Tuesday 5 March 2013

Bushy Juniors parkrun

On the first Sunday of every month I have been finding myself at Bushy Juniors parkrun in Bushy Park, West London. It differs from a standard parkrun in a few ways.

  • It's for juniors only (ages 4-14)
  • First Sunday of every month at 10am
  • 2km course
  • Runs do not count towards the club t-shirts. However they do count towards the junior wristbands.

The start finish area is on the grass near Teddington Gate the Diana Fountain (note: the start/finish was previously at the Teddington Gate end of the park). The course is run parallel to Chestnut Drive and involves simply running one kilometre in a straight line until you reach the end of the trees (towards the Teddington Gate). At this point runners do a u-turn around the last tree and run another kilometre back to the start/finish area. It is all on grass and is flat.

The event has grown steadily and has had an incredibly strong start to 2013 with all three runs attracting over 200 runners - The event in March was only two runners short of 300. It is one of four junior parkruns, the other three being at Savill Garden, Forest of Dean and Woodley - If you are considering attending one of these please take a look at the relevant webpage before leaving home as the timings of the runs vary between locations. (update: the junior parkrun series has grown considerably since this post was first published - check the junior parkrun events page for the latest info).

Our involvement in the event is purely as a volunteers, so far I have been photographer, marshal and seem to now have a permanent position on registration along with the littlest volunteer, and mrs7t has been photographer on all of our visits. Volunteering here is very rewarding and I highly recommend it. The event does sometimes struggle to get a full compliment of volunteers and I believe that the majority of them travel quite some way to make sure the event happens (for me it's a 50km round trip on my bicycle).

Just a personal observation here but there are hundreds of parents at the event, and if just a few volunteered each month it could make such a big difference to the event, especially if it continues its current rate of growth - of course they should only do so if they actually want to and not because they feel under pressure to do so.

If volunteering sounds appealing to you details can be found on the Bushy Juniors volunteering page or have a chat to Nicki and Peej on the day.

What else do you need to know? There is a car park. The closest train station is Teddington. The closest toilets to the new start/finish are next to the playground. There are additional toilet facilities at the Pheasantry cafe (approx ten minute walk away).

There's a lovely family atmosphere at the event and everyone seems to enjoy it immensely - especially the kids.

(update: since writing this post, I have moved house and am no longer within a reasonable travelling distance so have sadly had to step back from my regular volunteering role here)
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