Milan 2 Day Itinerary

We went to Milan for the weekend just to do parkrun. Basically, we found ourselves in Switzerland, as we had transported some equipment our daughter needed for an experiment. But they don’t do parkrun in Switzerland. So on Friday, we jumped into our (her) hired van and drove to Italy.

Itinerary

Day 1Drive to Milan
Lunch in Monza Park
Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Milano Re Hotel
Day 2Milano Nord Parkrun
Milan Cathedral
Museo del Novecento

Attractions

1Monza Park
2Autodromo Nazionale Monza
3Milano Nord Park
4Milan Cathedral
5Museo del Novecento

Day 1

Drive to Milan

After breakfast, we set off for Milan. Today’s drive is a combination of beautiful mountain scenery interspersed with numerous tunnels. In all, we notch up 54 km underground – I feel a bit like a Womble. Half way through the 17 km long Gotthard tunnel, the road signs change from German to Italian and when we finally emerge, we are in the Italian part of Switzerland. We cross the Italian border and are happily driving along, when we spot a not particularly large sign stating that we are in a booth free toll area and have 15 days to pay online.

Heading for the Mountains
Heading for the Mountains

First stop, on the outskirts (10 miles north east) of Milan is Monza. We stop for supplies in a supermarket. One thing that I often miss when I travel is good cheese. Not a problem I will be having in Italy!

Cheese
Supermarket cheese counter

Lunch in Monza Park

We reach the enormous Monza Park and find a nice spot for our picnic lunch. The park is enormous, with 700 hectares of parks, gardens, a villa, sports facilities etc. But I am here for one thing; to visit the iconic race track.

Lunch in Monza Park
Lunch in Monza Park

Apparently, during the week, the track is open to the public. I have told daughter No 2 that we are taking her hired van for a spin and take a photograph of the van by the track sign to send her. I find this way funnier than she does.

Day at the races?

Autodromo Nazionale Monza

After lunch, we walk through the woods to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. It takes a while to work out where to go in the huge 113,000 seat complex. Parts of it are closed. But there’s also a lot of action; people with passes, security guards, visitors milling around. I’m all for striding on brazenly until challenged. But the old man is way too square for such behaviour.

Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Eventually, we find our way into a stand on the Ascari Chicane. We watch three cars pass by, then nothing. We wait a while, thinking we’re too late. Then all off a sudden, there’s a crescendo of noise and proper GP style racing cars appear. It’s an unexpected bonus.

Ascari Chicane
Ascari Chicane
Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Autodromo Nazionale Monza

During a break, we move to the main stand, opposite the pit lane to watch the next session.

Monza Pit Lane
Monza Pit Lane

Milano Re Hotel

Then we head to our hote, Milano Re, excited but deaf. At the hotel I attempt, unsuccessfully, to access the motorway toll (Pedemontana) website. It’s not easy; apart from the fact that it’s all in Italian, the validation link doesn’t work and the website is incompatible with my phone, with all the text boxes overlapping each other. Let’s hope I can sort it within 15 days, as the fine for non-payment is €338. I didn’t take any photographs of the hotel, but it was very pleasant and right opposite the park so ideal for getting to parkrun in the morning.

Day 2

Milano Nord Parkrun

Milano Nord parkrun
Milano Nord parkrun

It’s Saturday – AKA parkrun day. Today, we’re going to Milano Nord parkrun in Milan’s Parco Nord. This morning’s run has pros and cons. Pros: (1) it’s a scenic route (2) it’s flat (3) the participants are of diverse ability, so I’m not on my own at the back and have someone to follow. Cons: (1) there are a lot of other park users to avoid (2) my knee hurts (3) I’m not fit (4) it’s bloody hot. I persevere and make it to the finish line. Note, that as mentioned above, it’s a pretty park. Even if you don’t intend to run round it, it’s well worth a visit.

