Norwich parkrun, in Norfolk, is one of (currently) five parkruns in and around Norwich. Norwich parkrun was the first of the five, and is also the most centrally located to the city (only a 10-minute drive away, if you fancy visiting after parkrun). The course page states that there is limited parking at Eaton Park and requests the use of public transport or car share. We were there for 8.30am and parking in the free car park was no problem, though it was full by 9am. The car park is along the west side of Eaton Park, quite near the start, but everyone initially congregates in the centre of the park, at the beautiful, domed bandstand which is surrounded by four colonnaded pavilions. This is where the briefings are held before the runners are walked back to the start line. There are also toilets by the bandstand, which were open, clean and free to use.
The route is a straightforward rectangular shape and parkrun takes in three-and-a-half laps. The first of the long sides of the rectangle is deceptively uphill. I didn’t realise until my second time running along it. The good news is that the opposite side is deceptively downhill, so you may be able to recoup a bit of time or energy there. The bad news is that you do the uphill four times and the downhill only three. If you’re like me and you worry that you’ll lose count of the laps, the way to remember is that you cross the bridge four times. We were told this at the briefing and it’s also mentioned in the course description.
The whole course is on permanent pathways and would be great for runners with prams. Dogs are not allowed, however, due to the large numbers they regularly attract – often in excess of 500. It did feel a little congested at times, due to the high amount of runners and number of laps, but most of the paths are quite wide so there is usually space for everyone. Overall, it was a fairly easy run due to the surface and relative flatness of the course.
Although this isn’t the most interesting course I’ve ever run (which is partly due to the 3.5 laps), it’s definitely a huge positive that, as a tourist completing my first run there, it was absolutely impossible to get lost on the way round. Plus the first lap gives you an idea of where you may want to go faster or slower on laps 2 and 3… and 3.5. There’s also plenty going on at Eaton Park and in the summer it would be fantastic for a day out; crazy golf, skate park and café, to name a few.
Official Event Page: Norwich parkrun
Nearby postcode: NR4 7AZ
Hills (as logged by Suunto Spartan Trainer): Ascent 7m / Descent 7m
Subjective PB potential: 9/10
Distance Displayed on Suunto Spartan Trainer: 5.06 km
See below for difficulty ranking