Over two thousand runners have run over 20,000 miles around Middleton Park in the last year.
If this means nothing to you, you haven’t caught up with the global phenomenon that is parkrun. It’s success lies in its simplicity: people turn up each Saturday morning to their local park at 9am for a free, timed 5km walk, jog or run.
Towards the end of 2017 a group of volunteers got together to set up a parkrun in Middleton. They launched in April and celebrated their first birthday on Saturday 20 April.
174 participants, including your author and his dog, turned out to help the team celebrate and enjoy some exercise … and enjoy the cakes at the end!
I spoke to Event Director Josh Dixon who said:
“After taking a while to get Middleton Woods parkrun started, I can’t believe that we have now been running for a whole year. It really has flown by in no time at all. I am sure I have mentioned it before to people, but I have to give a shout out to some people that without them, this parkrun wouldn’t exist.
“Firstly there’s Neil Jones and Leeds City Council for providing the funding and pushing for this run, Jeremy Hayes and all the team at the bike hub, if you haven’t visited it already I highly recommend it, and the bacon sandwiches after? Amazing! Of course I have to put a massive thank you out to my core team, I won’t blame you all, but you know who you are and without you guys each week we wouldn’t go ahead. From setting up, to timing, tail walking and everything else your support has been fantastic. Volunteering is fantastic and I strongly suggest everyone tries it.
“On the event itself I recommend to anyone who hasn’t been to Middleton Woods, or haven’t been for a while to come and give it a go. It doesn’t matter what pace you go, you will have a fantastic time in fantastic surroundings. Middleton Park through the spring and summer is lovely and looks great. The park is so much bigger then where parkrun goes too, so why not come try the parkrun, and spend the day in the park one day this summer.
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in setting up and making Middleton Woods a great parkrun to be involved with and here’s to year two!”
Volunteer Helen Car added:
“I was at the start of Middleton Woods parkrun last year and started volunteering with the team. Not only have I met some fantastic people, I have learned some new skills and seen it grow into a fantastic little parkrun. If you’ve not tried it yet do. You can walk, jog or run and after you can explore the fantastic area in which the route is set.”
If you would like to volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t need any experience, just enthusiasm.
If you would like to take part, register online at parkrun.org.uk, print off your barcode and turn up ready to start at 9am – you’ll be assured of a warm, supportive welcome. There are six other parkruns in Leeds including Cross Flatts in Beeston.