“St Albans is a fast, historic and picturesque parkrun, but it can also get extremely busy.”
St Albans parkrun has been my go-to for a speedy 5km since I first started my running journey. Why? Because I have set a number of PBs on the super-fast course here over the years on the various different courses that round the park.
Verulamium Park, on the edge of St Albans, is a beautiful location to run featuring Roman Walls, many modern amenities and a lake teeming with waterfowl. The course is a gentle downhill from the top of the park to the lake, which is circumnavigated three times before returning close to the start. There is also an alternate course, in case of the pond freezes over the path, which is a four-lap more cross-country route with tougher hills. The normal route features very fast tarmac paths, though congested, with the hill barely registering and a good straight to the finish line.
The biggest downfall to this fantastic course is that so many people have discovered how good it is (over 400 a week)! It can get congested and overtaking for the first half a mile or so involves some patience. There are also a number of chokepoints which make it harder for buggy runners though I have seen a number tackle it.
St Albans is a fast, historic and picturesque parkrun but it is also extremely busy. The sense of community is great, even with so many runners, visitors are made welcome and the marshals are very friendly.
Facilities wise: parking by the museum is £1.95 or get two hours free at the leisure centre with a longer walk to the start; toilets about 200m from the start line; large play parks; a fantastic Roman Walk (including a floor mosaic); and food/drinks are available from the well-priced Inn On The Park by the finish afterwards (or if you want a treat head over to the Waffle House nearby).
PB – 22:53 (overall parkrun PB)
Best Position – 81st
Times run – 20
First version published 9th June 2018