Southwick Country parkrun takes place every Saturday morning in Southwick near Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
Martin Pearce is a member of the core volunteer team at Southwick Country parkrun, and he tells us more about the event he calls home…
I ran the first ever Southwick parkrun back in 2011 (still my highest finishing position!) and loved the whole idea. I ran a few more before starting to volunteer, mostly as a photographer.
Now, I am much more energised to volunteer than I am to run. I have now taken over 100,000 photos over the years and have loved capturing our walkers, joggers and runners progress.
I have witnessed people progress from walking to running, weight loss, health improvement, social groups formed and friendships forged, even marriages. Truly blessed to witness peoples life journeys from parkrun and playing a part in recording it.
Our course involves two and three-quarter laps of the park on a gravel track, passing through open parkland, through a small wooded area by a stream and pond with a downhill dash to the finish. It definitely has PB potential.
The most famous landmark on our course is our statue, Forest. It was designed by Noel Morgan with the help of welders Audrey & Jason Gumm to commemorate the first parkrun event 7 years ago on 3rd September 2011.
You are always guaranteed a warm welcome at Southwick with encouraging marshalls. Where else has their own parkrun statue ‘forest’ and a great post parkrun café supporting adults with learning difficulties.
For our post-parkrun coffee, in the park, we have the Squirrels café, which is a café run by the local council for adults with learning difficulties. You can get a full breakfast and coffee and support a local charity.
One inspiring story from our event involved Vicky Ody. Vicky celebrated her 50th parkrun by running the course pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with 15kg of birdseed, which is the equivalent weight that she lost by incorporating parkrun in her diet and exercise routine!
The bird seed was donated to the local animal park which is next to our Tea Room.
The impact on the local community has been huge, and we think the stats speak for themselves. In the 7 years we have been running, we have had nearly 9,000 parkrunners completing 335,000k.
Friendships have been forged, weddings have taken place, Running Clubs have even been set up (Saturday Morning Run Club – SMRC) and our original volunteers have gone up to set up other parkruns close by.
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