Borough’s parks to host parkruns

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Newtownabbey Council’s Leisure Services department is finalising plans to introduce regular ‘parkrun’ events in the borough.

The weekly, timed 5km runs, which are free to enter, are already popular in parks across the UK and beyond. And the council is now working to set up parkruns at three local venues.

At their monthly Leisure Committee meeting on Monday night, councillors were informed that negotiations have taken place with parkrun representatives with the aim of setting up regular runs at Valley Park, Sixmile Park and at Mossley Mill.

Alison Bennington, the council’s leisure services manager, told the meeting that an event will be held at Mossley Mill at the end of February to recruit volunteers to help organise the runs locally. She revealed that the £9,000 cost of the required parkrun computer software could be met by the Public Health Agency or Sport NI.

Ms Bennington said that council staff, working in conjunction with the sports development officer, plan to hold some ‘from couch to 5k’ trial runs before officially launching the parkruns in May.

Cllr Thomas Hogg, who during last month’s committee meeting asked officers to investigate the possibility of holding a parkrun in the borough, thanked Ms Bennington and her staff for their efforts.

“The idea of parkrun seems to have worked out well in other council areas in Northern Ireland, so I think this will lend itself well to the parks we have in borough,” he said.

The DUP man said he hoped to see some of his colleagues don their running gear and taking part in the parkruns come May.