1 January 2023
Did you know many of the Park Runs have a 2km course for children aged 4 - 14? Even in the centre of London children can get out in nature exercising together. And it’s free! All you need to do is register before you come. The runs are a great chance for children to make friends and be part of the community. For adults it's a chance to meet other parents as often the group goes for coffee afterwards. Volunteers marshall the course so children are always in sight of an adult. Parents do not need to run with their children on the course but under 11’s must have an adult present in the park. It's ok to walk some of the way, although being naturally competitive many children will race. Park runs are inclusive so do check out what provisions there are for wheelchairs.
This course is entirely on grass! Of course, mud and puddles will be encountered but it feels so good to get off the tarmac. The course is in the north east corner of the park, not the Common. There’s a cafe, public toilets, free parking and a children’s playground. The run is weekly at 09.00 on Sundays with about 100 children taking part.
This is a junior Parkrun at a park that caters well for families. Queen's Park, in Kilburn, boasts a children’s farm (including petting zoo), a play area, the Queen’s Park Cafe, pitch and putt golf area, a sandpit, a trim trail, and a woodland walk. So, there’s enough to make a day of it. The course itself is smooth and simple, taking place on tarmac and gravel and without too much in the way of hills.
Another smaller group of children, around 20, meet every Sunday at the benches by the cricket pitch of London Fields West. The children do two laps mainly on grass with some tarmac paths. There are two playgrounds and toilets in the park and the group go to a nearby cafe afterwards. It's right beside the Lido so perfect for jumping in the water afterwards. The run happens every Sunday at 09.00.
A green oasis in Camberwell, Burgess Park has facilities including a fishing lake, BMX track, play areas and gardens. Around 30 runners might finish every week and the group goes to the Park Life Cafe afterwards. The run starts at 09.00 on Sundays.
A little further out beyond Richmond is Bushy Park which has the advantage of being a nature reserve. Red deer and fallow deer roam freely adding a sense of adventure. The course starts at the Diana fountain on grass and goes through woodland and open meadow. There are two cafes and a van selling coffee. There might be 200 children at the start. This event happens on the first Sunday of every month.
Often the children’s runs are on a different day from the adult runs so there is plenty of space and they don’t need to feel intimidated. Before you know it they’ll be outpacing you!