In the early days of parkrun, touring to different events often involved waking up in the middle of the night and travelling hundreds of miles to find one of a handful of events spread across the country.
Now there are more than 530 parkrun locations in the UK, each with a community of walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers of all ages, shapes and sizes.
In the latest instalment of the parkrun Tourism Series, here are ten parkrun events where your nearest tourist destination is less than a parkrun away!
1. Preston Park parkrun and Brighton & Hove parkrun, Brighton
On the south coast of England, these two events in Brighton are located only a mile apart – or to be precise, 1.68k!
Brighton and Hove parkrun (above) is one of the oldest parkruns in the world, becoming just the sixth parkrun event when launching in November 2007, and the community celebrated ten years of parkrunning last November.
Over the decade, the course has also seen some ultra speedy running, with Team GB 1500m runner Charlie Grice holding the course record with an electric 14:25, just three seconds ahead of parkrun World Record holder Andy Baddeley!
Close neighbours Preston Park parkrun (above) moved in next door in April 2013 and the event has been a phenomenal success, with more than 10,000 different people completing the course in five years.
The course walks, jogs and runs along smooth tarmac paths, but is ominously described as “mainly flat” – however you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to post-parkrun coffee, with not one, but two cafes to choose from within the park. Chalet Cafe is close to the finish, with The Rotunda Cafe available in the Rose garden.
2. Old Deer Park parkrun and Richmond parkrun, London
From Brighton to west London, where the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames offers these two greatly contrasting events just over one mile apart.
Richmond Park (above) needs little introduction; it is the largest of London’s Royal Parks, created in the 17th century by King Charles I. Wildlife, nature and cyclists are synonymous with Richmond Park, where deer roam the undulating 2,500 acres of important conservation land.
Richmond parkrun is the fifth oldest event in the world, launching in October 2007. The 5k route involves an undulating out and back loop with an average of more than 250 parkrunners complete the course each week – not including the deer!
From a vast, undulating, single-lap Royal Park to a fast three-lapper by the riverside; Old Deer Park parkrun is just a mile away, separated by Richmond high street and close to historic Kew Gardens.
Old Deer Park parkrun joined the parkrun family in August 2010, and whilst it may attract a lower number of parkrunners each week than its more high profile neighbour, more than 25,000 parkruns – or 75,000 laps! – have been completed since.
The park is also well connected to public transport, and the adjacent leisure centre offers post-parkrun refreshments where you can place your order before your parkrun and collect it afterwards – offering you the royal treatment without the Royal Park!
3. Sale Water parkrun and Stretford parkrun, Greater Manchester
We continue our journey north to Greater Manchester with two more close neighbours - Sale Water parkrun and Stretford parkrun, which are separated by just 1,860 metres – less than even a junior parkrun!
Compared with some of the other events featured, both are relative newcomers to the parkrun family, launching in 2017 and 2015 respectively, but the two events have truly become important parts of their local communities.
Despite their close proximity to each other, the two courses offer greatly different challenges and scenery.
Sale Water parkrun is an out and back course along the banks of the River Mersey and the shore of Sale Water Park, whereas Stretford parkrun offers the chance to recreate your favourite Olympic memory by starting and finishing on the athletics track at Longford Park Stadium!
4. Stormont parkrun and Belfast Victoria parkrun, Northern Ireland
From Greater Manchester we cross the Irish Sea to beautiful Northern Ireland, and the city of Belfast, where these two events are less than two miles apart.
Belfast Victoria parkrun (above) takes place in the city’s Victoria Park, located just a 30 minute walk from the shipyard where the world famous RMS Titanic was built, before making its fateful voyage across the Atlantic.
The three-lapper takes in the park’s lake, crossing over a bridge as you make your way around the course.
To the east of Belfast Victoria you can find the eye-catching Stormont parkrun (above). The course at Stormont offers a little bit of everything, with a combination of undulating tarmac and gravel paths through attractive woodland and parkland, overlooked by Parliament Buildings.
An average of more than 170 parkrunners walk, jog and run the 5k each week, and the all-important post-parkrun debrief over a cup of something hot takes place at nearby General Merchants – one of East Belfast’s most popular places to eat, drink and socialise!
5. Ruchill parkrun and Springburn parkrun, Scotland
For our final pair of neighbours we make the journey from Northern Ireland to Scotland, and the city of Glasgow. Just two miles separate Ruchill parkrun and Springburn parkrun.
Taking place in Springburn Park, Springburn parkrun (above) launched in November 2015 and can be easily accessed by various bus routes from Glasgow city centre.
The two-and-a-half-lapper starts in the middle of the park at the statue of Sir James Reid, who was resident physician to Queen Victoria, and more than 16,000 parkruns have been completed at the event in less than three years since run #1.
Ruchill parkrun is a three-lapper run entirely on tarmac paths, and each week on average 50 parkrunners get their barcodes scanned.
Ruchill in northern Glasgow has traditionally been classified as having a high degree of deprivation. It has no library, gym, health centre, reliable bus service or pharmacy.
But what it does have is a beautiful park and a strong sense of community, two ingredients that have combined to create a flourishing parkrun since the inaugural event in April 2017.
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