RUNNERS laced up their trainers and burst back into action as parkrun made its long-awaited return.

The popular community fitness event has been on hold for 16 months because of the pandemic but 256 people took part in the first event back in Colchester's Castle Park, on Saturday morning.

The free weekly event welcomes walkers, runners, volunteers, spectators and even people pushing buggies.

It had been suspended because of coronavirus restrictions but from now on, as before, will take place at 9am every Saturday morning.

Gazette: Colchester parkrun Picture: Stewart Chambers

The Colchester event was the 366th to be held in Castle Park and the first-finisher was Colchester Harrier Richard Heath.

Cameron Humphries was second and Gerald Buck third.

Craig Mitchell and Jamie Schofield completed the fastest five.

The event went ahead thanks to the hard-working parkrun core team - Kat Burke, Suez Wray, Sue Cross, Nick Oakley, Claire Lawn and Meera Rajoo.

Other parkruns back in action at the weekend were those at Highwoods, Mersea Island, Clacton, Harwich, Great Notley and Maldon.