Sunday, 14 January 2018

Priory Parkrun: 200 runs changing lifes in Reigate

The last New Year's Day the Reigate Priory Parkrun was 200 runs and celebrated it the best way they know: running in the beautiful, scenic and undulating Priory Park course -the 91st most elevated in the ranking of 400 Park Run in  UK-.

Bruce Fordyce, Parkrun South Africa Country Manager, says in the book Park Run: much more than just a run in the park (highly recommended) that Parkrun 'is not a simple 5 kilometre fun run. It is changing  the lives of ten of thousands of people for the better'. In Reigate, the Park Run has changed the live of more than 6,500 runners, who has taken part in this simple and revolutionary concept of run -timed, five kilometre runs, for people of all ages and all abilities, fun, friendly and free- since starting on 22nd of March 2014. The figures of this event are absolutely incredible in around four years: more than 189,000 km of total distance completed or 2 years of time running.    

Image of the beginning of a Park Run in Reigate.

It doesn't matter the weather (sun, rain, snow and mud) or the Park conditions -the course in Reigate is a mixture of gravel path, woodland trail and grass- each Saturday at 9:00am an average of 188,9 runners is waiting with their barcode to run and improve their time. 

But, why the Parkrun is being so successful? Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE, the founder of Parkrun, explains in the book mentioned above his reasons: 'Partly, the obvious it is free. But also lots of other reasons -the socials aspects, the encouraging, welcoming atmosphere for new runners, the simplicity, and because it's fun. More and more, it's because of the relationship with the community'. 

Paul Chandler, who has seen the growth of the Reigate Priory Parkrun as Run Director in these four years and heart of this event, defined the Reigate Priory Parkrun in a interview on our blog as "not a race and there are no winners just a friendly place to run as fast or as slow as you like".

Now, we have tried to compile a few key moments that has marked the history of the Priory Parkrun. (This summary is the result of reading all the post published about the races since March of 2014 from the Reigate Priory Parkrun website. Pictures have been taken from the same page. By the way, it has been a pleasure to experience the history of this great event through these weekly articles).

200th Reigate Priory Parkrun: 179 people complete the course on New Year's Day, which make a total of 6,524 participants and a distance of 188,355 km since first Reigate Priory Parkrun in March of 2014.

200th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

198th Christmas Run: 307 people elves, santas, reindeer, snowmen, a penguin and a surfer complete with surfboard the race at the Christmas Run.

198th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

192nd Reigate Priory Parkrun: Each Saturday, parkrunners celebrate their records of runs: 50, 100, 200... Last November, Catriona Sanderson and Mary Northway join the 50 club.  

192nd Reigate Priory Parkrun.

190th Reigate Priory Parkrun: 4 bats, 2 werewolves, 2 ghosts and a pumpkin complete the race to celebrate the Halloween Parkrun.

190th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

165th Reigate Priory Parkrun: 377 runners gather at the start line for the largest parkrun at the Priory ever.

165th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

131st Reigate Priory Parkrun: Two years ago Reigate becomes in a running capital during a weekend. The Reigate Priory Parkrun on Saturday and the Run Reigate on Sunday, both sponsored by Intersport UK.

129th Reigate Priory Parkrun: 318 runners finish this race, making a total of more than 100,000 kilometres. The person who completed this milestone was Alicia Saunders.

129th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

128th Reigate Priory Parkrun: Laura Gent sets the current female course record beating her own previous mark by 7 seconds to set the new time at 18.19. (Kevin Quinn holds the male record achieved in the event 134 when he ran the 5k in 15:37).

128th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

76th Reigate Priory Parkrun: The event sees the 10,000th finisher since the beginning in 2014. 

76th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

59th Reigate Priory Parkrun: More than 400 clubs registered in four years. In this race, Horley Harriers Running Club makes a group appearance.

59th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

52nd Reigate Priory Parkrun: First year of the Priory Park Run in Reigate. A milestone that would not have been possible without the volunteers enthusiasm.

52nd Reigate Priory Parkrun.

46th Reigate Priory Parkrun: The snow cannot stop this 5k in February of 2015. In fact, this day there are some good performances. 

46th Reigate Priory Parkrun.

1st Reigate Priory Parkrun: 325 runners complete the inaugural course, 83 of them run their first parkrun event. Many parkrunners move from around the country to visit the opening run in Reigate. Ryan Harris and Alice Chandler (Reigate Priory AC) are the first winners.

1st Reigate Priory Parkrun.

1st Reigate Priory Junior Park Run: Last November, 46 young runners (4-14 years old) runthe first Priory Junior Parkrun. Six weeks later, the number of kids is 79. 

                                                           1st Reigate Priory Junior Park Run.