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News - 2nd May 2019

parkrun profile: Stretford

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Stretford parkrun takes place every Saturday morning in Stretford, Greater Manchester.

 

Mo Brettell and Jamie Barry from Stretford parkrun takes us on a tour of their home event…

 

Stretford has a beautiful park that was crying out for an event like Stretford parkrun and there was a real demand locally with an abundance of fine running clubs and groups in the area.

 

It was also recognised there was an appetite from local runners not in these clubs and groups, which together with support from Trafford Council, our local parkrun Ambassador, the Friends of Longford Park and parkrunners lead to a group of passionate volunteers getting the ball rolling. Longford Park is also home to Trafford AC, who provided access to their amazing track and facilities each week.

 

We got involved because it was something for Stretford, not just the established running community but everyone in the area, and also something that could reflect the identity of the area and be for the community.

 

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We love the event because it does that. It’s drawn in the established runners but it’s also attracted many people who’ve aren’t runners, people in the community who wanted to get active and get involved through volunteering.

 

We love the course, the people – parkrunners and volunteers – the achievement we see each week and the stories we hear.    

 

The Stretford parkrun course itself consists of a lap around the track, then two big laps around the park, then another lap of the track before your big finish.

 

The course is flat, fast, fabulous and friendly. Everyone is welcome, whether you’re walking, just starting out or you’re a seasoned runner or Team GB member. 

 

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If we were giving advice to a parkrun tourist coming to our event, we would say arrive early and pop into the hut to say hello! We’ll give you a Stretford parkrun welcome and will support you during your parkrun.

 

The early morning will be worth it as we are a ‘potential PB’ course but also a nice flat course that’s ideal for beginners and experienced-parkrunners alike. Plus, who doesn’t want to have that moment of glory on the track?

 

We’ll guarantee you a fast finish on a track that’s produced World and European champions and Olympians. And if the Snack Hut’s open get yourself a Hot Vimto, a Manchester delicacy.

 

And did we tell you Jess used to run on that track?

 

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For our post-parkrun coffee, the Snack Hut is popular with our parkrunners, if it’s open, especially those into a Track side cuppa or a breakfast butty, as it’s always sunny in Stretford.

 

You’ll sometimes find us in Longford Café, a lovely café in the park or we might get takeout and have a walk around Pet’s Corner, a community-run animal centre, to check out the goats, rabbits and chickens.

 

One of the interesting stories from our parkrun community is when we met a group called the Hard Yards Running Club as part of their Couch to 5k programme.

 

We encouraged them to come and have a look at the course and volunteer with us to get to know what parkrun was all about. We welcomed them and after graduation many of the Hard Yards Running Club have continued running and volunteering at Stretford.

 

The group is very close to our hearts as it’s an NHS initiative to help people with depression and anxiety through not only becoming active but also by supporting each other, talking and being together. The group and programme have had national media coverage which is well deserved as they are pioneers who will hopefully encourage others to take the same steps and to also raise awareness and break down the barriers of mental illness. 

 

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We’ve always tried to work with groups within the wider Stretford community be that the Foodbank or the Council’s Fostering team as well as working with parkrun-specific groups such as the Endometriosis group, to promote accessibility.

 

We’ve also tried to promote groups like the Friends of Longford Park who host events in the park and the Stretford Public Hall too, to be a part of the wider Stretford community. We’ve worked with local homeless charities and tried to make a difference.

 

Our Stretford parkrun community told us that they are more active and that we’ve helped make exercise more accessible. As with the ethos, we believe anyone can parkrun and we have large numbers of people registering and taking part each Saturday.

 

We also have great stakeholder groups such as Chorlton Runners, Trafford AC and Trafford Council. We also have very strong links with Manchester Frontrunners, who have helped us think about becoming more accessible to everyone in the community which is our main goal.  

 

We link with running groups to have takeovers to help promote clubs and access to activity across our community and beyond. Everyone is welcome at Stretford parkrun!

 

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