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Suffolk parkruns smash 1.5million kilometre milestone

PUBLISHED: 17:59 27 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:57 29 December 2018

Adam Howlett crosses the line at a recent Ipswich parkrun  Picture: Vanessa Thorpe

Adam Howlett crosses the line at a recent Ipswich parkrun Picture: Vanessa Thorpe

Archant

It started out as the tentative steps of a few Suffolk runners.

Parkrun attracts hundreds of runners every Saturday morning  Picture: Vanessa ThorpeParkrun attracts hundreds of runners every Saturday morning Picture: Vanessa Thorpe

But now parkruns across Suffolk have become so successful, they have covered 1.5million kilometre of the county’s glorious landscape in just six years.

The weekly runs reached the landmark milestone on Christmas Day, when Mark Davey at Kesgrave and Nigel Schofield at Bury St Edmunds finished their run at the same time - 21mins 33secs - becoming the joint 300,000th runners.

Five events attended by a total of 1,000 people took place over Christmas at Bury St Edmunds, Great Cornard, Ipswich and Kesgrave, as well as a run at Brandon Country Park which held an event on Christmas Day for the first time.

Rory Marriott, 50, the Ipswich junior parkrun event director from Martlesham Heath, said: “I think that the runs have become so popular because people now know they need to exercise more.

Parkrun has generated community spirit and many friendships at each event  Picture: Vanessa ThorpeParkrun has generated community spirit and many friendships at each event Picture: Vanessa Thorpe

“The runs are free and people of any ability can join in, I think this that is why it has become so popular.”

Jonathan Jenkyn, 42, a member of Felixstowe road runners enjoys parkruns so much he continued running even after he suffered a cardiac arrest in 2015.

He said: “My cardiologist at Papworth Hospital told me to forget running and said that I will never be able to run competitively again.”

Mr Jenkyn’s made a gradual recovery, and was eventually able to start running again - but then he ran 1,000 miles in 2016.

Parkrun has proved to be a huge success in Suffolk  Picture: Vanessa ThorpeParkrun has proved to be a huge success in Suffolk Picture: Vanessa Thorpe

Recommeding parkrun to others, he said it costs nothing to participate and that everyone, whether they are new to running or an accomplished marathon runner, starts on the same footing.

“Parkruns gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning and maintain my cardiovascular health. Running is not an elitist sport, it is not always a race,” Mr Jenkyn said.

Parkruns take place every Saturday and are free to attend, with junior runs happening every Sunday.

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