Squerryes Winery parkrun started in September and everyone is invited to take part. The new parkrun event, which is held at Squerryes Winery in Westerham, was started by Event Directors Steve Aish and David Offen.
We caught up with them to find out how it is all going and why they were keen to start a parkrun in the district.
“Both David and I are keen runners who understand the power of parkrun to bring communities together, to improve peoples physical wellbeing and also the positive impact it can have on peoples mental health.
“We love the fact that parkrun is also very inclusive, welcoming runners, joggers and walkers of all age groups (we’ve had runners under 10 and over 80 years old). We were very aware that the closest parkrun to Westerham was over six miles away so we wanted one that we, and the people of Westerham, could walk, jog or cycle to rather than needing to travel by car.
“And finally the overriding principle is that it’s free, and always will be making it accessible to everyone.”
Starting anything new is always a daunting task, so we were keen to learn how they managed to pull all the resources together to get the green light.
Steve said: “David and I have lived in Westerham for a long time so we contacted friends and also local running clubs and gyms who were able to send our details out to interested people.
“Social media is an important communication tool, so we also used that, albeit tentatively as we were keen to start the event slowly without being swamped. We organised a meeting in the function room of Squerryes Winery and thankfully we had over 40 people turn up and say they were interested in helping us, but we can always do with more!
With volunteers in place, it was then time to encourage the local community to take part, and the response has been fantastic so far.
Steve continued: “We have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants about the setting and course, no doubt helped by the gloriously good weather for our first two events. Our course is unique in so far as you get to run through a lane of vines, which participants have said they particularly like. We had over 220 attend our inaugural event followed by 140 and 150 which is fantastic. Being a new parkrun we have seen many ‘tourists’ who have come from other parkruns to see us who are very welcome. We are very keen to see the number of local people and people new to parkrun grow so will be focussing our attention on that in the coming months. At the moment most people in Westerham and the surrounding villages won’t be aware there is a parkrun in town so we will be putting up posters and contacting local organisations to help.”
parkrun is such a simple concept: turn up every Saturday and walk, jog or run 5k. You can also volunteer in numerous different roles too! It doesn’t matter how fast you go. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. What matters is taking part.
There are now parkrun events each Saturday and Sunday in 21 countries all around the world. All events are organised by a group of wonderful, dedicated, local volunteers. parkrun is all about inclusiveness and wellbeing. They want as many people as possible to feel part of a real local community brought together by their events.
The format of parkrun is simple: register once, print your barcode, then turn up and take part wherever you want, whenever you want. Preferably in Westerham though!
For more information go to parkrun.org.uk/squerryeswinery or search for them on Facebook.