parkruns: Bushy Park, London


Every parkrunner knows the story of how the whole thing began, 10 years ago, with 13 brave souls in Bushy Park. Since then, it has grown by leaps and bound, and now this event regularly attracts over 1,000 runners.

bushy coffee
I was in London for my daughter’s graduation performance, so it was already a memorable and emotional weekend. I was staying with my best friend in Feltham, and I’d previously run at Crane Park, round the corner from her. But the mecca-like Bushy is only 3 miles away, and she quickly grasped how important it is for any serious parkrun tourist to tick off their list. So I am enormously grateful to her for getting up early on a bright and sunny Saturday morning to drive me.

It was an astonishing sight as we drove down the main avenue, watching runners gather from all directions. Red 50 and black 100 shirts there were a-plenty, and I was trying out my Jog Lisburn sleeveless vest for size. I STILL haven’t got my 50 one – my profile says I ordered it on 2nd August 2014, but here we are nearly a year later.

The start is close to the Diana fountain, and pre-run brief is given using a microphone and speakers. It’s a nice wide start point, so there was very little hemming in. The surface is a mixture of grass and sandy paths, and it covers one lap round the park, past ponds, under trees, with the main hazard being deer and their poo.

I couldn’t get my headphones to work. When I switched them on, they cheerily told me they were “pairing!” but couldn’t seem to find my phone. So I was running with no music, which always makes the run seem so much longer.
20150711_093430bushy v

Dealing with that number of runners makes the finish activities more difficult – into 2 funnels, I was given a letter to hold. When I reached the head of the queue, they held our funnel and let through the other one, until the next letter was reached, at which point we could proceed and collect our finish token, and then queue for scanning. This was remarkably efficient, though as you can imagine there’s a fair bit of work sorting out that number of tokens!

My time wasn’t great – I’d imbibed a fair bit of wine during the graduation celebrations, running on grass is slower, I’d no music, it was warm….I did have a laugh out loud when I read the official email results:

“Congratulations on completing your 88th parkrun and your 1st at Bushy parkrun today. You finished in 841st place and were the 268th female out of a field of 1035 parkrunners and you came 29th in your age category VW50-54”


Ah well.


Then came another new experience, the queue of cars leaving the car park!Some people have a coffee at the little wooden hut beside the car park, some go to The Pheasantry. We went a little further afield and I tucked into Eggs Benedict in Carluccios in Teddington. Lovely!

List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.