Zoe hooked by the running bug

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A RUNNER who met her fiancé during a marathon is about to clock up her 100th five kilometre race.

Zoe Dale, of Priory Road, begun taking part in parkrun events across the country back in 2010 and, on September 15, she will complete her century in Eastbourne.

The 42-year-old was introduced to parkrun by her partner Russell Gardham and the pair now combine trips to see family and friends with a visit to the local running sessions.

Launched back in 2005, parkrun was set up as a sociable weekend run for people who wanted to get more active.

Anyone can go along, the runs are free to take part in and there are now more than 100 different clubs across the UK.

Zoe has taken in 16 of them, including races in Edinburgh, St Albans, Guildford and Leeds, and is looking forward to hitting her 100 milestone after already having got t-shirt for finishing 50.

She said, “I have only been running for two years but have really got into it and love taking part in parkruns.

“There is a really sociable feel to them, particularly in Eastbourne, and I love the fact it is something anyone can do – we have some children joining in and even people with their dogs.”

Zoe admits she has some way to go before she catches up with Russell, who as pace setter locally has already ticked off 136 runs.

However, the running bug has seen her go from parkrun to far more challenged events. She has completed one 50 mile race, 10 marathons, 12 half marathons, one 20 mile race, one ten mile race, three 10ks and eight cross countries. The mileage of the parkruns alone already tops the 300 mark.

And, just to prove how much Zoe now loves running, she is planning something special for her wedding day.

“We are getting married in Leeds in October and we are going to do their parkrun in the morning.

“We are inviting our guests to join in and will have a couple of hours to get ready afterwards so it should all go according to plan.”

For more information on Eastbourne’s parkrun, which is held every Saturday morning from 9am in Shinewater Park, visit www.parkrun.org.uk/eastbourne/home.