Thirteen years ago (on October 2, 2004), 13 people gathered to run the Bushy Park Time Trial – the very first parkrun. parkrun is now the biggest running event in the world, taking place in 17 countries, with more than 200,000 people walking, jogging, running or volunteering every week across over 1,200 events – and it’s still free, for everyone.
“The most important aspect of parkrun are the social connections and friendships that form,” says Tim Oberg, CEO and founder of parkrun Australia, who’s been very open about his own battles with anxiety and how the parkrun network has helped him to cope. “It’s a 5km run or walk, but people come back 50, 100, 200 times, it’s their opportunity during the week to connect with friends, family and the parkrunning community.” Oberg commends parkrun for connecting communities around Australia. “parkrun is a local community event, but a lot of people love travelling around to other parkrun events, because they all have the same positive vibe. The people there want to be changing lives for the better.”
In Australia, Brian Peters from the Gold Coast, whose local parkrun is Main Beach, has been to 324 events. “He has been almost every week since we started,” says Oberg.
“We have been amazed and inspired by the growth of the community involvement in each parkrun and the friendships that it has created between runners, walkers and families that take part week after week,” says Lian and Noel de Charmoy who are the Country Managers of parkrun New Zealand. “We are extremely thankful for our close friendship with Paul Sinton-Hewitt who had the vision to start this incredible, but simple parkrun phenomenon.”
Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand and we’d like to share parkrun Australia’s story of their very own CEO, Tim Oberg, who talked about his own personal experiences with anxiety last year in the lead up to World Mental Health Day (10th October), and this year again received an overwhelming response from…
Ming will be remembered fondly at Barry Curtis parkrun and we thank his family for letting us share his parkrun story here. Ming obviously endeared himself to his parkrun community and this was just a tiny part of his life, but it’s a reminder to us all how each parkrun community can become an extension…