As I approach my first milestone of 50 runs at parkrun I want to reflect on what parkrun means to me.
Whitby parkrun is my home parkrun, located in Whitby, Ontario along the shores of Lake Ontario. It’s a very scenic route on a paved path, part of the Waterfront Trail (same trail Beach Strip parkrun, 115km away).
In my 20 years of running, I have completed 10 marathons, 26 half marathons and numerous 5 and 10km races. I heard about parkrun from a friend who runs with local run club. It sounded interesting so I registered and was hooked at the first run.
Each week, I look forward to parkrun and to seeing the familiar welcoming faces. parkrun has runners of all abilities, everyone is friendly and supportive which contributes to the positive environment.
We cheer each other on and give high-fives as we pass on route and at the finish. Everyone stays until the last runner crosses the finish line. This great atmosphere is what encourages me to come back week after week. The parkrun is my weekly “tempo” run. Having a set day and time to do this keeps me motivated to run. This autumn the tangible benefits were clear as I shaved 20 minutes off my half marathon time!
Whitby is ideally located to welcome parkrun tourists. It has been exciting to meet people from all over the world including England, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, the United States, and runners from other Canadian parkrun events. I have been a local tourist, visiting nearby Duffin’s Trail in Ajax, as well as Kanata which is further afield. One day I hope to be a parkrun tourist in another country!
parkrun is supported by enthusiastic volunteers each week, and I love giving back when I can. I have volunteered as Tail-Walker, Run Director, Timer, Scanner and I find volunteering to be just as much fun as the running! I feel appreciated and enjoy cheering on the runners as they cross the finish line.
parkrun is a global movement of community, friendship and a mutual love for running and walking. I am happy to be a part of it! I look forward to running my 50th sometime in February, and then wearing my red “50″ parkrun shirt with pride as I work towards my next milestone.
Written by: Joey-Lynn France from Whitby parkrun
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