This is a copy of the original Raphael parkrun write-up. An updated version can be found here: Raphael parkrun (2023 update)
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In the London Borough of Havering, just outside Romford town centre lies an affluent area called Gidea Park. It consists largely of houses and cottages built to showcase town planning in the style of a 'garden suburb'. Six of these houses are now grade 2 listed.
|the main gates - ready for a spot of buggy running [photo:7t]
|marshals and runners starting to gather at the bandstand [photo:7t]
|me, lime and lime-o-saurus selfie [photo:7t]
|checking out the start area [photo:7t]
|raphael park [photo:7t]
The entire course is made of smooth tarmac which makes this venue a very good choice for a spot of buggy running - which is exactly what me and my daughter Matilda did when we visited. Also we were not alone - there were three buggy runners out on the course in total. The course is almost entirely flat so should be good for anyone looking to put in a good effort.
|Black's Canal (lake) [photo:7t]
The path runs directly along the bank of the pond so it makes sense to stay sensible on this stretch, especially on the first lap when it is congested. Matilda was very excited when she saw a rainbow in the water fountain as we passed by.
|black's canal [photo:7t]
With the large open playing fields to their left, the runners stick to the tarmac path until they reach the tennis courts. At this point a marshal (or arrow. or both) will be visible to direct the runners to the left.
At the far end of the tennis courts is an adjoining playground which must be circumnavigated before heading back along the opposite side of the courts.
|the former spoon pond (now tennis courts and playground) [photo:7t]
|the playground - runners circumnavigate this twice during the run [photo:7t]
The third, and final, lap is somewhat shorter than the first two and very simply just cuts out the northern section of the park. At the top of the short, sharp incline the runners just turn right and head back along the final part of the original lap.
|to finish! [photo:7t]
Barcode scanning takes place up in the bandstand and as far as the runner goes that's pretty much it.
There is of course the option of heading into the post-run social which takes place in Raphael's - it's more of a restaurant than a cafe and is very nice inside - they also give a 10% post-run discount upon presentation of a parkrun barcode. The results [event 12] were also processed here.