Decision will have effect on the wellbeing of community

Fareham Parkrun
Fareham Parkrun

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I’m willing to bet that, if you turn now to the person you love the most, you’ll have met them by chance – whether from a swipe to the right, a blind date, or from a set of coincidences that threw you together at the same time and in the same place.

It’s weird how life brings us together, isn’t it?

The best times are when friends who’ve never run before come along and join in.

Yesterday, for example, I went out on a bike ride with two people I first met on a damp Saturday morning at Staunton Country Park in Havant.

We were in the finishing queue at Havant parkrun and since then we’ve become firm friends.

I’ve been out of running action for a few weeks after doing my knee a considerable mischief and parkrun is one of the things I’ve missed the most.

The chance to meet up with friends and run 5km, or 3.1 miles in old money, on a Saturday morning, make new friends and be part of a running community is something special.

And the best times are when friends who’ve never run before come along and join in.

Fareham has just started up a parkrun, Lee-on-the-Solent and Southsea have lovely shoreside events and the parkrun organisation is about to start its 1,000th event.

Like all parkruns, it will start at 9am, be free of charge and be run by volunteers.

Souring this tremendous achievement is Stoke Gifford Parish Council in Gloucestershire.

It has left parkrun no choice but to pull its event out of the area after councillors voted to charge the organisation to hold its runs in one of its parks.

Much has been said about the reasons why, but mainly it seems to hinge on wear and tear to the paths.

Fair point. Since the Little Stoke parkrun began in 2012, a total of 5,462 different runners have competed 31,634 runs, which is a staggering distance of 158,170km.

That’s going to have quite an effect. But no, not on the paths – on the residents’ health, on their wellbeing, on the community as a whole, and on ensuring a public facility – including those pesky paths – is used for what it was intended.

MAKING YOUR OWN SAUCE IS JUST AS EASY AS OPENING A JAR

It’s brave of Mars to re-label its foods showing how unhealthy they are.

Some of its products, including Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s sauces, will be labelled as once-a-week only, while others – which make up 95 per cent of Mars products – can be labelled ‘every day’.

Brave, yes, but we all know sauces in jars have lots of things added that we simply wouldn’t be able to do at home: to keep them fresh, to make them taste better and to keep us buying them.

We all know, too, that home-cooked food is better for us but we swap nutrition for convenience.

Maybe Mars’ new labelling policy will help people realise that chopping some onions and peppers, adding some tomato sauce, a bit of puree and a pinch of oregano is just as easy as opening a jar.

I’M FINALLY BACK IN THE SADDLE AND AIMING TO HELP HEADWAY

About six weeks ago I twisted my knee during an obstacle course race and, as a result, tore my cartilage and a ligament.

It’s been quite frustrating, hobbling around, not being able to walk up or down stairs and having to spend time on the sofa with my iced knee on a cushion.

But the week before last I finally got the okay from my physio to do some cycling. So up Old Winchester Hill I went, realising how unfit I’ve become as I pedalled.

However, the brilliant news was that, after 20 miles, I could confirm my place in a sponsored bike ride.

It’s to raise money for Headway West Sussex, which cares for people with life-altering brain injuries, plus their families and carers.

Please see justgiving.com/GeorgeIdeRide