Milano Nord parkrun
Milano Nord parkrun

There was supposed to be water, but the fast runners have drunk it all. So I hobble off to the supermarket dehydrated and grumpy. For breakfast, I buy spoonable Gorgonzola. Cheese you can eat with a spoon! I love Italy. We return to the hotel and I have Gorgonzola and blueberry jam sandwiches. Literally the best breakfast ever. No longer grumpy!

spoonable Gorgonzola
Spoonable Gorgonzola

In the afternoon, we take the Metro into Milan. Outside, the temperature is 31 degrees. The train is like a sauna on wheels. The lady opposite keeps wiping the sweat off her face with a tissue. She started the journey with pencilled in eyebrows. By the time we arrive, she looks like Harry Potter’s gran (zig zag mark on her forehead – I thought it was funny!)

Milan Cathedral

We arrive in the main piazza next to the enormous Milan Cathedral with its 135 spires and 3400 statues of pink marble. It’s quite spectacular!

Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral

To visit, you need to queue to get a ticket to join the queue to buy a ticket before you can queue to get in. The cathedral is open from 9-7 daily. A ticket for the cathedral costs €7. It’s €10 if you want to climb to the roof terrace via the stairs or €15 to take the elevator. I’ve already done two laps of the park and am too tight to pay €5 to use a lift, so settle for admiring from the ground.

Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral

Finally, we make it into the cathedral, which is equally grand with its carved pillars and stained glass.

Inside Milan Cathedral
Inside Milan Cathedral

Back outside, there is a lot of noise in the piazza. We go and investigate – it’s the Milan Rally Show. The competitors and their vehicles are all lined up. Italian Stig appears to be among them.

Milan Rally Show
Milan Rally Show

Museo del Novecento

We continue across the piazza to the Museo del Novecento; a modern art gallery in a stone building with a large glass spiral staircase running through the centre.

Museo del Novecento
Museo del Novecento

The museum is open from 10-7.30 (closed on Monday, open late on Thursday). Entry costs €10.

Museo del Novecento staircase
Museo del Novecento staircase

You work your way up the spiral through the various galleries. The artwork appears to have been ordered from best to worst.

Museo del Novecento
Museo del Novecento

It’s worth persevering though, as there are great views across the piazza to the cathedral from the top.

Museo del Novecento
Museo del Novecento

It’s been a long day, so we decide to head back towards the hotel in search of pizza and beer.

Museo del Novecento
Museo del Novecento

Leaving Milan is complicated. We need €1.90 interurban tickets but accidentally purchase €2.00 intraurban tickets (or maybe the other way round – I’m not sure). Anyway, our tickets don’t work in the turnstiles next to the machine that dispensed them. We are sent to the office to swap tickets. After filling in some paperwork, we must pay €1.70 to change 2 x €2 tickets for 3 x €1.90 tickets. We don’t want three tickets, but the cashier explains that they can’t give refunds and their books must balance, so we must buy a superfluous ticket. There is a full and frank exchange of views. The old man accuses them of robbing tourists. We are asked to leave. We return to our hotel, via a pizzeria. Our weekend in Milan has been interesting but exhausting.

Note: We would have loved to see Da Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper, but tickets sell out well in advance. So, if that is on your wish list, more foresight is required that merely jumping in a van and hoping for the best.

Trip Taken: June 2019

Updated: October 2022

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 76 – Run Bournemouth

Run Bournemouth is a series of running races over a variety of distances which takes place annually in early October. On Saturday, there are children’s races in the afternoon with distances from 1 kilometre to 5 kilometres, depending on age. This is followed by the Supernova 5k in the evening. On Sunday, there is the Supersonic 10k and the Half Marathon, which isn’t super anything.

End of Bournemouth Half Marathon
End of Bournemouth Half Marathon

Supernova 5k

The Supernova 5k starts at 7 pm, just as the sun is setting over the bay, which is always a sight to behold as you stand nervously in the toilet queue even though you just went to the loo before leaving home.

Bournemouth sunset
Bournemouth sunset

Runners are all issued with head torches. Many also opt to dress up with neon clothing and flashing lights. As darkness descends, the race starts and runners set off along the Promenade. The course consists of a 2 km stretch from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier, then turns and heads back to Bournemouth.

