Moving to a new community in Northern Ontario, Andy Bessell wasted no time in establishing Bellevue parkrun. A year and a half later, he reflects on the journey so far:
Eighteen months ago I was a newcomer to the small Northern Ontario community of Sault Ste. Marie, and eighteen months ago I started planning…few contacts, no networks all uphill… My experience and participation in parkruns in South Africa and England spurred me on. I had the confidence that one way or another, my enjoyment could lead to success in the Sault!
Well, that was eighteen months ago.
This past June, the Bellevue parkrun celebrated its first anniversary. The word is out, and the response from the community has been overwhelming. I am proud of what has been accomplished and I am proud of the support I have received from my wife Kaitlin, the City and the community. I have contacts, a network of runners and we are gliding downhill!
It’s been a fantastic year of Bellevue parkrun, and we have had an absolute blast. We have experienced blistering hot Saturdays of 30 Celsius with 40 plus participants to numbing Saturdays of -30 Celsius and only two runners.
The first anniversary is not the only celebration Bellevue parkrun experienced this summer. In July, one particularly outstanding friend, Mike Belair, achieved his 50th parkun. Mike has been an almost permanent fixture, and has missed only two runs since the inception of the Bellevue parkrun. One was due to weather, the other was likely a poor excuse (no judging Mike!)! We are extremely proud of Mike, well done Sir, this is a fantastic achievement.
It has been long, hard work but it has paid out tremendously, and I have had the pleasure to see all sorts of runners/walkers. It’s been an amazing experience. With the help of many volunteers, I am confident that we will continue to grow and expand in the second year.
Andy Bessell, Bellevue parkrun Event Director
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