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Junior parkrun in Grantham's Wyndham Park is growing in popularity

A fitness craze has arrived at a Grantham park and has been taken up by youngsters.

Wyndham Park has become the place for parkruns, with a junior session taking place every Sunday morning.

Open to children aged four to 14, the Wyndham junior parkrun takes place at 9am over a 2km course and is free to join.

Recognising it as a way to lay early foundations of a healthy lifestyle, South Kesteven District Council has worked with Grantham Running Club, Grantham Athletic Club, Belvoir Tri Club, and the Rotary Club of Grantham’s annual RotarySwimarathon to set it up, and around 128 children have taken part since it started, with a weekly attendance of up to 72.

The co-event directors are Kate Marshall and Edina Burns.

“Running is obviously good for you and children really love it,” said Kate. “They are encouraging their parents to bring them here and the mums and dads then get the bug as well.”

Kate and her husband, Fraser, are regulars at the 5k parkrun held at Belton House on Saturdays at 9am and she is sure of the benefits it brings.

“It’s not about winning, it’s about getting out there, taking part and encouraging people to be active,” she said.

“Three years ago I couldn’t run to the end of my street but will be taking on my first marathon in April.”

Their children, Olivia, 12, and Grace, 11, are also keen athletes and have embraced the parkrun spirit. Both run and volunteer at the Wyndham junior parkrun and encourage other children to get involved.

Edina took up running on the advice of a friend after completing a ‘Couch to 5k’ course at Grantham Running Club.

“By the end of the course I had started going to the Belton House parkrun near Grantham,” she said.

Edina was keen to help her son, Antonio, be more active and started taking him to Newark junior parkrun.

“When Kate asked me to be involved here I was delighted as it was something I was very interested in, and I’ve enjoyed being involved in the set-up of Wyndham junior parkrun.”

SKDC cabinet member for health, communities and wellbeing Councillor Robert Reid said: “Everyone is welcome at parkruns, regardless of ability. It’s a great way to be active and enjoy being outdoors.

“We are delighted to open up the park for such a good cause. It is encouraging youngsters to put down their digital devices and exercise outside.”

The junior parkrun is open to youngsters of all abilities and can be tackled for fun or as part of a training plan.

There are options for running, jogging or walking. The course is marshalled by volunteers so the juniors can be seen by at least one adult at all times.

Times are recorded each week so progress can be followed.

Before their first run participants have to register via the Wyndham junior parkrun website at www.parkrun.org.uk/wyndham-juniors

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