Bournemouth 5k
Setting off along the Prom

The run culminates with a circumnavigation of the pier before finishing on Pier Approach.

Bournemouth 5k
Bournemouth 5k

This year, the Pier was illuminated with rows of purple lights, which added to the spectacle.

Bournemouth Pier in purple
Bournemouth Pier in purple

Saturday’s races all start and finish in the same place (Bournemouth Pier) which makes transport logistics simple. Plenty of buses stop nearby in Bournemouth Square. There is a Pay & Display car park next to the start, which costs £3 an hour – incentive to run faster?!

End of Bournemouth 5k
End of Bournemouth 5k

Supersonic 10k

The Supersonic 10k starts at Hengistbury Head, 5 miles east of Bournemouth, then after a short road section, turns and descends onto to the Prom and heads to Bournemouth, taking in both Boscombe and Bournemouth Pier along the way.

Bournemouth 10k
Bournemouth 10k

This is a scenic route, with the majority of the race along the seafront. Although it can involve running several miles into a headwind. Perfect for kite surfers, less so for runners.

Bournemouth 10k
Bournemouth 10k

Half Marathon

The Half Marathon starts and finishes in the same place as the 10k, but goes up and down the clifftop and the prom a bit more.

Bournemouth Half Marathon
Bournemouth Half Marathon

To be honest, starting and finishing in two different places is trying. There is no way to reach Hengistbury Head by public transport. The race organisers run an (expensive – £9!) event bus between the start and finish. This is only useful if you are (a) made of money and (b) near the start or finish to begin with. But if like me, you live in between the start and finish, you need to get a bus to the bus, which isn’t ideal.

In addition, the road is closed long before the race starts causing large traffic jams and making access to the start difficult. Plus, the car park is used for portable toilets so there’s nowhere to park. We opted to get a lift to the start, got stuck in traffic, and missed the start. The traffic was so bad, that even though we left what we thought was plenty of time, we ended up having to get out of the car and run to the start. When the gun went off, we were still in the queues for the toilets.

End of Bournemouth Half Marathon
End of Bournemouth Half Marathon

Frankly, after running 13.1 miles, the last thing I wanted to do was walk (hobble) the half mile up the hill to catch a bus home again. Why the race can’t start and finish in one place is a mystery to me. In future, I shall stick to spectating from the end of my road, which doesn’t involve four buses, £12 in bus fares or any form of hobbling.

Watching Run Bournemouth
Watching Run Bournemouth

Brockenhurst parkrun

One of the most scenic parkruns we’ve done is Brockenhurst parkrun. During the winter months, the event takes place at Wilverley Inclosure in the New Forest National Park.

New Forest ponies at dawn
New Forest at day break

Orientation

The start/finish are just inside the entrance (Kissing Gate) to the Inclosure adjacent to Wilverley Plain car park, between Burley and Brockenhurst. This is realistically an event you need to drive to as it’s rather remote and 3 miles from the nearest station.

New Forest
New Forest

Facilities

There is a free car park, with a toilet block adjacent to the Inclosure. You’ll probably meet a New Forest pony or two in and around the car park.

New Forest Pony on Wilverley Plain
New Forest Pony on Wilverley Plain

Course

The course is pretty much one lap of Wilverley Inclosure, so a nice simple route. All the more opportunity to enjoy the beautiful forest scenery.

Brockenhurst parkrun Strava Segment
Brockenhurst parkrun Strava Segment

Terrain

The event takes place on a well maintained gravel trail through the forest.

Start of Brockenhurst parkrun
Start of Brockenhurst parkrun

Difficulty

Run Britain Rankings for UK parkruns place Brockenhurst as the 446th fastest out of a total of 706. There are two slight hills, bringing the total elevation to 52 metres.

