I decided against Crystal Palace in the end, and opted for Bushy, the original and the largest of the parkruns.
It has a lot to recommend it. It’s one lap, it’s flat, and it has a long, straight, wide start which minimises go-slows. Added to this, the organisation is superb. It started pretty much bang-on nine, the finishing funnel was efficient, and the results text came through at 11.16am, less than 90 mins after the 689th runner had finished.
I also managed to run it in my third fastest time, despite tacking it on as the end of my long (well, 8 mile*) run.
And it has deer. Lots and lots of deer.
It wasn’t for me. For me, it was just too big. Had it been my first parkrun, it might have been my last, because it just lacked what I think of as the parkrun spark. Give me a smaller, quirkier, more intimate parkrun any day of the week. Or any Saturday of the year. Or something.
[*to clarify: I ran 8 miles in total. 5 miles pre parkrun and 3 miles parkrun]