Poolsbrook parkrun takes place every Saturday morning in Staveley, Chesterfield in the county of Derbyshire.
Co-Event Director Andy Morris tells us more about his parkrun story and the birth of Poolsbrook parkrun…
I started off at nearby Graves parkrun after I was introduced to parkrun by a friend, Paul Cornock, who runs regularly at Brueton parkrun. I had been playing 6-a-side football for a while, and at the age of 50 I was much older than teammates and the opposition players, so felt I needed to improve my fitness to play better.
However, running, and in particular, parkrun soon took over and I quickly stopped playing football and concentrated on running – that was 5 ½ years ago!
I was involved with helping to set up Poolsbrook parkrun which started in April 2016, and since then it has grown in size and also developed a personality of its own.
Our course is a flat multi-lap route around a beautiful lake in Poolsbrook Country Park which was once the site of Ireland Colliery. There are the pit wheels, pools that were once open cast mines, hills that were formed from material taken from the ground and in part of the park you can still see the evidence of coal on the ground along with a disused railway line.
The 5k consists of 3-and-a-bit flat laps, the surface is hard with a partially loose gravel topping, and it is suitable for pretty much any kind of running shoe. The finish is up a slight incline on a small path leading from the main route around the lake.
Our most famous landmark is half of a pit wheel, which can be seen near to the start of the event and also across the road in another part of Poolsbrook Country park. This symbolises Ireland Colliery which stood on the site before it was transformed into the beautiful park that our event takes part in.
The event has quickly developed a reputation for being both well run and very friendly (yes, both things can exist together!).
We have a wonderful team of volunteers and walkers, runners and joggers who all support and encourage each other come rain or shine. The social side of parkrun is also very important at Poolsbrook parkrun with most people either arriving early or staying late to chat to friends, make new friends and enjoy great coffee and cakes in our lovely café.
After the event, everyone gets together in the Coffee Stop café which is very close to the finish and adjacent to the car park. The café offers parkrunners a 10% discount when they show their barcode, and their coffee and cakes are to be recommended as is the friendliness of their lovely staff.
Poolsbrook parkrun is quite a quick course, but most of all it is very welcoming and friendly. We have an atmosphere of fun, happiness and togetherness. The event has quickly developed a reputation for being both well run and very friendly (yes, both things can exist together!).
We welcome new participants and also love to see tourists and to give them a mention in our run briefs and run reports.
Also, once you have finished your post-parkrun coffee, you don’t have far to go to visit the stunning Derbyshire Peak District. For those with caravans, there is also a caravan site within the park. Poolsbrook Country park is just a mile from J29a of the M1 so very easily accessible to tourists. Nearby we have the town of Chesterfield with it’s famous ‘crooked’ spire and a market which is over 1000 years old.
Also near to the park is the Trans Pennine trail which allows walkers, runners and cyclists to go for miles through beautiful countryside including linking to Rother Valley and Chesterfield Canal.
One of our regulars, Gordon Harding shares his story: “In November 2013 I was rushed into hospital with chest pains. A subsequent angiogram showed that I had angina with substantial blockages in the three main arteries in my heart. Because I had been relatively fit, and in a job that had lots of steps, the angina had only showed up because that summer I had been made redundant and was also injured and thus lost my fitness.
The cardiologist suggested, considering my history, that exercise and a minimum of medication was the way forward for me. I was enrolled on a cardio- rehabilitation program, and by September 2014, I achieved my (then) target of running 3 miles in less than 30 minutes, running around the ponds at Poolsbrook.
It was after one of these runs that I bumped into Mark (Run Director) and his wife Cherry and after a lengthy chat, he made me promise to try Poolsbrook parkrun, even though I told him I was a solitary type of person when it came to running. Fifty runs later! I thank my lucky stars for that meeting.
parkrun is a truly amazing setup, from day one everyone is your friend, the camaraderie is brilliant, chatting before and after the run to people of all ages and abilities. A bonus for me is the fact that I can track my times and see my fitness levels, which is important for my health. Another bonus to me was when my son joined in and quickly realised that parkrun is as good as I had repeatedly told him!
I belong to the parkrun community, the parkrun family. Anyone who knows me knows what family means to me. Thanks to everyone who makes it possible, the volunteers and sponsors. Keep on running!”
We see a large proportion of our participants from the local areas and a high percentage of these have not previously taken part in any form of regular physical activity, at least not since they left school.
Our numbers are growing and this consists primarily of new walkers, joggers and runners who have been encouraged by friends or family to join them for a bit of physical activity on a Saturday morning. We see family groups including in quite a few cases three generations all taking part together.
Chesterfield Borough Council have been very supportive of our parkrun and have seen the benefits that it is bringing to the local community, a spin-off being setting up Staveley junior parkrun, just down the road from Poolsbrook parkrun and involving many of our participants.
We have had a takeover from the local school – Netherthorpe School, and also three of the local running clubs. We took part in the NHS celebrations and had participants wearing their NHS uniforms, lanyards and badges. Two Mayors of Chesterfield have attended our events, one of them ran with us twice!
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