two-lapper takes place on tarmac paths and is one of the older parkruns on our list, launching way back in 2011.

 

The park has been transformed by the parkrun event in that time, and the facilities are excellent, with toilets and a fabulous cafe located right next to the start and finish area. This event is also particularly popular in the middle of February…

 

W is for… Wepre parkrun, Wales

 

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The second Welsh event on our list is Wepre parkrun, to the north of Wrexham and west of Chester. It’s a scenic 5k, taking place off-road and passing through gorgeous woodland. It is another one to add to the “undulating” category, with more than 500 feet of elevation in total, but your reward at the end is a cup of something hot at the Old Hall Café located at the Wepre Park Visitor Centre.

 

X is for… 

 

X is currently the letter of the alphabet for which there is no parkrun in the world.

 

Y is for… York parkrun, Yorkshire

 

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Our final destination takes us to the beautiful city of York. This parkrun takes place at York Racecourse, but you don’t have to gallop like a Grand National winner to clock a PB here – the course is super-flat with few turns, making it a popular destination, and since launching in 2012 it has welcomed some illustrious visitors, including Olympic triathlon medalists Vicky Holland and Jonny Brownlee, as well as two-time Olympian Laura Weightman.

 

They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. However, you can lead parkrunners to the cafe, and they definitely will! Each week York parkrunners grab a coffee from the van, and you can sit back and reflect on Y you loved your parkrun experience.

 

Z is for… 

 

Ah, well currently there are no parkruns in the UK beginning with the letter Z, so to complete your 25-letter parkrun alphabet your options are Zandvlei parkrun in Cape Town, South Africa, Żary parkrun in Poland, or Zillmere parkrun in Brisbane, Australia.

 

The complete parkrun Tourism Series is available here.

 

Click here for more information on bringing parkrun or junior parkrun to your community. 

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