The market town of Daventry in Northamptonshire has been home to parkrun every Saturday since November 2014.
Stella-Maria Thomas from Daventry parkrun tells us more…
I got involved with parkrun back in 2011 when I was training for a half marathon, and then promptly got injured badly enough to be out of action for two years. During that time I volunteered at Milton Keynes parkrun and ended up as one of the core team of Run Directors.
When Daventry was starting up, an advert for volunteers caught my attention and I was persuaded to take on the role of the Event Director because I had experience. Over four years later, I’m still here!
I love the community feel of the event, with a whole bunch of people who barely knew each other – if that – who are now a close-knit group that do all sorts of things together. I love my core team and my regular volunteers who go above and beyond to make it happen every week, and I love their can-do attitude.
Daventry parkrun takes place in Daventry Country Park, and the course is relatively flat, scenic and – in winter – very muddy!
The 5k has a mixture of surfaces to keep it interesting and a beautiful waterside stretch along the reservoir. The reservoir is also a wildlife sanctuary and is full of ducklings, and Gosling in the spring.
If I was trying to convince a parkrun tourist to try our event, I would say it’s a one-lapper, meaning you aren’t going to be passed by anyone, and it’s through the woods and along the water. It’s a beautiful course.
It’s one of the tougher courses in the winter, with the section affectionately known to the regulars as “the woods of pain” providing a challenging run/walk. Also, we have Dave
the Marshal, a man who has his own running club despite never having been a runner!
For our post-parkrun coffee, we head to Leisure Lakes Bikes, who do fantastic cakes and offer us a parkrun discount.
There are so many interesting and inspiring parkrunners amongst our community. One of those is Andy Ibbott, who despite a stroke that has changed his life in so many ways, went on to complete the Half Marathon des Sables!
As well as that, we have many younger regulars, including young Jacob with his cowbells who loves to cheer everyone around. It’s hard to know where to start really… we think all of our parkrunners are pretty remarkable.
Well since we started Daventy parkrun, the local running club, Daventry Road Runners, which was on the verge of closing down through lack of members, has been revived and the membership is now in triple figures. They were even able to revive the local Daventry 10k.
In addition, we are now the go-to organisation for Slimming World members who want to get fit, and we’ve seen a lot of them go from Couch to 5K, to collecting their milestone t-shirts.
And with one eye on the future, we also created Daventry junior parkrun! We were seeing so many children joining us on Saturdays that we thought it would fantastic if there was also the opportunity of a junior event on Sundays, and it has been an overwhelming success.
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