Chichester parkrun reaches second year anniversary

Runners tackle the 105th Chichester parkrun - marking the events second anniversary in the city. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks16000831
Runners tackle the 105th Chichester parkrun - marking the events second anniversary in the city. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks16000831
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Chichester parkrun event director Mike Houston admitted it was a special day as the event marked its second year anniversary on Saturday.

The run saw 164 competitors descend on Oaklands Park as the event got underway for the 105th time.

Since its inception back in 2014, as many as 2,743 unique runners have taken to Oaklands in order to complete the 5k course.

On average, a total of 125 take part every Saturday for the run that involves three laps around Oaklands Park.

After deciding to start a parkrun in Chichester, Houston believes it’s gone better than he was originally hoping.

He said: “I wanted to start a parkrun in Chichester after moving to this area.

“For me, I felt it was a good way to meet new people and bring lots of runners together.

“It’s been really fun but without all the volunteers and runners this would not be possible.

“Since starting, I’ve had some great support from people in the area and it’s been a real success.”

The first runner home in Saturday’s second year anniversary run was John Leonard in a time of 18 minutes and 50 seconds, while Emma Wickens was the first female to complete the course in 24:02.

Chichester’s parkrun is open to runners of all abilities and Houston believes the progress of some has been a plus point over the two years.

He added: “We’ve had runners come here who had never done anything like this before and now they are competing in ultra marathons.

“Other people who thought they’d never run again have got back into it with us.

“It gives you great satisfaction seeing so many people coming out on a Saturday morning.”

Despite setting Chichester’s parkrun up himself, Houston is quick to heap praise on the 300-plus volunteers who have taken time to ensure this event runs each week.

He said: “Without the volunteers this would not be possible so I’d like to say a massive thank-you to them.

“I’ve got a core team around me who make sure this runs each week and it’s always nice to see everyone coming out and trying it for themselves.”

With runners aged between four and 80 able to take part it allows access for all ages.

Chichester parkrun and all other events under the same brand, promote participation rather than competition.

Houston has urged anyone who wishes to take part in the run to come along and try it for themselves.

He said: “It’s up to the runners how they wish to complete the course, whether that be running or walking.

“Some people just come along to watch and not take part, it’s down to the individual.

“It’s been fantastic to have so many runners, volunteers, sponsors and spectators want to be involved in these two years and I hope it continues to grow.”

To learn more about Chichester parkrun visit www.parkrun.org.uk/chichester/

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