Come and join the Harlow parkrun as it is set to celebrate its first birthday

Lifestyle / Mon 9th Nov 2015 at 01:50pm

A RUNNING craze which has taken Harlow by storm and helped over 1,000 people stay fit celebrates its first birthday on Saturday 14 November 2015.

Harlow parkrun – a free, timed 5km run which takes place in Harlow Town Park every Saturday morning – has been a real hit in Harlow. In less than a year over 1,300 individuals have participated and almost 6,000 total runs have been reached. The event currently averages 108 runners per week and this figure is rising. It is hoped that the event on Harlow parkrun’s first birthday will smash its record attendance of 154 which has been reached twice before.

The event, which was initially launched with funding from Harlow Health Centres Trust and Active Essex, with support from Harlow Council and Active Harlow, is now totally managed by a dedicated team of volunteers. There is a core team including the Event Director, Vicky Calver, and Run Directors who are supported by approximately 20 volunteers every Saturday morning.

Harlow parkrun has been making a very positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of the town’s residents but it has also helped to put the town on the map amongst runners, with 116 different running clubs represented at events to date.

Whilst the male course record stands at 17 minutes 40 seconds and the female course record at 19 minutes 27 seconds, parkrun is not only for runners, it is for everyone. The average time it takes to get around the 5km course is 30 minutes 37 seconds and the total run time of all runners is 121 days, 14 hours, two minutes and 59 seconds over a distance of 28,585km. People have attended with pushchairs and dogs and participants are welcome to run, jog or walk.

Councillor Emma Toal, Portfolio Holder for Youth and Community, said: “Harlow parkrun has been a big success. I’m really pleased that so many people have joined in over the past year; it’s been great to see people of all ages and abilities taking advantage of this free event to help improve their health and wellbeing, as well as meet new people.

“The volunteers and Directors involved in parkrun have done a fantastic job in its organisation and execution, and we’re hoping for another excellent turnout at the event’s first birthday celebrations.”

Commenting on Parkrun’s success, Vicky said: “It has been a pleasure and an honour being involved with parkrun. We see the community coming together from all walks of life, from children as young as five right up to people in their 80s. As a core team, we have witnessed some massive changes in people’s ability and appearance and, more importantly, self-confidence. The friendships that have built over this past year are a joy to watch and everyone is so supportive of each other. I would encourage everyone to give it a try. There is no time limit, we wait for everyone to finish regardless of whether it takes you 17 mins or an hour and 20 mins. We also cannot thank the volunteers enough who support us every week as without them, we could not make it happen. So thank you to everyone who has supported us and who continues to support us”.

The first birthday celebrations will start at the earlier time of 8.30am and feature a surprise twist, so even if you have participated in the past it will be something a little bit more special. There will also be special prizes. To get involved you will need to register free of charge in advance at www.parkrun.org.uk/harlow in order to get your barcode that will enable you to get your official time at the end of the each race.

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