Preston Parkrun: The popular Saturday morning event that is going from strength to strength

Hundreds of runners, many of them in fancy dress, turned up to celebrate the  fifth anniversary of the Preston Parkrun
Hundreds of runners, many of them in fancy dress, turned up to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Preston Parkrun
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Free to do and open to all with a friendly, inclusive ethos, it’s easy to see why Parkrun has rapidly become the exercise of choice. Louisa finds out why Preston Parkrun is attracting more runners

Every Saturday morning you will find a happy band of people running around Avenham Park.

Hundreds turn up every Saturday for the popular run

Hundreds turn up every Saturday for the popular run

They are participants in Preston Parkrun which has become one of the organisations success stories.

So much so, it has had a visit from its headquarters keen to see just how much of a success it has become.

Helen Hood, head of event delivery and Jaz Bangerh, head of HR and volunteer management visited Preston on Saturday, November 24 and saw for themselves the run which has increased by over 300 people since it began in 2012.

Andrew Whaley, event director at Preston said both Helen, who is based in Leeds, and Jaz based in London, were impressed with the run and the warm welcome they received in the city.

Hundreds turn up every Saturday for the popular run

Hundreds turn up every Saturday for the popular run

He says: “The staff at headquarters sometimes go on tour and visit the various park runs and this year they chose to visit Preston.

“They were very complimentary about Preston. They liked the warm welcome, the atmosphere and the park.”

The pair visited both the adult 5k at 9am on Saturday at Avenham Park and the junior 2k, called Avenham Park Juniors, on Sunday at 9am.

The run, which is free, attracted fewer than 100 people in 2012 but now has more than 400 people running.

Hundreds turn up every Saturday for the popular run

Hundreds turn up every Saturday for the popular run

And he says he believes it is being so inclusive that has helped it to grow in popularity.

The run, which is followed each week with a coffee, is open to everyone of various levels of fitness.

He says: “Preston parkrun is very inclusive. You don’t have to be a fit and active runner to join. You can even jog or walk. The average time to complete a park run has increased as there is more diversity of fitness. It is open to anyone who wants to have a go and get fitter.”