BOLTON’S Mayor and Mayoress are to become “running mates” — by joining forces to tackle the town’s popular 5K Parkrun.

Cllr Guy Harkin made the announcement after officially starting off last Saturday’s weekly event at Leverhulme Park — which attracted a record turn-out of 211 runners.

Among them was his wife, mayoress Colette Harkin, a life-time member of Bolton Harriers, who completed the course in an impressive 23 minutes.

The oldest participant was well-known veteran runner Malcolm Pittock, aged 82, who had written to the town’s first citizens to ask them to get involved in the event, which aims to promote health and fitness.

Mr Pittock, of St James Avenue, Breightmet , completed 15 London marathons in his athletics heyday.

He said: “I know the mayoress pretty well and she was an outstanding road runner for Bolton Harriers. I’m delighted both she and the mayor are becoming involved in this event.”

The pensioner, who still runs 18 miles a week, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Parkrun.

He said: “Its benefits are immense. I’ve got angina for which I take medication.

“But when I’m running, even uphill, I never get chest pains or become out of breath. I’ve taken part in this event more than 50 times.”

Saturday was the second time Bolton’s mayoress had completed the 5k Parkrun. Mrs Harkin said: “I’m 55 now but, in my younger days, I was a 57-minute 10 miler.

“Now, I run for pleasure. The 5k Parkrun is brilliant and so enjoyable.”

And 65-year-old Cllr Harkin, who walks to keep fit, will be joining his wife at next weekend’s Parkrun. He said: “I don’t think I will be able to match my wife for pace.

“The great thing about the 5k Parkrun is that it brings people together and it’s for those of all ages and physical conditions.”

Bolton Parkrun was set up 18 months ago to try to get people in the town running.

It is a free event which is organised and marshalled. All runners are timed, with their results sent to them by email later the same day.