Junior runners will soon have a parkrun of their own at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest near Ringwood. It will launch on Sunday 13 November at 9am and children from 4 to 14 can take part in a new regular weekly event.
parkrun is a fun way to enjoy running outdoors.
Moors Valley held its first parkrun nearly a year ago and in that time more than 190 volunteers have helped almost 3000 different runners, ranging in age from four years old to almost 80, to take part. Such has been the popularity of the Moors Valley parkrun that local organisers believe the new junior parkrun, where all participants are under 14 years of age, will emulate its success.
parkrun is a free, fun, community activity open to all ages and abilities. A standard parkrun is a timed leisure run covering a distance of 5km. The new junior parkrun covers 2km, is easier for youngsters who might find the longer distance too demanding, and designed so they can experience the thrill of running by themselves with no adults. Children can also be accompanied by parents or guardians if preferred, but can only cross the line by themselves. junior parkruns are open to all, free and easy to join and take place in a safe and secure environment overseen by experienced DBS-checked volunteers.
Moors Valley junior parkrun event director Joanne Weston said, “The Moors Valley parkrun has been a huge success and, thanks to major support from LV=, East Dorset District Councillor, Mike Dyer’s discretionary fund; Oasis Fun, and Moors Valley Country Park, we are thrilled to be able to offer this new event tailored specifically to youngsters up to the age of 14.
One of the reasons for the success of the Moors Valley parkrun has been the fantastic partnership we have forged with the Park management team. So much so that Paul Sinton-Hewitt the founder of parkrun, has used Moors Valley as a model of a positive working relationship between a Park and parkrun to benefit the community.”
Ensuring that both parkruns and junior parkruns are as accessible as possible is a key policy for the parkrun organisation. Specialist volunteer guides are being recruited to assist runners with physical or mental disabilities and locally, Chris Archibold, the Moors Valley parkrun event director, is training to be the mental health ambassador based at the Park. Anyone interested in having the support of a volunteer parkrun guide can email the volunteers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clare Gronow, Team Leader at Moors Valley said, “Since parkrun began at Moors Valley we have held over 40 events and averaged 241 runners each week; a really exceptional result. In fact on one occasion we had four Olympic athletes taking part including two Beijing medallists! junior parkrun will build on that success to give local children a great opportunity to have a break from screen-time and be part of a group enjoying active, healthy fun outdoors in a safe environment.”
New runners should register at www.parkrun.org.uk/register/ and obtain a membership barcode. Once they have the barcode they can get free entry to any parkrun anywhere in the UK.