Parkrun #3 – Dulwich Park, London

Somehow it’s March already and having been travelling and sick the past two Saturdays, I was buzzing for my next Park Run. Keen to find a route that was hill-free (sorry Brockwell, not sure I’ll ever be back) I decided to take the short bus journey east to Dulwich to see if I could find a route that was going to help me live out my March aim: to run a 5k non-stop.

I know it goes without saying, but the more you do Park Run, the greater your chances are of running in favourable weather conditions. In contrast to when I could hardly feel my fingers as I ran through the “snow” at Brockwell last month, yesterday morning was a beautiful, sunny, spring morning in Dulwich – the sort of morning where it’s a joy to be outside and you’re thinking, “I should get up every morning and run a 5k”.


So how was the route? Perfect. Three laps around the park = 5k exactly; James’ Strava app told him so. Sure, there are a couple of gentle inclines but nothing that prevents you from running the entire 5k at a consistent pace. So did I? Yes! I felt like the first lap went on forever and with two laps to go, I’d already been lapped by a number of runners, striving ahead on their last lap. But this was my race, not theirs, and I focussed on what I’d set out to do. I was so chuffed when I was able to sprint through the tunnel at the end and collect my token: I’d done it!

Unfortunately, my time came through as 37:04, which is 2.5 minutes slower than my Brockwell time. “How is that possible?”, I thought. I’d stopped twice on the Brockwell run because of the hills, yet my time was quicker than on the Dulwich run where I hadn’t stopped at all. “Different course, wind, weather, how congested it is at the start, how your body feels on any given day”, replied my sister, my Park Run guru. I guess the true test is to do the same Park Run route again. Assuming my body recovers from me slipping and falling down the stairs in my flat last night, my plan is to put this to the test next week.

Park Run addict? I might be heading in that direction…