Many thanks to Mark O’Sullivan for capturing, what was simply, a wonderful morning for a parkrun in beautiful surroundings with so many well wishing parkrunners from near and far! Noel and I were thrilled to be there and it was lovely seeing so many new parkrunners and meeting those who had traveled some distance to be there!
Well done to Kate, Leanne, Suzanne and Brittany pictured above and all the volunteers who kindly came out to support them.
Mark’s run report:
Wow, what a morning! Palmerston North, welcome to parkrun!
A stunning day, a stunning course and a huge number of people, 217 made this one of the biggest and best inaugural parkruns so far.
parkrun was founded at Bushy Park in England, 13 years ago, now there are over 1,000 parkruns worldwide, 18 of which are in New Zealand. Each parkrunner registers one time and receives a barcode that can be used at every parkrun across the world.
parkrun is on every Saturday, rain or shine, and is 100% free!!!
One word of warning…..it’s addictive, you can go from a couch potato one year, to a parkrun 50 shirt wearing athlete the next year.
217 people at the inaugural is a huge number and Saturday included 110 first time parkrunners, as well as 19 ‘unknown’ runners (people who haven’t registered online yet, so don’t have a bar code).
Welcoming a new parkrun to NZ is a special event, and there are typically a group of enthusiastic ‘parkrun tourists’ who travel from other parkruns around the country. Complementing the new parkrunners were 21 people with 50+ parkruns (Red Shirts), 30 people with 100+ parkruns (Black Shirts) and even 1 with 250+ parkruns (Green Shirt)
There is so much to like about parkrun, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular event.
My favourite things about parkrun are the inclusiveness of it, you get 17 minute runners (and faster) most weeks, 60+ minute walkers and everyone in between.
For some people, it’s a chance for some speed work for their training, for others it’s a chance for a relaxed run with friends (either existing or new parkrun friends), or a chance to get active and improve their health and fitness, or just to get off the couch and out of the house. These are all awesome goals, and are important for all of our levels of fitness.
For me, each week it’s an opportunity to run with my kids (ages 14, 11, 9 & 5), lately it’s been mostly with my youngest, Rebecca, who ran her 73rd parkrun and managed a personal best time in a very sharp 30.14.
We don’t come from a running family or from a Harriers background, far from it. I ran my first parkrun 5 years ago (& could have run half a kilometre without stopping), I hadn’t been a runner before then, but since then it’s become part of what we do every Saturday, part of our family culture. It’s hands down the most positive chance I’ve ever made, for me and my family. Between the 6 of us, we’ve managed to amass 864 parkruns, and we love it, it’s just what we do on Saturdays.
parkrun is typically referred to as a run, not a race, though certainly some people race the event each weeks, either against people on similar paces (their mates, who they see most weeks at parkrun), or against themselves.
But the best part for me is the smiles on the faces & in the photos, the ‘Hi’s along the way, the ‘high 5’s, the encouragement from people, there is simply nothing else like it.
I saw a brilliant example on Saturday, when a runner caught up with another one (my oldest, Jess) near the end ‘come on you’re almost there, keep going!’ she said to Jess, and the 2 of them ran hard together for the last few hundred metres encouraging each other. Another runner who had already finished even joined in the sprint to the line with them, it was great to watch. That interaction and the smiles all along the course shows beautifully the parkrun spirit, check out the great photos on facebook, the smiles say everything.
Lastly, some special thanks to Event Directors Kate Southern and Leanne Couch and the volunteer team for bringing parkrun to Palmerston North, it adds years to lives, and life to years.
This was truly a fabulous event and course, and I look forward to coming back and running it again.
Mark O’Sullivan – parkrunner (Lower Hutt)
Love this run! So well-organized, simple, fun, and the perfect distance for a Saturday morning wake-up. The Palmy route has the advantage of being scenic, too: starting at Fitzherbert Bridge and ambling out-and-back along the Bridle path beside the Manawatu River. Johanna Aitchison – Palmerston North
Absolutely loved it. For a non runner after 1 run I think I might be hooked � fantastic atmosphere and everyone is very friendly and happy. The best way to start the weekend! Wendy Watts – Palmerston North
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