Every Saturday morning, thousands of runners around the world lace up their running shoes and complete a free, timed 5K run in a local park.
It’s part of Parkrun, a worldwide movement organized completely by volunteers. It started in 2004 in Bushy Park in Teddington, England but has grown to 20 countries including Canada.
Suzanne Brooks organized the Nose Hill Parkrun club in Calgary after emigrating in 2016 and realizing there wasn’t one in the city. Now, hundreds of Calgarians have done the weekly run, which winds through the pathways of Nose Hill, and is completely free.
“All you have to do is go online, register for free and download a bar code,” Brooks says. “Bring the bar code with you to the run and you’ll get a time recorded.”
Of course you can join the run without registering or bringing a bar code, but then you won’t get timed, and where’s the fun in that?
To date, there are Parkruns taking place in 1,745 parks in countries from Norway to Namibia with 3.5 million runners participating so far.
Canada has Parkruns across the country including in Vancouver at the Richmond Oval and in Toronto at Meadowvale, River Oaks, Beach Strip, Whitby and Duffins Trail parks.
For more information check out the Parkrun website at www.parkrun.com.