Telford parkrun, Shropshire

Map of Telford parkrun, in the Town Park.
Telford parkrun route – one small lap, cutting across the middle, then one large lap, going all the way down to the bottom of the map, past Fletcher’s Pool.

The Town Park is just to the South East of town, and the parkrun starts even closer, outside the Visitor Centre. I chose free parking down at the SE corner of the park, just over a mile away from the start. There is paid parking much closer to the start, either the Dark Lane car park mentioned on the course page, or for just £1, the Rugby Club, diagonally opposite the Dark Lane car park (some say the postcode for the latter is wrong, and when I checked it pointed to the rugby club, so it would get you there, if not quite where you might expect – check that you’re being taken to Dark Lane, at least).

Wide paths outside the visitor centre and playgrounds with a few tall trees.
The visitor centre. Post parkrun, so no evidence of it, but the start is on the path to the right.

The start takes you downhill to get to the lake, and you then head round the lake and cut across the middle of the park for the first, short, lap, before repeating the loop and adding some more on at the bottom edge. It’s very straightforward, and it’s organised such that very few, if any, people need to worry about being lapped by the faster runners.

Runners in motion down a path bordered by verdant bushes.
Runners get going.

The course is very green, and mostly shaded, with tree-lined paths making up most of the course. It’s a very pleasant place to be. It’s a busy event, with close to 400 finishers this Saturday, but it very quickly didn’t feel crowded, despite the paths not being that wide. There’s enough space for people to stretch out, once through the first section going downhill.

The finish area is not quite as far up as the start, but it does still involve a cruel hill at the end of the run, before a last quick section on the flat coming into the finish itself. There’s loads of space here afterwards to relax in the sun, if there is any, or just to mill around chatting.

People stand around, with a couple lying down, at the finish area which is on a large grassy spot with paths round the edge for the actual running.
The finish line and grassy area for a nice lie down.

Telford parkrun is another great parkrun, with good facilities, a great park to run/walk around and plenty to see and do afterwards if you want to stick around (it may be that if you do, you should check with the rugby club when they close their gates, but that may not be an issue, and could just be an excuse to move to the small free parking areas at the South of the park).

Results from Telford parkrun, event 388, 21/5/22, with 377 finishers.

Belton House parkrun, Lincs, England

A map of Belton House parkrun route
Belton House parkrun route – a smidge over two laps round the grounds.
A grand mansion house
Belton House
The start line.

Sort of on the way to where I was dog sitting for the following week was this run in the grounds of a grand house. I went for the views, and because this was an event number I hadn’t already done, and got lucky with the weather, to boot. All the facilities you could want are there – masses of free parking, toilets near the start, great views and a restaurant on site.

Hi-viz vests mark the posts on an open gate, with a wide path heading through them.
A well-marked gate near the start of the loop.

The route is well marked and marshalled. There’s a potential pinch point near the start of the lap, where the route goes through a gap in the fence, as shown above. It’s only a problem on the first lap, and there’s still lots of room for us all to fit, but it’s a busy run and it would be possible to clip a gate post in attempting to negotiate the things while everyone is setting off, so those are marked with hi-viz vests.

After the gate, everyone can spread out, some run on the path and others, particularly overtakers, on the grass to either side. A left turn at the end takes you onto rougher ground, with ups and downs and fields to run through. No big hills or particularly tough terrain, but it needs a bit of thought and attention, and running on grass is generally slower than paths.

One lap of these lovely grounds wouldn’t be enough so although I’m sure there were bits I found tough, I was very happy to see the sights again. I particularly liked heading into the fields after the long straight, and then seeing the house come into view as we turn into the second half of the lap, but your highlights may vary.

A large and bushy tree stands over the finish line, as people head back to their cars
Big tree at the finish

The volunteers were as friendly as you could want, and the facilities really are excellent. With sun on our back as well, we all felt lucky to be moving on a great Saturday morning.

Results from Belton House parkrun event 233, 14/5/22; 311 finishers.

Clitheroe Castle parkrun, Lancashire

Map of Clitheroe Castle parkrun, 5 anti-clockwise laps in the park outside the castle.
Clitheroe Castle parkrun. 5 anti-clockwise laps.

A misty morning lured people into wearing more clothes than were needed as the sun broke through around 9am, but on the upside the sense of giddiness that engendered meant that people wandered up and talked to me before and after the run, and then on the streets of Clitheroe. Based on today, I may have found England’s friendliest town.

A castle keep up on a grassy hill that is model-perfect in its perfect state of being kept.
The remains of the castle overlook the park. The path behind, with benches, is the longer uphill section (then heading downhill behind the parkrun flag).

There are a few car parks around the area, but I didn’t have the right change, and the streets to the South of the park offer free parking in any case, so I just parked a few roads away and wandered to the castle grounds. The toilets in the park were open, and just down the small hill from the start.

Pre and post run happens at the bandstand, with the short path that leads there used as the finish funnel, steering everyone off the path.

Tiered concrete steps provide seating in front of the bandstand, on which sits the Clitheroe Castle parkrun sign.
The bandstand, with a view off to the side.

The course is 5 anti-clockwise laps, heading downhill at the start, taking a left turn to run down the side of the park before wiggling through some sharp turns and a couple of short uphill sections before a slightly longer grind uphill past the castle.

It’s a reasonably tough run, fairly described as undulating, given the twists and turns and repeated (and repeated again) uphill sections, plus a slightly damp course making caution wise on those turns. Unlike the last time I ran a course with so many laps, I managed not to overthink the laps I’d done and found counting straightforward (last time, I worked out I’d pass a particular tree 6 times, this time was the second, but I’d only finished one lap, and went from there in confusing myself a little).

After the run I wandered up the hill to the castle, which has a short walk round part of the old walls, with great views of the town and countryside beyond. I wandered back down and into town, where several residents shared their excitement at how lovely a day it was, and how they’d worn far too many clothes for the conditions. Tesco is nearby for food and a sit in the sun, and in general I was filled with the joy of a warm Spring day. I only hope that if you go, you have a similar experience, because I can’t emphasise enough how genuinely I mean that this felt unusually friendly for an English town.

A war memorial in front of the castle keep, with a line of purple flowers all along the railings in front.
Walking down from the castle into town.

With a fell race locally in the afternoon, attendance was down on the usual – the week before was relatively busy, with 114, and on this Saturday we had 51 finishers. That meant relatively few people were lapped and there was little pressure on the narrower sections of the course, though I’m sure it’s no problem even with another 50+ people.

A testing run/walk in a friendly town with plenty of foliage to enjoy as you go round; if you’re anywhere near, take it in on a Saturday. A surprisingly warm one, if you can.

Looking down from the height of the castle, seeing a path winding below, the whole of the bandstand and its concrete steps, and houses behind the well-defined tree-lined border of the park.
A view from the Castle (you don’t get this high on the run).

Results from Clitheroe Castle event 135, 7/5/22.

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