Please note that as of 24 July 2021, Riddlesdown parkrun has a new course. More information can be found on this Facebook post. Also the post-event refreshment venue has changed a few times since this was published (bear in mind that this post is over 10 years old). I am currently working on a new Riddlesdown parkrun blog write-up which will bring this more in line with my other recent blogs.
The updated blog can be found here: Riddlesdown parkrun (2022 write-up)
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My first parkrun home was at Riddlesdown (technically, it was the third venue I had logged as my home, but the first where I actually felt at home), which is nestled on the London-Surrey border just south of Croydon. It is easily accessible by road, being only a few minutes drive from the M25 / A22 junction.
Here is my attempt at giving any of you budding tourists that have not yet visited us a quick virtual tour of the course.
The photos are all from the official Riddlesdown photo account. They are mostly the work of run director, Nicki Clark, but some are from other people, notably Pete Gibson.
Riddlesdown parkrun starts at the southernmost point of the course (roughly indicated by the green marker in the photo below). Parking for the event is located in Warlingham School, where you'll also find the toilets. The distance from the car park to the start line is approximately 700 metres.
|The official course map|
It is one of the faster parkrun courses in the local area. The course is almost entirely flat. However, there are a few different types of terrain, a couple of tight turns, and one very short incline, which when combined may take a few seconds from your potential 5k finishing time.
|The view from the start line|
|The gap in the hedge|
Here the course remains flat until just before the corner, where it dips down and then flips you around an approx 120 degree angle right turn. Just to add a little spice, this juicy little corner also then forces you to climb as you are turning. A really interesting corner to negotiate - especially in challenging conditions. You then continue your short incline to our only named section of the course - Condon corner.
|Sometimes it rains and we have some fun puddles to negotiate during the trail section|
Once out of the trail section you are returned onto a grassy path, which can become quite boggy when the course is muddy. On the first lap you will turn right after 400 metres and cross the field. The course here has a different challenge, the ridges in the ground run across the path, so it is like running over a hundred sleeping policemen in quick succession.
|In the photo you can't see the sleeping policemen, but when you run across you'll know they are there|
Once across the field there is another right hand turn, which delivers you onto the gravel path. About 200 metres along this path you will hit the half-way point. Another 200 metres of gravel later and you will be swinging another 120 degree turn back onto the grass, this one is a left-hander, and as it remains flat is not quite as challenging as the earlier sharp corner.
|The gravel path|
|You'll usually find the finish line around here|
The post-run coffee venue - The Horseshoe - is just down the road in Warlingham. It is 1.8km away from the registration desk and, of course, everyone is welcome!