As a mother of two teenage boys it is difficult at times to find things of similar interest to share. I am happy to say that volunteering and participating at parkrun has been something that we all enjoy doing together.
How did we hear about parkrun?
I was introduced to parkrun by my sister Cheryl, living in Australia. She has been an avid parkrun participant and volunteer for about 3 years now. She was excited to see parkrun had come to Canada when she was here for a visit in June 2018.
Not being a runner or athletic in any way, I reluctantly joined her at the River Oaks parkrun for their second weekly event and have been involved ever since. From my first parkrun experience I could see the passion that the organizers had for it.
I loved the idea that everyone was welcome and that there was no pressure to be an athletic person able to run 5 km in 16 minutes. The inclusiveness in parkrun is amazing.
Once I realized that the volunteer hours could help my boys fulfill their high school volunteer requirements, I encouraged them to come with me and check things out.
Although, at the time only one of my boys, Elias, was in high school they both agreed to join me and see what it was all about. I started participating in the run (or walk in my case) with my younger son, Dimitri, there for encouragement and Elias started volunteering.
We then started volunteering as Tail Walkers and then took on other positions where help was needed. In September 2018 we were voted “parkrunners of the month”. It was an honour to receive the recognition and really felt like part of the community.
In June 2019 I was approached by Joanne, one of the organizers, asking if I would like to try my hand at Run Director. She was very encouraging about explaining that I could help out with whatever I was comfortable doing. I was happy to be part of such a great community of people that I agreed to give it a try.
As of this month I will have been Run Director four times which allows the other volunteers to participate in the event. My boys and I enjoy the Saturday mornings together; although getting them up in time can be a struggle some weeks.
Now both of them are earning volunteer hours and even though Elias has earned more than he needs he still comes out to lend a hand. We also enjoy meeting parkrunners from all over the world coming to join us when they are visiting Canada. It has really shown just how big parkrun has become.
parkrun has been a great way for us to spend time together, meet some great people and become part of a great community.
By Lisa, River Oaks parkrun
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