Ally Pally parkrun
To north London this week, where we take on Ally Pally parkrun around Alexandra Park. Ally Pally parkrun has been around since 2011, but in spite of this the runner numbers still tend to hover around the 300 mark. We drove there (use postcode N22 7AX) and easily found on-street parking on South Terrace. It was free to park during the time we were parkrunning, but it is paid/permit parking at other times. Alexandra Palace train station is also only a five minute walk from the start line. I couldn’t see any toilets or café, though the course page says there’s a café in the Alexandra Palace Garden Centre, so there are probably toilets there too, though possibly not open before 9am.
This course was described to me by a friend as ‘50% downhill’… the joke being that the other 50% is uphill… and yes, it is rather hilly. But it’s a very picturesque, two-lap, anticlockwise course and loops you through woods, past the cricket pitch, around the edge of the park … and you get to enjoy glimpses of the fantastic Alexandra Palace on your way round. I did find the uphill sections hard going, but they were mostly shaded by the trees which is good on a sunny day. The downhills are quite good fun though, especially the steep one near the end of the lap… you’ll know what I mean when you come to it.
The paths are a mix of tarmac, grass and trail. Be very careful on the grass section as it’s extremely uneven. The rest of it’s not too bad though, but the sections through the trees will be muddy in wet weather. About halfway around the lap there is a small bridge to cross, only wide enough for one person, but parkrunners only cross it in one direction so you may get a small bottleneck but it should ease off by lap two.
One thing I observed about Ally Pally parkrun is that lots of the volunteers were young teenagers; from the new runners briefing, to marshalling, to timekeeping. They all did a fantastic job and were all so enthusiastic – it was great to see. They obviously start them young in north London!
Overall, a scenic and varied parkrun and great if you don’t mind it a bit hilly.
Official Event Page: Ally Pally parkrun
Nearby postcode: N22 7AX
Hills: Ascent/Descent metres 66.4
Subjective PB potential: 4/10 – hilly and some cross country
Distance Displayed on Suunto Spartan Trainer: 5.14 km
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