After a long hiatus due to COVID-19, parkrun is finally back in action! Don’t know what it is? Fret not, we’ll run you through this challenging but fun-filled event so you can start participating and kicking health goals for 2021 ASAP.

With 406 locations across Australia and over 680,000 registered runners, parkrun is quite the phenomenon. Participants include those who love to run as well as those who emphatically state, “I don’t run, but show up every week anyway.”

Smiling through the run! Image: Wildflower Parkrun

So what is parkrun? It’s a free and timed 5k run – in a park – where all ages and abilities are welcomed. The movement started in London in 2004 and is now global with over 4 million participants!

Unfortunately, the organisers had to temporarily put activities on hold due to the pandemic but now, the action-packed event is back on the cards (and has been since the beginning of 2021)!

Parkrun in Ku-ring-gai

It’s where the community comes alive. Image: Wildflower Parkrun

Parkrun began in Ku-ring-gai in May 2018, and in true local style, it’s held at the picturesque Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden every Saturday at 8am featuring a course that is especially scenic. ‘Guest’ wildlife even features along the track from time to time, and runners are surrounded by trees and nature – participants are free from having to contend with cars, bikes or dogs (sorry, these are trail rules). There are “a few hills”, as one runner puts it, and a second runner declares, “Those hills! They BURN!”. But it’s a matter of perspective – yet another participant grins and adds our local parkrun is anything but “a boring course”.

Those hills! They BURN!

Parkrun is more than just physical achievement

It’s true, this is not an average parkrun; it is not flat. It’s one of the most challenging in NSW and frequently hosts non-local visitors. The course especially suits walkers as well as runners, or those who do both as they build endurance. For everyone, the Wildflower parkrun builds strength. And when you finish, you know you’ve done something good.

For some, this event is about even more than the physical achievement. It’s well-known for a sense of community, which is a hallmark of all parkruns. People are friendly, and volunteers call out encouragement along the way. Some even take the time to write the runners messages in chalk along the path. Other participants are excited by personal growth, or reaching milestones: t-shirts are awarded for completing 10 runs (junior participants), and 50, 100, 250 and 500 runs for adults.

Best of all parkrun is for everyone. People run solo, with a friend, or run to make some friends. Parents bring kids for some time together, teenagers come (willingly!) with parents, and there are fantastic stories from those who call themselves “older” about getting fit for the first time, or achieving a level of health they thought was no longer possible.

It’s an event for everyone to enjoy! Image: Wildflower Parkrun

How to register and stay COVID-safe

So, whether you’re at the beginning of a couch-to-5k journey, a walker or a seasoned runner, consider coming out to the Wildflower parkrun. If it’s your first parkrun, be sure to sign up online and print your barcode. You can also get an official parkrun flatband via their shop.

Make sure you use also the Service NSW app to check in before entering the event venue and follow all COVID-safety protocols.

Contact details
Address: Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden, 420 Mona Vale Road, St Ives, 2075 NSW
Instagram: @parkrunau

Keen to experience more of Ku-ring-gai? How about a family day out with the young ones at the new St Ives playground, or eating a unique meal in Turramurra? There’s so much to see and do (and eat!) in our very own backyard. Keep checking back in as we keep you updated with the latest and greatest on our blog.

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