It’s that wonderful time of year again when Swedes celebrate the most magical, ideoligical event which is known as ”midsommar”. I mean what’s not to like about some pickled herring, a ”few” shots of schnapps, and hopping around a pole like a frog (I kid you not!)
Midsummer is celebrated quite religiously by virtually all Swedes and rightly so as it brings together family and friends to celebrate the simpliest of pleasures; food and each other’s company. My family have been fortunate to have been invited to a friend’s family that have a summer cottage north of Örebro right on the banks of a stunning lake the past few years. Life doesn’t get any simpler, in an age of being ”connected” 24/7, we go there, pick flowers, swim in the lake, make food together, chat, drink copious amounts of coffee and then off to the traditional erecting of the ”midsommarstång” and subsequent frog-dancing, amongst other things!
Indeed, it’s this simplicity that reminds me so much of parkrun. No cost or demands, you decide if you run, jog or walk but in the knowledge that we will be there every week, same place, same time. The simplicity of just turning up and taking part, meeting like-minded people and making friends. Sharing an hour or two being active and then socialising over a coffee. There have been many studies both by parkrun and other groups on the health effects of the free, weekly, timed event every Saturday and overwhelming the results are extremely positive in terms of public health. Obviously this issue is extremely complex and there isn’t one “quick-fix” but the warm and welcoming environment in what parkruns are held certainly encourages people to be active and interact with each other both as a particpant and volunteer.
So this midsummer I’ll definitely be having my cake (and schnapps!) and then enjoying my dose of 5 km’s at Örebro parkrun. In fact everyone can do the same across Sweden and the Nordics, for free of course, as we will be open as usual!
Check the parkrun websites for more details of your local event.
Matt Ford, A12345, Örebro parkrun
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