Event Director Roger Cobb tells us more…
Conkers parkrun is surrounded by the villages of Moira, Donisthorpe and Overseal. My son James attended the first Conkers parkrun in April 2011, my wife joined him eight months later and my first run was on the first anniversary.
Since that time our family involvement has grown to 12 adults, two buggies and three dogs and that is exactly what Conkers parkrun is about! We have a lot of family groups aged from four years up to those of considerably more senior years.
The course is a beautiful ‘out and back’ course in the National Forest taking in the Ashby Woulds Heritage Trail and Donisthorpe Woodland Trails with a short section taking in the wide paths alongside the restored Ashby Canal that remains in the local landscape from the early industrial age.
The most famous landmark on our course is undoubtedly Cheeky Hill at the 2k mark, which is what everyone talks about.
We have a sign at the bottom saying ‘Welcome to Cheeky Hill’ and another at the top stating ‘Congratulations, you have ‘Conkered’ Cheeky Hill’
It really isn’t that bad but run it or walk it or a combination of the two, it is always good to get to the top!
Much of the course is built on land that has been regenerated from traditional coal mining activities including passing through the woodland trails that go through the site of the old Donisthorpe Colliery; although you would never know what had been there before.
We love welcoming parkrun tourists to Conkers. As a core team we always say that we are there to facilitate people having a good time on the lovely course that we are very proud of.
We love to see people smiling and having a great time no matter how they get round the 5K. If they want to make a day or a weekend of it, there is a modern YHA and a camping and caravan park adjacent to the parkrun course.
Conkers parkrun has undoubtedly resulted in an increase in the number of people from the local community getting involved in running and exercise.
We’re based in a rural location and don’t have a large population centre nearby, but despite this we have grown steadily from about 39 runners and five volunteers in our first few months to currently averaging over 500 parkrunners and almost 30 volunteers, mainly from the local communities in NW Leicestershire and South Derbyshire.
Post-parkrun, we always head to the café in the Conkers Waterside Centre, which is packed out with parkrunners for their post-run drink and chat. The café is buzzing after the run and it is a huge pleasure to see so many groups of friends and families in there.
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