RUNNERS from Helensburgh Amateur Athletics Club were the first three finishers in the opening Levengrove ‘parkrun’ event of the new year, writes Tempany Grace.

After bad weather put paid to the first parkrun of 2020 at the Dumbarton venue, 277 people took part in the weekly 5K run on Saturday, January 18.

Helensburgh AAC’s members have been keen supporters of the event at Levengrove Park ever since its inception, and the day’s action began with a round of applause for HAAC president Chris Moses, who died suddenly while working in Rhu the previous weekend.

Parkrun is a global initiative providing a free, weekly, timed 5K for walkers and runners in local parks all around the world.

READ MORE: Helensburgh club backs new Dumbarton 'parkrun' event

Anna Napier, co-organiser, said: “Everyone is equally welcome. It is just as much about the community aspect as well as the run. Parkrun don’t see it as numbers equalling success.”

A group of volunteers have worked together over the last year to bring parkrun to the area. West Dunbartonshire Council gave the group a start-up fund of £3,000 to get the event off the ground.

Anna added: “This new course is perfect because we have green spaces and blue spaces that make it suitable for everyone from runners and walkers to children and dog-walkers.”

David Kennedy, event co-director, said: “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.”

READ MORE: Family leads tributes to Chris Moses after ex Marine dies in tragic accident

Volunteers are on hand to guide and cheer on participants along the route, which ends close to the Pavilion Café for a post-run coffee and catch-up.

Laura Johnstone, secretary of Helensburgh Amateur Athletics Club (HAAC), said: “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.”

The event takes place every Saturday in Levengrove Park at 9.30am.

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