Gallery: Colchester park runners celebrate second anniversary of Saturday morning race

Crowds of runners turned up in fancy dress to celebrate the Colchester Park Run's second anniversary

Crowds of runners turned up in fancy dress to celebrate the Colchester Park Run's second anniversary. - Credit: Archant

More than 280 runners of all ages helped to celebrate the second anniversary of a popular park run.

When the first 5km Colchester Park Run took place in April 2013, there were 128 participants.

But according to event director John Wheatley, the number of runners taking part has more than doubled in the past two years.

The weekly event, which takes place in Castle Park every Saturday morning, is one of 350 park runs across the UK. As well as encouraging fitness, the races act as social events with participants often enjoying post-run refreshments together.

For Colchester’s second anniversary run, there were 283 finishers with the first across the line in a time of 17:41.

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Before the race, Liberal Democratic parliamentary candidate, Sir Bob Russell, presented the annual park run awards. These included park runners of the year Robert Saunders and Wendy Morris and this year’s “outstanding volunteer” Steve Ruth.

Mr Wheatley said: “We started with 128 runners in the first ever race and had 391 participants in our 100th race a few weeks ago. It has really grown in popularity.

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“It’s by no means all about winning but more about taking part.

“Lots of children and families entered the anniversary race on Saturday and we gave all of the kids an Easter egg when they finished.”

Mr Wheatley summed up the reason why the park run concept has become so successful.

“It’s a friendly atmosphere and 5km is a short enough distance not to take a whole day.

“It’s all inclusive, not just for serious runners, and it’s completely free.

“It’s also great for children because they get exercise and it trains them for the future - it’s a great idea that has really taken off.”

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