As mentioned previously, we had a weekend in London and so of course I had a look to see if I could visit a new parkrun. I’ve been to some of the most central ones, and not knowing the underground map it took a bit of time looking at course pages to see one that I could get to via the tube. I settled on Clapham Common as I could get to it from the Northern Line to Clapham Common station (although afterwards someone let me know that Clapham South was nearer the start/finish area and on the same line). After briefly going the wrong way to the tube (Borough station is not that near to Borough market it seems) I got there with plenty of time to spare, and was happy when I came out of the station and saw the Caution Runners signs very quickly. However the actual start area was nearly a mile from the station, right on the other side of the park. There were loads of runners heading in that general direction, but I was glad I’d left plenty of time as I got there just in time for the new runners welcome. This was delivered in a very entertaining way, with an interactive element- the volunteer would say “we have two laps. How many laps?” and we would all have to say “two” etc.
They asked people to line up in order of finish times, although there were not actual signs (Preston Park in Brighton have signs out in the start area which is very helpful), but then when the RD spoke I could not hear them at all- there was so much chatting and despite several runners shouting “quiet” people were just not paying attention. In the new runners welcome they had warned us of roots and low hanging branches, so I was glad I’d listened as I could not hear the main briefing at all.
The course is two laps of the perimeter of the park- very flat but as it was so busy (and with tree roots) not one to aim for a fast time I don’t think. I was there to enjoy the experience, but I think if I was aiming for a faster time I would have been quite stressed as it didn’t even thin out on my second lap. At times it felt like runners were making up their own routes across the park- there would be 4 or 5 paths being created by runners rather than everyone following one path, and I had no idea if I was on the correct one or not! You can sort of see this in the photo above- there are runners to the far left of where I was running, and two other paths on the right of me, as well as the one I was on at that point.
I didn’t get lapped but I did hear the first finisher head in just as I started my second lap. As I got to the finish line, the funnel was full and backing out onto the course (again, I don’t mind this but if you were aiming for a certain time it could be a bit frustrating). I was very surprised that they didn’t have a double funnel, as other events with similar amounts of participants do. On the week I was there, they had just under a thousand people taking part (and if you added in the nearly 50 volunteers, it would have been over a thousand). The funnel was out, back and out again. The guy in front of me tried to let me go in front of him, as it turned out he was with the guy behind me. I just said something about keeping in order, but then as they chatted I realised that it was their first one, so I explained how the barcodes and tokens worked. They then could see why I needed to keep in order. We had a nice chat about the various London parkruns that they could head to in the ten minutes ish that we were in the funnel for!
I did like their token sorting buckets, clearly labelled for each lot of 100 tokens.
Zig zag finish funnel, token sorting and of course the purple sign picture.
I couldn’t hang around after as I needed to get back for the hotel breakfast. We then had a busy day in London, walking all the way to Camden (8 miles), having a late lunch/early dinner at Purezza and going to see the moon exhibition in Southwark Cathedral.
The cup again makes an appearance at Bird and Blend- one day a pumpkin spiced latte and one day an Earl Grey Creme latte (basically a London Fog).
(Not the best vegan options in the hotel so when we saw that Buns from Home did a vegan cinnamon bun I got one to supplement my fruit and yoghurt).
Seeing the moon, and total step count from Saturday!