While others were perfecting their Jubilee trifles and praying for good weather, the team at Hogmoor Inclosure junior parkrun were getting ready for their own party – with not just one but two grand events to celebrate.
Alongside the Platinum Jubilee festivities, Hogmoor juniors also turned three recently – and this was the first ‘live’ opportunity to celebrate, so a party was definitely in order.
Aggie Longland has been a regular volunteer with Hogmoor juniors since she was 12 and loves the atmosphere of the free weekly event.
“I’ve been volunteering at junior parkrun since the very beginning and even though I am in the middle of my GCSEs, I knew I couldn’t miss celebrating our third birthday party!” she said.
“There were loads of us putting up bunting, organising cakes and getting dressed up, and it felt like a real celebration.
“I think my favourite thing was seeing everyone staying around at the end and cheering others on while eating cake – it had a feeling of a community festival about it and reminded me why I love volunteering at juniors.”
A relative newcomer to the volunteer team, Duke of Edinburgh student Zac Whitehouse is no stranger to the 2k course, having been the first finisher at the very first event back in 2019.
“The atmosphere for the Jubilee Hogmoor junior parkrun was great. There was music pumping, loads of runners and dressing up, including a dinosaur and even the Queen!
“There were plenty of delicious cakes for everyone to enjoy after the run, too. I really enjoyed it and it was an experience to remember!”
Core team member Martin Wells said: “Seeing a Tyrannosaurus Rex wrapped in a Union flag has to be one of the highlights of my jubilee weekend!”
For some who volunteer, parkrun is a lot more than just a run.
Karen Heard underwent a cardiac procedure last year and has made an inspirational journey back to health, which now includes a weekly 5k parkrun each Saturday across the country.
“I volunteer because parkrun and the parkrun community have helped me immensely on the road back to fitness,” she said.
“It is so inclusive, whether you run or walk and everyone is so friendly and welcoming! These themed junior events are great fun for adults and children – it’s lovely to see the children’s faces and reactions.
“There were lots of yummy cakes donated for Sunday’s party and this gave families the opportunity to stick around and chat, soak up the atmosphere and hopefully make new friends!
“Lots of red, white and blue bunting and decorations adorned the Inclosure’s statues, bat house, trees and bushes, lining the route, and the volunteers were enthusiastically cheering everyone on with pom-poms, balloons and music.”
“I think in this current economic climate it’s lovely that parkrun and junior parkrun continues to be a free event – and with the opportunity for free cake and conversation afterwards, who wouldn’t want to bring their children out for some fresh air and exercise in the safe confines of the Inclosure, with its marked walks, play area, cafe, toilets and free parking!”
Out on the course were the slightly less convincing double act of Harry and Meghan, or Robin Greenfield and Catherine Seager.
Robin said: “The Rebel Royals loved their posting up High Five alley – plenty of power high fives with the children to get them up to the top of the course.
“It was lovely to see all the fancy dress and decorations, and I couldn’t believe how many came out for the morning!”
Catherine said: “It was a right royal turnout with children, parents and marshals looking fantastically regal!
“The after-run cakes were fit for more than just us ‘royalty’ and well deserved by all 85 of our children out running!”
Two of those children running were best friends, Georgia and Clover – both aged eight – who love to run each Sunday holding hands.
Not only did they dress up themselves up but also made outfits for their toy bunnies, Strawberry Shortcake and Chocolate Brownie, who helped cheer the final runners across the finish line.
Georgia said: “I think it was amazing how the bunnies high-fived everyone at the finish line – I think it gave them courage!
“George, the parkrun leader, does brilliant warm-ups and she is super fun. All the kids had smiling faces.”
Parkrun ambassador James Leighton was instrumental in setting up many of the local parkruns.
Reflecting on the past three years, he said: “I can’t believe it is three years since Hogmoor Inclosure junior parkrun started.
“It was wonderful to be able to finally celebrate the anniversary, as well as the Platinum Jubilee. Everyone made such a great effort to dress up and have fun. It really has turned into a fantastic fun family event.”