A huge gathering of 262 runners braved gusting wind and rain to join the newest edition to Melton’s growing running community on Saturday.
They turned out to usher in the town’s first-ever Parkrun event at Melton Country Park which attracted runners from a staggering 38 different affiliated clubs.
A small army of 20 volunteers, including members of Melton running clubs the Stilton Striders and Pork Pie Plodders, helped process the finishing times and marshalled the course.
Parkrun is a weekly timed 5k event which will take place from the country park visitors’ centre at 9am every Saturday.
Times at the inaugural run ranged from the 17min 49secs of first finisher Matt Lambell to the 57 minutes in which the final finisher completed the two-lap course.
The event is free and open to entrants of all ages and abilities. The visitors’ centre cafe will be open for runners.
The only entry stipulations is that all runners must have a personal barcode, obtained through registering at www.parkrun.org.uk/meltonmowbray
Under 11s must also be accompanied by a responsible adult all the way round the course.
Co-organiser Shane Sharkey said: “It is hoped that as a volunteer-led, free initiative more people will feel they have an access point to get involved in the sport which has seen such a boom in recent years.
“Anyone wishing to take part is more than welcome to attend any week and start their running journey.”
The launch of Parkrun coincided with the Run England Beginners’ Group which returned to Melton at the start of the year and has attracted more than 70 runners at each weekly session.
The group meets at Melton Council’s Parkside offices at 6.30pm on Mondays and promises to help new runners reach 5k within 10 weeks.