New junior parkrun set to launch in Worthing in September

The running track at Worthing Leisure Centre, in use for the Children's Legacy Games 2017. Picture: Derek Martin DM17629793a
The running track at Worthing Leisure Centre, in use for the Children's Legacy Games 2017. Picture: Derek Martin DM17629793a

A junior parkrun is to launch in Worthing, with a target of 100 children running 2km per week.

South Downs Leisure, Worthing Community Chest, Worthing Rotary Club and Worthing Borough Council are all working together on the project, which provides a safe environment to encourage young people aged four to 14 to be more active.

The aim is for the junior parkrun to act as a bridge between the Daily Mile being run in schools and the popular weekly Worthing parkrun, over a 5k seafront course.

Sue Fallon, who came up with the idea, said: “Parkrun has been a new lease of life for me over the last three years and I share most of my parkruns, both adult and juniors, with my grandchildren.

“I wanted to set up another local junior event so that other youngsters can share in the fun that we all have and enjoy the parkrun experience.”

The junior parkrun is due to launch at Worthing Leisure Centre in September, though a start date is yet to be confirmed, and will be based on the running track.

Duncan Anderson, chief executive of South Downs Leisure, said: “South Downs Leisure is keen to support and encourage physical activity for all. Basing the event on the running track provides a practical and safe location as it ensures all the children will be in sight of a marshal during the run.

“That’s one of many positives about using Worthing Leisure Centre as a base. There are excellent changing facilities, a purpose-built running track with clear lanes and a large free car park. It will create a regular, free and accessible event which will generate huge value to the community.

“We will organise a core team of six adult volunteer run directors and they will recruit further adult and junior volunteers to run the event.”

The junior parkrun will be free, thanks to support from Worthing Rotary Club and Worthing Community Chest.

Marlene Butler, president, said: “Worthing Rotary Club is committed to supporting youth in the town and this event is seen as an excellent way for us to start our new year of increased young community involvement.”

Karl Allison, chairman, said: “Worthing Community Chest is delighted to play a part in getting this event up and running. Let’s hope this will get the kids out of bed on a Sunday morning.”

South Downs Leisure is responsible for the delivery of sport and leisure on behalf of Worthing Borough Council.

Val Turner, executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for children and young people to get active outside and make the most of our outside spaces.

“I’m delighted to see a free event, welcoming all kids and teenagers in our local community to get together and get involved, having fun and making friends.

“The council is committed to supporting accessible, inclusive activities for young people, removing barriers to sport and physical activity, which improve health and wellbeing.”