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Maidstone junior parkrun marks its fifth birthday in style

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The junior parkrun in Maidstone celebrated its fifth birthday at the weekend.

Runners and volunteers were joined by Mortified Rex, a giant inflatable dinosaur, while finishers were rewarded with birthday cake and wristbands.

Junior parkrun gets under way on its fifth birthday
Junior parkrun gets under way on its fifth birthday

The 2k run, for youngsters aged four to 14, is held at Park Wood rec every Sunday and has proved a huge success over the years.

Run director Keeley Frazer-Wise has been ever-present since the first event in 2017.

“The first time it was snowy and freezing cold and we had about 30 people turn up,” she said.

“It was amazing, and obviously it’s great for the community to get people out, especially juniors.

Run director Keeley Frazer-Wise
Run director Keeley Frazer-Wise

“The most we’ve had is 56 and we have an army of volunteers that come out and help, and parents help as well.

“It’s just a really nice atmosphere and even when it’s really horrid, wet weather, people still rock up and run it.

“The great thing with this is you don’t have to be super-fast, you can go round it however you want.

“You can walk, hop, jog, we’ve had kids walking through the woods picking up sticks, everyone gets the same cheer at the end.

“You can see the kids grow in confidence.

Alfred Moisan was first home in 8min43sec
Alfred Moisan was first home in 8min43sec

“They’re normally a little bit shy when they first come along, a bit quiet, and they want to run with mum or dad.

“But by the time they’ve got round to the thumbs-up turn they’ve legged it and the parents are going round on their own. It’s lovely.

“For our fifth birthday celebrations, we wanted to try and bring the fun, and even though it’s January and potentially freezing cold, we got the party hats out and turned it into a bit of a party for everybody.

“We love a bit of fancy dress, too.”

Youngsters were treated to birthday cake and wristbands
Youngsters were treated to birthday cake and wristbands

There were 27 finishers, with Alfred Moisan first home in 8min43sec, followed by Christopher Bazzucchini (9.37) and Nathan Bennewith (10.13).

Other registered times: Matilda Moisan 10.16, Finlay Benson-Dare 10.25, Callum Webber 11.28, Benjamin Curd 11.49, Millie Simmonds 12.37, Jacob Turner 12.45, Charlie Tucker 12.46, Finley Bennewith 12.59, Maximus MacDonald 14.01, Jessica Tucker 14.10, Rita Lowther 14.17, Aaron Dewar 14.49, Jessica Clifford 15.10, Jude Smith 15.57, Felix Lowther 16.00, Jacob Thompson 16.09, Bethany Clifford 16.29, Joseph Embleton 16.33, Reece Ring 16.41, Breaze Waghorn 17.15, Harrison Williams 21.19, Poppy Embleton 21.21.

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