Steve Hossack: Doncaster runners enjoying their Park-life!

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The prospect of running 5k around Sandall Park at 9am on a cold Saturday morning might not appeal to everyone - but more and more people are becoming hooked.

The Doncaster Parkrun, which is one of 234 similar events held every week throughout the UK, started in September and now regularly attracts upwards of 100 runners every week.

“We are getting new runners every week,” said Mark Hudson, who organises the event with Doncaster GP Dom Patterson.

It was Dr Patterson who first had the idea of staging the Doncaster event after hearing about a run in Leeds through family members.

Appreciating the benefits of exercise, especially for those people carrying extra weight, he set about trying to find someone with the relevant athletics background to help set it up.

“It’s a lot easier than organising a road race,” said Mark.

“With the help of a couple of teenagers on the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, it takes about ten minutes to set up and you don’t have to worry about any traffic.

“People competing for the first time have to register online before they run but they only have to do it once.

“They receive a personal bar code number, which is scanned, along with a disc they receive at the finish, with all their information being fed into a lap top.

“They can compare their times with other people in their age group in other parts of the country if they wish.”

Carl Dykes (pictured) has been the man to beat in recent runs.

The 23-year-old unattached runner, from Kirk Sandall, is using the run as part of his training regime for his debut in an Ironman competition next September.

Amy Canning, 24, is another Parkrun regular.

“I started running to get fit in September and saw the Parkrun advertised and decided to give it a go,” she said.

“After a couple of runs I was approached by Danum Harriers.

“It’s a great idea and it’s all over by 10am so you have the rest of the day to yourself.”

For more information visit www.parkrun.org.uk/doncaster.