ROSSENDALE’s first junior parkrun has been such a success, organisers are looking to arrange more in other public parks in the borough.

Since November, every Sunday youngsters have been completing three laps of a pre-set course around Victoria Park in Helmshore Road, Haslingden to complete the 2k needed for a Junior parkrun.

Up to 50 young people attend each week, and a keen team of volunteers, including teenagers on their Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, have made sure the event runs smoothly.

Each runner has an individual barcode, which means their time is logged so they can easily check to see how they are progressing.

Rossendale Leisure Trust Project Officer Julie Holden is delighted with the success of the Haslingden event and has already scoped Bacup’s Moorlands and Stubbylee Parks with hope of extending the runs.

All of the events are organised with the support and backing of national company parkrun limited and local ambassador James Thomas.

She said: “The Haslingden run is going really well and we are now going into schools to hold assemblies to encourage more young people to attend.

“At Haslingden Primary School, we held interactive assemblies for Key Stage 1 and 2 children and we did a warm up, like we do before every parkrun and from that assembly we got 20 more runners that weekend.

“We are also going into Broadway, St James CE School and St Veronica’s RC School.

“We are trying to visit schools that are close to the location of the parkrun, and to get a bit of healthy competition so the pupils can enter as a team come up with a name for their school.”

Headteacher of Haslingden Primary School Glyn Ellis said: “As a local Headteacher, I am proud of our community in working together to provide such a brilliant event for our children.

“The fact that the junior parkrun is in the heart of the community, within walking (or running) distance from so many children’s homes, give access to so many of our children from the local schools. I proud in my assemblies to promote it, support it, and praise the efforts of the children who participate.”

The events would not be as successful without dedicated volunteers and in Haslingden there are 35 regular volunteers and James has created an online video of them saying why they help out.

Event Director is Ellie Wright, Run Directors are Ian Harrison, a community activist and PE teacher, Naomi Kennedy, a local GP and Liz Lawton a social prescriber.

She said: “A lot of friendships have been formed and Ian and Naomi have signed up for The Link Challenge – a 20-mile endurance event involving The Panopticons in East Lancashire.”

Parkruns are free and are held in 816 locations across the UK. Adult parkruns are 5k and often keen members complete runs while on holiday in different areas.

For more information on the visit Facebook group Victoria Park junior parkrun Haslingden and any suggestions of public access venues for future parkruns can be emailed to Julie on julie.holden@rltrust.co.uk

– Cathrine Smyth Media