Tring Park joined the global running phenomenon of “parkrun” on Saturday with 213 runners completing the challenging but picturesque 5km course under sunny autumn skies.
Tring parkrun is not a race, but a timed weekly run coordinated entirely by local volunteers. It is now set to take place every Saturday at 9am all year round.
It is open to all ages and abilities – provided children under 11 are accompanied by an adult, free to enter, and aimed at breaking down the barriers to regular exercise.
Volunteer event director Andy Evans, who has lived in Tring for 14 years, said: “My teenage children and I have been involved with parkrun for several years because it’s ideal for families.
“We have travelled regularly to parkruns in Milton Keynes, St Albans, Aylesbury and even north London.
“Earlier this year I decided the time was right to bring parkrun to my own doorstep, so I approached the Woodland Trust who were more than happy to give permission for the event to take place. With the help of Dacorum, Tring Running Club and councillor Nick Hollinghurst we were able to raise the start-up costs and get the event running.
“Tring parkrun can be anything you want it to be. A run with your family, a run with your mates, part of a fitness programme or just an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful park each Saturday with other local people. It really is for everyone.
“I also must pay a special tribute to my fantastic volunteer team who have worked tirelessly to get this event up and running.
“The beauty of parkrun is that everyone can be involved, as participants, volunteers or both, and it would be great to see many more local residents and families running with us in the coming weeks.”
Participants register for free on the parkrun website, print their unique barcode and simply turn up and run on any Saturday morning.
The barcode is also valid at more than 500 parkrun events worldwide, all of which take place every week on Saturday morning.
Each person who completes the course receives their result by text message and email after the run, and everyone receives their own personal web page that tracks their improvements over time.
For the record, Jamie Farmer was the first person home in 19 minutes and one second, with Natalie Ruffell the first lady in 22:51.
James O’Keefe was the first male under 11 to finish in 26:53, with Emily Bannister the fastest junior girl in 24:27.
Registration is free at this website or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.