Memorial run for Bradford parkrunner

FRIENDS and family of a committed runner who raised thousands of pounds for charity will take part in a memorial run for a cause he championed next month.

The organisers of the Arthur James Memorial Parkrun, from left: race director Linda Bussey, Kim James, Sue Gregson and Mr James' granddaughter Vikki Lomas.

Great-grandfather Arthur James, of Queensbury, Bradford, died three years ago at the age of 76, on the day he completed his 100th parkrun in Bradford.

Mr James, who was a member of Parkrun Leeds and Parkrun Bradford, Eccleshill Roadrunners and Pudsey Pacers, raised thousands of pounds for charity and also volunteered his time for the Alzheimer’s Society and Marie Curie.

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Since his death, the Arthur James Memorial Parkrun has been held once a year at Lister Park to remember the runner and raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. On the day the Arthur James Special Recognition Award will also be presented to a parkrunner who has helped encourage others to get involved in running.

Arthur James died on the day he completed his 100th parkrun, for which he received a '100 Club' shirt.

His daughter-in-law, Kim James, who helped to organise the memorial, said: “Arthur started running when he was in his early 60s. When Bradford parkrun first started he was one of the first people to take part, and he was instrumental in helping it get off the ground.

“He inspired and encouraged so many people including his granddaughter, Vikki Lomas and six-year-old great-grandson, William Lomas, to take up running and keep healthy. He kept a little red book of all the races he did, and on the day he died he’d just received his ‘100 Club’ shirt for having taken part in 100 parkruns. Sadly he never got to wear it, and his sudden death really shocked the running community in Yorkshire.

“Arthur and I were very close and he was more like a father to me than a father-in-law. We did a lot of races and parkruns together and he was just a brilliant man and a true gent. He did so much for running and to support various charities, always wanting to help people and put something back into the community. The memorial run is our way of carrying on his memory and it gives people an opportunity to get together and remember what he did to get people running, as well as donating money to one of his favourite charities.”

Claire Priestwood, regional fundraising officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This is a wonderful tribute, and we couldn’t be more grateful to Kim and her fellow parkrunners for their support at this event. Every £1 raised on the day can help provide crucial resources for our scientists, bringing new treatments, improved diagnosis and preventions closer.

“Dementia affects over 850,000 people in the UK, including 5,500 in Bradford alone, yet we currently lack treatments capable of stopping diseases like Alzheimer’s in their tracks. Research has the power to transform people’s lives, and Alzheimer’s Research UK is leading the way in the fight against dementia. We rely on our amazing supporters to be able to fund our pioneering research, and it’s thanks to people like Kim that we can continue our work.”

The Arthur James Memorial Parkrun on Saturday 9 May at Lister Park in Bradford at 9am.