This romantically-named parkrun is based in Valentines Park in Ilford, East London. There are two paid car parks and the closest one to the start line is in the Cranbook Road entrance to the park. The postcode provided (IG1 4UA) took us straight there and you have to actually drive into the park to access the parking. There are about 40 parking spaces and they did fill up as 9am drew near. There are no pay-and-display machines and payment is via RingGo, which turned into a bit of a faff as the automated telephone system wouldn’t recognise our registration plate. I had to register for an account online and then pay with my card. I would advise registering via RingGo beforehand or taking a payment card and smartphone with you. The cost was £1.50 for two hours (Jan 2018) plus 6p for a confirmation text message. Alternatively, you could possibly find free parking in one of the nearby residential streets. There were free toilets open for use just outside the park entrance and there are more toilets inside the park.
The start line is by the boating lake, only a one minute walk from the car park on the Cranbrook Road side and there were plenty of runners milling about, so it was easy to spot. They did not seem to have a new runners briefing, but it is possible we just missed it. The Run Director did give a short talk before the start, as expected, with a brief description of the route. It’s really straightforward with a short out, two laps and then a short back. It’s well marshalled and signposted and I think it would be difficult to go wrong. The route is fairly flat, with a few gentle inclines here and there (the Suunto Spartan Trainer logged 28m ascent and 21m descent), so it’s not at all challenging. The entire course is run on proper pathways and they are generally wide enough to handle the number of runners (usually 150-250), without feeling crowded. There is one teeny-tiny bridge only wide enough for one runner, but it’s only about 1m long and far enough along the route that the group had thinned out by then and it wasn’t an issue.
Valentines is a very pretty park, which makes the course really scenic to run around.
This would be a really great parkrun to do in the summer, especially if you’re taking the family as there’s a large children’s play area. It’s also a pram-friendly course and has a café for post-run refreshments, so Valentines parkrun really does have a lot to recommend it.
Official Event Page: Valentines parkrun
Nearby postcode: IG1 4UA
Hills (as logged by Suunto Spartan Trainer): Ascent 28m / Descent 21m
Subjective PB potential: 8/10 – easy course with a few, gentle inclines
Distance Displayed on Suunto Spartan Trainer: 5.10 km
Author: parkrunner ‘HP’