Cranbrook town council supports plan for a Junior Parkrun

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 December 2018

The 2km route of the proposed Junior Parkrun. Picture: Exeter College Running Club

The 2km route of the proposed Junior Parkrun. Picture: Exeter College Running Club

Exeter College Running Club

Free 2km runs through the Country Park look set to take place every Sunday morning from next spring

Children enjoying the fun run at Cranbrook Country Park. Ref mhc 38-16TI 7716. Picture: Terry IfeChildren enjoying the fun run at Cranbrook Country Park. Ref mhc 38-16TI 7716. Picture: Terry Ife

Children and teenagers in Cranbrook look set to benefit from a weekly Junior Parkrun from next spring.

The Exeter College Running Club, which is based in Cranbrook, plans to organise a 2km run through the Country Park for youngsters aged four to 14 every Sunday morning from Easter 2019.

The town council unanimously supported the idea at its meeting on Monday, December 17. The meeting was attended by Matt Rowett from the running club and Joe Daly from Parkrun UK, who both spoke enthusiastically about the multiple benefits of the running events. Councillors were also shown a video of local schoolchildren talking about how much they would like to take part in the runs.

Joe Daly described the country park as “quite exceptional” in terms of its suitability for running, with paths tracing a route past fields and ponds. He said it also offers an excellent sensory experience with many different surfaces to run on.

Councillors heard that the learning ambassadors at both of Cranbrook’s schools are very keen on the idea. They agreed that having the Junior Parkruns will fit in with the aims of the Healthy New Town initiative, and Joe Daly pointed out that there are significant mental health benefits to running, as well as physical ones. It was agreed that the events would be good for community spirit, drawing in local residents as volunteers to help organise the runs.

Having gained the council’s support for the project, the running club will start applying for funding from various sources towards the £3,000 start-up cost. The club will put up £500 itself and is looking into obtaining funding from Sport England and the Devon County Locality fund. It will also be applying for a one-off grant from Cranbrook Town Council; the amount will depend on what other finance is available.

The idea of the Junior Parkrun was born from the success of the 5km and Family Fun Run the club organised in September this year. “Given the number of children who took part, having a Junior Parkrun was a natural progression,” said Matt Rowett. He said the club members are “overjoyed” with Cranbrook Town Council’s support and looking forward to taking the project forward.

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