Tuesday, 3 May 2016

"Reigate Priory Park Run is just a friendly place to run as fast or as slow as you like"

More than 100 races, 3,432 runners, 78,595 kilometres and 304 days in total running are some of Reigate Priory Park Run figures, sponsored now by Intersport.

The first race came to Reigate on March 22, 2014 and two years later celebrated his 100th race with a Valentine's Day special. Each Saturday an average about 141.6 runners lace up their trainers and run 5km in this particular free race, entirely organised by volunteers to encourage regular exercise in the community. It is you against the clock.

The course, in Priory Park, is run on a mixture of gravel path, woodland trail and grass. 61 years old Paul Chandler has seen the growth of the Reigate Priory Park Run as a Run Director in these two years and tell us his experiences in this interview.

Why is the Reigate Priory Park Run different from other races?

Parkrun is not a race and there are no winners just a friendly place to run as fast or as slow as you like.

What is the profile of the Reigate Priory Park runner?

From young children to seventy year olds and from complete beginners to experienced runners.

Paul Chandler mending a path (Pict. taken from Reigate Priory Park Run)

Now your figures are (111 events, 3,432 runners, 219 clubs...) Have you got any special goal (in terms of numbers)? 

Our goal is to be available every week and that depends upon the volunteers.

How is the environment in this running community?

Judging by the greetings and smiles every week this is a happy friendly community.

Your post parkrun coffee are famous (Every week they grab a post parkrun coffee in the Pavilion Café).

We have an excellent café in the park with all sorts of drinks and eats.

How important is the role of the volunteers?

If there were no volunteers there would be no parkrun.

How do you describe the course?

Scenic and undulating, we run around the lake, uphill in the woods and downhill on the grass.

What do you recommend to take part in this event? (Clothing, training...)

In the summer when it is dry ordinary trainers, shorts and vest are best but in the winter when the ground is wet you need shoes with some grip and warmer running gear.

How is the development going for the Junior ParkRun?

We are still working on funding for junior parkrun. It will be a 2km event on a Sunday morning aimed at 4-14 year olds.

Any anecdote or funny story you remember.

What is most inspiring is the people who have never run before and maybe start with half walk / half run or half the distance but just keep coming back and improving.

Why do you recommend to register in the Priory Park Run Reigate?

Being outdoors and taking exercise is the most natural way to start the weekend. Doing it regularly has definite health and fitness benefits.

Which is your motivation to do this every Saturday?

I love running, I have made many new friends and I like to see them enjoying running.

Your best reward.

The expressions of achievement, reward and delight at the finishing line.