Tampere parkrun achieved a milestone of 18 events just last Saturday. Although still quite young in terms of number of events it is still enough experience to write a blog piece and look back at how this milestone was reached.
Giving birth to Tampere parkrun was not easy. Already few years back there were some parkrunners planning an event but things didn’t really click before Tampere city’s “Active Tampere” program took initiative to push things forward.
The first winter has gone better than we could have hoped for. 14th of October was the date of the first Tampere parkrun with 110 participants and 12 volunteers.
From then on there has always been over 30 parkrunners and at least 7 volunteers each week. The only exception was when the Olympic Games was on last Saturday and Finnish female skiers were busy fighting for medals!
At the time of writing (11-Feb-2018) Tampere parkrun has 390 registrations. On Facebook the Tampere parkrun page is active with over 500 likes and people posting their own comments and pictures. We also get our fair share of parkrun tourists. So far people from neighbouring countries namely Sweden and Russia have visited our parkrun. Also British Isles is very well represented. We see that parkrun tourism is an excellent way to make our Tampere City known abroad.
This has been a very rewarding first few months and has proved to us that bringing parkrun to Tampere and Finland was worthwhile. Organizing an event that anyone can come and participate without any limitations of age or speed.
Tampere parkrun has some regular participants and volunteers. Here are their thoughts about the event:
“We are delighted that the park has landed in Finland and especially in Tampere. After a few events it was clear that this is our thing! Although it is not always nice to wake up early on Saturday morning, it gives such a good feeling and the that it would have been a pity not to go. The parkrun has a great, familiar feeling, everyone smiles and shares encouragement and even the faster runners applaud on the route. Particularly, it’s great to see that even if you are in a wheelchair, you are equally valued.”
Janne-Matti and Tuire Koskinen (regular participants)
“Why parkrun appeals to me? For me it is the people, the mood, the scenery and regularity. The organizers encourage everyone and inspire them to participate. No matter whether you were the first, the last or somewhere in between, walked or ran, when you cross the finish line, you will always get happy congratulations and encouragement from the organizers.
They and the other participants make you feel that you are part of a larger group and that you are one of them. Participation at parkrun has been made as easy as possible, you just show up and get moving. For me parkrun is all this and much more, you can do it weekly and you can do it free of charge.”
Leena Heino (participated in all 18 events so far and volunteered in 5 of them)
“I think parkrun is a great city event and especially when you do not have to register beforehand, you can just go. I like this hard (for me) walk once a week. It keeps up the condition.”
Maija-Liisa Ström (82 years, regular Tampere parkrun participant)
Looking into the future is always hard but we are really looking forward to starting our first Summer at Tampere parkrun. We are expecting the melting snow to show in our participation numbers as people change their skiing boots to jogging shoes.
What could also be of interest locally and especially internationally is the sauna being opened right next to Tampere parkrun start-finish line. “Saunapaviljonki” will have two saunas that will take 20 persons and places for 500 customers. Tampere parkrun will not only be the northernmost parkrun in the world but also the only parkrun to have a sauna facility all year round.
And this is how it looks now:
Things are looking really good for Tampere parkrun and for parkrun in general in Finland as Helsinki is busy setting up a new event in the capital city.
We wonder what will be the third location to host parkrun in Finland will be…..?
Olli, Johanna, Ulla, Jaana and everyone at Tampere parkrun
We’re glad to say that all the Danish events were able to go ahead on Saturday, but an icy grip took hold in the rest of the Nordics, with only 5 events across the other three countries beating the freeze. This meant that we had just 13 events go ahead this past weekend, but…
Since 2011, my mother (Who now has 250+ runs) tried to persuade me to run parkrun with her, she knew I enjoyed running. Sadly I was working every Saturday morning, and was therefore unable to participate. However in 2014 I changed jobs and was able to try it out. Obviously I loved it……