READING Residents are encouraged to get their running shoes on this Saturday for a free, timed 5km run in Prospect Park, which is now a weekly fixture in the Reading calendar.
Prospect parkrun, which started earlier this month and is being championed by Reading Council, brings free weekly, timed runs at Prospect Park every Saturday, starting at 9am. It is coordinated entirely by volunteers from the local community.
This Saturday (2nd June), to celebrate and formally launch the new initiative, the Mayor of Reading, Cllr Debs Edwards and Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member for Recreation, will be attending Prospect parkrun at 9am.
The event is open to everyone, is completely free and is easy to take part in, although participants need to register in advance at www.parkrun.org.uk/register and bring a printed copy of the barcode it provides.
People are encouraged to participate by walking, jogging, running, cheering people on or volunteering, and to catch up for refreshments in a local cafe afterwards.
More than 200 runners attended the event the previous week, with the help of 15 volunteers.
Prospect parkrun’s Event Director, AJ Jain, said: “Parkrun is a friendly, welcoming event that provides a perfect opportunity to get out in the fresh air to socialise and be physically active in a supportive environment.
“The run takes place in pleasant parkland surroundings every Saturday at 9am and we encourage people of all abilities to take part; from juniors and those taking their first steps in running, to seasoned runners. The parkrun also brings people together with a visit a local café afterwards. Our nominated coffee shop is the Mansion House, so we are also supporting a local business as well.”
Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member for Recreation, said: “I’m delighted the Council has been able to support the first parkrun in Reading and hope to see many more of these groups across the borough in future. We are keen to encourage grass roots activities like this, which have so many benefits to offer, not only in terms of health and wellbeing, but also from a social perspective in encouraging the community to come together.”
The course is two relatively flat laps, on grass, round the southern section of the park. The course gets muddy and boggy after rain so trail shoes may be necessary at times. The start and finish is just south of the Prospect Park Pavilion car park. To find out more and register visit www.parkrun.org.uk/prospect
If people are interested in volunteering to help with the run organisation, email firstname.lastname@example.org
parkrun is a not for profit organisation which is part of a national network of timed runs held around the world in over 1000 locations. This is the first parkrun within the Reading area. For more information on the national initiative visit www.parkrun.org.uk
Photo opportunity: The media are invited to take a photo of the Mayor of Reading, Cllr Debs Edwards and Cllr Sarah Hacker at the parkrun on Saturday 2nd June at 8.50am for a 9am start.
The Council has supported this parkrun by granting permission to use Prospect Park, providing storage space for the course set-up equipment and by providing an automated external defibrillator (AED) and training on its use for parkrun volunteers.