Sandwiched between Catford and Hither Green, Catford parkrun is the new kid on the block in South East London. Based in Mountsfield Park, it’s easy to find (post code SE6 1AN) and parking was free and plentiful on Stainton Road. Or it’s a 10-minute walk from Hither Green train station. It’s a short walk from Stainton Road to the bandstand, where you’ll find the start/finish lines and two shipping containers which house toilets (which did not open until about 8.45am) and a café (which was open before and after the run). Other facilities include a children’s playground and tennis courts.
The course page describes the route as “two full laps and one partial lap”, but I think a more accurate description is three laps, with the third lap missing out a short section near the end. I spoke to other runners who all felt that the description did not accurately reflect the course, so do be prepared to run almost three clockwise laps.
Mountsfield Park is lovely and the course is mixed enough to keep the parkrun interesting. You start by the bandstand, on tarmac, but very quickly head onto grass. The rest of the course is a mixture of grass, trail and tarmac, with the latter making up around 60% of the course. Sometimes you run through trees and sometimes you’re out in the open – it’s varied, which makes it more enjoyable. It was very well marshalled and signposted and the volunteer team were really enthusiastic, which may have been down to Catford parkrun being new, but hopefully that enthusiasm will continue.
The park is on a hill and there is a very nice westerly view across London, particularly near the start. The main downside (no pun intended) is that you have to run up a hill… three whole times. The last uphill is especially hard work as it’s just before you meet the final 50m straight. Overall, it’s an enjoyable course and a welcoming, friendly team.
Official Event Page: Catford parkrun
Nearby postcode: SE6 1AN
Hills (as logged by Suunto Spartan Trainer): Ascent 35m / Descent 57m
Subjective PB potential: 6/10 – undulating and about 40% on grass or trail
Distance Displayed on Suunto Spartan Trainer: 4.99 km