Get fitter and make friends with free, weekly park run

editorial image

Are you wanting to get fit, but perhaps lack the motivation?

If so, then you’re in luck as Oakwell Hall Country Park holds a free 5km park run each Saturday morning at 9am.

The weekly get-together sees an enthusiastic community of people and a supportive team of volunteers on hand to encourage you to keep your feet moving.

The Park Run is not a competition - the only person you are racing against is yourself, as you keep track of your progress.

Run solo, as a family, with friends, or even bring your dogs along with you.

The Park Run welcomes people of all ages and ability, so if you are not confident with running, you can always jog or walk your way around the park.

You never have to worry about being the last one to cross the finish line as there is always a tail walker who makes sure everyone has finished the run.

Co-event Director and Country Park Officer Amanda Walker emphasised that for her, it is all about the progress you are able to make.

She said: “Because the Park Run is every Saturday, it allows progression.

“If you’ve missed one, you haven’t got to wait a month until the next one.”

Their mantra is “No barcode, No result”, so if you are signing up to the event for the first time, make sure you register online and bring a print copy of your barcode to ensure your run is timed, otherwise you will not receive your result.

Despite the occasional rain and mud, there is an average number of 180 runners per week, proving wet clothes and muddy legs does not stop them from completing the run.

The weather is certainly no barrier, except from the recent snow that unfortunately caused the cancellation of the March 3 run.

There is also the opportunity to volunteer at the event, such as token sorting, results processing, barcode scanning, time keeping, and being a marshall.

Co-Event Director Natalie Sampson said: “Some of the volunteers here just came one Saturday morning, they saw what we were doing and now they volunteer every week, and they have been doing that for a couple of years now.

“Some weeks we do struggle for volunteers but people give volunteering a go and really enjoy it.”

After speaking to some of the runners, it seems that the Park Run helps motivate them to keep fit, and they are able to find time for it within their daily routine.

Jason Saville, 41, said: “I used to play football, and I can’t play anymore, so I decided to take up running, and to help me keep fit.

“It’s something that doesn’t affect family time. I only live in Morley, I get here for 9am, run it in 25 minutes, get back home and my kids are still in their pyjamas, and my wife’s just got out of bed, then everyone’s happy!”

You can find the park on Nutter Lane, Birstall, WF17 9LG and there is a car park for those travelling by car.

To register, visit bit.ly/2GRt9sc.