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Join Park Run to make up for Christmas, says Steph Callen

PUBLISHED: 13:47 02 December 2018

People volunteering for Catton Park Run in Norwich and cheering participants on. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

People volunteering for Catton Park Run in Norwich and cheering participants on. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

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Steph Callen of Diss and District Athletics Club tells us why we should consider Park Run this January

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLENSteph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN

So the festive season is upon us!

While I always try to keep active throughout Christmas, it’s fair to say there will be days when I will be curled up on the sofa, watching yet another festive movie and eating my weight in Quality Street.

This thought quickly switches my mind to January and what I’m going to do to make up for my month of gluttony! Well, the first thing I did last year was to jump into a Park Run – and I’d recommend anyone to do the same.

For those unfamiliar with the initiative, Park Runs - each 5km in length - take place across the country every Saturday morning. What makes them extra special is that they are co-ordinated by local volunteers, are open to all abilities and are completely free to join in, which makes them perfect for beginners and those looking to ease their way back into training.

Each race is timed so you can see how you’re improving week on week, but Park Runs aren’t necessarily about that. Yes, you can go like the clappers if you want or you can simply jog/walk around and enjoy some exercise in the fresh air – it’s down to you.

Also, being surrounded by people with the same “have-a-go” attitude is a real motivator for anyone looking to get more active and I’ve rarely found friendlier crowds than I have at Park Runs.

Locally, you can find runs in Thetford, Brandon, Mulbarton and Norwich, but with 580 locations across the UK and Ireland, even if you’re away from home you’re bound to find one nearby.

This year, my husband and I have called ourselves Park Run “tourists” because any time we’ve been away we’ve sought out the local event, so far taking in runs in the New Forest, Oxfordshire and Newcastle.

They are a great way to keep active on holiday and to see a new area, and while every course is different, the inclusive ethos remains the same. Newcomers are always welcome and there’s usually a competition to see who has travelled the furthest. With Norfolk being quite the far-flung corner of the country for most places, we usually win!

To register to join Park Run and to find your nearest location, visit www.parkrun.org.uk

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