PARKRUNNERS in Leamington have notched up one million kilometres between them.
The town’s parkrun, held weekly at Newbold Comyn, reached the mammoth milestone when the 200,000th finisher crossed the line on Saturday (August 26).
Event director Dave Chantry explained that collectively Leamington parkrunners had now covered a distance of a million kilometres since the 5K event began back in 2011.
There was a special celebration for all the runners, as well as a presentation to the person who ran kilometre number 1,000,000 – Laura Cale.
Leamington parkrun is part of a huge running phenomenon founded by Zimbabwean runner Paul Sinton-Hewitt in October 2004 at Bushy Park in London.
The event was originally called the Bushy Park Time Trial and grew into a network of similar events called the UK Time Trials, before adopting the name parkrun in 2008 and expanding into other countries.
Leamington is just one of a collection of 5K events for walkers and runners that now take place every Saturday morning at more than 2,000 locations in 22 countries across six continents and are manned entirely by volunteers.
Events take place at a range of locations including parks, stately homes, forests, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, beaches, promenades, prisons and nature reserves.
Sinton-Hewitt, a former club runner with a personal best time in the marathon of two hours and 36 minutes, founded parkrun when he became injured but still wanted to spend time with his running friends.
They have gone on to encourage a whole range of people to take up running and improve their fitness, their popularity only temporarily hampered by the pandemic when social-distancing prevented the event taking place.
Parkruns usually take place at the same time, at the same place, on the same course, once per week. Participants run or walk the course and are directed by marshals along the correct route to the finish line. As each runner enters the finish funnel, a volunteer records their finishing place and time, which participants can compare to past and future times and notch up personal bests.
Leamington parkrun starts and finishes at the football pavilion at Newbold Comyn and takes place every Saturday at 9am.