On Saturday I attended Okanagan parkrun. It was the second anniversary of the event, and as it was the first in Canada it also marked the beginning of the third year of Canada in parkrun. It got me thinking about the growth we’ve experienced in our first two years, and the potential for the next two.
When I first visited two years ago for the launch, most people were strangers to each other. There were pockets of people who knew each other from running groups and other communities, but for the majority most were meeting for the first time.
Fast forward to last Saturday, and I watched how almost everyone was catching up from the last week or perhaps they hadn’t seen each other in a while. A real community had formed out of parkrun. As my regular parkrun is in Vancouver I was expecting to be mostly introducing myself and meeting new people for the whole morning, but to my surprise I met with Richmond Olympic regulars who were doing some tourism, and also Chris who had moved to Kelowna. It was really great to see the network that is parkrun being a part of those who were on holiday or had moved.
As we were wrapping up, I spoke to regular volunteer Beryl who had told me parkrun is one of her favourite things. She mentioned how when hearing about parkrun, it wasn’t really for her but she came along anyway and she’s so glad she did. She enjoys being social, the volunteering and opportunity to become fitter and healthier!
Susan’s story is very common in parkrun, and she likely wouldn’t have attended parkrun if Bill and his team hadn’t gone to the steps of setting up parkrun in Kelowna. I hear stories like Susan’s all across Canada and around the world every week, and we think this is a good thing! We therefore want to help locals introduce parkruns into their areas to make their communities happier, healthier ones.
Going it alone to launch a parkrun can be daunting, so we’ve been creating maps across Canada that gives you an idea of the status parkrun developments and if there has been any interest in your area. If there is a red or green badge, it means we’ve had contact and we can put you in touch with someone local if you are passionate about starting a parkrun.
Canada is so big we can’t fit them all in to one map, so we’ll be releasing province wide maps on social media over the next week or so. We can start with BC however, and the rest will look very similar:
If you can help out in one of these locations near you, we’d love to hear from you. There’s no commitment other than a quick chat and you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org through our start your own event page here.
Until next week, happy parkrunning!
parkrun Canada Country Manager
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