Runners up at the Northampton Heart of the Community Awards 2019

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This would not have happened if our lovely parkrunner Bryan did not nominate us.  A big thank you from us all.

"Northampton parkrun is a free, timed 5k (three miles) event for anyone - walkers, joggers, runners, buggy pushers, wheelchair users etc (‘runners’). It takes place at the Racecourse every Saturday at 9 a.m. and is one of 601 parkruns in the UK that are organised by local volunteers, backed up by a centralised registration and barcode results system. Parkrun has been aptly described as “…a celebration of all that is good about social fitness”.

A team of around 30 volunteers – marshalling, organising the finish funnel, operating timers, scanning the runners’ barcodes etc – enable Northampton parkrun to take place each week. The event has supported over 100 youngsters participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme. Members of the tail-walking group frequently double up as Racecourse litter pickers on parkrun days – and a group of parkrunners will plog and support the Friends of the Racecourse events.

The first Northampton parkrun took place in May 2012 and the most recent event, on 6th April 2019, was the 361st. The average number of runners per week over this period is 334 but, for the fourteen weeks so far in 2019, the average number of runners per week is 499. Everyone is welcome at Northampton parkrun – it prides itself on being accessible, inclusive and welcoming (it often features ‘fun’ themes). Trained guides are available for visually impaired runners and the event brings together people of different ages, who possess a range of athletic capabilities and who have varying objectives. An 86-year old regular recently completed his 350th parkrun, three generation family groups are not uncommon and an enthusiastic 4-year-old joined his mother as a marshal only last week.

Local clubs of all description have participated in, or taken over, an event to help their promotion; these include, most recently, representatives from youth rugby (Old Scouts), local employers (Opus Energy) and Abington Park Joggers. For the last Saturday of each month Northampton parkrun is a ‘5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer’ parkrun and, on 11 May, the Deaf Hub for the deaf and hard of hearing will be the main provider of volunteers.

The Chief Medical Officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, has said: “... parkrun is community led, and community facing, allowing local authorities to benefit the health of their population by simply supporting parkrun with a location and helping it to be visible …”. Locally, there have been many individual examples where runners and volunteers have derived enormous personal benefit in being part of a group - such as weight loss, helping to deal with anxiety or a diversion from life-limiting conditions.

The core team behind Northampton parkrun have supported the teams that have successfully set up new parkrun events in Kettering and, more recently, Upton. They are silent heroes in the local community – their weekly efforts, often taken for granted, enable hundreds of people to benefit physically, mentally and socially. A Heart of Community Award would demonstrate the respect and appreciation that they deserve."

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Bryan, Helen, Michelle, Mayor of Northampton, Gabrielle, Leigh and Alastair