I have another parkrun review for you today. It’s not one I’ve been to and, if I’m honest, I didn’t really know where it was! Being the Southerner I am I guess this isn’t too surprising as it’s all the way up North near Sunderland in County Durham. The review is brought to you by my lovely Twitter and running friend, Anji, AKA @EngimaGirl81.
[Psst! If you’d like to write me a review of your local parkrun or one you’ve been too, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear from you!]
Over to Anji…
Stats: average finishers 161, 14:43/16:43 M/F, average time 26:48, number of runs 220
OK so I am biased. I met my fiance at Riverside parkrun so for me it will always be very special, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a whole bunch of other reasons to LOVE Riverside.Location: The North East is blessed with a number of parkruns in a very small area, Riverside often known as one of the fastest and flattest courses around. Riverside parkrun takes place in the beautiful Riverside park Chester Le Street, County Durham, just a stone’s throw from the famous Riverside Cricket ground home of Durham CCC.
Parking: Parking at the event is paid but a small fee which doesn’t kick in until 9am means you won’t have to break the bank. Make sure you arrive early and it really is hassle free.
Amenities: There are free toilets on site too situated right next to the start line. The cafe in the park is only just starting to open in time for parkrun day and despite the changing weather several parkrunners and beginning to take advantage. Before this and traditionally, runners often made the short drive up to Olivers Garden centre for a post run cuppa, bacon sandwich and a catch-up. They usually even put the log burners on for us meaning it’s super-cosy!
Course: Riverside parkrun can be affected by the levels of the river meaning there are a few variations of the course (I think I have done three!) but all of them can allow a fast time on a lap course. The current and most popular course begins in the centre of the park, runs one small lap to the river and back then two large laps taking in the whole of the park across a short grass section.
Riverside is always brilliantly marshalled and well-marked out meaning even at the front of the field you won’t go wrong. Part of the riverside section can get a little crowded on your final lap but runners are always reminded to keep right to allow the faster runners through. The courses are all pretty at all times of the year, and the swans often come up to the paths to say hello making your parkrun photos quite striking! The finish is maybe the best part, the open flat stretch giving a great setting to a sprint finish.
Riverside has a real “family” feel to it with many of the marshal spots taken up by familiar faces. The run is well-managed by a great team of directors and as a volunteer you find yourself wanting to come back again and again.One of the marshal points on all three laps of the course “Bills bend” is so named as the same volunteer (Bill, obviously!) mans this station every week.
There’s also a pacing event once a month usually.
I have recently made the ultimate parkrun commitment by changing my Home Run to Riverside from Newcastle. I always feel like Riverside is like being with family, and I know it will be one of my favourite places for a very long time.
What Northern parkruns have you done?
Do you have a regular set of marshals at your parkrun or is it always changing?
If you go to a cafe afterwards, what do you normally get?