Keen parkrunner Simon Hart MP has celebrated International Parkrun Day by meeting the man who started the weekly running craze.
Twelve years ago Paul Sinton-Hewitt set up a weekly timed run in his local park in London and it grew into the parkrun movement. It is now a global event that sees 100,000 runners in the UK alone take part in a timed 5km run at 9am every Saturday morning.
"I don't think my Saturday mornings will be the same again thanks to parkrun," said Mr Hart who has now completed 67 parkruns and has a personal best time of 23.16.
"We are incredibly lucky that the National Trust at Colby supports the event and we also have a great team with Mary Bowen-Rees and Cyril Walters in charge," he added.
"The whole movement relies on volunteers and we all take it in turns to take roles such as marshalling and timing – and we have one volunteer Andrew Davies who has done the task more than 100 times which is incredible."
A special reception has just been held in Parliament to highlight parkrun's 12th anniversary and the role it plays in keeping communities fit and active.
A parkrun spokesman said: "From humble beginnings in south-west London in 2004 with 13 runners and a handful of volunteers, more than one million people in the UK have now taken part in parkrun and 130,000 have volunteered. There are 506 weekly events across 440 parliamentary constituencies, and this number is increasing each weekend."
Mr Hart added: "I love parkrun, it's not just about going for a run in beautiful surroundings and trying to beat your time each week as there's such a social aspect to it as well, you meet up with friends and family for coffee and a chat afterwards."
Colby parkrun started in June 2014 and regularly gets about 80 runners, with a peak of 210 during August Bank Holiday weekend.
"I would highly recommend everyone gives it a go – at Colby we have everyone from mums with prams to international-level athletes– everyone is welcome," added Mr Hart.
Simon Hart MP
House of Commons
15, St John St
or 0207 219 3000