Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge parkrun marked its third birthday at the weekend with a record turnout of 400 runners.
There were plenty of colourful fancy dress costumes among the entrants, as pictured here, who enjoyed cakes afterwards to mark the big milestone.
The Burnham and Highbridge parkrun started on 20th June, 2015 and since then over 6,000 participants have taken part.
Organisers say the parkruns have been a great success, improving participants’ physical and mental health and providing a great way to start exercising and then improve speeds and distances.
Several of the regulars who take part in the weekly Burnham and Highbridge runs explain what the event means to them.
Paul Young said: “One of the best schemes ever thought up. Good for heart, lungs and mind. Long may it continue.”
Catherine Earl added: “Lots of my family do parkruns all over the country, it’s nice to think they are all doing the same thing at 9am!”
Jon Jacobs said: “It’s an excellent way to get into running and keep you going with a really friendly bunch.”
Sam Smith added: “It gets me out of bed in the morning.”
And Adrian Smith said: “I have met some very nice people and have even joined a great running club who are the core team for this parkrun. It has changed my life to be fair.”
Mark Benton said: “When Reg first talked about setting up a parkrun I was concerned about the level of commitment it would need from us every week. Three years on and although it is a commitment, it’s one I look forward to and I’m so pleased we did it.”
Anyone can join in parkrun for free, whether they want to run or walk the 5km course, but they need to register with parkrun via their website to get a barcode.
Children under 11 need to be accompanied by an adult. The event takes place every Saturday at 9am from Apex Park. More details are available at http://www.parkrun.org.uk/burnhamandhighbridge/
The event’s director, Reg Huxtable, said: “Four and a half years ago a parkrun was first mooted at Burnham on Sea Harriers Running Club, and eighteen months later on the 20th June 2015 we hosted our inaugural run, at which one hundred and forty four athletes took part, looked after by seventeen volunteers.”
“During our planning of the event our biggest concern was, “how do we sustain the volunteers needed each week”? From those first thoughts four and a half years ago, we created a core team from the Burnham on Sea Harriers Membership, who provided the impetus and energy for start up and continuity, and amazingly, are still in support each weak, setting up, filling key roles, the effective event management.”
“Our grateful thanks to these core members, Mark and Tracey Benton, Brian Beale, Steven Dorrall, Dave Cooke, Sue Nicholls, Stuart Anderson, ably assisted by our volunteer champs Pete Manning and Max Boyes. These people are truly undoubtedly, parkrun heroes.”
Reg added: “In these three years we have been supported by not just our core team, but volunteers from the participating athletes who set aside a Saturday now and to help. Herein lies the secret of success. With this support we are able to run the event efficiently, as numbers have grown, but most importantly, with safety. Huge thanks to each and everyone who has volunteered over this time.”
“Some thank yous, in particular to Sedgemoor D.C. for allowing us the use of Apex Park facilities and for their initial sponsorship. Similarly, to Burnham and Highbridge Town Council and First Highbridge for believing in us and their sponsorship, plus the Friends of the Apex, Lizzies Kitchen, and all the Apex Park users who have come to live with us each Saturday morning between 9am and 10am, we extend our thanks.”
“In celebration many of the athletes donned fancy dress as did the volunteers. In particular, the number of cakes and goodies brought along was absolutely amazing. We thank everyone who made special efforts to make this a most memorable run.”
Pictured: Saturday’s parkrun, as it met its third birthday (photos Mark Benton)