What else could a sporty town with a fantastic community still need?
A parkrun of course! With such a fitting name our town Parkes had to join the worldwide parkrun movement.
Three local residents have been working very hard for almost two years, and last week the final piece of the puzzle fell into place when the Parkes parkrun received $7,500 from the Northparkes/Parkes Shire Council Sports Grants fund.
Excitement is building for Parkes to join 381 events in Australia and 1,400 in 22 countries across the world when the COVID-19 regulations are relaxed, hopefully in June. This is a great motivation for all the residents who have been out walking and running of late, to work towards a goal.
Parkrun, a 5km event on a set course, is a fantastic and free community event. It includes all ages, all demographics, all levels of fitness. Whatever your age and stage in life, whatever you do during the week, you can take part in parkrun, and you don’t even need to run!
“Walking is perfectly acceptable,” said Ronel van Wyk, who initiated the parkrun for Parkes. “We encourage everyone who wants to give it a go to come along, every Saturday morning or once in a blue moon, we don’t mind.”
“I also believe the parkrun will bring our community even closer together,” said Ronel. “I can’t wait to do a parkrun in my own town.”
Ronel received assistance from Sonia Bland and Daniel Greef, and they both agree that the event would not only bring the community closer together, but also build camaraderie.
“I’m really looking forward to parkrun in Parkes,” said Daniel. “It is something differ- ent for the town, a family friendly event and inclusive regardless of a person’s fitness level. I love that parkruns are not races.”
Daniel said it would also serve as a big tourist attraction as many avid parkrunners follow the parkrun trail around the world to try and do as many as they can.
For Sonia the physical well-being and mental health benefits the event would bring are also very important. “We hope parkrun will bring our community closer together, like we’re all part of the team and that will bring a sense of belonging.”
The 5km route for Parkes will start at Boulder Hill Park on the corner of Wentworth Street and Alexandra Street and follow the walkway around the ovals. To have a time recorded runners have to register on the parkrun website, print out a personal barcode and bring it to the run. The barcode will be valid to take part in any parkrun anywhere in the world.
The Saturday morning parkrun event is run by volunteers, and the Parkes group welcomes any individuals, clubs and organisations to help out as volunteers as either run director, time keepers, handing out and scanning tokens and tail walkers. Anyone interested can contact Ronel on 0476 157 120.
By Maggi Barnard