HELENSBURGH’S athletics club is lending its support to Dunbartonshire’s first ever regular ‘parkrun’ event.

The free weekly event at Levengrove Park in Dumbarton was officially launched last month, and gets back under way this Saturday, January 4, after the Christmas and New Year holiday.

And with the option to walk, jog or run the 5K distance at your own pace, it’s the ideal way to get rid of the excesses of the festive season.

Laura Johnstone from Helensburgh Amateur Athletics Club said: “Helensburgh AAC are delighted to support the Levengrove parkrun.

“Running is so much more than just fitness. Having a local parkrun is hugely beneficial – not just for developing fitness, but also for maintaining mental wellbeing and building social connections.

“For these reasons it was very important that our club supported such a worthwhile initiative.”

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And the Helensburgh links to the new event don’t end there: running coach Wilson Hamilton, who is based in Helensburgh, is one of the core team who has helped bring the ‘parkrun’ concept to the area.

Helensburgh based running coach Wilson Hamilton, whose name you may be familiar with, is one of the core team who has helped bring parkrun to Levengrove. He’s a well known local face who’s been heavily involved with running in the area, and previously with HAAC and was instrumental in setting up this parkrun.

Whether it’s getting active or volunteering, a new weekly 5K walk, jog, run and volunteering event in Levengrove Park could be the perfect way to support your New Year resolutions for 2020.

The new official parkrun event takes place every Saturday in the recently refurbished Dumbarton park.

The ‘parkrun’ idea is a global movement providing a free, weekly, timed 5K for walkers and runners in local parks all around the world.

The concept is simple: turn up every Saturday morning and walk, jog or run. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, or what you’re wearing, it really is the taking part that’s important, just like your teachers told you at school.

The Dumbarton course takes in three laps of Levengrove Park, with its spectacular views of Dumbarton Castle and the River Clyde.

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Volunteers are on hand to guide and cheer on runners and walkers along the route, which ends handily close to the park’s Pavillion Café for a post-event coffee and catch up.

And if walking or running is not your thing, but you still want to get involved, there are openings for volunteer help too.

David Kennedy, the event’s co-director, said: “What is so great about parkrun is that Everyone is welcome regardless of age, pace or ability. The event is family-friendly and dog-friendly too.

“It’s also as much about the social side of things and community spirit as it is about the activity, which is just as important to people’s physical health and wellbeing.

“Some of our volunteers don’t run at all but just want to get involved in something positive for the area. It’s a really friendly, supportive group and we’d love to welcome more volunteers.

“As with running and walking, you don’t have commit to volunteering every week, you can just sign up to come along and help out on the weeks you are free.

“We’ve had some lovely feedback so far and we’re looking forward to seeing the event grow over the coming months and years.”

However, if you want to get involved but walking or running is not your thing there are also numerous roles for volunteers too.

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A core group of local volunteers have worked together over the last year to bring the parkrun concept to the area to help support people’s health and wellbeing.

Thanks to their hard work and investment from West Dunbartonshire Council, the new event officially launched in December.

Speaking on behalf of the core team behind Levengrove parkrun, Co-Event Director David Kennedy said:

The parkrun route takes in three laps of Levengrove Park, including views of Dumbarton Castle and the River Clyde.

Councillor Iain McLaren, the local authority’s convener of infrastructure, regeneration and economic development, said: “As a council we are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents, as well as encouraging them to enjoy our numerous green spaces.

“I know parkrun is a popular event throughout Scotland, and indeed across the world, so I am glad to see it starting up in Levengrove Park, where I am sure it will be extremely successful.

“Runners and walkers can enjoy the fantastic scenery along the route, which will also take in all the heritage features in the park, and the Pavillion Café will be open for a well-earned treat afterwards.”

To find out more, follow the event’s Facebook page (‘Levengrove Parkrun’) or go to parkrun.org.uk/register/ to sign up and read about the idea in more detail.

You can also follow the event on Twitter at @levengroverun, on Instagram at ‘levengroveparkrun’, and on Strava at strava.com/clubs/564574/.

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