Elgin Parkrun approaches 50,000 runs as volunteers reflect on award win
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AS Elgin Parkrun nears a huge milestone, the event directors have reflected on an award win which left them "flattered and chuffed".
Paul Hughes and Debbie Main won the Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2023 Moray and Banffshire Heroes Awards.
The weekly community 5k that they spearhead is preparing to reach 50,000 finished runs, during this festive season.
Mr Hughes, from Kinloss, said the thought of runners completing a total of 250,000 kilometers by the end of the year is “absolutely bonkers”.
In total, 7500 different people have finished the race, with around 150 completing the 5k each week.
And while Parkrun can be a big commitment, Mr Hughes said: "It was really nice to be recognised" at the Moray and Banffshire Heroes Awards.
He added: "Flattered and chuffed to accept the award on behalf of the big team at Parkrun.
"Even weeks and months after, people said: ‘Well done on your award.’
"People still remember it months later.
"It is really nice and really rewarding for the whole community."
Working at Dr Gray's, he said the award boosted his entire team's spirits as they emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The weekend after, I came into work at Dr Gray’s, and Shelagh Parkinson got one as well.
"And, that day, I had good news for the team rather than bad news.
"After the last few years the NHS has had, we don’t get as many good days as there could be. It meant double.
"It was so good to get into work and having so many people say well done."
Fellow Parkrun volunteer, and award-winner, Debbie Main said: “It was really humbling to get that award.
“There were lots of really amazing people that deserved to be rewarded.
“So many folk came up to us afterwards to say that they were so chuffed for us.
In the time since the awards event, she started Elgin's Junior Parkrun event – which is a 2k event instead of 5k.
The event, for runners aged between four and 14, starts from the same start line.
“It means they can run it themselves, without an adult there like the 5k," she said.
“And what we hope is that the ones doing the 2k will do the 5k once they get a bit older.
“It is for everyone."
Both Mr Hughes and Ms Main said that the person who nominated them is still a mystery.
“Thanks to the people who nominated us," Ms Main said.
“It came to us totally out of the blue.
“And we still don't know who it was, not to this day. Absolutely no idea."
The Volunteer of the Year Award is being sponsored by Robertson Construction Northern.
Nominations have now opened for 2024's Moray and Banffshire Heroes Awards.
Send your nominations by clicking here or visiting: www.hnmedia.co.uk/morayheroes.