parkrun – Happy New Year 2018!



I’ve been hearing about it for over a year. I’ve seen the photos on Facebook. I’ve thought about skipping my usual Saturday morning long run to attend it. But it took a special event on New Year’s Day 2018 to get me out for parkrun Canada in Richmond, BC!

parkrun is a free, volunteer-led timed 5k race. The very first parkrun was held in the UK in 2004. Since then, the movement has spread across the world, throughout Europe, and to New Zealand and Australia, Canada and the US, South Africa, and Singapore – 17 countries in all! Here in Canada, there are 12 parkruns (with links to each location):

Our local parkrun is, of course, Richmond Olympic. This event started in August 2016 and is coordinated by Euan Bowman (of VanRace fame) and his team of volunteers. It takes place every Saturday at 9:00am, just a block from Aberdeen Canada Line Station in Richmond, BC. The 5k runs along the Fraser River dike – a scenic and flat course that caters to runners of all speeds and levels.

New Year’s Day 2018

Because I run with Forerunners every Saturday, I had never had an opportunity to run with parkrun. BUT! When I heard that a special New Year’s Day parkrun (at the slightly later time of 10:00am) would be run, I decided to attend. Finally!

I registered online for free, printed out and laminated my barcodes. And then waited to ring in the New Year.

Although I stayed up until midnight, I still managed to get myself out of bed in time to make the trip to Richmond. It was a crisp, clear morning – perfect way to start 2018! My friend, Susan, met me at the station, and we walked a few minutes to the official ‘start line’.


The participants and volunteers gathered for a photo once the course had been explained. And soon we were off!

parkrun parkrun

The first turnaround was just a few hundred metres north – got to see those lead runners pretty much right away! Then we headed south towards / past the Olympic Oval. There was a slight detour off the dike, and I was glad I had a couple of runners ahead of me to follow. The detour was not well marked, which caused a bit of confusion. A bit further along, another turnaround, and back the way we came.


We passed the start line, repeated the initial out and back – and crossed the finish line!


Did I mention they provide free photos? Check out the Richmond Olympic parkrun Facebook page!

Here’s Susan crossing the finish line!


A total of 36 runners and walkers recorded finish times. It was quick, friendly, fun and, I have to admit, slightly hungover. However, I was so glad to join this event!

Home again for a hearty breakfast and a lovely New Year’s Day nap!

Is there a parkrun in your area? If so, give it a try! It’s worth it!

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