A long-established parkrun based in Bexleyheath, Kent, though classed as Greater London on the parkrun site. The course is two anti-clockwise laps of Danson Park, running around the lake and past the Grade I listed Danson House – though the house is only open to the public on Sundays. The course page suggests you park in the car park, for a fee, however we (and lots of other parkrunners) parked along Danson Road for free. The start line is a 5 minute walk away, quite centrally located within the park. If you’re not sure where you’re going, just follow everyone else – there will be plenty of people (runner numbers regularly exceed 400). There are no toilets at the start – they are located near the car park, but I don’t know if they were open before/after the run. There is a park café near the car park, but it doesn’t open until 10am. We understand that they are being encouraged to open a little earlier to get some parkrun business, so it’s possible the opening time will change in the future.
Bexley is one of those parkruns that is actually based within a park and, as a result, most of the course is on tarmac. There is a short section near the end of the lap that takes you on a woodland track through the trees and there’s another section on trail path, but otherwise it’s tarmac. We did run a small section on grass but were informed that it was was a small detour of the usual route due to the inclement conditions. The route is generally quite flat, but there are a couple of long-but-shallow inclines to negotiate. As described on the parkrun page… it “goes deceptively uphill”.
This is a relatively easy parkrun and very scenic – running past Danson House (twice) is lovely and the lake is very pretty. The route is quite straightforward and marshalled at most points where a wrong turn is possible. This is also the first parkrun where I have seen formal parkrun signs embedded on the pathway, so the council are obviously supportive. It does get congested at the start, but once it’s thinned out it’s fine. Overall, a really nice parkrun.
P.S. We were informed by one of the Event Directors that a new parkrun local to Bexley is in the making, so keep an eye out in 2018. If the numbers at Bexley parkrun are anything to go by, it should prove popular.
Official Event Page: Bexley parkrun
Nearby postcode: DA6 8HL
Hills: Ascent/Descent metres 35.4
Subjective PB potential: 7/10 – good course, but some early congestion and gentle undulation
Distance Displayed on Suunto Spartan Trainer: 5.12 km
See below for difficulty ranking