It's back! Hundreds of runners celebrate Parkrun return

Runners take part in the Eaton Park Parkrun.

Runners take part in the Eaton Park Parkrun. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Park life was busier than usual on Saturday as hundreds of runners across the county limbered up for the return of the first Parkruns in more than a year. 

The free, weekly timed events have been on hold due to the pandemic, with no official organised runs held since March 2020. 

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Parkrun events returned to Eaton Park with runners ready to go at 9am.

Parkrun events returned to Eaton Park with runners ready to go at 9am. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

At parks across Norfolk and Waveney, volunteers and runners were back ready to get underway at 9am. 

At Eaton Park, in Norwich, runners set off to the whistle blown by Lord Mayor of Norwich Kevin Maguire, who then doffed his regalia to volunteer as a tail walker - which escorts the last placed participant.  

Mr Maguire said: "In common with so many other people across the country I’m delighted to see the return of parkrun, which has helped so many people into exercise and better physical and mental health. The community spirit here at Norwich parkrun is second to none and I’m glad to have been able to represent the city and play a small part in the restart.”

Terry Atkins, who started doing park runs two years ago on two sticks after three hip operations, said he had missed the camaraderie of running with others.

Terry Atkins at Eaton Park parkrun

Terry Atkins who started doing park runs two years ago on two sticks after three hip operations, said he has missed the camaraderie of running with others. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk - Credit: Neil Didsbury

A number of rules remain in place due to the ongoing caution over the pandemic, with racers urged not to refrain from high-fiving or any form of social contact, as well as respecting each other's personal spaces. 

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk

Parkrun events have returned to Norfolk - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Parkrun at Eaton Park

Parkrun events returned to Eaton Park with runners ready to go at 9am. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Organising the run was Pete Scott and Steve Cook, who have taken over from Richard Polley as co-event director. 

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Mr Scott said: "Norwich council has been very supportive of all the parkruns in the city and it’s great to have this relationship further cemented by the presence of the Lord Mayor. We were particularly pleased that he chose to mark the event by volunteering rather than running as this helps to reinforce the message that parkrun only happens because loads of people give their time each week to ensure the event takes place efficiently and safely for everyone.”

Peter Scott, the organiser of the Norwich Park Run

Peter Scott, the organiser of the Norwich Park Run - Credit: Neil Didsbury

In attendance at the King's Lynn Parkrun was North West Norfolk MP James Wild, who said in a video on Twitter: "I've just finished my first Parkrun in how long I can't remember. It's great to be back. Big thanks to all the volunteers who made this happen. Lots of people having fun on a Saturday morning." 

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