28th Feb, 2020

Student launches Worcester's first city centre parkrun

Rob George 4th Jul, 2017

A UNIVERSITY of Worcester student has launched a city centre running scheme to help people get active.

Sam Payne came up with the idea as part of his Sports Coaching Development and Coaching degree and even managed to raise the £3,000 needed to get it off the ground.

Although a popular parkrun exists at the Countryside Centre, near Nunnery Wood, Sam has devised and launched the first parkrun for the city centre.

The 21-year-old, whose parkrun is believed to be the first to be led by a student, hopes to increase levels of fitness and improve people’s health by making exercise easily accessible.

“I would love to sit back in a few years and think Worcester is a more physically active place because of this,” said Sam, who has enlisted a group of volunteers to help him.

The 5km parkrun, which is apart of the series of popular weekend running events across the country run under the parkrun brand, takes place at Pitchcroft Park every Saturday at 9am.

Its recent launch earlier this month attracted 335 runners.

Sam, of Callington, Cornwall, came up with the initial idea during his second year, but was encouraged by his lecturer to pursue it further and it evolved into his third year dissertation project.

Sam, who is a keen endurance runner and regularly attends parkruns, said he understood how difficult it can be for someone who does not have that sporting background to get active.

He said: “I was looking at opportunities for different people to get involved in a more physically active lifestyle.

“One way is to provide regular free of charge physical activity somewhere that can be really easily accessed by people even without transport.”

As part of his efforts to raise the £3,000 needed, Sam met interested parties including Worcester City Council who allowed the event to take place on its land, agreed to provide toilets, changing and storage facilities and even donated £500 towards the scheme.

Further funding came from Worcestershire and Herefordshire County Sports Partnership, the University and local running clubs.

Starting near the Swan Theatre, participants can run or walk the distance around the edge of Worcester Racecourse.

Visit www.parkrun.org.uk/worcesterpitchcroft for more information.

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