Stanley Park junior parkrun in Liverpool welcomed its 500th different junior parkrunner recently. Event Director and volunteer Outreach Ambassador Dave Dando tells us more about Liverpool’s first junior parkrun.
I grew up around Stanley Park in the 1950s and would play there every day after school and every weekend, I moved away from Liverpool for over 20 years and when I came back to the city I jumped at the chance to set-up Merseyside’s first junior parkrun in the park where I’d spent so many brilliant days as a child!
Liverpool was identified as a target location as part of parkrun’s Corporate Social Responsibility partnership with Warburtons, which aims to create more opportunities for communities to access junior parkrun in disadvantaged areas. Our course is two laps around the formal terrace gardens, it’s mostly flat apart from a hill leading to the second lap. It’s a tough hill but there are lots of #HighVisHeroes to high-five along the way!
The course has some great landmarks named by our juniors and volunteers over time; there’s the famous ‘King Kenny’s Corner’ near Liverpool Football Club, the ‘Slope of Hope’ that gives you a little boost before you reach the mighty ‘High-Five Hill’!
Stanley Park is a beautiful park with lots of great sights along the route all year round; from a field of hundreds of daffodils in the spring, to brightly-coloured flower-beds in the summer to a rose garden that blooms for most of the year and not forgetting you pass two of the best Football Clubs in the world… Liverpool FC and Everton FC!
Every week one of our volunteers, Eve, leads a family yoga session immediately after the final finisher has crossed the line, it’s great for people to come together to take part in another activity and socialise afterwards.
Then we all head to Kemp’s Café in the amazing Isla Gladstone where our volunteers all get a free cup of tea or coffee to say thank you.
We have about five get-togethers per year in the café where we all have breakfast together; so far our biggest gathering has been to celebrate our first anniversary when hundreds of families joined us for the premier of our promotional video.
Stanley Park junior parkrun has certainly had a significant impact and the local community have really embraced the event. Since our inaugural event in September 2016, 64% of the children who have completed the 2k course have been from the 50% most disadvantaged area of the country.
Regular parkrunner Isaac’s mum said “The enthusiasm, support and encouragement of all the volunteers is fantastic – we really enjoy coming – it’s such a friendly atmosphere. I have started attending my local Saturday parkrun so that I can try and keep up with Isaac on a Sunday morning – so it’s getting us all more active. Isaac loves coming to see if he can beat his PB too!”
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Click here to read more about junior parkrun and Warburtons.
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