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Catton Parkrun supporter celebrates volunteering 100 times for community running event

PUBLISHED: 11:52 18 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:41 18 March 2017

David Parker (right), who has volunteered for Catton Park Run 100 times. He stands next to Dan Goodwin, co-event director of Catton Park Run. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

David Parker (right), who has volunteered for Catton Park Run 100 times. He stands next to Dan Goodwin, co-event director of Catton Park Run. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

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A dedicated volunteer is celebrating after supporting thousands of runners at Catton Parkrun on 100 separate occasions.

Catton Park Run volunteer David Parker handing out a time chip to a runner. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIECatton Park Run volunteer David Parker handing out a time chip to a runner. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

David Parker, 70, from Thunder Lane in Thorpe St Andrew, achieved the voluntary milestone in front of Parkrun participants on Saturday and received a special T-shirt.

The former animal nutritionist is the first person to have volunteered 100 times at the free weekly 5K timed event, which has run on the Norwich park off Oak Lane 181 times in just over three years.

Mr Parker said: “I arrived in Norwich from Brussels three years ago knowing nobody. I knew about parkrun and thought it would be a good way to get involved in the community. It is a fantastic run and I have got to know lots of people, parkrun is now a regular part of my Saturday.”

He is one of 16 volunteers who cheer on the 300 plus runners who take part in Catton parkrun every Saturday, come rain or shine.

Mr Parker, who plans to start running the course this year, has carried out all the roles, from marshalling to being run director.

His favourite job is giving out the finish tokens, a role he performed during his 100th volunteering session.

“I get to see everyone at the end,” he said. “You see people achieve things like personal bests and you see people progress from walking the course to running it.

“parkrun is an amazing organisation because it is free. Catton Park is so beautiful and people who take part in Parkrun are so friendly.”

He encouraged anyone who was thinking about volunteering with parkrun to give it a go.

The idea of parkrun started in 2004 when a group of friends ran around Bushy Park in London.

It now holds free 5K timed runs every Saturday at 9am in 446 locations in Britain and abroad and completely relies on volunteers.

Catton was started by Broadland District Council and Active Norfolk with just 70 runners.

Dan Goodwin, co-event director of Catton parkrun, said: “Without volunteers, parkrun wouldn’t happen. David was one of the first people from the community to volunteer with us. Catton Parkrun has grown brilliantly.”

Volunteers can receive training and to get involved email: cattonhelpers@parkrun.com

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