Edgbaston in Birmingham, West Midlands has a reputation for cricket, and was the venue for the famous Ashes test match in 2005. But also in Edgbaston, you can find Cannon Hill parkrun!
Co-Event Director Helen Bloomer tells us more…
In 2010, Mary Ross and I decided we wanted to help the community become more active as we personally really enjoy the benefits of exercise.
We heard about Coventry parkrun first, and thought Cannon Hill would be the perfect spot. We involved our own running club, Birchfield Harriers, and coerced friends and family to help.
There has been a phenomenal response since we launched in August 2010; we started with 30 runners and 7 volunteers, and we now average at least 600, with approximately 40 volunteers.
Our event is easily accessible by public transport, taking place in a pretty park, very friendly even with high numbers, and great to run or volunteer.
The course is two and a half laps of Cannon Hill Park along tarmac paths, starting opposite the Garden Tea Rooms. The course is (almost) flat, with a short but very sharp hill to finish off.
The bandstand in the park is where we do our briefing and runners/walkers go past it twice along the route. which we love because there is always lots of cheering from volunteers and supporters.
The other landmark is “Fergal’s Corner” which is by the main gate to the park. Fergal used to stand there shouting encouragement to all the runners until he became one of them!
We are right next to Edgbaston Cricket Stadium and therefore have lots of tourists when the International Test Cricket comes to town!
One of our regular volunteers is Geoff Hughes. Geoff started to attend Cannon Hill parkrun as his wife Sylvia wanted to run, so he supported her week in, week out and encouraged other runners too.
He is a keen (and very good) photographer and started to take a few photos which he shared on Flickr, and soon became in demand for his photos.
Geoff then asked if he could help out in any other way and after a bit of training became the Volunteer Coordinator. Geoff has made this role his own and is a breath of fresh air, he always encourages people to volunteer and try new roles and takes charge of the Duke of Edinburgh students.
Geoff can be found at the bandstand every Saturday morning (unless he is away on one of his lovely holidays), and he now takes on the role of Run Director some weeks as well. He has become an invaluable member of the core team. Geoff is our “Air Traffic Control!”
We love our event as we care passionately about helping others to experience the joys of fitness for the body and mind, and love how our community has encouraged so many others to become involved with parkrun.
We have so many stories of friendships made, weddings, babies, recovery from illness and people achieving personal goals, which are all very rewarding.
We have had some famous visitors to Cannon Hill, including the Lord Mayor and a number of Olympians, including Paula Radcliffe, sprinter Adam Gemili and diver Freddie Woodward, who came and volunteered.
Every week we grab a post-parkrun coffee at The Garden Tea Rooms (100m from the Edgbaston Road entrance to the park), which is a small traditional café in the park selling good instant coffee and breakfast – please come and join us!
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