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Hundreds turn out for Norfolk’s first junior parkrun

The first junior Park Run at Eaton Park. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The first junior Park Run at Eaton Park. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

Norfolk’s first ever junior parkrun got off to a flying start with around 215 youngsters attending the launch in Norwich.

The 2km run, which is free and open to youngsters aged four to 14 years old, was organised after the success of the Norwich 5km parkruns and the demand for a shorter event to suit younger runners.

It will be held at Eaton Park every Sunday at 9am, keeping it separate from the all ages 5k parkruns held every Saturday.

“It was fantastic and I was very pleased with the turn out as it was more than I expected,” said initial event director, Andrew Lane, who was one of the original 13 so-called “parkrun pioneers” at the first ever parkrun at Bushy Park in London in 2004.

“There were lots of smiling faces from the runners and a lot of appreciation. We had some quite young runners and a good mix of ages and boys and girls.”

Mr Lane, who is a member of Wymondham Athletics Club, said he decided to start a junior parkrun as he felt the 5k runs were a bit too long for youngsters.

Active Norfolk provided the event with £3,000 funding to buy equipment, including timers, a laptop to process results and scanners, to get the event off the ground- and it now joins 40 other junior parkruns across the country.

“Paul Evans, the former Olympic runner and Chicago marathon runner, warmed up the runners and got it underway,” said Mr Lane. “I’m a runner and I love parkrun and with the Saturday events taken care of and I decided to spread the message to the younger ones. 2km is a more manageable distance for those of a younger age.”

Youngsters are able to run on their own or with their parents and Mr Lane hopes that more junior parkruns will be organised across the county in the near future.

He said: “It’s really for the sheer pleasure of runners and spreading the opportunity to younger runners. It’s about them enjoying themselves and being healthy.

“It’s also a really nice community thing - most of the runners come from local schools. We’re now hoping for a similar turn out next week and more smiling faces.”

The 10 5k parkrun events in Norfolk are: Blickling; Brandon Country Park; Catton Park, Norwich; Eaton Park, Norwich; Fritton Lake; Gorleston; King’s Lynn; Mulbarton; Sheringham; Thetford.

To volunteer for the junior parkrun or for more information, visit http://www.parkrun.org.uk/norwich-juniors/

Did your child take part in the parkrun and what are your thoughts on it? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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