Birthday celebrations for Burnley parkrun that has seen 10,000 runners complete the course in 10 years

Burnley Parkrun celebrates its 10th birthday next week. In that time more than 10,000 people have completed the 5k course around Towneley Park.

By Dany Robson
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 12:14 pm

There have been 440 Burnley parkruns which have taken place every Saturday at 9am, with it only ever called off for extreme weather or events in the park.

It's open to anybody - from the superfast club runners to people who walk around the course. It's about fun, friendship and keeping fit.

The parkrun idea was conceived in 2004 by Londoner Paul Sinton-Hewitt. It was then called ‘Time Trial’ over 5km and was for club runners but other people could join in.

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Burnley Parkrun started on June 2nd,  2012, in Towneley Park and the director is Karen Holland

The first one was held in Bushy Park in London in October, 2004, with 13 runners, two volunteers and a stopwatch.

It started to spread by word of mouth and, by 2008, there were six events with more than 800 people taking part every week. The title changed from ‘Time Trial’ to Parkrun.

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It then took off all over the world for people of every level – from Mo Farah to people who walk the course and, as technology advanced, barcodes, finishing tokens, milestone T-shirts and more were introduced. There are now more than 600 parkruns in the UK and, in July 2019, the six millionth bar code was registered. Junior Parkrun is a spin-off event that provides a 2 kilometres event for children aged 4–14

Burnley Parkrun started on June 2nd, 2012m in Towneley Park. Run Director Karen Holland said: ““Burnley parkrun came about with the support of Burnley Council, who funded the start-up, and some local runners.

“Myself and my husband Darren had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for when we attended that first meeting although looking back now we certainly would not have changed our minds about getting involved.

“We met with Tom Williams who is now the global COO of parkrun and he explained how parkrun worked, we sorted out a route together and then we were off.

“Huddersfield volunteers came over for our first event to show us what to do and then we were on our own.

“It is such an amazing community to be a part of and although we never expected it to be as big in Burnley as it turned out to be we would not change a thing.

“Burnley is so successful. It has led to additional parkruns being set up in many of our neighbourhood towns as well as off-shoots such as the Junior parkrun on Sundays.

“The friendships formed and the parkrun family is stronger than any of us could ever of imagined and we feel so proud to have been part of the team that brought it to Burnley and we continued to volunteer week in week out whatever the weather throws at us.”

Burnley parkrun is every Saturday morning at 9am at Towneley Park. It’s free but you need a barcode from the official parkrun site to get an official time. Just register, print off your barcode, turn up and you are good to go.