End of Brockenhurst Parkrun
End of Brockenhurst Parkrun

Fun Factor

I love this run. From the spectacular dawn drive across the New Forest as the mist hovers above the ground. To the ponies breakfasting on the plain as you arrive at the start. To the run itself in the forested inclosure. It’s definitely one to factor in some extra time taking in the beauty of the forest before finally heading off in search of breakfast…

End of Brockenhurst parkrun
End of Brockenhurst parkrun

Note that the Forestry Commission permit does not cover the whole year. In the summer, Brockenhurst parkrun moves to become laps of the somewhat less scenic playing fields at Brockenhurst College. It returns to the forest at the beginning of September.

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 52 – Frolic in the Countryside

White Star Running

I love to run. I’m not very good at it. In fact I’d go as far as to say I’m actually pretty bad at it. But I don’t let that deter me. One of my favourite ways to spend the weekend is to attend a White Star Running event.

Keeping Running Rural

This Poole based running event planning company with the motto ‘Keep Running Rural’ organises events in rural Dorset. Events usually take place over a weekend, with a range of distances on offer. But everyone’s favourite event (well, mine, anyway) is the Frolic.

The Frolic

A Frolic is a 12 hour race, run over a lap of somewhere in the region of 3 to 6 miles. The aim is to complete as many laps as you can in the allotted time. Sounds serious, right? It’s not. You set off around 8 am (you can enter either solo or as part of a team, who run in relay style with a squeaky beaver baton). You can run, or walk – running is optional – as many, or as few laps as you wish. As long as you complete a minimum of one lap, you earn your goodies (this weekend’s consisted of a medal, cider, fudge and the aforementioned squeaky beaver).

The Love Station

Half way round the course is the ‘Love Station’, which provides drinks and snacks (I usually opt for a handful each of Frazzles and Jelly Beans, with the occasional cheese & pineapple on stick). At the start of the day, drinks consisted of water, squash or coke. On my fourth lap, the schnapps had made an appearance.

Pop up Gin Bar

Sometimes, a pop up gin bar appears at a random location on the course. Just when you think you can’t run (walk) another step, there it is, like a mirage in the Dorset desert.

Race Village

Laps start/finish at the Race Village; here you will find is a further drink station, a bar and a choice of food stalls. The ice cream van is an integral part of a White Star weekend. In addition, there is a shop selling White Star merchandise. Lap completed, you can opt to either stop, go round again, or take a break and continue later. I returned to my tent after three laps, took a nap and then felt sufficiently rejuvenated for a fourth lap.

Camping

Some runners choose to come for the day, however, at many events, camping is an option. The camp site is equipped with portaloos, which are emptied regularly, hot showers and catering (this weekend’s consisted of a burger van, pancake van, coffee van and bar). Once the event has finished, there is entertainment; this weekend there was a barn dance. We were all too tired to contemplate dancing, but the live band were really good, so we sat outside our tents and drank cider and enjoyed the music, whilst discussing plans for the next event…

Conclusion

I really enjoy my frolics. If you’re in the Dorset area, I thoroughly recommend entering one. If you’re not in the Dorset area, I thoroughly recommend the Dorset area.

100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 16 – Race for Life

It’s 2-for-1 on today’s blog, as my ‘Thing’ of the day is Race for Life on Bournemouth Prom, but I’m also going to watch a friend in a weightlifting competition on the beach. Oh, and there’s powerboat racing in the bay as well, so 3-for-1 in fact.

Bournemouth Race for Life Warm up
Bournemouth Race for Life Warm up

Race for Life is a 5 km/10 km charity fundraising event in aid of Cancer Research UK which takes place in locations across the UK, including two locally; one in Poole (which also offers a Pretty Muddy event for those who don’t have an aversion to getting their trainers dirty) and one in Bournemouth.

Start of Race for Life
Start of Race for Life

After a year’s hiatus due to Covid, Bournemouth Race For life recommenced last year with a different (much hillier) route, which took me by surprise and made me rather grumpy – yes, I know it’s for charity, mate! But I am assured that this year, we’re back to the original, flat route.

It’s a great turnout, almost back to pre-pandemic levels. After a quick warm up, it’s time for the off. It’s a straightforward course; run along the prom from Bournemouth pier to Boscombe pier, turn round and run back again. It feels nice to be back in a throng of people again, and the fact that social distancing isn’t an option doesn’t bother me, which I thought it might.

