On your marks...get set...go!
Preparation may have been snowy and far from ideal, but event director Annette Hall has said Haverhill’s first ever parkrun is ‘good to go’.
The 5km running event will take place every Saturday from 9am, with the inaugural meeting this weekend, at Puddlebrook Playing Fields.
The committee responsible for organising it said their ambition is to ‘give something to the town, for it to be a success and to provide a free and accessible community run’.
Hall said: “It’s very exciting and we can’t wait for Saturday to arrive.
“Let’s just hope the weather is going to be kind as well.
“We would expect it to be quite muddy but, at this time of year, that’s to be expected.
“We held our test event in the snow and it wasn’t easy.
“The runner said it was like running through sand, but it still helped to show us what improvements were needed.
“There were some clear issues with signage but also working out where our marshalls should go, so it was worthwhile.
“We feel more confident and have worked together well to arrange this.
“I just want it to be a success for the town and the general area. It’s a free and accessible community run that can also be great fun.”
She said one of the biggest challenges of the first weekend is gauging the level of interest and number of potential participants.
“I hope we have a healthy turnout,” Hall said. “And the Facebook page has been picked up quite significantly so I think there’s quite a lot of interest, hopefully that translates into people on the day.”
Hall, who is also a member of the well-established Haverhill Running Club, said parkrun would provide a different kind of running event to the area, one that gives more flexibility for less passionate runners.
“The running club is about running, about improving and about your time —there’s a lot of competitiveness in it,” she said.
“Whereas parkrun is that if you want it to be, but it can also be about challenging yourself in whatever way you want.
“You can walk, you can skip, it’s about challenging yourself however you want.
“It’s about taking part, with little commitment and no expectation from anyone either.”
Hall added that registration is only necessary for participants keen to receive an official time — reminding those interested to bring a printed copy of the barcode supplied at registration, with a ‘No barcode, no result’ policy in operation.
She also asked that those driving to the event park in the industrial estate and surrounding area and not in the surgery car park.