First parkrun event for young people launches in Oxfordshire
Children looking to get more active now have the opportunity to join Oxfordshire’s first weekly parkrun event for juniors.
Junior parkrun is for young people aged four to 14 years and takes place at Brookes Sport Botley, Harcourt Hill Campus in Botley (OX2 9AT) every Sunday, starting at 9am.
The event is free for all to attend and provides participants with a short 2km route entirely on grass. Runners just need to register online prior to attending and bring their barcode with them.
Each weekend sees thousands of runners attending free parkrun events around the country. The Saturday 5k parkruns are open to all (although those under 11 need to be within arm’s reach of a parent, guardian or other designated adult). Sunday morning junior parkruns, which are becoming more popular, are run over a shorter distance of 2km, are suitable for all abilities and children can run unaccompanied if they wish.
The events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and people of every ability are encouraged to take part; from those taking their first steps in running to people with more experience.
The junior parkrun in Botley has been launched thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers and Vale of White Horse District Council which secured £3,000 funding for the equipment needed to run the event.
The first junior parkrun took place last month in Botley with more than 80 young people enjoying the event and a further 65 joining in the following week.
Junior parkrun is an entirely non-competitive run. The most important thing is that the children enjoy themselves. Parents are also welcome to walk or run alongside their children. It's totally free to take part in and is coordinated entirely by a team of volunteers from the local area.
Helen Peramatzis, one of the volunteer organisers of the new junior parkrun event, said: “We are thrilled with the success of the first events with over 80 runners completing our 2km course for our inaugural event and then another 65 newcomers for the second Sunday. We had an amazing atmosphere with marshals and parents cheering on every single runner and celebrating their achievement. It's the perfect start to a Sunday!”
Cllr Charlotte Dickson, Cabinet Member for Leisure at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This is great news for young people in Oxfordshire that they have their very own parkrun event. I’m delighted that we have played a significant role in bringing this event about by securing funding and by providing additional support to the volunteers. I am sure that the Harcourt Hill junior parkrun will now go from strength to strength and will hopefully inspire others around the county to set up their own junior events.”