Bournemouth Rock Choir
Bournemouth Rock Choir

I run to the turning point and can’t resist a brief stop by the pier where Bournemouth Rock Choir is performing. Musical interlude over, it’s time to return to the start/finish. We ran the first half with a tail wind, so on the return leg we have a head wind to contend. It’s a hot day, so I’m glad to reach the end, collect my medal and some much needed water. Then I can wait for my friends, who have opted for the 10 km, to finish.

Penny finishing the 10 km
Penny finishing the 10 km

Running complete, we walk along the prom to Who Dares Gyms; an outdoor gym on the beach run by ex Special Forces personnel. I did think of adding Who Dares Gyms as one of my 100 Things, but was too lazy to attempt a military boot camp. So instead, I’ve added it on the end of a much more sedate 5 km jog.

Who Dares Gyms

Today, the gym is hosting a UK Deadlift Competition and a friend has entered. Weightlifting is something I know nothing about and it’s fascinating to get a glimpse into somebody else’s world. It takes a while to get to grips with the rules, but luckily we’re standing next to someone who is happy to explain what’s going on. We had thought some of the ladies in the ‘Over 55’ Category looked great for their age, but apparently they compete by weight. They should introduce that in running – I’d fare much better in a heavyweight division!

Fun in the sun at Who Dares Gyms

First, the disabled category and a man attempts a seated deadlift of 460 kg. I think I must have heard that wrong – nobody can lift that much, right? It turns out they can. He attempts another, heavier, lift but fails because the bar can’t manage the weights and buckles in the middle.

460 kg Deadlift

On to the women’s category. It’s my friend’s first competition and she’s accidentally entered her PB as her starting weight. Not a problem as she lifts it with ease and goes on to add 20 kg to her PB over the next two attempts.

Deadlift Competition

A little added bonus; every now and again there is a roar from the sea as powerboats race past. It’s all going on in Bournemouth…

Powerboat Racing

Upton House parkun

Orientation

Upton House parkrun takes place on the trails of Upton Country Park. The park is on the outskirts of Poole, overlooking Holes Bay. It is 3 miles north-west of Poole, just off the A35/A350 and easily accessible by car. Upton House is a popular parkrun with tourists (particularly those attempting to alphabeteer – run a parkrun beginning with each letter of the alphabet as there aren’t many ‘U’s). The start is a short walk from the car park – just follow the crowd!

I Love Upton Country Park
I Love Upton Country Park

Facilities

There is plenty of parking at Upton. It’s pay & display; general parking costs £1.50 hour. There is a Weekend Earlybird price of £1 as long as you exit by 10.45 am. Note – this requires pressing a button on the ticket machine when you purchase your ticket – easily missed! There is a large toilet block in the car park and a couple more toilets by the tea rooms near the start.

Upton House Parkrun
Upton House Parkrun

Course

The course consists of one large loop, one small loop, then once more round the big loop. The start and finish are in a slightly different place. If you want to leave belongings – I would do so near where the briefing takes place, which is between the two.

Upton House parkrun Strava
Upton House parkrun Strava

Terrain

The run takes place on gravel trails. At times, these trails run though the woods. There is one raised, exposed section where it can be a bit windy, but offers spectacular views across the bay. It’s gently undulating with one short, sharp incline which must be negotiated twice; once right at the finish when you could really do without a hill…

At the finish of Upton House parkrun
At the finish of Upton House parkrun

Difficulty

Run Britain Rankings for UK parkruns place Upton House as the 454th fastest out of a total of 706. The course has a total elevation of 41 metres.

Final incline at Upton House parkrun
Final incline at Upton House parkrun

Fun Factor

Upton Country park is a very pleasant place for a run, with its wooded trails and views across the bay. It’s very friendly, with a nice mix of regulars and visitors.

