27 Nov, 2014
It’s no secret, I like to run. A lot. So when I heard that parkrun was launching in Canberra I was one of the 91 runners who started in the inaugural Lake Ginninderra event back in April 2012. Then in October 2013 all my dreams came true when a parkrun event started in arguably Canberra’s most liveable area, Gungahlin. With the launch of Gungahlin parkrun came the introduction of one of Australia’s flattest and fastest 5km courses, which in turn has welcomed some of Australia’s fastest and most eager runners.
Elite athletes aside, the idea of parkrun is to create a community who support each other and encourage participation in the run. Each week down at Yerrabi Pond there are plenty of volunteers who facilitate the running of parkrun and there are always well over 100 people who participate. Some run with prams, some run with dogs, some take it seriously, some simply don't, some wear t-shirts that should have been thrown out 20 years ago, some walk, some run while disciplining their kids, but all who participate love being part of the event. It's 5kms. It’s free. It’s weekly. It’s at 8am every Saturday starting near Gungahlin skate park. It’s all about getting out and running with other enthusiastic people.
I get that running isn’t for everyone, but answer me this……Do you get the opportunity to run with gun runners when you head out on any old run? Do strangers ever lend a helping hand while you jog-push your pram up a hill? Do random people leave inspirational chalk quotes on the path that you can read when you are coming up on the dreaded 4km mark? No? Well all that happens at parkrun. I've had people literally come up behind me and put a hand on my pram to help me get up a hill. I've had runners give me words of encouragement when they could see I was struggling. I've stopped to help others who were injured. And I've belly laughed (between puffs) at the inspirational chalk quotes that often line the paths around Yerrabi Pond. Now if that alone doesn't entice you to head along, how about the monthly 'crack your PB' challenge where parkrun volunteers pace at different intervals to encourage runners to beat their personal best. It's little challenges like this that make parkrun great and that help improve your running.
At Gungahlin parkrun, we regularly have over 100 runners each week and after you've run on the morning you'll receive an email with your results and other handy stats. The course record is 14:25 which was set by an ex-Olympian and is the 2nd fastest run within parkrun Nationally.
I can confidently say that I would not be running as swiftly as I am today if it were not for the help of other parkrunners. It's a wonderful community of like minded people who just want to get out and make the most of their Saturday morning. Of course parkrun is always followed up with a mean breakfast or coffee at a local cafe where we all talk about how great we are for participating in parkrun.
If you want to get hooked, sign up at www.parkrun.com.au/register/. There are now 100 parkruns across Australia so if you happen to be travelling throughout the country, check out where the closest run is and enjoy being a 'parkrun tourist'.
I look forward to seeing you down at Yerrabi Pond throughout the year. Robyn Smith
Gungahlin parkrun - Weekly Free 5km Timed Run
What is Gungahlin parkrun?
It is a 5km run - it's you against the clock.
When is it?
Every Saturday at 8:00am.
Where is it?
It's run at Yerrabi Pond, Wunderlich St, Gungahlin. See Course page for more details.
What does it cost to join in?
Nothing - it's free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don't forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder). If you forget it, you won't get a time.
How fast do I have to be?
We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!
Gungahlin parkrun needs you!
It is entirely organised by volunteers - email email@example.com to help.
Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in Da Nunzio, 76 Phyllis Ashton Circuit, Amaroo - please come and join us!
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