Great Lines parkrun, Medway, launched in September 2013. Since then, the course has been completed more than 100,000 by 9,000 different people!
Dan Gower-Smith and Gary Smith from Great Lines parkrun tell us more about the event they call home…
Great Lines parkrun, is situated in the heart of the Medway towns; the parkrun is nestled in the centre of the town of Gillingham. We joined parkrun in 2013 shortly after finding our love for running. We really enjoyed taking part in the weekly event, and shortly after started to volunteer.
In 2016 we together become the joint Event Directors and joined the amazing core team. Great Lines has an amazing team of regular volunteers and all share the passion and love for the event.
Great Lines parkrun is truly part of the community and we have seen friendships made and blossomed over the years as Event Directors. It is always a great pleasure to see people meeting up for their weekly catch up, chat and natter before, during and after their parkrun.
We believe that together we can make Medway a healthier and happier place to live, work and enjoy life and is at the ethos we promote.
We have organised a number of opportunities for the event to give back to its community from FoodBank collections and donate a Christmas present to child local scheme which has always been a success.
Our parkrun course is mixed terrain, including grass, footpaths and gravel. The course starts with a downhill section before heading up the rolling slope that we affectionately refer to it as “The Alps”. The course is a two-lapper, but you do get to finish on a 1k downhill straight finish!
The Great Lines Heritage Park is a 70-hectare area. The Park is a network of open spaces connecting Chatham, Gillingham, Brompton and the Historic Dockyard.
Part of the course takes your around the Royal Naval War Memorial situated at the top of the field and is dedicated to the memory of those sailors from Chatham-based ships who died during The Great War and World War 2, and who have no known grave.
After the Second World War the memorial was extended by the addition of the outer wall, which forms a semi-circle on the side of the memorial away from the town to give protection against the wind. 10,112 names are commemorated on the fifty plaques on the extension.
Everyone is welcome to come along and try our event. We really enjoy seeing people from other events far and wide. We always give a big Great Lines shout out to tourist and first-timers.
We have a number of local café’s but for our post-parkrun coffee, many people head to the Falcon Café, Marlborough Road, which is opposite the start/finish area.
We have lots of regular volunteers and a number of people who have volunteered most weeks since the event started unless they have been on holiday. We have a number of our marshal points that are named after the people who marshal at them each week, Carrie’s corner, mick’s corner, Rogers Cross Roads and Richard at the top of The Alps.
What makes us smile and captures the event is the feedback we receive from the regulars, first-timers and tourist; it is always a pleasure to hear their views. Every week we are lucky enough to a photographer and the pictures speak a thousand words.
We believe, and see, that our parkrun has made a positive impact on the local and wider community.
We have seen our numbers increase over the years. Everyone from walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers, which in turn means that together people are more active which is great for their health and wellbeing and volunteering is helping with social isolation and being part of something in your local community.
We have amazing support from Medway Support, Medway Council and our local café. Due to these established relationships and a shared vision, we are able to put the event on and it also helps with some practical issues likes places to store the kit.
When looking at our wide social impact we have contributed to a number of FoodBank Schemes, donated to the child Christmas present appeal, held takeover dates with local running clubs and Medway’s local junior parkrun. We also have many other ideas for the future!
Each week a volunteer will undertake litter picking as part of the set up, helping to keep our green space looking beautiful. We love our parkrun family, and we think you will too!
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