parkruns

I wrote a couple of months back about the inaugural Blackbutt parkrun being staged through Blackbutt Reserve.

And the weekend before last I finally got the chance to give it a go myself.

In case you haven’t heard of parkruns, they are a brilliant community-orientated initiative with the sole purpose of getting people active.

They are held Saturdays at 8am around the country, involve participants running or walking five kilometres and the best part is they are free.

I had previously ran the Newy parkrun, which is a totally flat course around Carrington, but I was slightly nervous about the ‘undulating’ Blackbutt course I had heard about. Organisers were marketing it as the hilliest parkrun course around.

But I was pleasantly surprised to discover the hills weren’t as unforgiving as I had prepared myself for – I thought it was going to be another Heartbreak Hill scenario. It is a hilly and challenging course but the great thing about Blackbutt parkrun (www.parkrun.com.au/blackbutt/) is you also get lots of flat sections interspersed to give you recoveries.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see around 170 people gathering in Richley Reserve for the event, which is a great achievement considering the Blackbutt event is so new to the parkrun calendar.

There were people of all ages and fitness levels. Families turned up with prams and strollers and it was great to see so many young ones on the course – not so great to see them storming past me up some of those hills, but great nonetheless!!

parkruns, well the two I have done, are very social as well with lots of people giving you encouragement along the way. And Blackbutt is such a beautiful place to stage it – you run past the kangaroo enclosure and the emus and I reckon it would be hard to find a more pleasant course.

Hill running or walking is an excellent way to improve strength and cardiovascular fitness. And the really great thing about hill training is when you eventually go back to flat running it seems so much easier.

The start time of 8am is perfect – not too early but early enough that you’ve got your exercise out of the way and your day still free.

parkruns rely on volunteers and the Relay For Life people were lending a hand at the one I attended.

Relay For Life is an overnight, community event where teams participate in a relay-style walk or run to raise funds for the Cancer Council and there will be one staged at Glendale on November 2. The organisers said the event will be held at midnight because ‘cancer doesn’t sleep’, which seemed quite poignant to me. You can find out more relay.cancercouncil.com.au then click on ‘Find A Relay’.

There are some other great community sporting challenges coming up, including the Fernleigh 15 on October 20 and RunNewcastle on November 10, and plenty of reasons to get moving.

So get out there and give something a go.

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