A Hertfordshire parkrun taking in almost two laps of Fairlands Valley Park, with scenic views of the main lake. There is a cafe with toilets that are open before the run and a children’s play park (which you will run past twice, as part of the course). The cafe isn’t open at the start but usually opens around 9.30 where you can get post-run refreshments. There are three car parks and all parking is free. The largest car park is off Six Hills Way and the postcode provided (SG2 0BL) will take you directly to it. It’s only a few minutes’ walk from there to the start line and you walk past the cafe/toilets on the way. The other two car parks have limited parking available, so do get there a bit earlier if you’re planning on using those (postcodes SG1 1LQ and SG1 5HJ).
Stevenage parkrun usually has between 200 and 300 runners and the first 0.5k can feel a little cramped until the group thins. There is usually a small bottle-neck at the start, where runners try not to fall into the lake when overtaking. There are two sets of bollards within the first 100m – the first set marks the start line and marshals stand in front of them, but the second set can be hidden amongst the runners, so be careful not to run into them. Some helpful runners will shout “BOLLARDS!” as a warning to those behind them.
The course is almost entirely run on tarmac paths, with a small off-road section through some trees and the final 50m on grass. Be careful of your footing on the paths around the lake as they can become quite slippery after the swans have been there… if you get what I mean! There are a few sections of gentle uphill and downhill, but generally the course is quite flat. The only exception is the finish, which is a 50m steep uphill followed by about 20m of flat where you can sprint finish (if you have any energy left after the hill).
Stevenage parkrun is well marshalled, especially at turns/junctions, and there are also arrow signposts to help. This course also has kilometre markers. It would be very possible to get a PB, if the hilly finish doesn’t slow you down. It’s a really pram-friendly course and there are usually a few dogs running too. Fairlands Valley Park is lovely and the run takes in most of the key sights, so it’s a good one to take the family to.
Author: parkrunner ‘HP’
Official Event page: Stevenage parkrun
Nearby postcode: SG2 0BL
Hills: Ascent/Descent metres 42.1
Subjective PB Potential: 8/10 – 95% tarmac, but steep hill to finish
See below for difficulty ranking