Zuiderpark parkrun, The Hague

Maps showing a GPS trail from Zuiderpark parkrun to show the route. A circle, and you run two loops.
Zuiderpark parkrun route – two laps, clockwise, starting next to the Sportcampus building.

I saved Zuiderpark for this weekend because three people I had met previously had said they’d be there. We met in Haarlem on my first, and still the most sociable (for me) Dutch parkrun of the trip, so this was to be a repeat of sorts.

This is an obvious destination for parkrun tourists, as the name begins with Z, and collecting parkruns that begin with different letters is “a thing”. I’d already run one beginning with a Z, but was happy to add another, just not rushing.

Parking is easy, and free, with loads of parking around the Sportscampus, all within walking distance of the start, behind the sports centre. Maybe check whether there are any huge events happening, but the parking areas were busy and the facilities well used, without it being a problem for those us us arriving before 9.

A parkrun 'feather' flag in between mostly bare trees, but there are some orange-leaved trees beyond, lit by weak sun.
Sun shining on the tree tops.

The route is a straightforward two lap one, clockwise round wide paths that take you round the whole site, under autumnal trees and past pretty bridges. It’s fast and flat, with room for plenty more people than were there this Saturday if necessary.

The large curved lines of the Sportcampus building, with orange leaved trees, lit as if from below by the sun.
The side of the Sportcampus.

Pre-run we gathered outside the centre, with facilities available inside. This will be irrelevant very soon, I’m sure, but this weekend you needed both a covid pass and passport/ID to gain entry. Not hugely onerous – the Dutch already knew, and most tourists had theirs somewhere nearby and just had to work out if they needed them enough to head back to the car. It is doable from an early morning ferry, or by driving through France etc overnight, as a couple of people had, but a more relaxed approach suits me.

Wide tarmacced paths all the way round the route, here with trees and grass on either side.
Running on the route.
Hi-viz wearing volunteers cover the finish line, which is on grass and marked by small discs. A group of runners on the left have already finished. There are bare trees along the paths.
The finish line.

It is such a straightforward route as to need few marshals, and it is signed/coned in all the important areas. As you can see from the photo above, space is not a problem, so we could gather after the finish and chat without being in anyone’s way.

The park itself is picturesque, albeit without the thick forested areas that the parkruns at Amsterdamse Bos and Rotterdam (Kralingse Bos) run through. Just like those areas, it will change its appearance in equally picturesque style through the year.

A closer view of the finish as a runner comes in to finish.
Finishing.

After the run we wandered round the park to the cafe. It seemed a fair way there, but actually the cafe itself is fairly near the parking areas. It’s worth knowing that the staff there are in training, people who might not normally be offered work, and so service is very good but may be a little sporadic. Once you know the reason, as we did in advance, there’s no problem at all, and I enjoyed waiting to see exactly which cheesecake I might get, given my inability to speak their language. The answer was – a delicious one, thank you, and if it hadn’t been then that would just have been more incentive to learn some Dutch.

Leaves on the grass, and runners in the foreground chat in passing as we look sideways at the finish, seeing the volunteers cheering on a finisher, the cones marking the grassy finish and trees in the distance.
Side view of the finish.

This isn’t an event that needs promoting to tourists, who will become well aware where “the Zs” are once they learn of the different parkrun ‘challenges’, but I’m happy to add another voice saying this is a lovely run, fast if you want it to be, nice and accessible whether you do or not.

Results from Zuiderpark parkrun event 13, 27/11/21.

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