Kirk Douglas is Bramley ParkRun’s 10,000th runner. No, really …


Last Saturday saw the 10,000th runner cross the finish line at Bramley Parkrun, writes Jill Buckley.

The event takes place every Saturday morning at 9am in Bramley Park, starting at the war memorial. It is free to take part in once you have registered via the parkrun website and every week people of all abilities forego their Saturday morning lie-in to take part in the 5k course.

The lucky runner who claimed the 10,000 spot was Bramley Breezer and Parkrun regular Kirk Douglas, fresh from the previous day’s birthday celebrations

Well maybe not THAT Kirk Douglas.

Bramley Parkrun start.
Bramley Parkrun start.

Bramley Parkrun is run entirely by volunteers from the local area, many of whom are regular faces, such as Jean Hollings, who recently became the new event director, and is a long-time volunteer.

Her son Paul, who also takes part in the event regularly, completed his 25th stint as a volunteer this week, and was rewarded with a milestone t-shirt for his efforts.

This week’s run director was Jemma Roe who, along with baby Martha and Paul Bennett, is first there on a Saturday setting up and checking the course prior to the start. There are many many more who regularly give up their time on a Saturday morning to help out, and too many to mention here, but new volunteers are always welcome and there are a variety of roles you can do from timekeeping to marshalling.

Parkrun volunteers cheer the runners round on their first lap
Parkrun volunteers cheer the runners round on their first lap

Bramley Parkrun has had a very positive effect on the local community who have embraced the event.

Martin Gebbett is a member of Horsforth Fell and Dale and a regular runner and volunteer on a Saturday morning. He said:

“After 40+ years of running, man and boy, it’s great to be involved in an awesome community event, especially to be putting something back in by volunteering when not running.”

Andrea Douglas spoke of the positive effect it had had on her and her family:

“It’s nice to feel part of something especially when others in your family join in. It gives us the get up and go on a Saturday …it’s had the most amazing positive effect on my husband!”

Jayne Learoyd said the event had a great community impact:

“It’s a community event. Everyone can take part whatever their age or ability (or income), everyone can contribute as a volunteer, or just by saying ‘well done, or thanks ‘ and everyone can benefit. It is so brilliant to have Parkrun in Bramley.”

Sarah Cullingworth commented:

“Parkrun has helped me find something that was missing. I needed to get some exercise. It has made me get my act together but it’s not just that – I’ve met lots of great people and volunteering means I can give something back, too. I’m glad to be a part of such a motivational, happy and welcoming community.”

bramley breezers at bramley parkrun
Bramley Breezers at Bramley Parkrun

In the 18 months since it began Bramley Parkrun has gone from strength to strength, now attracting an average of 132 participants per week, with the record attendance being 289.

The figures are testament to Bramley’s success: on the same week last year there were 58 taking part, this Saturday there were 118.

Since it began a running group has sprung up, Bramleys very own Breezers, and there is now also a junior parkrun on Sunday mornings for ages 4 to 14.

Runners from all of the other West Leeds running clubs are regularly represented on Saturday mornings, including Pudsey Pacers, Kirkstall Harriers and Farsley Flyers. They also regularly hold takeovers where the club concerned provide volunteers, and in most cases cake, for that morning.

To register with Parkrun follow this link.

For more information on Bramley Parkrun follow this link.

For details of running clubs in Leeds visit the Run Leeds website.


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