Sarah James from Canning River parkrun has come to realise that her involvement in parkrun is strongly linked to a desire to be part of her community.
Each week I read the parkrun articles and how lives have been transformed, whether it be for a variety of health concerns either physical/mental or for simply getting fitter. But at the heart of every article there is a common thread… community. We all need it, and many desire it because we want to belong and connect.
I can identify with this as I come from the Valleys in Wales, U.K. and can remember growing up trying to go shopping with my parents. You would think that this would be a simple task, but no it would often take far longer as my parents would chat to just about everyone they saw. Community was a huge part of my childhood, an extension of my family.
Since my first run in October 2015 at Canning River I was a participant, then a RD and now Event Director. I have seen my network of parkrun friends grow immeasurably, making waking up on a Saturday morning a lot easier, and look forward to my post run chats.
But Canning River parkrun doesn’t just end when we scan our barcodes, some will have a picnic in the summer, children on the playground, BBQ breakfast in the winter but the one thing that is consistent each week for a large group of our runners is going to Canning River Cafe which is about 100metres from our finish line.
Each week there is a mass of CR parkrunners, who coffee, eat or just catch up at the café. I have pondered and thought about them and realised that parkrun is a vehicle to community that goes beyond just running. Thankfully, the café has a similar heart, with an environment that creates community. Which parkrunners love!
The café has become an extension of CR parkrun, to the point that each week they give us 12 free coffee/teas vouchers, which we give to our volunteers. I know our volunteers love their free coffee/tea/hot chocolate especially during the cooler months. Who wouldn’t?
Running, community and café! What a great combination. It makes getting out of bed during winter a whole lot easier.
Canning River parkrunner
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