Parkrun set to hit the Stray

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A WORLD-RENOWNED group that organises free, weekly 5km timed runs is bringing the event to Harrogate’s Stray from this weekend.

Parkrun started in London in 2004 with just 13 runners and now has 113 events world-wide.

More than 16,000 registered runners take part every week in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Australia, Denmark, Iceland, Poland, South Africa and even at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

Adam Prentis, event director of the Harrogate Parkrun, said: “To bring parkrun to Harrogate is a genuine privilege and it’s going to be amazing.”

Mr Prentis, who three years ago at the age of 45 and a non-runner decided to run the New York Marathon with a friend, used the Leeds Parkrun event as a regular weekly training session.

“It helped us build a platform from which we took part in a number of races including the Jane Tomlinson, the Great North Run and eventually New York,” he said.

“Since then I have run in races all over the world but parkrun has always been at the heart of what I do; led and staffed by volunteers it’s just a brilliantly simple but wonderful concept with a fantastic sense of community.”

Mr Prentis piloted the Parkrun event in Harrogate on Saturday, January 7, and saw 115 runners of all ages and abilities turning up to take part.

“The pilot event was a massive success and whilst we had some people travel from as far away as Bedford, Suffolk and Nottingham, so many local people simply walked to the event which is a feature of many of the parkruns,” he said.

Following the success of the pilot, Harrogate will have its first official parkrun tomorrow, January 21 at 9am, and will run every Saturday at the same time on the Stray.

Coun Caroline Bayliss, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for cultural services, said she supported the setting up of the Harrogate Parkrun.

“Having the chance to take part in a regular, organised run and build up fitness at no cost has to be a good thing,” she said.

“We want to see more people getting out there and enjoying our wonderful Stray.

“We are so lucky to have this amount of public open space in the centre of our town and there is room for all manner of activities.”

Everyone, irrelevant of age or ability, is welcome to take part in the event, as well as anyone wishing to volunteer to take times, help set up or marshal the run.

For more information contact Adam Prentis at adam.prentis@gmail.com or Tom Williams, Parkrun UK country manager at tom@parkrun.com or visit the website at www.parkrun.org.uk/harrogate.

Alternatively, keep up-to-date by following Harrogate Parkrun on Twitter, @hgateparkrun, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/harrogateparkrun.