On Saturday 2 October 2004, 13 runners and five volunteers turned up to Bushy Park, North of London for a 5k run.
Little did they know what they had started.
Here is the story of parkrun:
Last night, we wanted to commemorate the 15th anniversary of this amazing achievement. So we held a "darkrun" - a night-time parkrun - to coincide with the celebrations taking place at Bushy Park.
This wasn't your average Saturday night get together. It was dark, it was raining - but we had so much more fun than staying in and watching the England rugby team showing off against Argentina!
As part of demonstrating our commitment to parkrun, it was very important to us to achieve the same turn out that gathered on that day in 2004. And we were not disappointed. Friends came over the mountain pass from Hutt Valley to swell our numbers - and in all, there were 14 walkers and runners taking part. And a dog!
This event was a "freedom run", which means that the full parkrun process doesn't apply - but we enjoyed the briefest of event briefings and then sang "Happy Birthday, to parkrun" to mark the occasion. In true parkrun fashion, all participants were decked out for the conditions with torches, reflective garb, head-lamps, light sticks and even a stereo! Maggie the spaniel sported an LED torch and a reflective Retired Working Dogs coat. When she ran about, she was reminiscent of a battle scene from Star Wars!
The parkrun elves had been busy before the event, and our amazing kilometre markers and turn-around posts were suitably festooned with a combination of luminous and reflective items. Certainly it was going to be difficult to miss that we were having an event!
Dave WHITE kindly volunteered to be tail-walker for the event. Despite it being a "freedom run", clearly this is even more important for a night-time event when you need to be confident that you haven't left anyone out on the trail in the dark. Dave was castigated for taking the spirit of "freedom run" too far and declining to wear our traditional mermaid's tail as "he didn't want the tail getting wet in the rain". Not sure what sort of mermaid Dave is familiar with.
A big "Thank you" to everyone who attended last night. It was great to see so many friends there and the special efforts of some to ensure they were there. Thanks also to Martin O'SULLIVAN for providing the "Lead scooter" to clear a way through the crowds and ensure there were no obstructions on the trail!
The next birthday celebration? Well that will be on the 2nd November! See you there!