Just to the east of Sandusky, Ohio, a fun and free community event known as Osborn MetroPark parkrun has been creating waves of excitement and camaraderie since its inception. Martyn Drabik-Hamshare, the Event Director, and his wife, Morgan, brought his enthusiasm for parkrun from South Africa to the US. Having just celebrated its first anniversary, we’ll delve into the inspiring story behind Osborn MetroPark parkrun, its picturesque course, and its lasting impact on the local community.
Martyn and Morgan’s parkrun journey began in 2015 while studying for their graduate degrees in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Despite Martyn’s previous experience living in England, he had never heard of parkrun. However, once he discovered parkrun, he was shocked to realize that Eastleigh parkrun was only a 15-minute walk from his English residence! Nonetheless, in South Africa, he became a regular participant.
Morgan, originally from Pittsburgh, PA, also fell in love with parkrun during her time in South Africa. When they both moved to the US, the couple’s passion for parkrun persisted, leading them to start their own event.
Following discussions with Steve and Karen Crane, who started Mansfield OH parkrun, Martyn and Morgan’s dream of bringing parkrun to their local community took shape. Conversations began in 2017, but it wasn’t until 2022 that a Core Team was assembled consisting of several members of the local community. In July that year, Osborn MetroPark parkrun came into existence, offering a pleasant trail running course amid the woodlands and grasslands of Osborn MetroPark.
The event shines with its picturesque out-and-back trail course. Participants experience a blend of shaded woodlands and open prairies, making it a gorgeous journey through nature. The course’s mostly flat terrain, with occasional gentle uphill sections, caters to seasoned parkrunners and those new to parkrun.
It’s remarkable how the event is so close to interacting with nature. As participants make their way through the park’s trails, they are greeted by rabbits, deer, squirrels, and various bird species, adding a touch of magic to the experience. The presence of wildlife brings a sense of connection to the natural world while you parkrun.
The meet-up location is a significant landmark in itself. Gathered near the Community Gardens of Osborn MetroPark, participants often pose for group photos atop a giant honeybee and honeycomb structure. This playful gathering spot adds to the parkrun’s friendly atmosphere.
Osborn MetroPark parkrun has become a favorite destination for parkrun tourists, receiving compliments for its unique charm. For visitors, Huron, Ohio, is a treasure trove of attractions, boasting stunning beaches, fishing spots, golf courses, and nature preserves. Additionally, the proximity to Sandusky, home to the world-renowned Cedar Point amusement park and Kalahari Resorts waterpark, makes it an excellent location for a weekend getaway.
After a fulfilling parkrun, participants head to Vine & Olive, a locally-owned Mediterranean cafe, for post-run coffee and to meet and catch up with other parkrunners.
parkrun is being embraced by the local community. Regular participants, previously unaware of parkrun, have embraced the event wholeheartedly. Some even ventured into parkrun tourism, like Brad Roth, who participated in a parkrun in Australia with his son-in-law. These experiences have brought people together and fostered lasting friendships.
The event has served as a meeting ground for like-minded individuals, creating new friendships and connections. Additionally, the event has garnered strong support from organizations like Friends of Erie MetroParks and Erie County’s Creating Healthy Communities Coalition, further solidifying its important place in the community.
Whether you’re a local resident or a parkrun tourist, Osborn MetroPark parkrun offers an incredible experience. Come join the fun!
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