NORTHWICH parkrun is picking up the pace in a bid to get its 10,000th runner over the line just a year after forming.

The event celebrates its first birthday on Saturday, March 30 – a year on from the inaugural 5k run on March 31, 2018.

As the anniversary approaches, the event is just a few hundred runners short of reaching five figures – a reflection of the popularity it has achieved in its first 12 months.

Event director Amy Lockett said: “We have been averaging around 200 runners over the past couple of months, and we’ll need around 240 each week until the end of March.

“It’s been great, because it’s run entirely by volunteers. No one gets paid – we do it because we love it.

“Without them it simply wouldn’t go ahead, and equally without the runners there is no parkrun so it’s a great community.”

Around 20 volunteers step up to help the event run smoothly each week, with the only cancellation coming as snow hit Northwich in early February.

The busiest event was, surprisingly, on New Year’s Day – with Amy hoping to surpass the total on March 30.

She said: “We did the ‘New Year’s Day double’, and people could go to Delamere and do the parkrun there at 9am, then come to Northwich for 10.30am and do it again. We had just under 400 people – it was ridiculous.

“I’d never heard of parkrun before I got involved – I couldn’t believe 400 people would get out and run on New Year’s Day. It was such a good thing, and something we want to make a bit of a tradition of.”

The event was started up through hard work by Northwich Town Council and Northwich Running Club, with months of work going into getting the event on its feet and eventually operating independently with the support of volunteers.

Often seen marshalling in Carey Park on a Saturday morning, Amy took up the job while on maternity leave last year.

She said: “As much as I loved it, I needed something to fill my time and fancied the challenge. I decided to do it, and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done.”