Bath Odd Down junior parkrun has seen its 500th junior complete the 2k course. parkrun is a free event that was launched in March 2017 and runs every Sunday at 9am on the Odd Down cycle track. Each week an average of 90 children run, jog or walk the 2k course. It is open to children of all abilities, aged 4 to 14 years old, who can run with or without their parents.
The emphasis is on joining in and having fun with organisers saying that it is a run, not a race. Children’s runs are timed and the results published online allowing juniors to chart their own performance and chase their own personal best.
Participation is encouraged with milestone wristbands awarded when juniors have run the equivalent of a half marathon (11 junior parkruns), a marathon (21 junior parkruns) or an ultra marathon (50 junior parkruns). Harriet Pagnamenta, co-event director, explained, “It is fantastic that over 500 individual children in Bath have now experienced our parkrun and we hope that they will make this a regular part of their weekend. All you need to take part is a printed barcode and pair of trainers.”
The event secured start-up funding from the Bath Half marathon fund as well as local donors and is completely free to all. Volunteering is therefore vital to the parkrun and creates a great community spirit with marshals high fiving the runners as they sprint, jog or skip past. Andy James, co –event director, added, “I have been really impressed with the response of parents, grandparents and even the kids themselves, who have thrown themselves into our parkrun with great enthusiasm. So far, over 65 people volunteers taking part. As parkrun is an approved Duke of Edinburgh provider, we’ve been pleased to welcome several teenagers who have joined our team as they work towards their bronze and silver awards.”
All participants and onlookers are encouraged to stay for a coffee afterwards at the sport’s centre’s café, which also helps to create a lovely community feel to the whole event.
Find out more at www.parkrun.org.uk/bathodddown-juniors/