There is a growing global running movement and Kingscliff is the latest town to get swept up by the worldwide parkrun craze. Parkrun is a free five-kilometre timed run every Saturday morning in a local park run by volunteers and open to anyone.
Kingscliff hosted the Tweed’s first parkrun recently with runners and walkers of all ages and fitness levels completing the five-kilometre timed course.
Kingscliff parkrun is the twelfth in Australia and with a new event planned each month the growth of parkrun has no boundaries. Globally, there are more than 200 parkrun events with over 450,000 registered members.
Kingscliff event organiser Dawn Courage said 20 runners completed the course on the first event, and was confident more would get on board as word spread throughout the community. ‘It was pleasing to see runners of all ages and abilities come down and participate in their first parkrun event,’ said Dawn after the event. ‘I’m excited to be a part of it and I know this weekly event will continue to grow because it offers the local community the chance to come together on a regular basis and get physically active in a safe and friendly social environment.’ The Kingscliff event also has a sweet treat available at the end of the run.
Founded by Brit, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, parkrun began its journey in 2004 with just 13 runners in a suburban area of London called Teddington. The response was overwhelming and what started as a bunch of mates running a weekly 5km timed running event quickly grew into something much bigger.
Australian Tim Oberg was based in London for nine years and was immediately captivated by the emergence of parkrun. He sought out and met with founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt to pitch in the idea of taking parkrun ‘Down Under’ and he hasn’t looked back since. ‘I knew parkrun had potential from the outset because it offers the local community, male or female, young or old, the chance to come together on a regular basis and get physically active in a safe and friendly social environment,’ says Tim. ‘Our growth in Australia has been very pleasing and it might sound ambitious but I’m hoping to launch a new parkrun event throughout Australia each month. Since the Olympics, New Farm parkrun alone has reported a 26 per cent increase in participation, taking our registration numbers to more than 3,200.’
Tim says that cost is a massive barrier for people to participate in sport, and with parkrun the runners will always run free of charge thanks to the support of sponsors Adidas and Suncorp. ‘Without their support parkrun simply couldn’t survive.’
The key to parkrun’s success is the timing technology. Runners register online and then print a barcode that is scanned at the end of each run and matched with the runner’s finishing time. All the results are posted online by midday so runners can compare their performance with their friends’ and against previous times.
The Kingscliff parkrun is free to enter and starts at 8am every Saturday For more information visit parkrun.com.au.