So I thought I’d start a blog series on different parkruns. Though of course the parkrun website is always the best and first place to look for information about where the course is, parking etc., it’s always nice to have someone give you a first-hand account of what a parkrun is like. Obviously I haven’t done a huge number so this will hopefully be a growing list (one more until parkrun tourism #20!). And if anyone fancies contributing or doing a post, that would be fab (or pointing me in the direction of other people’s posts so I can link to so there can be more than one view). I thought I’d start with my home parkrun, Netley Abbey parkrun.Location: It’s set in the lovely Royal Victoria Country Park. It’s not that hard to find and once you arrive at the park you can usually see the signs and flags. The scenery is pretty with lots of trees, foliage and a view out to the sea.
Parking: There are lots of car parks in RVCP. It’s £1.50 to park if you buy a one hour ticket and leave a spare parkrun barcode printed next to it on display (and can park from 8-11am). Otherwise I think it’s £3. There are places outside of RVCP but they’re residential areas and, understandably, people can get a bit annoyed with lots of cars parking up and down their road. But usually parking isn’t an issue.
Amenities: There’s a lovely little cafe on the grounds and this has toilets (just outside of the cafe). The cafe serves hot drinks, cold drinks, cake, crisps, ice cream and snacks and lots of hot food options. It’s great!
Course: There are quite a few different course options at Netley due events that happen throughout the year and due to the weather. The usual course is a three lapped course that starts along a stone-tracked path (not horrific to run on as the stones are quite compact and small, but not as nice as flat ground).
Then you head up into Bluebell Woods. There’s a small hill that is neither very steep nor long lasting and then you head off to do a quick loop round the wood bits on a dirt/road track.
You then come back down the small hill (keep to the right!) and swing round to go along some road for about 30 seconds before heading onto the grass. The grass is fairly even though there are some sneaky potholes to be wary of.You go round a few trees to finish off the lap before starting on the stones again. During the winter there can be many puddles on the stone track and you’re likely to get muddy and wet.Usually during winter we switch to the winter course which is tougher. It again involves three laps but instead of running straight to Bluebell Woods it goes down a decline towards the nearby coast and you run alongside the water for a bit. This can get very windy and if it’s raining can be hard-going. You then run back up another path, but this time at an incline which though isn’t that steep does seem to go on forever. The rest of the route is fairly similar though instead of going along the grass you just head back down the stone path to repeat the lap.Occasionally, due to summer events, we’re moved to the cricket pitch. This is called the “Marmite Course” because it’s five laps of the pitch which are very flat but quite dull. It’s a great way to get a PB but it does drag on. It’s also tough remembering how many laps you’ve done!
Elevation: Like I said, one small hill you do three times. You get to run back down it so it kind of evens up.Elevation gain is 70ft over the entire run.
Number of participants: This parkrun isn’t hugely busy. We normally get 200-250 participants. It gets busier if other parkruns in the area have been cancelled for whatever reason. Though it isn’t that busy it can feel crowded at times because of the switchbacks. We have a lot of “Keep Right” signs on the course to try and ease this but it doesn’t always helps as faster runners want to overtake and if there are a lot of runners with running buggies. Running with dogs is also allowed and a couple of people do it regularly but the dogs are usually well under control.It’s a very friendly parkrun and I fully recommend it. No it’s not a PB course but it is pleasant and pretty!
- Tamsyn Smith from Fat Girl to Ironman blog wrote a recap of the winter course HERE. You can also see more information from their Facebook page and Twitter.
- Emily writes a fantastic blog reviewing different parkruns and she wrote a recap of the winter course here.
If you’d like to write a parkrun review for this parkrun or any other one you’ve been to, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love more input!
Have you ever been to Netley Abbey before?
Do you like big parkruns or small parkuns in terms of number of participants?
Do you like to go to a cafe after parkrun?