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Moray and Banffshire Heroes: Parkrun pair are Volunteers of the Year

By Chris Saunderson

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PARKRUN heroes Paul Hughes and Debbie Main admitted they were "humbled" to be recognised at the Moray and Banffshire Heroes Awards.

Debbie Main and Paul Hughes (right) with Frank Reid, Managing Director for Robertson.Picture: Beth Taylor
Debbie Main and Paul Hughes (right) with Frank Reid, Managing Director for Robertson.Picture: Beth Taylor

The pair are both race directors at the Elgin Parkrun, with the community 5k run every Saturday morning becoming a popular event over the last seven years.

It has inspired thousands of people to take up running for the first time and has become as much of a social event as a sporting one.

The pair were nominated for their unstinting work in bringing all the volunteers together and ensuring the Parkrun runs smoothly each week.

Paul said: "We were flattered and surprised to be nominated, and it is on behalf of all the other people who have volunteered. We just sort of round them up every week.

"Some weeks are easier than others but without the team behind us we would just be flapping about, so it's really nice to be recognised."

The Elgin Parkrun, which draws people from all over Moray and visitors from far afield as well, has attracted almost 7000 different runners over the last seven years, and almost 700 different volunteers.

Added Paul: "Some have volunteered once, others 20, 50, 100 times, it just varies. That's the whole ethos of Parkun, everybody chips in and everybody is equal, so that everybody can enjoy it."

Debbie, from Findochty, is a great example of someone who was drawn to running by the Parkrun and has now become a key member of the volunteer team which ensures it takes place each week, and is looking forward to her first ever marathon on Sunday in London.

She said: "I feel really humbled tonight because there are so many worthy winners. When you see the people who won the overall award and you just go 'wow, there are so many special people here tonight'.

"It is nice for us to be recognised for the work we do when we wouldn't maybe recognise it ourselves.

"We have seen people who have never run outside before and now they are running 5k and beyond.

"I am running London Marathon on Sunday and Parkrun was my kind of thing, that's what gets you into running."

The Volunteer of the Year award was sponsored by Robertson group.

Look out for more inspiring stories from the awards night over the weekend on this website.

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