A national organisation which puts on weekly 5k runs in parks across the world could be coming to Preston.
Volunteers have been in talks with Preston City Council about staging a weekly event in Avenham and Miller Park.
Park Run was set up in 2004 in South West London and since then has become a global phenomena, offering free weekly timed runs in parks in Europe, Asia and Australia.
Michael Ash-McMahon who is leading the work to bring Park Run to Preston says it is the simplicity that attracted him to the idea.
He said: “I like to run but I don’t want that commitment of joining a running club. I came across Park Run when I was in Middlesbrough visiting my wife’s family, and just thought it’s a great idea.
“I think what’s great about the run is you get to be alongside other people but it does not have the intensity of a race. Some people want to charge round in 15 minutes while others do it at a more leisurely pace and both are absolutely fine.”
Mr Ash-McMahon, who lives in Fulwood, has been in discussions with the management at Avenham Park about hosting a weekly race every Saturday at 9am, and planning a route around the Victorian parks.
“They have been really helpful,” he says, “we’ve been round and measured out a route. Because of the size of the park we’ll need to do three laps.
“We picked Avenham because well, it’s just splendid really. We were down there the other week measuring the course and it’s just a great venue. One of the managers was there from Park Run and was saying it’s one of the best courses he’s seen in the UK.”
Park Run is run by volunteers but requires £6,000 of funding for an event to be started up. This covers the cost of a laptop and other equipment and licences which need to be secured by the volunteer committee.
National event sponsors such as Adidas and Lucozade provide half the money leaving the volunteers a total of £3,000 to raise before the event can take place.
Mr Ash-McMahon hopes to secure the backing of local running clubs, businesses and the council to raise the remaining funds.
He said: “We really hope we can get the local support to make Park Run happen. The national organisers said Preston is one of their most enquired about places where a run currently doesn’t happen. So, we need the support of local people to make it happen.”
A Preston City Council spokesman confirmed Avenham Park could be a venue for Park Run but they were waiting for organisers to confirm a date for the first event.
View a video explaining what Park Run is
This is parkrun from parkrun on Vimeo.
Anyone interested in backing the Park Run can follow the organisers on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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Image credit to Paul Melling