THE BARKING & DAGENHAM Parkrun on Christmas Day saw ultra marathoner Paul Martelletti break his own course record to add an extra touch of festive cheer to the fun group get together.
The previous record attendance at Barking was 155 runners in 2015.
Decked out in a Kenya shirt, the Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets AC runner from Mile End Parkrun stormed the course to finish ahead of Bertie Powell in a record 14:52 and come first out of 228 runners. Martelletti knocked ten seconds off his previous record, set at Barking Park in 2015.
The atmosphere at the biggest ever Barking Parkrun to date was one of great cheer, with plenty fanfare. Representatives were present from Dagenham 88, Barking Road Runners, Sikhs in the City, Newham & Essex Beagles and Ilford AC. Team Kaleigh 10k race organiser Jason Li dressed as Santa was in fine form with his state of the art light sabre.
The first three women finishers were Morgan Campbell in 20.23, Carole Broome in 24.17 and Gemma Thompson in 24.26. Forty-nine first timers took part in the run, including Sonny Plummer and Ewan McAuley, who completed their first ever Parkruns.
Kiwi Martelletti, who used to hold the world superhero marathon record, commented, “It’s a great morning here today with plenty of smiles and lots of competition. Of course I’m pleased with my time!”