Niamh (8) notches up her 13th Parkrun in Cookstown

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An eight-year-old schoolgirl completed her 13th Parkrun in Cookstown at the weekend for the Water for Kids charity.

Little Niamh Lemon has set herself a target of raising £2,000 for the organisation which operates widely in African countries.

Her dad Stephen, a keen runner, who has accompanied her at Parkruns across Northern Ireland, said the idea came from Niamh herself two years ago after doing a topic at school on the importance of water.

They then carried out some research on the Justgiving site and decided to throw their support behind Water for Kids.

Daughter and dad are aiming to do 28 Parkruns in the run up to Niamh’s ninth birthday on Christmas Day.

“Three new Parkruns have been added since she started back in April,” said Stephen. “We might have time to do those as well.”

Cookstown Parkrun takes place at MUSA every Saturday morning and regularly attracts a large turnout of runners of all ages and abilities.

Niamh received a warm and generous welcome from other participants at the start of Saturday’s run.

“Niamh is really enjoying the running now and completed her last three Parkruns without stopping,” he continued.

The original target was £1,500 but they decided to increase that amount last week after reaching £1,565 on their Justgiving page.

Stephen, from Dundonald, said that Niamh had received encouragement from the general public at the various event.

He said she has now raised enough money to provide one clean water source in a Ugandan village which is “pretty good going.”

“That means basically that they don’t have to walk any distance to get their water, the kids are less likely to get sick so often because they have clean water and are able to go to school,” went on Stephen.

“It’s also good for the whole community as it means they have a guaranteed clean water source and their crops are going to grow. It’s going to make a big difference.”

He added that what they hoped to do at their last event is to invite a representative from each of the Parkruns to come along to the final even in Orangefield, Belfast, and also invite over a member of Water for Kids and make the presentation.

Describing Niamh as an inspiration to all the family, he said she had managed to persuade her mum,Sara, to take up the Couch to 5K.

Her big sister Chloe (10), is also a runner and four-year-old brother Conor also joins the family in shorter outings.