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Record turnout for 200th parkrun in Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 13:34 22 April 2017 | UPDATED: 07:21 23 April 2017

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. A panoramic view of the 344 runners on the start line. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. A panoramic view of the 344 runners on the start line. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

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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.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

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 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

The free community event, run entirely by volunteers, had 160 runners for its launch on June 29, 2013.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

It had around half that amount in the following weeks and months, but has steadily grown.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

More than 300 runners have entered for three of the last four weeks, including a record 344 on Saturday.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

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.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

“It was extremely well supported this morning with a record turnout, which we were really pleased with.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

“We had our usual, very broad range of runners: some of the fastest in the county to new runners who maybe take 45 minutes.”

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

All parkruns are seen as non-competitive community events in which participants encourage others to become fitter and healthier.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

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.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Mr Pretty and other volunteers studied the Cambridge and Ipswich parkruns for six months prior to establishing the Bury St Edmunds event.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

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.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

“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.

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

“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.”

The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT The 200th Bury St Edmunds parkrun. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

To find out more about the event, see here.

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