The autumn weather was dry and crisp; perfect conditions for Birkenhead parkrun to celebrate its 250th event earlier today.
Birkenhead parkrun was launched in July 2015 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. The first event saw 220 finishers but there are regularly over 500 hundred people running, jogging and walking each week. Whilst the largest event saw 793 participants, over 11,000 different people have taken part over the years, with some participating each week and others as and when the urge to run takes them.
Stuart Rickers is Event Director at Birkenhead parkrun. He told birkenhead.news, “It’s a really, really fantastic event and we’re delighted to have got to the 250th run today.
“The beauty of parkrun is the range and diversity of people that it attracts. We can get people who complete the course in 16 minutes and others who take 50 minutes but have an equally good time.”
His last point reinforces the parkrun ethos, which is about taking part – it isn’t a race – at least not against other runners, but against yourself to see if you can achieve your ‘personal best’ time. “What we have here is a great community of people from a range of abilities and backgrounds.”, Stuart said, proudly.
Kerry Dunning and her family are regulars at Birkenhead parkrun. She said, “It is lovely atmosphere, everybody’s really encouraging, especially towards the children – other runners give them space, they cheer them!
“We just think it’s good for the whole family to get outside and exercise and be together while we do it”, Kerry continued. Would she recommend it to other families? “Absolutely! 100%. People can stop and walk if they run out of energy. We play games while we go around the course – Eye-Spy, Would you Rather?, that kind of thing.” she says, effortlessly explaining the appeal of parkrun for families.
Keith Wood was the 250th runner across the finishing line and to mark the 250th Birkenhead parkrun was rewarded with a bottle of bubbly for his efforts. He told us, “I think this is my 87th parkrun and I’m looking forward to completing my 100th! For sure, parkrun is for anyone of any age and any ability – it gets you out of bed nice and early on a Saturday morning.”
For people who want to get involved in parkrun, Stuart explained, “You can go to parkrun.org.uk where you can register and print yourself a barcode, it’s completely free thanks to the sponsors who fund the events. You come along and use the same barcode for each event, whether its Birkenhead parkrun or anywhere else in the whole world and you can take part in a 5k event there!”
Birkenhead parkrun has a Facebook page at facebook.com/Birkenhead-parkrun