Wakehurst parkrun for My Birthday Event 6

Wakehurst parkrun started on 20th April 2024. At the time it felt like everyone went to the inaugural but I had already completed one at King George V, Cheltenham. Also it was a bit far away to travel too. But I was looking for somewhere special to celebrate my birthday and it seemed to tick the boxes!

Wakehurst parkrun sign

Wakehurst, Selsfield Road, Ardingly, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 6TN

The Setting of Wakehurst parkrun

Wakehurst parkrun is located in the beautiful wild botanic garden in the heart of Sussex. Wakehurst has fun festivals, family events and workshops run throughout the year.

wakehurst parkrun location

The event starts down the hill from the entrance gate, in front of The Stables restaurant: w3w: ///deform.outnumber.backhand.

Accessiblity of Location

Coming by Car

Car parking is free to participants until 11am; after which car park charges of up to £12 apply. You can pay by card, just take your parking ticket to one of the pay machines out the front of the visitor centre.

Enter via the `Schools Entrance’ in the top southwest corner of the car park. There are signs showing where this entrance is. There was also a volunteer when we went. Admittedly he was doing a lot of roles and a lot of running around!

The gate is open from 8:15am. Do not try and enter via the visitor centre. If leaving before 10am then also exit the gardens via the `Schools Entrance.’ After 10am then leave via the Visitor Centre.

Follow the path here (see picture above) from the car park.

Without a Car

The Wakehurst parkrun page says that it is not accessible on foot. However, there’s bus and train information and it says that there are bike racks for cyclists – so I am assuming you would need to take a bicycle with you if you are coming by bus or train. Unless you were then going to get a taxi maybe?

The Wakehurst parkrun Course

The Wakehurst parkrun course is two clockwise laps along the resin and tarmac paths surrounding the Elizabethan mansion.

Described as having one or two short steep hills. The elevation gain is 251ft according to my Strava and felt like a lot more than just one or two. Maybe it’s just because the rest weren’t steep but nor was it all flat either.

finish at Wakehurst parkrun

Saying that there was a nice flat finish! Although I think both myself and our son misjudged how far it was to sprint finish!

Course Accessibility

Due to the terrain parts of the course may make it harder for people with buggies & pushchairs – please contact the team in advance for further information.

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed at this event. The only exceptions to this rule are assistance dogs.


The start and finish are not only by the toilets and café but there’s also an ice-cream van there too! Toilets are also available at the `Schools Entrance.’

ice cream at Wakehurst parkrun

Our Experience of Wakehurst parkrun Event 6

We arrived in plenty of time and a volunteer was at the barrier on the car park when we arrived. He was really friendly and indulged me when I told him that it was my birthday.

We had no trouble getting a photo of the Wakehurst parkrun sign despite the fact that there were 515 parkrunners that day.

We were advised to take a look around the gardens whilst we waited and so our teen took me for a “warm up jog!” It was quite undulating and so I felt really hot and tired easily. Turns out that the “jog” including me stopping for walking was an 8 minute mile!

Wakehurst gardens

Volunteers were great and there was lots of support and encouragement. One runner I saw had a problem and instantly lots of people helped until a marshal was by their side. I hope they were okay, I carried on as I didn’t want them to feel everyone was stopping because of them (and the marshal was there at that point).

Jeffing at Wakehurst parkrun

It was slow for us to start not being at the front (obviously because I am not fast enough) and very crowded. I think this is why people were running on the grass when asked not to.

Wakehurst parkrun number 6

Everyone was really friendly and a lady who I had explained to about Jeffing at the start slowed her run to let me past on my run section, whilst also asking others to move over so I could pass them too! Explaining that there was a Jeffer coming.

It wasn’t easy to Jeff, especially at first. At 4km I gave up and walked extra sections.

After parkrun

It was particularly warm and we had ice-cream from an on-site van straight afterwards. Unfortunately we did not stay to enjoy the gardens afterwards. The boys wanted feeding, we hadn’t had a lot of sleep and was weary of Bank Holiday traffic. As it was a section of the M4 was closed and it took us an hour just to get off the motorway!

finish sign at Wakehurst parkrun

We headed to McDonald’s at Gatwick Services on the way home.

Wakehurst parkrun Stats Event 6

515 parkrunners cross the finish line ranging from 17 minutes 13 to 1 hour and 2 seconds. An incredible 247 of those were sub 30!

Our one son got sub 21 (which I feel was really good considering the hills, crowds and heat), an impressive sub 25 for our youngest; sub 28 for my husband and despite giving up and walking a bit extra after 4km I got just over 31 ½.

Highest age grades were Samantha Ridley (82.87%) VW 55-59; and Simon Moore (79.01%) VM 55-59.

Wakehurst parkrun stats event 6

92 participants achieved personal bests – congratulations. There were 332 parkrunners who completed their first parkrun at Wakehurst; including 17 individuals who completed their very first parkrun – welcome!

The following individuals achieved milestones:

  • 100 parkruns – Rue Franklin
  • 50 parkruns – Lucy Cook
  • 25 parkruns – Bryan Tiller

Turns out that I wasn’t the only celebrating with Samuel Martin also turning 15 (also as in the same day, not that we are the same age, lol).

2 thoughts on “Wakehurst parkrun for My Birthday Event 6”

  1. Despite the traffic, that looks like a glorious Parksun location to celebrate your birthday… so glad you celebrated with an ice cream too! 🙂 The weather was definitely on your side! Sim x

  2. What a great way to celebrate your birthday! It looks like a lovely setting and it looks like you had good weather for it too.
    Reading about it reminded me a bit of Trentham Gardens parkrun, which also has rules about being free for a certain amount of time, but then you have to pay!


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