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Date of Visit
Number of runners
2 for me. 3 for Bryony
We first came here as part of a new year double back in 2020. I’ve not been back since though Bryony came here when I was somewhere else one weekend.
Very nice! Was about 15 degrees so just about right for summer running. Blue sky with the occasional white cloud made for an excellent backdrop to such a lovely venue.
Braunstone park is very close to Braunstone Leisure centre which means it’s pretty easy to find and well connected.
There is a bus stop right outside the leisure centre and it’s a short walk to the start line from there.
The parkrun page makes no mention of getting there by train. You could come in to Leicester station and get a bus from there.
The parkrun page also talks about walking directions from the city centre. If you don’t mind a few miles as a warm up it’s probably ok but do note that from the train station it’s about two and a half miles which may be a bit far for some.
If you are driving it’s easy enough to get at from the M1. For parking, the parkrun page says you can park at the leisure centre and walk up. It’s what we did and there were loads of spaces. There were people parking on the road as we walked up Gooding Avenue. Please don’t inconvenience any of the locals if that’s what you choose to do.
The start line is essentially in the middle of the park. There is a paved area near Braunstone Hall where everyone congregates and the briefings are held and it’s a very short walk to the start line which is on the grass itself. Turn left out the leisure centre onto Gooding Avenue. Park will be on your right while you’ll see paths into the park.
Toilets are available at the leisure centre and according the parkrun page that’s where people often hang out for their post run drink. We didn’t this time around as Bryony had afternoon plans. You could probably get a shower there if needed. We toyed with this as it potentially could have worked with Bryony’s plans but didn’t in the end. (That’s the long winded way of me saying I’ve no idea what that will cost you)
Briefings and Volunteers
First time briefing gave us a quick overview of the route and the usual parkrun “things to know”. Person doing the main briefing climbed up onto a bit of higher ground so they can be see which I always like. With some larger parkruns the briefing seems to come from a disembodied voice as there are so many people in the way!
There were lots of enthusiastic volunteers around the course and I had a nice chat with the RD about the route while I was waiting on Bryony to finish.
Start line and finish funnel
Start line is on grass where we all head off towards a path that goes around the park. This made for a really wide start line. Always like to see this as it means as many people as possible can get away and there is no queuing just to start.
Finish funnel is on hill! As it’s also on grass it had been trimmed to provide a path up to the funnel. It wasn’t quite wide enough though so when it got a little busy it meant when some people were trying to get a sprint on at the end and some people just wanted to get up the hill it did make it a little bit chaotic.
When I was last here it was so busy on that day (891 people!) and also the middle of winter so I hadn’t really realised how beautiful it was.
The route itself is two laps and while this is mostly on path it’s best described as “mixed terrain”. As mentioned above it starts on grass, follows a path around the park but does go off-road through a tree section where it’s a woodchip path. Bit of everything.
There is a hill but as it’s right at the end of the first lap you only have to do it once as you’re directed off to the finish second time around. It’s not too horrible a hill thankfully. Between that and the off-road parts it’s not the fastest, though the bits on the path are flat with a nice downhill section too.
The route has also changed a little bit since I was last there to add one of the sections through the trees where it went through a car park before. Granted it’s only my second time but I think I prefer the current route.
In the summer road shoes will be fine. In the winter it’ll be a tough choice. Two thirds of this are on regular paths but I could see the benefit in trail shoes on wet and muddy winter morning for the part that aren’t. If you’ve got a hybrid trail shoe they’ll be perfect for this.
Short or Long? (based on our watches and checking out other Strava profiles)
My watch had it slightly long. I also got chatting to a regular on the walk back to the car who was telling me about the route changes and how how thought it had made it a touch longer.
Tourist event number:
26 – no changes though as this was a repeat visit
Position: 4 (68.98% age grade)
Tourist event number:
21- no changes as repeat visit
226 (42.60 % age grade) 85 Female
How did it go?
All good, I really enjoyed this one. Route itself while not the fastest still has fast parts in it if that’s your thing and while I probably could have pushed a bit harder any time I go under 20 minutes I’m happy. The finish line on the hill though..I frowned at that a little as I started up it!
With a Standard Triathlon tomorrow, Bryony’s plan was to take it easy. Having done Braunstone a couple of times before, she knew what was coming which helped. In reality, a busy week meant for a harder run than expected, and despite the plan to take it easy, she was disappointed with her time. All things considered though, she remembered why she likes Braunstone!
Return Visit Likely?
Yup. I think we’d both forgotten how good this one was and should have come for a return sooner. It’s not prohibitively far away either so don’t think it’ll be as long as it was previously.
Bryony said on Saturday night she thought it has everything. Toilets, ample parking, wide start, lots of space at start for briefing and finish, grassy, paved and woodland paths, hills and downward paths…probably ticks every box!
Pictures and that.