Each Saturday morning at 9am, all over the world, millions of people line up to take part in their local parkrun. Parkruns are free weekly timed 5k runs, writes Jill Buckley.
And we have our very own here in West Leeds at Bramley Park. Bramley Parkrun began on June 13th 2015, celebrating run number 52 and its first birthday in June.
Bramley Parkrun was set up by Graham Fisher and his wife Lisa and is entirely run by a brilliant team of volunteers armed with a boatload of enthusiasm who come in all weathers to see everyone safely round the 5km course.
All abilities and speeds are welcome; you can walk, jog or run. Children are welcome to run within arms length of an adult and dogs are welcome on a short leash.
The course records are held by Hannah Oldroyd for the ladies with 18:48 and Timmy Davies for the men in 16:46.
And a tailrunner sees the last participant home to a rousing reception.
All of the photos you see here are taken every week by volunteer Simon Cullingworth, who seems to have an uncanny knack of getting the best photos of everyone.
Since it began, a total of 2,224 runners have taken part, with an average of 130 a week.
Starting at the war memorial, Bramley Parkrun is a four-lapped course taking in the “upwards flat section”, “naughty corner” and “Carol’s Corner”, and each marshal will be there to encourage you at every step.
There is now also a 2k Junior parkrun, for 4 to 14 year olds, at 9am on Sunday mornings, which started at the end of July.
Parkrun first began globally 12 years ago when 13 people met in Bushy Park in London for a 5k time trial and it is now internationally recognised with 420 events in the UK alone.
The first in Leeds began at Woodhouse Moor in October 2007, with a handful of runners and now regularly attracts hundreds!
There are also parkruns in Leeds at Temple Newsam, Cross Flatts, Roundhay Park and Oakwell Hall, and many parkrunners like to also indulge in a bit of parkrun tourism with occasional visits to locations all over Yorkshire, the country and the world!
Many runners credit parkrun as the start of their running adventures, and Bramley parkrun is no exception, with many regular runners going on to achieve great things.
It has also spawned Bramley’s very own Bramley Breezers running group.
Bramley Breezers are a friendly bunch open to all abilities and speeds.
If you fancy joining them they meet every Monday evening at 6.55pm at Bramley Villagers Club on Broad Lane in Bramley.
The Breezers are a free social and running club led by England Athletics trained coaches and all are welcome.
You will spot plenty of Breezers at parkrun on Saturday mornings – there’s no mistaking their bright yellow t-shirts.
Local clubs, such as Kirkstall Harriers, Pudsey Pacers, Farsley Flyers, Horsforth Harriers and Pudsey Runners are also amongst those who are regularly there in numbers as runners or volunteers at Bramley Parkrun.
On October 29th Kirkstall Harriers will be hosting that morning’s event with a Hallowe’en theme where fancy dress and eating cake is very much encouraged.
Parkrun is a very social event and runners and volunteers meet in the Old Unicorn opposite Bramley shopping centre for breakfast afterwards.
Bramley Parkrun is also lucky enough to have its own defibrillator, and special mention should be given to Graham Fisher who was instrumental in co-ordinating with puregym in Bramley who kindly donated it.
Sadly the defibrillator had to be put to use a few weeks ago when Pudsey Pacer Arthur Wood required attention on the course.
Thankfully I’m pleased to report that the quick and calm actions of volunteers and fellow runners mean that Arthur is well on the road to recovery and hoping to be back at Parkrun soon with his daughter Stacey and grandson Ewan.
Why not come along and give parkrun a go? If you don’t fancy running then volunteers are always welcome, whether they have experience in that sort of environment or not – you will soon get into the swing of things with the friendly volunteer team there.
You can register here. Once you have registered, which you only have to do once, you are allocated a barcode which you print off and bring to each parkrun you do.
T-shirts are awarded when you reach 50, 100 and 250 parkruns, and just a couple of weeks ago a parkrunner was presented with a 500th run t-shirt! There haven’t been many of those presented!
Once you have registered you can use the same barcode for any parkrun anywhere in the country and the world.
If you don’t fancy running then volunteers are always welcome, whether they have experience in that sort of environment or not – you will soon get into the swing of things with the friendly volunteer team there.
Visit the Bramley Parkrun website where you will find more information and you can visit the volunteer section to get an idea of what sort of jobs need covering every week.
Volunteers are also awarded a t-shirt after 25 volunteer parkruns.
There is also a Facebook group, “Bramley Park 5k”, to join where you will find all of the latest news, and they are on twitter – @bramleyparkrun.
Hope to see you there!
Jill Buckley, who wrote this article, is secretary of Kirkstall Harriers.