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Muddy marvellous meeting for Haverhill’s first ever parkrun

ARMS UP: The parkrun participants show their support ahead of the start of the first ever even in the town
ARMS UP: The parkrun participants show their support ahead of the start of the first ever even in the town

More than 100 adults and children laced up their trainers last weekend to take part in the first Haverhill parkrun.

Not deterred by the heavy rainfall that had threatened to turn Puddlebrook Playing Fields into a swamp, 123 people took part in the 5km run on Saturday morning.

The group was a mix of beginners and experienced runners, with the organisers particularly pleased to see 29 runners completely new to parkrun, while 17 volunteers helped to make the event a success.

The newest of the parkrun events —a national initiative to get people more active, encouraging people to take part in a free 5km (3.1 miles) event on Saturday mornings — will take place every Saturday at 9am at the playing fields.

It is suitable for experienced runners or complete beginners and organised entirely by volunteers.

Event director Annette Hall was thrilled with the turnout for week one of the Haverhill parkrun.

She said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better first run, even though it was a bit wet underfoot, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

“There was a real buzz having coffee afterwards, which is what parkrun is all about; getting active in a fun, safe environment.

“I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped and I would encourage anyone to come and volunteer, as it’s a very social event.”

The Haverhill parkrun was made possible through a partnership between Suffolk County Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Haverhill Town Council and Abbeycroft Leisure.

Cllr Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, said: “parkrun is massively successful. Over 33,500 people have already participated in one of the 11 parkruns established in Suffolk.

“Haverhill parkrun will see this number increase even further and in doing so help towards our ambition of becoming the most active county in England. I wish everybody involved huge success.”

Cllr Jo Rayner, St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member for leisure and culture, paid tribute to Haverhill’s friendly running community for giving up their time to help set up the event.

Ian Evans, sports development manager at Abbeycroft Leisure, said: “We were very happy to support setting the event up in Haverhill.

“We’ve seen how successful parkrun can be for the local community, and we’re passionate about giving local people every opportunity to get active and stay active.”

It is hoped more volunteers will come forward for the Haverhill parkrun, as the success of the event relies on volunteers.

To register your support as a volunteer you can email haverhillhelpers@parkrun.com or visit the Facebook page.

Anyone interested in taking part should register once at www.parkrun.org.uk/haverhill, there is no charge to do so.

The next event will take place on Saturday (9am).

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