First Borders Parkrun comes to Peebles

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image captionThe Scottish Borders is now among the 574 Parkrun event locations which take place on Saturday mornings at 09:30

The Scottish Borders hosted its first Parkrun event at the weekend.

A total of 150 runners took part in the 5k trail route at Hay Lodge in Peebles on Saturday.

Until now, the nearest events to the Scottish Borders were Dumfries, Morpeth, in Northumberland, or Vogrie, in Midlothian.

Earlier this year local MP, John Lamont said there was an "appetite for a Borders Parkun" and called for volunteers to get it off the ground.

He said: "Parkrun is a great way to encourage people to get active in an inclusive and non-competitive way.

"Sometimes people are put off joining a running club but are looking for the motivation that running with other people brings."

Runners are able to sign up online and take part in the free weekly runs. Their times are then posted online.

The Parkrun welcomes people of all abilities to walk, jog or run, with the focus on recreational running and increasing participation rather than racing.

'Parkrun benefits'

The Parkrun website welcomed research conducted by Staffordshire University which looked at the benefits of exercise.

The study used Parkrunners who had experience of mental health difficulties.

It concluded that participants and volunteers expressed the events gave them:

  • 'Sense of achievement' referring to feelings of accomplishment
  • 'Connecting with others' referring to a sense of belonging and community
  • 'It's for everyone' referring to an equitable, welcoming and non-threatening environment

Paul Morris from Staffordshire University, who co-authored the report, said: "This study highlights the importance of community and belonging to participants and demonstrates the potential to support people outside of traditional mental health services.

"The sense of community, friendship and camaraderie was more important to participants than physical exercise, suggesting that initiatives emphasising a sense of community and support may be beneficial to mental health and wellbeing."

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