Parkruns set to return to Shropshire this weekend

After being kept apart for 73 weeks, hundreds of people will once again be lining up in parkruns across the county this weekend.

Telford parkrun organisers Kim Fawke and Nathan Green preparing for this weekend's return
Telford parkrun organisers Kim Fawke and Nathan Green preparing for this weekend's return

The weekly 5k runs had become a huge part of weekend life prior to the pandemic, with thousands of people across Shropshire turning out to complete the distance on a Saturday morning.

The pandemic has meant they were shut down, owing to fear of spreading Covid, but this Saturday at 9am, once again runners will be setting off around some of the county's venues.

Five of the county's parkruns are back this weekend – Telford, Shrewsbury, Severn Valley Country Park, Oswestry, and Ludlow at Mortimer Forest.

Whitchurch's Alderford Lake run is not back this weekend but organisers are hoping it will return next week.

The events are being brought back to a government agreed framework with extra measures designed to keep people safe from Covid.

A pre-pandemic parkrun at Telford Town Park
Telford parkrun organisers Kim Fawke and Nathan Green preparing for this weekend's return.

Kim Fawke, organiser of the Telford parkrun, which takes place at Telford Town Park, said they were excited to be back, but still have no idea what to expect in terms of the number of people who will turn out.

Pre-pandemic the run would attract around 500 people on a Saturday morning.

In an effort to reduce queues organisers have been asked to provide more bar code scanners – one for every 50 people – meaning many have had to draft in more volunteers ready for the day.

Kim said: "I have got a team of 45 volunteers for the weekend, normally we have 20 but we have a full roster of 45. We will have 20 out on the course and 14 will be scanning bar codes.

"Pre-Covid we would have had 500 people and you would queue to get your bar code scanned but going on the figures we normally have we need about 10 to 15 scanners – one for each 50 people."

Despite starting in the same place as prior to the pandemic, at the visitor centre, people may find the starting grid extended, with some runners moving back even as far as the International Centre.

Kim said: "Our start line is right by the visitor centre but we are going to space them out so it may be a long way back depending on how many turn up."

She added: "We are really excited. I am not going to lie, it has been quite stressful but we are excited and it will be great to see people in person rather than seeing them on Facebook.

"Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton are quite excited as well but it is a lot of work and we don't know what we are going to get."

The Shrewsbury parkrun will return to The Quarry at 9am on Saturday, and Shrewsbury Town Council, which looks after the park, said they were thrilled to see it back.

Helen Ball, Shrewsbury Town Council clerk, said: "The town council is delighted that the parkrun is scheduled to return to the Quarry.

"The parkrun has always been seen as a great way for people to stay active and pre-Covid was attracting over 500 runners each week.

"Officers have been working with the parkrun organisers to ensure that these weekly sessions can return safely and thanks go to all those who volunteer marshalling the course."

For information about parkrun events visit parkrun.org.uk.

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