Upton Country Park
Upton Country Park

Poole parkrun

Orientation

Celebrating its 500th run in 2022, Poole parkrun takes place in Poole Park, on the outskirts of the town (approximately a 10 minute walkf from the train and bus stations. The start on a grass area in the north west corner of the park. There is no vehicular access to the park before 10 am. Limited car parking (mostly pay & display) is available on nearby roads. I find it easier to park in the Dolphin Leisure Centre car park, which is just opposite the park, close to the start.

Poole parkrun
Poole parkrun

Facilities

There is a toilet block near the start and there are also toilets at the cricket pavilion. The cricket pavilion acts as race HQ, but since Covid, the start/finish lines have been moved away from this area in order to help with spacing people out a bit more.

Christmas Day Poole parkrun
Cricket pavilion on Christmas day

Course

Starting near the lake, the route consists of a lap of the cricket pitch, a lap of the lake and a final lap of the cricket field, before a long straight finish along the cycle path.

Poole parkrun Strava
Poole parkrun Strava

Terrain

Poole is a good place to go if you’re looking for a fast time as it is very flat and mostly paved. There is a short gravel section towards the far end of the lake. The edge of the lake is slightly slanted and can sometimes accumulate bird poo from the resident geese and swans. If’ like me, you’re accident prone, I would advise not running too near the edge!

Poole parkrun
Poole parkrun – running round the lake

Difficulty

Run Britain Rankings for UK parkruns place Poole as the 49th fastest out of a total of 706. The Course has a total elevation of 8 metres.

Poole parkrun finish
Poole parkrun – finish line

Fun Factor

A flat and scenic route through the landscaped park and round the lake. A good route to choose if you’re chasing a 5 km PB or enjoy bird spotting.

Poole parkrun
Family outing to Poole parkrun

Moors Valley parkrun

Orientation

Moors Valley parkrun takes place at Moors Valley Country Park, which is 10 miles north of Bournemouth, on the edge of the New Forest. It is situated just off the A31/A337 and is well signposted. After entering the park, and following the signs to the car park, the start is just in front of you to the right. It’s not really a course that can be easily reached by public transport.

Moors Valley lake
Moors Valley lake

Facilities

There are plenty of toilets near the start at the Visitor Centre. I have to say, they are some of the nicest toilets I have encountered at parkrun. The Visitor Centre also has a cafe for your post run refuelling needs. There is ample parking, but it is not free – you must pay at the paypoint before departure. There is a special price of £1.50 for parkrunners. To qualify for this, you must pay by 10.30 am and depart by 10.45. If you choose to stay longer and enjoy the park’s other facilities (trails, play areas, model railway, golf, Go Ape…), then standard parking charges (approximately £4 an hour) apply. More details can be found here.

Moors Valley parkrun
Moors Valley Totem Pole – parkrun starting point

Course

The course starts by to the totem pole and consists mostly of an anticlockwise loop, with one short out and back section. It is quite narrow at the start, so can take a while to get over the start line. There are signs with estimated start times for you to place yourself behind to help make the start more manageable. (Or to make the slow runners even slower – depending on your point of view). The start is in a slightly different place to the finish, so it’s not a run where you can leave sweatshirts etc at the start beforehand.

Moors Valley parkrun Strava
Moors Valley parkrun Strava

Terrain

The course is mostly on compact gravel trails in the forest, with the last kilometre on a paved path round the lake.

Moors Valley trail
Moors Valley trail

Difficulty

Run Britain Rankings for UK parkruns place Moors Valley as the 176th fastest out of a total of 706. The course has a total elevation of 18 metres.

Moors Valley parkun
Moors Valley parkun paved section

Fun Factor

The narrow start is a bit tedious. But once you’re on your way, you run through the forest and then alongside a lake, so it is particularly scenic, which helps to put a smile on your face!

Finish of Moors Valley parkrun
Finish of Moors Valley parkrun

Nonsuch parkrun

A guide to Nonsuch parkrun

Back to where, for me, it all began 9 years ago at Nonsuch parkrun. Nonsuch Park is the grounds of King Henry VIII’s former hunting lodge, Nonsuch Palace. The word ‘Nonsuch’ is said to derive from Henry himself who declared there was nonsuch place like it. The palace is no longer there (the mistress of Charles II had it demolished and sold the materials to pay her gambling debts).

