Winnipeg’s first parkrun has quickly become home to a great group of dedicated and welcoming runners and volunteers. Dennis Cunningham tells us why being part of this parkrun community has been a great experience for a whole lot of reasons.
About three hours before the start of Winnipeg’s very first Churchill Parkway parkrun I spent 20 minutes being interviewed about our event on CBC radio. The conversation ended with the show host playing the Leon Bridges song “Smooth Sailing”. A choice that I think pretty much set the tone for how our parkrun has gone over the last six months.
As any parkrun organizer can attest, you really have to be ready to roll with things week to week.
Weather conditions, course conditions, runner numbers and volunteer availability are variables you seldom have full or any control over. Over 29 parkruns we’ve encountered rain, a snowstorm in October, icy trails, and extreme heat and cold.
Through all of these conditions the Churchill Parkway parkrun has been supported by stalwart
volunteers like Rick, Kamni, Jeremy, Till, Steve, Gord, Bridget and many, many others. Every week we see familiar faces and meet new runners from Winnipeg, other provinces and countries all over the world.
Highlights for me over the past 29 parkruns include seeing every member of our parkrun committee running in at least one parkrun so far; having two runners and three volunteers parkrun on the Thanksgiving long weekend right after a bizarre early season snowstorm that shut down most of the city; running the parkrun on my birthday (December 21 st – join me again this year!) with my wife acting as Run Director and getting birthday greetings from every runner I encountered along the course; beating the cold with an ice fishing tent and propane heater (thanks Rick!); and watching a parkrunner visiting from the UK take a picture of some cross country skiers who happened to be skiing alongside our route. He noted that “there isn’t a single parkrun I visited where you’d see that!”
I can’t be sure that the next six months or six years of Churchill Parkway parkruns will be “smooth sailing” but that’s part of the parkrun charm there’s always something a little different around the corner to keep it interesting and fun.
By Dennis Cunningham, Churchill Parkway parkrun Event Director
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