PARKRUN was heralded as a world-saving idea at the launch of the latest 5k race in Swindon.

Around 150 runners descended on a chilly north Swindon park on Saturday morning to take part in the inaugural Seven Fields parkrun.

One of the runners, Swindon Spring Festival founder Matt Holland, said: “This is the best thing ever. The best thoughts come when the body is in motion. It administers to the mind and body.

“It can save the world.”

Alison Morrison, 50, from Calne, has taken part in 360 parkruns and is working her way through race locations from A to Z.

“I’m a parkrun addict,” she told the Adver. “Every Saturday this is what I do.

“I love running. It’s what running brings to me mentally and physically with all those endorphins. Everything the experts say – it’s all true.”

Jeff Day, 59, a triathlete from Haydon Wick, was looking to build back the strength in his legs after a few injuries.

He said: “I do a lot of triathlons. It’s a case of getting myself running again. I have had a few injuries in my calf muscles.”

The Seven Fields run is the brainchild of Phil Jefferies, who said parkrun "changed his life".

“Six years ago I went to the Lydiard parkrun," he said. "It got me healthy and more active. It really did change my life.

“It is a wonderful concept to get people out and active.”

Seven Fields, a nature reserve and playing fields bordered by Penhill, Pinehurst and Haydon Wick, was an ideal location for the weekly event, according to Mr Jefferies.

He said “There wasn’t a lot of community feeling.

“It’s free and it’s fun," he added.

Lydiard parkrun event director Emma Sperring said: “It’s a community event. Absolutely everyone is welcome to do whatever they like. You can run or walk. You can get your most competitive runners to your dog walkers.”

She added that the event is open to children over the age of four. A separate junior parkrun, which takes place at Lydiard every Sunday at 9am, is run over the shorter distance of 2km.

Walking the route on Saturday was avid parkrunner Coun Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for operational excellence.

He said: “The first parkrun (Lydiard) has gone from strength to strength. It’s testament to the amount of demand in Swindon that there’s this second event.”

The parkrun has been supported by Central Swindon North Parish Council. Acting chairman John Ballman said: “We’re thrilled to see what a successful morning it has been.”