Hundreds of runners turn out to celebrate 500th parkrun
A record crowd has turned out to a celebrate the 500th event hosted by one of the city's most popular sporting groups.
Woodhouse Moor parkrun, which regularly has 500 members joining for its weekly 5km jog, held a special event on Saturday to mark this milestone run. And as the largest ever crowd out to take part, organisers say they are overjoyed.
“We’ve had a record breaking day, it’s been unbelievable,” said event director Anne Akers. “The previous record was around 570, but we’ve 718 runners taking part.
“All up at 9am on a Saturday morning when they didn’t have to be! It was amazing.”
The Woodhouse Moor parkrun, the first group set up outside of London, is hugely popular hundreds of people of all ages taking part each week.
The youngest members are teenagers, while the oldest taking part on Saturday is in her 70s and was joined by her grandchildren for the event.
Organisers say it has become increasingly popular over recent years, and is now one of five parkruns in the city.
“The ethos is to give people the chance to just run - it doesn’t cost anything, and while you get a time, it isn’t competitive,” said Mrs Akers. “We started in 2007 with a couple of dozen people on the first day. We now have around 500 each week. And a couple of those first few people joined us for our 500th run.
“It’s just grown and grown.”
Runners on Saturday were invited to take selfies and leave comments as to why they join.
“One of them, which made me cry, said it cured their depression,” said Mrs Akers. “Others said it’s friendly, there’s a great atmosphere, and it keeps them going further than they thought they could.
“It’s so popular, firstly because it’s free, but also because it’s so inclusive. Nobody is judging. The fastest record is 15 minutes, others take an hour. But it doesn’t matter.
“We’ve had people who have met their future spouses on the run, we’ve even had a few parkrun babies.
“Every week we have people who turn up who have never done it before.
“Today’s event was a great celebration. I never cease to be amazed by the people that turn up, from all over the world. It’s brilliant really.”