Runners of all abilities are being challenged to take part in a popular new initiative at Craigtoun Country Park, on the outskirts of St Andrews.
Thanks to funding from the St Andrews Community Trust, the picturesque park is the setting for a weekly parkrun - the seventh programme to be launched across Scotland.
Also financed by the national parkrun sponsors, the free, weekly and timed 5km walk, jog or run gives participants of all ages a regular event held in pleasant parkland surroundings.
Joint director of the Craigtoun parkrun, Jen Kelshaw, said:”Events take place all over the country and also across the world including Australia, Denmark and even Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, every Saturday morning.
‘‘All parkruns are organised by volunteers and have a strong focus on the post-run coffee and cake.”
Henry Paul and Judith Harding, members of the St Andrews Community Trust, attended the inaugural St Andrews parkrun to see at first hand how its donation is being spent.
Mr Paul, trust chairman, said: ”This is exactly the kind of people-centric activity that we wish to support. We are also extremely pleased to see so many people enjoying Craigtoun Park and hopefully this is only the first of many new initiatives to encourage the public to come and enjoy this fantastic community asset.”
A total of 75 runners, joggers and walkers took part.
The 5km timed course offers a reasonable distance for seasoned athletes, but is also a great opportunity for those who are just starting out running or want to improve their fitness - all with the added bonus of post-run treats and chat.
It also aims to bring more people into Craigtoun Park at a time when its future is in the balance.
Fellow event director Rhiannon Harrison added:”We were looking for a venue for parkrun St Andrews and Craigtoun was perfect. If we can help make people aware of this wonderful local amenity and get them out improving their health and socialising on a Saturday morning we’re happy, and really capturing the spirit of parkrun.”
Meanwhile, at the inaugural meeting of the Friends of Craigtoun there was lots of enthusiasm and ideas of how to help secure the future of the park, said Kyffin Roberts, chairman of St Andrews Community Council.
He told the Citizen:”There has been work going on behind the scenes with a core group of about 12 Friends holding regular meetings working on different aspects of an overall plan.”
Planned events for the forthcoming season include a fund raising afternoon tea in the park on June 17 and weekly storytelling with writer Sheila Kinninmonth during the school holidays. There are also plans for tours of the park and guided walks, plant sales and a range of musical events.
An information event will be held in the park at 7pm on May 17 and all members of the Friends of Craigtoun Group are cordially invited.
Mr Roberts added:”We hope to formalise the group at this meeting by electing office-bearers and adopting a draft constitution. In addition, everyone interested in a tour of the park, volunteering or simply finding out more is very welcome to attend.”
Information on the Friends is available at www.standrewscc.net/craigtoun.php, while details of parkrun can be accessed at www.parkrun.org.uk/standrews/ where people can also register.