In July 2019, Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison in Western Australia became the first female prison in the world to host a parkrun.
In another world first, Wandoo developed a pioneering initiative to encourage the women in their care and their friends and family to participate in parkrun.
In a 12-week period, if a Wandoo resident participated in eight parkruns as a walker, runner or volunteer, and a friend or family member participated in at least one parkrun in the community, they were allowed to participate at parkrun together at Wandoo on a specific date.
Kylie, a Wandoo resident who benefited from this initiative, explains the impact ‘parkrun visitor day’ had on her.
My name is Kylie and I first heard about parkrun coming to Wandoo when it was announced in our community group.
Before our first event I didn’t think I’d even be able to run one lap of the course, but I ran the first two laps with ease and felt really impressed with myself.
Introducing parkrun to Wandoo was a brilliant idea. We get a decent turnout every week and the staff get involved too which is great. Everyone really encourages each other and it brings our community together every Saturday morning with a healthy, happy vibe.
parkrun has had a big impact on me – I feel motivated and even during weeks when I’ve done no other physical activity I still do my 5km on a Saturday morning. I really like the social aspect too, and because my son belongs to a running club we can compare stories every weekend.
The prospect of a ‘parkrun visitor day’ is also an incentive to take part in parkrun. As a regular participant at Wandoo with a good mate who does parkrun in his community, we were able to do parkrun together when we had the ‘parkrun visitor day’. We volunteered to be the Tail Walkers and it was an awesome experience.
It was so nice to be able to walk around outside and talk, rather than sitting at a table during the visit. It was great for my mate to see where I live and to know that I’m in a safe place and being looked after. I felt a real sense of peace afterwards.
Once I am released from Wandoo I intend to do parkrun with my son as often as we can. I am sure that parkrunning in the community will help my transition back into society because I’ll be meeting likeminded people.
Connection is the opposite of addiction and I want as many healthy connections as I can get.
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