The town of Sittingbourne in Kent has been home to Sittingbourne parkrun since February 2016, and the event has welcomed nearly 5,000 different parkrunners.
Event Director Yvonne Crawford tells us more about her home event…
I started doing parkrun at the Great Lines parkrun a few years ago – during the wet and windy winter we had! It didn’t stop me from going though.
I then moved to Sittingbourne and started going to Sittingbourne parkrun – I kept seeing volunteering pleas from the then Event Director so one email later and I started to volunteer in August 2017, and volunteering most weeks – my favourite role is marshal as you get to see everyone and cheer them on!
I soon became part of the core team and unfortunately the then Event Director needed to step down, so as I had completed most of the roles I decided to step up!
I haven’t looked back since – in fact it’s always a conversation starter – “what do you do?” I organise the local parkrun! I’ve even managed to get my sister to sign up to parkrun and now she volunteers every few weeks.
Sittingbourne parkrun takes place at Milton Creek Country Park every Saturday morning. Our course is best described as flat, but lumpy bumpy!
Our parkrun has a bit of everything; a trail route path, beautiful views, wildlife, meadows, flowers in the spring and summer. There is plenty of room to pass, and we have a good bunch of friendly parkrunners who are so supportive and of course wonderful volunteers who help us stage parkrun each and every week.
We have so many hidden gems such as the wooden carvings around the route and parkrunners often sing the praises of our parkrun. Overall we have an excellent parkrun community atmosphere, we are very friendly runners of all levels supporting each other, and of course our hi-vis hero volunteers.
In terms of landmarks, we are blessed to have Holy Trinity Church, the third oldest church in Kent and the third biggest tower in England, next to Milton Creek Country Park.
parkrunners can see it as they walk in and on the majority of the route. When you see the church you know you are on the home run!
Visitors can expect a warm welcome at our first-timers briefing, and from all the marshals, and then out on the route, you will receive great support and encouragement from all the amazing volunteers. All abilities are welcomed and supported.
For our post-parkrun coffee, we pop to the local cafe for tea and coffee, set up the results processing, and sort out the tokens. It’s great to socialise after parkrun, whether you are a visitor or a regular.
We have a great relationship with the Milton Creek Country Park ranger which really does help when promoting parkrun. In fact, he can be seen some Saturdays at parkrun!
We also link into local companies for volunteer takeovers, and other events that are held in the park such as Art in the Park and Sport in the Park. Many of our runners/walkers/joggers are local too, so local that they can walk within minutes to the park!
There are a couple of local legends I have to mention. The first is Denis Paine, a young 84 years of age, he runs each week at Sittingbourne parkrun… but not just that, he also cycles in from Sheerness, runs, joins us for coffee and cake after and then cycles homes.
He always has smile on his face and proves that parkrun is for all ages and abilities. He is certainly one of our parkrun superstars!
We also have Bernard who volunteers each week regardless of the weather and he has his trusted spot by the wooden caving of the train. Everyone knows Bernard, he is also an asset to the core volunteers team!
Wilf Laidler first gave parkrun a try aged 76 yrs old. He has not stopped since. Here Wilf tells us why he took up parkrunning and what he’s achieving now. I had a triple heart bypass in November 2011 and went through the normal rehabilitation and all got back to normal and I…
Emily Ritson’s brother Ben has autism. She thought that introducing him to parkrun could be a life changing experience for him. Here, Emily tells us all about Ben and his parkrun adventures so far. My brother Aaron and I took up running to make sure we got our exercise as we have a…