Last Saturday, parkrun Founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt completed his 500th parkrun and joined the 500 milestone club. That’s 10 years worth of continual weekly parkruns, 2,500 kilometres covered, and countless coffees with old and new friends. Quite the achievement.
Whereas many may choose to celebrate such a milestone at the familiarity of their home event, Paul found himself more than 500 miles from his local Bushy Park, at Dietenbach parkrun in Freiberg, Germany.
As an event, Dietenbach parkrun couldn’t be further from Bushy parkrun. Bushy parkrun launched nearly 18 years ago and attracts more than 1,000 parkrunners every week, yet Dietenbach planted its roots just shy of a year ago and hosts a small gathering of walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers each Saturday. Despite the differences, the sense of camaraderie and community couldn’t be more similar.
Sometimes being in a new place, language barriers and culture can be daunting, yet stepping into a park on Saturday morning gives a sense of familiarity. People gathering in high visibility vests, an excited energy as people meet and an understanding of what is to come.
The great thing about parkrun, is that wherever you are in the world, whether you’re experiencing an event with 30 people like that at Dietenbach or one with hundreds like Bushy parkun, the welcome is always the same.
There’s a warm feeling inside when you realise that at more than 2,500 locations across the world there are these pockets of familiarity.
No matter how alone you may feel, or how different the culture, a town or city, there’s a community of like minded individuals quietly waking to Saturday morning alarms, setting up courses and briefing volunteers, waiting to welcome you into the community. And there’s something pretty special about that.
Your barcode is your passport within the parkrun community. If you’re visiting relatives, going on a family holiday or travelling with work, why not see if there is a local event near you? It may just transform your day.
Find your nearest event here.
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