parkrun – Tourist LonDone – London’s Best – & Hardest

Source: parkrun

Two questions:

  • Q: What are the ‘Best’ parkruns in London?
  • Q: What is LonDone in the parkrun context?

I remember receiving my 100 parkrun T-shirt many moons ago. Ah, the good old days.


But now that achievement is passé. Everyone’s got one. Well….metaphorically at least.

So. What next?

Sub 20 minute 5k? (plan here). That’s nothing either! If you look at the results for the anniversary Bushy parkrun (7Oct2017) you’ll see 81/1465 runners achieving that. Along with the 52 volunteers that must be more than the number of participant at some parkrun events in quiet weeks.

But what few parkrunners have done is LonDone.

LonDone – parkrun

LonDone is the art of completing every London-based parkrun as defined by being held in a London Borough. Simple? Probably only a few weeks’ work? Think again. As this map shows there are not far off 50 events to complete. In practical terms that will take you at least a year.

parkrun LonDone tourist parkrunner

Our valiant parkrun tourist (aka theparkrunner aka “HP”) is embarking on the even more valiant task of completing every UK parkrun. If not every parkrun; then, at least, a lot. By the time that task is completed, based on the current list of UK parkruns, there will probably be another 30 or so more to complete.

Best London parkruns

Fastest London parkrun


Many London parkrun courses are flat enough to seemingly tempt you to PB. But the mantle of the fastest goes to Hackney Marshes (postcode E9). Yes it’s flat but it’s also largely uncongested because of a single lap and also has a decent surface. On the downside it’s quite popular with 250 people to contend with at the start. And bad weather may hinder your plans for personal glory at any fairly open-to-the-elements course.

Best Chance for a chat

Bushy parkrun (postcode TW11) attracts the most people (see above). There will almost certainly be someone running at your speed that you can chat to. If not slow down a fraction and those that are naturally a little bit slower than you will have no option but to engage in conversation as they won’t be ale to speed up and leave you. FWIW I have run in Bushy Park a fair bit over the years and people there are generally friendlier than other parks in SW London.

Slowest / Hardest parkrun aka Most challenging

The clue is in the name: Hilly Fields parkrun (postcode SE4). It has hills. And, err, it has fields. Neither conducive to a fast time.

parkrun : difficulty ratings, adjusted times for toughest / hardest / easiest courses

Prettiest parkrun

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Alexandra Park with the nearby Palace hosts the Ally Pally parkrun (postcode N22). It has some stunning views yet only 200 or so people regularly turn up to sample the scenic delights.

Best Chance of Winning

“You’ve got to be in it to win it”. I confess to once scouring a few nearby parkruns to find the least competitive. I needed some encouragement by winning something (anything) after a long losing streak of board games the previous weekend against my young niece. The problem for me with this strategy is that whenever I have tried to win a parkrun, ‘Fast Bloke’ also turns up with the same goal. Fast bloke always wins. If in doubt always refer to the ‘true’ results ie the age graded results to beat him. Young fast bloke (Fast Bloke’s younger brother) will likely always beat you as well, albeit in an unfair manner as he has the benefit of youth. However the age-graded results mean you can entirely skip competing with Young Fast Bloke and, probably, Fast Bloke. You have a GREAT chance of winning. So if you combine this age-graded fact with an event with a low turnout then there is a superb chance that you could be competing just against yourself and Newbie parkrunner for that age graded victory. Result. Pymmes parkrun (postcode N18) usually gets about 60 runners and almost never over a hundred. you know what you have to do 😉


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1 thought on “parkrun – Tourist LonDone – London’s Best – & Hardest

  1. As a semi-frequent Lloyd runner, I think it could be comparable in difficulty to hilly fields.

    The surfaces on the Lloyd course are atrocious when there is even the slightest bit of precipitation, making it quite a slow course. Which makes the downhill sections treacherous. While Hilly fields at least has a paved section where some time can be made up, though it has more elevation gain with many shorter ascents compared to the less frequent and larger climbs of the Lloyd course.

    I always had the opinion that Lloyd was London’s hardest one but Hilly Fields was not one I was aware of and that definitely makes it anything but an open and shut case.

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