Last Saturday (4 January) Cannock Chase parkrun got the year off on a good footing with a record 580 people turning out. This beat their long-standing attendance record (569) from the inaugural event on 19 November 2016.
January is when people join a gym or take up running as a way of undoing the damage caused by over indulging at Christmas. The need to get back into the fitness routine and good weather caused a surge in numbers at event 152 on Saturday.
For some it was their first ever parkrun, others were regular attendees or visiting but whatever the reason they all enjoyed the charming surroundings of Cannock Chase - an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It is home to a mixture of woodland, heathland, trees and trails and wild deer and popular with walkers and mountain bikers as well as runners.
The huge field kept the 28 volunteers busy as they worked hard to ensure everyone got around safely while enjoying the views. Starting from Marquis Drive they followed an undulating, multi-terrain course in a clockwise direction before heading back towards the familiar tarmac area and a final burst of speed to the finish.
Wes Southall of Rugeley Runners was first across the line in 17:14 for a PB - the perfect start to the year. Sarah Julius was the first female in 19:56; Sarah is the parkrunner with the most first place finishes (17).
Lots of participants enjoyed a post-run coffee and breakfast in the Visitor Centre as the results were being compiled.
A great start to the 2020s for Cannock Chase parkrun; we hope they don't have to wait for the beginning of the next decade for a new attendance record!
Image courtesy of Derek Loundes