parkrun is a free community event held every Saturday morning at local parks around Australia and involves a 5km walk or run, with the goal to improve on your own previous weekend?s time.
More than 8 years ago Tim Oberg brought parkrun to Australia, now there are 357 locations around Australia and more than 50,000 participants weekly. Junior parkrun has been launched and is held on Sunday morning?s in Victoria and Queensland as part of a special pilot program to determine its future national rollout.
?When I brought it to Australia I didn?t have a grand vision of all the social impacts it could involve. It not only has significant health impacts but social ones too? said parkrun Australia CEO Tim Oberg.
He said when parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt started the runs in the UK it wasn?t meant to be a global health movement with 5 million users and acknowledged as the largest mass sporting event on the planet.
Mr Oberg said participants competed against themselves and there were no ?winners or losers?, just runners and first or final finishers, with a de-emphasis on the competitive side of the event.
?parkrun is a pathway into healthy living. Because it is held every weekend it gives people the opportunity to create a new and supported positive habits ? you set your own time and work each week to better that,? he said.
?Participants meet others in their community and inspire each other on how to be healthy and make positive changes and support each other to become fitter, faster, happier and healthier.?
?It?s not something we planned but the social impacts are arguably just as important as the health benefits ? the community, the friends, the connections it builds.?
He said parkrun was suitable for all levels of fitness and abilities and about 30 per cent of participants walked or jogged and walked, rather than ran. parkrun is also pram, wheelchair and dog-friendly (please check the rules and each locations suitability).
Once participants register once online for free they are emailed a barcode which they can use at any location in the world. Each time they run the barcode is scanned so their run can be logged and timed.
?parkrun doesn?t finish until the last walker crosses the line. It?s a very informal environment. And if you miss one week you can come back the following week ? there?s always next Saturday. parkrun can fit around your lifestyle rather than the other way around. It can be what you want it to be.? Mr Oberg said.
The two Northern Beaches locations with all the details, course and time:
Register once only online before attending for the first time. Don?t be nervous parkrun loves to see new faces every week.