Today we headed down to Gloucester North Parkrun for a bit of local tourism. They had advertised on their Facebook page that they had 11 pacers aiming for times between 20 and 45 minutes. As we had never run with a pacer (not even in any of my half marathons) we decided to head on over and give it a try.
What is Parkrun?
For those not familiar Parkrun is a timed 5Km fun event suitable for all (within reason, and where possible). They have recently tried to make it more inclusive by adding Park Walkers. It is every Saturday and run by volunteers.
Register for your free barcode and have it scanned every time you go. You can see how you progress your 5K in general, and by each Parkrun location. There are some rules such as for running with dogs and under 11s – find out more, including how to register, at Parkrun.org.
As each Parkrun is set in a different location then they are all very individual. This means that Parkrun Tourism is great not only if you are away from your local area on Parkrun Day, the day formerly known as Saturday, but also if you fancy a new challenge.
Some are all on grass and better for children/joints, some are flat and better for PBs, some have pacers (as mentioned above); whist going to others will help with unofficial Parkrun Challenges.
Why Go to Gloucester North Parkrun
- Gloucester North Parkrun ticks the boxes for a couple of challenges such as the Parkrun Compass Challenge (visiting Parkruns with the four directions North, East, South, West in the name); The Bee Gee’s Challenge (3 Parkruns beginning with the letter B and 3 Parkruns beginning with the letter G); Parkrun Alphabet Challenge (one Parkrun for each letter of the alphabet) to name a few. Apparently there’s a 5K app to download (unofficially) with changing challenges all the time.
- There’s free parking in the University campus. Which also has plenty of room.
- .There are toilets and a café serving drinks and a full food menu at Oxstalls Sports Park, Plock Court, Tewkesbury Road, Gloucester GL2 9DW: With Wheelchair access.
The Run Itself
- It is 3 laps around a field. Perfect for those with children, especially if you want your over 11 year old to run on their own. Also good because it is flat – so for either those who need to build up their fitness, have issues with any joints, or chasing a PB.
- Okay so we have only been once but it was really friendly. This also included people being supportive of my Jeffing (run/walk technique). There was also a least one other family Jeffing too – which is always nice. In fact the little boy told me they were using the same Jeffing alerts as me! As well as my niggles to the Race Director who kindly seemed to take it all onboard.
- There’s Pacers – I believe the last Saturday of the month but double check that. Although we weren’t running with the pacers (as we arrived too late) we found it helpful because we knew if we sped up a bit what time we would get, but also when we were lapped it wasn’t so bad as we knew how quickly they were on course for!
- The start and finish are close to each other if you want to leave something like water/jumpers for the end
Getting to Gloucester North Parkrun from the University of Gloucester
When you enter the University of Gloucester you will follow the road to the right passed the main building. Keep going and you will see a sign that welcomes you to the Gloucestershire Business School. Just beyond that is the car park.
Once you have parked you will want to walk back towards that sign. Then after the building next to that sign (a white one) you will see a red building – it is in between these two buildings you will see a path. Walking from the carpark this is on your right.
Go down here and over a bridge. Turn right.
You will then walk passed some allotments. Once you are on this path you can’t go wrong! Go through on to the field and the start (and indeed the finish) is just a short walk down to your left.
Things to Consider
- We followed the directions on the SatNav to the parking and it tried to take it us into a locked gate. The main gate to the University was obvious so we went back there – but this is where you need to go through.
- There are parking meters but they are only for Monday-Friday – so don’t panic.
- Apparently they will make the instructions getting to the Start of the Parkrun clearer but we spent a lot of time trying to work it out.
- From the car park to the start it is approximately 0.64 of a mile. Obviously this is only one way so both could put quite a bit of extra distance on if you are just starting out walking 5km.
- As it’s all a flat field the finishing straight isn’t very exciting as it is just along the field and then you split off a tiny bit to the right to finish.
- There was a decent number of finishers without it being too many and a nice variety of times. We had 146 finishers between 18 minutes and 1 hr 6 mins 33 seconds. On average there’s around 103 finishers, with an average finish time of 29:40.
Gloucester North, Plock Court Playing Fields. Parking Sat Nav: GL2 9HW
Have you visited Gloucester North Parkrun? Is there anything else to add?
You may also be interested in my old post: Should Children Do Parkrun? Our boys have been running for the last 6 years on and off with no problems at present. They are now 13 and 15 years old.