Parkrun achieves success despite running remotely
PARKRUN: When the State Government put a hold on sporting groups training together, Dalby Parkrun event co-ordinator Myfanwy Schenk admits she was “gutted”.
It’s been 12 weeks since Parkrun shut down due to the restrictions, but it didn’t take long for the group to adapt to the new normal.
It was a long four weeks without their beloved group run when Schenk had a light bulb idea that would allow parkrunners to keep their fitness up in their own time, foster healthy competition and to keep the community alive.
“We shut down as soon as the government put guidelines in that we shouldn’t be meeting closely,” Schenk said.
“We were one of the first things to start shutting down.
“I thought we should do a virtual thing and get people still running and involved.
“I thought why not get them to send in a picture so we can make our album like we always do, and send in a time but they don’t have to do it on Saturday morning.”
Each week, runners sent in a photo of themselves taking to a track of their choosing, along with their times to Schenk to keep Parkrun alive remotely.
Schenk said the attendance has been almost as high as it was when Parkrun was operating officially, which has been heartwarming for the event co-ordinator to see.
“It means that it’s not just another thing that people do,” she said.
“They’ve adopted it and it’s part of their healthy living and that they’re enjoying the community aspect and still being able to do it even if it’s only in part.
“When you go out running during the week and you see somebody else that you know is going to send in a time, you just get a bit of an extra wave … It’s been a great way to still have that social connectedness that we have lost a little bit over the last couple of months.”
Schenk said some of the usual faces have been joined by newcomers interested in kickstarting a few fitness goals which has been rewarding to see.
There’s a lot of uncertainty facing parkrunners across the country, with Parkrun officials confirmed they would not see a start to the event at least for the rest of the calendar month.
But Schenk said she believed no restrictions or shut down could stop the contingent of dedicated runners from getting out and about.