parkrun here, parkrun there...parkrun is happening everywhere!
12 October 2015
The running phenomenon continues to boom in Kent as they welcome their 14th parkrun to their ever growing parkrun family.
Last Saturday, Malling parkrun, Kent’s 14th event, opened its arms to walkers, joggers and runners of all ages and abilities from the local community. Over 290 people took part in this inaugural event completing 2 laps around the beautiful Leybourne Lakes.
parkrun is a free weekly 5k timed event organised by volunteers, which takes place every Saturday at 9am at various locations across the country. In 2010, Kent’s very first parkrun was set up in Whitstable by Event Director Jacky MacDonald and her team of volunteers. It soon became a popular event with well over 100 runners regularly taking part. Many of these runners were local but an ever increasing number travelled across Kent to join Whitstable’s merry band of parkrunners. The demand for more parkruns in Kent was clear!
Thanks to the support of many local Councils, KCC Country Parks, the Run Kent Activator, local parkrun ambassadors (Jacky MacDonald, Donna Carr and Jonathan Crowle) and the ever expanding teams of volunteers, the last three years has seen a parkrun boom in Kent and the events, in size and number, just keep on growing.
With 14 parkruns now to choose from (and 3 more in the pipeline!), Kent runners and joggers really are spoilt for choice. There are coastal parkruns in Margate, Folkestone and Whitsable; parkruns in country parks like Shorne Woods in Gravesend, Pegwell Bay nr Ramsgate, Lullingstone Park in Eynsford and Haysden in Tonbridge; along river banks in Maidstone; around lakes in Malling; through Great Lines Heritage Park in Gillingham; around Victoria Park in Ashford, Central Park in Dartford, Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells; and along the Crab and Winkle Way in Canterbury.
The locations may differ and the scenery may change but the one thing these events all have in common is their community spirit. They are about fun, friendly, sociable running which means everyone from the young to the old can take part.
Lucy Tomlinson, Run Kent Activator, stated "It's fantastic to see so many parkruns now established in Kent. Alongside our beginner-friendly running groups, parkruns are perfect for the beginner runner but they also cater for the more seasoned runner too. Go along to any of our 14 events in Kent and you'll see Mums, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers, Sisters, Grandparents, Grandchildren and even the family dog taking part. I guarantee you'll be making new friends with fellow parkrunners even before you start and you'll be firm friends by the time you get to that finish funnel."
All these events wouldn't happen without the army of volunteers that get together every Saturday morning to organise them. Their commitment to parkrun is truly inspirational and they are the backbone of the parkrun family.
But you don't have to take our word for it...why not find out for yourself what parkrun is all about? Just go along to your local parkrun with your free personal barcode, which you can get by registering at www.parkrun.org.uk and give it a go. Whether you want to join the team of volunteers or take part as a walker/runner with your friends and family, you won't be disappointed. Once you've experienced parkrun for yourself, we guarantee you'll be coming back for more!