It’s been on hold since March, but in normal times it gets hundreds of SE Londoners up each Saturday morning for a run around the park. Or even just a brisk walk. It’s helped transform people’s fitness and wellbeing, and has become a global phenomenon. So why not have one in Charlton? CLARE CRAWLEY is looking for volunteers who can help bring parkrun to Charlton Park…
Heard of parkrun? It’s the global phenomenon that sees weekly runs in 20 countries worldwide, totally free, with a focus on inclusiveness and run entirely by volunteers. And myself and a group of Charlton residents are looking to establish a parkrun (or two) in SE7!
Parkrun is a simple format. The Saturday ‘run’ is 5k (although walking or slow jogs are just as welcome) and there is a Sunday event for juniors (ages 4-14) which is 2k. We may have to try starting with one, depending on the interest and enthusiasm we find!
One major decision is where we could hold the parkrun and we have scoped a route in Charlton Park. We have contacted parkrun HQ about its requirements for a venue to check suitability. We are also in conversation with Greenwich Council and the Friends of Charlton Park, both of whom are very supportive of the idea.
So how could you help? Well, we have a handful of committed volunteers who can form the basis a steering group to take the planning forward, but we need more! Meetings will probably have to be virtual at first, because of Covid-19. If we are successful, we will also need volunteers to help set up and support each weekly event. Parkrun could not survive without its volunteers, the ‘hi-vis heroes’!
Interested? Contact Claire on crawley_claire[at]yahoo.co.uk.
More information on parkrun (Taken from the parkrun UK website):
“Parkrun is a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience where there is no time limit and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along, whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate. There are so many reasons to take part! Whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate, you can learn new skills and enhance your health and happiness in the great outdoors whilst making new friends, feeling part of your local community and improving your fitness. Still not convinced? Check out loads of inspirational stories from parkrunners on our blog, or watch them on our YouTube channel.”
The first important change is that you need to book online or via the Better app – no walk-ins at the moment. I made a booking very easily via the app using my membership but know that some others have had issues; anecdotally, the centre are resolving these quite quickly. Swim sessions are 50 minutes, with 10 minutes presumably for cleaning.
Swimmers enter through the reception in the usual way and exit post-swim from one of the poolside fire exits. The indoor changing rooms are out of action, but the toilets are available, along with the poolside cubicles, showers and lockers.
Swimming is adults-only at the moment, and the pool has been divided into five lanes, each going in an anti-clockwise direction. Under government guidance butterfly and backstroke aren’t allowed (presumably these are either too splashy or they bring increased risk of contact with other swimmers). The car park is now pay-by-mobile.
From my experience the new system was working well, and I was impressed by the staffs’ efforts in explaining the new processes to swimmers as they came into the centre and again poolside. It was emphasised that the centre is going through a learning process, and the above may change over time – as may government guidance. We’re told that ‘full service’ resumes on July 25 but they are hopeful of running some outdoor fitness activities including spin classes before then. In the meantime, we advise keeping an eye on the website for the latest opening hours.