Park Run has to be one of the best innovations in recent years. A free event, every Saturday in parks across the world that gets people moving and builds communities. They're runs that are safe, accessible and above all fun. I love the whole concept, and it's pretty closely aligned to what Backpackers are all about - community comes first and movement is for everyone, irrespective of pace, time or distance. It only seems natural that we'd decide a little take over was in order!
After some furious WhatsApp scheming we settled on a visit to Clapham Common Park Run. It's newish so quite a few of us were curious what it'd be like. It's flat, which is always nice. It's not too many laps, because laps get dull. And it's close to a number of good brunch sports, and the crew that eats together stays together.
Clapham Common Park Run is located right between Clapham Common and Clapham South Tube stations and on a tonne of bus routes. So of course we ended up wandering the Common and resorted to following people who looked like runners to find it! It worked, and we managed to make our way to the start just in time for the briefing and short walk to the start line. I have to admit, we didn't hear a lot of the briefing - there were lots of people chatting and the race director could've done with a megaphone, but we got the gist enough to know what was going on!
Being Backpackers we positioned ourselves right at the back of the pack ready to bring the party! These runs are my very favourite. It's immensely special being surrounded by people who are confident to unashamedly do their own thing. It takes a lot of guts to be at the back of the pack in a society that tells us to be a runner you've got to be fast. I feel so privilege to call these people my friends, and to be amongst them when we go out and show the world what we can do! It's especially special when you're with people when they exceed what they think they can do, and there was definitely some of that on Saturday with first non-stop runs and returns after injury and sickness! I'll never not be proud of my crew.
Back to Park Run. Clapham Common Park Run is two laps of the Common across trails, gravel and asphalt, which makes for some nice challenges - watch out for tree stumps. At 9am the Common is busy with bootcamps, Saturday football leagues and dog walkers, but all the space means you don't need to dodge too many people. Plus the dog spotting is IMMENSE! Seriously, all the fluffy creatures were out running around and having fun. It was a dog lover's dream! There are a few speedy people at Clapham Common Park Run, but it's a run not a race, so don't let being lapped put you off, all the marshals stay out until the last person passes and there's a tail walker to make sure everyone gets home safe. Plus if you're lucky Backpackers will be there to cheer you in!
Post run most of the crew headed off to Arlo's for brunch (and raved about it), but with an appointment later than morning I had to head off - a mistake I won't make again!
Backpackers will be popping up at Park Runs all over London from time to time, so let me know which is your favourite and we might just be there bringing up the rear! If you fancy joining us for a run in the week we meet at ASICS Regent Street every Thursday at 6.45, all are welcome!