News - 23rd August 2019

A sense of belonging


Recently, in the middle of a cold and wet Saturday morning, regular parkrunnner Tash Vruink found herself wondering why it is that so many people get up every Saturday morning to attend parkrun. Tash tells us her thoughts…


I was recently down in Christchurch staying with a friend and after I dragged her out of bed early on Saturday morning in the freezing cold with wind and rain, we arrived with many other parkrunners at Hagley park buzzing and excited for parkrun. My friend exclaimed “This is like some sort of cult!” which got me pondering…


We all know that running tests our physical limits, it requires us to ignore perceptions of pain and exhaustion that urge us to stop, we also know the relationship between physical activity and well-being has been thoroughly studied regarding the positive effects on cardiac health, lung health, longevity, obesity, brain capacity, and mental health, among many other things. But as a regular parkrunner I have noticed that running is about a lot more than logging kilometres and collecting race medals (although a bit of bling is always an added bonus!).


The parkrun community supports us and help us grow to be the best runners and people we can be. Here’s why: Sharing the pain we experience at parkrun is made better with friends. As fun and rewarding as running/walking is, it’s really jolly hard! parkrun is an activity that incorporates both being social with a group and also a time for clearing the mind, for grounding, tuning out the rest of the world and for reflection of our lives. In a sense, parkrun can provide a community and also encourage individual experiences. When we talk about parkrun, members of the community highlight the family-feel, the support and encouragement.


As I line up every week with all the other runners, joggers, walkers, children, parents with buggies, disabled participants and volunteers, all with their own very personal motivations and reasons for being there.


Everyone is happy to be there in this very special local community event, I like to take a moment to appreciate the ‘feel good’ and ‘well-being’ factors of parkrun – these should never be overlooked. Despite our different motivation or reasons for showing up every Saturday there’s always a sense of belonging that we might not meet in our daily lives, yet the simple act of parkrun brings us together and creates bonds that are tough to break.


A huge thanks to all of volunteers for making this amazing event possible every week, love you all!


Tash Vruink

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