One of the nicest things about parkrun at Victoria Park, Kitchener is that you’ll quickly feel like part of the family. The sort of commitment you normally reserve for blood-ties underpins the event, whilst the welcome you receive is as warm as the one you’d hope to receive on a special family occasion.
My family and I ran our first event at Victoria parkun, Kitchener a year ago this month. We were more or less brand new to Waterloo-Kitchener, and indeed Canada, having recently moved from the UK. Our first parkrun event was a hit; Victoria Park is beautiful and the volunteers super friendly. We were quickly convinced we loved this event and the community feel embodied by a family of volunteers. We have been plodding along ever since: sometimes we’re fast, sometimes we’re slow but somehow we always manage to go. Well, pretty much always. We’ve even turned up when thunderstorms led to a rare cancellation; though I must say there was some relief that day and a quick round of “why didn’t you check?” went on.
parkrun has become a bit of our family identity; I don’t think we’re the only ones either. We have relatives back in the UK who participate in their local parkrun events and that’s a common tale with fellow runners here. We have a pretty steady stream of tourists coming to the Victoria Park event, many touring events at different locations, but plenty who are checking in with cousins, siblings etc. Our family thinks nothing of getting Grandad, Bill from Coventry, or Grandmother, Phyl from Leicester, along when they visit and why wouldn’t our friends from London and their three kids take part? It’s a wonderful common currency to compare your run, jog or walk. It links generations and bridges a gap for newbies like us. My often reticent kids are suddenly avidly chatting to who, strangers? Well, no- they’re our parkrun friends.
Lately, I’ve noticed it’s not just our stalwart volunteers’ families lining up (though thanks to the Money family and Mabifa family who continue to help out week after week). There’s plenty of new families joining us which warms my heart. I often see mums and dads with encouraging junior runners of elementary school age on (once or twice that’s been a fiendishly fast approach to the finish too!). Family involvement is not limited to school age either. I’ve seen a course record broken by an SM20-24 runner and his mom finish a wee while later. But you don’t have to be related, we all need some support for participating regularly and the Victoria parkrun, Kitchener family will adopt you and do the job just fine.
Come and find out, join us!
By: Liz Percival and Family
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