With Canadian Thanksgiving just around the corner, and it coinciding with the 13th anniversary of the original parkrun, I’ve been reflective about the Whitby event and all that it’s taken to get it going for the April to October 2017 season.
First off none of the parkruns, whether it be here in Whitby, or any of the other 1200 or so global events, can take place without the dedicated volunteers. Our volunteers have been made up of folks aged 7 to 77. Aside from ensuring the weekly events run smoothly, I’m also mindful of the ‘non-running’ elements of being a volunteer. We’ve had members of the community volunteer in order to help craft a skill such as photography, public speaking, and even event planning. So whatever your reason to be a volunteer, thank you for your continuous service to the community!
Whitby parkrun would not be an event without the runners, joggers, and walkers. Like the volunteers, each has their own personal reason for attending. Gaining the next milestone shirt, starting the weekend off on the right (and left) foot, making it part of a healthy lifestyle, are all reasons why people come out. We’ve also welcomed runners from local and already established running groups. For some of these folks, the timing aspect offers a perfect competitive environment they are not able to get anywhere else. We’ve also welcomed parkrun tourists almost every week from around the world. The tourist aspect helps new parkrun communities feel part the global movement. So whether you participate for a healthy heart, to chase down a PB, or as an excuse to tour the world, thank you for helping to put Whitby parkrun on the running map!
I of course have to mention the parkrun support team here in Canada. As we have just passed the year mark here in Canada, I am sure each event has had its own unique challenges with permits, insurances, and such back office administrative work. The team has provided training, equipment, and the unwavering support to ensure that each of the parkruns has the resources available in order to make the weekly events a success. I’m looking forward to seeing the number of events in Canada grow over the upcoming months and years. Thanks Team Canada!
Finally, I want to thank the Town of Whitby. From the outset of starting this event, the Town has been nothing short of supportive. After I spoke about this event with a local Councillor, I was put in touch with people in the planning and permits departments. Working with the Town staff we were able to quickly find suitable routes that not only met the parkrun requirements, but ensured that the routes created would not incur any weekly costs because of road crossings etc. When the original route was found to be prone to flooding (and caused a few cancelled events), once again we worked together with the Town to find a route more suitable. The new route is closer to public transit, and fully paved making it more accessible to those who wish to run with a stroller or run on stable terrain. The Town of Whitby also put forth options to help with the initial startup funding. The donation from the Mayor’s Community Development Fund helped to fund the scanners, finishing tokens, stopwatches, and ongoing website upkeep. So here’s a big thank you to the Town of Whitby for their support to start up a free, weekly activity which encourages healthy lifestyle and volunteerism in the community.
When you’re out on your next run, or your Saturday morning Thanksgiving pre-meal run, give a thought to where you’re running and say thanks to a volunteer as you run past and high-five them; thank a local city employee if you see them out and about; hug a parkrun tourist for making the extra effort of coming to your event; most of all, thank YOU for being part of something amazing!
Whitby parkrun Event Director
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