Halifax is the latest Canadian city to have a parkrun, the Saturday-morning community running phenomenon that began in the UK in 2004 and has been slowly spreading around the world ever since. Canada now has 23 parkrun events across the country, with other locations set to follow, including Lethbridge, Alta. on March 30.
Thirty runners showed up at Chain of Lakes in Halifax yesterday for the inaugural event, which was started by Jaclyn Currie, a transplanted Brit who had tried parkrun before coming to Canada in 2015. As Currie says on parkrun Canada’s Facebook page, “Nova Scotians love to socialize, and there is a keen running community. I hope that word gets out amongst the non-runners that this is a fun and non-judgy way to meet friends, be sociable and get a bit of exercise (even when it is cold outside!)”
Parkrun organizes free, timed Saturday morning 5K runs in parks that are simply intended as a way for people to run together every week. You register once, and are issued a bar code that you must bring in order to have your time recorded. You can then show up at any parkrun event, anywhere in the world. One individual recently recorded eight consecutive weekly parkruns in eight different countries, starting in Ajax, Ont.
You can use parkrun to try and get faster (all results are tracked on the website), or simply to meet other people for a bit of exercise once a week. You can even run with a child in a stroller, or a dog on a short lead (though not both at the same time).
parkrun events are run and staffed by volunteers and supported by sponsors.
For more information on how to access parkrun or on starting your own event in your community, click here.