fromtheedge.org was originally inspired by living in a place where five minutes in one direction takes you deep into Epping Forest, whilst the same short distance in the other direction leads to the heart of some of the most diverse and densely populated parts of the country – communities with all the excitement and challenges that inner city living can bring.
Anyone who knows me well will know that I’ve been running for the last year or so (those hours spent pounding the trails and streets are perhaps part of the reason this blog has been so quiet). So this summer I’m going to rejuvenate this site with a series of posts based around my favourite routes in the area …long runs through the forest without crossing a road, trips through parks and round lakes, runs home from the City taking in the marshes, Victorian housing and modern estates, and my first half marathon which beat the bounds of the borough – through Chingford, Wathamstow and Leyton.
These posts will generally be less about running itself and more about the places and routes – but I can’t finish this introductory post to my running series without a reference to the route I run probably more often than any other. Three laps of a local Sports Ground playing fields may not sound like the most exciting running route in the borough but I’m there at 9am most Saturday mornings for the weekly Walthamstow Parkrun .
Parkrun is an amazing example of communities making something happen because they want it to. Organised by volunteers at over 200 sites across the country these free timed 5km runs are open to all and are relaxed and uncompetitive events – it’s true that some runners enjoy chasing a PB each week, but just as many jog leisurely, enjoying the fresh air and weekly catch up with others.
Walthamstow Parkrun started in February of this year, and in the 30 weeks since then has had 342 runners take on its three lap course. Some are club or marathon runners looking for a short fast run as part of their training, some families with multiple generations running together, others parkrun tourists – visiting as many of the sites as possible. The run is a 3 lap course of pleasant tree lined playing fields – a small hill near the beginning means the course is not without its challenges but they set up the weekend nicely, and more often than not what was supposed to be a gentle run finishes with a sprint to the end in an effort to achieve that 21.30 time which has so far eluded me.
Walthamstow Parkrun is at Peter May Sports Ground, Wadham Road, Walthamstow, E17 4HR at 9am every Saturday morning – more details at http://www.parkrun.org.uk/walthamstow/.
Register for free on the website before attending.