If you haven’t heard of parkrun, they organise free weekly timed runs all over the world. This is my first guide to parkrun tourism in London with a baby. The parkruns are held in scenic locations on weekend mornings, organised by volunteers. The runs are open to all. And they really mean that; they are very inclusive and friendly. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are. It really is just about taking part. The parkruns for adults are on a Saturday and 5 kilometres. For juniors they are on a Sunday and 2 kilometres. If you register on the website you can print a barcode to take with you to record an official time.
parkrun Tourism In London With A Baby
parkrun tourism is a great way of getting out and about in the parks and countryside wherever your travels have taken you. Whilst meeting some friendly runners to boot. However it is not quite so straightforward with a baby. You first need to ascertain if the course is running buggy friendly (there are details of all the courses on the parkrun website). Over the last year I have ventured out to do some parkrun tourism in London with a baby. I use a Mountain Buggy specifically designed for running. Here are a couple of my favourites.
Gunnersbury parkrun, London
This parkrun is negotiable with a running buggy. In summer, the course has a short stretch on grass at the beginning and the end. And patches of the path are a little rough, but nothing that your running buggy should struggle with. In winter the whole run is on paths, again some a little worse for wear. This is a large parkrun so it can be difficult to judge where to start. The start can be a little congested. So you need to find a balance between getting in the way of faster runners versus spending the first kilometre trying to manoeuver around people with a buggy… The other runners are all very friendly so do join them in the cafe for a coffee after the run.
Northala Fields parkrun, London
This is a smaller parkrun than Gunnersbury and is running buggy friendly. The start is narrow but the crowd thins out fairly quickly. The whole course is on paths. But the path around the artificial hills is very rough so take care here. Interesting fact: the artificial hills were built using rubble from the demolition of old Wembley Stadium. A stretch of this parkrun is on the pavement outside the park which I don’t much like, but that is just a personal thing.
If you don’t feel that running with your baby is for you, you can still join in. Volunteering at parkrun is a great way to get involved with the community. And there are roles such as marshalling that work with a buggy!
What are your favourite running buggy friendly parkruns?