On June 16, 2018 a new event will join the parkrun Canada family – Victoria parkrun, Kitchener. Kitchener is a part of the southwestern Ontario Tri-Cities, which, together with Waterloo and Cambridge, is situated right in between Toronto and London, Ontario. The Kitchener community is excited to welcome parkrun to the heart of our downtown, Victoria Park.
The Saturday morning event will take place on the beautiful multipurpose trail surrounding the Victoria Park Lake. The course will start outside of the Boathouse restaurant, a local favourite for delicious food and live music. The course will wind around lovely gardens and past a children’s playground and splashpad. Runners will cross over beautiful bridges across the lake and after a few laps of the lake, the run will conclude on Victoria Park island right outside our beautiful gazebo.
For out-of-town participants in the parkrun, Kitchener is a great city to explore! After the run, and of course after the post run coffee as well, there are many shops, museums and restaurants to explore in the downtown. The Kitchener Farmer’s market is a favourite spot for many locals on a Saturday morning, or the world-famous St Jacobs market is also a short drive away that hosts hundreds of vendors and lots of activities all year. Kitchener host many festivals as well, including the Multicultural Festival, Blues Festival, and the 9-day Oktoberfest, the largest celebration of its kind outside of Germany.
Victoria parkrun, Kitchener has a core team of people that have been interested in bringing parkrun to the community since they heard it had started in Canada. Julia was first introduced to parkrun by her sister who has resided in the United Kingdom since 2012 and who has been an avid parkrun participant (now part of the 100 club!). Julia was able to participate in parkrun on a couple of visits and loved the event. She began to dream of parkrun in her home community of Kitchener and began counting down the days until parkrun started in Canada to turn the hope into reality.
Jonathan heard about parkrun and quickly realized how strongly it aligned with his hobbies and values: “In my opinion, running is the most value packed form of exercise. Sunshine, fresh air in your lungs, and time to unwind your mind are keys to staying sharp throughout your day. All it costs is a pair of shoes and the time to use them. No expensive memberships required.”
Jonathan feels that every community that has a local parkrun is a tighter community. parkrun takes the great, simple and beautiful sport of running and strips it of the emotional weight that can make participation scary. No entry fees. No performance pressure. Just an opportunity to come for a run with friendly people! He feels fortunate to have parkrun starting at Victoria Park in Kitchener.
For Olasunkanmi, it was a friend that introduced him to parkrun last year; his first run was in Edinburgh, Scotland. Ola remembers that Saturday morning: “There were over 400 runners and walkers, the atmosphere was friendly and the location was very attractive, since then I have been hooked”. Ola loves how parkrun is for everyone including the young, older adults, fast and slow runners, walkers and that people with all kinds of abilities are welcome. He also appreciates how volunteers are also welcome and it is a way of giving back to the community.
Many other people in the community have shown their support for this event and have been part of the planning stages. It is with excitement that parkrun is becoming an option for people who want to access a healthy lifestyle and develop community connections in Kitchener.
On September 28 there will be a new western point on the parkrun compass! Event Director Mark Swannell tells us why he’s bringing Shawnigan Hills parkrun to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. To me, parkrun symbolizes two things: inclusivity and community. Without these, parkrun would not be the global phenomenon it is now. I hail from Manchester England….
A new parkrun is launching in Vancouver Island, BC! Starting and finishing on the shale running track, the course consists of one loop within Shawnigan Lake School Campus. For post parkrun coffee we will meet in Shawnigan House Coffee, 1761 Shawnigan-Mill Bay Rd., Shawnigan Lake – please come and join us! Visit this website for…