Parkrun comes to Lewes for the first time

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With 283 runners, joggers or walkers taking part, covering all ages from 10 to 75, as well as over 30 volunteers to marshal the course, record times and scan participants’ barcodes at the finish, parkrun finally came to Lewes last weekend [Saturday 6  July] after almost two years in the planning.

A free 5k walk or run, Malling Rec parkrun will now take place every Saturday morning at 9.00am (with a First Timers Welcome at about 8.45 and Run Director’s Briefing at about 8.55), starting and finishing beside the children’s play area on the north side of Malling Recreation Ground. The 2-lap course comprises an out-and-back around the Rec and up/down the old Railway Cutting, which is then repeated for Lap 2.

Founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt with just a small group of 13 fellow runners in a South London park 20 years ago, parkrun is now a huge national charity, with well over 1,000 community events taking place each week in parks and outdoor spaces around the UK, as well as overseas, and with more than nine million registered parkrunners around the world, straddling continents from America to Australia.

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“But wherever a parkrun happens,” says Co-Event Director Mark Pappenheim, “the aim is very simple and always the same: to encourage people to get out of doors into the fresh air, to become a little more active than they usually might be, and in the process to meet other members of their local community and hopefully make lots of new friends while also getting just that little bit fitter.

Runners rounding the first corner on Lap 1 of the new Malling Rec parkrunRunners rounding the first corner on Lap 1 of the new Malling Rec parkrun
Runners rounding the first corner on Lap 1 of the new Malling Rec parkrun

“And, if you’ve never run before, please don’t let the name ‘parkrun’ put you off. You really don’t have to run. Lots of people walk, others enjoy volunteering just as much. It’s really all about participation – and it’s all absolutely free.”

Future plans include developing a “parkrun practice” collaboration with Foundry Healthcare, with a view to incorporating Malling Rec parkrun within the practice’s social prescribing portfolio, as well as inviting young people on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme to join the regular volunteer team.The event is open to anyone over the age of 4, though under-11s need to be accompanied by a responsible adult. Participants who want to get a personal timing at the end need to have registered first (for free) on the parkrun

UK website at www.parkrun.org.uk/register/ and to have downloaded their personal barcode into a presentable format to be scanned in after they’ve crossed the finish line.

Full details of the Malling Rec parkrun, including how to volunteer as well as run, jog or walk, can be found on the parkrun UK website at parkrun.org.uk/mallingrec

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