Bellevue parkrun is into its 9th week and has been offering the residents of Sault Ste. Marie a weekly opportunity to get some exercise and a social activity in. We thought it would be a good time to check in and catch up with the event.
Growing at a steady rate, the event has being seeing solid attendances. With 15 on the first one, and a dip to nine the week after, the average has risen to about 25-30 people every week. Having it regularly every week helps people form a healthy habit, and it may also have been helped by coverage from the local news websites thesaultonline.com, and saultthisweek.com and also the local city website
Bellevue parkrun is one of Canada’s most isolated parkruns. Sault Ste. Marie doesn’t have immediate access to a big city international airport and the nearest big metropolis, The Greater Toronto Area, is a 750km drive away. It is therefore fantastic to see the event being attended by so many locals.
Andy Bessell, the event’s director, summarised the first 9 weeks “Bellevue parkrun is well under way now and we are gaining in numbers every week. We started out with about 15 runners and now we are pushing 30 every week. The runners/walkers have given such positive feedback . In a city of +/- 65 000, the support has been amazing. With the support of the volunteers Kaitlin Bessell and Chris Bean, a massive thank you! I believe this has been a great success in the city. We are looking forward to the future and hopefully see more runners/walkers coming out.”
The course is located in the city’s main park. Bellevue Park is a massive 17 hectares in size and provides access to the beautiful TopSail island, which is also part of the weekly event. The course is fairly flat with a couple of gradual inclines but nothing to worry about at all. It then moves out onto the Island with great views of the city, St. Mary’s river and the boat club. After the island is complete the run heads back along the same route. This is a great scenic run for all, runners and walkers alike.
If you are in Sault Ste. Marie and have finished the parkrun looking for something else to do, there is the Hub trail for people to walk/run or cycle along which is a 25km route around the city and through a couple mini nature trails. There are also team sports you can participate in, such baseball and soccer in the summer. In winter there is snow shoeing, cross country skiing, ice fishing even nearby snow resorts.
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