Norwich Parkrun celebrates its first birthday

While many of us are still in bed on a Saturday morning, from all corners of the city and further afield brightly coloured runners have been descending on Eaton Park for a year to run, jog and walk the Parkrun.

The Norwich event, which is part of a national phenomenon, celebrated its first birthday on Saturday and the runners were joined by the man behind the idea as he ran the 5km, three-lap course around the park for the first time.

Paul Sinton-Hewitt started Parkrun in 2004, with just 13 runners in Bushy Park, Teddington. Since then the weekly 5km timed running events have sprung up across the UK. There are now 70 events across the UK run every Saturday of the year. Some even boast a special event on both Christmas and New Year's Day.

The Norwich event was started by four city runners.

Richard Polley, who was one of the founders of the Norwich Parkrun, said: 'We all got together and thought it would be a good idea. We launched on August 7 last year. There were 117 people on the first one and the most we've had is 267.'


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There were 254 runners taking part on Saturday.

He continued: 'It is different to all other road races. You can run with a dog and an iPod and we've had people running with buggies. We really do not mind. It is a community event.'

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Nick Clarke, physical activity co-ordinator for Active Norfolk and one of the volunteer race directors and co-founders of the Norwich event, said: 'Parkrun really makes a difference to a lot of people. The atmosphere every Saturday at Eaton Park is amazing and inspiring. It's a fun way to work towards those 60 active minutes a day and anyone can join in, whether you're an experienced runner or new to exercise.

'It's an all-inclusive, community-based feel-good event that has proved very popular in Norfolk. A big thank-you to all the volunteers who make it possible.'

Active Norfolk and NHS Norfolk funded the project initially.

All runners must register before each run.

Visit www.parkrun.com for more information.

For more pictures of Saturday's parkrun visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk

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