Why is the Parkrun craze sweeping Hartlepool?

Runners get into their stride at the start of a Hartlepool Parkrun
Runners get into their stride at the start of a Hartlepool Parkrun
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Hundreds of people are getting into the running habit in Hartlepool.

They do it completely free of charge thanks to a phenomenon which has swept the country.

Waiting for the off at Hartlepool Parkrun

Waiting for the off at Hartlepool Parkrun

Parkrun is an initiative which encourages people to run 5 kilometres at 9am on a Saturday, on accurately measured routes.

A team of marshals help you to get under way, follow the right course and record your time.

In Hartlepool dedicated volunteers give up their time to make sure Parkrun operates smoothly.

Hartlepool’s weekly run attracts anything from a low of 27 runners to a high of 75.

Sue McKenna, the race director for one of the recent Hartlepool Parkruns

Sue McKenna, the race director for one of the recent Hartlepool Parkruns

From eight year olds to pensioners, a wide range of serious runners, joggers, and walkers tackle the seafront course.

There’s no pressure to go full pelt. It’s your pace and you determine what that is.

Sue McKenna is a race director and said: “We get times from 16 minutes to 45 minutes but people do walk the full length as well. We have elite runners who go all out and then stop back to help others.

“We have a tail runner who will stop back and help those at the rear.”

The fabulous volunteers who turn out every Saturday morning to organise the Hartlepool Parkrun

The fabulous volunteers who turn out every Saturday morning to organise the Hartlepool Parkrun

The town’s Parkrun follows a scenic route from the sea wall at Hartlepool Marina to Seaton Carew and back.

Sue, who also owns and runs the Body Renewal Centre in York Road as a weight loss coach, explained how Parkrun could play an important part in the fitness regime of people.

“It is a great cardiovascular workout and it will compliment other types of exercise that you do.

“You will also get out into the fresh air and it is good for your endurance levels.

The runners get under way at hartlepool Parkrun

The runners get under way at hartlepool Parkrun

“Parkruns are a great way of getting into running. Hartlepool is a flat course.”

Your chance to honour disabled sporting stars

Do you know a sporting star with a disability who deserves to be recognised?

Entries are now being accepted for the 2015 North East Disability Sports Awards.

The awards, now in their ninth year, celebrate the achievements and contributions North East athletes, coaches, clubs and schools have made to disability sport across the region in 2015.

Categories include Male and Female Personality, Young Male and Young Female Achiever, Team and Coach of the Year, in addition to awards for Service to Sport, Participants, Schools and Clubs.

The 2014 awards saw over 100 individuals and clubs nominated for eight awards.

Winners at the 2014 awards included British record holder in swimming Matthew Wylie and Paralympian wheelchair track athlete Jade Jones.

The Club of the Year award went to the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club and football coach Craig Riach won Participant of the Year.

To nominate a person for an award, fill out the online form at www.nedsa.co.uk or contact your Tyne and Wear Sport on 497 2324 or County Durham Sport on 03000 264 618 to request a hard copy form.

The closing date for nominations is Sunday, January 31, with the awards ceremony being held at The Dolphin Centre in Darlington on Thursday, April 14.

Jean Lordon, executive director of Tees Valley Sport, said: “The awards are a fantastic way to celebrate the successes of our region’s sporting stars.

“We are looking forward to hearing about some very talented sports people and lots of activity being provided in our community sports clubs.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to recognise and celebrate their achievements.”