Sara Struckman and her family temporarily moved to Auckland about two years ago from the United States. With their time in NZ now coming to an end, they have many wonderful memories to take back to the U.S., not least a fulfilling and rewarding experience with parkrun.
“We had never heard of parkrun but our young kids, then 8 and 11, had run a handful of 5K events,” says Sara. “We heard about the Cornwall parkrun and decided to check it out. We were instantly hooked.”
When the family learned that there were milestone clubs with t-shirts after 50 runs, they decided to make it a goal to run 50 parkruns before moving back to the U.S.
Sara explained that what seemed like a great idea, wasn’t that simple. “After the COVID-19 lockdowns, we weren’t sure we’d make it to 50. We started running parkruns whenever we travelled around New Zealand to make sure we didn’t miss any”.
To date, the family has attended parkruns at Cornwall Park, Western Springs, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, Lower Hutt, Hagley Park and Queenstown. When asked if they had a favourite, Sara explained it is impossible to choose.
“Queenstown was absolutely beautiful, of course, and the unusual geothermal terrain at Puarenga was so unique. We also loved the flat, fast course at Hagley.”
However, after completing 41 of their 50 runs at Cornwall park, Sara felt that this was the event that felt like home. Had they stayed in NZ longer, they would have liked to have become regular volunteers, and to enjoy the chance to socialise with other parkrunners.
On the 5th of June, all four members of the family completed their 50th parkrun together at Cornwall parkrun. “My kids, now 13 and 10, have become considerably faster in two years – us parents can no longer keep up with them! What initially started as a challenge, to get the kids out of the door early on Saturday mornings, became such a good foundation for an active weekend.”
Looking ahead to their imminent return to the U.S., Sara is sad that there are no parkruns close by. “We’ll keep our barcodes handy and continue to add parkruns to our list when we can, but our first 50 in New Zealand will be the most memorable. We want to thank everyone involved at parkrun NZ, it’s just the coolest thing! We love the parkrun vibe.”
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