Parkrun: Northampton runner, 88, to complete 400th event

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Bob Emmerson after his 350th parkrunImage source, Michelle Lewis / Northampton parkrun
Image caption,
Bob Emmerson, pictured at his 350th Parkrun, says his ultimate aim is to reach 500

An 88-year-old is set to become the oldest person to complete 400 Parkruns when the event returns on Saturday.

Bob Emmerson, who has completed 392 of his runs at Northampton Parkrun, first took part in the 5km (3.1 mile) event nine years ago.

He was stuck on 399 Parkruns when the event was forced to close in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Emmerson said he had been running 5km every day "just to prove I can still do it".

Parkrun, which organises community 5km runs each Saturday morning in parks around the world, will return in England at the weekend.

All nine Northamptonshire venues will host an event.

Image source, Northampton parkrun
Image caption,
Mr Emmerson is so popular at Northampton Parkun that he has his own special Lego figure
Image source, Michelle Lewis / Northampton parkrun
Image caption,
Mr Emmerson is not the only octogenarian to regularly take part in Northampton Parkrun. Fellow runners Gerald Billis, left, and Alan Palmer, right, are both 84

Parkrun organisers have previously criticised "unnecessary red tape" for preventing its return and threatening the future of the events.

"Covid came along and stopped me on 399. If it had been one more week I would have had 400," said Mr Emmerson, who will run at Northampton's Racecourse.

He said he had made "so many good friends" since he started going to Parkrun.

"Every time I've hit a milestone - 100, 250, 350 - has been something special," he said.

"This is not going to be the last one. I shall just carry on in the good weather, the bad weather, throughout the coming winter and see how many I can clock up.

"I intend to carry on until I can't run."

Image caption,
Mr Emmerson has previously run the London to Brighton race
Image caption,
Northampton Parkrun, which has attracted more than 700 runners, joggers and walkers to its Saturday morning events, last took place in March 2020

In his younger days, Mr Emmerson finished the London Marathon in under three hours, and ran the London to Brighton Ultra Race.

He has a Parkrun personal best of 33 minutes and 41 seconds.

Northampton Parkrun run director Michelle Lewis said: "I can't wait to see everyone again. It is like a family.

"I'm so happy for Bob. We all want to celebrate this massive milestone."

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