Earlier this year, the volunteer team at Whanganui Riverbank parkrun came up with an idea to accompany and support walkers at their small event. Little did they know that this would soon become what we now know as the ‘parkwalker’ role. Event Director Judy tells us more…
Walking at our small event can get a bit lonely between three and four kilometres, once the runners have passed and the walkers are spaced out. So we came up with a concept called ‘Party at the back’ which involved a volunteer who would walk with anyone or alone or new. There was also music and dancing to add to the fun! We were ahead of our time as we now know this as the new role of parkwalker.
Several of the walkers who came along were people we hadn’t seen for a while, one with friends in tow. A walker returning after a break soon commented, “This role ensures that no-one is left out and is a great way to meet new people and make them feel welcome.”
Other walker feedback included “Walking offers fresh air, a chance to unwind along a picturesque course, and an opportunity to meet new friends. Almost anyone can do it.”
“It’s good to walk with other people of different age groups in a non-competitive situation where everyone walks or runs at their own pace.”
“Volunteering ahead as parkwalker means I have to turn up and walk!”
“Volunteers are very friendly and encouraging and ensure that everyone gets back safely.”
“I find having a regular event like this keeps me motivated. I enjoy the casual social aspect of the morning and go home feeling I’ve achieved something.”
So let’s continue to get the word out — parkwalk is a thing!
Whanganui Riverbank parkrun
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