Posted by: zoecakes | 29 September 2013

Great Lines parkrun

Over the last few years I have been fortunate enough to met some genuinely nice people based all around the world through work and since being ill a number of them have been kind enough to keep in touch and regularly ask after my health. A few weeks ago one of them, a keen runner from America, emailed me to say he would be in London on 28 September and would we be parkrunning that day as he’d like to join us and see what it’s all about. Sure I said, although at the time we didn’t have a parkrun in mind and I was also a little worried that a 5k run may be a little short and dull for an ultra runner who’s more used to doing events like the Leadville 100.

Then we heard that the Great Lines parkrun would be starting in Gillingham that day and having been bitten by the parkrun tourism and inaugural bug we were keen to give it a go. Feeling guilty that it wasn’t exactly local for someone staying in London and required an hour or so’s train journey to get to, I contacted Gary with our plan and said I would quite understand if he didn’t want to get up at silly o’clock to run just 5k. However, he was undeterred and said it would be good to have a run away from central London. So, we swapped phone numbers and arranged to meet in the park around 8.30am. Unfortunately I missed his call when he arrived in the park but fortunately he spotted us as we milled around the start area chatting away to some other parkrun tourists who’d turned up for the run.

Just before 9am the Event Director gave his briefing and introduced the local Mayor who the started the run with an airhorn that much to everyone’s amusement produced more of puff than a toot! Gary kindly offered to run/walk with me, which meant Mr W could run with a friend he’d met while he was a London 2012 Gamesmaker last year who had also come along, and we had a lovely chat as we went round. The course consisted of a lap of the football pitches on grass, before heading up a path towards a Naval Memorial at the far side of the park which we looped round before running back down to the start area and doing it all over again. The layout of the course gave lots of opportunities to see other runners and it was lovely to be able to wave ‘hello’ to other parkrun tourists that we knew on the way round, plus there were some great views over Chatham to be had as you looped round the Memorial. Regular parkrun tourist, Steven Stockwell describes the course in much more detail in his blog.

Chatting certainly makes the time go faster and before I knew it, it was time to sprint for the finish where I was escorted over the finish line by the lovely Event Director, Tony, who had also given me a big cheer on our first lap. Despite all the chatting and walk breaks, my time was four minutes quicker than last week in Orpington and more importantly Gary seemed to have enjoyed his first parkrun experience, although of course it wasn’t over until we’d been to the cafe for coffee, cake and more chatting.

All in all, another fab morning of parkrunning! 🙂



  1. Inaugural pr, overseas friends, a scenic course what great way to spend a Saturday

  2. And spreading the parkrun bug to US peeps is always a good plan 🙂

  3. Wow you are having some good runs at the moment Zoe – its great to see that lovely big smile in the pics x

  4. Zoe, I did have a great time doing the Parkrun with you in Gillingham. We were talking so much the time did go by a little too quickly. They still haven’t started a Parkrun down here in Texas…. yet.

  5. […] Great Lines parkrun ( […]

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