Morecambe celebrates sport with parkrun founder


Graham Hicks.

The event coincides with the third anniversary of Morecambe Prom parkrun, the free weekly 5k event which is one of thousands held around the world each Saturday.

Visitors will include Graham Hicks, the English strongman from Morecambe, members of Morecambe Ladies and Girls FC, open water swimmers from Morecambe and Lancaster and runners from the Morecambe community.

They will be joined by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE and his wife Joanne, who will be taking part in the Morecambe event for the first time.

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Morecambe Ball parkrun.

They will unveil a plaque celebrating inclusivity, fitness, mental well-being and sport in the city. The festival is supported by the Bay Medical Group, which works with parkrun to promote physical activity as an antidote to many health problems and conditions, as well as Alzheimers Research UK and the Samaritans.

It was organized by David Hewitt, one of the main volunteers at Morecambe Prom parkrun.

He said: “We are very proud of our town and the sporting celebrities who have come from here, and we are delighted with how our own parkrun here has become so popular over the past three years.

“We wanted to find a permanent way to celebrate sporting achievements at all levels, and we couldn’t think of a better time to do so than on a Saturday morning when parkrun is enjoyed by so many people here.

The Ellis family.

“We would also like to thank Paul James of Morecambe Community Runners who provide coaching and encouragement, all for free, by taking groups across the couch to the 5k challenge.”

Among the guests will be three young members of the same local family who are all rising stars in the world of table tennis: Toby, Bethany and Thomas Ellis.

Toby, 16, who attends Lancaster Royal Grammar School, is now number 1 in the England Under-19 and Under-17 rankings.

He has represented England at the European Youth Championships, plays for a Swedish club in their league and was recently part of the GB development squad. He has traveled to compete in Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Tunisia, Sweden, Finland and France, and recently won gold at a tournament in Sweden.

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Bethany, 14, who attends Morecambe Bay Academy, is the current National Cadet Champion (U15).

She was a silver medalist for England at the Under-19s at the Home Counties International in Largs and also represented England at the European Youth Championships. Bethany raised money for cancer charities by running errands along Morecambe Promenade, even securing sponsorship from boxer Tyson Fury who ran with her.

Eight-year-old Thomas, who goes to Great Wood Primary School, is also a natural, says proud mum Rebecca. “He trains very hard, winning many times against much older players, and is playing in the National Cadet League (U15) at just seven years old.”

Most of the funding for the plate – and a smaller amount at the parkrun route turnaround point – came from Morecambe BID, whose director John O’Neill hopes to attend, along with David Hewitt, Debra Bunting, Graeme Moorby and the Bay Medical Group.

The unveiling ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. near the battery, just north of the Beach Cafe.

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