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On the run: First timers at Bury St Edmunds parkrun and No. 100 at Clacton parkrun

PUBLISHED: 15:37 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:37 12 October 2018

Runners, walkers and canine companions congregate before the start of last Saturday's Bury St Edmunds parkrun in Nowton Park. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Runners, walkers and canine companions congregate before the start of last Saturday's Bury St Edmunds parkrun in Nowton Park. Picture: CARL MARSTON

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Athletics correspondent Carl Marston is travelling around the region (and beyond) running in different parkruns. This week he reviews a few of the more local events

Runners, walkers and dogs set off at the start of the weekly Bury St Edmunds parkrun, held at Nowton Park last Saturday. Picture: CARL MARSTONRunners, walkers and dogs set off at the start of the weekly Bury St Edmunds parkrun, held at Nowton Park last Saturday. Picture: CARL MARSTON

For the second weekend running, injury prevented me from continuing with my parkrun tour.

This means that the likes of Sizewell, Sheringham, Southend, South Woodham Ferrers and St Albans, to name but a few of the ‘S’ parkruns I have yet to revisit, will have to wait their turn.

The sore hip, a remnant of running my first road half-marathon for 15 years (the Great East Run of three weeks ago), is proving to be a stubborn one to shake off.

It is yet to respond positively to regular icing (ice-packs, not cake dusting), Ibuprofen tablets, anti-inflammatory gel and caffeine, but I live in hope of a speedy return.

Runners in action at the 100th Clacton Seafront parkrun last Saturday. Picture: PETE INMAN/CLACTON SEAFRONT PARKRUN FACEBOOK PAGERunners in action at the 100th Clacton Seafront parkrun last Saturday. Picture: PETE INMAN/CLACTON SEAFRONT PARKRUN FACEBOOK PAGE

- On the run: red wine does the trick at Cheltenham parkrun

Instead, I revisited my own local parkrun at Nowton Park last Saturday, to watch my oldest step-son, Jack (aged 23), take part in his first-ever parkrun.

And with Clacton Seafront, 50-odd miles away, celebrating its 100th parkrun last weekend, I thought this an opportune moment to review a few of the local parkruns from Suffolk and Essex that continue to attract runners, joggers and walkers in their hundreds, every Saturday morning.

Bury St Edmunds parkrun

Events up and down the country – there are currently 568 parkruns in the UK – celebrated the 14th birthday of parkrun last weekend, and Bury St Edmunds was among them, despite the rather damp, grey conditions at Nowton Park.

There had been another landmark earlier in the week, with the 5,000,000th person registering with parkrun.

I don’t think my step-son, Jack, was personally responsible for bringing up the five-million mark (he was probably No. 4,999,990th, or there-or-thereabouts), but he has already caught the parkrun bug after just one run.

Indeed, returning to the University of East Anglia the following day, he has pledged to run his ‘local’ Norwich parkrun at Eaton Park tomorrow.

- On the run: Taking part in the Clare Castle parkrun

He was one of 27 first-time visitors to the weekly Bury St Edmunds challenge last Saturday.

At the head of a 241-strong field, Stowmarket Striders’ Scott Williams was first home, at event No. 268, in 17mins 58secs, while Katie King, from the local Saint Edmund Pacers club, was first female and sixth overall in 20:04.

For the record, a smiling Jack finished in a very respectable 23:33 for the 5K route, having overtaken the leading dog on lap two.

Not a bad parkrun debut!

Clacton Seafront parkrun

Last Saturday was a special occasion for the Clacton Seafront parkrun, because it celebrated its 100th event on the promenade.

And it was rewarded with a record field of 210 runners, all enjoying the traditional three-lap course along the lower and upper promenade at the Essex seaside resort.

A field of 156 had congregated for the inaugural event, on October 15, 2016, and that entry had only been beaten once, before last weekend – an impressive 184 assembled for the first year anniversary, on October 14, 2017.

Last weekend’s 100th event, supported by 21 volunteers, including Pete Inman, who was taking (official) pictures for the 50th time, featured 40 first-time visitors to the Clacton bonanza.

Josh Sowman, a teenager from Grange Farm & Dunmow Runners, was first home in 17mins 17secs, a little adrift of his personal best for the course (16:51).

First-timer Michael Porter was second in 18:13, while Ipswich JAFFA’s Steve Langley was third in a new age group record (55-59 year-old) of 18:22. At the other end of the age scale, Sam Plummer (11-14 years age group) set a PB of 18:29 in fourth.

Emma Drury, of Sudbury Joggers, clocked a scorching 20:09 in seventh overall to finish first female.

Other local parkruns

The Ipswich parkrun, the oldest parkrun in Suffolk, had 321 finishers at its 317th event, held at Chantry Park.

Teenager Paul Wain, of Ipswich JAFFA, was first home in 17:46, and there was an impressive run from Stowmarket Striders’ junior athlete, Maddie Jordan-Lee, who was first female in 19:20. Her twin sister, Millie Jordan-Lee (both compete in the 15-17 year-old age group), was second female in 19:50.

Over at the Lowestoft parkrun, Ipswich JAFFA’s Robert Chenery registered a rapid 16:46 on his way to first place on the promenade, at the 153rd event.

Jessica Hall, a member of Waveney Valley AC, was first female in 21:47 from a field of 241.

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