<p>Runners taking part in the Parkrun at Bushy Park, London, the largest and oldest Parkrun in the UK</p>

Runners taking part in the Parkrun at Bushy Park, London, the largest and oldest Parkrun in the UK

PA

It was pouring with rain on Saturday morning but that didn’t dampen spirits among Britain’s keen amateur runners.

Scores of people flocked to their local green spaces as the weekly free exercise club, Parkrun, returned to UK streets.

As part of so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19, outdoor running events such as the London Marathon, the Great North Run and the Brighton Marathon were allowed to resume in England.

That meant Parkrun, the community event which takes place each Saturday morning in parks across the country, was free to start again.

Eager participants and their supporters took to Twitter to share their delight and excitement at seeing the event back on track.

Here’s a look at some of their most heartwarming posts:

Ahead of Saturday, Stuart Wright, 43, an HR consultant who lives in Lancashire, spoke of his anticipation as he prepared to take on the Pendle Parkrun.

“It’s great to have something to look forward to again on Saturday morning and to see some familiar faces,” he said, adding that he had spent the past months running on his own while Parkrun was suspended.

“For me, it’s the inclusion aspect of it that I love,” he said. “At some organised 5ks or 10ks you have to be a certain time or be part of a club but Parkrun is open to everyone.

“I go with my son, who’s 10, and my mother in law, who’s in her 60s. At Pendle we’ve got a bit of a steep course that we have to go up twice, so that’s always a challenge. So I can run with her, I can run with my son and we have friends that we regularly see there.”

Fitness fans have flocked to parks across the countryPA

Wes Ball, 42, a public affairs director from Buckinghamshire, echoed Wright’s sentiments.

“Parkrun is one of the best things of my life really,” he said, “When you get there it is one of the most uplifting things you can do. It’s never a race, it’s always a chance to go running with friends.”

During lockdown, he and other fellow runners held virtual Parkruns on Facebook where people undertook challenges or posted selfies to keep the community spirit alive during lockdown.

“Parkrun really isn’t about running, it’s about communities,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re four or 90, people will welcome you.”

Wes Ball with his family at Tring's 200th ParkrunPA

The chairman of the Local Government Association’s Culture Tourism and Sport Board, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: “The LGA is delighted to see the return of Parkrun today.

“These popular events are incredibly valuable for many people in supporting both their physical and mental health and wellbeing. We’re thankful to both Parkrun and councils for their patience and hard work in supporting the safe return of these events.”

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