News - 9th July 2019
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Free, weekly, timed family fun!

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The Elliot family are regular attendees and “Kiwanis Keeners” at our parkrun in London, Ontario. This week we interviewed them to hear how one family with different perspectives, experiences and goals all share one love of parkrun!

Carol and Mike first joined us for our fourth event way back in October 2018, followed by Sonya (and furry friend Harley!) in early March and finally Sara in May. The Elliotts have become such a fixture at Kiwanis parkrun (most recently variously walking, running and volunteering at our Canada Day event) that we thought it would be interesting to hear about their parkrun experiences in a Q&A format. Enjoy!

1. How did you first hear about parkrun?

Carol and Mike
We learned about parkrun through an existing participant who is a friend of the family. Our daughters are friends and they participated together in England. So through word of mouth we were encouraged to give it a try.

Sonya
My parents had started participating a few weeks prior to myself. They told me how organized and supportive the run and people were so I decided to try it out for myself.

Sara
A friend of mine volunteers every Saturday for parkrun in the U.K. When I visited her last summer, she invited me to participate in the run while she volunteered.

2. What interested you about parkrun when you did hear about it?
Carol and Mike
Being with friends and family and being active. It is at a time and location that is very convenient and it incorporated our love of walking.

Sonya

That it was a 5K. It is a beginner course and that it is timed so you can see your success every week

Sara
A free drop-in event where you are timed and are able to track your progress online

3. Were you at all nervous about going to your first event? Did you feel there were any barriers that stopped you from going initially?
Carol and Mike
Mike was not, he was very relaxed, I however was nervous. I had not been feeling well, due to an ongoing issue, and I wasn‘t sure if I was going to be able to keep up, or even make it through the event. Fortunately I had a good day and I made it all the way through. I was also concerned about making the volunteers wait for me to show up at the finish line, because I knew I couldn’t run it, I knew I would be last. I did do the 5km in under an hour, so I didn’t think my time was too bad and I was pretty happy with that.

Sonya
Not nervous at all. As an athlete growing up I am used to new challenges. I just knew this was going to take some time as I was no longer participating in sports at the high competitive level so I needed to get back into running again.

Sara
I remember feeling nervous about the competitive level of the event; however I quickly learned that there are many people participating of varying ages and experience levels.

4. Now that you’ve all been to at least a few events, what is it that keeps you coming back to parkrun?
Carol and Mike
It is mostly the people. We thoroughly enjoy the new people that we have met, spending time with our friends that are there and making it a family (including Harley the dog) affair. The added bonus of fresh air and exercise just makes it that much better. We also to like to volunteer as we want to encourage Kiwanis parkrun to grow. It has become important to us.

Sonya

The people who volunteer their time every week are amazing and very supportive. Cheering you on when you meet up at any point during the run and high fives at the end of the course. Also my parents, at the age that I am at now I know a lot of people who would give anything to spend even one more day with their parent(s). If spending time with my parents means running a 5K every Saturday morning at 9AM I am going to be there.

Sara

Kiwanis parkrun has now become a weekly event that I take part in alongside my family (parents & sister). It is a way for us to spend time together as a family, in a healthy, active way.

 5. Do you have any goals for parkrun itself or are there any goals that you are using parkrun to help you achieve?

Carol and Mike

I would like to see more participants take advantage of parkrun, I would definitely like to see it grow. I believe more people should actively volunteer as it gives you a different perspective on the actual event. I am gradually losing some weight and have started feeling better. It has also encouraged me to come out of my comfort zone as I tend to shy away from groups and socializing. Having family and good friends there helps.

Sonya

I have plans to lose 40LBS by August and my parkrun family and journey have definitely been a huge part of that. If they weren’t so supportive I wouldn’t keep coming back and I wouldn’t be 22LBS down already.

Sara

I would love to see more people coming out to Kiwanis parkrun on a regular basis as well as see it expand to other areas in the city. I would love to shorten my 5km run time – parkrun helps keep me motivated to achieve this goal and holds me accountable.

6. How did you find your first time volunteering at Kiwanis parkrun? What made you say ‘yes’ to volunteering for subsequent events?

Carol and Mike
We found it just fine, Mike tail walked and I handed out tokens. We arrived early and got our instructions, it was relatively easy. Loved encouraging the participants as they headed out. Although, it was a very cold day and I think I should have worn an extra pair of socks – brrrr! We continue to volunteer because it’s important to us and for the viability of the program. It needs volunteers to succeed. I truly believe more people should volunteer their time to keep this parkrun successful.
7) If you found yourself talking to someone who hadn’t heard of parkrun before, what would you tell them?

Carol and Mike
We would tell them to come out and try it. No pressure, finish when you do. Nice people, nice atmosphere, free, timed, weekly event. Good for everybody of all skill levels. Non competitive, no judgements. Lots of encouragement.

Sonya
That it is a free, timed event that runs rain or shine. Everyone is so supportive and wants to be part of everyone’s successes and challenges. Whether you’ve never run before or participate in marathons the volunteers at Kiwanis parkrun are amazing. Bring the children, bring the dogs, Kiwanis parkrun is for everybody and every body.
Sara
parkrun is a free 5km event where you can choose to run OR walk alongside fellow members of your community. There is no registration fee and you do not need to commit to an event in advance, just show up on Saturday morning and have some fun. parkrun is a great way to meet new people and live a healthy, active lifestyle in a supportive, inclusive environment!

So, there you have it. One family with different perspectives, experiences and goals but ultimately, one love of parkrun! If you’ve already found your love of parkrun, help us share the love with those around you. If you’ve yet to experience parkrun, hopefully the Elliotts inspire you to give it a try.

Remember, it’s free, it’s for everyone, it’s forever.

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