This weekend I did my first Parkrun. I’ve known about Parkrun for a while now since another blogger wrote about it, and have very much wanted to do it, but my town didn’t have one, and there wasn’t one within reasonable driving distance, considering that Parkruns happen early on Saturday mornings.
As luck would have it, our town finally got a parkrun…the weekend right before we moved.
Since the move we’ve been so busy, with relatives visiting and stuff to do around the home, that we’ve just not got around to it yet. Friday evening, though, we decided this weekend it was time.
The minion wakes up at 6AM each morning, more reliable than than an alarm clock driven by the best clockwork to ever come out of a Swiss workshop, so she was ready to go before we were. I dug my running shoes (which somehow escaped the pre-move cull of items I haven’t otherwise touched in over a year) out of the closet and off we went.
I should probably explain what a Parkrun is, shouldn’t I?
Parkrun was started by Paul Sinton-Hewitt and twelve other runners in 2004. The concept is really simple: Show up, complete 5km, and repeat again next Saturday. Each Parkrun is run (ha-ha) by volunteers, participation is free, and while your time is recorded, there are no medals, no winners, and no losers (except, as someone told me on Saturday, the guy who never got off his couch to come and run).
Parkruns now exist all over the world. They take place in parks, as the name says, but also other beautiful outdoor locations. Our town’s Parkrun passes some natural islands in the harbor, and has a section that goes through the bush. It felt like I was out hiking, especially as I was carrying a baby in a backpack. (No, I didn’t stuff the Minion in an actual backpack. I got one of those baby-carrier backpacks, and she’s crazy about it.)
Running is not obligatory, by the way. I’m game for many things, but running a 5-k with a 10kg toddler strapped to my back is not my idea of fun, and the wife is technically not allowed to run due to back problems, so we had more of a Park-brisk-walk than a Parkrun. But we enjoyed it. Elizabeth spent the whole walk pointing at birds and trees and stealing the hearts of every other runner who passed us.
We came in 320th and 321st out of 325 runners, but that doesn’t matter. We got to spend time together as a family outdoors, we took a positive step towards being more healthy, and we got to meet some great people. I can’t wait for Saturday morning to come so I can get up early and do it again.
Why don’t you head on over to the Parkrun website and check if there’s one close to you. And if there isn’t one yet, why don’t you start one? Trust me, you won’t regret it.