“Bushy parkrun is the original – it’s also very busy!”
Finally, after three years of parkrunning, I took a pilgrimage to the home of parkrun – Bushy. Back in 2004, thirteen runners got together for a 5km time trial led by Paul Sinton-Hewitt and it has grown massively since then. Now with over half a million runners worldwide, parkrun is a phenomenon and something I have come to love.
Bushy parkrun in Teddington now attracts around 1,300 runners a week and is a very-congested single lap “butterfly” around the beautiful royal park. Starting on a wide stretch near the Diana fountain the route heads out on a mixture of grass and gravel on wide but busy paths. The views are stunning (sadly often obscured by the crowds) but there is lots to enjoy, and for the keen observer, even deer.
The ending is quite different from many parkruns using a long duel funnel that you continue to jog down having gone past the finish! It can take 5 minutes to get through the funnel, but it is a very well-organised operation to deal with the huge numbers of finishers.
Buggy runners would have to be taking it slow as there was very little room towards the front of the field when trying to overtake. In the winter/wet you might want something grippy on your feet, but general trainers were fine on a spring Saturday morning.
Bushy parkrun is the original – it’s also very busy! It is well worth a visit to see where it all started and feel the buzz but it is not a run I would be looking at doing regularly, especially if looking for a good time.
Facilities wise: parking free in two car parks a few minutes off the M4 (though you will want to arrive early to guarantee a space); toilets about 100m from the start; large play parks for children; and food/drinks are available from a couple of cafes afterwards.
PB – 24:49
Best Position – 399th
Times run – 1