I’ve often read that parkrun is about the coffee afterwards. This break from parkrun due to Covid-19 has really brought this home. The longer the break has been the more I’ve come to appreciate parkrun and how it is a community.
As our 3rd anniversary approaches in June it’s an ideal time to reflect on the evolution of Frédéric Back parkrun and the creation of a parkrun community. From our inaugural run on June 17, 2017 with 24 participants and 11 volunteers, to our 100th run celebration with 107 participants and 17 volunteers, to our last run in the winter with 39 participants and 9 volunteers, there has been more going on than the growth of numbers.
Our numbers and statistics show growth and also how our climate affects our numbers, but they don’t show how a small group of people worked hard to create what has turned into a community. We are more than our numbers. parkrun is what happens each week: the greetings amongst the volunteers who arrive early to set up and get ready for the run, the regular runners arriving, warming up and looking around for familiar faces and the tourists, fidgeting nervously with anticipation. The numbers don’t show the excitement at the start line, the struggles during the run or walk and the pride and smiles at the finish line. The stats don’t allow us to see the gatherings for coffee and tea and shared snacks or hear the chattering and laughing of people enjoying themselves after physical exertion.
We can’t see how a small group of regulars has turned into a larger group of regulars who know each other’s names or how people look forward to seeing each other. The numbers don’t show the surprised looks on the faces of locals during the briefing when they see how far away some people have travelled to come to our parkrun. The evolution of Frédéric Back parkrun from a run to a community has been a gradual process that has evolved over time. Whether the numbers are larger as in the summer or during celebrations or smaller during our cold winters, Frédéric Back has become a community. Everyone is welcome, from first timers to regulars to tourists.
Frédéric Back parkrun has become a community with the help of a core team of enthusiastic, hardworking volunteers. There have been changes in our core team as is usual in a group of volunteers. People have left and roles have changed but the enthusiasm and dedication has remained. There are runners and walkers who volunteer with us from time to time and student volunteers from high schools and Cegeps. Each of our volunteers bring their own individual skills and perspectives, which has allowed us to create our unique community of runners and walkers.
Part of the evolution of parkrun in Montreal is the creation of a new parkrun at Angrignon Park! We welcome Angrignon parkrun to the Montreal parkrun community.
What began as a run in the park organised by a small group of almost strangers has become a tight knit community of runners, walkers and volunteers. Frédéric Back parkrun is a community that we miss and a community that will continue in the future. We look forward to seeing you again. Thank you to everyone involved!
On Friday last week we published our provisional COVID-19 Framework, describing how parkrun events are likely to return where there remains an underlying level of the virus. We intentionally published the Framework in advance of it being appropriate to open any of the 21 parkrun countries that remain closed, to enable us to progress…
Earlier this week we announced we had completed our COVID-19 Framework, describing how events will operate in countries where an underlying level of community infection still remains. We’d also like to stress that as part of our strategy to return we took the decision to separate defining the way events should be reopened, from…