ROSSENDALE’s first ever official Junior parkrun was held in Victoria Park, Haslingden, and saw scores of children and some adults complete the 2k course.

After a warm up, the runners completed three laps of the picturesque park and first to the finish line was Rossendale Harriers member Charlie Dobson, 12, from Helmshore.

He has been a member of the Harriers since 2020. Charlie said: “At the start, I liked it and then there was a tight corner and that was fun and slowed you down, then I had to get passed some people.

“When we got to the hill, you felt the tiredness, but doing the whole course three times was the best thing.”

As the runners and supporting families assembled, Mayor of Rossendale Councillor Andrew Walmsley welcomed them to the event and spoke about how pleased he was to see the park being used for the event. After cutting a ribbon, he set the runners on their way.

He said: “It is great to see so many people attending this fantastic park. I would encourage more people to take part so it can get bigger and better.

“This is the first Junior Park Run, but I hope it can be replicated in our other fantastic parks across the borough. It is all thanks to the volunteers who have come forward and Rossendale Leisure Trust, they have made this happen.”

There were 10 trained volunteer marshals who oversaw the route and a further 10 volunteers who helped out on the day including a timekeeper and barcode scanner.

Rossendale Leisure Trust Project Officer Julie Holden organised the event in conjunction with the national organisation Park Run, and events will now be held weekly.

Julie said: “We have run volunteer training in advance of launching the event and everyone who enters receives a bar code so that their time is logged It is all about having fun and joining in. You can run, jog, skip or walk the course.”

A special presentation was made to Harry Holden, who is secretary of Victoria Park Bowling Club, attends the park regularly to litter pick and remove leaves and opens the bowling club up so that the organisers have access to toilets.

He said: “I think the Junior Park Run is superb and just what we want; it is great to see lots of children using the park.”

He was presented with a box of chocolates by the Mayor.

As the runners neared the end of their third lap, volunteers Kimie Li and her daughter 15-year-old Eirwyn Ho cheered them on with tambourines.

Kimie said: “We decided to get involved after seeing Julie’s post about the run and I thought we wanted to be a part of it and it would help Haslingden. We brought instruments to the cheer the children on as it gives them some encouragement to finish.”

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Cathrine Smyth Media.