A SECOND Colchester Parkrun looks set to launch this spring following its soaring popularity.

Organisers have confirmed talks are well advanced.

It comes after a record 541 people took part in the first Saturday Colchester Parkrun of 2019.

The free weekly event has been taking place in Castle Park at 9am for six years and is part of a national network of the 5km runs aimed at getting residents more active.

Just over 120 people took part in the Colchester Castle Parkrun when it first started.

It is run by a band of volunteers. who marshal the course and scan barcodes at the finish line which record each runner’s time, later published on the website.

Some regular Parkrunners have voiced concern the event is becoming too overcrowded.

Event director Gareth Gailey said: “When we started, we anticipated numbers getting up to 300.

“There are ways and means of managing the numbers on the same course, such as staggered starts which happen at other running races, but there is not a finite number you can get to.

“There is and has been for a while a lot being done on the side with a second Parkrun in Colchester – watch this space.

“It is something we are working on and are close to getting the wheels in motion to make it happen.”

But Mr Gailey said in other towns where second Parkruns had been launched it had not necessarily reduced participants at the first event.

Colchester’s is among the top third of the most popular Parkruns in the country and has steadily increased in numbers.

On a typical Saturday for some time now there has been around 400 runners, who can be of any age so long as children under 11 are with an adult.

The previous record number attending was 492 on January 13 last year.

Mr Gailey said nationally Parkruns were busy on Saturday and said the likely attraction for many was New Years’ resolutions to get fit.

He said another attraction to the event was that “normal” people take part.

Parkruns have also been launched at Harwich, Clacton and West Mersea.

Junior Parkrun, a 2km run, also takes place at Colchester’s Recreation Ground on Sundays, for children aged four to 14.

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