Bedford community has opportunity to run weekly

Posted on December 31, 2011


The community of Bedford have the opportunity to exercise for free weekly in Bedford Park.

With over 70 locations across the country, parkrun try to include a wider age range as possible. At the Bedford location, the youngest runner is 5 years old, and the oldest is in his 80s.

parkrun’s website explains that they “organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs… They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.”

Bedford’s event director, Katarina Darcy, explained that Bedford parkrun sees approximately 90 people participate every week, though they just reached the target of 1000th registered runner for the event.

Bedford parkrun has been running since June 2010 and on the first over 100 people attended. Darcy explained that she had simply posted the event on social networking site Facebook and through word of mouth the event spread.

The average finishing time for Bedford participants is 26.57 minutes, however Darcy explained that the longest time was 1hr 20mins as parkrun is open to everyone of all abilities.

Lucozade, Sweatshop and Adidas sponsor the events, not only in Bedford, but across the country.

As a reward for children, after their 10th event with parkrun, Adidas supply free smart t-shirts to encourage participation.

Also offered is a monthly prize of trainers, and adults are offered prizes too by completing goals.

Darcy explained that on special occasions, the runners are invited to participate in fancy dress runs. One was arranged for Halloween and 128 costumed runners participated.

“It’s fun and interesting for the kids,” explained Darcy, who also decided to bring the fancy dress run to Christmas Eve. “We don’t know what to expect on holidays like that, we were only expecting 30, but we had 160 runners!”

Darcy also explained that no one at the parkrun was employed by the company, they are all volunteers. The marshals rotate, and some run on different weeks. Kids also get involved handing out numbers.

A large number of volunteers are on site at all times, so if anyone decides to pull out, they’re never far away from a marshal.

The Bedford parkrun attracts people from far and wide. The furthest applicants come from Plymouth and Wales, though they don’t appear regularly. The front runner from today’s run had transferred from the Cambridge parkrun as he preferred Bedford’s atmosphere.

Find your local parkrun on their website here and have a look at Bedford parkrun’s Facebook page.

Here are some photos from the event:

Post edited: 1/1/12 Added video, map, photos and extra embedded links.

Posted in: News Story