Last weekend I travelled down with Denise and Kathleen, fellow local parkrunners, to meet the new neighbours who were having their launch event. Although *only* a two-three hour drive, it offered us some easy international parkrun tourism!
Renton hosts parkrun USA newest event and being located in the Seattle metropolitan region it is the first in the US’s Pacific Northwest. It joins several other Canadian parkruns in the Cascadia region in to what is fast becoming a hotbed of parkrun events. It’s in good company and we now have a good cluster in the region with Clover Point, Richmond Olympic, Whistler, Okanagan, and just announced yesterday, Penticton parkrun.
Renton parkrun has been 20 months in the making, and you can read about the story here.
So what was it like? Thankfully Renton is like every parkrun I’ve ever been to – simple, fun, and friendly! We arrived, got ready on the start line and without much fuss we were on our way. I started near the back of the pack so got a good view of the field and I was thrilled to see the normal variety of reasons of why people come to their parkrun. Some were there to test their fitness, others were there for the social side, some using it as family time, and others as a way to invest in their community by volunteering. I was thrilled to see so many families, of which many had brought strollers and their dogs
During the event (as in while we were running) I caught up to Andres Falconer who was in town to welcome in the launch of the first event. Andres is part of the core team directing parkrun USA and was thrilled to be attending a parkrun is this part of the country. Andres and I had only met through e-mails previously, and it was sort of awkward meeting during the run, but we were pros in executing the mid-run handshake.
The course is an out, turnaround, go past the start/ finish line, turnaround and back. It’s very simple in practice and I think it is my favourite type of course as you get to run past your fellow parkrunners more than once.
We showed that it can easily be done in a day and the journey was fun, but by far the best part of the day was watching the parkrunners come through the finishing line and then meeting everyone after. The core team - headed by Kortney were extremely welcoming. Many others had travelled far to experience Seattle’s first parkrun, one of which Chris Cullen, had travelled just as far as us but in the opposite direction having come from Portland.
The simplicity of parkrun travels so well. The community element is key and people are just as friendly and welcoming whether you parkrun in the USA, Canada, Namibia or Sweden. Who knew Americans were just as friendly as Canadians???
parkrun Canada Country Manager
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