It’s Saturday evening and I’m sitting on the sofa with a heavy heart. Today I ran my last Parkrun in Hatfield Forest. My most favourite Parkrun is closing and next Saturday is your last chance to run it!
I have always been a Parkrun fan but never seemed to have time to run it, always somewhere to be or a long run on the Sunday. Then my circumstances changed, I moved house and Hatfield Forest became my local Parkrun. I grew up in Essex and as a child spent lots of time in the forest with my family so it’s always been close to my heart. I had done the run last summer and fallen in love with it, now it was my local Parkrun and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. It is a beautiful 5km off road run, you are guaranteed to see animals of some kind, squirrels, rabbits or the herd of cattle wondering around. Watch the seasons change and witness the MASSIVE airplanes coming in to land at Stansted Airport. It is a truly unique venue. The volunteers and other runners are friendly and there is always time for a coffee before heading home afterwards.
Today was the forest’s 130th Parkrun with 298 runners. The average week has 193 runners. The first Parkrun had 92 runners so that’s an increase of around 100 runners every single week running around the lovely royal hunting forest which dates back to the Norman times. 95% of these people would be arriving by car as there is little/no public transport to the forest.
Chris Holt (Hatfield Forest Run Director) say in the relocation statement -‘Hosting a free, timed, weekly 5k in a sensitive location such as Hatfield Forest has always required close collaboration between parkrun and the National Trust. Last winter it became apparent that our increasing numbers were beginning to have an impact on the parking situation at the forest, with demand exceeding supply on a weekly basis and we were sensitive to issues this was causing for the National Trust.
We can therefore announce that September 23rd will be the final Hatfield Forest parkrun, before we move to our new location in Bishop’s Stortford on September 30th for our first event, as Castle Park parkrun. ‘
I can completely understand and accept why the Parkrun needs to relocate and Yes, it is exciting for the Parkrun community and the future of Castle Park but I am going to miss the Forest…Yes, I am lucky enough to run the forest at anytime I wish…but…it won’t be the same and today I am in mourning for Hatfield Forest Parkrun.
If you have never been to the forest, if you have never run a Parkrun before, if you are local or if you need to travel.. Make the journey..walk, run or roll the 5km if you have to but go and be part of Hatfield Forest Parkrun before it’s too late, go say hi to some friendly faces, go have a coffee in the most beautiful of setting. I can guarantee you’ll be so glad you did.