Although they’ve been up and running for half a year, the parkrun community is strong in Edmonton! Let’s take a trip to meet the locals at Canada’s second most northerly parkrun…
Wow-what a whirlwind year! We are River Valley parkrun Edmonton. This is our first year of parkrun and the run community has been so supportive that we’ve really taken off. We began our journey to develop our parkrun about a year ago when a group of like-minded individuals (picture below) came together to start planning. As a group, we were all on the same page regarding one idea: Inclusivity. We wanted our run to be as inclusive as possible.
One we had started planning things began to really take off. We were supported by the City of Edmonton and even received some provincial grant funding from the Government of Alberta “Community Initiatives Program Project Grant”.
What did surprise me was the amount of volunteer spirit that has presented. I just want to give out a couple mentions for some especially superstar volunteers. This is Brian. He has been at every parkrun except one. Don’t worry we messaged him to say “Hi” to make sure he knew how much we valued him on the one day he was away. He either runs or volunteers. He’s definitely down to join us for coffee.
This is Nadine – apparently looking at something in the distance! She has been at every parkrun to volunteer or run and has been the glue holding the volunteers together since we began. Truly she is keeping our parkrun running smooth.
This is Jenipher and Samantha. They are the brains behind the organization and the creative force behind our themed events. They are also parkrun regulars who show up no matter how cold it is outside.
This is Rick our timekeeper extraordinaire. Always diligent in setting up his chair near the start/finish. We’re a hybrid of a loop and an out and back with an almost clover up around and under a bridge so we end up with a similar start/finish location.
There are many more volunteers that could and should be mentioned here but we’ll have to save them for other blogs. The volunteers have been so amazing. In fact, what’s really noticeable about River Valley parkrun is how fast the community is building.
Edmonton has such a great run community and they have really come out to support. It’s awe-inspiring the fun that people are having. Lately, we’ve been looking at themed days. I think we were inspired by our Halloween parkrun which quickly lead to a Christmas themed parkrun and there has been talk now of Harry Potter themed and Robbie Burns Day Themed. Although, I’m pretty sure Robbie Burns day isn’t during Kilt weather.
The snow has been a learning opportunity. We are surprised at the amount of out of country people from much much much warmer climates that keep appearing at our events. I am quite aware that runners are gluttons for punishment but I have to wonder “Why travel from Australia or North Carolina to Canada in the winter?”. To each their own I guess.
Anyways, to sum up, it’s been a wonderful year of five-kilometer fun and fanfare. Edmonton is in the parkrun fold and we’re looking forward to continuing to grow!
Doran Walker, Event Director River Valley parkrun
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