Lace up your runners, popular community event set to return
HUNDREDS of people are set to descend on the city’s Botanic Gardens on Saturday as Rockhampton parkrun makes its long-awaited return.
It will be the first time the free weekly 5km timed event has been held since its COVID-enforced shutdown in mid-March.
Rockhampton’s will be one of more than 100 parkruns across Queensland resuming this weekend, which is the highest number of parkrun events re-opened on a single weekend anywhere in the world.
It will be a special day for Ian Dunbier, who will oversee his first parkrun as event director.
He took over the role from Craig McCormack just days before the shutdown came into effect.
That was also the same week in which Rockhampton parkrun would have turned four.
“There has been a lot of interest,” Dunbier said.
“Excitement is building and everyone’s really keen.
“Our average is roughly 220 but it wouldn’t surprise me if 300 turn up tomorrow.
“It’s going to be good to have the community together again and to see all the smiling faces.”
Dunbier said that parkrun would now operate under a COVID framework and runners would have to check-in for contact tracing and observe local COVID guidelines.
He said there were eight regulars who were just one event short of milestones, such as their 50th, 100th or 150th parkrun.
“They’ve been waiting eight months for that moment,” he said.
“I don’t know how many of them will be there tomorrow but that’s one thing you’ll be hearing in the briefing.”
Dunbier has been involved with Rockhampton parkrun since October 2016.
He has completed 60 of them and volunteered at more than 100.
“I really enjoy being part of a team that helps put on an event that’s good for people’s physical health but also good for their mental health,” he said.
“One of the things I really like about parkrun as well, even though it’s got the word ‘run’ in the name, we would have probably a quarter of the people who actually walk the 5km.
“It’s good for people of all ages and all fitness levels.”
Rockhampton parkrun starts at 7am.