WHEN leading Isle of Wight athletics coach Ray Scovell touted the idea of establishing a parkrun on the Island in 2010, many thought he was a little crazy — but eight years on and the weekly event celebrates its 400th run tomorrow (Saturday).

The 5km Medina parkrun, at Newport’s Seaclose Park, will start at 9am sharp and is expected to attract a bumper entry of more than 400 runners.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Ray Scovell, the driving force behind Medina Parkrun. FILE

Fancy dress is hugely encouraged for it and One Leisure have promised to hand out free water bottles for all participant, with free gym memberships to be won and cakes for all at the finish line.

The group’s founder, Ray, has also been holding a sweepstake on Facebook to guess how many parkrunners there will be tomorrow, with a tin of sweeties up for grabs.

Ray, 75, of Cross Street, Sandown, said: “Parkrun is my baby. There were 37 finishers in the first-ever one. Now we have a membership of over 3,500.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Parkrun has been enjoyed by the young, the old, the serious — and the not so serious. FILE

“It has surprised me and everybody else how it has grown — grown beyond my wildest dreams.

“People just come along. It’s incredible so many do it. It’s almost like a family, with so many friendships formed through parkrun. It’s such a big community thing.

“I was told before it all started that it wouldn’t work — that they wouldn’t want to get up at the weekend. I spoke to a running group about the idea and they all looked at me funny. “

There is still time to register for tomorrow’s parkrun. Go to: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/medina/