'So many happy people' - Hundreds take part in first South Shields parkrun since Covid pandemic began

Hundreds of people took part in the first South Shields parkrun in more than a year on Saturday morning.

Saturday, 24th July 2021, 5:30 pm
Updated Saturday, 24th July 2021, 6:54 pm

The popular 5k event along the town’s coastline attracted 247 excited runners who were keen to return to the first weekly race since the Covid pandemic began.

Colin Robson, event director for South Shields parkrun, said: “There were so many happy people at the event who were so grateful to have their parkrun community back.

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Hundreds of runners took part in the first South Shields parkrun on Saturday since Covid-19 halted events last year.

"It was brilliant and so good to see everyone.

"We had 247 athletes and 13 volunteers, plus a couple of people who volunteered and ran.

"We had 40 people take part who had never ran the South Shields parkrun before and 24 of those people were taking part in their first ever parkrun.

"Quite a few people went to the Sand Dancer afterwards for breakfast and a catch up.”

Runners were glad to see the return of the popular South Shields parkun after the event was halted for more than a year.

Finish times were recorded by volunteers using an app on their phone, rather than stopwatches and scanners, in an effort to reduce contact.

The pre-run brief was also shorter than usual in order to minimise people being close to each other for a prolonged period of time.

But organiser Colin said the changes had actually helped to make the event more efficient.

He said: "I loved it being app-only as it made it so much easier to process results.”

Event organisers said the first South Shields parkrun since the start of the Covid pandemic was a success despite new measures being in place to keep runners safe.

Runners from 29 different clubs took part in the event, with Ross Jarman, from Chiltern Harriers AC, coming in first place with a time of 17.21.

The first woman to finish was Alex Sneddon, from Jarrow and Hebburn AC, with a time of 19.29.

Those looking to take part in future parkruns will still need to ensure they are registered with parkrun and bring their personal barcode to get scanned at the end.

Buit Parkrun organisers have also confirmed that anyone can turn up on the day to take part in the event as there will be no pre-run registration.

Parkrun events are free and take place each week, organised and operated by volunteers, with some areas operating junior 2k events on Sunday mornings for children aged from four to 14

To register online visit: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/register/

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