parkrun #32: Wormwood Scrubs

‘Are you the guy that got attacked by a dog last year?’ is not the most reassuring thing to overhear on the start line. But don’t worry, ‘I was coming second and wasn’t on for a PB so it didn’t matter’.

I don’t want to ruin the suspense, but you’ll be glad to hear that I managed to get round Wormwood Scrubs parkrun without being attacked by dogs.

The clue is in the name – the course is two laps of scrubland, run on grass and dirt tracks. It’s not particularly hilly, although there’s a bit of a slope up past the football pitches where there was lots of encouragement to ‘dig deep and push up the hill’.

The scrubland is at the back of the prison, which housed Pete Doherty for the best part of a month, and featured in Porridge and the Italian Job. I could see the BT tower in the distance as I ran round, and am told that if I was concentrating a bit harder, could have also seen the Shard and Wembley stadium. My favourite section was a narrow brambly path towards the edge of the park, which felt very intrepid while posing no real danger.

wormwood scrubs.jpg

Wormwood Scrubs prison

Either someone helpfully came and cut back the brambles between my first and second lap, or I got a bit lost. I’m pretty sure that at least 4 or 5 of us went the wrong way, and am hoping we didn’t divert everyone else behind us. I recognised the people ahead in the distance when we rejoined the pack, thought the gap looked about right, and was happy at least that we hadn’t taken a massive shortcut. (Please don’t disqualify me!)

There was a really good atmosphere at the end. Although it’s a small parkrun (with 50 runners this week), most people stayed back after they’d finished and everyone got a good round of applause as they came along the finishing straight.

I finished in 27.16, which is more-or-less in line with previous weeks (see results). I’ve been having a bit of a problem with my right hip, so have been doing lots of hamstring stretching and am going to use it as an excuse to head out and buy some new trainers 🙂

wormwood scrubs 2

A fairly terrible photo, which was at least clearly taken at Wormwood Scrubs


I’m running a different parkrun each week of the year to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Please check out my JustGiving page if you can spare a few pennies for a great cause.


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