Norwich teenager becomes youngest parkrun run director on his 18th birthday
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A Norwich teenager is celebrating after becoming the world's youngest parkrun director on his 18th birthday.
Archie Roques, from Earlham Road, started volunteering for the free weekly Norwich parkrun 5K aged 15 for his bronze Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
And three years on he has volunteered on 103 separate occasions at Norwich parkrun and Norwich junior parkrun, both held at Eaton Park every Saturday and Sunday respectively.
On Sunday, October 1 the City of Norwich School pupil became the world's youngest parkrun director - organising volunteers and cheering on young runners - at the free junior 2K event.
He said: 'My dad did the Norwich parkrun course and made me come along one day. I'm proud to become the youngest ever run director. It probably doesn't mean a lot to many people but it means a lot to me.'
The parkrun movement started in 2004 at Bushy Park, London.
Since then the free timed event, which takes place at 9am every Saturday, has spread to hundreds of parks around Britain, Europe, USA and Australia.
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It is organised by teams of volunteers who marshal courses, give out time tokens and mark out routes, among other roles.
All the volunteers are co-ordinated by a run director.
Norwich junior parkrun started in March 2015 and is one of the biggest in Britain - attracting up to 220 youngsters aged four to 14 every Sunday at 9am.
Archie added: 'Parkrun is a fantastic community of friends that I wouldn't have had before. It is very rewarding seeing the kids getting out, active and having fun. Parkrun makes a difference to people's lives. I would not have discovered that I enjoyed running unless I had visited Norwich parkrun.'
He has run the 5K route 72 times and his personal best is 22 minutes 10 seconds.
The teenager, who wants to study engineering, said: 'Volunteering has helped my confidence. Organising things, managing people and knowing what to do if things go wrong are good skills to learn.'
His father Tom Roques, a doctor, said: 'I'm proud of Archie. He thrives in being part of a great team organising this event.'
Jo Phillips, Norwich junior parkrun event director, described Archie as enthusiastic and a 'role model' for children and teenagers.