The need for a Parkrun in East Cambridgeshire has been known for a few years now, but several failed attempts in Ely have proven there simply has not been a suitable venue to meet the needs and requirements.
Matt Holmes of Littleport had the idea to set up an event in Littleport in September 2017, and made some initial enquiries, and on the suggestion of myself, applied for a grant from the Parish Council to part fund the setup costs. Ongoing building works at Littleport Leisure prevented the project going any further in 2017.
Early 2018 I enquired what was happening to be told Matt was to move away from the village and Charlotte Sygmuta, a fellow Ely Runners member had taken on the idea, having been involved in the most recent Ely application.
At this point I came on board and as Charlotte was not a Littleport resident she had no local knowledge as to who, what, where or when. So I then had a meeting with ‘Let’s Get Moving East Cambridgeshire’, securing more funds after Ely Runners matched the Parish Council’s donation hitting our set up target.
This has allowed us to have a surplus of funds for extra kit and replacements when required. With building works to the car park dragging on, our hoped Easter roll out slipped by, and the Parkrun Ambassador wanted to see the venue completed before any application was submitted.
The final meeting and risk assessment was completed early May with the date set for 23rd of June, and we had an event. Now we are moving fast… The core team of volunteers we had collected from mainly Ely Runners who are now giving up their own Saturday Parkrun to train people for the roles required to demonstrate their competence to the Ambassador.
The final two requirements being to completely take over the running of another Parkrun, which was carried out on the 16th of June at March, and to run a test event which was the day after that at Littleport. We were there but it was down to the wire! So on the 23rd we had an overfull volunteer team of 23 and 133 finishers for the most fantastic first event. All of our volunteers from that week were runners, who have committed to help Littleport establish itself.
Littleport will be into its 11th Parkrun on Saturday September 1st and the statistics so far have been quite amazing.
Since the Littleport Parkrun started on 23rd June up to Parkrun Number 9 there have been 709 participants who completed 1,366 Parkruns covering a total distance of 6,830 km, including 290 new Personal Bests.
In order to keep this free activity going in Littleport, local help is still needed from anyone willing to give up a couple of hours of their time on the odd Saturday. You can volunteer as a marshal, or become a time keeper, or help setting up and taking down the course.
You can find all the information you need when you log onto www.parkrun.co.uk/ littleport or Facebook: Littleport Parkrun.
You can enjoy getting fit too by either running, walking, pushing your baby in a buggy or have your young children accompany you, or even have your fourlegged friend join you in the fun too.
Every Parkrun is free, but you have to register beforehand where you will be given your very own barcode which allows you to run/walk anywhere in the world, and the camaraderie amongst participants and marshals is second to none.