The Course

The course is 5000m (5k) long. This has been accurately measured by us with a professional measuring wheel. The course is in Valentines park, Ilford and run on flat tarmac paths. Some sections of the course may accumulate mud, leaves and puddles after rain. Dependent on availability, marshals will be at key sections of the course, or signs will be in place.

Please remember that the parkrun uses shared paths. For the continued success of the event, please give way to other park users. This won't hurt your time, it won't stop you from getting a PB and it will make sure everyone continues to enjoy the event.

Please, wherever possible walk, jog, cycle or use public transport when attending the event. If you do have to drive, please consider car-sharing to reduce our impact on both the environment and other park users. Please also watch out for other park users when arriving and leaving. Parking may be limited so try to arrive early.

Course Safety

Valentines parkrun is a fun, free event organised by volunteers for the benefit of everyone. We wish to make the event as safe as possible, so participants, spectators and helpers are asked to take care about the following:

  • Please be considerate to the park and other park users at all times.
  • Children under the age of eleven must be accompanied (within arm's reach) throughout the run by a parent, guardian or appropriate adult of the parent's choice.
  • Please arrive by foot, by pedal-power or by public transport if you can - your efforts help to reduce our impact on the park and the planet.
  • Please consider volunteering to help occasionally - this event survives only because of your generosity - please visit the volunteer page for more information.
  • Take care near roads and car parks - some vehicles drive very quickly. Please congregate away from the cars and be careful in particular if you have children. If you’re driving to the run, please drive carefully even if you’re late!
  • When running, take care on uneven surfaces – whether on grass or on tarmac. Watch out for cyclists, other runners, pedestrians, children, dogs, wildlife, park animals, vehicles, park maintenance work, falling branches, bollards, posts and other obstacles around the course.
  • Please ensure that you are fit enough to walk, jog, run 5k (3.1 miles) with us.
  • Remember to warm up before the run.
  • If you see a runner with a serious problem, please stop to help them out and get help as soon as possible.
  • If you’re watching, keep clear of runners on the course, and look after any children and dogs you may have with you.
  • It is not permitted to run with a pushchair and a dog at the same time.
  • Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. Consider protecting yourself by wearing repellent when at parkrun events in grassy or wooded areas. See for further details.
  • You are welcome to take part with one dog by your side, within reach at all times, on a short, handheld, non-extendable lead. Please also see this Support Site entry for further details about parkrunning with dogs.
  • Runners pushing buggies are welcome, but please take care of others around you and do your best to start at an appropriate place in the field for your pace.

We hope these tips help to ensure that Valentines parkrun is fun and safe for everyone.

Age Grading

All parkrun events use Age Grading to help parkrunners compare results.

Age Grading takes your time and uses the world record time for your sex and age group to produce a score (a percentage). This score allows you to compare your personal performance against other people's performances even though they might be a different age and a different sex to you - the higher the score the better the performance. The scores can also be compared across different race distances - to allow you to, for example, compare a 5km time against a marathon.

For more information, please see our Support page.

Course Map

Course Description

The course starts near the Valentines Park Café, and continues south-west along the main path to the far end of the boating lake. After two anti-clockwise laps of the park, the course then returns along the north side of the boating lake, where it finishes at the same place as the start.


Gents' and ladies' toilets are located next to the Valentines Park Café, near the start/finish area. Disabled toilets accessible with a RADAR key, and further gents' and ladies' toilets are located next to the Gardener's Cottage Café in the north of the park and also just outside the park at the junction of The Drive with Cranbrook Road.

Getting There

Location of start

The start is located near the Valentines Park Café on the north side of the Boating Lake, in the southern part of the park.

Getting there by public transport

The nearest tube station is Gants Hill, on the Central Line. Use Exit 4, and then follow the signs for Valentines Park. The start line is about 10-15 minutes' walk from the station.

Ilford station, served by TfL Rail, is also near the park. Turn left when exiting the station, and walk north up Cranbrook Road. The start line is about 10-15 minutes' walk from the station.

Several bus routes travel along Cranbrook Road. Use bus stop VB ("Valentines Park") if travelling southwards, and bus stop VP ("Valentines Park") if travelling northwards. The start line is about 5 minutes' walk from either stop. Routes include 123, 128, 150, 167, 179, 296, 396 & 462.

Getting there on foot

Valentines Park is approximately 15 minutes' walk from Ilford town centre. Follow signs to the rail station, and then continue northwards along Cranbrook Road. The nearest park entrance is located on the right-hand side, just past Park Avenue. On entering the park, the path will take you towards the boating lake. Follow the path clockwise around the edge of the lake.

The Park is about 5 minutes' walk from Gants Hill roundabout. Follow Cranbrook Road south. The park entrance is on the left-hand side, just past Valentines High School. Once inside the park, walk past the Horse Pond and then along the right-hand side of Long Water. Continue along the path past the lake; at the southern end of the lake, take the path to the right over the wooden footbridge. At the end of this path, turn right again. The start line is ahead, just beyond the Valentines Park Café.

Getting there by road

Ilford can be accessed via the A12 (Eastern Avenue) or the A406 (North Circular Road). Follow exit signs to Ilford. Valentines Park will be clearly visible on the east side of the road when travelling along the A123 (Cranbrook Road).

There are 4 car parks within the park. As at March 2019 they cost £1 for up to 1 hour, £1.60 for 1-2 hours, and £3.60 for all-day parking. Payment can only be made via the RingGo app, or by calling (020) 3046 0010.
Melbourne Road entrance IG1 4SB:
25 marked spaces, plus 3 disabled spaces
Cranbrook Road entrance IG1 4UA:
35 marked spaces, plus (marked in yellow) 4 disabled spaces
Perth Road entrance IG2 6EA:
24 marked spaces, plus 2 disabled spaces
Emerson Road entrance IG1 4XA:
41 marked spaces, plus 2 disabled spaces

Post Run Coffee

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee at the Valentines Park Café, near the start/finish area - please come and join us