parkrun has over 1,100 events in 14 different countries worldwide and has new additions every week. Despite some people trying, it is impossible to visit every parkrun! So to capture some of that adventurous spirit every month or so we feature a parkrun from around the World and tell you of its quirks and which makes it unique. As it’s Canada Day this weekend, we’d thought we’d break the rules and feature one of our own Canadian parkruns. Okanagan parkrun is where it all started in the heart of the Rocky Mountains last year.
It was a hot Saturday morning late August and in a discreet park in Kelowna, BC, the first parkrun flag in Canada popped up.
The course used that day and for a good portion of the Winter was along the Mission Creek towpath which runs through the south east side of Kelowna. It was a great course but sadly it had to be relocated due to large construction works.
The new course is set on a future Okanagan legacy. The parkrun uses a portion of the Rails with Trails project which is a route that spans almost 50km and passes through spectacular lakeshores, and rural and urban landscapes. As an idea of scale, below highlights the section of path that the parkrun uses:
The route is mostly an out and back, starting at a recreation park and local multi-use stadium, the Apple Bowl. The out and back section is 2k, with the remaining 1km weaving it’s way around a beautiful creek. As for PBs, there’s a good possibility that you could achieve one here. The route is mostly flat with little distraction allowing you to concentrate on your run or walk.
Speaking to Event Director Bill Justus, he’s very proud to have the first event established in Canada as he mentions that “it was amazing and rewarding”. I remember too the first event of Okanagan parkrun too in August. As it was the first one in the country and after being in the works for years it was very satisfying to see it finally happen, but it didn’t sink in until 5 seconds after the start when Bill was shouting “parkrun, parkrun!”.
The post-event coffee takes place at EKs grill, where parkrunners chat and share both running and non-running stories over a drink or even brunch. The facility features a huge fish tank, that Bill himself climbs inside to clean!
If you find yourself planning a trip to Canada, be sure to try and include Okanagan parkrun. You could even make it part of a 3 week Rockies trip as featured a few weeks ago.
- Euan Bowman
parkrun Canada Country Manager
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