While most of Britain played host to coronation parties over the bank-holiday weekend, Hogmoor Inclosure was home to a very big birthday party.
A regular Sunday-morning fixture for many local families, Hogmoor Inclosure junior parkrun held its first event in May 2019 and celebrated its fourth birthday with a party.
Never being ones to shy away from an excuse to dress up, the volunteers and families of Hogmoor juniors turned out in their finery and – alongside an array of red, white and blue – there were princesses, dragons, super heroes, pom-poms, instruments, flags, bunting and animal onesies.
Event director George Longland had been watching the skies carefully that morning.
George said: “You never know what weather we’re going to get at the moment, so I was happy that the rain stayed away as we had so much to celebrate. Not only was it the coronation weekend and our fourth birthday, but we also sang happy birthday to a few of our regular juniors – who were mostly happy about this!”
Sarah Sharpe, auntie to one birthday boy, said: “It was an absolutely amazing turn out and I had a fabulous morning watching all the great runners and celebrating my nephew Fabian’s 11th birthday. I think he was very embarrassed by the whole thing, bless him!”
Fabian’s granny Trish is a well-loved volunteer and recently retired from her role at the 5km and junior parkruns.
Well known and loved by all, Trish will be missed by volunteers and juniors alike.
George said: “Everyone knows Trish as the champion of fancy dress and it was wonderful to see her daughter Sarah join us dressed in true Trish style – lots of purple!”
Another well-loved volunteer is Noah Kosinski who, with his dad Paul and five-year-old brother Thomas, is a familiar face to all at junior parkrun.
The special event was also his ninth birthday weekend and he celebrated by dressing up and helping marshal – as well as helping with the important job of processing the results. Although a young age, Noah already takes his volunteering role seriously.
“I like the responsibility of helping in a very important role – barcode scanning,” said Noah. “I love to help make the other children happy and it feels amazing to help out. I love giving something back to my community – even if I have to get up early on a Sunday! It feels like my second family.
“I am looking forward to training as a run director and can’t wait to get my 25 volunteer T-shirt not long from now.
“We love the special event runs – we get to dress up and make a lot of noise!”
Also joining in the celebrations was core volunteer Sarah Standbridge, who was marking her 100th day of volunteering at junior parkrun.
Sarah said: “I absolutely love parkrun and it felt really special seeing all the colours.
“You can really see the juniors love these occasions and it’s a wonderful opportunity to dress up, have fun and help others.”
One volunteer who nearly didn’t make it for the start was Edward Brown, who had an unusual reason for his delay.
Edward said: “I nearly didn’t make it in time because of a cow-based emergency, but thankfully the roads cleared and we made it just in time – which is lucky as I was timekeeping for the event!”
Sian Manning from the Whitehill & Bordon Community Trust, who has been involved since the beginning, came along to join in the fun.
Sian said: “We were delighted to join Hogmoor junior parkrun to celebrate their fourth birthday.
“It feels like only yesterday since the first event launched in our annual spring into health festival in 2019.”
More than 100 juniors aged between four and 14 crossed the finish line on the day – with all the volunteers and family members the number of party-goers easily exceeded 200.
Numbers are steadily rising and each week new juniors are welcomed into the parkrun family. One such newcomer was mum Charlotte Elizabeth and her son.
Charlotte said: “I want to say thanks so much to all the volunteers.
“It was my four-year-old’s first time at junior parkrun – I’ve been trying to encourage him to go for the past month or so but he’s been too nervous.
“He was keen to give it a try – the prospect of wearing a costume helped – and he absolutely loved it.
“He adored having the encouragement of everyone shouting “come on Captain America” to him and he’s not stopped talking about it!”
Regular volunteer Aggie Longland remembered Captain America well.
Aggie said: “My friend and I were marshalling on High 5 Alley and it was great seeing how the little ones would suddenly light up and starting running faster when they heard us cheering them on! It’s hard to run with a shield so it was handy that Captain America’s mum was there to help carry it near the end!”
Hogmoor Inclosure junior parkrun is a free event held every Sunday. For more information or to register, visit www.parkrun.org.uk