'Sheer enthusiasm' - parkrun is back runners 'are so glad'

Runners wearing party hats at the start of the Felixstowe parkrun

Celebrations at the start of the first Felixstowe parkrun since March 2020 - Credit: Brian Barnard

Runners in Ipswich, Felixstowe, and the rest of Suffolk, dug out their trainers as the first parkruns since March 2020 were finally allowed to take place on Saturday.  

In Ipswich 272 participants ran and walked the 5k route in Chantry park, supported by 33 volunteers, while down the road in Felixstowe 184 people turned out for the popular seaside parkrun. 

Runners in party hats at the start of the Felixstowe parkrun

Runners excited to catch up with friends at the parkrun in Felixstowe after a long time away - Credit: Brian Barnard

Felixstowe parkrun participants

184 participants took part in the Felixstowe parkrun on Saturday, the first since the start of the coronavirus pandemic - Credit: Sara

Sara and her husband Mark Lambert, previously volunteered at the Felixstowe parkrun, but have now taken over as event directors. She said: "It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and loads of new ones."

Speaking about the benefits of parkrun, which has been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sara said she was glad the event had been given the all clear to resume considering they take place outdoors with "plenty of space" for participants to spread out. 

She added: "Parkrun is important for community spirit and mental and physical health." 

Volunteers at Felixstowe parkrun

The volunteers were back too, helping out at parkruns in Felixstowe, Chantry Park and in Stowmarket - Credit: Sara

The director also thanked the volunteers that play a key role in the running of the 5K event which is free to everyone, and said: "We say it every time but we'll never stop being grateful, if it wasn't for the volunteers we simply couldn't hold this event. Well done to all those that took part." 

Runner at Ipswich parkrun

Celebrations at the end of the first Ipswich parkrun since March 2020 - Credit: James Flatman

Graham Rodgers at the start of Ipswich parkrun

Graham Rodgers, East Suffolk ambassador for parkrun UK, at the start of the Ipswich parkrun on Saturday, July 24 - Credit: James Flatman

Graham Rodgers, who is East Suffolk ambassador for parkrun UK, said:  "The smiles, the cheers, the waving, the sheer enthusiasm shown by everyone said it all - parkrun is back and we are so glad. There were moments when it felt like we had never been away."

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As well as the parkruns in Ipswich and Felixstowe, the first ever parkrun took place at Chilton Fields in Stowmarket with 60 participants pulling on their trainers.  

Keep Moving Suffolk confirmed that 11 parkruns across Suffolk restarted at the weekend, on Twitter they said: "Thanks to all the hi-vis heroes who supported parkrun in Suffolk today.

"Today all the marshals, timekeepers, barcode scanners, tail walkers and finish token volunteers, we salute you." 

Parkrun is suitable for runners and walkers of all abilities and takes place every Saturday at 9am - you can find your nearest event in Suffolk on the website - parkrun.com.