Exeter Riverside parkrun joined the parkrun family in 2014, and has become a hugely popular way for locals and visitors to start their weekends in the cathedral city of Exeter, in Devon.
Former Event Director at Exeter Riverside parkrun, Adrian Mountford, tells us more…
Our family first got involved with parkrun at Killerton when our 7-year-old son went along with his tennis group back in 2011. The whole family joined in over the next few months, both running and volunteering; our daughter has now volunteered over 100 times!
Exeter Riverside parkrun was launched in 2014, and we were keen to help launch a parkrun in the centre of our home city. It was felt that there was demand in Exeter for a parkrun and many of the original ‘Core team’ came across from more established parkruns to ensure that Exeter Riverside parkrun got off the ground successfully.
We are approaching five years that our parkrun has operated for, numbers have grown steadily and we have a great mix of regulars and tourists wearing the parkrun apricot tops.
We are blessed with lots of regular volunteers, have developed a parkrun family and have made lots of new friends along the way. The parkrun has become an established fixture on the quay every Saturday morning and we get lots of positive feedback from runners and other path users.
Our course is a single lap out-and-back course in the shape of a ’P’, starting and finishing near Exeter’s historic quay. The course is flat and with about 70% run on tarmac and made up paths. The route also incorporates the perimeter of Exeter University’s sports field which is run on grass.
The start and finish are both near the quay which has a large red and white buoy and is where we undertake our pre-run briefings. The first kilometre is run parallel to River Exe and flood channel and we cross over the river by bridge both on the way out and way back.
If you aren’t too tired heading back up the last kilometre to the finish, look up to see Exeter’s skyline including Exeter Cathedral in the distance. If you are looking for a quick time, the course is flat and is a good ‘PB’ chance.
We are a medium sized parkrun with about 350-450 parkrunners most weeks. We are a friendly bunch and you can use the Exeter Riverside parkrun as the start of a day taking in the sights of Exeter, its city, quay and the surrounding Devon countryside.
Our post-parkrun coffee is served at the Quay Climbing Centre on the quay, which is also where we do our barcode scanning so that our scanners don’t get wet in rainy weather. The Climbing Centre is a short walk (about 200 metres) from where we finish the parkrun.
Probably the most unusual thing that visiting parkrun tourists comment on is that we scan away from the finish of the parkrun. While this occasionally leads to finish tokens going missing, our scanners remain dry and once scanned, you are in the perfect place for your post-run coffee!
One week we welcomed two Olympic gold medallists! As you can see below, both Dame Kelly Holmes and James Cracknell joined us one Saturday morning.
We have a wide diversity of walkers, joggers and runners of all age groups taking part. During term time there are lots of University students who come along as well as more mature runners. Lots of runners have started parkrunning as a result of ‘Couch to 5k’ programmes and many have gone on to join the city’s running groups.
We are blessed with lots of regular volunteers, some of whom have now volunteered over 100 times. Lewis has volunteered on well over 100 occasions and can be spotted marshalling in the University field most weeks. We are tempted to rename that volunteer position to ‘Marshal Lewis’!
We have helped support visually impaired runners and are participating in a local initiative to increase participation by deaf runners and volunteers and one related to mental health and anxiety.
As we approach our five years anniversary, run numbers have increased from about 100 to over 400 each week and we have now welcomed over 10,000 parkrunners to our parkrun in that time. Long may it continue!
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