Nonsuch Park
Nonsuch Park

Orientation

Nonsuch Park is in Cheam on the outskirts of South London, in fact the boundary between Greater London and rural Surrey runs along the edge of the park. The park, which borders south Cheam, has free car parking at either end (Ewell Road and London Road). This fills up quickly. So if you are driving, it pays to arrive early. Alternatively, it is a 15 min walk from Cheam Station.

Nonsuch Park in spring
Nonsuch Park in spring

Facilities

The run starts near the Mansion House, which has a cafe and toilets. With an average attendance of around 500, the toilet queue (particularly for ladies) can be rather long…

Nonsuch parkrun
Nonsuch parkrun start (my 100th parkrun)

Course

The course consists of a mixture of tarmac paths and grass. The summer route (Course A) is two laps. In winter, to reduce the amount of running over the grass, a slightly shorter, three lap course (Course B) is used.

Terrain

As already stated, the course consists of a mixture of grass and tarmac paths. Course A is very flat, with one slight incline (total elevation 37 metres). Course B is even flatter (total elevation 7 metres).

Nonsuch parktun
Nonsuch parkrun

Difficulty

Run Britain Rankings for UK parkruns place Nonsuch as the 70th fastest out of a total of 706. Course A has a total elevation of 20 metres. Course B has an extra hill, so a slightly higher elevation of 24 metres.

Nonsuch parkrun
Nonsuch parkrun finish

Fun Factor

Nonsuch is a large, well established parkrun. It began over a decade ago and regularly hosts over 500 runners, many from local running clubs. It’s very friendly and inclusive. Turn up, and pretty soon someone will be chatting away to you like you’ve known each other for ever!

Making friends at Nonsuch parkrun

Bournemouth parkrun

A guide to Bournemouth parkrun

My home parkrun for the past 5 years is Bournemouth parkrun, which takes place in Kings Park, Boscombe on the outskirts of Bournemouth.

Orientation

Kings Park is 2 miles from central Bournemouth adjacent to the A338, the main road into town. As the park is also the home to AFC Bournemouth, it is well signposted. The start takes place in front of the Athletics stadium. There is some free parking in the park and neighbouring roads, although it can fill up quickly (especially on match days or in peak summer, as the beach park & ride also operates from here).

Bournemouth parkrun start
Bournemouth parkrun start

Facilities

There are toilets located right next to the start, in the athletics stadium. The stadium also has a cafe which is open for post run drinks and snacks.

250th parkrun celebration
Celebrations in the cafe at Bournemouth parkrun

Course

The original course (Course A) consists of one small lap plus 2 large laps of Kings Park, starting in front of the Athletics stadium and finishing at the rear of the stadium. The post-Covid course (Course B) consists of a slightly smaller first lap and extended third lap, starting and finishing in front of the stadium.

A slightly different course (Course C) is temporarily being used due to construction work taking place in the park. This consists of the original first lap, plus two shortened long laps, finishing with a mini lap of the field in front of the Athletics Stadium.

Terrain

The course consists of a mixture of grass, tarmac paths, a short section of trail and a short gravel section. It’s mostly flat with a couple of slight hills.

Bournemouth parkrun finish
New Year’s Day finish at Bournemouth parkrun

Difficulty

Run Britain Rankings for Uk parkruns place Bournemouth as the 275th fastest out of a total of 706. Course A has a total elevation of 20 metres. Course B has an extra hill, so a slightly higher elevation of 24 metres.

Bournemouth parkrun
Bournemouth parkrun

Fun Factor

I love Bournemouth because it’s my home parkrun, but it is bit repetitive and not hugely scenic. Some sections of the course can get muddy in wet weather. Everyone is friendly and plenty of people stay behind after the run for a drink and chat at the cafe. There is often cake…

Bournemouth parkrun
Tail walking in style at Bournemouth Parkrun