AFTER eleven years of background work Chevin Forest parkrun has taken place for the first time.

The inaugural run was held on Saturday, August 28 - and the sun shone on the 125 participants and 25 volunteers who met up on the Chevin at 9am.

This is the latest event to join the family of 11 other Leeds parkruns and is the 720th event in the UK. Saturday morning events are 5k and take place in parks and open spaces.

Organisers say the support of Otley and Yeadon ward councillor Ryk Downs was key to securing funding for the start up costs. Menston Flower Show provided funds for a defibrillator for the event.

Each week the team will be on the Chevin and would love to see new people come along to walk, jog, run or volunteer. Further information can be found on their website or on their facebook page.

The event has a lot of local support and local running clubs provided participants for the trial event the previous week.

Chevin Forest parkrun has a long history leading up to Saturday’s inaugural event, which can be traced back to the original parkrun in Bushy Park, London. Known as Bushy Park time trial it was held in October 2004. Three years later the first event outside of London was established at Woodhouse Moor, known as Leeds time trial. The name was changed to parkrun to reflect the more inclusive nature of the event. The team who organised Leeds parkrun started to look at organising an event on the Chevin in 2010. This floundered but resulted in Roundhay Park parkrun being established.

Debbie Brown stepped up to be the event director around six years ago and with the help of the local parkrun ambassador, Mary O’Donnell, has built a small team of volunteers to stage the free weekly event. She is now looking to expand this team as the parkrun becomes more established.

Speaking at the event Debbie said “I’m so happy to be here today, it is fantastic to see people walking, jogging and running and enjoying our beautiful park. I’m grateful for the support that Leeds City Council give to parkrun”

Cllr Downes said he was honoured to be the official starter of the inaugural run. "Apparently it was first conceived 11 years ago but a number of issues had delayed it," he said.

"I was able to help with some of the funding along with my colleagues Cllr Campbell and Cllr Lay and our MICE money. Also Otley AC and other local groups helped. The final delay was due to Covid as it was due to start last year. It was a deliberately low key launch otherwise Danefield would have been swamped. The event director, race director and all the volunteers were great and the run went like clockwork. After starting everyone off I managed to join in at the back. It is a challenging course with a big climb near the start that you do twice. I wish the event every success and look forward to taking part again next Saturday."