I’m still on my quest to run my 50th parkrun in Guernsey and my most recent was Burgess parkrun. My Saturdays ran away with me a little bit and I left myself in a position where I couldn’t miss ANY Saturday’s. Last weekend, I was scheduled to run the Spitfire Scramble and had planned to return to Harrow Lodge parkrun on the Saturday before the run. However, a scheduling error led to disaster with my husband being away and messing up my Spitfire and parkrun plans. I threw my toys out of the pram and stropped. He agreed he’d come back in time for me to get over to Essex on Sunday and join the rest of the team.
Then I really threw a tantrum. I had to run Saturday or I couldn’t make my 50th parkrun in Guernsey. We did some research and decided that if we got up early, we could go over to Burgess parkrun. I could run, he could entertain toddler and then when I was finished, I could take her home. So that’s what we did.
Burgess parkrun is in Camberwell, not far from Elephant & Castle and is only a short bus ride from London Bridge station. It’s known for being fast and flat. It’s easy to find, with the number 40 bus stopping right outside the park. The run starts outside the Tennis Cafe and is almost a one lap out and back, with two turns around the lake.
It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. The Race Director was friendly and I followed her to the start and we chatted about the Spitfire Scramble which she’d done the year before. I also got chatting to another couple of parkrunners who weren’t running that day, but were incredibly friendly. It was definitely one of the warmest welcomes to a parkrun! First-timers and tourists were taken to the side for a briefing before the official pre-run briefing and then we were off.
The run is held entirely on tarmac and is flat, apart from the little dip down to under the bridge and back up again, so this is definitely a course for PBs. However, it was hot, sunny and with Spitfire Scramble the following day, I took it fairly easily, not wanting to, ahem, scramble my legs. The route was well marshaled and we started along a tarmac path, following it straight for about a kilometre before veering left. We were then directed to the lake, where we ran around it twice – this was lovely. Apparently it’s a literal “Swan Lake” but I didn’t notice them. Either they weren’t there on Saturday, or my powers of observation failed me. There’s something so peaceful about running next to water. Following our second turn around the lake, it was time to follow the route back to the beginning. We’d been told to look out for Thomas the Tank Engine – I missed him on the way out, but on the way back I spotted him – definitely a novelty to look out for at parkrun!
The run finishes on the left side of the path, a couple of hundred metres before the start. I really enjoyed this out and back route and would like to go back at some time to try for a fast time and run it properly! On Saturday, I walk/ran it in 31:55 to conserve my legs for Sunday. It’s definitely a quick event – there were only about 12 people behind me!
A prompt barcode scan and I joined my husband on the grass for a few minutes, where Rose had made friends with another runner.
A fantastic fast course, scenic and incredibly welcoming. Burgess is one of my favourite parkrun locations yet! You definitely wouldn’t think that the concrete jungle of Elephant & Castle was only a mile away.
We didn’t have time to check out Tennis Cafe properly, just using the toilets, but a quick shout out to their facilities (toilets and changing rooms), friendly staff (thank you for giving Rose a tennis ball) and a varied menu which even had specific vegan options. You’ve got it all!
(I forgot to take any photos, so here’s one my husband took of Rose trying on my top).