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Inaugural of Great Yarmouth North Beach parkrun

One down, how many more to go? Great Yarmouth North Beach parkrun is the first in Norfolk to include one of our wonderful Beaches.


The course is 2-laps circumnavigating the dunes between the Venetian Waterways Boating Lake and Britannia Pier.  The start and finish are on the sand near to the Sandown Road slipway. 

Inaugural events are never publicised but we still attracted 160 parkrunners many of whom chatted as they walked or jogged.  The more serious had less breath to spare.  Everyone is welcome to enjoy parkrun their way; out on the course there were a wide range of abilities and many smiling faces. 

Andy Oakley a Physical Activity project officer with Active Norfolk participated and said "The course is beautiful with a wonderful mix of terrain, nothing better than when you are running alongside the lapping waves with the sun on your face.  It is as challenging or easy as you want to make it.  As with any parkrun it's a free timed 5km 9am every Saturday and you can walk, jog or run.  We all do the same distance but this one comes with the benefits of fresh sea air to boast."

The event was set under way by Dr Ardyn Ross, GP from the Millwood partnership, Dr Mark Lim, Associate Director of Planned Care and Cancer at the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk and Waveney, Ian Wakefield and Russell Ray, all of whom are volunteers at parkrun.

Parkrun only happens because of volunteers: like-minded people who want to bring opportunity to their community to improve their mental and physical health.  Russell Ray the Co-Event Director said "I am so pleased to put Great Yarmouth on the parkrun map.  I was born here and worked in the town for almost 40 years.  This is a fantastic opportunity as I'm sure many will enjoy our parkrun and a warm welcome.  Every week the event is organised and managed by volunteers, today we had 24.  We welcome everyone especially encouraging walkers or people with long term health concerns to participate their way.  Not a race, parkrun is a free personal time trail where each week parkrunners aim to get round, socialise and occasionally equal or better their personal best." 

Register for parkrun here;  The 24-volunteers who brought parkrun to Great Yarmouth today are;  Bernard Brett, Manjari and Georg Engelhard, Paul Ferrow, Gary Johnson, Tony Harris, Michelle Harrison, Sue Hurst, Rachael Lacey, Dr Mark Lim, Fiona Lomax, Grainne McAdam, Vicki O'Keefe, Trevor Rawson, Tanya and Russell Ray, Dr Ardyn Ross, Lyn Snowling , Pam and Paul Spychal, Richard Taylor, Manda Timbey, Andy Trohear and Ian Wakefield             

Establishing Great Yarmouth North Beach parkrun would not have been possible without support of many so here are our thank you's in abundance.

We thank NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group for funding the set-up costs.  Melanie Craig, Chief Officer of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, said: "We hope this parkrun, and events like it, will encourage local people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  Research shows physical activity is good for our physical health and our mental wellbeing.  I love parkrun, and having just completed my 70th, I look forward to it every week. "

We thank Great Yarmouth Borough Council for giving landowner permission.  Sheila Oxtoby, Chief Executive of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: "As a keen runner myself, I'm so pleased we now have a parkrun in Great Yarmouth and I am looking forward to running the course. This parkrun is a great opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to adopt more active and healthy lifestyles, complementing the council's £26m investment in the new seafront health and fitness complex. As owner of the beach, the council played an important role, working with the parkrun volunteers and our partners, to help establish Norfolk's first beach parkrun, and it reminds me somewhat of the famous beach scene from Chariots of Fire! I hope it will grow to be popular."  

We thank Lisa and Paul Garrod at the Furzedown Hotel for their hospitality, use of their facilities and hot drinks.  One essential incentive is socialising and for many a post parkrun breakfast.  This is abundantly available at the many cafes in and close to the Venetian Waterways.  At parkrun you are never alone unless you choose to be.  We welcome everyone to volunteer, participate or spectate and can be a means to break social isolation.

New events are supported by a volunteer ambassador appointed by parkrun UK.  They take the core- team through the activation process; funding, course design, training and team-building etc.  Ambassador, Trevor Rawson said   "The volunteer team here is very enthusiastic; there have been many positive comments of how supportive, friendly and proficient they are.  For those taking part sand is a very different surface and everyone will need to slow down.  You will still feel like you've exercised but have more time on your feet to meet people and enjoy the scenery.  I expect the average course time to be a lot slower than other parkrun events.  We would now like more volunteers us to keep this good thing going, please take a look at our future roster."

Last modified on 03 February 2023

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