A free weekly timed run, which is part of a national and international fitness drive, is due to launch in Reigate this Saturday (March 22).

The Reigate Priory parkrun, a 5km timed run organised by members of Reigate Priory Athletic Club and supported by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, is due to start at 9am in Priory Park.

The inaugural event is expected to attract more than 100 runners of all abilities, from those taking their first running steps through to experienced athletes. The parkrun initiative is part of the borough council's aim to help residents live active and healthy lives.

The borough council is funding the £3,000 start-up costs to pay for equipment and IT support. Nearly 30 members of Reigate Priory Athletic Club are taking the lead in bringing parkrun to Reigate, managing the event and filling the volunteering roles every week.

The format for parkrun events across the UK, and internationally, is the same. Each run starts at 9am, follows a 5km course around a local park and is timed. Runners can take part every week or as little or as often as they choose. Runners need to register once for free on the UK parkrun website to get their athlete barcode, before attending an event.

Launching the initiative, Paul Chandler, membership secretary of Reigate Priory Athletic Club, said: "We want to encourage more people into running regularly and parkrun is free, accessible and fun, every Saturday morning at 9am. Come and run or volunteer."

Borough council portfolio holder for leisure, Adam De Save, said: "We are delighted to support this event, which local runners have so eagerly been anticipating.”

Coun De Save said: “It’s a great way to get in shape at your own pace, encouraged by fellow runners and local volunteers.

“For experienced runners, it’s another training option, adding variety to any fitness programme."

To complement the weekly parkrun programme, there will be other running events available throughout the year, including the Reigate and Redhill YMCA-organised Y Run 14 on Sunday, May 4, and the Run Reigate half-marathon on Sunday, September 21.

For more information on Reigate Priory Athletic Club visit its website at: www.rpac.org.uk or email membership secretary Paul Chandler at: www.rpac.org.uk For more details about parkrun visit the website: www.parkrun.org.uk More information on the Y Run 14 is available from: www.ymcachallenges.org.uk More information on the Run Reigate half-marathon is available from: www.runreigate.com