First Downham Market Parkrun officially begins

Downham Market Academy parkrun had its inaugural run on Saturday, March 5 with 99 finishers.

Downham Market Academy parkrun had its inaugural run on Saturday, March 5 with 99 finishers. - Credit: The Downham Games

Downham Market held its first official Parkrun event over the weekend, which saw people turn out to show their support undeterred by the wet weather and muddy conditions.

The launch on Saturday, March 5 marks the first of planned weekly runs in the town and saw people gather at Downham Market Academy (DMA) for its opening, some runners came from Ely, Thetford and King's Lynn.

Nas Yusuf, one of the Downham Market Parkrun directors, said the team had been working for more than a year to establish the parkrun but plans were delayed due to Covid-19.

Lead event organiser and run director Frances Rayner initially came up with the idea after wanting to create an inclusive community event in her town and a "platform for mass participation that would help put the town on the map".

Frances Rayner hopes to raise funds to install new play equipment at the Howdale.

Lead event organiser and Downham Market Parkrun director Frances Rayner. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

Andy Rayner, Georgina Allen, Jo Johnson and Mr Yusuf were later brought together to form the parkrun team, getting the support of Active Norfolk, Downham Market Town Council, West Norfolk Council, and Ben Smith, teacher at DMA, in order to launch.

Around 99 people crossed the finish line of the inaugural run.

And the parkrun will now be held at DMA every Saturday morning at 9am.

People are being invited to join. For more information visit parkrun.org.uk/downhammarketacademy