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Walks parkrun celebrates its 10th anniversary after humble beginnings

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The popular parkrun celebrates its 10th anniversary run in The Walks in Lynn a week on Saturday with 300 runners now taking part each week since the event restarted following lockdown.

The first King’s Lynn parkrun took place September 10, 2011, when just 61 runners and nine volunteers turned up to take part.

King’s Lynn parkrun event director Gary Walker said: “It feels very much like its old self. I very much remember the first run, when just a small number of us gathered in the Walks to run the course with an even smaller number of volunteers out to see that it all took place safely.

Parkrun at The Walks in Lynn on July 24, 2021. (50833077)
Parkrun at The Walks in Lynn on July 24, 2021. (50833077)

“In those days processing the results was also very much an amateurish job with dial up communications and everything held on an Access database.

“Of course, things have moved on considerably since then, with over 500 parkruns now across the country and more than 140,000 people walking, jogging or running each Saturday, supported by nearly 20,000 volunteers.”

There are some impressive statistics from the 10 years since King’s Lynn parkrun started with 9,135 participants having completed a total of 98,498 individual parkruns, covering a total distance of 492,490 km. This fantastic record, includes 15,956 new personal best runs and a total of 886 individuals having volunteered 7,332 times.

Christmas fancy dress parkrun in King's Lynn 2018. Picture: SUBMITTED. (6201679)
Christmas fancy dress parkrun in King’s Lynn 2018. Picture: SUBMITTED. (6201679)

It would be tricky for parkrun to take place without a steady stream of volunteers each week from within the local parkrun community, both to ensure the run is conducted safely but also accurately as far as the results are concerned, the volunteers being managed by a core team of 7 run directors, upon whom it is totally dependent.

In this respect numerous surveys have shown that there is a significant benefit from volunteering with those who volunteer at parkrun reporting the big improvements to their health and happiness.

Gary said: “All in all, parkrun is a brilliant community event, in which everyone taking part, whether a front runner or a walker at the back of the crowd, is treated equally, this including those who choose to run with their youngsters in buggies or with their dogs.

“Everyone is welcome and the wellbeing effect of taking part is undoubtedly as valuable as is the benefit to fitness.”

King's Lynn parkrun celebrating 70 years of NHS (7243721)
King’s Lynn parkrun celebrating 70 years of NHS (7243721)

Parkrun is a free timed event to which all are welcome, irrespective of age or ability, the only requirement being that those taking part first register at and once registered that they bring their personal barcode which they are issued with to each run.

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