This is one for everyone and not just the People of Perth. I decided to partake in Claisebrook Cove’s ParkRun but ParkRun is all around the world. A little background on ParkRun, it started back in 2004 when 13 runners met in a park in London. In their own words : “We had an idea. We ran with it”. The idea was simple: a weekly, free 5 km run in the park, with a natter in the coffee shop after. Now, over ten years later, ParkRun is 15 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand with over 60,000 weekly participants. It is pretty massive.
Now, Claisebrook Cove’s ParkRun was a dog friendly event so I had to leave my little feline, Oliver, at home. It was also a little bit more energetic and I didn’t think Chazzy’s little legs would keep up. So enter stage left, Miller, Katie’s newest family addition, adopted from WA Pet Project! If there was any dog that would be up for a 5 kilometre run, it was this ball of energy.
While I sound all clued in about ParkRun now, I definitely did not do enough homework on this prior to attending. I was expecting 20-30 people maximum and not nearly 200 when I arrived a little before 8am, last Saturday morning. It wasn’t just locals though. There were ParkRunners from the across Australia and even international as I was talking to people from Sydney, Adelaide and London. There were plenty of people taking advantage of the dog friendly and pushchair friendly policy too.
No time to talk though, that is after. All too quick, I found myself running with Miller. I can’t even remember a horn going off. Everyone was suddenly moving and so was I. With so many people, I expected it to feel a little claustrophobic but everyone spread out quickly enough. Truthfully though, I don’t think it is possible to feel claustrophobic surrounded by so many people in such a good mood on a Saturday morning. I was enjoying the run so much, taking in the views along the Swan river that I was surprised how quickly we found ourselves at the turning point. Another big thing that struck me was the sense of camaraderie during the run. In both directions, runners, joggers and walkers were cheering each other on. This event was clearly not about who was fastest but about participation. The only thing people were chasing was a personal best.
Then people were chasing their friends. Everyone was wandering around the finish line, finding their friends and having a chat before slowly working their way “down to the coffee shop for a natter.” It was at this stage that I meant a number of the ParkRun veterans. The most impressive that I met were Kato and Charlie. Kato has run over 100 of the ParkRuns, and probably nearly 200. Charlie also had his 100th run. Their humans were also quite lovely. I was chatting to Crystal, Charlie’s mum, for quite a while. Like myself, she moved to Perth for work. It was here that she found ParkRun and made her Perth Family. Kato’s humans, Dutch and Lex, were also two of the main co-coordinators for this particular ParkRun. I was quickly pulled into the group and pulled into the Kinky Lizard.
It is the simple things, but I was so impressed that there was multiple tables reserved for the ParkRunners. Some people just got coffee or a snack or a full breakfast. They had everything. Kinky Lizard is also one of the places now selling coffee in a cone. I was so tempted to get one but I had heard you needed to drink them fast and I wanted to take my time. So I got my standard cappuccino and was not disappointed. I also got a sweet muffin, chocolate, banana and maple syrup, for good measure. I had just ran a 5 kilometre run after all. Someone ordered a bagel as well, which gave me serious food envy. I definitely stayed long after my coffee and muffin were finished though. This group of people were just so welcoming. I will definitely be making this a regular event.