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Volunteers help Parkrun event become global health and well-being phenomenon Posted On 20 August 2021

17 year-old Parkrun event hits the ground running with its return after a 16 month absence


Parkrun boasts approximately 7.5 million participants around the world, with 4.5 million based solely in the UK. The event also enjoys a number of celebrity members and ambassadors, including Lord Sebastian Coe, Sir Mo Farah and Jo Pavey. Despite its lockdown struggles, thousands of volunteers have kept the event alive and kicking, having worked hard to organize and manage the popular 5k runs at 9am every Saturday.

These volunteers have valiantly encouraged people during lockdown to maintain and look after their health, both physical and mental, by logging their 5k times on the organisation’s website.

Hundreds have signed up for Parkrun as it returns for real live runs, with events taking place across Richmond Borough. Bushy Park is the largest of the events, and was where the event was founded 17 years ago, with other bases including Richmond Park, Old Deer Park, Crane Park and Kingston.

Richmond, though rainy, saw the recent return of Parkrun and it was a wonderful sight for saw eyes. Adults, children, dogs, buggies, and even a pair of newlyweds were all enthusiastically tracking through the mud to the starting line, whilst supported by a rousing speech from Run Director (RD) organiser Andy Caie.

Mr Caie and his fellow parkrun volunteer organisers – Francesca Creasy, Michael Glazebrook, David Pennell and Ally Pickard – were recently given a ‘Community Heroes’ award by Richmond Borough Council for ‘outstanding sporting achievement’.

Asked about the event’s return to the parks, Mr Caie has said: “It’s great to have it back… the smiles on everyone’s faces as they crossed the line was really good, there was great community spirit with everyone back which we enjoyed. There are Parkruns that do struggle for volunteers, so if you are a regular runner now is the time to volunteer.”

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