Almost 250 runners took part in the first staging of a new St Neots event last Saturday.

Pocket parkrun event director Stephen Ferguson (left) with St Neots mayor, councillor Barry Chapman.Pocket parkrun event director Stephen Ferguson (left) with St Neots mayor, councillor Barry Chapman.

Town mayor, councillor Barry Chapman, acted as official starter for the inaugural Pocket parkrun - the brainchild of Stephen Ferguson.

The race, which will be held weekly, takes place over a two-lap course around Pocket Park. It starts and finishes at the Sidney Banks Playing Fields and passes through meadows close to the River Great Ouse.

“We have been working on bringing a parkrun to St Neots for several years – and this is the realisation of that dream,” said event director Ferguson.

“The point of the event is to provide an opportunity for absolutely anyone – independent of speed or ability – to run, jog or walk a timed 5km every Saturday morning.

An aerial view of runners taking part in the first Pocket parkrun.An aerial view of runners taking part in the first Pocket parkrun.

“Everyone is welcome regardless of whether it takes them less than 16 minutes or more than an hour to complete the course – and everyone will be clapped and cheered the whole way round.”

The Pocket parkrun is the second race of it’s kind to be staged in Huntingdonshire. Another regular Saturday morning event also takes place at Hinchingbrooke Park.

Olney AC man Matthew Dicks was a convincing winner of the inaugural race in a time of 17.48, finishing 18 seconds clear of runner-up Scott Barker.

Riverside Runners member Jo O’Regan was third in 18.39 and also the first female finisher.

Councillor Chapman said: “It is incredible to see so many people enjoying themselves on a Saturday morning. I’m sure the Pocket Parkrun will be a huge success.”