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Thurso Parkrun to return for 100th event after weekly 5km walk and run event gets go-ahead


By John Davidson

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Runners took part in a parkrun trial on Monday ahead of the real thing on Saturday.
Runners took part in a parkrun trial on Monday ahead of the real thing on Saturday.

Runners and walkers will be back at Thurso boating pond on Saturday as Parkrun events across Scotland were given the go-ahead to restart following the easing of Covid restrictions.

It will be the 100th Thurso Parkrun after the lockdown in March 2020 brought events across the UK to a standstill – with 99 events having taken place at the Caithness course up until that point.

Parkrun in England returned last month and the move beyond level zero in Scotland which kicked in on Monday paved the way for events here to restart.

Volunteer event director Donna Stewart said it was hard to tell how many people might turn up for the first event in 17 months.

"It's really difficult to tell now," she said. "Tom Williams, the chief operating officer of Parkrun, was saying from all the events that have started in England and elsewhere, basically the numbers are pretty much the same and, if anything, slightly reduced.

"It was a big part of people's lives and that's the question I've been asked by people the most – when is Parkrun returning?

"We have no idea how many will turn up, because a lot of people are still not comfortable but some people are ready to go, and we also don't know if we'll get interest from people who have started running and walking more during the last 17 months who may decide to come along too.

"But whether it's 20 people or 120, the route can handle that, and it's fine for the volunteers as well."

Parkrun is a free, timed 5km event which takes place across the world every Saturday morning. The local event take place at 9.30am at Thurso Boating Pond on Millbank Road.

Participants must register online at www.parkrun.org.uk/thurso and print out a barcode to take along. People of all abilities are encouraged to come along to either run or walk the route.

The volunteer organisers arranged a trial Parkrun at the boating pond on Monday this week, and Donna said it all went to plan.

"It was a nice run and it all worked really well," she said. "We'd been out over the weekend doing some work, sweeping and removing weeds and stuff, so that's made a difference. It just means people can space out a bit and it'll make overtaking a bit easier."

Regular parkrunners of old might have a few new rules to follow, as Parkrun has devised a new Covid-19 code.

Donna explained: "One of the main things is about not having contact with other people, so no high fives, no hand shakes, no hugging or other non-essential contact, and just try to socially distance as much as possible.

"And the main thing is for people to remember their barcodes as well. Lots of people have been printing them out and relaminating them because they can't find their previous ones."

She also urged people to put themselves forward as volunteers to help ensure Parkrun in Thurso can continue to be put on in the future.


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