With parkruns around Australia paused, the community at Charleys Creek parkrun in Chinchilla northwest of Brisbane have managed to keep spirits high and people feeling connected.
Long before the rollout of (not)parkrun, the team at Charleys Creek parkrun <have been> keeping track of their weekly 5km progress, thanks to Event Director, Ronald Thompson.
When parkruns were cancelled in mid-March with no clear idea how long the cancellations would stay in place, Ronald encouraged the participants at Charleys Creek to get out when they could, following all of the state-based restrictions and guidelines. Participants then sent him their time and any photos they took and he tallied the results in a spreadsheet, noted the weekly PBs, added photos and published the results to their Facebook page.
Charleys Creek parkrun launched in June last year and sees between 60 to 100 take part each week.
About 30 have been submitting their times to Ronald since lockdowns began which he said was a great level of engagement from their small but passionate community.
What’s more heartwarming, Ronald said, is some who are taking part are yet to have done an actual parkrun but have vowed to give it a go when parkrun finally returns.
Ronald said some have even been submitting their times from treadmill runs, if they’ve been unable to get out. Others have been running around their farms, backyards or quiet country roads. “While we were still able to go out and run individually, we wanted a way to share in each other’s pain without parkrun. So I encouraged people to still get out, take photos and we’ve had sunrises, creek photos, families and it’s been great to see,” Ronald said.
“It takes me about 45 minutes each week to tally up the results. There’s been absolutely no negativity towards it, just a nice way to stay connected.
“We’re all in this situation and we’ve all got to deal with it. The idea behind this was to take the positives and keep people motivated as we will start again at some point and we don’t want to be starting from scratch,” Ronald said.
Chinchilla has a population of about 6000 and is well known for the Melon Festival held every second year in February.
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