It's been a while but parkrun's back in England
Impressive stats as parkrun bounces back
After 18 months of relentlessly harrowing coronavirus statistics from the Government, we are delighted to be able to report some numbers that are bound to lift your spirits...
Following an absence of 70 weeks the running phenomenon we know and love as parkrun came roaring back in England on Saturday (24 July).
Northern Ireland saw the return of their Saturday morning 5K parkruns on 26 June, with 29 events welcoming more than 4,000 runners and walkers, supported by nearly 500 volunteers.
However, that was merely the starters before the main course as the UK totals for last Saturday swelled to 525 events; 98,651 participants and 12,971 volunteers, with English parkruns back on course again. Encouragingly, 6,778 people recorded their first-ever parkrun and there is little doubt they will be back this Saturday as once a parkrunner, always a parkrunner!
Participation numbers were generally lower than average, although 164 parkruns actually had higher attendance than their final pre-lockdown runs on 14 March 2020 - yes, it was that long ago!
Having said that, our parkruns dominated the world's best-attended last week, with all the top 10 worldwide being English parkruns. Six had over 500 runners: Bushy Park (1,056); Heaton Park (702); Poole (565); Southampton (561); Bournemouth (529) and Nonsuch Park (516). Cannon Hill in Birmingham was the top Midlands attendance with (481).
There were some fast times recorded, too. The leading male finishers were Adam Fogg (14:29 at Stratford-upon-Avon); Charlie Brisley (15:13, Folkestone), and a joint third in 15:17 for Jordan Howe at Heslington and Seyfu Jamaal at Highbury Fields.
The fastest female first finishers were Michelle Pearson (17:05, Dulwich); Pippa Woolven (17:16, Black Park, Slough) and Jessica Gibbon (17:19, Marlow).
So those are the numbers to raise a smile among the parkrun community far and wide. People in Wales and Scotland are still waiting for final confirmation of when their events can resume but with Northern Ireland and England blazing the trail it cannot be too long now.
To find your local parkrun visit parkrun UK website here
Image: Courtesy parkrun marketing