An impressive total of 273 people have taken part in a weekly 5k run that kicked off earlier this month in Gadebridge Park in Hemel Hempstead.
The event is part of the global parkrun phenomenon, which offers free 5km runs in 330 locations all over the world that take place at 9am each Saturday all year round.
Gadebridge parkrun held its first event on Saturday, May 2 and 203 runners turned out for the inaugural race. The second event attracted 123 participants, including 79 first timers.
The parkrun concept depends on volunteers who host the events for free. Runners from local clubs Gade Valley Harriers and Dacorum and Tring AC have supported the event by volunteering as run directors.
Harriers Carol Skates, Emma Nash, Helen Heathcote, Karis Thomas and Luca Ramusino teamed up with Jamie Marlow and Kirsty Russell from Dacorum and Tring, and they are responsible for organising each event – setting out the course early on a Saturday morning and processing the results. Locals Christine Beasley, Joe Volpi and Rowena Pike are also run directors.
In addition to club runners, a number of local people have also volunteered to support the event as course marshals. The idea is for the events to be accessible to everyone and not just experienced club runners.
In the first two weeks, 17 junior runners aged under 10 have completed the run, as well as at least three dogs. Regional parkrun ambassador Glen Turner said: “The aim of parkrun is to break down as many barriers as possible to local people taking part in free, regular exercise in a fun and welcoming environment.
“There is a strong social emphasis as well, with each event coordinated by volunteers and everyone encouraged to meet for a coffee after the run.” Everyone is welcome to take part and registration is free at www.parkrun.org.uk/gadebridge