As part of our Parkrun Tourism we headed along to Stratford Park Parkrun in Stroud. Here are my thoughts and information.
About Stratford Park Parkrun
Obviously, as the name would suggested this is run around the stunning Stratford Park. If you mention this Parkrun to anyone I bet you that what they will mention is that it is hilly! But it is well worth any elevation for the stunning views! Also it was the reason we went along as I need some practice for Run Alton Towers!
It is not the easiest of courses and I noticed that there were no under 11s in the week that we attended. However, it is a friendly course and actually the first that our 15 year old has felt truly supported by the other runners and encouraged for doing well.
This Parkrun is accessible by public transport – including buses and trains. There is a huge free carpark so you really don’t have to worry about parking. With 311 parking bays, 4 designated disabled bays and 3 motorcycle areas. Opening at 6:30am and closing at 10:30pm – with a maximum stay of 12 hours. It was also easy to get to following the SatNav.
This is plenty of time to explore this beautiful park, use the children’s play areas and/or sensory area; or enjoy the other leisure activities such as the indoor pool, or unheated outdoor pool, tennis, skate-park, or local history museum.
There are free toilets both in the car park and at the leisure centre (where they go for post-run coffee).
A very accurate description on the Stratford Park Parkrun Page: Starting from near the bandstand, a hilly three lap picturesque course going clockwise, with a great mix of arboretum, Formal Park, woodland and open field with views across the Stroud valleys. Trail shoes are recommended.
The course is beautiful. Afterwards I walked around to take so many photos!
It starts off flat on pathway but it isn’t long before the climb begins. This then changes to on the grass. Then it changes to a dirt path as you head down, before going into an area with trees (roots were clearly indicated with coloured cones). Next there’s a lovely flat bit before climbing the last hill of the lap, which again is on a hard pathway. It is not stupidly steep but it can be quite tiring, especially by your third lap.
Myself and our youngest were surprised to find that the finish wasn’t quite as close as we had hoped when we first went round the corner mind! Probably both tired from that last hill!
Nice succinct description from the First-Timers briefing, which was repeated again in the main briefing. It is three times around but on the final lap instead of turning right (as if to do another lap) you head straight up and around the bush, following the path (and arrow) to the finishing cones.
The main briefing was quite quiet at the back. They do have a megaphone but don’t like to use it because it isn’t in keeping with the atmosphere. Personally I could hear enough to know that they were repeating things we are told each week – under 11s close, dogs on a lead, thank the volunteers etc – as well as volunteering and a repeat of what to do at the end of the third lap, etc.
Jeffing at Stratford Park Parkrun
My finish time was exactly the same as the very flat Berkeley Green Parkrun and I think that is mostly to do with the beauty of Jeffing! To begin with I had been silly and not started at the edge of the runners so found myself not walking straight after the first 30 seconds. However, after that it was easily done.
In fact due to the hills there were many people run/walking so it didn’t feel as unusual as normal. There were a couple of times when it was a bit more inconvenient – like down the slippery hill but I think that most people would end up slowing there anyway.
Stratford Park Parkrun Stats
The week we attended there were 89 participants ranging from 19:03 to 1 hour, 5 minutes and 52 seconds. Of those 52 were through in under 30 minutes. In fact the first female came in 25th place.
There are an average 82.8 finishers per week, with an average finish time of 30:34. The female course record was 19:29 and the male 16:11. With the age graded record being 87.98%.
It was event 132 which ticked off one of my Catalan Numbers. What was really funny about that is one of our son’s saw one of his teachers there – who teaches maths!
Plus I got an S for my Alphabeteer, Namely and Snakes challenges. Ticked off on Date Bingo and of course my 14 for Cowell Club, Tourist and Freyne Club. We totally missed that it was our son’s 100th too!
Other parkruns nearby
Stonehouse (2.7m), Kingsway (5.4m), Gloucester City (7.6m), Tetbury Goods Shed (8.3m), Gloucester North (8.9m), Wotton (10.1m), Cirencester (10.3m), King George V Playing Field, Cheltenham (11.7m), Berkeley Green (12.3m), Cheltenham (12.9m)
Thank you to Sarah for writing up her thoughts and preparing me. I did take my Vibrams Five Fingers due to this.