Barking and Dagenham junior parkrun is celebrating its fourth anniversary on Sunday 15 April.
In celebration of this event we have spoken to Sonya, the club’s Run Director, to find out more about the group.
What is junior parkrun?
Barking and Dagenham junior parkrun is a free 2k event for 4 – 14 year olds held every Sunday at 9am in Central Park, Dagenham. Our first event was held on 13 April 2014 with just 15 runners. Our small, friendly community has gradually grown over the last three years and we now regularly have over 30 children participating every week.
The event is entirely run by volunteers. Children receive an email after the event with their time and have the opportunity to gain wristbands and certificates at 11, 21 and 50 events, equivalent of a half, full and ultra marathon distance. There is also a certificate for completing 100 events.
It’s completely free – juniors just need to register with parkrun once and bring a printed copy of their barcode to get their times. The event is normally over by around 10am.
What does it involve?
The event is 2k course, 2 laps on flat grass around Central Park behind Dagenham Fire Station. Children can run, jog or walk at their own pace around the marshalled course. The event is supported by volunteers including a DBS checked Run Director to ensure safety and there is a tail walker who is the final person to cross the finish line. The event is marked by signs and cones and marshals wear hi-viz jackets. There is a warm up just before 9am then the children run, jog or walk the course, they collect a token at the finish line which is scanned along with their personal, printed barcode and they return the token. There are two timers and the results are processed after the event with each child receiving a timed result to track their achievements.
Who can join?
It’s open to everyone. Parents and guardians are welcome to participate with their children but we ask that they do not cross into the finish funnel as this makes results difficult to process for the volunteers. They are also welcome to volunteer as are the children. Anyone who volunteers 25 times is entitled to a free parkrun volunteer technical t-shirt. Volunteers must register for a barcode on our website. This is so that they can be added to the register and track their volunteer points.
What level of fitness do you need?
You can be a complete beginner, the event is accessible to all and can be walked. We can arrange guides for those with visual impairments and wheelchair users are welcome.
Why would you recommend the club?
Junior parkrun is safe, fun, sociable and it’s completely free. It’s not who comes first or a race against others, it all about having fun, improving your child’s health and community. We usually go to the cafe at the Pitch and Putt after the event to process results and have a coffee and a chat – everyone is welcome. You don’t need anything special to participate just register once, print a barcode and turn up.
Where can people sign up?
It’s really simple, register just once on our website, print a barcode and then bring that along each week.