Exciting times at Cheltenham parkrun as we look to make the first significant changes to our event after more than four years of wonderful success.
When we first brought parkrun to Cheltenham we had limited expectations, in fact we all remember discussions quoting 150 runners as a really exceptional turnout! The people of Cheltenham (and the many wonderful tourists we have hosted over the years) have really taken to our event and we now see incredible numbers every Saturday morning. The passion for parkrun in this town is something to be proud of and we want to see that remain and even grow in years to come.
Unavoidably though, success brings challenges. You may remember the old days of anticlockwise runs which became impossible as 400 runners approaching a small bridge all at the same time would have been carnage! We have tried over the years to make the event as safe and enjoyable as possible for the high numbers of participants by making small adjustments to the course and the run rules. As it looks like participant numbers are only ever going to rise though we have to think about some larger changes to protect runners, protect the park and protect the volunteer team that make parkrun happen.
With that in mind your Core Volunteer Team have been working hard behind the scenes, covering every inch of Pittville Park, testing and retesting alternatives…and we’re really pleased to say we have found one! As of Saturday 22nd July we will be following a new route around Pittville Park which starts in a similar location, avoids some of the current obstacles and is only 2 laps so limiting the amount of overtaking necessary. We will be using the same parts of the park with some additions and moving some corners too. Nothing too radical but definitely a new and exciting challenge. We will reveal full details in the week prior to the new course being launched.
We appreciate that many people are fans of the current course and with any change of route there is an impact on times, but with 400+ runners every week change is inevitable. As a team with experience of over 100 other parkrun venues around the world we believe our new route will still be one of the best and after many hours of toil we’d really appreciate your help in making the transition as smooth as possible.
In the meantime we hope to see many of you on 15th July as we say goodbye to the old course and, as always, feel free to bring cake!
Yours excitedly, the Core Volunteer Team.