News - 15th July 2020

The Woodlands Waterway


Every parkrun has a story, and this week hear from Helen from The Woodlands Waterway.


I grew up in South West London, just around the corner from Bushy Park where parkrun began. My dad used to run parkrun before it was even called parkrun – back in the days of the Bushy Park Time Trial! I, like so many others, turned to parkrun when I was looking to get healthier without having to fork out for a London gym membership! I caught the parkrun bug and it became my favourite way to start the weekend – the perfect antidote to a stressful week at work.


In 2017 my husband and I moved to Texas (not before completing my 50th parkrun the morning of my flight!). We moved to The Woodlands and instantly fell in love with the active lifestyle. There’s miles and miles of pathways which are perfect for running, walking and cycling. Although some would argue not so perfect when its 100+ degrees in the summer months!




Inspired by the launch of Terry Hershey parkrun in 2019 I reached out to parkrun USA to understand more about starting a new event. I began exploring routes (although there’s plenty of pathways here, there’s not many which don’t cross roads – a must for all parkruns) and my friend Isobelle signed up as co-event director. We started practice events in August and held these every few weeks until our launch. There were many occasions where I thought no-one would turn up, but people always did! Over time we built a core group of runners and volunteers. We discovered an independent coffee shop, Blue Door Coffee Company, which served as the perfect spot for our post-parkun coffee. We launched in January 2020.




Although we are technically 6 months old, we only had 5 events before COVID-19 struck. Those first events went really well – we had a wonderful mix of locals, visitors, runners and walkers. We received lots of compliments on the route which is an out and back along the waterway, providing a scenic backdrop to your Saturday morning 5k. Although it’s been a shame to have to pause the event so soon after it started, I’m sure we’ll be back stronger when it’s safe to do so. I, for one, cannot wait to be back volunteering on a Saturday morning and sharing stories about parkrun over a coffee.


Helen Tope

The Woodlands Waterway Co-Event Director



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