144 runners and 29 volunteers: First parkrun back is a huge success
- Credit: LYN GIBB-DE SWARTE
144 runners and 29 volunteers took part in the 93rd Littleport park run, which was the first to go ahead since lockdown.
The fastest time was achieved by Ely Runners’ Lee Tatum, who clocked 17.30, followed closely by Highgate Harriers runner Ross Dunsmore who clocked a New Personal Best of 18.36.
Among the 22 park runners who achieved personal bests were Chelsey Meadows (31.05) and Andrea Sullivan (32.46), two of ‘The Fab 5’ local running team.
The Fab 5 who consist of Chelsey, Andrea, Julie Murfitt, Jennifer Stewart and Cathy Gibb-de Swarte were formed during the pandemic.
Then, when the government restrictions were gradually being lifted, all five regularly messaged to arrange virtual runs.
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They pounded the streets of Littleport in all kinds of weather and on early mornings to raise money for a range of charities.
The group fundraised for Run 4 Autism Awareness (Chelsey and her cousin Amy Holland will be competing in Cambridge’s half marathon for Spectrum on October 17), The Arthur Rank Hospice and Race for Life For Cancer.
They also took part in many memorial runs, including for
Andrea’s brother Paul who died 35 years ago in a crash.
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“The icing on the cake was the return of our parkrun,” said Cathy Gibb-de Swarte, who this Saturday swaps her Fab 5 running top for a tail walking volunteer’s jacket accompanied by rescue Jack Russell Rosie.
“We all got together as one big happy running family meeting up with runners, friends and their happy doggy companions who we’d not seen for 17 months.”
She added that volunteers are needed every Saturday, and there are still many spaces that need filling from marshals to timekeepers.
Janette Palmer, one of 29 volunteers involved in the reopening of Littleport on Saturday morning, said: “We are one big parkrun family.
“Parkrun is not just about turning up and running, jogging and walking it is also about the community and friendships you can build with like-minded friendly people.
“It is such a great community to be a part of, and I missed the weekly interaction.”
Log onto Littleport parkrun to register to volunteer and get involved with the weekly event.