ALMOST 300 runners descended on Darlington's South Park this morning for the long-awaited return of the popular Parkrun.

The 5k run has been absent for almost a year and a half due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but with restrictions now relaxed, it made a welcome return for the hordes of joggers who have missed the weekly event.

The Northern Echo:

A total of 293 people completed the run this morning and organisers praised all the volunteers who helped ensure it ran smoothly after such a long absence.

A spokesman posted on facebook: "Thank you for making this morning a complete pleasure.

"It was great to see you, great to be back, great to see 293 of you make your way around the park today.

"Darlington South Park parkrun - Event number 380 - done!!

"42 of you came to join us for the first time today and 39 of you ran a new PB (personal best).

The Northern Echo:

"16-months away has clearly done some of you some good!

"Parkrun today was made possible by 32 volunteers who really did pull out all the stops to make the come back event as smooth as possible."

First to cross the line was Sam Rhodes-Dawber of Durham Fell Runners with a personal best time of 17 minutes 44 seconds.

The first woman, 12th overall, was Charlotte Knowles with another personal best of 19 minutes and five seconds.

The junior event had already been back up and running for several months.


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