RUNNERS and volunteers combined to crown the first anniversary of Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun in great style.
Event-director Gary Heather was thrilled to see everyone enjoying the fantastic 5k run followed by a picnic.
He said: ‘Our first anniversary had an amazing turnout of 399 runners.
‘Even though we didn’t know this at the time, we started with 400 runners, but one unfortunate runner had to pull out with a minor niggle.
‘This was our third highest total from inception.
‘It was fantastic that our deputy mayor of Gosport, Linda Batty, and her husband, Peter Batty, were there to witness it.
‘They both thoroughly enjoyed it and will come back.’
Louise Tanner completed the most parkruns in the year at Lee with 40 runs.
Two runners were only one behind as both Marie Bowers and Keith Barron completed 39 runs.
Thomas Fletcher completed 27 runs in the under-11 category.
Since January 2, Lee have been averaging 318 runners per run, with 285 the overall average since Lee started.
Heather added: ‘Putting on a weekly event that means so much to so many has been a big highlight.
‘It’s been reported to me how many runners and marshals have become positively impacted by Lee parkrun.
‘Some have described previous loneliness, rarely going out, depression, new to the area, and only knew their husband, etc.
‘When Auz Gray and I decided to set up a local parkrun, we had no idea this would be more than just a run.
‘To a significant number of people taking part, this is their weekly focus, something they can look forward to and know they are with like-minded people.
‘Friendships and bonds have been forged from just turning up each week.
‘As runners try their hand at marshalling roles, they soon realise a bit more about what goes on behind the scene each week, and they too start to build deep and meaningful bonds with fellow volunteers.
‘The people I can now call friends continually touch my heart and I feel privileged to be a part of this fantastic running community.’
In the build-up to Saturday’s event, the Lee-on-the-Solent picnic committee worked tirelessly to put on a fantastic first birthday picnic, thanks to Louise Tanner, Mel Spence, Maggie Atkinson and Janette Powell, while Fiona Atherton made an amazing cake.
Heather added: ‘I would also like to mention Eileen Bartlett.
‘She is in the VW70-74 category and has done the parkrun 10 times.
‘Eileen has also been our photographer some weeks and is just amazing.’
For more pictures and news of first year achievement awards from Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun don’t miss the Sports Mail on Saturday.