I love hearing the answers to this question, especially here in Canada where parkrun is less than a year old, yet growing strong.
I originally heard about parkrun when I lived in England back in 2012. Living in the small town of Basingstoke, I joined a local squash club and during the Friday night club matches a few players were talking about going for a ‘parkrun’ the next morning. One of them mentioned that since taking part in parkrun her stamina for playing squash had improved. I had been a runner since I was a kid, but I was looking for any advantage to improve my squash game!
It took a few Saturdays before I signed up for my barcode. It was then a couple more weeks before I mustered up the energy for my first Saturday morning run on March 24, 2012; and then carried on 54 more times in Basingstoke (plus 2 tourist runs) until I moved back to Canada in 2014. And yes, during this time, my squash game did improve!
Fast forward to today. As soon as I found out that parkrun was coming to Canada I had to be on board. I contacted my Country Manager and we spoke about growing parkrun in Canada and all the things it entailed. By sheer coincidence, he had also been the original Run Director of my home parkrun in Basingstoke! After a few months of route planning, applying for permits and all the fun administrative behind the scenes activity that occurs I am now able to ask the runners: “How did you hear about Whitby parkrun?”.
The answers include:
- The obvious… “You won’t stop talking about it!”
- ‘parkrun tourists’ that seek out their closest event while on holiday
- Visited a parkrun while on holiday, and now hooked!
- Runners looking to take part in a regular free, non-charity event finding out through neighbourhood facebook posts
- A seasoned runner found out through Canadian Running magazine
- A few have found out while searching for a “Couch to 5k” program
- A runner turned 31 this year and was looking to take part in 31 running events
My favourite part of each week is hanging around the finish line and hearing these stories. Hearing how a simple event can motivate and inspire whether it’s the goal of running a 5k, achieving a PB, or making it a part of a weekly routine to reach a goal above and beyond the run.
I look forward to hearing how YOU heard about parkrun!
Whitby parkrun Event Director
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