Quakers Walk parkrun started up a few weeks ago, making last Saturday’s event number 5. Set in Devizes, Wiltshire it was our nearest parkrun starting with the letter Q. We went along to see what it was like. All set in a beautiful area.
Letter Q parkruns
It used to be the case that when there was a new parkrun we would all be asked to keep away and let them iron out any teething problems first. Thing is with the addition of Quakers Walk there are only five full-size parkruns starting with the letter Q. Two are in Scotland – Queens, Glasgow; and Queens, Belfast. Then there’s an additional two in England – Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hordean; and Queen Mary’s Park, Carshalton. With this in mind I figured that it was just going to get busier as more people got to know about it. Besides event 5 was going to tick off a lot of my challenge goals!
Getting To Quakers Walk parkrun
Make sure you have a good idea how to get there and leave plenty of time. There was a Mop Fair on our journey meaning that there were road closures that our SatNav just didn’t pick up.
The event starts at the town end of Quakers Walk, just the other side of 2 large iron gates. It is not accessible to arrive by public transport that morning. No nearby train station and busses would not arrive on time. However, Travelodge Devizes is a mostly flat half a mile away from Quakers Walk.
Once parked there are various signs around – helping you find all that you need (see also below).
Parking and Facilities
We parked in the free parking at Devizes Sports Club on the gravel area. There is a short walk to the start from there. It is not where the toilets are located. You can find these at Kennet & Avon Canal Museum Shop which also has a bag drop.
There are facilities but they are not right next to the start. A volunteer told me that I may make it within the 10 minutes I had if I ran. If leaving early and you are likely to need to the toilet I would suggest just leaving a bit more time.
Post event there was coffee, cake, chocolate bars in return for donations towards Kennet & Avon Canal Trust. Unfortunately this is cash only.
Other parking is available but with a charge. You are asked not to park in the surrounding streets or Morrisons car park. If you park at The Wharf Devizes then you can easily find toilets and a map to the start. This was 90p an hour, location number 700163 and you can pay by phone – according to a Google image that is only a month old.
Quakers Walk, Roundway, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 2FH
Experience of Quakers Walk parkrun Event 5
First of all let me start by thanking the Run Director and all the volunteers for this event. Despite the numbers there was always a friendly a volunteer around to ask questions. The RD even stopped to make time for me to take his picture!
The first timers briefing was really quiet as there were a lot of people around. The actual briefing was a bit easier to hear. We were asked not to leave clothing with the marshals if we stripped off during the parkrun. There was no problem me leaving my top near-ish the finish as I went by and my husband retrieving it at the end.
Among the many achievements was Christine and Sue, who were celebrating doing the parkrun alphabet challenge for the fourth time – and had a cake! Everyone I came across was very friendly – volunteers and parkrun/walkers alike.
We also had some great photos of us taken on the way round. Also the splendid house at the start of Quakers walk most kindly was giving away free flowers for those to take at the end of parkrun – thank you once again kind sir.
Quakers Walk parkrun course
Described as almost 3 loops the course itself is relatively straightforward. It starts part way up Quakers Walk – splits off a bit around in a ‘P’ shape, before returning back to the Quakers Walk path way. At the end of here you turn back round until you get to the end of the path and repeat this a further two times.
At the end of Quakers Walk on your final loop you head right into the finishing funnel – rather than going around again. Easiest thing for me to think was to count three times around the end turning point to know it was going to be the finish. Also I was wearing an Apple Watch recording the distance!
The part that goes off from Quakers Walk has a hidden incline (the parkrun elevation was 75ft according to my Strava).
Described as some parts might become muddy after rain and as a hard trail path. It was warm when we ran but still I do think it would be a mistake to wear trail. Possibly just ones you don’t mind getting dirty.
Quakers Walk Pathway
It is quite congested with Quakers Walk serving people going in both directions and other park users. This means that it is best to check before coming along with a pushchair. It says that doubles cannot be accommodated but I am assuming this means side-by-sides. The pushchair I did see happened to go off the path to overtake – and we had been asked in the briefing to stick to the path.
This lack of room made it difficult to over-take here and certainly to Jeff from the start. If I had stayed at the back I most likely could have Jeffed. For me it felt too much to stop and walk before I hit 2km. Saying that it took 14 minutes to get that far so I certainly sped up whilst jeffing!
Personally I found that it was not really a parkrun for a real sprint finish at the end for the same reason. Although with thanks to first timer Maddie Allen (JW10) I was motivated to speed up a bit at the end and did manage to pass a few people before queueing to pass the finish.
Dogs are welcome but our youngest found it difficult again due to the lack of room and the owners not quite being able to keep them close enough.
Quakers Walk Stats
Whilst looking at this week’s stats I think you need to bear in mind that this was event 5. A sought after number and a new course. Of course people are also chasing a Q!
The week we attended there were 345 participants ranging from 16.48 to 58.26. Of those 207 were through in under 30 minutes. Although both my husband and I found it to be slightly short.
There are already an average 256.4 finishers per week, with an average finish time of 30.12. The female course record was 19.48 and the male 16.38. The age graded record was 87.08%.
Achievements at Quakers Walk parkrun Event 5
Obviously Cowell Club, Freyne Club and Tourist 17; Alphabeteer Q; Prime Number, Fibonacci, Catalan Numbers and First 50 Numbers 5 and Parkruns in the South West.
Other achievements were that our youngest got a new PB in years, other teen got fastest time this year and I got a new best age grade! Possibly the fact that it was congested made you keep going at a certain speed as not much room to slow down or stop!
Once again a big thanks to all the volunteers and RD who all did a fabulous job.