Daventry parkrun is celebrating nine years of free ‘incredible’ events this week

Saturday, November 4 2023 marked Daventry’s 400th parkrun

This weekend marks the ninth anniversary of a weekly five-kilometre community event that has been described as "incredible," where people can walk, jog, run, volunteer, or spectate.

For almost 19 years, every Saturday morning, Parkrun events have been held at more than 2,000 locations in 22 countries on six continents.

Daventry parkrun co-event director Karen Balloch, 60, is one of the event's founders. Karen said that Jackie Browne, who worked as a sports development officer for the Borough Council of Wellingborough until February 2005, and Stella-Maria Thomas, assisted in organising the event in the Northamptonshire region.

Karen said: “You have to come along and actually experience it to see what it actually means to people. Volunteering, walking, and running for a free event is incredible.”

This weekend marks the community's celebration of nine years of Daventry parkrun events.

“It’s not a race; it’s a running, jogging, or walking event. People can come along to volunteer. We’ve got people of all ages. Everybody is welcome, of any ability,” said Karen.

On Saturday, November 11, Karen is going to welcome the volunteers and runners. The theme of this event is “wear a hat.”

“It’s quite special to me. Eight years ago, I only just got out of the hospital to be able to attend our first birthday after having had a brain tumour,” said Karen.

Brain Tumour Research, a UK-based medical research charity dedicated to funding research and raising awareness of brain tumours, supports three ‘Wear A Hat Day’ annual fundraising events to help in the fight against brain tumours.

“I’m absolutely fine. I count myself as one of the lucky ones. I’m here, and I’m still running,” said Karen.

Daventry parkrun takes place every Saturday at Daventry Country Park from 9.00am.

“We are a very welcoming team. It’s a well-respected and well-known community. There’s absolutely nothing to be scared about,” said Karen.

Every week, the team and runners enjoy a coffee and cake at Leisure Lakes Bikes in the Abbey Retail Park on South Way, Daventry, with a parkrun discount.

Participants need to register for the free event before they first come along, and remember to bring a scannable copy of their barcode to receive a finish time.

This event is organised and delivered every week by volunteers. People can email Karen at [email protected] if interested.

Residents can visit the Daventry Parkrun website for further information, including a list of the nearest car parks available and a page dedicated to volunteering.

On Saturday, November 4, Daventry parkrun celebrated its 400th event. Despite the weather conditions, 209 people ran, jogged, and walked the course, of whom 35 were first-timers.

“It was absolutely awful. It was probably one of the worst weather days we’ve ever had in the nine years of us being on the go. We’ve managed it with umbrellas. It still went ahead,” said Karen.

If any participants are celebrating any milestones this week, they can contact Karen or talk to her in person on the day.

Take a look at the gallery below for some of the photos taken at Saturday’s event.