Clare Oxlaide writes how being an event director for Burgess junior parkrun has changed her Sundays forever and brought together her diverse community in South London.
I first got involved in parkrun back in 2016. I had just started running and a whole bunch of friends said I should come along to this thing called parkrun on a Saturday morning. I thought, “What on earth is this 5K? It’s for free? Surely not.”
But soon, my life had pretty much changed forever and parkrun has been the source of meeting so many awesome, awesome people from all across the country.
A few years ago, I had just moved to London and the call to start up Burgess junior parkrun came out and they were looking for a team. I thought that sounded absolutely wonderful!
I knew how amazing parkrun was for meeting people and thought that the junior version would just be extra special. Now, here we are celebrating our fourth birthday back in February and we did it with a fancy dress party of things beginning with B. We had a bunch of grapes, a barcode and I was Bob the Builder, which was really fun.
We’re really fortunate to have a great team of volunteers who make up the community - the life and soul of it. We’ve grown that over time and it’s changed too, especially since we’ve come back from covid.
We have the amazing Ugandan community here, who’ve become the absolute soul of Burgess. But what we’ve also done is reach out to all of the people that make up the diverse neighbourhoods and communities around Burgess Park.
We’ve managed to build up an amazing team of volunteers from all walks of life, which is just brilliant and that’s grown as time has gone by. We’re not a big event but every person we have whether they’re a volunteer, a junior or their family are all really special to us and we love celebrating all of them.
“The kids that come regularly have brought friends, and it’s been really
lovely to see those friendships develop. The young people and adults
are truly our best advocates when talking about junior parkrun.”
It’s really important to show that it’s free, fun and welcoming. We use the phrase ‘walk, hop, skip, jump or run’ to make sure everyone knows it’s fun and you can participate how you want to. There’s always a party atmosphere and we try to emphasise that via our social media channels.
It’s no exaggeration to say that parkrun has changed my life. It’s allowed me to meet people of all ages and backgrounds that you would never ever meet normally.
For that one hour on a Sunday morning, it doesn’t matter what has happened for the rest of your week or in your life, you just know it’s going to give you so much happiness. From the moment we leave the cafe on a Sunday, I’m already looking forward to next week.
I feel everyone should be part of it. Seeing our community grow has been absolutely amazing and the people are what makes it so magical.
We’re pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for a Volunteer Impact & Engagement Manager to join the parkrun team, based in our Leeds or Richmond, London office. From quiet beginnings, parkrun has grown into a worldwide social movement with community at its beating heart. Committed to breaking down barriers to participation in regular physical activity…
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