Stepping out to celebrate first birthday of Blackpool parkrun

Putting their best foot forward in Stanley Park for the anniversary parkrun
Putting their best foot forward in Stanley Park for the anniversary parkrun

Parkrun celebrated its first birthday in Blackpool last  weekend.

Parkrun celebrated its first birthday in Blackpool last weekend.

This weekly 5k timed run is free to enter and is organised by volunteers in Stanley Park.

The parkrun concept has developed into something of an international phenomenon in recent years, and around 180 runners descend on the park for the Blackpool version at 9am every Saturday.

David Barker, event director of Blackpool parkrun, founded the event a year ago in conjunction with Blackpool Council and Blackpool and the Fylde College.

The event’s first anniversary was celebrated last Saturday and Barker told The Gazette: “Parkrun has been going 13 years nationally, so we were slightly late to the game.

“It’s a global thing now and it’s incredibly popular, not just in Europe but in Africa and as far afield as Australia too.

“It’s one of those events that is just really easy to sign up to. You can do it anywhere in the world and you can register for free.

“It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, it’s not a race.

“There’s no pressure to take part and you can do it at your own pace.

“There’s a huge community feel about it and the health benefit goes without saying.

“We get people of all ages and from all walks of life. We get people in their 80s, people recovering from operations. We even had a lady with two false knees taking part.

“But the emphasis is all on having fun. When we finish each week, the last thing we say to the runners is to keep smiling.

“For those who like to take it a bit more seriously, we have good links with the local running clubs. We find a lot of people sign up and then want to test themselves at longer distances.”

For more information visit www.parkrun.org.uk/blackpool.