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Where are the parkruns in Kent, what running groups to join and the Couch 2 5K app will help get you fitter in 2018

By Angela Cole

While many of us were wading through sweet wrappers and thinking about turkey leftovers, others were out, bright and early, shaking off those festive excesses and joining their local parkruns.

The last event of 2017 at Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone, for instance, saw 340 runners keen to get moving again after Christmas, which was 70 more than the average weekly attendance.

All across the county, each weekend there are people doing something similar.

Don't just think about it: get running this year
Don't just think about it: get running this year

And there’s no shame in walking some of it.

Some people take their dog or push their little ones in buggies. Maidstone parkrun started in April 2013 and since then more than 8,000 people have taken part.

Parkruns are free and open to all. They are made possible by volunteers who man the courses in all weathers through the year.

A dog joins the Park Run in Central Park, Dartford Picture: Andy Payton
A dog joins the Park Run in Central Park, Dartford Picture: Andy Payton

Some areas also have junior runs at 2K, for younger members.

To register for a run, find one near you, or for more information, visit parkrun.org.uk/register.

You can also follow others’ progress and post your own when you’re ready on Twitter using #parkrun.

5K PARKRUNS ACROSS KENT

Ashford: Every Saturday at 9am at Victoria Park, Jemmet Road, Ashford, TN23 4QD.

Bedgebury Pinetum, Goudhurst: Every Saturday at 9am at Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Bedgebury Road, Goudhurst, TN17 2SJ.

Support at the finish in Maidstone Picture: Gary Browne
Support at the finish in Maidstone Picture: Gary Browne

Canterbury: Every Saturday at 9am at The Pavilion, Parkwood Road, University of Kent (Canterbury).

Dartford: Every Saturday at 9am in Central Park, Dartford, DA1 1JP.

Folkestone: Every Saturday at 9am at The Leas (west of the Leas Cliff Cafe), Folkestone, CT20 2DZ.

Medway: Every Saturday at 9am in Great Lines Heritage Park, Brompton Road, Gillingham, ME7 1HF.

Lullingstone: Every Saturday at 9am in Lullingstone Country Park, Castle Road, Eynsford, DA4 0JF.

Maidstone: Every Saturday at 9am at Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone, ME14 3AU.

Malling: Every Saturday at 9am at Leybourne Lakes Country Park, Malling Road, Larkfield, ME6 5LB.

Margate: Every Saturday at 9am at Palm Bay, Cliftonville, Margate.

Juniors try their own run at Dartford Picture: Steve Crispe
Juniors try their own run at Dartford Picture: Steve Crispe

Pegwell Bay: Every Saturday at 9am in Pegwell Bay Country Park, Sandwich Road.

Shorne Woods: Every Saturday at 9am in Shorne Woods Country Park, Brewers Road, Gravesend, Kent DA12 3HX.

Sittingbourne: Every Saturday at 9am in Milton Creek Country Park, Green Porch close, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 2HA.

Tunbridge Wells: Every Saturday at 9am in Dunorlan Park, Pembury Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 3QA.

Tonbridge: Every Saturday at 9am at Castle Road (behind the swimming pool), Tonbridge, TN9 1HR.

Whitstable: Every Saturday at 9am on Whitstable Promenade.

JOIN A RUNNING CLUB

Joining a running club can be the motivation you need to keep moving. Beginners 2 Runners helps people who may have not pulled on a pair of trainers since PE lessons at school become a 5K runner in a matter of weeks. They pledge that nobody is ever left behind.

There is a small charge. To find your nearest club, visit beginners2runners.co.uk

Run for it this New Year
Run for it this New Year

GET STARTED

A popular way to start is with the NHS’s Couch to 5K programme. Get the app or visit the website for a guide to how to get your running off the ground.

The plan begins with runs of one minute at a time, interspersed with walking, so it’s a gentle start – though if you haven’t run for a while, it might not feel gentle! It is designed with beginners in mind.

Thousands of people have already tried it before and come out the other side. You can also repeat weeks if you don’t feel ready for the jump in run times. Visit nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k or search C25K in the App store.

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