Parkrun celebrates its birthday this week as it nears a remarkable 100 weekly events. Exactly seven years ago on Sunday, October 2, the first ever parkrun took place in Bushy Park, Teddington, London. There were a mere 13 runners who took part in that inaugural run, assisted by two volunteers.
The runs have now grown to 95 weekly events, including events in Afghanistan, Australia and Denmark as well as 85 regular UK events. parkrun arrived in Scotland almost 3 years ago when 44 runners toed the line in Pollok Park (a record 479 took part on April 23 this year) and Aberdeen will become the sixth Scottish event next weekend (Saturday, October 8) when it joins Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde Park, Falkirk and Inverness.
In his latest newsletter, parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt said: "What is surprising to many is the fact that even though our expansion has been impressive, the parkrun pillars remain the same.
"We set out to offer weekly, free, 5k timed runs managed by volunteers and by George that's exactly what we do. We remain a pure organisation balancing the requirements of a commercial world against a strong set of principles and ethics.
"The mainstay of parkrun events is that they are simple and offer no barriers to taking part. We have successfully removed almost every issue presented to us since our meagre start and the formula is so successful that we are now receiving calls of interest from all over the world."