It all started with one move, across the world, from Canada to Sweden. I’ve always been active, but I never considered running to be “my thing”. I enjoyed climbing mountains, downhill skiing, and mountain biking at home. I didn’t know what to expect when I came to Sweden, but I found myself surrounded by like minded people that were also very active. I am a pretty outgoing person, that likes to talk and try new things. One thing lead to the next and soon I had signed up for races like Vasaloppet, Vätternrundan, Goteborgsvarvet, Lidingöloppet, and more. Everything about these races were completely out of my comfort zone and into the unknown.
It was not until my second year in Sweden when I met a couple at work who also have the same active mindset. This was then they mentioned parkrun here in Örebro. I had just got into running really, after the race in Goteborg, and before Lidingöloppet. I knew I needed to train for the race and what better way to head down to Naturhuset on a Saturday for a 5k run. I felt kind of silly for not knowing this event in the town I live in, but then again I never thought of myself as a runner, so maybe I would never have gone if it wasn’t for this couple.
Max running at Örebro parkrun
After going to parkrun a few times, you get the hang of things, and you really feel the vibe that it offers. Its completely free, you just sign up, download a barcode from the internet print, laminate it (if you want to) and show up. It’s that easy. Everyone is very welcome, runners, walkers, dogs, kids and families. The organizer Matt is so welcoming, he recognizes faces, and names and makes you feel welcome. You can run or walk at whatever pace you feel like. There is always a lead biker and a Tailwalker to make sure everyone gets around the course safely and is always happy if someone walks with them. The course is laid out with well marked signs, ribbons, arrows, and people to guide you and take photos. It feels like a race, it is set up like one, but the only person you are racing is yourself. I’ve run at parkrun a total of five times now and volunteered once. It feels like I’ve been doing it forever. It is a great thing to do on a Saturday morning, it’s located very close to town in a nice nature reserve. It really kick starts the day and helps me stay motivated and active.
Max is far left – helping out as Timekeeper last Saturday
Of course I love to be active and participate in parkrun (maybe I can call myself a runner now, not sure yet) but on the other side of things, it takes people to make this happen every weekend. They need volunteers to set up the course, be the lead biker, tail walker, and record the times so you can compare your results. I have only volunteered once, but it was a good experience. We met down there before the runners, set up the course and waited for everyone to arrive. Matt distributes the duties, or you can sign up for something you feel like doing. I was the one on the stopwatch. I got to be the one to yell 3, 2, 1, GO! Which was a neat experience. Then as people ran through the finish line I clicked the button on the stopwatch, to record their times to a little device that later will be uploaded online and sent to you via email. At first it seems stressful, but you get the hang of it really quickly. Everything went smoothly and it felt nice to give back to the community that had accepted me into their event. Without volunteers, we would be without parkrun.
If you are looking to get more active, or a great community to be a part of, I can strongly recommend that you come down to parkrun in Örebro.
p.s. I can’t go without mentioning that after every parkrun you are welcomed into Naturhuset for fika. Bottomless coffee for 25 kr!
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