Germany has become the 19th country to join the parkrun movement, with more than 200 people walking, running and volunteering at the inaugural parkruns in Leipzig, Mannheim and Hanover.
Jakub Fedorowicz, parkrun’s Territory Manager for Germany, explains more.
We were all very excited about the first parkrun events launching in Germany and the country becoming part of the global parkrun family. The three events that kicked off on Saturday were the first of more than a dozen prospects from all over the country. Events in Berlin, Frankfurt and Osnabruck are due to launch on 6 January, with other parkruns planned to follow soon after.
After a lot of preparation we are delighted to offer the parkrun concept to German citizens and we are hoping to see it growing quickly across the country, providing benefits to local communities.
Although most of the participants were local residents, some booked their entire weekend around travelling some distance to join the events. They travelled from other German cities such as Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Mosel, as well as other countries including France, Ireland, Switzerland, China, Poland, Australia and the UK.
After our successful launch, I asked the Event Directors of each of the events about their own experiences and for their thoughts on the future of parkrun in Germany.
Ian Mills, the Event Director at the Küchenholz parkrun in Leipzig said: “The first event gave us confidence that parkrun is going to be an attractive offer to all who wish to walk, jog, run, volunteer or just meet other people on a Saturday morning. We are happy to be able to offer it to the local community and hope that many people benefit from taking part at the future events.”
Dirk Grosse, the Event Director at the Georgengarten parkrun in Hanover commented: “We believe that parkrun will attract individuals as well as running clubs to participate on a regular basis. The experience from other parkrun countries shows that running clubs can significantly benefit from parkrun and find many new members amongst participants. We look forward to cooperating with running clubs to develop their role in the community.”
David Sweeney, the Event Director at the Neckarau parkrun in Mannheim added: “It was great for our new volunteers to have the support of the Apricot army for our first ever event. We felt really honoured that they came so far to join us.”
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