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Three reasons to head to your local parkrun this weekend

No matter your age or ability, joining your local parkrun will leave you with all the feel-good vibes

parkrun summer 2022

Whether you’re looking for a boost to overcome a spell of low motivation, wanting to connect with your local running community, or simply want to get outside and move your body, heading to your local parkrun event is just what you need.

First started in the UK in 2004, parkruns are free, weekly, community events, now with more than 2,000 hosted all over the world. All parkrun events are 5K and are held on Saturday mornings in parks and open spaces. Sign up easily online and show up at your local event with your unique barcode in hand, ready to roll. If you’re keen to check it out but not ready to participate, find your closest local event here and sign up to volunteer (or just spectate!).

My family has been jumping into our weekly parkrun whenever possible for a few years now, and loving every minute. When we went to our first event, my husband was unsure he could run 5K–a few years later, he’s competed in many races over a variety of distances, from 10K to 100K. Parkrun was where he discovered that running was his jam.

Everyone really is welcome

The parkrun website touts the event as a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience where there is no time limit and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to join in, whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate, and this has been true to our experience at every single event.

There’s always a wide variety of participants: kids, parents with strollers, people with dogs, families and a few speedsters hoping to fit in a quick time trial. With the recent introduction of parkwalk there has been a dedicated effort to encourage more walkers to come out and get some steps in.

It’s a perfect way to test your own fitness over time

If you’re keen on improving your pace, having the ability to pop into a free weekly timed event is fantastic. While you’ll get a weekly email ranking you within other parkrunners worldwide, you’re really only competing against yourself. Aiming for a 5K PB? Practice your pacing strategy at parkrun.

If you’re a new runner or following a walk/run plan, you’ll feel completely at home and find others with the same level of ability and experience as yourself, and with a volunteer or two always following up the crowd in a slow walk, you’ll never feel pressured to hurry or worry about being last.

parkrun tailwalker
A volunteer always follows the entire parkrun group, so you’ll never be last. Photo: Strathcona Island parkrun

Parkrun is all about having fun, outside, with other people. As a new runner, though, you have a built-in accountability routine if you aim to head to parkrun every Saturday, and you’ll be able to track your improvement over time.

Meet your local running community and get involved

Running, for me, is largely a solo activity. I love the quiet alone time–but after heading to a few parkruns I was reminded how powerful being a part of a community can be. If you’ve ever toed the line at a marathon (or another large event) you are probably familiar with that heady, joyful sense of anticipation and excitement that fills the air moments before the gun goes off, and the feeling like you’re connected with every single other runner out there.

Halloween parkrun 2022
Photo: Strathcona Island parkrun

Consider parkrun your weekly mini dose of that big-race vibe–not only will you have fun, get in a workout, and meet other runners, but you’ll leave feeling just a little bit better about humanity in general.

To learn more about parkrun, find your local event and register, head here.