Tooting Common hosted the first parkrun in Wandsworth, nearly a decade after the first attempt to bring it to the borough.

About 200 people ran the free, timed 5k route through the common, including families with children in buggies.

First male finisher, Neil Aitken, said: "I knew the route quite well, it's a loop I have done before.

"It was a really good, friendly start.

"We have been working quite hard to get it up and running.

"I'm chairman of Clapham chasers, so I have been getting people down to help and cheer on.

"Fingers crossed, it went really well."

Imogen Ainsworth, first female finisher, said: "I thought it was a really nice course, nice to have a bit that was not tarmac.

"Three loops is nice, anymore is a bit tough.

"I live in Battersea so this is now the closest one to me.

"It is really exciting to have one in Wandsworth."

Michael, Sarah and Jacob Owusu, ran as a family.

Seven year old Jacob said: "It was ok."

Michael said: "It is good for the community."

This was Sarah’s first, but Michael ran in Sydenham a few times.

Sarah said: "We enjoyed it."

Katie Kenny ran pushing her son Max Patrickson in his pram.

Ms Kenny said: "It was good, we come running her a lot as we live in the local area.

"It is great that they are able to do the parkrun here.

"We have been looking forward to it for ages. We would normally go to Brockwell or Richmond."

Paul Sinton-Hewitt, founder of parkrun, also ran to support the launch.

He said: "It was lovely, very very good.

"In my view, this is the exact justification for why we should do this here.

"Locals getting outdoors, enjoying activity, getting healthier and socialising.

"I understand for half an hour on a Saturday we are impacting a lot of people using the park.

"Hopefully we can keep with the attitude that everyone has equal right to the park."

Mr Sinton-Hewitt said he had first approached Wandsworth Council about a parkrun in the borough in 2007, and had a correspondence file "two inches thick" with requests and refusals.

He said: "I do not think there are any winners and losers.

"We are an instrument in creating a playground that will show everybody in the borough is a winner.

"No money is needed.

"Healthier people are more inclined to look after their property, to be friends with their neighbours, there is evidence that this happens.

"I imagine it will just get better.

"I am very thankful to everyone, all the politicians, even those who did not make it.

"It is not about that, it is about making lives healthier."

Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said: "It has been a long campaign, which many local residents have led and been involved in, so I am delighted that the first Parkrun event on Tooting Common finally took place on Saturday and, of course, the people of Tooting turned out in force.

"Tooting Common is a wonderful community park.

"By holding regular Parkrun runs in Tooting, more people from across London will be able to discover and enjoy our open spaces, alongside Tooting locals."

A council spokesman said: "It has taken time for the organiser and the council to agree the necessary terms and conditions a large scale public event like this requires.

"These include health and safety, stewarding and litter control plans that are always needed to protect the public and the common from harm.

"We're pleased these terms have now been agreed and the first event was enjoyed by many local people."

Parkrun will have a six month trial in Tooting Common, every Saturday at 9am.

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