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Parkrun sets new record - as runner raises cash after beating cancer

PUBLISHED: 19:00 13 January 2020

A bumper field of 577 finishers took part in Saturday's Ipswich parkrun Picture: MARK KEMPTON

A bumper field of 577 finishers took part in Saturday's Ipswich parkrun Picture: MARK KEMPTON

Mark Kempton

A record-breaking 577 runners crossed the finishing line in this week's Ipswich parkrun - making it the biggest ever Saturday parkrun in Suffolk.

Parkrunner Jonathan Jenkyn, who is donating money to Ipswich Hospital's radiotherapy department after beating cancer of the tonsils Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNParkrunner Jonathan Jenkyn, who is donating money to Ipswich Hospital's radiotherapy department after beating cancer of the tonsils Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Graham Rodgers, Ipswich parkrun event director, said: "We had been getting around 300 to 350 people before Christmas, so 577 is a big rise. It's great to see it.

"We always get more runners starting in January, because of people making a New Year's resolution to keep fit."

As well as creating a record, the event also raised a large sum for charity, thanks to runner Jonathan Jenkyn, who has just been given the all-clear after treatment for tonsil cancer.

Some runners turned out for Saturday's event especially to support his fundraising efforts.

Joining in the Ipswich parkrun on Saturday Picture: MARK KEMPTONJoining in the Ipswich parkrun on Saturday Picture: MARK KEMPTON

The 43-year-old dad had pledged to give £10 to Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity for each parkrunner who recorded a personal best time on Saturday.

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An amazing 81 runners achieved this, meaning he is personally paying out more than £800, which will go to the radiotherapy department at Ipswich Hospital.

And many runners who didn't manage a personal best have also donated via his JustGiving page, bringing the amount raised to more than £1,700.

It was a mild, dry day for Ipswich parkrun this week Picture: MARK KEMPTONIt was a mild, dry day for Ipswich parkrun this week Picture: MARK KEMPTON

Mr Jenkyn, who has personally run 274 parkruns, had been told that he had an aggressive type of cancer and might not see Christmas - but the life-saving treatment he received at Ipswich Hospital changed all that.

"Jonathan is a gentleman and he does so much - he is a real inspiration," Mr Rodgers said.

Mr Rodgers, who is also East Suffolk ambassador for parkrun, said there was always a rise in numbers when the parkrun made its annual move from Chantry Park to Christchurch Park, but this year more people had joined in than ever.

"Some people go along just once, but if you go along a second and third time then it becomes very addictive, and you keep coming back."

Ipswich parkrun was the biggest ever on a Saturday in Suffolk Picture: MARK KEMPTONIpswich parkrun was the biggest ever on a Saturday in Suffolk Picture: MARK KEMPTON

This record-breaking event is further proof of parkrun's soaring popularity, after 888 runners took part in the Felixstowe run along the promenade on New Year's Day, making it the biggest ever event in the county. However, that run had a later starting time than usual, meaning runners from around the county could join in.

It is free to take part in parkrun, but you need to register before your first run. Find out more about your local parkrun here.

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