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Thurso parkrun to celebrate International Women’s Day


By Alan Hendry

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Donna Stewart (left) and Mel Hayes get ready for Thurso parkrun.
Donna Stewart (left) and Mel Hayes get ready for Thurso parkrun.

RUNNERS and walkers are being urged to turn out in force this Saturday morning as Thurso parkrun joins others around the globe in celebrating female participation ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.

"Research across the world shows that women are less likely than men to take part in parkrun," event director Donna Stewart said. "Despite the fact that females make up 54 per cent of registrations, they are less likely than men to take part in parkrun and to continue participating.

"The International Women’s Day parkrun is a fantastic opportunity to encourage more women and girls to participate in parkrun events."

Thurso parkrun is a voluntary-run event taking place every Saturday at the boating pond in Millbank Road, starting at 9.30am and covering a 5km course. On average around 65 runners participate.

"At Thurso parkrun we are encouraging our existing parkrunners to bring along a female friend, family member or a work colleague, especially one who has never been to parkrun before or has not been at parkrun for a while," Donna explained.

She says she is proud of what has been achieved since Thurso parkrun started in April 2018.

"Parkrun has enriched my life in so many ways. It has allowed me to become part of a warm, welcoming and supportive community who are there rain, wind or shine to be active, get fresh air and be a volunteer," she said.

"We have a great community at Thurso parkrun. Whether you are running, walking or volunteering there is always a 'well done', 'you kept me going' or 'thanks for the company' or a thank-you to the volunteers. New friendships have formed and existing ones have grown stronger – both are true for me.

The International Women’s Day parkrun is a fantastic opportunity to encourage more women and girls to participate in parkrun events.

"At the finish there is always lots of chat on parkrun tales, whether that is a milestone run, parkrun tourism or how that wind was tough going.

"There is no need to ask what I’m doing on a Saturday morning – it pretty much always involves parkrun. I get so much from volunteering and helping to put on an event that such a wide cross-section of people get benefit from.

"There are so many parts of parkrun that mean so much to me but my favourite part is seeing the families that come and take part – it is truly special."

Fellow runner Mel Hayes is equally enthusiastic about the benefits.

"I believe parkrun has had, and will continue to have, such a positive impact on the local community, both on physical wellbeing and mental health," she said. "To be able to get up on a Saturday morning and be part of that social circle, whether volunteering or running or walking, is such a great motivator.

"I just find it really sets me up for the day. Parkrun in general is so inclusive and we have a warm, welcoming parkrun community at Thurso."

Donna Stewart with her seven-year-old niece Sophie Cuthbert volunteering.
Donna Stewart with her seven-year-old niece Sophie Cuthbert volunteering.

Parkrun walker and volunteer Ruan Peat said: "Being a marshal has helped me understand that the cheering on and support is so important and I know how this helps cheer me on when doing the parkrun."

Donna added: "To all the girls and women who have never been to Thurso parkrun, or have not been in a while, make this Saturday the morning that you put your trainers on and meet us at the boating pond at 9.25am for the pre-run briefing and help us celebrate International Women’s Day.

"You can take the boys and men in your life too – everyone is welcome. Just come and run or walk the 5k, and experience parkrun."

More information can be found here.


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