Record turnout for 200th parkrun in Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds
PUBLISHED: 13:34 22 April 2017 | UPDATED: 07:21 23 April 2017
A record number of over 300 runners were treated to glorious sunshine when they took part in the 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun in Suffolk.
Tom Grant, a Team Derby Runner making his debut in Nowton Park, was first past the post in the landmark event yesterday, recording a time of 17 minutes and nine seconds in the 5k challenge.
The free community event, run entirely by volunteers, had 160 runners for its launch on June 29, 2013.
It had around half that amount in the following weeks and months, but has steadily grown.
More than 300 runners have entered for three of the last four weeks, including a record 344 on Saturday.
Event director Steve Pretty said after the event: “I think it has been slowly building over time in the parkrun way. They like to grow them organically through word of mouth.
“It was extremely well supported this morning with a record turnout, which we were really pleased with.
“We had our usual, very broad range of runners: some of the fastest in the county to new runners who maybe take 45 minutes.”
All parkruns are seen as non-competitive community events in which participants encourage others to become fitter and healthier.
They take place at 9am every Saturday and each runner has their time published on the parkrun website. Its origins trace back to Bushy Park, south-west London, in October 2004 when 13 people took part.
Mr Pretty and other volunteers studied the Cambridge and Ipswich parkruns for six months prior to establishing the Bury St Edmunds event.
He said: “I think it’s popular because it is a very achievable yet challenging distance. It’s a good target for getting fit, while club runners can run flat out.
“It helps that it is free. You just need to sign up, and people find that it is a good reason to get out of bed on a Saturday morning and get the weekend off to a good start.
“There is also that social aspect, of meeting friends and seeing new faces. No matter what you do during the week, you are all in your running gear and all have something in common. It is also a very addictive sport.”
To find out more about the event, see here.