Have you heard of Parkrun? It’s a weekly, free, timed 5km run/walk/jog that takes place every Saturday morning, worldwide. Here in Toowoomba, we have a few branches, Queens Park being the largest.
This month ParkRun are wanting to promote the fact that you don’t have to be able to run to join in! The name can be a little misleading. I had never tried to run 5kms in my life when I started. You can walk the course with friends, or with your dog, or alone listening to music…whatever works for you. Or maybe you’d like to be able to improve your fitness and want to give something new a go and work up to being able to jog/run the course. It’s such an encouraging and diverse group of people with all ages and fitness levels.
Initially, I was kind of roped in by my son (pictured) who had friends that regularly attended Parkrun, and so he wanted to join in. Two of my girls wanted to come along, one of whom we thought had to have adult accompaniment. So I joined her. Well, I NEVER expected we would become regulars ourselves, or that I would willingly give up quiet Saturday mornings at home to go and run 5kms with 400 other people! But it was kind of addictive. Maybe it’s the fact that your times are tracked, so if you choose to, you can keep trying to improve and get new PB’s. Maybe it’s the great community spirit they’ve got going on there, and getting to catch up with friends who also participate.
You certainly don’t need to be an athlete to join in. To take part in Queens Park ParkRun, all you need to do is show up on the Lindsay St side of Queens Park, just before 7am (6:45am is ideal) any Saturday, and look for the group of people gathering (some will be in orange vests). The course consists of two laps around Queens Park, and it’s beautiful (especially right now while all the Carnival flowers are still in bloom).
Parkrun are always looking for volunteers, so if you want to take part without actually completing the course, you can sign up as a volley, and do anything from being a marshal along the course, to scanning barcodes as participants come through the finish line.