Not exactly a shocking statement to read in a parkrun blog, is it? It really is true though. Spending time with family in Perth, Scotland over Christmas I, of course, squeezed in some quality tourism opportunities. After each event I was filled with excitement and each got me thinking about what we may see in Canada for the coming year.
So what was so special about the three events I attended in Scotland’s Fair City? Well, nothing really. They are the same as every other parkrun around the world – fun, inclusive, social and friendly. And that’s just it, no matter where you go – east, west, northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, the spirit is exactly the same. Everyone is treated equally regardless of ability, race, religion, political view or financial status. I received a great welcome, met old and new friends, and had a blast.
Perth parkrun, earlier this year
Actually, one of the events I attended was a bit different. I witnessed my first junior parkrun and I was lucky enough to be the timekeeper (I say lucky, but I was so excited I signed up a whole month before!). I heard junior events were a lot of fun but real-life exceeded expectations. On a cold and frosty December morning I was very inspired to see 50 children excitedly lining up at the start and the achievement on their faces at the end having completed the 2k made it more than worthwhile.
I’m writing this blog on New Years Day 2019, so naturally it’s time to visualize what this new year will look like for Canada. Experiencing parkrun in the UK, where it is well developed, was well timed as it served as a look into our future. It’s super charged my inspiration to imagine what a more developed parkrun experience would look like here. It’s easy to forget we’ve only been around a little over 2 years, and as Paul Sinton-Hewitt highlighted in his end of year message last week, the uptake in 2018 has been incredible.
It’s a common view I’ve heard that parkrun is currently the best force at getting people off the couch and into physical exercise. Our expansion in Canada is due to the volunteers in communities putting their hands up offering to put in place what is needed to bring parkrun to their area. That’s what I see much more of in 2019. I expect more and more interest as word spreads about parkrun. At 21 events I predict a significant boost to this in the coming year, offering more events to more regions of Canada.
Everyone loves Perth parkrun
We live in a big country so word can take time to spread. Our marketing budget is small to non-existent and our resources are limited which is a testament to the trust and effectiveness of parkrun. It’s recognized as a massive force for good and our results have already been proven.
Every week I hear of new and inspiring stories about how parkrun has changed lives and it gives me great satisfaction to guarantee that 2019 will not only have more of the same, but will experience a vast acceleration.
parkrun Canada Country Manager
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