Celebrating the 100th Crichton parkrun

On Saturday 14th December, around 170 participants gathered at The Crichton in Dumfries for the 100th Crichton parkrun which was completed in reverse as part of the celebrations.

Crichton parkrun, is a free timed 5k run led by volunteers, which started in January 2018 and takes place every Saturday morning at 9.30am from the Crichton Memorial Church. Crichton parkrun has 1,475 registered members and weekly events attract anything from 100 to 370 participants including 86 year old Bobby Sloan. Bobby admits that he stopped running for around 30 years, but was encouraged to start again when Crichton parkrun was set up in 2018.  Bobby, now a regular runner and volunteer said: “I’m 83 years old and I come to Crichton parkrun on a Saturday morning. I started running again after a 30-year break when Crichton parkrun started last year. I run for health reasons and to meet others. It is a wonderful group of people and they’re all good fun!”
Apart from the obvious health and social benefits of taking part in parkrun, parkrun also provides regular volunteering opportunities and is the highlight of the week for some, including 93 year old volunteer, Shirley who turns up each week to take on her marshalling role and who is now in training to walk the 5k route herself. She said: “I come to Crichton parkrun for the company.  I usually sit here and everyone greets me as they pass by. I like to give them a wave as a they run up the hill and I can see who is doing well too!”
Of course, the event would not happen at all if it wasn’t for the group of volunteers who give up their time every week to run the events, including the Crichton parkrun Event Director herself, Emma Eden who has volunteered at 90 of the 100 parkrun events so far!  Emma said: “We set out in 2018 to encourage more people to enjoy an active lifestyle and to promote both the physical and mental health benefits of exercise.  We were also keen to offer volunteering opportunities for people of all ages and we have done all of this! It’s hard to believe we are celebrating our 100th parkrun but a big thank you to our volunteers, participants, visitors and to The Crichton Trust, NHS and Dumfries & Galloway Council for their support with this.”

Emma is well supported by a core group of volunteers with many of them having volunteered on between 70-90 occasions, but there are over 200 registered volunteers who have collectively delivered on 1,937 volunteering occasions.

When it comes to taking part, parkrun encourages people to walk, jog, run or volunteer – the important thing is to take part.  Looking at the statistics this week, one loyal participant has now completed 91 Crichton parkrun events with the fastest female completing the route in 18.09 minutes on the 28th July 2019 and the fastest male completing the route on the 7th April 2018 in just 15.52 minutes.

As well as regular runners and volunteers, the event attracts a constant flow of parkrun tourists keen to tick off another parkrun off their list. Among those participating in the 100th Crichton parkrun were members of the Dumfries Harriers and the Border Reivers running groups from Dumfries and Carlisle as well as parkrun tourists from Liverpool.  Crichton parkrun, which also featured in a press feature about Top parkrun’s in 2019, is regularly praised for its stunning location, high quality facilities and welcoming team.

Wendy Jones is full of praise for the team and the location and speaks positively about her experience of Crichton parkrun. She said: “I attended the first Crichton parkrun almost 2 years ago now. I had been doing a Jog Scotland programme and had only just managed to jog slowly for 15 minutes. Exercise is a struggle for me and I wouldn’t be doing any if it wasn’t for parkrun. This is now my 81st parkrun event and although I’m not a jogger and don’t particularly enjoy exercise, I do enjoy coming to Crichton parkrun – it’s so well organised, welcoming and inclusive and it’s great that people can run, jog, walk and bring buggies and dogs. We are so lucky to have the support of The Crichton Trust and a great group of volunteers who come every week regardless of the weather.  We get parkrun tourists from all over the world and they all tell us what a lovely course we have.”
According to many, Crichton parkrun is also a great event for our four-legged friends. One dog-owner submitted a ‘Dog-Blog’ to encourage others to come along with their dogs. It read: “Hi, my name is Oscar. I am four years old (21 in your category) and I get so excited for Crichton parkrun every Saturday and I see all my friends, Roo, Riva and Toby. Parkrun keeps me healthy and I love the Crichton rock garden. There is even a pond where I bathe and relax after my 5k. I see lots of friendly humans, they cheer me round the course. At the end I get treats and feel great! I would like to invite you to come and try Crichton parkrun – you will love it too. Woof, Oscar,”

This week will see participants taking part in the Crichton parkrun Santa Dash (9.30am from the Crichton Memorial Church).  For all those keen to be more active in 2020, an extra event is planned for New Year’s Day starting at 11am.  Thereafter events will take place at the usual time of 9.30am every Saturday. Anyone wishing to join in the festive events or to come along in the new year, is most welcome to register online and turn up when they can.  It is free to enter and although everyone is welcome, participants must have registered online before their first event and are required to bring along their barcode to participate.

Latest Articles