Thetford Parkrunners invited to represent town in 10K race in France

Runners Graham Williams and Lisa Perkins, from Thetford, are going to France to represent the town i

Runners Graham Williams and Lisa Perkins, from Thetford, are going to France to represent the town in a 10K race. - Credit: Archant

Neither of them could run a mile three years ago, but now they are going to represent their town in a 10km race across the Channel.

Lisa Perkins and Graham Williams, both from Thetford, have been invited to take part in the event in Les Ulis, near Paris, in honour of the town's twinning relationship.

Both Mrs Perkins and Mr Williams owe their running addiction – and their new found fitness – to Thetford's Parkrun, which has helped them to lose a whopping 14 stone between them since they began running in 2014.

Mr Williams walked his first Parkrun on February 1, 2014. Weighing 28 stone at the time, the 33-year-old began attending the free runs with his wife Nicola to lose weight – and has since lost nine stone through exercise and Slimming World classes.

He said: 'The first Parkrun was nerve-wracking, but I bit the bullet and did it and have never looked back.

'I was shocked and surprised to be asked to go to Les Ulis, but am looking forward to representing Thetford.'

Mrs Perkins, 32, completed her first Parkrun on July 5, 2014 to train for a race she had signed up for with a friend.

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She has since lost five stone through running and Slimming World and has completed 12 marathons across the country – one less than Mr Williams.

'My husband Tony used to run, and about a month after I started he took it up again. Sometimes we get out together, depending on the kids – it is lovely when we get the chance.

'Graham and I have run races together before and it will be nice to do it again,' she said.

Civic leaders in Les Ulis contacted Thetford Mayor Terry Jermy to ask if he would choose two runners to participate in the race, which takes place on Sunday, October 23.

Mr Jermy said: 'I think Lisa and Graham embody what Thetford is all about, and show that you can get healthy through free services.

'We have a lot of people in the town who run marathons on a regular basis, but this is a good opportunity for those who don't do so regularly, especially internationally.'

Mr Williams added: 'It was just too good an opportunity to miss.'

After a request for funding from the town council for the pair's travel expenses was met with resistance at a meeting last week, Mr Jermy volunteered to pay their expenses out of his own pocket.

They will fly out on Friday, October 21 and hope to take in an international Parkrun in the French capital on Saturday ahead of the race.

Has Thetford Parkrun helped you? Email bethany.whymark@archant.co.uk

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