Join a worldwide fitness movement and whip on your running shoes for Galston’s local version of Parkrun.
Parkrun is a collection of free, timed, weekly five kilometre running events held every Saturday morning at various locations around the world.
The concept began in the UK 12 years ago, with a weekly five kilometre time trial organised around Bushy Park in leafy Teddington, west London, where many international Olympic sprinters come to train, dodging the deer which inhabit the huge green space. In the following years, more of these time trials started up around London and the rest of the UK, and in 2010 the phenomenon became known as Parkrun.
Its founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt continued to start up new events both in the UK and around the globe, and Parkrun now puts runners through their paces in 14 different countries.
Australia’s first run in 2011 was in Main Beach on the Gold Coast and since then nearly 200 new events have launched around the nation. The local version, Galston Parkrun, kicked off in October 2016 with 250 runners attracting visitors from all over NSW.
Parkrun has proved to be extremely effective in encouraging people to start a regular pattern of exercise, as well as developing strong, close-knit communities, says Paul.
Each Parkrun event is staffed completely by volunteers and to keep it free for all participants, it relies on support from local and national sponsors: Medibank, Suncorp and Stockland are national sponsors in Australia, and Health Space Hornsby sponsors the Galston run.
It has attracted over 100 runners every week since it started, taking on average 33 minutes to complete the course. Many have achieved personal best times.
Parkrun is inclusive of all abilities – participants are free to run, jog or walk at their own pace, bring a child in their buggy, or dog on a short lead. Children of all ages are welcome, with those under 11 to be accompanied by an adult.
Each week, a number of volunteer roles need to be filled to make the event run smoothly, including run director, course set up, timekeeper, handing out finish tokens, barcode scanner, marshal, photographer, and tail runner. Everyone is encouraged to volunteer a few times a year. The roles are very straightforward and volunteers are given full instructions on what they need to do.
To register, go to www.parkrun.com.au/register. It’s free, and you only need to register once. After registering, you receive a personalised barcode which you need to print off and bring along to each run as it’s needed for your time to be recorded.
Head: The lowdown
Where: Fagan Park, 38-48 Arcadia Rd, Galston, NSW
When: 8am every Saturday
Cost: Free to join
To help: email firstname.lastname@example.org