News - 18th March 2020

What makes parkrun so special?

Qu’est-ce qui rend parkrun si spécial ? Feature image crop


Shawnigan Hills parkrun, in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, B.C. is the planet’s most Westerly parkrun. They know that parkrun is a unique event in so many ways. So, what better way than to ask their regular participants what they believe makes it so special?


Our event started at the end of September 2019. The course winds its way almost entirely within the beautiful campus of Shawnigan Lake School, with the start and finish taking place on the local running track. After 22 events, we have welcomed 147 different participants, seen 129 personal best times and average over 22 runners each week. For the size of the community, these figures are encouraging, especially as the majority of events have been during the winter.


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Here’s what our runners have to say:


“parkrun has become one of my best habits! Though I am competing with myself, I enjoy the challenges, both mental and physical, that await each run. The value I receive from unplugging my devices and experiencing some time for personal reflection, while moving through a hill-packed course, is a weekly boost to my spirit.” (Paul, 14 runs)


“parkrun is a time and place to connect with others and participate in healthy activity. It offers intrinsic payoffs like the support of others and posted results, in the form of a weekly, easily digestible, 5km walk/run.” (Jeff, 13 runs)


“The part that I started out liking the least—the last kilometre being uphill—is now the part I like the most. I get to test myself as to whether I can run even just another 10 metres past last week’s point before I have to slow down and walk. I really enjoy the company and the enthusiasm I get from all the participants and volunteers.” (David, 15 runs)


“It is a great addition to our community. There aren’t many outdoor activities that welcome everyone: walkers, runners, dogs, kids, strollers, etc. I love seeing such a variety of people committed to healthy living! The chance to meet up with friends is what brings me out on Saturday mornings. It is fun to meet new people and cheer each other on. I started running 8 years ago and was hooked. If parkrun had been here, it would have been a lot easier – I’m just thrilled it’s here now!” (Trish, 9 runs)


“I love the fact that it promotes community and health. Knowing that people are expecting you to show whether you walk or run, inspires action. It may seem like a chore to get out of bed with the thought of running, but it is something you will never regret. Every week pulls you closer to your friends and neighbours, your health and your happiness. I feel privileged to be a part of this experience.” (Kate, 12 runs)


“After a busy and hectic workweek, I find it refreshing and rejuvenating to start the weekend with a bunch of happy and enthusiastic parkrun newcomers, regulars and volunteers. A bonus, for me anyway, is the invite to the local Coffee House after the run.” (Pieter, 19 runs)


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