Eden Project parkrun
A spectacular run around the Eden Project parkrun in Cornwall. There are only two UK mainland-based parkruns that are farther south-west than this (as of Nov 2017), so it’s probably quite a mission for most people in the UK, but it’s so unusual that it’s definitely worth it. Using the postcode provided (PL24 2SG), the SatNav directed us to the exact car park we needed to be at (‘Banana’ coach park … this makes more sense when you realise they’re all named after fruits). The start line is in the free car park, as are the toilets, which were also free and open for parkrunners.
The course itself is entirely run on permanent paths, but it is extremely hilly. The Suunto Spartan Trainer recorded ascent of 28m and descent of 49m, which makes sense as the run starts at the top of the hill and finishes in the valley that Eden sits in. There is a bit of repetition on this course – the first two kilometres or so are only run once, but the third kilometre is run three times. The paths were fairly narrow in some places so when the fastest runners were overtaking on the repeated section of the course, it did get a little congested. If you look at the course map on the parkrun website, it looks like mayhem and I was concerned that I wouldn’t know at what point I should be repeating. But, actually, the route seems fairly obvious when you’re running round and there was a really helpful sign indicating which way you should go if you’re on your 2nd or 3rd lap or heading toward the finish. There were also plenty of marshals along the course and I thought it was impossible to take a wrong turn.
Unlike any other parkrun I’ve done, the start and finish are nowhere near each other. You start outside Eden in the car park and finish up in the centre of Eden, outside the famous biomes. So once you’ve finished the run, you have to walk for ten minutes or so to the exit… and it’s all uphill. You should try to use this parkrun as an opportunity to spend some time at Eden, as one of the great things about this parkrun is that you get free entry. It is usually £27 per adult (Nov 2017), so you’re saving a lot. They were even letting the parkrun supporters in for free. There was a large cafe/restaurant which was serving food after the run and we saw quite a few other parkrunners having some breakfast there.
After the run, we walked back to the car to change our shoes and get our coats, but we realised after we had left (via the Gift Shop) that we couldn’t get back in without buying tickets. We spoke to a helpful ticket sales person about our predicament and were kindly let back in for free, but don’t rely on this technique as you may not be so lucky. Once you’re in, stay in until you’re ready to leave … and enjoy!
Author: theparkrunner (HP)
Official Event Page: Eden Project parkrun
Nearby postcode: PL24 2SG
Hills: Ascent 28m / Descent 49m (as recorded by theparkrunner, ‘official’ measurements linked to)
Subjective PB potential: 5/10 – very hilly
Distance displayed on Suunto Spartan Trainer (Review Here): 4.98 km
Edit: (by the5krunner) – this must be the coolest parkrun! I guess one around Buckingham Palace might beat it? We are going to be putting the future parkrun courses through their GPS accuracy paces. The Spartan Trainer IS more accurate than most sports watches. Perhaps the twisting or hilly nature of the course meant that corners were cut by the GPS or not measured quite right over the ascent/descent? Let’s see if a trend emerges.