Upton House Parkrun

Not to be confused with Upton Court Parkrun in Slough…..

Why Upton House Parkrun?

Last year, we bought a Volvo. Trust me, this is relevant. When we test drove the XC60, we were trusted to be grown up enough to take it out for a day on our own to see what we thought. It was vastly bigger than anything I’d driven before, not to mention the first automatic. So, after driving around for a while in search of refreshments. I had a sudden brainwave, Upton House. Big parking spaces, a good cup of tea and a very middle aged Volvo owner thing to do. The other up side was that I saw the parkrun logo. And ever since, it’s been on my wish list.

When I decided to run a different parkrun every Saturday in August, taking Harold (the Volvo) ‘home’ seemed like the perfect opportunity. And even better, was that I managed to tempt some friends into coming with me.

The course

Upton House Parkrun is a three lap course. One big, one small, one big. The entire route is within the grounds of Upton Country Park The briefing takes place in front of the cafe and it’s then just a short walk, on mass, to the start. You head downhill for the first 400m of the large loop which is mostly on a solid path. The majority of the surface after this is trail and particularly the stony scree type surface. Having said that, it is fairly solid under foot. There are three small hills, mostly coming into and exiting the middle, smaller loop. Oh, and a slight hill coming towards the finish, before you turn the corner for a short downhill sprint across the line.

Getting there

This is another one that I unfortunately drove too. I believe there might be a bus that links to Upton House from Poole, but as there is ample car parking, on this occasion we decided to car share. Parking is £1 if you leave by 10.30am. Just make sure that when you pay for your ticket you press the YELLOW button first to benefit from the reduced rate. The machine thankfully takes cash and card payments.

What I especially loved

  • Trail running. The more I do, the more I never want to run on the road again!
  • Upton Country Park is really pretty. There are also some stunning views across Holes bay towards Poole. So remember not to look at your feet the whole time.
  • The marshals with a bell. Reminded me of the bell we used to ring at gymnastics when we’d finally learnt a new skill to show everyone.
  • Upton House has just received a huge grant for improvements and has planning permission for a new visitor centre and more activities for kids. There is also a really cute walled garden outside the tea rooms for a post run coffee.
  • On a Sunday, Upton House holds junior Parkrun

And what I didn’t

  • I started fairly far forward because I’d been warned about the bottle neck at the beginning, but that could be a downside if you were wanting a fast race.

PB potential

Not an outright PB course, but on a Saturday when a lot of UK Parkruns were cancelled due to the high winds, it actually felt fairly fast. I think the stony trails and few sharp hills are probably enough to put pay to any serious PB hunting though.

Stats from 13th July 2019

Event number: 113

Number of runners: 331

This weeks fastest: M- 17.49 F- 21.13

My stats: 

All Time Stats

Average run time: 00:29:31
Female record holder: Emily HUTCHINSON – 18:57 – Event 63 (25/08/18)
Male record holder: Daniel MULRYAN – 15:45 – Event 81 (29/12/18)
Age graded record holder: Caroline HORDER – 92.14 % – 22:41 – Event 32 (13/01/18)

Lasting memory of Upton House Parkrun:

Leave yourself long enough for a post run coffee and cream tea. The walled garden is spectacular. Oh, and also, as per the photos above….. keep smiling, even when you think the camera has stopped looking!

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