One of many fantastic ideas to get everyday people off the couch and into exercise is parkrun. If you follow us on Facebook you’d see that EVERY week on a Saturday (sometimes Sunday) we post about this great initiative. parkrun is a free 5km run, jog or walk. Timed by volunteers with photographers taking your picture as you speed or stroll past them, it’s almost like you’re taking part in an actual running event (but you’re not). This is an event for everyone! Dogs are welcomed, prams also welcomed and if you’d like to walk the course with your 5 year old, great!
parkrun is always held on a Saturday morning, usually at 8am but in the tropics they hold it at 7am to beat the heat. There are over 30 events in South Australia alone and if you ever leave the country there’s a good chance there could be a parkrun nearby as yep, you got it, it’s an international event!
Starting just over 15 years ago with 14 people in England when 1 member of a regular running group picked up an injury and decided to time his mates instead, it’s now had millions of people take part worldwide!! In fact, we’ve heard of some events in South Africa where 1400 people turn up to take part. CRAZY!
What’s the concept of parkrun? Well, very simple actually. Being a completely free event you need volunteers, so they have a Run Director letting everyone know what’s going on, where to run, new information and of course celebrating milestones such as 50, 100, 250 parkruns.
To make sure that everyone gets back safely there’s always a tail walker doing exactly that, walking behind the last participant so no matter how badly you think you’re going, you’ll NEVER come last!
To celebrate getting up early on a Saturday morning you need a photo right? This is usually taken care of by one person but every now and then there’re 5 of them on the course and you end up sifting through 800 pics to find 10-20 of you (can never have too many photos!). If photos are not for you, you can cross your arms in front of your chest and your picture won’t be uploaded/ taken.
Next position is Timekeeper and next to them is a person handing out token. The timekeeper will click their stopwatch and those results will correspond with the barcode you were handed.
On completion of the event, you then need to head over to the Barcode Scanner. These are the guys that scan the token you’ve just received and the barcode you received when you registered.
Once this is all done, you can have a coffee of simply get on with the rest of your day and know that in the next hour or two, you’ll receive an email with your finishing position, time, amount of events you’ve participated in and your current personal best. Some people have taken part in over 500 events and every single one of these are recorded on their profile!
The best bit about all of this is that you only ever have to register once, you don’t need to let anyone know that you’re coming and you can take that same barcode 13000km away and use it in a different country!
We may’ve undersold parkrun, there’s not too much we can say that would do it justice. It’s a vibrant and active community that supports one another to improve their health and fitness and enjoy the outdoors. You won’t regret coming along to one and experiencing it for yourself!
Find out more about joining the next parkrun.
Justin Beard Pn1