Push for Park Run base picks up pace

Some of the enthusiastic young runners who are keen to take part in regular, organised Parkrun. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.

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A bid to establish a Junior Parkrun at Ballachulish Quarry is gathering pace and needs help from local businesses to get it over the finish line.

The initiative is being driven forward by a group of parents in the village to establish a safe place for children aged between 4 and 14 years old to run.

More than half the money has been raised through donations from Highland Titles, Lochaber Athletic Club, Lochaber Community Fund, and MOWI but the group still need to raise around £1300 to get things started.

Parkrun UK requires each new Junior Parkrun to raise £3000 for their start up costs
and essentially the perpetual licence to run.

Parent and Ballachulish Parkrun advocate Rachel McKerral said: ‘We are not allowed to fundraise in the traditional way (e.g. sponsored events, crowdfunding, bake sales etc) in order to protect the Parkrun brand. They expect us to involve local businesses in seeking financial support to benefit the community.

‘Our group have been trying to get this off the ground for the last 18 months
but Covid has seriously reduced our ability to fundraise as many of the local businesses we have approached or would have approached have been severely affected and are no longer in a financial position to donate.

‘We are obviously keen to get the remaining funds to get started as soon as we can.’

Parkrun is a charity which organise weekly timed runs in different parts of the world
and an adult 5km is a regular feature in Lochaber. Junior Parkruns which are only 2km long, are a relatively recent creation of the charity and are very under represented in Scotland beyond the central belt.

The free weekly event will take place on a Sunday morning when children aged 4-14 will follow a 2km route with the Quarry being the proposed venue.

‘It is a good location where the children can be constantly monitored, has nearby public toilets, shops and a large car park for those travelling a distance to take part,’ added Rachel.

‘As keen runners ourselves and parents of young children, we know the health and
social benefits of running, with much research showing that Parkrun and
volunteering at Parkruns has a real benefit to physical and mental health.’

The initial start-up cost will also cover the physical equipment required such as a timing system, flags, markers, high vis vests, cones and signage, PVG and Disclosure checks for the volunteer race directors, and insurance.

Beyond the start up fee, there are no ongoing costs to the running of a Junior Parkrun which is totally free for children to take part in.

The minimum donation Parkrun will accept is £200 and payment can be made via
BACs or a cheque once an invoice has been raised by Parkrun UK. Anyone interested in making a donation should contact ballachulishjuniorrun@gmail.com to find out more.