584 parkruns take place around the UK on Saturdays, but just six share their name with a parkrun in another part of the world: Albert, Bushy, Cambridge, Durham, Gladstone and Victoria.
In this edition of the parkrun Tourism Series we take a look at these parkrun ‘twins’ and reveal how many people have completed two parkruns that are known locally by the same name.
1. Bushy parkrun (UK and Ireland)
Total participants: 52,512
Number of people who’ve completed both events: 154
The home of parkrun needs no introduction! London’s Bushy Park has played host to parkrun every weekend since 2004 when 13 people completed the course thanks to five volunteers. Almost 50,000 others have joined them since, making this the most visited parkrun anywhere in the world. Starting by the iconic Diana Fountain, the course is a flat one-lapper that is mostly on trail and finishes next to the lake.
For those wanting to attempt the ‘Bushy parkrun double’, it’s just a short hop over the Irish Sea to Terenure in the south of Dublin. The course in this leafy park follows the River Dodder before completing a lap of a pond and continuing to a turnaround point. After crossing a bridge and returning the pond, you repeat the lap and then return along the river to the finish.
2. Albert parkrun (UK and Australia)
Total participants: 29,787
Number of people who’ve completed both events: 45
Middlesbrough and Melbourne might be half a world apart, but in the world of parkrun they’re inseparable!
Albert parkrun in Middlesbrough was the eighth parkrun event to be established anywhere in the world when it launched back in 2008. The park itself was officially opened by Prince Arthur of Connaught (the seventh child of Queen Victoria) in 1868, the park being named after his father Prince Albert. The park was refurbished in 2005 and has been granted the The Green Flag Award, the benchmark national standard for publicly accessible parks and green spaces in the UK.
More than 11,000 different people have completed this flat and fast course, which takes place under the watchful eyes of the town’s own inimitable Brian Clough. The course passes his statue twice – motivation enough for even the most unsuspecting of parkrunners!
Albert parkrun’s namesake down under was also an early edition to the parkrun family there, launching the same year as parkrun Australia in 2011. Since then almost 19,000 people have walked, run and volunteered at Albert parkrun in Melbourne.
In typical Aussie fashion, the Pre Event Welcome takes place in a BBQ shed opposite the Melbourne Aquatic Centre. The course follows the iconic Albert Park Lake path anticlockwise and finishes back at the picnic area.
3. Cambridge parkrun (UK and New Zealand)
Total participants: 19,018
Number of people who’ve completed both events: 12
The UK’s incarnation of Cambridge parkrun launched in January 2010 and since then has averaged more than 350 finishers 20 volunteers every week. With the average finishing time almost three minutes faster than the UK average, we wonder if that might have something to do with the healthy attendances!
The course starts with a short clockwise lap around the southern section of the park, and continues with two longer anti-clockwise laps around the northern section, then finishes with a diagonal run across the southern section.
By comparison, Cambridge parkrun in New Zealand is a relative newcomer to the parkrun family having joined in March 2017, with around 70 finishers and 10 volunteers taking part each week.
The course starts and finishes near the Avantidrome, a world-class facility that is centred around a 250 metre cycling velodrome! The course runs along the Te Awa pathway on a wide concrete pathway that winds its way across undulating countryside alongside the Waikato River. After 2.5k there is a turning point for the return leg back towards the Avantidrome.
4. Durham parkrun (UK and USA)
Total participants: 13,704
Number of people who’ve completed both events: 12
The UK’s Durham parkrun is a longstanding event having kicked off way back in 2011. 12,000 people have completed this course almost 100,000 times!
The course is one of just a handful that starts on an athletics track, at Durham University’s Maiden Castle sports facility. Initially on grass, the route then joins a riverside path along the River Wear before a period running around the outer edge of a series of grass playing fields. This leads to a wooden bridge at which point you re-join the riverside path and head right towards Durham City centre on a flat tarmac path that crosses Baths Bridge and finishes near the bandstand on the Racecourse in central Durham City.
Two years after Durham parkrun launched in the UK, another Durham parkrun started on the other side of the Atlantic – North Carolina to be precise!
A mostly flat, two-loop ‘lollipop’ course, this event starts by the parking lot at Southern Boundaries Park and follows the third fork creek trail beyond Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway before turning around at the end of the third boardwalk. The course is mostly paved except for three boardwalks. Because the course goes through a flood zone, conditions may close part of the trail, with the alternative course comprising three shorter loops with the starting line at the bottom of the park next to the basketball courts. Then it’s off to Foster’s Market for a well-earned breakfast!
5. Gladstone parkrun (UK and Australia)
Total participants: 7,309
Number of people who’ve completed both events: 2
Gladstone Park in north west London is named after Prime Minister William Gladstone and was opened in 1901. The park has two sections divided by a railway line, with one half flat and the other hilly.
When the park was designed it was decided that the flat section would be devoted to sports, with rugby, cricket and basketball courts. That was until 2012 however, with the team at Gladstone parkrun deciding that their event should be two character building laps of the hilly section, which rewards participants with beautiful views over the park and Wembley Stadium.
Gladstone parkrun in the UK coincidentally shares its birthday with Gladstone parkrun in sunny Queensland, which launched the following year. For anyone worrying about double trouble, the flat and fast course is in direct contrast to its namesake in the UK. Thankfully, what it does have in common though is scenic views and vistas along the way.
The path follows the banks of Police Creek, with uninterrupted views of Port Curtis and the surrounding islands. At Blain Park you reach the 2.5k mark, where you turn at the parkrun logo and head back to Lions Park.
6. Victoria parkrun (UK and Canada)
Total participants: 10,511
Number of people who’ve completed both events: 1
The last stops on our parkrun twins journey are Scotland and Canada!
Victoria Park in western Glasgow, set on 50 acres, was created and named for Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1886. Since 2013, Victoria parkrun has welcomed 10,000 walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers.
The route is a reasonably flat, scenic three-lapper around a pond that has Mute Swans, Coots, Moorhens, Tufted Ducks. It is mainly tarmac with one short section of crazy paving.
Across the Atlantic in southeastern Ontario, Canada, is Victoria parkrun in Kitchener. The youngest of our parkrun twins, having started their stopwatches in June 2018, has an average of 25 finishers and 12 volunteers taking part in the first 18 events.
The course is three laps around the lake in Victoria Park on paved multi-use pathway. Starting outside the Boathouse Restaurant, go across the bridge at the far west end of the park then along the south side of the lake and rounding the bend for the next lap. The final lap crosses the bridge onto Victoria Park Island where you can grab your finishing token by the gazebo.
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