Runners mark 10 years of Scottish Parkrun

Image source, Kenneth Wilkie

Hundreds of people have turned out for the 10th anniversary of Scotland's first ever Parkrun.

A total of 618 runners took part in the celebratory 5K in a Glasgow park on Saturday morning.

Since the first event of its kind in Pollok Country Park in December 2008, the number of regular Parkruns in Scotland has risen to more than 40.

Parkruns are designed to allow people of all ages to come together to run for enjoyment, whatever their ability.

An average of about 44 people took part in the run in Pollok Country Park when it was launched.

Ten years later, the free event regularly attracts about 330 participants.

Its former director Richard Leyton said the anniversary was a "celebration that these events exist all over Scotland today".

He said the idea to set up a Parkrun in Glasgow came after a run in London.

"I was in Bushy park in London and took part in the Bushy park trails, which was what Parkrun was once called," he said.

"I was struck by the small set-up, the sociable side and good fun that everyone was having and thought 'this would be good to do in Glasgow'."

After a series of pilots, the first event was held on 6 December and Mr Leyton said: "My biggest worry was, is anyone going to show up?"

He said that of the 44 people who attended, the majority were mainly from a local running club, Bellahouston road runners.

'Life-long friends'

The following week that number halved due to the weather but after the new year they saw an influx of people and haven't looked back.

Current director Liz Corbett initially joined Parkrun as a volunteer.

"I was injured but wanted to stay close to the sport and thought I would go along," she said.

"Volunteering gives you that wow factor, knowing that you have helped put on an event that 3-400 people have took part in is job satisfaction."

Between dogs on leads and babies in prams being pushed to the finish line, Ms Corbett said the success of the Parkrun is that anyone can take part.

"You don't need to run fast, you can jog and even walk and if you want to volunteer, you can," she said.

"There is so many benefits from taking part, you can hear about other running events, the benefits of exercise are great and you can even make life-long friends."

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