Saturday, 14 February 2015

Salisbury Does (Unofficial) Parkrun

Running is a great way to bring a whole community together and parkrun epitomises the very essence of community. Salisbury is already blessed with several very active groups and it was brilliant to see representatives from the Athletics and Running Club (CoSARC), Salisbury Tri Club and local women's running group, Sarum Sisters all showing their support.

If you search for parkrun events, there is a very obvious Salisbury-shaped gap that needs filling. Thanks to a few very hard-working and dedicated people, the dream of getting a parkrun in Salisbury is starting to become a reality.

Over 40 runners turned up at Churchill Gardens this morning to recce the proposed course, and nearly 20 showing up to offer their assistance as marshals and helpers. Getting enough volunteers on a regular basis can be the make or break of parkrun success, so it was brilliant to see so many local folk offering support.

After a thorough briefing from future Run Director, Liz, the keen crowd gathered at the south west side of the park. At my estimation there was an age range of about 60 years, people running with dogs, buggies, people who were striving to push themselves for a 5k personal best, people who just wanted to attempt the distance and everything in between.

The mixed-terrain course has something to suit everybody and the back and forth nature of the route is great for keeping an eye out for fellow participants (read: your competition). Photographer Alex Mills had some sort of ninja skills, it seemed he was everywhere on the course, snapping away!

CoSARC runner Ben Brewster stormed through as fastest male, creating a speedy course record of 16:00. Ben Carter and Steve Brett were not far behind, coming second and third respectively.

Ruth Thom took the first female spot, made even more impressive by the fact that she managed to go the wrong way, obviously way too in the zone to look out for the excellent marshals! Olivia Roderick and Katie Clements were the second and third female finishers.

Unfortunately parkrun doesn't register dogs separately but whilst we are still unofficial we can recognise Flea, our first dog finisher who came through in 25:50.

The trial was a brilliant success and I hope the amount of support continues to grow. There is another practise run on the 28th February. Do join the facebook group "Bring Parkrun to Salisbury" and get involved. Even if you don't want to run, come along and help out, I promise you'll have just as much fun!