May 18, 2017 7:02 pm

Calgary ‘parkrun’ connects with worldwide running community

It began as a community run in England over a decade ago and now has reached 14 countries, including Canada. Kevin Smith reports.

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It started in 2004 in London, England and is now in 14 countries all over the world, including most recently in Calgary: it’s a free, fun 5-kilometre run called parkrun.

Suzanne Brooks immigrated to Calgary from England in 2015. She had run over 100 parkruns back home and was missing the connection of community that it brings, so she started the second parkrun in all of Canada at Nose Hill Park.

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“I made it my vision to start it in Calgary because I was missing it so much. It’s a great community event, I love it. A great start to your weekend!”

All over the world, parkrun starts at 9 a.m. sharp in the local time zone every Saturday. Once you register, you get a bar code that can be used at any parkrun in any country.

Suzanne Morse, who directs the Nose Hill parkrun, says it’s not called a race because this run is not competitive.

“There’s no competitiveness; it’s very much you do your best,” she said. “If you need to run and then walk, if you have to walk the whole thing, that’s fine. We have a wide variety of people.”

That wide variety of people includes Craig Cutler, who just moved to Calgary from Australia in May. He and his son Zach have run over 65 parkruns back home and the first thing he did when he came to Calgary was to look and see if there was a parkrun here, to hopefully meet new friends and feel more connected to home.

“As soon as we saw it was here in Calgary, we were very happy, because it’s a great community-based event and the volunteer side of it is fantastic,” he said. “Everyone loves it.”

The Nose Hill parkrun already has over 400 people registered and with the summer months approaching, those numbers are sure to climb.

For more information on this weekly community event, go to parkrun.ca.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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