King’s Lynn parkrun in Norfolk will celebrate its 7th anniversary in September and has steadily grown from the first run with 68 attending, to the current date when it regularly attracts in excess of 300 runners and on occasions over 400.
Gary Walker from King’s Lynn parkrun takes us behind the scenes at his home event…
Being a keen runner I couldn’t think of a better way of starting off the weekend with a group of like-minded, friendly individuals from the community, competing against themselves yet in a non-competitive environment, in a beautiful town centre setting, with the added bonus of it being free and timed.
Our course is a fast, flat, three lap course on paved surfaces in a beautiful town centre park – ironically called The Walks, with the finish at the park cafe!
Like all parkruns it is very friendly and you will be made very welcome. The course is flat and all good going, so expect a good time and a hopefully a personal parkrun PB.
Our most famous landmark is The Red Mount Chapel, properly called The Chapel of our Lady of the Mount, located on the Walsingham pilgrimage route, which is now more famous locally as being on the ‘parkrun’ route!
After parkrun, we head to The Walks café. It is situated at the parkrun assembly area which is also the finish. It is very reasonably priced and opens all year round, although in the winter months just for parkrun!
One of our original parkrunners, Terry Gamble, has been a source of great encouragement to all the runners and with his outgoing friendly nature is well known to all who take part.
About four years ago he suffered a severe knee condition which prevented him from running but throughout the 15-month period he was waiting for surgery he continued to attend as a Volunteer marshal, at a lamp post on the course where it turns and from where he would call out times and encouragement to the runners.
Although he has now had his knee replacement and is back to running, albeit more slowly, the lamp post Marshal position is now known to all as ‘Terry’s lamp post’ with many believing its naming has a basis in history which with time, it no doubt will have!
Our event is well supported by the Local Authority, with the core team having a great relationship with the park staff and is considered to be the most successful of community events. A junior parkrun event was started in May this also going from strength to strength.
We have embraced the recent ‘parkrun Practice’ initiative with active support from the local Community Care Commission. It has also spawned a number of secondary running groups and has seen all the local groups benefit from an increase in membership.
There is no doubt that it has been a positive benefit to the community in terms both of improvements in fitness but perhaps more particularly in well-being, with lots of new friendships having developed simply through parkrun.
In September 2017 I participated in the Wetherby 10k, which takes place around town centre. As I ran over the bridge towards HM YOI Wetherby, a male juveniles prison where I am employed as a social worker, I started to think about the benefits of running for young people who are remanded or sentenced to…
The beauty of parkrun is there are more than 1,300 different 5k events around the world, and 560 in the UK, but every parkrun course is unique. Events take place in all kinds of locations, from promenades to city parks, through forests, up mountains and alongside rivers, with the amount of space available often…