Perfect Parks for Terrific Training

Brooks Shoe Finder

Every running star of the future needs to train – and the great news is that getting active outdoors keeps you physically fit, boosts your mental health and helps your body and brain prepare for your AJ Bell Great Junior or Mini Run challenge.

So where’s the best place near you to lace up and get racing? No need to get Googling – we’ve done the research for you.

Read on for local parks that are perfect for super speedy running, and maybe even an exciting reward for afterwards – no matter which Great Run event you live near. Let’s go!

Birmingham – Cannon Hill Park

With 80 acres of formal parkland and a whopping 120 acres of woodland and nature reserves, Cannon Hill Park gives you plenty of space. There’s a planned 2km walking route where you’ll find lots of other runners and walkers, and a Tree Walk where you can find out more about Cannon Hill’s plant life. But don’t wear yourself out completely – make sure you save some energy for playing (there are *two* play parks), tennis or the land train (a small charge applies). All aboard! Find out more here.

Bristol – Blaise Castle

Fancy a run around a castle? You can at Blaise Castle Estate. There are a few planned one mile walks (or runs) in the grounds to have a go at including The Royals and St Mary’s Church Yard and the Castle walk with views over the gorge. Afterwards, head for the playpark or, if it’s a bank holiday or the third Sunday of the month, you can take a peek inside the castle itself (March to October; check opening times in advance). Plan your visit here.

Manchester – Heaton Park

Heaton Park is a great place to stretch your legs with some 1 mile and 3km routes that are perfect for younger runners. Once you’ve ticked off your training session, why not have a look at the free Love Exploring app for ideas of what to do next – there’s so much to see, from beekeeping (yep, really!) to the Tramway Musuem (open April-October). Find out more here.

Newcastle – Exhibition Park

You’re never far from some green space in Newcastle, but Exhibition Park is up there with the best parks for mini runners to let off some steam. Like all of the parks we’ve mentioned so far, it’s home to a Parkrun every weekend, and the Urban Green Café is open seven days a week. Handy for city centre attractions like the Hancock Museum and Northern Stage, it’s also home to a skate park, tennis courts and an outdoor gym.

Glasgow – Glasgow Green

For Glasgow, where else could we recommend other than Glasgow Green, where thousands of Great Scottish Run finishers cross the finish line every year? There’s plenty to see as you race around the pretty parkland – The People’s Palace, the Nelson Monument, the McLennan Arch and more – and there’s even a heritage trail to follow. Afterwards, there’s a play park, orienteering and Clyde viewing platforms to enjoy.

Portsmouth – Southsea Common

There’s a reason the AJ Bell Great South Run finishes up on Clarence Esplanade, near Southsea Common – it’s perfect, all-weather, beachside running. A straight course also means that minis are free to concentrate on the important stuff: going as fast as they can. Start at the beach huts and head for 15-20 minutes in one direction, then turn around and head back, or enjoy the open space and have a run around on The Common. Afterwards, you can visit the beach, go scooting or grab a snack at one of the many cafés in the area. Enjoy!

Your start line awaits. Party atmosphere? Incredible support? An unforgettable experience? There’s no mistaking that Great Run magic. Take a look at our unbeatable Junior and Mini events here.

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