Doing anything for the first time can make anyone feel nervous or intimidated, but with the parkrun community all about encouragement and support, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Although it’s called parkrun, there’s no pressure at all for participants to run the entire 5kms, and they are just as welcome to walk it at their own pace by themselves, with family or with friends.
One misconception is that when people hear ‘parkrun’ or drive past and see a mob of runners gunning it for the finish, they think to themselves it’s not for them; they either feel too old, not fit enough, have young children who occupy their time, are injured or in recovery.
We want to ‘demystify’ the run part of parkrun!
But one of the best things about parkrun is that every single type of walker can become a part of our community, and all of us are there to boost confidence and provide help when needed.
There are so many benefits to joining and getting out into the fresh air. For seniors, walking improves heart health, lowers the risk of stroke and diabetes, helps in preventing osteoporosis and improves balance – the list goes on.
For those who feel unfit, it’s the perfect way to get started on the journey to good health and slowly incorporate physical activity into daily life, while those who are injured or recovering from a health condition can strengthen their bones, muscles and soft tissue by light, slow walking.
Prams and strollers are also welcome at parkrun, and what a wonderful morning it can be when the baby is put in the pram for an early morning nap, out in the sunshine with nature, while mum de-stresses and chats with a walking buddy. Strolling at any pace not only has benefits to mothers, who can build strength and stamina as they recover from childbirth, but for children the motion of walking will soothe even the crankiest of babies.
And let’s not stop at one baby! Bring the whole family along! Children as young as four can officially register for parkrun, and taking the family out for a Saturday morning walk is the perfect way to not only start a weekend, but spend quality time with one another while the phones are put away and catch up on all things happening in life.
Encourage family and friends to come along and participate as a walker. They might not be aware that the focus is on participation, fun and having a go rather than performance. They might also be unaware of the parkrun atmosphere, a vibe that’s simple unexplainable and perhaps the best word to describe it would be ‘happy’. Volunteers never start packing up until the final walker is finished, and they will always stay and cheer them on over the finish line.
So no matter the pace, walkers are always welcome at parkrun rain, hail or shine.
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