Zielona Gora is a city in western Poland, popular with parkrunners keen on completing the alphabet challenge (to run parkruns beginning with every letter of the alphabet). Zielona Gora parkrun takes place on Saturdays at 9 am in a forested area just behind Sulechowskiej Recreation and Sport Centre, a couple of miles north east of the city centre. It’s about 500 metres from the recreation to the start.
Probably the easiest way to reach Zielona Gora from abroad is to fly to Berlin. It is just over 100 miles from Berlin Airport. The start of parkrun is just off the S3 expressway, so easily accessible by car. By bus, the no 44 stops by the recreation centre.
Note: Zielona Gora parkrun appears on Google Maps. Don’t try and follow this if you’re driving, as it will take you to the actual start. On a trail. In a forest. And then you look stupid sitting in your hire car amongst the joggers. And we should know!
There is plenty of free parking at the recreation centre and more free parking by MOSiR tennis courts, which are closer to the start but harder to locate.
There are no facilities – it’s in the middle of a forest. There are toilets at the recreation centre.
The course consists of two loops, with an out-and-back section part way round each loop. Note: there is no marshal at the turn – you just have to look for the marker and turn around. When I ran, the lady behind me cheated, turned 200 metres early and ended up in front of me.
The course takes place on trails in a pine forest. It is very flat – a total elevation gain of 24 metres. However, the ground is quite soft in places, with the added hazard of tree roots to avoid. In some places, the ground is compacted, while in others, potholes appear to have been filled in with actual, even softer sand. Hitting these softer section can take you by surprise. I managed to get caught between a hard and soft section and land on my knees. Not fun!
Trail. It’s a rough trail with stony, sandy and rooty bits.
The course is fairly flat, but times were quite slow due to the terrain. That’s assuming you manage to stay upright!
Zielona Gora parkrun is very small, with an average turnout of just 26 finishers. The week we went, there were 21 participants, and that included 6 Brits who had turned up solely to run a parkrun beginning with Z. I fell over, so it’s safe to say the morning was not much fun. In addition, once the cheating lady had disappeared into the distance, I was alone in a forest with no other runners in sight, which was a bit scary. On the plus side, the locals were very welcoming and the Brits all went to breakfast together, which was nice.
Where we Stayed
We stayed at the Qubus Hotel Zielona Gora. The advantages of staying here is that it is near the city centre, thus convenient for sightseeing and just a couple of miles from the start of parkrun. In addition, it boasts a breakfast buffet of over 100 items, which is available until 11 am at weekends, so you have ample time to get back and enjoy it. The disadvantage is that we found everything to be rather flimsy, with thin walls and curtains which made sleeping problematic.
Zielona Gora is quite small but has a nice pedestrian city centre with lots of mini Bacchus statues. There’s also the pretty Winny Park with its Palmiarnia.
We ran Zielona Gora pakrun as part of a one week Poland road trip. To read about things to do in Zielona Gora, plus what else we got up to on our trip, click here.
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