News, Uncategorized - 1st March 2023

The Jewel of Gainesville


Depot Park parkrun is on the site of what was once an old landfill.  Now known as the jewel of Gainesville, it’s a great place to find community on a Saturday morning.


Like many other parkrun events, the volunteer team arrive around 45 minutes before the start to mark the course and to get ready for the walkers and runners. It’s been a fixture since 2018 (with a break for COVID), and each Saturday morning you are met with a welcome and a friendly community.


After a first timers introduction and a pre-event brief, the event is underway and parkrunners get to enjoy the course.


Despite the old function of the park, Depot Park parkrun is really pleasant to make your way around.  Encircling three ponds, there are some other more obvious manmade landmarks to take in such as open air lawns, a play area, and you won’t forget where you are when you see the big ‘D’.




The community shines after the run and walk as people stay to cheer and to catch up.  Afterwards too there is coffee at the 4th Avenue Food Park as Kristen Bryant, one of the Co-EDs, tells us, “There are a lot of food options and the weather is usually nice enough to sit outside. Wonderful ambience and great company.”


We asked Kristen how she got involved leading the event:


“I started a weightloss journey in May 2018, and started jogging in October. A friend invited me to parkrun and I fell in love with the community. The encouragement from Event Director, Shauna Dixon, gave me the confidence to train for a half marathon. Now, five half marathons later and training for a full marathon, I am helping lead parkrun and passing on that confidence to others.”


Kristen and Shauna love it when first timers come to Depot Park, and would describe the course as ideal, “The course is a relatively flat one that follows the outer paved loop of Depot Park. Participants complete almost four laps beginning at the trailhead and ending by the pavilion.”




For tourists, it’s ideally placed for a quick excursion if you want to get away from the bustle of Disney World in nearby Orlando, a couple of hours drive south from Gainesville.  “We’re known for our friendly volunteers,” Kristen explains, “Florida has only five parkruns so you should tick us off the list being only up the road.”


Now in it’s sixth year, the parkrun has had a lasting impact on the local community, as Kristen continues, “Depot Park parkrun regularly attracts domestic and international tourists throughout the year. We have also become a meeting spot for work buddies and school friends to get active together. Our holiday parkruns on Thanksgiving and New Years have drawn higher attendance as our regulars bring their visiting company out to join us.”




The event really enjoys celebrating locals and tourists alike, as new regular Abhishek found, “Recently I started running 5k at Depot Park parkrun. After finishing my last 5k run of 2022, I found my country’s flag (Nepal) in an international string of flags and I was super excited about it. Special thanks to the Depot Park parkrun volunteers for making this event possible and motivating people to be healthy!”




When you visit Depot Park parkrun, be sure you take the opportunity to meet the locals as there are so many great stories to hear. Kristen highlights two very enthusiastic parkrunners, “Luke and Jack Baker are a couple of our youngest regular participants, but also very dedicated. Luke just turned nine years old and has earned his place in the red shirt club, achieving 50 parkruns and his older brother Jack has his 25 parkrun shirt. Luke and Jack also challenge our faster paced participants.”


Depot Park has everything you could ask for in a parkrun.  If you’re in the area then register for parkrun (you only need to do this once) at, and Kristen, Shauna and the team will see you on Saturday morning!





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