What an emotional moment as long wait for Parkrun in Harrogate finally ends
For hundreds of runners in Harrogate, 9am last Saturday was the moment they had been waiting for for more than 16 months.
After 70 weeks of its own sort of self isolation, Parkrun returned across the nation for the first time since the Covid pandemic.
As the clock ticked down to kick-off at Harrogate Parkrun Ted Welton, event director volunteer, issued some pertinent advice on Covid safety to the healthy turnout of runners looking to keep fit, catch up with friends, run with their buggy or dogs or, perhaps, attempt to post a personal best.
But the atmosphere at the Stray was as friendly and fun as ever for this free-to-enter 5k run which, as always, was well marshalled by volunteers, often from local running clubs.
Organisers had planned for a bit of a low key return but were delighted that it was still the same Parkrun people knew and loved, even if hugging and high-fiving was out of the question.
Many said afterwards it has been emotional to be back and everyone was full of praise for the wonderful volunteers.
It was much the same story at other Parkruns in the Harrogate district at Conyngham Hall in Knaresborough and Fountains Abbey near Ripon.
At the latter, 276 runners and/or walkers set off on the scenic 3.1 mile route after the megaphone boomed out.
The former saw 144 runners turn out in slightly cooler conditions than of late.
Everyone may have missed their Saturday morning during the months of hopes risen and hopes dashed but the wait was worth it - Parkrun was back!