Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Hilly Fields parkrun 500

Hilly fields parkrun celebrated its 500th event last Saturday (6/6/23). Since it started in 2012 nearly 12,000 separate individuals have run or walked  three laps around the park on a Saturday morning to complete a 5k. The combined distance covered by all those who have taken part is around 480,000 km – that's equivalent to running a couple of time around the world, then running to the moon and running a couple of times round that too.

The free, volunteer run event started out from a meeting at the Ladywell Tavern, where Stephen Robson (pictured) agreed to be the event director. Having reached 500 events he stood down from this role on Saturday but will continue to be involved - thanks to Stephen and all the other volunteers who have kept this event going. Stephen and some of the others involved in setting it up had previously taken part in Bromley parkrun. Hilly Fields has gone on to spawn other events locally, with runners from there going on to set up Hilly Fields junior parkrun (for children on Sundays) and  Peckham Rye parkrun, among others.

In the early days of Hilly Fields parkrun attendance averaged around 40 runners. Nowadays it routinely involves more than 200 people and for Saturday's anniversary 438 people took part including 32 volunteers helping to make it happen.

Hilly fields parkrun has had a big impact on me since I first took part in 2013. It was the first organised running event I had taken part in since leaving school, and from that I really got the running bug. Parkrun led me on to get active in Lewisham based running club Kent AC and taking part in lots of races. But Hilly Fields parkrun is where I have run most and like many others I have developed an intimate knowledge of every twist and turn, every incline and descent. My running has declined due to injury in the last year, but it was great to attend at the weekend and I hope that as long as I am able to keep moving I will return there on Saturday mornings.

Olympic gold triathlete Alex Yee leaves us all behind at Hilly Fields parkrun in 2015

1 comment:

LyzzyBee said...

Lovely piece! I'm heavily involved in my second-most-local parkrun as volunteer coordinator and a volunteer most Saturdays - I don't actually like running it although I do like running. Hillyfields would have been my local had I stayed in NXG. Long may it continue!