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13 Sep 9:00am

‘Parkrun saved my life’: how the weekly runs became a phenomenon – and are now coming back

The Guardian
Before lockdown, the 5k running event helped people get fitter, make friends and manage everything from depression to diabetes. Now it’s preparing for a limited return On an overcast Saturday morning on 2 October 2004, 13 people got together in Bushy Park, south-west London, to go for a run. A 5km run. The organiser, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, was at a difficult time in his life. “I was unable to run due to injury,” he remembers, “and many of my personal and professional relationships had broken down. I was at a low point.” The run became a regular weekly event; when more people joined in, Sinton-Hewitt and his friends would gather afterwards to collate the runners’ times over coffee. “Really, I wanted to get together with my friends, even though I couldn’t run,” says Sinton-Hewitt, now 60. “It was always about bringing people together, always about the coffee.”
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