Witney parkrun in Oxfordshire launched in March 2018 and has welcomed almost 5,000 different people.
Punam Owens from Witney parkrun tells us more…
I was very inspired by the inclusiveness of parkrun, whether you walk, jog, run or volunteer and the community spirit a parkrun generates. I felt we needed one for our community in Witney.
That was the start of a journey with a handful of like-minded folks who are now known as our core team and the rest is history! Our event is quickly becoming known as a parkrun with friendly hi-vis heroes.
We have been very fortunate to live in a community who have embraced the spirit of parkrun and each week it brings many magic moments, from celebrating families to encouraging those returning from injury to those setting goals for their own mental and physical wellbeing.
Taking place at West Witney sports and recreation ground, our course is mostly flat, technical and offers a challenge to any ability. It’s multi-terrain and an enjoyable three-lapper.
The course is typically lined with our friendly, encouraging and unique marshals. From our “ditch dancers” to our very own “Mind the Wire” Fulham supporter to the lady on the corner with her bubble machine.
Mud can be a key feature, especially during winter months! We have sadly been a victim of the wet and stormy winter, and have had to cancel a few times, but we’re looking forward to spring arriving!
One feature of our event is the impressive avenues of elm, ash and conifer trees long held in high regard by the townspeople of Witney and which make a great backdrop for the finish funnel. They also lead into the historic Deer Park wood, a Woodland preservation area.
If I was encouraging parkrun tourists to visit us, I would say not only do we offer the opportunity to get your letter W for your parkrun collection, but also the added backdrop of the beautiful and breathtaking Windrush Valley.
Our parkrun is on the doorstep of the Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace and that famous University city that is not Cambridge…
We have two volunteers who really stand out. They come rain or shine each week and between them have never completed the course.
They cheer and support everyone from the first finisher to the Tail Walker each week. John marshals the safety of the wire from potential wayward runners by dressing the wire in his favourite football strip while shouting “well done” and “mind the wire”.
Jacqueline has a special spot at the corner of Deer Park Wood. She particularly enjoys the surprise on everyone’s face when they spot her and her many props which include a bubble machine.
The event has become a Saturday staple and we have been involved in some wonderful community initiatives from collections for our local foodbank to supporting car-free Witney and a fun day hosted by our local council.
We have some wonderful volunteers who help us each week and it’s just a really happy place to be on Saturday morning; hugely inspiring and motivating!
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A year on from open heart surgery, former international athlete Clare Wyngard explains how the inclusive nature of parkrun has played a vital role in her recovery. In the spring of 2018 I was an experienced international age group triathlete and duathlete. Running was my strongest discipline and I had won individual British Masters titles…